Weekend Movie Preview (7.15.11)

It all ends. No headline for the movie world this weekend could be bigger than that for the eighth and final “Harry Potter” film, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.” Expect it to have one of the three biggest if not the biggest opening for a movie in American history. I love you, “Winnie the Pooh,” but you don’t stand a chance.

New This Week

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

Directed by David Yates
Written by Steve Kloves, J.K. Rowling (books)
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes

Summary: The final chapter in Harry’s journey takes him back to where it all began, Hogwarts, where Voldemort, now in possession of the Elder Wand (one of the three Deathly Hallows) awaits his final encounter with the Boy Who Lived.

The Word: Film’s most impressive franchise (eight films in less than 11 years) comes to an action-packed conclusion in this second part of author J.K. Rowling’s seventh and final “Harry Potter” book. The conclusion will have to be all kinds of spectacular to create a satisfying end to this cinematic behemoth of quality  entertainment.

Rotten Tomatoes: 97% (excellent)

My Thoughts: David Yates has set this final film up to be nothing short of extraordinary. I think it will deliver. Even if it’s not the best of the series, it has to be satisfying to earn a 97 percent.

Recommendation: If you’ve never experience “Potter,” you should consider doing your homework and reading and seeing everything first. Even the most casual fans, however, will want to see how this one ends. If you’re not already in line at your local theater reading this on your smart phone, go!

Winnie the Pooh

Directed by Stephen J. Anderson, Don Hall
Written by A.A. Milne (books)
Starring: (voices) Jim Cummings, Craig Ferguson, John Cleese, Tom Kenny

Summary: Winnie the Pooh misinterprets a note left by Christopher Robin and believes he’s been kidnapped by a creature named “Backson.” He convinces the rest of his friends, including Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, Rabbit, Owl, Kanga and Roo, to go out and look for him.

The Word: After a string of Pooh spin-off type movies that did moderate business, Disney has taken some time (five years since “Pooh’s Hefalump Movie”) and will try a stripped down approach with “Winnie the Pooh.” The film features gorgeous illustrated locales reminiscent of a storybook with crisp animated characters digitally transposed onto them.

Rotten Tomatoes: 85% (great)

My Thoughts: Pooh has always been popular with kids of every generation and it looks like Disney’s new take will continue that trend and infuse movie theaters with some heart. At the least, Disney should  make up for “Cars 2” not having much of it.

Recommendation: A perfect choice for families.

Box Office Predictions

It’s no secret who the favorite is this week. It’s just a matter of whether you think Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 can swipe away the biggest three-day opening weekend record from “The Dark Knight.” The first part made about $125 million in its opening. With that much of an audience guaranteed to see the final film, plus the addition of 3-D premiums, I’m thinking at least $140 million. I think it should beat “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” with ease and come close to No. 2 all time, “Spider-Man 3.” Even if it does take the crown, it will have just over a year to enjoy it before “The Dark Knight Rises” takes it back.

Pretty standard stuff the rest of the way down the top five. Transformers: Dark of the Moon has enough stay in second with what’ll be close to $25 million. Horrible Bosses will take third with $18-20 million seeing as no new comedies for an older audience are there to compete.

The final two spots are tough. “Pooh” has a weak history at the box office, but I think it will outdo its predecessors. I have to play it modestly, however, with “Harry Potter” appealing even to young ‘uns who shouldn’t be going. I’m going to take Zookeeper to hold with about $10 million, which is close to where I envision Winnie the Pooh. “Cars 2” will just miss out with $7-8 million.

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
2. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
3. Horrible Bosses
4. Zookeeper
5. Winnie the Pooh


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