Welcome to the Monday column, New And News, where I go over this week’s new releases, as well as some of the best news articles from the past week. Opening in theaters this week we have two movies that deal interestingly with race. The oft-criticized black-princess-showcasing Disney release, The Princess And The Frog, and the racially themed Nelson Mandela biopic, Invictus. After summarizing those two films, keep on reading for news about sequels in the Harry Potter, Twilight, and Bourne franchises.
The Disney we all know and love is back to doing what it does best: telling romanticized fairy tales with beautiful music and traditional animation. Five years after Disney’s rather foolish statement that it would no longer produce traditional 2D animation, the studio is back with another sure-to-be-a-classic princess tale, The Princess And The Frog. Equipped with jazzy New Orleans music, iconic Louisiana bayou scenery, a voodoo witch-doctor villain, cute animated animals, and the first black Disney princess, this film has a lot of buzz around it, and it’s sure to get nostalgia points from audiences of all ages. I mean, who wasn’t excited by the first five animated minutes of Enchanted back in 2007? As a college student, I know that tons of my friends are ready to go see this, and parents and kids alike are sure to be drawn to the theaters. I know I’ll be taking my little sister once I come home for Christmas! The Princess And The Frog has done extremely well in its limited release of just two theaters, and it will play very well over the holidays. My very early estimate for this has it earning somewhere between $150-$200 million, with a $50 million opening. That will probably change over the course of the week as I do some more research, but for now, that’s what I’ve got.
Morgan Freeman portrays South African President Nelson Mandela in this presitigious Oscar-bait. Freeman is beloved by audiences, though he rarely has a major leading role, so there’s a considerable amount of excitement around this feature. Matt Damon also stars as famous rugby player Francois Pienaar, and between star power, good reviews, strong advertising, Clint Eastwood (who the academy loves… see Million Dollar Baby‘s win for Best Picture in 2004), and racial drama (which the Academy loves…. see Crash‘s win for Best Picture in 2005), this should be a considerable hit for Warner Brothers. If it does well in the beginning of its run, strong word-of-mouth and awards nominations will carry Invictus to becoming a major financial victory.
Following in the footsteps of The Hobbit and the final Harry Potter (more on that below), Summit has decided that it will split the final Twilight film, Breaking Dawn, into two films. Unfortunately, whereas the book versions of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows and The Hobbit have extremely dense and complex plotsthat merit such a split, it appears that Breaking Dawn will simply be an even more drawn out affair, in which Bella and Jacob stare meaninglessly out into the drab, rainy forest.
Warner Brothers has attached a new teaser for the first part of their final Harry Potter installment. It’s getting me pretty excited! A little less than a year away, Deathly Hallows is coming out next Winter.
This news broke out on The Playlist blog, and far too many people on the internet have scooped it up, claimed it as their own, and failed to give credit where credit is due. Paul Greengrass, director of all three films in the Bourne franchise, has backed out of directing a fourth edition. Where this puts the state of the franchise and Matt Damon’s involvement is unknown at this point. Personally, I’m cool with this. The Bourne Ultimatum was a tremendous ending to the stellar action franchise. I say, why not end on a high note?!