October 12, 2007

New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Michael Clayton, We Own the Night, Why Did I Get Married?, Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Last week's new films failed to yield a number one finisher as The Game Plan succeeded in retaining the top spot. Thus proving the need for good family fare on the big screen. This week does not bring any direct competition, so look for the Rock vehicle to have a decent hold. However, it will likely be unseated by one of this week's new flicks. Three of this week's four new releases have a pedigree containing the words "nominee," "winner," and "Oscar." It will be interesting to see how this pedigree helps these films as we move closer to the thick of Oscar season. Among the new films hitting the cineplex are a historical epic (and sequel), an expanding legal thriller, a gritty urban thriller set in the NYC of the 80's, and a relationship drama that puts the microscope to the effects of infidelity among the committed.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age. (2007, 116 minutes, PG-13, historical epic, trailer) Reuniting the primary cast of the 1998 Oscar winning Elizabeth comes this sequel concerning British royalty. Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Clive Owen, and Rhys Ifans join forces with director Shekhar Kapur. The movie follows Elizabeth as her rule is threatened by the Spanish armada. Early word has not been terribly good, but the production looks gorgeous.

Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? (2007, 118 minutes, PG-13, comedy/drama, trailer) This looks pretty good. It is the story of a group of married friends having their annual reunion (this year in the Colorado mountains). The good mood is shattered when infidelity comes to light and they are all forced to examine their relationships. This looks poised to become another success for writer/director/star Tyler Perry. Joining Perry are Janet Jackson, Jill Scott, Sharon Leal, and Michael Jai White.

We Own the Night. (2007, 106 minutes, R, drama/thriller, trailer) This could prove to be a good gritty thriller. It is set in the 80's against the backdrop of the NYPD's war with the Russian mob. At the center of this war is an up and coming night club run by Joaquin Phoenix who becomes a target when his family is revealed to be prominent members of the police department, including his brother (Mark Wahlberg) and father (Robert Duvall). This is writer/director James Gray's follow up to The Yards.

Michael Clayton. (2007, 120 minutes, R, thriller, trailer) Despite all of the positive buzz surrounding this film, I cannot say the trailers are terribly enticing. While I think this will take the top spot, it is not without reservations as I have to think there are others like me out there. George Clooney stars as the title character, a fixer for a top law firm. He is called in to help preserve a big settlement when the firms top litigator (Tom Wilkinson) has a breakdown and attempts to sabotage the case. Clooney, as Clayton, is forced to confront who he is as he tried to hold it all together. This will be screenwriter Tony Gilroy's directorial debut, he has previously worked on all three Bourne films as well as Armageddon and Devil's Advocate.

Also opening this week, but not near me:
  • The Final Season
  • Control
  • Fat Girls
  • King Corn
  • Laga Chunari Mein Daag - Journey of a Woman
  • Lars and the Real Girl
  • Sleuth
  • Terror's Advocate

Box Office Predictions
The Game Plan caught everyone offguard as it went for the two point conversion to hang onto the top spot in its second week. Will it be able to make it thre? I am going to have to say no. Although it has no new direct competition opening opposite it, it seems unlikely that it will be able to keep this pace up. I do suspect that whatever it drops this week, it will be on the more modest end of the scale. As for what will win, well, barring any unforeseen circumstances it is going to be a race between We Own the Night and the expanding Michael Clayton. The former has a pair of Oscar nominees and a feel reminiscent of The Departed from this time last year, while the latter has George Clooney in the top spot and is benefitting from a lot of good reviews. I am going to side with Clayton. As for the other new films, Tyler Perry's should open well based on the success of his past films and Elizabeth should do moderately well, but towards the lower end of the scale.

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

RankTitleBox Office
1Michael Clayton$22 million
2We Own the Night$17 million
3The Game Plan$10 million
4The Heartbreak Kid$7.5 million
5Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?$6 million
6The Kingdom$5.5 million
7Elizabeth: The Golden Age$5 million
8The Final Season$4 million
9Resident Evil: Extinction$2 million
10The Seeker: The Dark is Rising$1.5 million

What are you seeing this weekend?


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