July 18, 2008

New Movies and Box Office Predictions: The Dark Knight, Mamma Mia!, Space Chimps

The story of this weekend is all about one film. It gained much of its early notoriety because it was slated as a summer tent pole flick, it was a big budget sequel, it is a superhero based film, and the first trailer was killer. It garnered more notoriety when one if its stars died in tragic fashion. Early word says that it will live up to the hype and deliver a great experience. Opening opposite this behemoth (which has already sold out tons of shows across the country through the weekend), are a pair of counter-programming type movies, a musical and an animated comedy for the kids. Which will you be plunking down cash to see? Just remember, if The Dark Knight is sold out, Hellboy II is a good alternative.

The Dark Knight. (2008, 153 minutes, PG-13, action, trailer) In 2004, Batman Begins arrived to good reviews and steady box office. Four years later, the sequel has become quite possibly the most hyped movie of the new millennium. It has had countless trailers, dozens of posters, and a highly effective viral marketing campaign. One can only hope that the movie is quality, and if the overwhelmingly positive reviews are any factor, this is going to be a great film. Bale, Freeman, Caine all return, Heath Ledger gives an Oscar quality performance, and the film has drawn comparisons to The Godfather Part II and Heat (which is cited as a big influence). I cannot wait for this movie.

Mamma Mia!
(2008, 108 minutes, PG-13, musical, trailer) The smash Broadway jukebox musical, featuring the music of Abba, comes to the big screen with big name stars. It is the story of a mother preparing her daughter's wedding, while she invites the three men from her mother's past who could be her real father. Music and comedy erupt. Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, and Stellan Skaarsgarde star.

Space Chimps. (2008, 81 minutes, G, animated comedy, trailer) Looking for something for the kids? Something that will counterbalance the darkness of the Bat-flick? Perhaps this will fit the bill. A trio of chimps, trained by NASA, are sent into space where they embark on the adventure of a lifetime. The voice cast includes Andy Samberg, Cheryl Hines, Kenan Thompson, Stanley Tucci, and Kristen Chenoweth.

Also opening this week, but not near me:
  • Lou Reed's Berlin
  • Mad Detective
  • Transsiberian

Box Office Predictions
This weekend will be ruled by The Dark Knight, there is absolutely no question about it. The only question is just how high will it fly? Conservative estimates seem to place it at $110 million, with a bulk in the $135 million range, with more going up around the Spider-Man 3 record of $151 million. I did see that someone worked out that if every show at every screen sold out, the take would be well north of $200 million. I have a feeling it will be int he $130s, but I am going higher because I want to see something unseat the poor Spidey flick. As for the rest, does it matter? I just hope that Hellboy II catches some Batman spill over.

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

RankTitleBox Office
1The Dark Knight$152 million
2Mamma Mia!$24 million
3Hellboy II: The Golden Army$15 million
4Hancock$13.5 million
5Journey to the Center of the Earth$11 million
6Wall*E$10 million
7Space Chimps$7 million
8Wanted$5.5 million
9Get Smart$3.5 million
10Meet Dave$2.5 million


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