Fewer restrictions for holdovers

New R pics might not reach 'Ghost,' 'Terabithia' crowds

With three of the four new releases this frame carrying an R rating, their upside for the weekend might be limited by their own restrictions. As a result, Sony Pictures' "Ghost Rider" could remain the No. 1 film for the second consecutive week, even if it falls in the 50% range.

Also sure to thrive this weekend is Buena Vista Pictures' family film "Bridge to Terabithia." With nothing else in the market targeting that audience, it is likely to experience only a small dropoff for its sophomore session.

New Line Cinema debuts the psychological thriller "The Number 23" in 2,759 theaters. From director Joel Schumacher, "23" stars Jim Carrey as a man who becomes obsessed with an obscure book that he is convinced is based on his life. Co-starring Virginia Madsen, Danny Huston and Rhona Mitra, the R-rated film sees Carrey in a serious role — two, actually, because he and other actors play more than one role.

Playing against type has been a mixed bag for Carrey, who succeeded in Michel Gondry's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" in 2004 but not as much with Frank Darabont's "The Majestic" in 2001. With a screenplay from Fernley Phillips, "23" should bow in the midteen- million range, perhaps rising above that if reviews are favorable.

By using outrageous marketing stunts and actors appearing solely in character, 20th Century Fox is taking a page out of its "Borat" playbook to promote the supersilly "Reno 911! Miami." Based on the popular Comedy Central series, "Reno" is directed by Robert Ben Garant, the movie's star, writer and producer and a screenwriter on Fox's recent hit "Night at the Museum."

The film takes the Washoe County Sheriff's Department of Reno, Nev., to Miami, while a terrorist attack disrupts a national police convention. Thomas Len-non, Niecy Nash and Kerri Kenney-Silver co-star in the R-rated film, set to bow in 2,703 theaters. The comedy is likely to bow in the low- to midteen millions.

Warner Bros. Pictures has taken over the release of the Polish brothers' "The Astronaut Farmer," originally set up at the studio's Warner Independent Pictures specialty label, with the hopes of luring a larger audience. Written by Michael and Mark Polish and directed by Michael, "Farmer" stars Billy Bob Thornton as an astronaut forced to leave NASA to save his family farm. Holding on to his dreams of space travel, Thornton's character sets out to build a rocket inside his barn. The PG film from the filmmakers behind the quirky "Northfork" and "Twin Falls Idaho" has the potential to get into the double-digit millions this frame, with a wide bow in 2,155 theaters.

Lionsgate is giving a wider release to AfterDark Films' "The Abandoned," which bowed in November as part of AfterDark's horrorfest. It centers on an adopted woman who returns to her Russian homeland to visit the family farm she never knew, and the homecoming turns into a nightmare. The R-rated film bows in 988 theaters.

In limited release, Picturehouse bows the romantic comedy "Starter for 10" in 20 theaters in Los Angeles and New York. Starring James McAvoy ("The Last King of Scotland"), "Starter" centers on a student who tries to navigate his first year at Bristol University. The film bowed successfully in the U.K.

IDP Distribution bows Roadside Attractions' "Amazing Grace," from Walden Media's Bristol Bay Prods. The film, starring Ioan Gruffudd, centers on William Wilberforce's efforts to end slavery.

Yari Film Group is distributing "Gray Matters" in limited release. The co-production with WMA's now-defunct El Camino Pictures stars Heather Graham, Tom Cavanagh and Bridget Moynahan. From writer-director Sue Kramer, the film revolves around an inseparable brother and sister who fall in love with the same woman.