Will the box office be "Invincible" this weekend?

Welcome to the weekend preview, the mid-week compliment to the weekend Recap. Both Weekend features serve two basic purposes: to brief you quickly on the stock market so you have some clue on what's going on, and then to talk about movies. Which is funny, because the Weekend staff likes TV more. (Just ask Tonya. She watches so much television it's amazing her brain can still function!) We first begin with the stock market.

Existing home sales dropped to their lowest levels in over two years, lifting inventories to record levels. Investors are now panicking that this might mean the economy is slowing too much, and that there might be a recession. Chill out, dudes. Wait, like, another week or two before passing judgment, okay? Okay. At the sound of Wednesday's closing bell, the Dow Jones had 11,297.90 points, the NASDAQ had 2,134.66 while the S&P 500 ended trading at 1,292.99 points.

For our second act, we take a brief look at the movies coming out this upcoming weekend. This weekend, you have your choice between a buddy comedy about beer and sex, a musical set in the 1930's, a movie about worms and an inspirational rags-to-riches football movie. Yeah, that selection makes me want to stay home, too.

Beerfest - A R-rated buddy comedy brought to you by the guys who made Super Troopers, this film centers around a couple of American brothers who travel to Germany to spread their grandfather's ashes at Oktobertest. In an even more plausible turn of events, they stumble upon a uber-secret underground beer games competition known as Beerfest. They enter, and the brother's cousins beat them. Seriously. They return to America where they assemble a team of drunks to win at next year's Beerfest. This lewd comedy (Oh, come on, you've seen the commercials too!) stars the likes of Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske, Steve Lemme, Kevin Heffernan and Jay Chandrasekhar.

How to Eat Fried Worms - Based on a famous Thomas Rockwell book, this film revolves around 11-year-old Billy who unwittingly challenges the school bully on his first day at a new school. Ha! Our new hero must now earn the respect of his new classmates by eating 10 worms in one day. Ew. I'm sorry, but, ew. And I'm sure WebMD would warn against that activity, too. If it doesn't sound like a movie for you, well, it probably wasn't intended to be. This movie definitely skews towards the 10-13-year-old boy demographic. It's like Aquamarine for boys! Starring Luke Benward, Adam Hicks, Hallie Kate Eisenberg, Austin Rogers and Kimberly Williams.

Idlewild - Hey! It's a film that I never heard of before! They must not advertise this film on the channels I watch. Or maybe they just don't care one bit. That could very well be. (Actually, I think they've ben marketing almost exclusively towards African-Americans.) The plot of this drama/musical/performing arts film focuses around Percival, a shy piano player and Rooster, a club's showy lead performer and manager who struggles to keep their dreams alive during the 1930's southern speakeasy. Starring 'Andre 3000' Benjamin, Antwan "Big Boi" Patton, Faizon Love, Paula Jai Parker and Paula Patton. Ving Rhames, Macy Gray and Patti LaBelle have smaller roles in the film as well.

Invincible - Based on a true story! (Does that tagline even open movies anymore?) Meet Vince Papale, a 30 year-old substitute teacher and part-time bartender. He never played college football, but he is an avid Philadelphia Eagles fan. When the Eagles coach announced that the team would host a unprecedented open tryout, Papale decided to give it a shot. Against all odds, he soon found himself playing on a professional football team. As the movie's PR description puts it, he was "moving from his cheap seats in the upper deck to standing on the field as a professional football player." Starring Mark Wahlberg, Greg Kinnear, Kevin Conway and Elizabeth Banks.

Every week during the Preview, the staff comes together to place bets on what films will debut in what spot, and with how much money. Then a few days later, during the Recap, we take a look at our predictions versus reality to see how well they compare. Most weeks, they don't compare well at all. (Insert sad smiley face here.) However, this week could be different! So sit back as we give you our...

Predictions! Here's our predictions for the box office weekend spanning August 25 through 27, 2006:

1. Invincible, $25-$30 million
. While the sports genre may be getting a little cliche, it's still a easy way for studios to turn a quick profit. This won't necessarily get the "movie regulars", but rather, the people who don't go to movies that often, ie parents, or, people who actually remember Vince Papale.

2. Beerfest, $25-$30 million. It'll be a close race towards first place, but I think that this film will probably settle in second place. While many teenagers and college students will enjoy the taste of the film, critics will be left wanting a more premium draft of screenwriting.

3. Talladega Nights, $15-20 million. Hey, if the same Will Ferrall jokes are still funny in each of his movies, it would stand to reason that repeat viewings would be just as funny!

4. How to Eat Fried Worms, $15-20 million. This film won't earn a lot of money, simply because moms don't want to take their kids to this film and dads want to see Invincible instead!

5. World Trade Center, $10-$15 million. Despite Nicholas Cage's miscast moustache, this film continues to be received well among movie-goers and has been getting great word-of-mouth. We think that it'll stick around for a while longer yet.

Total Box Office Earnings: $105-$110 million.

Will we be right in our predictions? Or will our predictions be passed off as fiction? And will creepy stalker Aldo finally stop pestering Mary Worth? (Whoops, wrong blog.) If you care about any of these answers, stay tuned this weekend for the Recap, which has far nicer graphics and clean, shiny scoreboards for the stock market and for the box office. Until then, stay safe and remember: friends don't let friends steal pencils.

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