Saturday, November 3, 2012

Movie Preview: November 2012

October is typically the month that bridges the gap between the dead months of August and September and the active Holiday season of November and December. This past October did a good job of that as this September was particularly slow, saved only by a huge opening by Hotel Transylvania in the last weekend of September. Hotel Transylvania also made a huge contribution to October as it came in second with $90M made in October. Taken 2 led the way with a huge $120M and Argo was the other big total, coming in third with just over $60M. Holdovers Looper and Pitch Perfect were about on par with Horror films Sinister and Paranormal Activity 4, all in the $40M range. All other wide releases disappointed. This upcoming month has less movies, but there should be several big hits, giving as a good start to the Holiday season.

November 2nd - 4th - Disney will get center stage this weekend with their latest animated movie, Wreck-It Ralph. The funny thing about this release is that Wreck-It Ralph actually looks more like a Pixar movie than a pure Disney animated movie, while Pixar's movie Brave felt more like a typical Disney princess movie. But either way, Wreck-It Ralph looks quite ingenious. It's about a video game character in an arcade that is tired of being a bad guy and wants to become a good guy. Animated movies that opened towards the beginning of November have done a good job recently and Wreck-It Ralph will follow that trend because of the careful attention to detail with all classic video game characters. Next is Denzel Washington's newest film Flight. Flight is a film directed by Robert Zemeckis, the director of Cast Away, Forest Gump, Back to the Future, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit amongst other movies. This is his first live action movie since Cast Away in 2000, but all his movies typically have a good track record and teamed with Denzel Washington should be a formula for success. The storyline is about a pilot, playing by Washington, who miraculously stops a plane from crashing but afterwards runs into a some problems due to an investigation held. The final movie to come out, which will most likely be the least attended of the three is The Man with the Iron Fists. This movie is RZA's directorial debut in which RZA wrote, directed, and starred in. It is an extremely violent R-rated Kung Fu movie, so if that is your type of movie, then be my guest. It also has an interesting cast that includes Russell Crow and Lucy Liu.

November 9th - 11th - This weekend only has one wide release, but it will be a big one. I am talking about the newest James Bond movie Skyfall. The James Bond franchise has been quite the popular franchise as a new Bond movie has come out every two to three years ever since Dr. No in 1963. Skyfall is the 23rd movie and Daniel Craig's 3rd stint as Bond. The last Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, opened to $67M and ended up with $168M, both records in the Bond franchise. The reviews for Skyfall are extremely good, many calling it one of the best Bond movies in a long time. This will most certainly propel it to beat Quantum of Solace's mark. Although in terms of attendance it will get no where near the top and will probably end up in the middle of the pack. The highest attended Bond movie was Thunderball back in 1965. Its $63.5M back in 1965 is equivalent to $600M with today's ticket prices. 

November 16th - 18th - While all the guys will swarm to the theaters for James Bond the weekend before this, this weekend will be dominated by the females as the hoards of Twilight fans swarm to the theaters to see the Twilight finale, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2. Being that it is a finale of a really popular series, it is almost guaranteed to be the highest grossing movie of the series. The finale of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter all followed this trend. As far as how much money this will earn on its opening weekend, Breaking Dawn Part 1 opened to $138M, just shy of the Twilight opening weekend record of New Moon's $142M. This will probably be the biggest opening weekend as well and while it won't get near Avenger's opening total, it could end up close to Harry Potter 7.2's or Dark Knight's total. A more interesting title in my opinion that will be challenging Twilight is Steven Spielberg's Lincoln. No, it won't get anywhere close to beating Twilight, but it won't be hindered by Twilight as it will attract a completely different crowd. Now it actually opens up in limited release the week before on the 9th, but this week is it's nationwide expansion. Now Spielberg has historically been one of the best directors in the business, but his last three movies, War Horse, Tintin, and Indiana Jones 4, didn't quite live up to expectations so hopefully he will redeem himself with this one. It's also screaming for Oscar attention and will most certainly get it. The Oscars tend to like historical movies and the cast is full of actors/actresses that have won Oscars. This includes Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Fields, and Daniel Day Lewis, the latter one being the actor cast as Lincoln himself. It also includes Joseph Gordon-Leavitt in the cast in his fourth movie four months. Finally it's worth mentioning that Ana Karenina gets a limited release this weekend. Whether or not it will get good enough reviews and good enough attention to expand to a nationwide release is still up in the air. Ana Karenina is based off of the classic novel of the same title and stars Keira Knightley and Jude Law.

November 21st - 25th - Noting that the 21st is a Wednesday and not a Friday, you'll quickly realize if you haven't already that this is the extended Thanksgiving weekend and there are four wide releases that will be competing for everyone's attention. Those four releases will also be competing with Twilight and Bond fans who haven't seen their movies yet and want to go for Thanksgiving break, so what ends up at number one is really up in the air. The most likely candidate to dethrone Twilight will most likely be Rise of the Guardians. This is another Dreamworks animated film and could either be completely ridiculous or ridiculously awesome. This is the movie that includes Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman, and the Tooth Fairy join forces to save all of the children in the world. The voice actors include Hugh Jackman, Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, and Jude Law. Dreamworks Animation currently has a great track record since its first movie Antz back in 1998. They have now made 24 animated movies and 18 of them have made over $100M, 7 of those 18 getting above $200M. They are on a streak of 11 straight movies getting above $100M, 3 of the last 6 getting above $200M. The next two movies of the week are two movies that have strong Oscar buzz. The first being the family friendly Life of Pi. This movie will try to attract some of the family audience away from Rise of the Guardians as it only has a PG rating. It is based on the novel by Yann Martel and is directed by Ang Lee. The story is of a young Indian boy who gets trapped on a boat with a hyena, zebra, orangatan, and a Bengal tiger after his ship wrecks. The second Oscar buzzed movie is Silver Linings Playbook. This is an inspirational story about a guy that's had everything go wrong who meets a girl that's had everything go wrong and together they start to find a silver lining to life. It has a great cast of people with Bradly Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence playing the laying the lead roles and also includes such actors as Robert DeNiro and Chris Tucker. Director David O Russell is best known for his movie The Fighter. What looks to be the forgotten movie of the week here is Red Dawn, which seems just like another pointless remake. The original made $38M back in 1984, which is equivalent to $91M today, so Red Dawn will need to make at least that much to justify a remake and that probably won't happen. The story is about a group of teenagers trying to save their country at the beginning of World War III. In the original version it is the Soviet forces they are trying to defend while in this remake it is the forces of North Korea. 

November 30th - December 2nd - This last weekend of November / the start of December is really a tweener week. Like you have read, there are several big titles in November being released and in December there is another slate of big titles, but this week there is only one new movie being released, allowing for the other November releases to fight it out for the top spot. The one new release that will try to contend with all the others is Killing Them Softly, which is an R rated crime drama starring Brad Pitt. It is also based on the book by George V Higgins. It is about a professional enforcer who investigates a heist after a mob protected poker game. Seems like a typical crime drama movie.

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