There’s a lot to be thankful for this season at multiplexes as a feast of films—no less than six films—debut or expand into wide release. That said, ‘tis the season of the turkey—so, you know, you’ve been appropriately warned.
Disney Animation’s latest instant classic, “Frozen,” is the sole cinematic entry to hit the ice on more than 3,000+ theaters this week, but even the ol’ Disney magic likely won’t be enough to topple “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” which is poised for a victory lap after its worldwide opening weekend of nearly $300M.
This we know for sure: the hot will stay hot, the cool will stay cool. “Catching Fire” and “Frozen” will combine for $100+M just over the traditional 3-day weekend, and may cash in with $150M over the 5-day campaign.
With a massive $158M domestic debut—#6 all-time—“Catching Fire” should prove more-than-worthy as even a drop of -60% will see Lionsgate’s franchise flick snare another $60M weekend.
“Frozen” is basically the stablemate of “Tangled,” as Disney returned to their bread-and-butter princess toons three years ago to rousing success. The difference between “Frozen” on the marquee than say, “The Princess and the Frog” or “Cinderella,” is all in the verbiage. Unpack your adjectives, folks.
While “Rapunzel” and “The Snow Queen”—which “Frozen” is based on—wouldn’t necessarily entice a wide legion of fans outside young girls, the titles “Tangled” and “Frozen” not only sell the hope of action, but also deliver on the promise of something more than your typical princess fairy tale.
And like “Tangled” before it, “Frozen” more than lives up to a satisfying adventure for the whole family; it’s one of those rare animated films that effortlessly enchants with its beauty, grace and sickening charm. No one does it like Disney. Nobody. Heck, “Tangled” is better than Pixar’s last couple sequels by a wide margin.
And the animated short that plays in front of it, “Get a Horse!” is not only worth the price of admission, it also brings Mickey Mouse—past and present—to a whole new generation of movie-goers. Can’t recommend this enough. Quite a dynamic duo Disney has.
“Frozen” should melt hearts and mint heaps of money upwards of $50M this weekend, and $70M for the extended holiday—not Disneybucks, mind you, George Washingtons. And if it doesn’t quite reach those lofty heights, hakuna matata—this toon will play all the way to New Year’s and beyond.
There are plenty of films jockeying for the golden turkey award this year, but the frontrunner has to be Open Road’s “Homefront,” starring Jason Statham, and inexplicably, James Franco as the baddie.
Oh, and did I mention it was adapted for the screen by Sylvester Stallone? I suppose you have to do something while you’re polishing your guns. The R-rated action retread goes full tilt into 2,500+ theaters but likely won’t lay siege to anything but Redbox kiosks in about three months.
At this point, we all know exactly what to expect from a Statham film: He kicks ass. Lots of it. With a supporting cast that includes Franco, Winona Ryder and Kate Bosworth…this seems like the perfect film to watch over Thanksgiving. Wait. What? You say the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade reruns are on? I don’t see this taking home more than $6M for the weekend.
Spike Lee has taken his sweet time returning to mainstream filmmaking after the success of his biggest box office hit, “Inside Man,” however, it turns out, “Oldboy” isn’t exactly built for the mainstream.
FilmDistrict’s grisly R-rated remake of Chan-wook Park’s critically praised and cult classic thriller is getting a bland beat down by critics, and when the distributor books it in just 583 theaters, well, that’s hardly even a wide release at all, and certainly not a platform strategy considering the timing.
Lee’s latest joint looks like it will get smoked, and not in a good way, earning less than $4M over the holiday stretch. And quite honestly, the $30M production may not even hit that mark. Like I said, the Turkey Trot has formidable competition this year.
One film that may surprise in moderate wide release is Weinstein’s “Philomena.” Stephen Frears’ latest debuted last weekend in LA/NY, and tallied up $32,109 per theater.
Expanding into over 750+ venues this weekend, look for dame Judi Dench’s PG-13 (a rating she and Weinstein lobbied hard for) drama to cover the spread with $5M over the holiday.
Fox’s “The Book Thief” also expands into wide release in 1,000+ theaters. And while Jewish dramas that deal with Nazi themes often assures you Oscar glory, the reviews have been decisively middle-of-the-road, so don’t expect much more than $4M over the long week.
The wild card of the weekend may just be Fox’s other film, “Black Nativity.” The musical, featuring Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson and directed by Kasi Lemmons (“Eve’s Bayou”), isn’t hitting high notes with critics, but that didn’t stop “The Best Man Holiday” either, as films aimed at African Americans have been heating things up recently. Expect upwards of $10M on 1,500+ screens.
1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – $60M ($80M)
2. Frozen – $50M ($70M)
3. Thor: The Dark World – $9.5M ($14M)
4. Black Nativity – $9M ($13M)
5. Delivery Man – $6.5M ($8.5M)
SPLICE OF LIFE: CINEMATIC BLURBS, BLIPS, CUTS & CLIPS
“FRIDAY THE 13th” RETURNS TO THEATERS FOR 13th TIME
Horror fans raise your machetes and scream! Paramount will drop the axe on the 13th theatrical release of the “Friday the 13th” franchise on March 13, 2015. No word yet on whether this is a sequel to Warner’s 2009 reboot, which grossed a respectable $91M on a thrifty $19M budget, but with it jumping studios, odds are this could be another reboot entirely. Hell, it could be a greatest hits killing montage set to the latest The Killers album for all we know?!
One can only hope the studio that started it all does something special for hockey-enthusiast Jason Voorhees’ 13th appearance on the silver screen. Sure makes Michael Myers, Freddy and Jigsaw look like a bunch of amateurs, doesn’t it?
Usually when a studio drops release date knowledge on the masses they accompany it with a tag like “Untitled Friday the 13th Sequel” or “Friday the 13th Prequel”—this was simply “Friday the 13th.” Fire up the hype machine and alert the mayor of Rumorville…if Paramount plays their cards right, ala “Cloverfield,” this could be a chill pill worthy of some serious internet chatter.
Forget Christmas carols and holiday hymns…this is the music that really gets the blood flowing. Ch-ch-ch-ch-ha-ha-ha-ha.
If you want to peer into the depths of Jason’s soul, watch this in-depth interview with Arsenio Hall, circa 1989. Funny thing is, neither of them have seemingly aged a day since then.
And just to get you in the homicidal maniac mood. Here’s the original “Friday the 13th” trailer.
“MAD MAX” BACK ON THE WARPATH
It’ll be exactly thirty years since Mad Max laid waste to movie theaters, when George Miller’s fourth flick in the series, “Fury Road,” finally hits screens on May 15, 2015.
Mel Gibson shot to fame in the title role of the trilogy commencing with “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” but will only have a cameo in this one. Hmm. I guess Tina Turner was wrong…we do need another hero.
Tom Hardy takes over as Mad Max, as the new film is supposedly set between the time period of “Mad Max” and “The Road Warrior.” Why, you ask? Well, once you go “Beyond Thunderdome,” c’mon, you can’t honestly go any further than that. I mean, seriously. Tina Turner’s hair. ‘Nuff said.
Hopefully, Miller will tap into that down and dirty gonzo action-vibe that “Road Warrior” imbibed. Hoping for epic. Will accept extraordinary.
DISNEY TO JUMP DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE ONCE AGAIN
Get your crumpets and teacups ready, it’s gonna be another mad tea-par-tay! Yes, Johnny Depp is set to reprise his role as the Mad Hatter and Mia Wasikowska as Alice as “Alice in Wonderland 2,” will arrive May 27th, 2016.
Unfortunately, Tim Burton will exit stage left of the billion-dollar franchise, however “The Muppets” director James Bobin, will likely fill-in nicely.
With all the fat Cheshire cat scratch they’ll be making off the sequel though, can they please put a little of that back into the Disneyland ride? It desperately needs a reboot. Plus, it’d be pretty cool if every ride at the Magic Kingdom eventually had a Johnny Depp character lurking about.
CHOICE CUT OF THE WEEK: FOCUS FEATURES’ “THE BOXTROLLS”
Is this a trailer, or propaganda to buy Laika stock? Either way: Sold! I was crying like a hipster baby without its mustache pacifier by the end of this, and now desperately crave my own Boxtroll to snuggle with. Cripes. I’m such a Sappy Sapperstein around the holidays. Need to go watch “Die Hard” and “Deliverance” ASAP to access my man-card again.
From the creators of “Coraline” and “ParaNorman” comes their latest stop-motion animated film based on the book “Here Be Monsters!” by Alan Snow. “The Boxtrolls” begins trolling theaters September 26, 2014.
Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as the mustache pacifier. Chill, Baby.