Weekend Preview (11.5.10)

Welcome to November. Finally things will pick up at the movies as we gear up for holiday season. After two weeks of two or fewer wide releases, we have three spanning three genres: animated family, R-rated comedy and women-centered drama. All of them, however, should give the box office a considerable boost. There is also the Fox Searchlight drama “Conviction” getting a wider expansion.

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Directed by Tom McGrath
Written by Alan J. Schoolcraft, Brent Simons
Starring: (voices) Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill

The Word: The run of CGI superhero/villainy films continues with this story of arch nemeses whose rivalry gets thrown out of whack when the superhero, Metro Man (Pitt) retires. Film focuses mostly on the diabolical try-hard, Megamind (Ferrell).

Rotten Tomatoes: 67% (good)

My Thoughts: If DreamWorks hadn’t been so successful lately, I’d probably have written “Megamind” off because the concept is anything but fresh. At the same time, the film has some great talents doing voiceover and the sense of humor appears to be in the right place.

Recommendation: Animated films have had a long layover the last few months and not until Disney’s “eh”-looking “Tangled” will we get another. I don’t think you’re looking at a Best Animated Feature contender, but quality family-friendly entertainment.

Due Date

Directed by Todd Phillips
Written by Alan R. Cohen, Alan Freedland, Adam Sztykiel, Todd Phillips
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan

The Word: “The Hangover” director Todd Phillips will try and find more R-rated comedy success with Galifianakis and this time Downey Jr. in this traditional two guys driving across the country who can’t stand each other film. Downey Jr. is trying to make it to California for the birth of his child and Galifianakis will make it very difficult.

Rotten Tomatoes: 41% (not good)

My Thoughts: With these two talents slapping each other with verbal insults, I would hope for an entertaining film, though I certainly would never expect it to live up the buzz generated by “The Hangover” director’s involvement.

Recommendation: I don’t think it’s going to get much better for comedy between now and the end of 2010, so you’ll probably end up seeing this film regardless what I tell you.

For Colored Girls

Directed by Tyler Perry
Written by Tyler Perry, Ntozake Shange (play)
Starring: Janet Jackson, Anika Noni Rose, Whoopi Goldberg

The Word: Tyler Perry fills his two-film/year quota with “For Colored Girls” based on a play that’s basically all poetry. The women in the film each represent one or more of the poems, all of which deal with women’s issues, particularly women of color.

Rotten Tomatoes: 33% (bad)

My Thoughts: I suppose I applaud Tyler Perry for doing something totally different. Other than that, I’m not qualified to say anything about his films except that they make enough money every time.

Recommendation: If you like Tyler Perry’s dramas, you know who you are.


Directed by Tony Goldwyn
Written by Pamela Grey
Starring: Hillary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Melissa Leo

The Word: Based on the true story of a man put behind bars whose sister believes he’s innocent and commits her life to going to law school so she can set him free.

Rotten Tomatoes: 66% (good)

My Thoughts: I studied a bit of criminal justice stuff in college and so a story like this definitely appeals to me, even more so with immaculate talents such as Rockwell and Swank. I don’t know if we’re talking Oscars at all here (Goldwyn is a TV actor/director and Grey’s last big script was “Music of the Heart”), but this could be the award season warm-up we need.

Recommendation: If you’re looking to get geared up for all the award season fare, “Conviction” seems like a good place to start.

Box Office Predictions

The first weeks of November are a battleground. Usually an animated film takes the first weekend (as we have here again) and then an action film tries to come out on top the next week up until the Holiday film dominance. This weekend, “Due Date” marks one of the first anticipated R-rated comedies to get a release at this time of year. So how will it all play out?

Most people are going to look at the $44 million “The Hangover” made and project it for similar numbers, but time of year is huge. I definitely think the film will have one of the better comedy openings, especially for an R-rated film, but I like Megamind for the top spot. The least successful animated film in this slot in the last five years has been “Flushed Away” and that earned almost $20 million. I think “Megamind” can nab $35 – $40. I’ll then pencil in Due Date for an impressive $30-35 million haul.

Few films are easier to predict than a Tyler Perry film. His dramas tend to earn closer to $20 million, so I imagine For Colored Girls will follow suit. That’s all I have to say on that.

Saw 3D will fall the usual horror amount to right around $10 million if not a shade less. It will still beat strong returns from RED, who should have fifth this week as “Paranormal Activity” will slip below it most certainly.

  1. Megamind
  2. Due Date
  3. For Colored Girls
  4. Saw 3D
  5. RED


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