December 8, 2006

New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Apocalypto, Blood Diamond, The Holiday, Unaccompanied Minors

Moving further into December, we are now getting deeper into Oscar season. Each week is sure to bring out another potential contender. In addition to those Oscar hopefuls, there are the family friendly holiday films, and the inevitable heartwarmers. This week brings a little bit of each to the table. Among the potentials is Apocalypto from Mel Gibson, originally slated for a summer release, it was pushed back for the Oscar potential. There is also the new Dicaprio film Blood Diamond, that I could have sworn was supposed to be out last year. Anyway, read on for this week's releases, hopefully at least one will turn out to be worthy of the cinematic dollar.

Apocalypto. (2006, 138 minutes, R, action/adventure, trailer) Mel Gibson returns to the director's chair for the first time since The Passion of the Christ, and again makes a film in a dead language. This time Gibson turns his eye on the end of the once mighty Mayan civilization. Going by the trailer I am not sure exactly what the story is, but it looks rather interesting. I am hoping for the best.

Blood Diamond. (2006, 138 minutes, R, action/adventure, trailer) Edward Zwick's latest film is also the second Leonardo Dicaprio film this year to be called the best of the year, the other being Martin Scorsese's The Departed. Zwick last helmed the Tom Cruise starring The Last Samurai. Co-starring with Leo are Djimon Hounsou and Jennifer Connelly. The story concerns a hunt for a rare pink diamond that could change their lives, and the troubles that it brings to their families. I am sure it is more than that, but it looks good to me. Here's hoping.

The Holiday. (2006, 136 minutes, PG-13, romantic comedy, trailer) This must take place in some alternate universe because only there can Jack Black be one of the leads in a romantic comedy. Or maybe not, the guy does have charisma. He is part of a cast that also includes Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, and Jude Law. Winslet and Diaz play women who have had relationship issues and are looking to get away from their lives for the holidays, they find a program that has people switch homes. The two go forth with the house swap and perhaps find love in the unlikeliest of places. Looks like it could be halfway decent. It was directed by Nancy Meyers (What Women Want).

Unaccompanied Minors. (2006, 89 minutes, PG, comedy, trailer) This looks to come from the same vein as Home Alone but without the heart, but that's me judging based on a trailer. It is the story of a group of kids snowed in at an airport without supervision. They face off with Lewis Black, the airport security guard, and Wilmer Valderrama, a hapless flight attendant. The trailer makes it look loud and annoying. I doubt that I will be spending time with it.

The History Boys. (2006, 112 minutes, R, drama/comedy, trailer) This is the story of a bunch of wild class of history students looking to get a spot in Oxford or Cambridge. Thjis tale began life as a play, where it won a number of awards, it has now moved with an intact cast from the stage to big screen. It is a story that chronicles the youths attempts to figure out the educational system as well as the connections with their teachers. The trailer actually looks pretty good. This is beginning a run at the local arthouse.

Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple. (2006, 86 minutes, NR, documentary, trailer) This documentary takes a look inside the cult of Jim Jones. It incorporates never before seen footage along with interviews with survivors and ex-members. If you have ever wanted to know what it means to get some to "drink the Kool-Aid," this is it. I bet this is an interesting story, the guy had to have been crazy. This is beginning its run at the local arthouse.

Also opening this week, but not near me:

  • Days of Glory
  • Family Law
  • Inland Empire
  • Mr. Leather
  • Off the Black
  • Screamers
Box Office Predictions

As I look at the new releases this week, and I look at how it all played out last week, I am at a loss as to how they will all play out. I find it doubtful that the Hapy Feet/Casino Royale combination that has ruled the past two weeks will repeat again, but I do not have much of a feel for how the new flicks will fit into the mix. I would think that Apocalypto will have a good showing, but will Gibson's negative press and the use of subtitles turn people away? Then there is the question of Dicaprio's Blood Diamond, are we ready for another Dicaprio movie already? I guess I will have to take a stab.

Here is how I think the top ten field will play out:

RankTitleBox Office
1Happy Feet$16 million
2Apocalypto$15 million
3Casino Royale$13 million
4The Holiday$12 million

Blood Diamond

$9.5 million
6Deja Vu$7 million
7Unaccompanied Minors$5 million
8Deck the Halls$4 million
9The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause$3 million
10Stranger Than Fiction$2 million

What are you seeing this weekend?


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