You Pick the Box Office Winner (1/20-1/22): 'Haywire,' 'Underworld,' 'Red Tails' and 'Extremely Loud'

If you're an action movie junkie, this weekend is like nirvana for you. Three major releases look to knock Mark Walhberg's Contraband off the top of the box office charts. He'll have to contend with the return of Kate Beckinsale's vampire warrior Selene, MMA fighter Gina Carano and George Lucas' World War II history lesson disguised as an action drama. There's also an emotional Tom Hanks-Sandra Bullock 9/11 drama for those seeking to avoid the action flicks. Let's take a closer look…

 
What's the Scoop: Kate Beckinsale returns in the fourth installment of the Underworld franchise. This time around, she wages war against humans and a Super Lycan.
 
Why It Might Win the Weekend: The Underworld fan base will surely welcome Kate back into the franchise after skipping out on Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. Plus the IMAX and 3D prices will help pad the final numbers.
 
 
What's the Scoop: George Lucas takes on World War II. While that tagline might conjure up some vision of American G.I.s taking on a squad of Storm Troopers, Red Tails actually focuses on a crew of African American fighter pilots in the Tuskegee training program.
 
Why It Might Win the Weekend: The trailers have promised lots of great aerial action sequences, but will it be enough to contend with the other action flicks opening this weekend?
 
 
 
What's the Scoop: Acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh turns MMA fighter Gina Carano into the next female action star. With its Jason Bourne-esque storyline, Carano tries to figure out who burned her and dispenses multiple face kicks to her antagonists.
 
Why It Might Win the Weekend: It's got an impressive cast of supporting characters (Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Bill Paxton, Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas), a great soundtrack  and lots of running, chasing and did I mention, face kicks.
 
 
What's the Scoop: Thomas Horn stars as a nine-year-old amateur inventor whose father (Tom Hanks) dies in the World Trade Center on 9/11. Sandra Bullock stars as his widowed mother in this potential Oscar dark horse.
 
Why It Might Win the Weekend: Extremely Loud received a limited release back on Christmas weekend to qualify for the Academy Awards nominations. Those who saw the movie over the holiday weekend might have spurred on positive word of mouth and movie-goers might be curious to see what all the fuss is about. The movie also expands to more screens (2,630) than Haywire (2,439) and Red Tails (2,512).
 
My Prediction: Using simple math can help predict this weekend's winner. Take Underworld's 3,000+ screens, the added bonus from 3D and IMAX 3D screenings and multiply by a legion of devoted fans and it becomes clear Underworld: Awakening will shoot down the competition. Red Tails and Extremely Loud should battle it out for a close second place finish.
 
My Pick of the Week: As a fan of the Underworld franchise, I'd be remiss if I didn't add it as my pick here, but for those looking for something completely different, The Artist expands to more than 600 screens and provides the perfect opportunity to check out what all the awards fuss is all about.
 
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