Welcome to the new Monday column: The New And The News! With the official introduction of this column, I now have exactly seven features: one for each day of the week. I’ll try to put together an official schedule and place it in the sidebar. Let me give you an idea of what The New And The News will look like. Each Monday, I will quickly overview each of the week’s new releases, summarizing each film and giving some very early box office thoughts about them. After that, I will post a few interesting links to news articles that caught my eye. Let’s get started!
A Christmas Carol (Disney) – 3,500 theaters – Reviews
A few things bother me about this movie. First, it’s a Christmas movie coming out on November 6th. Not only is this just too early for my taste (do we really have to spend 1/6 of our year getting excited for one morning of presents?), but like Fred Claus last year, I think that releasing a Christmas feature this early is actually hurting its box office potential more than its helping it. Second, Robert Zemeckis is using the same, creepy motion-capture technology that nobody liked in The Polar Express. Third, it’s in 3D, which, in case you haven’t already gathered, I’m not a huge fan of. Still, with Disney’s marketing and Jim Carrey’s drawing power, this will end up the biggest hit of all the releases this week.
The Box (Warner Brothers) – 2,500 theaters – Reviews
I don’t care what haters may say, I think this movie looks awesome! I love james Marsden, I love Cameron Diaz, and I’m intrigued by the plot of this. There’s a box that contains a button, which, if pushed, will simultaneously provide you with $1 million and kill someone you don’t know. What would you do? It’s a psychological thriller with a creative plot, and I hope it can pull it off. Early reviews aren’t half bad, and the ads have explained the story pretty well, so I’d love to see this succeed.
Sometimes people accuse me of being a movie snob. Now, if I were a movie snob, I would be sitting here gushing about how amazing this movie, which features George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey, and Jeff Bridges, is going to be. I would praise it for having a quirky title and taking a critical stance toward our military. I would say its clearly going to win Oscars. But I’m not a film snob, and frankly, I’m not that excited. This movie looks confusing, and the ads have given absolutely no clue as to what its about. Not that the official description is much more helpful… ” A reporter (Ewan McGregor) delves into the world of psychic military regiments during the Iraq War in this adaptation of the Jon Ronson book THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS.” Basically, I don’t think this is going to be a very successful endeavor. It’s the Era Of Easy Entertainment… people don’t want to see a satire about war.
The Fourth Kind (Universal) – 2,450 theaters – Reviews
I don’t know how much new stuff there really is to say about this one… it’s got all the standard sci-fi motifs: alien abductions, creepy music, Milla Jovovich, etc. Advertising has tried to make this one look exactly like Paranormal Activity, complete with the handheld video camera with a time lapse counter in the corner. We’ll see how effective that strategy is, because in a cluttered weekend like this one, a film really needs to stand out, and I don’t know how unique and exciting this is looking.
Precious (Lionsgate) – Limited – Reviews
Mark my words, this is going to be a dark horse performer at the box office. It might not be huge this weekend, due to its limited run, but this has a lot going for it. First off, it’s targeting black urban audiences, which is an under-represented group at the box office. Second, some very influential people are supporting this. Mo’nique stars in it, and Oprah and Tyler Perry have both been talking it up. Third, reviews are fantastic so far, so word of mouth should be solid. Fourth, this is based on a popular novel: Push by Sapphire. This assures some sort of built-in audience. Fifth and finally, this features a brand new, up-and-coming actress named Gabourey “Gabbie” Sidibe, and the media loves to dote upon a new star, especially if she’s playing the underdog and is a bit bigger than the other girls. (Think Jennifer Hudson or Nikki Blonsky.) If Precious succeeds this week, look for Lionsgate to roll it out into more and more theaters. I could see this getting major Oscar attention and being huge.
EW talked to writer-director Oren Peli about Paranormal Activity’s three alternate endings that were considered for the movie. It’s very interesting, but I’m glad they stuck with the one that played in theaters.
According to The Times, Keira Knightley beat out Scarlett Johansson for the role of Eliza Doolittle the remake of My Fair Lady, which is being written by Emma Thompson. No matter who gets the role, it’s going to be tough to break out of Audrey Hepburn’s shadow. I mean, she’s just iconic in this part.
Ok, so this isn’t really news, but it’s cool anyway. FlickPicks is an online game that let’s you predict the box office and run your own theater. It’s like fantasy football for movie buffs! I love it! I signed up, and if it’s something you’re interested in (which it probably is, since you’re reading this blog), then you should sign up too!