Considering how busy the summer and fall tend to be, it’s surprising when we get a weekend with only one release, especially when it’s not a big blockbuster event movie (like next week’s single movie) and frankly, it’s kind of depressing that the only movie to write about is the romantic comedy Playing for Keeps (FilmDistrict), which I personally haven’t seen and have absolutely no intention of seeing.
Directed by Gabriele Muccino of The Pursuit of Happyness, it stars Gerard Butler, coming off his Chasing Mavericks flop, playing a soccer player trying to get his life back together. It co-stars Jessica Biel, Uma Thurman, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Dennis Quaid, a pretty decent cast for sure, but something about the movie just makes it seem like What to Expect When You’re Expecting, which opened with $10.6 million over the summer and that was despite being based on a hugely successful non-fiction novel. The sad truth is that we’re entering that early part of December where many of the older women who might go see this movie are either working or saving for Christmas rather than going to the movies. Opening in roughly 2,700 theaters, we think this one will end up somewhere between $6 and 8 million to take fifth place, although it may benefit from the lack of strong new movies and make a play for the Top 3.
Otherwise, we think the interesting dogfight to watch will be how the Top 3 plays out, especially with The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 already having been in theaters for four weeks and remaining at #1 for three straight weekends. It’s likely to have a sizable drop, though not as big as it did the last two weekends, which may give Skyfall another crack at #1. That movie’s also been out for a long time though, and the smart move would be for DreamWorks to expand Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, which has yet to play in over 2,100 theaters, into some of the new regions where it hasn’t played yet, and if they add another 500 to 600 theaters, that will be enough for it to make a move for first place after sitting in third and fourth place the last three weeks. We also expect The Weinstein Company to take advantage of the lack of new movies to expand David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook into more theatres, allowing it to get back into the Top 10.
This weekend last year wasn’t that much better than this one with two comedies released, neither of them doing well with the romantic anthology New Year’s Eve (New Line/WB), directed by Gary Marshall, his follow-up to the hit Valentine’s Day, opening in first place with just $13 million and the Jonah Hill comedy The Sitter (20th Century Fox) taking second place with $9.8 million. The Top 10 grossed $63.8 million and we expect this weekend to end up around the same general ballpark.
This Week’s UPDATED Predictions -
(UPDATE: Look like we have a couple dropped balls at major distribution companies because neither DreamWorks nor The Weinstein Company are taking advantage of the fact there’s no strong new movies entering the box office to expand their flagship awards contenders into more theaters. Apparently, they’re waiting for more awards or nominations before doing that, which is a shame, since that means Lincoln will remain at #3 and Silver Linings Playbook won’t be back in the Top 10 this weekend. Lincoln will now NEVER be a #1 movie at the box office either. Too bad.)
1. Skyfall (MGM/Sony) – $9.5 million -43% (up .2 million and one place)
2. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (Summit) – $9.1 million -48% (up .1 million and one place)
3. Lincoln (DreamWorks) – $8.8 million -35% (down 1.2 million and two places)
4. Rise of the Guardians (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) – $8.7 million -35%
5. Playing for Keeps (FilmDistrict) – $7.8 million N/A
6. Life of Pi (20th Century Fox) – $7.5 million -38%
7. Wreck-It Ralph (Disney) – $4.5 million -35%
8. Red Dawn (FilmDistrict) – $3.3 million -49% (up .3 million and two places)
9. Killing Them Softly (The Weinstein Company) – $3.1 million -55%
10. Flight (Paramount) – $2.9 million -36%
This week’s CHOSEN ONE is actually two movies, both about extreme sports. Jacob Rosenberg Waiting for Flight (Samuel Goldwyn Films) tells the story of skateboarding pioneer Daniel Way in the months leading up to him jumping over the Great Wall of China, while Curt Morgan’s The Art of Flight 3D follows snowboarder Travis Rice on his own quest to find new mountains to board down. The latter opens in select cities for one night only, but you can read about both movies here.
Rebecca Hall stars in Stephen Frears’ Lay the Favorite (Radius-TWC) based on the true story of Beth Raymer, a former Florida stripper who goes to Las Vegas to get a job as a waitress at a casino, but instead becomes involved in the world of sports gambling through a guy named Dink (played by Bruce Willis). Also starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Vince Vaughn, it opens in select cities following its VOD run.
Bill Murray and Laura Linney star in Roger (Notting Hill) Michell’s Hyde Park on Hudson (Focus Features), playing President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his cousin Daisy, whose growing bond at FDR’s upstate New York mansion, is interrupted by the arrival of the King and Queen of England (Samuel West, Olivia Colman) who have come to try to get aid from the United States in the coming war with Germany. It opens in select cities on Friday.
Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde and Charlie Hunnam (“Sons of Anarchy”) star in Deadfall (Magnolia) from Oscar-winning director Stefan Ruzowitsky (The Counterfeiters), the former two playing siblings Addison and Liza who are on the run after a casino heist gone wrong who end up being picked up by a boxing ex-con (Hunnam) who is on his way home for Thanksgiving to see his parents June and Chet (Sissy Spacek, Kris Kristofferson).
Edward Burns’ new movie The Fitzgerald Family Christmas (Tribeca Film) reunites him with Connie Britton and Michael McGlone from The Brothers McMullen as it deals with the reunion of a large Irish-American family over Christmas, unaware that their long-estranged father who abandoned them decades earlier will be returning to their lives. Also starring Kerry Bishé, Caitlin Fitzgerald, Noah Emmerich, Anita Gillette and Heather Burns, it opens in New York City, Long Island, Florida and other select cities.
Rodrigo Santoro (300) stars as Brazilian soccer star Heleno de Freitas in Jose Henrique Fonseca’s Heleno (Screen Media Films), which looks at the turbulent life of the athlete who ruled the soccer world in the 40s but whose passion for women and nightclubs would end his career prematurely. It opens in New York, Los Angeles and Miami on Friday.
Felicity Jones stars in Donald Rice’s Cheerful Weather for the Wedding (IFC Films) set in 1932 England. She plays Dolly Thatcham, a young woman about to get married when her former lover (Luke Treadaway) shows up to confuse matters.
Brian Savelson’s drama In Our Nature (Cinedigm) stars Zach Gilford from “Friday Night Lights” as a guy who brings his girlfriend (Jena Malone) to his family’s home in upstate New York for a romantic getaway where they encounter his father (John Slattery) and his much younger girlfriend (Gabrielle Union).
Bill and Turner Ross’ documentary Tchoupitoulas (Oscilloscope Labs) follows three adolescent brothers on a single night in New Orleans, experiencing all of the revelry and craziness inherent in that town as they go through various locations and meet the people who live there.
Two of the smaller animated films hoping to get into the Oscar nominations this year open in select cities on Friday, including The Rabbi’s Cat (GKids) from Joann Sfar (Gainsbourg), adapted from Sfar’s own hit graphic novel, which tells the story of a rabbi and his talking and philosophizing cat in 1930s Algeria. Covering a great number of topics, it opens in select cities Friday. Nikhil Advani’s animated Delhi Safari (Applied Art Productions) follows the journey of a cub leopard named Yuvi along with his mother (voiced by Vanessa Williams) and other animals across their tropical forest which is on the verge of destruction. It also features the voices of Brad Garrett, Cary Elwes, Christopher Lloyd, Jane Lynch and Jason Alexander.
Matthew Spradlin’s Bad Kids Go to Hell (Bad Kids Productions), based on the comic book series, follows six private school students trapped in detention together with a killer on the loose in the school. Starring Ben Browder, Ali Falkner and lots of other young actors I’ve never heard of, it opens in select cities.
Opening on Monday, December 10 at the Maysles Cinema in Harlem, New York for a one-week run is Nancy Buirski’s The Loving Story (Icarus Films), which looks at the 1967 Supreme Court decision that legalized interracial marriage: Loving vs. Virginia, based on the story of Richard Loving and his black and Native American wife Mildred Jeter who got married in Washington, D.C. on June 2, 1958 and returned home to Virginia to discover their marriage was illegal.
Next week, the holiday season gets cranking up with the release of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (New Line/MGM/Warner Bros), also the only new movie released wide next week. Don’t worry, the week after that (our last column of the year) will be CRAZY!
Copyright 2012 Edward Douglas