March 14, 2008

New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Horton Hears A Who, Doomsday, Never Back Down, Funny Games

Last week brought us, arguably, the most highly anticipated film since Cloverfield. That film was 10,000 BC and it pretty much delivered in its opening weekend, however, it turned out to be a rather poor film and will likely have a steep drop in week two. This week brings a highly anticipated family entry, as well as a potential cult film. It will be interesting to see how well they fare on the open market. More importantly than their respective potential for box office success, I eagerly look forward to the more important entertainment value.

Doomsday. (2008, 105 minutes, R, science fiction, trailer) I am looking forward to seeing this cinematic mash-up. The film does not look original at all, but the vibe I am getting from the trailer makes it look like a lot of fun, plus the director has built up considerable goodwill over his past couple of films. The director is Neil Marshall and his last film was the excellent The Descent, prior to that he delivered the underappreciated Dog Soldiers. His latest film looks like a high energy combination of Mad Max and 28 Weeks Later. A virus outbreak leads to the building of a wall to separate the infected. Some years later the virus returns and the answer is inside the wall. Stars include Rhona Mitra, Bob Hoskins, Alexander Siddig, and Malcolm McDowell.

Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who. (2008, 88 minutes, G, animated, trailer) Adapting Dr. Seuss to the big screen in a feature length movie is a questionable proposition. It requires padding and stretching of the source material. Sometimes this material does not work all that well. In recent years we have had a pair of such adaptations reach the screen. One was The Grinch, which worked quite well, while the other, Cat in the Hat, was simply awful. Will this animated feature work? I hope so. The combination of Jim Carrey and Steve Carell seem like a great pair for the material, add in Carol Burnett, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, Dan Fogler, Isla Fisher, and Jaime Pressly and you have the making of a fine voice cast. Time will tell.

Never Back Down. (2008, 106 minutes, PG-13, action, trailer) It seems like every so often we get a film where the plot only serves to get us from one dance sequence to the next. What? Really? This isn't the next Step Up flick? Street fighting? Wow, could have fooled me. Okay, watched the trailer again, and you're right, no dancing. Man, this movie seems to follow that same underdog, underwritten, overcaffeinated tale used for those dance flicks, but flipped to target the male demographic. Can't say I'm excited, but hopefully the fighting will be good, at least hald as good as the dancing in Step Up 2.

Funny Games. (2008, 107 minutes, R, thriller, trailer) Director Michael Haneke is delivering an American remake of his own film, and fans are hoping he has the guts to follow through on what he did in the original. He is a filmmaker I have heard of, but am unfamiliar with. I will say that based on the trailer for this film, I eagerly await seeing it. It looks to be rather twisted and sadistic as it follows a family being terrorized by a couple of disturbed young men. The film stars Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Brady Corbett, and Michael Pitt.

Also opening this week, but not near me:
  • Flashpoint
  • Sleepwalking

Box Office Predictions
The past couple of weeks have seen the number one film climb steadily, from the depths of Semi-Pro to the moderate success of 10,000 BC, will this week continue the trend? I have a feeling that it will as Horton will undoubtedly take the top spot by delivering what many have wanted, family friendly entertainment. There has been a lack of strong family entertainment of late, and Horton will likely fill the bill. The question is, how high will it fly?

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

RankTitleBox Office
1Horton Hears a Who$40 million
210,000 BC$18 million
3College Road Trip$8 million
4Doomsday$7.5 million
5Never Back Down$7 million
6Vantage Point$5 million
7The Bank Job$4 million
8The Spiderwick Chronicles$3.5 million
9Semi-Pro$3 million
10The Other Boleyn Girl$2.5 million


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