December 15, 2006

New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Charlotte's Web, Eragon, The Pursuit of Happyness

This week brings us the long awaited live action adaptation of a childhood classic, an adaptation of a fantasy novel to capitalize on the recent popularity of the Lord of the Rings films and their December releases, and a touching drama about a father trying to make life better for his young son. Overall, it looks like a good weekend for a holiday season. What will you and yours be looking to see? One of the new releases? Or perhaps you will catch up on other recent hits. Maybe finally see the excellent new Bond film, or see the ubiquitous penguins, or maybe even read a Mayan action film.

Charlotte's Web. (2006, 113 minutes, G, family, trailer) This is a release that I have cautiously anticipated since I first heard it was being made. Yes, you read that right, me, the horror guy was looking forward to a family film. You see, when I was nothing more than a wee child learning how to read, Charlotte's Web became a favorite of mine. I read it cover to cover countless times, yet I cannot say why exactly. I am worried that it will feel dumb on the big screen, and a few of the funny moments in the trailer make me cringe, particularly the horse fainting after meeting Charlotte. Still, I think Dakota Fanning is a fantastic young actress and seems the perfect choice for Fern. I guess time will tell.

Eragon. (2006, 99 minutes, PG, fantasy, trailer) I am not so sure about this one. It looks like a cross between Dragonheart and Lord of the Rings, with a dash of Harry Potter. I watch the trailer and the commercials and cannot help but think it is going to be a low rent knock off of those other titles. A couple of co-workers are in the midst of reading the book, and both of them love it, and eagerly await the big screen treatment. I think it will be enjoyable, I just don't think it will be great. I am willing to be proven wrong.

The Pursuit of Happyness. (2006, 116 minutes, PG-13, drama, trailer) Will Smith is back on the big screen, but not in a big blockbuster action flick (that will be next summer's I am Legend). This time is co-starring with his son in a drama about a father and son determined to fight for a better future. The movie looks good, based on the trailers and clips that I have seen. I like seeing Smith tackling more dramatic material and show the range that he may or may not have. This looks to be a good test of that. Hopefully it will live up to the commercials.

Our Daily Bread. (2006, 92 minutes, NR, documentary, trailer) Have you ever been interested in seeing how our food ghets fromt he fields and slaughterhouses to our dinner tables? Well, maybe this documentary is for you. From the descriptions i have seen, this seems to have something in common with the -qatsi films, told through image and sound rather than by narrative. Director Nikolaus Geyrhalter takes us inside the factories, warehouses, and slaughterhouses, in sometimes graphic manner, to show us where the food we depend on comes from. Sounds like good eats!

Also opening this week, but not near me:

  • Breaking and Entering
  • Brooklyn Rules
  • Dreamgirls
  • The Good German
  • Home of the Brave
  • Kabul Express
  • The Secret Life of Words
Box Office Predictions

Will one of the three new releases have what it takes to rise to the top of the charts? Last week Mel Gibson's Mayan-language actioner surprised by taking the top spot. I suspect its reign will be shortlived, and I believe it is to be unseated by a spider and a pig.

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

RankTitleBox Office
1Charlotte's Web$24 million
2Eragon$19 million
3The Pursuit of Happyness$18 million
4Apocalypto$10 million

Happy Feet

$8.5 million
6Casino Royale$6.75 million
7The Holiday$6 million
8Blood Diamond$5 million
9Unaccompanied Minors$3.25 million
10The Nativity Story$3 million

What are you seeing this weekend?


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