LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The calendar might say Labor Day, but holiday weekend moviegoers in North America are just as likely to be celebrating Halloween. Or, make that "Halloween," Rob Zombie's remake of the 1978 slasher movie.
While the current film, the eighth to be spun off from John Carpenter's original "Halloween," appears to be jumping the gun holidaywise, it's just one of a trio of new wide releases that will bid for the attention of younger males while the rest of the family is off celebrating summer's end.
Shock-rocker Zombie, who cut his teeth as a director on "House of 1000 Corpses" and "The Devil's Rejects," has gone back to Carpenter's original tale of knife-wielding mental institution escapee Michael Myers and written and directed a movie that is as much prequel (with a look at Myers' horrific childhood) as a remake.
The new "Halloween" -- starring Malcolm McDowell as shrink Dr. Loomis, Scout Taylor-Compton as baby sitter Laurie Strode and Tyler Mane as the adult Michael Myers -- will be aiming for a $20 million haul during the four-day weekend, which would put it in first position. It comes from the Weinstein Co's Dimension Films banner.
Focus Features' Rogue Pictures label already has gotten a start on the weekend with its martial arts movie parody "Balls of Fury," which opened Wednesday, taking in an estimated $1.7 million during its first day.
Directed by "Reno 911!" alumnus Robert Ben Garant and starring Dan Fogler, a Tony winner for Broadway's "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," and Christopher Walken as the movie's archvillian Feng, the comedy is set improbably in the pingpong underworld. Reviewers have not been kind, though that's probably immaterial, will probably find itself in the $11 million-$13 million range for the four-day weekend. If it checks in at the high end of that range, then it could find itself jockeying with the third weekend of two-week champ "Superbad" to claim the second slot overall.
20th Century Fox is launching "Death Sentence," starring Kevin Bacon as a father who seeks vigilante justice after his son his killed in a gang initiation. Directed by James Wan ("Saw"), the film is likely to find itself in the middle of the pack, on one side or the other of the $5 million mark for the four days.
In a bid to attract Latino moviegoers, Lionsgate is introducing "Ladron que roba a ladron," a Spanish-language film directed by Joe Menendez, in 340 theaters. The heist movie has been described as a Spanish "Ocean's Thirteen," but its weekend haul will be limited by its modest rollout.
On the specialty front, ThinkFilm is introducing "Self-Medicated" in 16 theaters. It is the debut film from director Monty Lapica, who also stars as a troubled Las Vegas teen who is confined to a rehabilitation facility by his mother.