January 9, 2009

New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Bride Wars, Not Easily Broken, The Unborn, Gran Torino

You may have noticed that there was no New Movies column last week. The answer why is simple, there were no new releases! Combine that with the fact that with no new competition, the chances of any big shakeup in the makeup of the top ten was unlikely, so I chose to take the day off and have some well deserved rest (at least I think so). Anyway, I am back and 2009 is upon us with its first cinematic offerings. The next few weeks will see a blend of Oscar type films widening their release after a limited December and new offerings which will not likely offer up anything terribly special. However, I am always willing to be surprised.

Bride Wars. (2008, 90 minutes, PG, comedy, trailer) Nothing like getting a new year kicked off with a little Ann Hathaway and Kate Hudson. The two play childhood best friends who happen to be getting married at the same time. The duo have been imagining their weddings ever since they were kids, however their dreams are imperiled over a clerical mistake, let the wars begin! I don't think this looks all that special, but I am also not part of the target audience. Still, it looks like harmless fun.

Not Easily Broken. (2008, 99 minutes, PG-13, drama, trailer) This does not look all that bad. It is a drama that centers on a couple and what happens when the wife is injured in an accident and the husband becomes attracted to another woman. Sounds simple enough, but the trailer makes it look pretty good. The cast includes Morris Chestnut and Taraji P. Hensen. It was directed by Hoodlum-helmer Bill Duke.

The Unborn. (2008, 87 minutes, PG-13, horror, trailer) Of the initial crop of 2009 films, this is my most anticipated. Well, it was until I saw that it is rated PG-13. I know, it still could be good, but the trailer looked wild and seemed to point towards an R rating. I guess I will see it anyway, perhaps it will be good. The movie is about a teenager who resents her mother for abandoning her, but discovers reasons why when strange things begin to happen, and she uncovers a long running curse on her family. The cast includes Odette Yustman, Gary Oldman, and Cam Gigandet. David Goyer is the man behind the camera, and one can only hope this is closer to The Crow and Dark City and less The Invisible.

Gran Torino. (2008, 116 minutes, R, drama, trailer) Of the remaining 2008 films that I want to see, this has to be near the top of the list (alongside The Wrestler). The trailer looks utterly bad ass and Clint Eastwood looks like Dirty Harry -the Later Years. Eastwood (who also directs) is Walter, a stubborn veteran who is forced to face his long-held misguided beliefs when a Chinese family move in next door and gang violence lands on his doorstep. This looks fantastic, I just hope it lives up to expectations.

Also opening this week, but not near me:
  • Just Another Love Story
  • Made in USA
  • Yonkers Joe

Box Office Predictions
I suspect that the draw of the Hudson/Hathaway combination will help propel their bridezilla film to the top of the box office chart. It looks like fun escapism and that would seem to be a big draw these days. Hot on its tale will be Oscar hopeful, and well promoted Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood's second film for 2008. How do you think it will play out?

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

RankTitleBox Office
1Bride Wars$22 million
2Gran Torino$17 million
3Marley & Me$14 million
4The Curious Case of Benjamin Button$13 million
5Bedtime Stories$9.5 million
6The Unborn$8 million
7Yes Man$7 million
8Valkyrie$6 million
9Seven Pounds$5 million
10Slumdog Millionaire$4 million


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