'New Moon' set to repeat at the boxoffice

Faces competition from 'Ninja Assassin,' 'Old Dogs'

There's no doubt that "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" will rise to the top of the domestic boxoffice again over the coming holiday-stretched weekend.

But Warner Bros. should peel more than a few young males away from that pic's largely female-driven fan frenzy to support the opening of martial-arts actioner "Ninja Assassin."

And Disney looks likely to post an even more lucrative session to nab one of the medal positions in the weekend's boxoffice rankings with family-friendly comedy "Old Dogs," starring John Travolta, Robin Williams, Seth Green and Kelly Preston.

A third new title this session -- the Weinstein Co.'s bigscreen adaptation of the Colmac McCarthy novel "The Road" -- had been intended as a wide release until recently knocked back to a limited bow in about 100 locations. Like the other new pics, "Road" will unspool Wednesday to get ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Summit Entertainment execs figure "New Moon" will avoid a precipitous drop in its soph session for two reasons: Many students and adults will have Friday off, and many young girls are already heading back to the theater for repeat viewings of the vampire-romance sequel.

Figure on "New Moon" again running away with the weekend boxoffice with a three-day haul of $60 million or so.

PG-rated "Dogs," helmed by Walt Becker ("Wild Hogs"), is showing good traction with family patrons and older moviegoers in pre-release tracking surveys.

"We'll have the only new comedy out there," Disney distribution boss Chuck Viane noted.

And its broadly targeted tone is just the sort of laffer that's worked best of late.

Meantime, the pic with at least a shot at besting "Dogs" for the weekend silver medal is a holdover title. Warners' Sandra Bullock starrer, "The Blind Side," which overperformed in opening No. 2 last weekend with $34.1 million.

"Blind Side" should be able to top $20 million in Friday-Sunday coin this session. "Dogs" also should fetch more than $20 million during the weekend and at least $30 million for its first five days.

Rated R, "Ninja" gives James McTeigue a first feature directing credit following extensive second-unit work, and its producers include Andy and Larry Wachowski. Rick Yune ("The Fast and the Furious") and Rain ("Speed Racer") top the effects-laden pic's ensemble cast.

"The visual effects are phenomenal, and that's why it works so well," Warners distribution topper Dan Fellman said. "It's going to do a lot of business."

"Ninja" looks likely to register well into the teen millions in weekend boxoffice and just a bit more for the five-day span.

Rated R for extreme violence, "The Road" stars Viggo Mortensen and bigscreen newcomer Kodi Smit-McPhee as a father and son seeking to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, with Australian John Hillicoat directing.

Despite early buzz as an awards-consideration candidate, the gritty drama will have to take a longer road to potential riches. There was no immediate indication when Weinstein will widen "Road," and that decision could hinge on how it performs this week.

On an industry-wide basis, the three-day session will be compared with last year's $162.5 million post-Turkey Day weekend, which was driven by the $31.1 million bow of Warners' seasonal comedy "Four Christmases." Year to date, 2009 is running 5.4% ahead of the same period of last year, with $8.98 billion in industry boxoffice grosses through last weekend.
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