Audiences have stayed away from movie theaters in recent weeks

, but that could all change with the release of ‘Paranormal Activity 3.’ Does the horror sequel have enough to goose the sagging box office and hold off ‘The Three Musketeers’? Absolutely! Your weekend movie preview is here.


‘Paranormal Activity 3’
What’s the story: The latest chapter in the smash-hit horror franchise is a prequel that heads back to 1988 to discover what happened to Katie and Kristi when they were children. If you’re not familiar with the ‘PA’ mythology, click here.

Box-office projection: Thanks to a lack of competition — and a lack of horror movies in general — plus pent-up audience anticipation to see something this month that feels like an event, expect the box-office figures for ‘Paranormal Activity 3’ to go through the roof. Paramount has done a great job marketing the film — from ‘Catfish’ directors Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost — and with goodwill toward the franchise still running at solid levels heading into the third outing, grosses upward of $ 40 million feel almost reasonable. If you’re feeling frisky, you can bet the over. Moviefone is feeling frisky. $ 46.7 million

[Showtimes & Tickets]

‘The Three Musketeers’
What’s the story: All for one, one for 3D surcharges! From director Paul W.S. Anderson (‘Resident Evil,’ ‘Death Race,’ ‘Event Horizon’) comes a re-imagining of the Alexandre Dumas literary classic, complete with extra dimensions, explosions, and Orlando Bloom and Christophe Waltz chewing scenery opposte the musketeers (Ray Stevenson, Matthew Macfayden and Luke Evans) and D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman). Anderson’s wife, Milla Jovovich, co-stars.

Box-office projection: Here’s one for the foreign markets. While ‘The Three Musketeers’ might not have much life at the domestic box office, it could take off overseas thanks to its cast and the lure of 3D, which still a draw outside the United States. That’s not to say ‘The Three Musketeers’ will be a total wash-out here: Anderson is usually good for an opening in double-digits, and with Lerman, Jovovich, Evans and Bloom, there are enough stars to get non-horror fans — the ones not busy with ‘Paranormal Activity’ — to plunk down hard earned cash for a ticket. $ 11.1 million

[Showtimes & Tickets]

‘Johnny English Reborn’
What’s the story: Rowan Atkinson stars as Johnny English, not-sauve super spy trying to stop the assassination of the Chinese premiere.

Box-office projection: The good news: ‘Johnny English Reborn’ has already earned $ 90 million overseas. This thing is a hit! The bad news: It won’t earn very much here in the US, despite the fact that ‘Johnny English’ grabbed $ 9 million during its opening weekend in 2003. 2003! Have Atkinson fans been champing at the bit for the last eight years to see this sequel? Doubtful. $ 4.2 million

[Showtimes & Tickets]

‘The Mighty Macs’
What’s the story: Carla Gugino stars as Kathy Rush, a women’s basketball coach in the 1970s who helped a struggling Catholic school win a national championship.

Box-office projection: You likely haven’t heard of ‘The Mighty Macs’ — one of the quietest 1000-screen releases of 2011 — but the heartwarming true story and G-rating could be a draw for family audiences tired of ‘Real Steel’ and ‘The Lion King 3D.’ That’s not to say this one will be a ‘Courageous’-style hit: feel-good or not, movies need some advanced buzz to make a dent in this marketplace. ‘Mighty Macs’ has none. Too bad. $ 2.1 million

[Showtimes & Tickets]


Elizabeth Olsen and John Hawkes — two potential Oscar nominees — lead ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene,’ an indie drama about a woman who escapes from a cult in upstate New York. Zachary Quinto heads an all-star cast in the well-received financial drama ‘Margin Call.’ Sundance fave ‘Being Elmo‘ hits theaters.

[Photo: Paramount]

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