September 21, 2007

New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Good Luck Chuck, Resident Evil: Extinction, Sydney White, Across the Universe, Eastern Promises

This weekend is split between potential crowd-pleasers and potential Oscar nominees. Only time will tell if either of these potentialities actually come to be. All I really hope for is entertainment of either variety. There is nothing quite like sitting down for a popcorn muncher, but at the same time it is always nice to discover something a little bit deeper. the further we head into fall, the more likely we are to find this mix of weekly releases. It will be fun to sit back, enjoy the movies, and see how everything will play out.

Good Luck Chuck. (2007, 96 minutes, R, comedy, trailer) Dane Cook and Jessica Alba star in this comedy. It centers on Cook, as Chuck, a man who has the curse/blessing of whoever he has sex with finds their true love. Sounds like a good gig until he meets Alba and falls for her. Now he is scared that his curse will work on her and drive her away. Well, I think liking this or not will depend on what you think of Cook. Will this be another Cook as Ryan Reynolds? Or, will it actually be halfway decent. I like Ms. Alba, so that is something going for it. Hopefully it will offer a few chuckles. Dan "Balls of Fury" Fogler co-stars.

Resident Evil: Extinction. (2007, 95 minutes, R, horror/action, trailer) The second sequel to the video game adapted series. I doubt that this is still following the games, although I do not plat, so I cannot be sure. The look of this outing recalls the Mad Max films as well as Day of the Dead. I doubt it will be good, but suspect that it will be a lot of fun. I, for one, am looking forward to it, having liked both of the previous outings. Director Russell Mulcahy (Highlander II: The Quickening, The Shadow) slips into the director's chair with a cast that includes the returning Milla Jovovich along with Oded Fehr, Ali Larter, Mike Epps, and Ashanti.

Sydney White. (2006, 90 minutes, PG-13, comedy, trailer) Amanda Bynes returns to the big screen in a college tale that plays off of the Snow White story, but sounds more like Van Wilder 2: the Rise of Taj. Sydney arrives as a freshman, all set to pledge her late mother's sorority. Things do not go as planned and she ends up in a house of rejects. Here she teams with seven losers to take the campus back. I am likely not a part of the target audience, but Bynes is cute and has a good screen presence, hopefully she will be able to graduate to more serious roles.

Across the Universe. (2007, 131 minutes, PG-13, musical, trailer) I have been dying to see this movie. The trailer is, hands down, one of the best I have seen in years. I can only hope that the movie lives up to the trailer's promise. It is a musical/romance/drama set to the music of the Beatles and placed in the midst of the turbulent sixties. It traces the lives of those moving through the era of free love into the world changed by the Vietnam War. Julie Taymor (Frida) directs a cast that includes Jim Sturgess, Evan Rachel Wood, and Joe Anderson.

Eastern Promises. (2007, 100 minutes, R, thriller, trailer) David Cronenberg follows up his excellent A History of Violence with another collaboration with Viggo Mortensen. It is the story of a Russian hitman whose existence is thrown into chaos when he crosses paths with Naomi Watts, who is looking into the death of a young woman. It has been receiving extremely good notices from critics, hopefully it will not disappoint. The cast also includes Vincent Cassell and Armin Mueller-Stahl.

Also opening this week, but not near me:
  • The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
  • Into the Wild
  • The Jane Austen Book Club
  • The Last Winter
  • Transformers IMAX

Box Office Predictions
Who will win this week? Whatever film it is, it will almost assuredly do better than either of the past week's winners. I think it will probably be the latest Resident Evil outing. The last one opened to the tune of $23 million back in 2004, and I think this will open in that vicinity, if not a little bit higher. The other possibility is the Cook/Alba comedy Good Luck Chuck. The problem is that neither Cook nor Alba have proven to be much of a draw on their own. Together may be another story, and the studio has had advertising in heavy rotation. The rest of the field is going to be wide open, Sydney White will likely pull the tween audience, and hopefully Across the Universe and Eastern Promises have good showings.

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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