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Hollywood Reporter

4 February 2005

'Boogeyman' Set to Take on Super Bowl

By Nicole Sperling

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The threat of Super Bowl Sunday falls upon the box office this weekend.

With the help of a low-budget horror film, "Boogeyman," and a romantic comedy, "The Wedding Date," Hollywood will try its best to combat one of the biggest TV-watching days of the year, though it's unlikely that the two films will pull audiences away from the gridiron action.

Sony Pictures' "Boogeyman," from Sam Raimi's Ghost House Pictures, marks the second outing for the "Spider-Man" director's new company. Its first release, "The Grudge," was a box office surprise that crossed the $100 million level in November after only 27 days in theaters. "The Grudge" opened to about $40 million, whereas "Boogeyman" is unlikely to earn more than about half that for the upcoming three-day frame.

Whereas "Grudge" starred Sarah Michelle Gellar of TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," the PG-13 "Boogeyman," from director Stephen T. Kay ("Get Carter"), features a lesser-known cast. Barry Watson ("Sorority Boys") stars as a young man who must return to his childhood home to confront the terrifying visions that have haunted him all his life. Emily Deschanel and Lucy Lawless co-star. It bows in 3,052 theaters.

"Boogeyman" is expected to take a bite out of 20th Century Fox's "Hide and Seek," which opened at No. 1 last weekend to $22 million. The Robert De Niro thriller is appealing to a similar audience as "Boogeyman" and is likely to drop in the 50% range during its sophomore session.

Universal's "The Wedding Date," from Gold Circle Films and director Clare Kilner, bows in 1,695 theaters. A handy excuse for nonfootball-watching women to get out of the house, "Wedding Date" marks the feature headlining debut of Debra Messing ("Will & Grace"). She plays a scorned single woman who hires an escort (Dermot Mulroney) to pose as her date at her sister's wedding. Industry insiders don't expect the PG-13-rated film to gross more than single-digit millions.

In limited release, Focus Features will bow "Rory O'Shea Was Here" on three screens in Los Angeles and New York. The R-rated film, which premiered last week at the Sundance Film Festival, centers on a young man (James McAvoy) with multiple sclerosis who moves into a home for the disabled and changes the life of a 24-year-old man (Steven Robinson) with cerebral palsy.

MGM's "Swimming Upstream" opens Friday in select cities. The PG-13 film, starring Geoffrey Rush and Judy Davis, centers on the true story of Tony Fingleton, a young Australian who became a champion swimmer against all odds.

IFC Films' "Nobody Knows" bows on two screens in New York. The PG-13 docudrama from Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda revolves around four children who are forced to rely on each other after they are abandoned by their mother.

Newmarket Films opened the R-rated "Daybreak" on Wednesday in New York. The Swedish drama premiered at last year's Berlin International Film Festival, where it won two awards.