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New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Ninja Assassin, Old Dogs, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Road

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First off, I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and play it safe as you head out in the wee hours of Friday morning for those doorbusters. Allow me to suggest an alternative to long lines, cranky cashiers, and out of stock items. Go to the movies! There are plenty of choices for the whole family and it can be a great activity for you to do as a group, and if you select the right movie, think about the potential conversations! I won’t be going on Thursday, but the evenings before and after you will likely find me queuing up for something!

Ninja Assassin. (2009, 99 minutes, R, action) I saw someone describe this in a post-screening tweet as Enter the Dragon on meth. I have not seen it yet, but cannot believe it is in the same league as the Bruce Lee classic. That said, this looks like it is going to be an absolute blast of adrenaline. It stars Rain (who has been rumored to be a potential lead for an Enter the Dragon remake) as Raizo, an orphan raised and trained as an assassin. However, when his friend is murdered, Raizo sets his sights on those responsible, the clan that raised him. I do not expect a terribly deep story, but I do expect wild action. Also featured in the film is ’80s ninja legend Sho Kosugi! James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) directs.

Old Dogs. (2009, 88 minutes, PG, comedy) I look at this and I see very little of interest. Watered down Robin Williams and an aged pre-Pulp Fiction John Travolta team for a buddy comedy about kids, women, and their lot in life. Frankly, it all feels a little ho-hum, although I do like the gorilla bit with Seth Green. Old Dogs is from director Walt Becker who made a hit of Wild Hogs a few years back. That movie turned out to be rather charming, although I do not see the same here. Still, I am sure it will be fun enough for those who go. It will surely be far from the worst film you could see, although we can always continue to hope for better from the two leads.

Fantastic Mr. Fox. (2009, 87 minutes, PG, animated comedy) I cannot be said to be a fan of Wes Anderson. Maybe I just don’t “get” his films, but while they are certainly interesting on some level, I just generally don’t care for them. However, I am really looking forward to this one. It has a wonderfully bizarre and original look with fun characters. It just really looks like a unique experience. It is based on a book by Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and tells the story of a fox who lives a nice life with his wife and son. However, he puts his family and friends in danger when he returns to his old thieving ways. This sets up a conflict between the animal community and a trio of nasty farmers. The voice cast includes George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, and Willem Dafoe.

The Road. (2009, 119 minutes, R, drama/thriller) I have heard this story (by Cormac McCarthy, author of No Country for Old Men) and film are both beyond bleak. I wonder if that is part of the reason it took so long to come out? I believe this was originally slated for release last year, but kept getting pushed back and pushed back again. It is finally here, albeit in somewhat limited form. It tells the story of a father and son who try to keep the hope of civilization alive as they walk the road in a post-apocalyptic landscape. Viggo Mortensen, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce, Garrett Dillahunt, and Charlize Theron star for director John Hillcoat (The Proposition).

Also opening this week, but not near me:

  • Me and Orson Welles
  • The Princess and the Frog
  • The Private Lives of Pippa Lee

Box Office Predictions

New Moon dominated its debut weekend on its way to one of the biggest of all time and there is little doubt it will handily win its second weekend, possibly bolstered by the holiday weekend and repeat viewings from the hardcore fans. Second will undoubtedly go to Old Dogs, the Williams/Travolta buddy comedy. The rest will likely be bunched up around the middle. If there is one film I would like to see do well this weekend it’s The Road. The post-apocalyptic thriller is not likely to crack the top ten, but I am really looking forward to it and would like to see it succeed (if only based on my hopes).

Here is how I think it could play out for the 3-day weekend.

Rank Title Box Office
1 The Twilight Saga: New Moon $51 million
2 Old Dogs $32 million
3 The Blindside $21 million
4 2012 $14 million
5 Ninja Assassin $12.5 million
6 Precious $11.75 million
7 A Christmas Carol 3D $10 million
8 Fantastic Mr. Fox $9.5 million
9 Planet 51 $8 million
10 The Men Who Stare At Goats $2 million

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