Box Office Preview: Cage’s ‘Witch’ No Match for ‘Fockers,’ ‘Grit’

In a slow weekend at the box office, no film will gross more than $20 million

Get ready for the weekend the box office forgot. 

With only two new wide releases of note, Nicolas Cage's "The Season of the Witch" and Gwyneth Paltrow's "Country Strong," Hollywood is bracing for a post-holiday hangover. 

Indeed, the fight for the box-office crown will largely be a repeat of last weekend's battle — when "True Grit" and "Little Fockers" duked it out. "Fockers" won that round, but according to studio tracking "Grit" has the edge going into this weekend. Both films should net between $15 to $16 million. 

Read Leah Rozen's review of "Seasons of the Witch"

Historically, the first weekend of January is one of the slowest weekends of the year, and with only a handful of films on more than 1,000 locations (and none projected to gross more than $20 million), the trend seems likely to continue. 

"Grit" will add 41 screens and will show at 3,124 locations. The western remake has already grossed $94 million, and when this weekend's grosses are taken into account, should deliver the Coen Brothers their first $100 million domestic grossing film.

Their previous high was for Best Picture winning "No Country for Old Men," which netted $74 million domestically in 2007.

"Fockers" will add 124 locations this weekend, meaning the third (and critics hope final) film in the "Meet the Parents" franchise will show on 3,678 screens. Thus far, the movie has grossed over $100 million, but with a B minus CinemaScore rating, it's not a stretch to predict the awkward in-laws comedy will drop as much 40 percent. 

The weekend's only significant new entrant, Relativity's "Season of the Witch" should make $11 million in on 2,816 screens. The medieval drama was produced at a cost of $40 million. Its debut puts it roughly in line with the openings of follicle-challenged star Cage's genre fare, such as the $9.6 million brought in by 2006's "The Wicker Man," rather then his tentpole films like the $44 million banked by 2007's "National Treasure: Book of Secrets."  

Expanding this week from limited release in L.A. and Nashville, "Country Strong," produced by Sony Pictures' Screen Gems at a cost of $12.5 million, should bank $6.5 million. Starring Paltrow as a washed out country singer and real-life country star Tim McGraw, the music drama has 1,424 playdates. 

The only other wide release of note, Disney's "Tron: Legacy," should experience some major post-holiday slippage. Look for the futuristic action film to drop more than 35 percent to gross roughly $10 million over the weekend.