Loads of 'Treasure' under the tree

By Carl DiOrio
The Hollywood Reporter
Dec 21, 2007

"National Treasure: Book of Secrets"

Boxoffice weekends just don't come any bigger than this one.

Five wide openers boasting solid appeal in one or more audience demographics are set to unspool Friday. And one of those -- Disney's Nicolas Cage sequel "National Treasure: Books of Secrets" -- has "monster hit" written all over it.

Throw in DreamWorks/Paramount's Johnny Depp-toplined musical "Sweeney Todd," Sony's music-bio spoof "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story," Warner Bros.' ladies-get-the-hankies romance "P.S. I Love You" and Universal's Tom Hanks-Julia Roberts starrer "Charlie Wilson's War," and things could get bloody crazy -- or maybe just plain bloody, given the cutthroat competition for screens and moviegoers.

Oh, and by the way, a 50% hold for Warners' "I Am Legend" would give the Will Smith starrer a $38 million sophomore session.
More fortuitously, two films are perceived as broadly appealing and clear favorites to do big business during the holidays, regardless of how any other releases fare. "Treasure" looks likely to unearth as much as $50 million this weekend, while "Alien vs. Predator" should eat up the boxoffice starting Tuesday and gross up to $35 million through the following Sunday.

"There is definitely business out there to be done," Disney distribution president Chuck Viane said. "(But) this particular weekend is the last shopping weekend, so I'm trying to contain my enthusiasm."

Unsuccessfully, it seems. "Treasure" will appeal to "everybody who saw the first one and everybody who wants to go to the movies and have fun," Viane said.