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New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Monsters vs. Aliens, The Haunting in Connecticut, 12 Rounds

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The second stage in the build towards blockbuster season begins now. A couple of weeks ago, Watchmen signaled the trend towards the bigger films, striking early in an attempt to drive some life into theaters. Unfortunately, it did not work too well. Perhaps this weekend's premium animation will have a different effect. In any case, it looks to be a good weekend of fun with a goofy action picture, a hopefully creepy horror, and a family-friendly animation.

12 Rounds. (2009, 108 minutes, PG-13, action) This looks utterly ridiculous. However, it does look like it could be dumb fun; or I hope that it is dumb fun while secretly believing it will be terrible. WWE wrestler John Cena stars as a a New Orleans cop who thwarts a master thief's plan, which also causes said thief's girlfriend's death. Obsessed with revenge, the thief breaks out of jail, kidnaps the cop's fiancee and sets about a series of twelve rounds of tests. The trailer strikes me as a cross between Speed and Die Hard with a Vengeance. The movie is directed by Renny Harlin.

The Haunting in Connecticut. (2009, 110 minutes, PG-13, horror) I have hopes for this one. It is based on the supposedly true event of a haunting that took place in, you guessed it, Connecticut. A family moves into its new home in an unassuming neighborhood, only to come under attack from a previous tenant who had spoken with dark supernatural forces. The trailer looks really creepy, the poster gets under my skin, and don't get me started on the motion poster! I really hope that this delivers. Peter Cornwell directs, making his big screen debut.

Monsters vs. Aliens. (2009, 94 minutes, PG, animated) I am expecting this one to be huge. It is the latest from Dreamworks Animation and looks to be a real crowd pleaser. It begins with a woman who grows to enormous heights and is confined with a motley crew of assorted monsters, including a scientist with head of a cockroach, a gelatinous blob, and a half fish-half ape critter. They become a necessity to the government when an alien arrives with an ultimatum. I cannot see this living up to the likes of Kung Fu Panda, but it could approach something like Over the Hedge. It does have the added bonus of being presented in 3D, and I like this latest wave of 3D films. The voice cast is also impressive, including Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, Kiefer Sutherland, Rainn Wilson, Stephen Colbert, Jeffrey Tambor, Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, Hugh Laurie, Paul Rudd, Renee Zellweger, and John Krasinski.

Also opening this week, but not near me:
  • American Swing
  • Goodbye Solo
  • Little Ashes
  • Shall We Kiss
  • Spinning Into Butter

Box Office Predictions
The top film for this weekend is easily going to be Monsters vs. Aliens. How can it not be? It has a massive amount of promotion, looks like fun, and would appear to be the antidote needed to bring families out together as one large happy unit. With the added 3D bonus, I hope it pays off as the reworking of the old school gimmick has been quite well done. As for the rest of the field? The other two new release should do decently, but will likely be closer to the rest of the pack.

Here is how I think it could play out.

Rank Title Box Office
1 Monsters vs. Aliens $52 million
2 The Haunting in Connecticut $16 million
3 Knowing $14 million
4 I Love You, Man $13 million
5 12 Rounds $10 million
6 Duplicity $9 million
7 Race to Witch Mountain $6 million
8 Watchmen $5 million
9 Taken $3.5 million
10 The Last House on the Left $3 million
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