'Eagle Eye' soars to boxoffice

Shia LaBeouf film looks like lock for top spot

Let's not be shy about it: "Eagle Eye" will perch atop the weekend boxoffice.

DreamWorks/Paramount's Shia LaBeouf thriller opens Friday with mere pretenders to the domestic throne as competition.

Rated PG-13, "Eagle Eye" -- which co-stars Michelle Monaghan ("The Bourne Supremacy") and was directed by D.J. Caruso ("Disturbia") -- is tracking best with younger males and second-best with younger females. The film counts Steven Spielberg among its producers and boasts 85 Imax giant-screen playdates in addition to its roughly 3,500 engagements in traditional venues

"It's the first mainstream, tech-savvy movie that we've ever had in the fall," Imax Filmed Entertainment chief Greg Foster said. "We need to prove ourselves as a year-round enterprise, so it's a big step."

Imax venues helped pad the huge summer run for Warner Bros.' "The Dark Knight." The giant-screen exhibitor's next big release of a commercial Hollywood film comes in November, with Paramount's simultaneous launch of DreamWorks Animation's "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" in Imax and traditional theaters.

Prerelease tracking surveys suggest a bow of $25 million-$28 million for "Eagle Eye," which totes negative costs of at least $80 million.

"From a competitive standpoint, you're coming into a pretty open market," Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore said. "You also have a star coming off of three hits."

That would be LaBeouf, who ran a 2007-08 trifecta with "Disturbia," "Transformers" and "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."

Elsewhere among today's wide openers, Warners unspools its Nicholas Sparks literary adaptation "Nights in Rodanthe," starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane.

Sure to lure a fair number of older women, "Rodanthe" could struggle to attract other moviegoers. An opening in the low double-digit millions looks likely for the PG-13 drama.

Spike Lee's World War II film "Miracle at St. Anna" from Disney will be disadvantaged by its two-hour, 40-minute running time, mixed early reviews and an R rating for violence and a bit of nudity.

An adaptation of a James McBride novel, "Miracle" will work wonders if it treks significantly into the double-digit millions. Derek Luke ("Antwone Fisher") leads the cast in the film about an all-black U.S. Army regiment in Tuscany.

Also this weekend, Samuel Goldwyn/IDP releases "Fireproof," a Christian-themed firefighting drama starring Kirk Cameron, in about 800 locations. And "The Lucky Ones" -- a drama about a trio of Iraq War veterans from Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions -- is getting an almost-wide burst of 400 runs.
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