Handicapping the December Releases
Because if I don't do it, who will? Feel free to come back in two months, and tell me how stupid I am (or do it now, if you're brave).
KING KONG. My one reservation about this movie is that it obviously clones every plot beat from the original, so while watching it there won't be any real surprises about where it is going. Still, the visuals look amazing (love Kong jump-swatting the plane), and people will go see it. Estimated gross: $280 million.
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA - THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. This one could be huge, or could tank; they are trying to sell it as another Lord of the Rings experience, and if the movie isn't good, it'll disappear quickly. Even then, the main characters are so young that it comes across as something of a kids' movie. But it looks solid enough; let's call it $165 million, though it could do less, or a lot more.
THE PRODUCERS. Another remake, and though this a musical, it is going to be very review-dependent. I think it'll get okay reviews, and okay box office. $80 million.
THE NEW WORLD. Give Hollywood credit, they are trotting out a lot of movies where if they suck they won't make a dime. Early buzz on this is good, though it still has that historical-epic/history lesson feel that might not serve it all that well. $70 million.
MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA. See above. One of these movies will get a lot of nominations, and break out and make lots of money. I'm going to be conservative, and predict this one will only do about $57 million.
RUMOR HAS IT. On the upside, it's supposed to be funny. On the downside, the production was troubled (Rob Reiner was brought in at the last minute to take over for the fired writer/director), and the premise is a bit uncomfortable and weird (I'm not sure I want to see Jennifer Aniston involved with Kevin Costner, and the fact that he slept with her mother and grandmother...) . It'll do okay, but probably top out around $50 million.
BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. This could be the surprise hit. The movie is supposed to be very good, and they came out for The Crying Game. I think it'll have legs, and make $90 million.
AEON FLUX. It'll benefit a little from being the only movie opening this Friday, but the trailer doesn't excite me; this just doesn't look like the movie that will get the female-action-fantasy-hero genre out of its rut. Hope I'm wrong, but I doubt it. $29 million.
FUN WITH DICK AND JANE. Another remake, though since no one remembers the original, it'll do well, as long as it's funny. Then again, Bruce Almighty wasn't all that funny, and it made money anyway. I think this one may hit. $150 million.
MATCH POINT. Though they are selling it as a sexy thriller, I hear it's more of a sexy drama. And it's Woody Allen. Probably do better than most of his recent movies, but still top out around $22 million.
CASANOVA. I think gay Heath will do a lot better than costumed Heath. $24 million.
MUNICH. Another extremely review-dependent film, without a name cast. It'll probably be good, and get a lot of nominations. Call it $75 million.
HOODWINKED. Cartoons are hard to predict, and I haven't heard much of anything about this one, but the kids have to see something. $68 million.
CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN 2. This could be the big family film of Christmas, in the absence of much in the way of alternatives. $125 million.
THE RINGER. Johnny Knoxville, pretending to be retarded so he can compete in the Special OLympics. Would have been fresher if South Park hadn't done it first, but it's getting good buzz, and the Special Olympics are behind the damn thing. Hard to tell. Call it $32 million.
THE FAMILY STONE. Good cast, not much hook, might get lost in the wash. $23 million.
WOLF CREEK. Nothing like opening a horror movie on Christmas. But this one could click. $23 million.