Weekend Preview (1.15.10)


Though the Avatar high has worn off, don’t expect that to change at the box office. The big-blue 3D movie that did is still the best mainstream film in theaters and don’t expect newcomer The Book of Eli, even being the widest new release of 2010 so far, to take much away from it.

The new releases in theaters this week come from very different corners of the cinematic world, so there isn’t a whole lot of decision-making to be done. The question is really a matter of seeing something that came out last week vs. this week. But if you ask me, you’d be well-off to just tune in Sunday evening for the Golden Globes.

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The Book of Eli

Written and Directed by: Albert and Allen Spirig
Starring: Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis, Gary Oldman


The Word: The Hughes brothers (From Hell) finally return with this post-apocalyptic action flick that appears to be The Road on ‘roids. Warner Bros is hoping they can repeat the success of I Am Legend to some extent, swapping in Denzel Washington for Will Smith. Washington — Eli — is protecting the titular book, as it’s the only way to save mankind. Naturally, some dudes, like Gary Oldman, want it, and naturally, Eli will take those dudes out. Mila Kunis, still rolling from Forgetting Sarah Marshall, co-stars, but you know she ain’t taking Washington’s spotlight.

My Thoughts: Reviews have been mixed, with a not-so-confident 46% on Rotten Tomatoes. Good news for those of us like myself who put this on their Winter Preview list, is that some of the sites top critics (from the major papers and websites) have been giving it ripe reviews. The general sense I’m getting from the thumbs-up crowd is that it’s a watchable action flick that delivers what its target audience wants. I’m hoping that means it’s a stylish action flick with a little bit of meat on its bones and Denzel pumping bullets through the meat on his enemies’ bones.

Recommendation: I’ve actually found that Denzel Washington movies make for the cream of the crop of movies to watch once they’ve come out on DVD, so I’m going to say unless you’re really itching for something new at the theaters, that this is worth waitin’ on.

The Spy Next Door

Directed by: Brian Levant
Written by: Jonathan Bernstein, James Greer, Gregory Poirier
Starring: Jackie Chanspynextdoorposter

The Word: We have yet another comedy with the premise of a spy/navy seal/ass-kicker who has done incredible things and will now face his toughest challenge yet – babysitting. Jackie Chan is the latest to try this concept, a spy who must protect a family and learns to babysit using his super spy tools.

My Thoughts: No. 1 on my list (that would be my list of movies not to see), “Spy” is like if someone stuck their poo in a wrapper and tried to sell it to you as chocolate. Anyone can see this recycled bad comedy concept movie is a joke and Jackie Chan is not the star vehicle he used be (and as far as American comedy goes, he’s not good without Chris Tucker or Owen Wilson.) Think I’m overreacting? Try a 00% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Recommendation: Worth dismissin’

The Lovely Bones

Directed by: Peter Jackson
Written by: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Alice Sebold (book)
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Stanley Tucci


The Word: When early reviews didn’t go so well for this film that made most people’s lists of movies to see this Holiday season, Paramount/Dreamworks decided not to let The Lovely Bones get swallowed up with all the popular Holiday releases. They’ll give it a try this weekend to see if it can win some favor, but most critics who got a chance to see it already have said the visual effects are a bit too much, among other things.

My Thoughts: Paramount/Dreamworks’ decision was probably a smart one considering what Avatar and Sherlock Holmes have done to the box office along with The Blind Side and Up in the Air getting the good hype as far as dramas. Most people aware of the movie’s release that read the Alice Sebold book say they’re not sure they even want to see the film based on it dealing with rape. Can’t say I blame them. Then again, there’s lots of good talent around this film, which might make it a standout in a month such as January.

Recommendation: Worth renting later. If you’re going to be surprised by this movie, it would seem best you be pleasantly surprised renting the DVD in a few months than negatively surprised in theaters this weekend.

Box Office Predictions

You can tell I recommend seeing something that didn’t come out today, and I think that’s a sign that the B.O. could be in for a downer weekend. I’m not all that confident “Eli,” “Spy,” or “Bones” will make a huge splash, but considering just the fall-off rate of the non-Avatar Top 5 movies, they could all hit Top 5 by default.

So chalk up Avatar for No. 1 again this week because at its current drop-off rate, it guaranteed won’t go below $30 million, which the way I figure it, is good enough for first again.

In second is where there’s noise to be made. Sherlock Holmes doesn’t have enough steam to hold up against a fresh and very wide release from The Book of Eli having made just $16 M last week. Look for “Eli” and Denzel to take an amount in the low $20-million range. As for No. 3, I think The Spy Next Door will also edge out the other returners by default with only $13 million or thereabouts.

This is the tough part this week. If you saw my box office recap from Monday, you might’ve noticed that “Holmes,” Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel and Daybreakers all finished within about $1.6 M of each other. That’s awful close, so I’m going to take a shot in the dark with this one. I think the The Lovely Bones can come in and make near $10 M so I’m going with in at No. 4 in case I underestimate it. In last, I’ll pick Sherlock Holmes seeing as it was No. 2 last weekend. It shouldn’t finish very far behind “Bones.”

  1. Avatar
  2. The Book of Eli
  3. The Spy Next Door
  4. The Lovely Bones
  5. Sherlock Holmes


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