October 10, 2008

New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Body of Lies, City of Ember, The Express, Quarantine

This week sees a new quartet of films targeting four different demographics, all with hopes of crossing over to a wider audience. Last week saw a pack of wild movies enter the fray and do a decent job of chewing up the box office landscape. This week's films hope to do something similar, as they set their sights on you. Is anything worth watching? Hopefully all of them....

Body of Lies. (2008, 128 minutes, R, drama, trailer) Ridley Scott is back, one year after American Gangster, with a film that loos worthy of getting excited about, but free of any unnecessary hype. It is the story of a CIA operative who uncovers a lead on a terrorist leader in Jordan. In order to move forward with his plan of infiltration, he must win over the support of a senior CIA operative and the head of Jordan Intelligence. The cast is top-billed by Leonardo Dicaprio and Russell Crowe. Looks pretty good to me.

City of Ember. (2008, 95 minutes, PG, fantasy, trailer) This actually looks pretty good, although the advertising seems to be pretty low. Well, that or I am just watching the wrong shows. In any case, this novel adaptation looks like it could be a pretty good film. It is the story of an underground city powered by a generator that is failing, signalling the potential end of their civilization. It is time they escape. The cast includes Bill Murray, Tim Robbins, Martin Landau, and Saorise Ronan.

The Express. (2008, 129 minutes, R, drama, trailer) This sports drama is based on the true story of Ernie "The Express" Davis, the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy and helped break down the color barrier back in 1961. The cast includes Rob Brown as Davis and Dennis Quaid as the Syracuse University football coach.

Quarantine. (2008, 89 minutes, R, horror, trailer) Being a fan of horror films, this is the one at the top of my "to see" list for the weekend. It is a remake of the Spanish film [REC]. I have read that the rights were bought prior to the originals release in Spain, and that the deal included a provision that the original film not be released in the States until after Quarantine's run. The film uses the "found footage" idea that did so well for Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield. A news reporter follows a firefighting crew on a call to an apartment building. Once there, all hell breaks loose when zombies, or something like zombies, starts tearing through them and the complex is closed off from the outside.

Also opening this week, but not near me:
  • Ashes of Redux
  • Billy: The Early Years of Billy Graham
  • Breakfast with Scot
  • Choose Connor
  • Fall of Hyperion
  • Fraude
  • Happy-Go-Lucky
  • Ice Blues: A Donald Strachey Mystery
  • Lola Montes
  • Nights and Weekends
  • RockNRolla
  • Saving Marriage
  • Talento de Barrio

Box Office Predictions
It looks like the talking dog movie will be one and done at the top, but I suspect it will still prove to be a popular draw for the family crowd. Something tells me that the Scott/Dicaprio/Crowe collaboration will claw its way to the top. It also looks like this weekend will continue the trend of a good sized group of films wedging their way into the top ten, in turn keeping it fresh, forcing out failure in short order.

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

RankTitleBox Office
1Body of Lies$21 million
2Beverly Hills Chihuahua$16 million
3The Express$13 million
4Quarantine$11 million
5Eagle Eye$8 million

City of Ember

$6.5 million
7Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist$5.5 million
8The Duchess$4.5 million
9Nighs in Rodanthe$4 million
10Appaloosa$3 million


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