Hey all. Tommy here, pinch-hitting for regular box-office soothsayer Patricia, who is off battling near-sub-zero temperatures in Park City, Utah, to attend the Sundance Film Festival this week.

The Hitcher

So here's what's happening this weekend at the box office. In the wake of the Golden Globes and in anticipation of this coming Tuesday's Academy Award nominations, a slew of Oscar contenders (most of which were released in 2006) are expanding to more theaters. These include Golden Globe Best Picture winner 'Babel,' the critically acclaimed 'The Queen,' the enthralling adult fairy tale 'Pan's Labyrinth,'Clint Eastwood's other World War II flick 'Letters From Iwo Jima,' the powerful indie 'The Last King of Scotland' and the Edward Norton period drama 'The Painted Veil.' Alas, despite their lofty aspirations and high caliber, these almost-sure-to-be-nominated flicks will get crushed -- and I mean crushed with AUTHORITY -- by this week's only new wide release 'The Hitcher.'

Despite its R-rating, 'The Hitcher' appeals to that primal desire in a large group of moviegoers to watch a beauitful scantily clad woman (in this case Sophia Bush) flee from an eerie-looking -- and clearly deranged -- dude (in this case Sean Bean) who likes to thumb rides in the rain and then end the lives of his car-pool "buddies." Prediction: 'The Hitcher' will be riding solo atop the box office come Sunday.

Prediction deadline: Saturday at noon

1. The Hitcher
2. Stomp the Yard
3. Night at the Museum
4. Dreamgirls
5. Pursuit of Happyness

POST: What's your weekend top five prediction?

POST: What do you think of these movies?