September 14, 2007

New Movies and Box Office Predictions: The Brave One, Dragon Wars, Mr. Woodcock

You can tell that summer is over. None of this week's openings have had a heck of a lot of promotion, and none have the high hopes of being a blockbuster. This is a good time of year to trot out those films which have the potential of being a sleeper hit without the pressure of a big budget picture breathing down its neck. The new offerings this weekend feature vigilante justice, fantastic creatures tearing up Los Angeles, and a sadistic gym teacher. Could be fun!

The Brave One. (2007, 122 minutes, R, thriller, trailer) Hot on the heels of Death Sentence comes another film centering on revenge. This time its Jodie Foster at the center of the action. A brutal attack leaves her wounded and her fiancee (Naveen Andrews) dead. Following this life altering event, Foster takes to the dark streets in search of those responsible. This looks good, and Foster has the power to open a movie, but is this too close in theme to the box office disappointment of Death Sentence? Neil Jordan directs, his last film was Breakfast on Pluto although he is probably best known for The Crying Game and Interview with the Vampire.

Dragon Wars. (2007, 107 minutes, PG-13, science fiction, trailer) A Korean production that is clearly aimed at the international, mainly American market, is set to bring a Korean legend of creatures fated to wreak havoc. The trailer looks like a load of cheesy fun. I can only hope that is right. Seriously, it could go either way and while neither option seems to point towards a good film, there is a definite possibility of fun. If I recall correctly, this film has been in production for a number of years with a stop and start production schedule. Jason Behr of Roswell fame stars.

Mr. Woodcock. (2006, 87 minutes, PG-13, comedy, trailer) Here is another film with a troubled production schedule that began life a few years ago. Word has it that the studio was not happy with the resulting film and ordered extensive rewrites that resulted in months of reshoots. While Craig Gillespie is credited as director, little of the final product is actually his. Anyway, it stars Seann William Scott who was tormented by Billy Bob Thornton as a young boy. The torture forged him into a best selling author of self help books. He returns home to find his old nemesis engaged to his mother, played by Susan Sarandon. I don't know whether to laugh or to cry.

Exiled. (2007, 106 minutes, R, action, trailer, in Cantonese with English subtitles) I only recently heard of this one, but as soon as I did I knew I had to see it. I have only seen a few of Johnnie To's films, but there is no denying the style that he injects into his work. Films like Fulltime Killer, PTU, Breaking News, and Running on Karma are filled with plenty of flash. I am sure that Exiled will be another winner. The story centers on a pair of killers sent to assassinate a rogue Triad member only to find another pair have also arrived on the scene. Not only that, it turns out that all five involved are former partners. The trailer looks very good, I hope not to be disappointed.

Also opening this week, but not near me:
  • Across the Universe
  • December Boys
  • Eastern Promises
  • Great World of Sound
  • In the Valley of Elah
  • Ira & Abby
  • King of California
  • Moving McAllister
  • Pete Seeger: The Power of Song
  • Silk

Box Office Predictions
Will this weekend top last? I doubt it, it will likely end up with a similar total dollar amount, with Jodie Foster leading the way. 3:10 to Yuma will hopefully have a good hold buoyed by good word of mouth. Mr. Woodcock will draw in the teen crowd, while Dragon Wars will pull from the sizable realm of dragon fans, the curious ones at least. The field doesn't have that one killer flick to truly take charge, so the final ranking is really anyone's game.

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

RankTitleBox Office
1The Brave One$14.5 million
23:10 to Yuma$9.5 million
3Mr. Woodcock$8.5 million
4Dragon Wars$7 million
5Halloween$4.5 million
6Superbad$4 million
7The Bourne Ultimatum$3 million
8Shoot 'Em Up$2.5 million
9Balls of Fury$2.25 million
10Rush Hour 3$2 million

What are you seeing this weekend?


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