'Number Four' aims for first place at box office

Updated: 2011-02-18 10:49


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LOS ANGELES  - "I Am Number Four," a teen sci-fi adventure starring young English hunk-of-the-moment Alex Pettyfer, is likely to open in the No. 1 spot at the North American box office this Presidents Day holiday weekend.

Box-office observers say the film could do in the low-$20 million range for the four-day period.

Directed by D.J. Caruso, "Number Four" tells the story of an alien teenager hiding out on Earth from the ruthless species that killed his family. It marks the first DreamWorks title to be released by Disney's Touchstone Pictures under a distribution and marketing deal struck between the companies after DreamWorks' split with Paramount.

"Number Four" isn't the only new title poised to do well over the long holiday weekend, sparking hope in Hollywood that the downturn at the domestic box office will begin to reverse itself.

"Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son" also has good traction, especially among black audiences. The Fox threequel returns Martin Lawrence in the lead role while introducing a younger character played by Brandon T. Jackson.

The third new wide release is the Liam Neeson action-thriller "Unknown." The Warner Bros. release goes after older moviegoers and hopes to replicate the success of Neeson's 2009 surprise hit "Taken."

All three will have to compete with reigning champ "Just Go With It," a Sony romantic comedy starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. It had earned $41 million through Wednesday.

Disney's "Gnomeo & Juliet" also should have a good second weekend, particularly with Monday being a holiday in the United States. It had earned $30 million through Monday.

"Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" is expected to suffer a big drop in its second weekend, but no one is willing to bet against the teen icon entirely. Its total through Wednesday was $33.9 million.


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