Weekend Preview (12.11.09)


Welcome back, Disney.

After five or ten years (depending on if you count anything after Tarzan), Disney delivers a new feature-length 2D animated film. What a statement to be making in 2009, the year of the 3D explosion in movie theaters.

Singing and dancing, talking animals, princesses and more, The Princess and the Frog offers at least the slightest promise of returning us for an hour and a half, to a time where all was right with the world. In an age where everything is speeding up and the economy is down, what a momentary pause from reality this film looks to be. “Frog” should do well and be received well as it begs of us to simplify – to acquiesce to classic stories of morality instead of those with commerciality.

Also entering the picture is Oscar hopeful Invictus, the Clint Eastwood film about Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) trying to use rugby to reunite South Africa in the wake of apartheid. Matt Damon also stars in the season’s one true uplifting biographical drama. The talent here is simply too good to be passed on (or make for a bad movie for that matter).

Add the expansion of Up in the Air this weekend to 72 theaters and there’s reason to get excited about movies this weekend. I feel like I haven’t been this enthusiastic about a weekend in a month.

My Endorsement: You can’t go wrong with almost anything coming out this weekend, but I have to recommend The Princess and the Frog because, quite frankly, when was the last time you got to see a movie like this in theaters? I haven’t even had the chance to get excited about a Disney 2D animated film in years so that prospect alone is enough to get me to theaters this weekend.

Red Flag: Wow, usually I have no idea what to recommend, not what to flag. I suppose don’t retread any of last weekend’s films. I mean, even the really limited releases this weekend look good (The Lovely Bones, A Single Man,Broken Lizard’s The Slammin’ Salmon). Don’t be stupid and go see Everybody’s Fine or Armored.

Box Office Prediction: I’m thrilled and ecstatic to be able to choose The Princess and the Frog for the box office winner this week. After such a downer weekend at the movies last weekend, the BO is primed for a new champion and “Frog” has the release (3400+ theaters), good press, reputation (Disney) and nostalgic buzz to do it. Judging by how Disney 2D films did in the late ‘90s when they were still hyped, I’m going to guess about $45 million.

Next will be Invictus. I’m calling for a modest $12 million, which you wouldn’t think good enough for second place, but this weekend it definitely should be (and provided I underestimated it, I have cushion).

For third and fourth place we go to the early Holiday season champions, The Blind Side and The Twilight Saga: New Moon, respectively. My guess is also $10 and $9 million respectively. I don’t expect such mainstream films to be leapfrogged by any films it beat out last weekend, but if anyone could do it it would be my No. 5 film, BrothersA Christmas Carol should finally flicker out thanks to Disney’s new film don’t expect it to finish all that far behind.

  1. The Princess and the Frog
  2. Invictus
  3. The Blind Side
  4. The Twilight Saga: New Moon
  5. Brothers


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