Early box office returns are pointing to a weekend win for Knowing from Summit, but I will put my money on I Love You, Man (Dreamworks/Paramount) to generate more in US ticket sales over the long haul. The Nicolas Cage sci-fi thriller has grabbed an estimated $8.8M to start the weekend, and it will likely finish at $24M or so. That is, unless word-of-mouth catches up to it first.

Reviews for Knowing, written and directed by Alex Proyas, the inventive filmmaker behind the visually striking 1998 film Dark City and the 2004 Will Smith mega-hit I, Robot, has received overwhelmingly negative reviews (25% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), but thanks to Twitter, real-time movie-goer reactions spread like wildfire. Here are some Tweets I just grabbed off the social networking platform.

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Nicolas Cage in Knowing

For the last few weeks, Summit’s Knowing, starring Nicolas Cage, has appeared to be the likely winner of the upcoming box office weekend. But, my sources tell me that I Love You, Man, the new comedy starring Paul Rudd (Role Models) and Jason Segal (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) has surged in the latest pre-release industry tracking.

In the spirit of March Madness, I’m calling for the upset. I Love You, Man may not actually be a Judd Apatow movie, but it sure does look like one in trailers and commercials. The movie reportedly “rocked the house” at the South By South West Festival last week, and the buzz is very positive. I am calling for $21.5M, which would be above industry expectations. Writer/director John Hamburg is at the helm with the likable Rudd and Segal in tow. He previously wrote Meet the Parents (brilliant) and its sequel Meet the Fockers (a lot less brilliant). He also wrote the cult hit Zoolander, which I hated, but has a loyal core of fans.

Meanwhile, tracking suggests that Knowing will open strongly. The reviews are generally negative (21% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), but Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times has published a rave, saying that “Knowing is among the best science-fiction films I’ve seen — frightening, suspenseful, intelligent and, when it needs to be, rather awesome.”
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Anatomy of a Scene: Knowing’s Plane Crash

Editor’s Note: You probably know Alex Proyas as the director of films like The Crow, Dark City, Garage Days, I Robot and Knowing, but for the last few weeks the filmmaker has been guest blogging on /Film. The post below is his last column. Later this week he will answer some of the questions submitted by /Film readers. Also, be sure to click after the jump to see a clip of the completed plane crash sequence.

knowing plane

One of my most challenging scenes in Knowing is the plane crash. I believe it was essential to have one of the predictions come true early on in the story, something so real and so horrible that we could no longer ignore the list of numbers.

I filmed this scene in one shot with a single hand-held camera. A nearly 3 minute continuous take where nearly everything in shot bloews up or catches fire. There was absolutely no room for even the smallest error. I wanted to take the audience right into the depths of that horrible environment with Nic. It took nearly 2 days to set up, and I must say that I’m really happy with the way it turned out.

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There’s a whole lot of Alex Proyas around the web at the moment, what with the imminent release of Knowing. Of course, Mr. Proyas himself is blogging here on /Film, which gives him a direct route to you, like a syringe to your brain, but he’s also being quoted here, there and everywhere. Some fascinating possibilities are being dug up, as well as the odd BIG RED SIGN of priceless advice for all filmmakers, up and coming or otherwise.

MTV are quoting Proyas on the matter of a Dark City sequel, and Chud have the dirt on why Proyas will never work with Fox again. Jump over the fold for the good stuff.

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Summit Entertainment has sent us three new exclusive photos from Alex Proyas’ Knowing. Summit will be showing two big action scenes from the film at a panel at the New York Comic Con this weekend (February 7th from 4-5pm). And I’ve been told that one of them will be the full plane crash sequence. Check out two more photos after the jump.

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Knowing Movie Trailer

Summit Entertainment has released the full length movie trailer for Alex Proyas‘ upcoming thriller Knowing. If you’ve seen the previous teaser, than you know that Nicolas Cage comes across a code that predicts every major disaster in the last 50 years, including the upcoming destruction of everything. This new trailer introduces a new (possibly) supernatural element to the story, “the whisper people”, a group of mysterious albino men who stand off in the distance. Yeah, I’m not too sure what role they play quite yet. Watch the full trailer and leave your thoughts in the comments below.

[flv: 470 196]

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Summit Entertainment has sent us a new still from Alex Proyas‘ upcoming sci-fi thriller Knowing. A new movie trailer for the film will be in theaters this weekend, presumably attached to The Day The Earth Stood Still.
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Knowing Teaser Poster

Ain’t It Cool News has premiered an incredibly cool poster for Alex ProyasKnowing. The poster makes the concept of a code of mass destruction actually look pretty cool. In the film, Nicolas Cage stars as Ted Myles, a professor who stumbles on terrifying predictions about the future–and sets out to prevent them from coming true. Head on over to AICN for the super high resolution version of the poster.

Academy Award Winner Nicholas Cage stars in the gripping action thriller Knowing. In 1958, as part of the dedication ceremony for a new elementary school, a group of students is asked to draw pictures to be stored in a time capsule. But one mysterious girl fills her sheet of paper with rows of apparently random numbers instead. Fifty years later, a new generation of students examines the capsule’s contents and the girl’s cryptic message ends up in the hands of young Caleb Myles. But it is Caleb’s father, professor Ted Myles (Nicholas Cage), who makes the startling discovery that the encoded message predicts with pinpoint accuracy the dates, death tolls and coordinates of every major disaster of the past 50 years. As Ted further unravels the document’s chilling secrets, he realizes the document foretells three additional events – the last of which hints at destruction on a global scale. When Ted’s attempts to alert the authorities fall on deaf ears, he takes it upon himself to try to prevent more destruction from taking place. Ted’s increasingly desperate efforts take him on a heart-pounding race against time until he finds himself facing the ultimate disaster – and the ultimate sacrifice. Knowing is directed by Alex Proyas (I, Robot, Dark City, The Crow). Knowing hits theaters on March 20th 2009.

Alex Proyas showed an extended trailer for his upcoming thriller Knowing, which just finished shooting. The footage begins with a young girl standing in a school yard looking up at the sky. A teacher calls everyone inside, but Lucinda doesn’t move. Title card: Lexington, Massachusetts 1959. The teacher instructs the kids to draw pictures of what they think the future will look like. The drawings will be opened in 50 years. Lucinda’s teacher scolds her for filling her sheet with numbers instead of a traditional drawing.

Cut to 50 years later, the drawings are uncovered in the opening of the time capsule. Young Caleb, played by Chandler Canterbury, takes the numbered letter home to his father Ted Myles, played by Nic Cage. Myles lectures his kid for bringing it home. Later he starts figuring out the code, matching the dates to major disasters to the last 50 years and tomorrow somewhere on the planet 81 people will die. Then it cuts to the scene we saw in the trailer where Cage is stuck in traffic. He gets out of his car and asks a police officer if everything is okay. The police tells him only a couple people were injured. And just then a plane comes crashing down.  Cage runs into the wreckage in over the top fashion. A news reporter confirms that 81 people died.

Then we get a fast cut montage of cage at some other tragic event in the city with people running. Shots of cage running out of a building.

“What happens when the numbers run out?”

It was also revealed at the panel that Cage’s character has lost faith in the idea that there is a reason for everything happening.  But he ends up finding meaning in the chaos. I’ll wait for DVD.