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JAN
27
4 YEARS

BULLSEYE, Jan. 28: 'Mechanic,' 'Rite,' 'Sanctum,' 'Roommate,' More

See where audience interest is leading into the weekend.

Tortured, wrecked human bodies of one type or another will be piling up on screens this weekend.

CBS Films will send its Jason Statham actioner The Mechanic into the marketplace to compete against New Line's Anthony Hopkins creeper The Rite. Beaucoup de damage will follow. For a bit of counter-programming, Lionsgate will open its frothy Latino-themed take on Jane Austen, From Prada to Nada.

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According to the Bullseye, it will be a dead (and I mean dead) heat between the hitman remake and the exorcism thriller. Activity has grown around The Rite over the last week, with women much more interested in it than in The Mechanic (the ladies much prefer their manglings from an unseen devil than from a good-looking human). But interest has faded a bit -- not a good omen, as it were. Meanwhile, the Mechanic bubble has grown significantly, maintained the serious intensity of the viewers interested in seeing it and shifted down toward the 25-and-under demo -- usually a very good sign.

Holdovers No Strings Attached and Green Hornet will cut into the potential audiences for all three Jan. 28 wide openers, but they're unlikely to top the box office for those two new releases.

Down the road a bit, the Feb. 4 openers Sanctum and The Roommate are building up steam to split the audience by gender pretty solidly. And the Biebs? Well, he's a sure thing on Feb. 11. Which is why Paramount/Insurge greenlighted the 3d concert film probably before they even heard his full name. Keep in mind, Flixster can't track young kids -- Justin Bieber's primary audience -- so if their interest were actually reflected in the Bullseye you'd probably only see one giant bubble.

Here's Pamela McClintock's box-office preview for the weekend for added analysis.