April 11, 2008

New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Prom Night, Smart People, Street Kings

April has turned in the surprise of 21. Well, not that it is a big surprise, but I did not expect it to lead for two weeks. Still, while it is doing well, the box office, as a whole, has been a bit soft. 2008 has not seen that one killer film in the early months, like last year's 300. It appears likely that we will not have a monster until Iron Man arrives in May. It is surprising that we only have one $100 million film this far in Horton Hears a Who! This week does not look like it will change the trend, although the three wide releases are targeting different demographics in an effort to bring a nice cross-section to the cineplex. Whether you want horror, drama, or indie comedy, there is something for you. Then there is me, someone who wants it all.

Prom Night. (2008, 88 minutes, PG-13, horror, trailer) Hey! It's another remake! This is a bit different, though, it is a remake of an American film. The question remains, was this a remake that we needed? Probably not. Especially not once you see the PG-13 rating, indicative of a film that was made to market towards the younger teen set as well as set up the inevitable unrated DVD. Funny thing, I'll probably be front and center being the horror fan that I am. It is the story of a teen girl (Hairspray's Brittany Snow) who survived a tragedy and is enjoying her last days in high school only to be confronted by a killer from her past. This is a surefire stinker, although I am willing to be surprised. Prove me wrong, if you can. It is directed by Nelson McCormick whose work has mostly been on television, but is already working on another big screen remake in The Stepfather. He works from a script by JS Cardone (The Covenant).

Smart People. (2008, 95 minutes, R, comedy, trailer) I am looking forward to this. It has a good cast and looks rather promising. It follows a professor played by Dennis Quaid who is widowed and selfish as he begins a relationship with a former student (Sarah Jessica Parker), and deals with the unexpected arrival of his brother (Thomas Haden Church) and deals with his overacheiving daughter (Ellen Page). It looks to be along the lines of Little Miss Sunshine and The Royal Tenenbaums. This is the debut feature for director Noam Murro, who works from a screenplay by fellow first-timer Mark Poirier.

Street Kings. (2008, 107 minutes, R, drama, trailer) The trailers make this cop drama look pretty good, although I have to wonder if it will fall prey to the cliches of the genre? It follows a detective (Keanu Reeves) as he attempts to track down those responsible for murdering his partner. His primary opposition will be his captain, who tries to keep him protected, at a desk, and away from internal affairs. I am sure that won't work too well. Joining Reeves are Forest Whitaker, Hugh Laurie, Chris Evans, Cedric the Entertainer, Common, The Game, Jay Mohr, and Terry Crews. David Ayer (Harsh Times) directs from a script by novelist James Ellroy (The Black Dahlia), Kurt Wimmer (Equilibrium), and first-timer Jamie Moss.

Shine A Light. (2008, 122 minutes, PG-13, concert/documentary, trailer) This opened in limited release a couple of weeks back, it now comes to my town. I am looking forward to this. I am not the biggest of Rolling Stones fans, but they have some great tunes, plus Martin Scorsese is at the helm. The movie chronicles a pair of shows in NYC back in 2006, intercut with new and old interview footage.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. (2007, 112 minutes, PG-13, drama) This completely bypassed my town during its initial run, it now arrives at the second run theater. This film has had nearly unanimous rave reviews, which led to surprise when it did not get a Best Foreign Language Oscar nomination, although I am sure there is a story there. This is the story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, editor of the French version of Elle who suffered a massive stroke that left only his left eyelid under his control. He wrote his story from this state, this is that story. Director Julian Schnabel did receive a nomination for Best Director, losing to the Coen Brothers.

Also opening this week, but not near me:
  • The Visitor
  • Young@Heart

Box Office Predictions
21 has held the top spot for the past two weeks. Will it be able to go for a third? I tend to say no. I believe the remake of Prom Night will take the top spot, although it will be yet another soft week at the cineplex. It looks as if takes will remain low until Iron Man arrives on May 2nd. The rest will be a best guess scenario. Something tells me Street Kings will be solid, while Smart People will do respectable business, but be well behind the leaders.

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

RankTitleBox Office
1Prom Night$19 million
2Street Kings$11.5 million
321$9 million
4Nim's Island$7 million
5Leatherheads$6.5 million
6Horton Hears a Who!$5.5 million
7Smart People$5 million
8The Ruins$4 million
9Superhero Movie$2.5 million
10Drillbit Taylor$2 million


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