November 7, 2008

New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Role Models, Soul Men

Halloween proved to be rather tepid as the crowds stayed away, choosing to hit the streets for free treats than sit in a theater for cinematic sweets. Too much? I know, can't blame me for trying! Anyway, this week looks to bounce back behind the strength of a single film. An animated sequel enters a staggering 3900 theaters and seems poised to reinvigorate last weekend's weak returns. The other new releases should get off to respectable starts but do not seem positioned to have any extraordinary effect on receipts.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. (2008, 89 minutes, PG, animated comedy, trailer) The first Madagascar film was pretty fun. It featured a quartet of New York Zoo animals who get out of the zoo, get caught, and are crated and put on a ship bound for an African wildlife refuge. However, some escape-minded penguins are also on board and result in the lot being swept overboard where they end up in Madagascar. This sequel finds the lion (Ben Stiller), zebra (Chris Rock), giraffe (David Schwimmer), and hippo (Jada Pinkett-Smith) on a penguin-repaired airplane that makes it as far as Africa. Much comedy and adventure ensures.

Role Models. (2008, 95 minutes, R, comedy, trailer) Here is a movie that looks like it will have some funny moments, but hesitate to believe it will be good. Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott team up to play a couple of friends who hawk an energy drink, accidentally cause a lot of damage, and get sentenced to a Big Brother-type group where they must actually try to help a couple of troubled youths. I like the leading duo, hopefully this won't be a waste of time.

Soul Men. (2008, 103 minutes, R, comedy, trailer) The last film from the late Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes looks pretty funny. Mac teams with Samuel L. Jackson as a singing duo on a reunion tour. The reunited pairing results in the reigniting of old issues between the two. Now, this looks funny, but it also does not look particularly special. That said, I am looking forward to checking it out.

Also opening this week, but not near me:

  • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
  • House
  • JCVD
  • Otto; or, Up with the Dead People
  • Pray the Devil Back to Hell
  • Repo! The Genetic Opera
  • The World Unseen

Box Office Predictions
High School Musical 3: Senior Year led the box office for two straight weeks, can it go for three? Doubtful. I suspect that the new Madagascar film will easily win the top spot with both Role Models and Soul Men duking it out for second place. Hopefully Zack and Miri will suffer just a moderate drop, as it is quite the funny film and you should all see it. As for the rest? Expect a dogfight.

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

RankTitleBox Office
1Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa$52 million
2Soul Men$12.5 million
3Role Models$10 million
4High School Musical 3: Senior Year$7.5 million
5Zack and Miri Make a Porno$6.5 million


$6 million
7Saw V$5 million
8Beverly Hills Chihuahua$3 million
9The Haunting of Molly Hartley$2.5 million
10The Secret Life of Bees$2 million


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