Jeremy Smith over at Ain’t It Cool News linked to some clips from the Different Strokes episode with the pedophile Bicycle shop episode. I feel so fucking dirty. mostly because I had to find as many clips as I could. I remember that episode pretty well. Burned into my brain.

UNIVERSAL, YOU SCALLYWAGS

I noted this before, but something seems to be going wrong over at Universal. They’re putting out three movies within the course of eight days. Which means that in a theater with eight screens or less, they’re only going to get either Hanna or Your Highness this weekend. Splitting the difference, or – at best – have one locked for two weeks. Seems silly. This seems to be regime change politics. With Universal’s year, and with their upcoming slate that relies heavy on things that seem silly (Battleship), Universal seems to want to be the new Fox and with the year Fox had last year, maybe they don’t want to be the old Fox either. Season change, people poop, stuff happens.

Unfortunately too, because in the theater in my mind (the Hou-Plex) the idea of a stoner comedy about fighting Minotaurs with half naked Natalie Portman, and a movie about a killer young girl are top-tier draws. But both should have tepid openings, with ten million around the anchor point for both. Maybe a little more, probably a little less. And Friday, when Your Highness numbers start coming in, expect noise from Nikki Finke about how great it is. It sounds like David Gordon Green’s in the midst of his next, and Danny McBride has Eastbound and Down. And James Franco’s is the lead in Sam Raimi’s big reboot of the Wizard of Oz. Natalie Portman, she’s an Oscar winner. I don’t think anyone is sweating this. I think the problem is that by the nature of the film it can only be as good as a three star movie.

And I have to say, though I loved it at the time, I haven’t had the desire to put on Pineapple Express again. Maybe this weekend. It just doesn’t jump at me.

Moreso than the others, it seems likely the new film to make the most money will be Arthur. Nothing against Russell Brand, but he comes across as a more attractive and British Martin Short. I mean that in that I think he’s a good team player, but in no way should be a lead. Dan Aykroyd had a similar problem. They’re not grounded enough to be leads, talents though they may be. I don’t want to watch a movie based around Brand. But I guess the film is tracking better than the others.

I live in an insular world, so I have had no exposure to Soul Surfer, but that’s also coming out this weekend. So, there’s that.

WHAT WHAT, IN YOUR PREDICTIONS

So Hop wins the weekend by default. It will lose to Scream 4 next weekend, but that’s an opening weekend picture. How big? Who’s to say.

1. Hop – $26.5 Million

2. Arthur – $14.5 Million

3. Your Highness - $10 Million

4. Hanna – $8.5 Million

5. Source Code – $8 Million

And then Sunday, bacon and eggs.