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New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Prom Night, Smart People, Street Kings

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Thus far, April has turned in the surprise of 21. Well, it's not that big a big surprise, but I certainly did not expect it to lead for two weeks. Still, while it is doing well, the box office, as a whole, has been a bit soft. 2008 has not seen that one killer film in the early months of the year, like we did last year with 300. It appears likely that we will not have a monster until Iron Man arrives in May. It is even more surprising that we only have one $100 million film thus far, Horton Hears a Who! This week does not look like it will change the trend, although the three wide releases are targeting different demographics and that might bring a nice cross-section to the cineplex. Whether you want horror, drama, or indie comedy, there is something for you. Then there is me, someone who wants it all.

Prom Night. (2008, 88 minutes, PG-13, horror, trailer) Hey! It's another remake! This is a bit different though from other recent remakes, it is a remake of an American film. The standard question remains however – was this a remake that we needed? Probably not. Especially not once you see its PG-13 rating, which is indicative of a film that was made to market towards the younger teen set as well as set up the inevitable unrated DVD. Funny thing, being the horror fan that I am I'll probably be front and center at the theater. It is the story of a teen girl (Hairspray's Brittany Snow) who survived a tragedy and is enjoying her last days in high school only to be confronted by a killer from her past. This is a surefire stinker, though I am willing to accept that I could be surprised. Prove me wrong, if you can. It is directed by Nelson McCormick whose work has mostly been on television, but is already working on another big screen remake in The Stepfather. He works from a script by JS Cardone (The Covenant).

Smart People. (2008, 95 minutes, R, comedy, trailer) I am looking forward to this. It has a good cast and looks rather promising. It follows a professor played by Dennis Quaid who is widowed and begins a relationship with a former student (Sarah Jessica Parker), deals with the unexpected arrival of his brother (Thomas Haden Church), and has problems with his overachieving daughter (Ellen Page). It looks to be along the lines of Little Miss Sunshine and The Royal Tenenbaums. This is the debut feature for director Noam Murro, who works from a screenplay by fellow first-timer Mark Poirier.

Street Kings. (2008, 107 minutes, R, drama, trailer) The trailers make this cop drama look pretty good, although I have to wonder if it will fall prey to the cliches of the genre? It follows a detective (Keanu Reeves) as he attempts to track down those responsible for murdering his partner. His primary opposition is his captain, who tries to keep him protected, at a desk, and away from internal affairs. I am sure that won't work too well. Joining Reeves are Forest Whitaker, Hugh Laurie, Chris Evans, Cedric the Entertainer, Common, The Game, Jay Mohr, and Terry Crews. David Ayer (Harsh Times) directs from a script by novelist James Ellroy (The Black Dahlia), Kurt Wimmer (Equilibrium), and first-timer Jamie Moss.

Shine A Light. (2008, 122 minutes, PG-13, concert/documentary, trailer) This opened in limited release a couple of weeks back, it now comes to my town. I am looking forward to it. I am not the biggest of Rolling Stones fans, but they have some great tunes, plus Martin Scorsese is at the helm. The movie chronicles a pair of shows in NYC back in 2006, intercut with new and old interview footage.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. (2007, 112 minutes, PG-13, drama) This completely bypassed my town during its initial run and it now arrives at the second run theater. This film has had nearly unanimous rave reviews, which led to surprise when it did not get a Best Foreign Language Oscar nomination, although I am sure there is a story there. This is the tale of Jean-Dominique Bauby, editor of the French version of Elle who suffered a massive stroke that left only his left eyelid under his control. He wrote his story, this story, with that condition. Director Julian Schnabel did receive a nomination for Best Director for the movie, but lost to the Coen Brothers.

Also opening this week, but not near me:

  • The Visitor
  • Young@Heart

Box Office Predictions

21 has held the top spot for the past two weeks. Will it be able to go for a third? I tend to say no. I believe the remake of Prom Night will take the top spot, although it will be yet another soft week at the cineplex. It looks as if takes will remain low until Iron Man arrives on May 2nd. The rest will be a best guess scenario. Something tells me Street Kings will be solid, while Smart People will do respectable business, but be well behind the leaders.

Here is how I think the top ten field will play out:

Rank Title Box Office
1 Prom Night $19 million
2 Street Kings $11.5 million
3 21 $9 million
4 Nim's Island $7 million
5 Leatherheads $6.5 million
6 Horton Hears a Who! $5.5 million
7 Smart People $5 million
8 The Ruins $4 million
9 Superhero Movie $2.5 million
10 Drillbit Taylor $2 million
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