December 19, 2008

New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Seven Pounds, The Tale of Despereaux, Yes Man, Slumdog Millionaire

This week has a couple of films that could potentially make a splash as we head into the final weekend before Christmas. How could it not with new films featuring Will Smith and Jim Carrey? There is also a sweet looking family animated adventure and the expansion of a film gaining a lot of momentum as we wind down Oscar season. I just have to wonder how much the predicted bad weather will affect the bottom line?

Seven Pounds. (2008, 118 minutes, PG-13, drama, trailer) The trailer is compelling, but the thing I keep hearing muttered around theaters is: "What is it about?" They have a point, the trailer really doesn't tell you what it is about aside from a man giving things to people to "drastically change their situation." In a sense it is maddening not to know more that what is offered. On the other hand, it is refreshing to see a movie that holds its hand close to the chest. One of the things that has changed over the years is the exposure of the film, a bit too much is released these days. Could be interesting to discover the movies secrets.

The Tale of Despereaux. (2008, 94 minutes, G, animation, trailer) As opposed to last week's animated offering, this week's looks considerably better. It is a tale of tiny bravery, this adaptation is the story of a small mouse with big ears and a thirst for adventure and knowledge. He doesn't want to just eat and cower, so he ventures into the human world, befriends Princess Pea, is banished from Mouseworld and discovers he is the only one who can save the kidnapped princess. It looks cute, hopefully it will pay off. The voice cast includes Matthew Broderick, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Watson, Tracy Ullman, Kevin Kline, William H. Macy, Stanley Tucci, Tony Hale, and Frank Langella.

Yes Man. (2008, 104 minutes, PG-13, comedy, trailer) Here is the movie with the biggest potential for box office success, perhaps in an attempt to recapture the success of Fun with Dick and Jane (despite that movie not being so good). First it has Jom Carrey, who is still a funny guy, and two it is broad comedy that should appeal to a wide audience. Carrey plays a guy whose life is going nowhere until he goes to a seminar, given by Terrance Stamp, that gets him to change his mantra of "No" into "Yes," forever changing his life. Sounds like light fun.

Slumdog Millionaire. (2008, 120 minutes, R, drama, trailer) Here is a film that has been building a lot of momentum the deeper we get into Oscar season. It has topped a few critic societies' top films list, and that is not a bad thing. The film is about an orphan boy from the slums of Mumbai who appears on the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. In doing so, he gets further than anyone else had. The taping breaks just before the final question and the boy is arrested, suspected of cheating. The boy goes to tell his story, each chapter giving him the knowledge to answer each question. Hopefully Danny Boyle's latest will prove as compelling as I hope.

Also opening this week, but not near me:

  • The Class
  • Moscow, Belgium
  • The Wrestler

Box Office Predictions
I thought that The Day the Earth Stood Still would dominate the box office last week. In one way it did, that seeing it take in roughly double the second place film. However, I suspect it was hoped it would take closer to what I Am Legend did last year, but that was not to be. Will this week be any different? The first thing to do is reign in the predictions and hope that one clicks with the mainstream and can lure them to the theaters. Is Jim Carrey the man to do it? Perhaps Will Smith? The answer is a resounding: "Maybe."

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

RankTitleBox Office
1Yes Man$30 million
2Seven Pounds$23 million
3The Day the Earth Stood Still$14 million
4The Tale of Despereaux$13 million
5Four Christmases$8,5 million


$4.5 million
7Bolt$4 million
8Australia$3 million
9Slumdog Millionaire$2.5 million
10Nothing Like the Holidays$2 million


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