This weekend offers up a few new films hoping to reach the top of the box office and be the first to unseat Avatar, like Lost in Space did to Titanic so many years ago. Do any of them have what it takes? I really don’t think so, but we’ll know in a few days. It’s funny, for as good as Avatar has been for the box office and for the few good films so far this year, I cannot help but feel a little blah about the year so far. I know the early months of each year are usually littered with cast-offs, but this year seems particularly off. Odd. Hopefully things will pick up soon.
Dear John. (2010, 108 minutes, PG-13, romance) The latest Nicholas Sparks adaptation is upon us. Channing Tatum is the John of the title, a soldier who meets Amanda Seyfried’s Savannah, thus sparking a romance that will be interrupted by war. The trailer shows them falling for each other very quickly, only to have that love tested by his deployment to the Middle East. I am guessing this deployment (multiple deployments?) keeps the star-crossed lovers apart for some time. They stay in each other’s lives through letters, hence the title. I cannot say I am excited for it, but I do like Amanda Seyfried and director Lasse Hallstrom has been involved in some interesting films over the years.
From Paris with Love. (2010, 95 minutes, R, action) Last year director Pierre Morel found surprising box office success with Taken, the Liam Neeson revenge thriller that had been made a year or two prior. He is seeking to follow up that success with this new action film featuring a bald John Travolta as a wisecracking CIA operative and Jonathan Rhys Myers as a low-level analyst inexplicably assigned to work with him in an attempt to stop a terrorist attack in Paris. It looks like a lot of fun. Not necessarily great or even good — but all I want is a fun action romp.
Frozen. (2010, 94 minutes, R, horror) Open Water on a ski lift, Jaws of the sky — both phrases I have seen used to describe this movie and both seem to be accurate. Adam Green, the man behind the excellent slasher Hatchet (and upcoming sequel) has turned his eye to something a little more realistic and even more frightening. I am not sure something like this could actually happen, but it is scary idea. It centers on a trio of snowboarders who are going up the mountain for a last run when the lift shuts down, the lights go out, and the temperature begins to drop. What would you do?
Crazy Heart. (2010, 111 minutes, R, drama) It has been said that Jeff Bridges’ performance is a tour de force, a fact proven by his critical wins, including the Golden Globe. I am really looking forward to see if it really delivers while feeling that it will be along the same lines as Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler last year. The movie tells the story of a broken down country singer who has led a hard life on the road filled with drinks and bad marriages. He sees a chance at redemption in a journalist played by Maggie Gyllennhaal. On top of that, I like the music I have heard so far from it.
Also opening this week, but not near me:
- District B13: Ultimatum
- Shinjuku Incident
- The Korean
- Red Riding Trilogy
- Terribly Happy
Box Office Predictions
For seven weeks Avatar has ruled supreme. Does it have the strength to take eight? Why not? It has made it this far, well above and beyond expectations, so why not another week? It already has the international and national all-time records in its pocket, it can pretty much do whatever it wants! I think the most significant challenge will come from From Paris with Love; although I suspect the R rating will hold it back, it will top off in the high teens.
Here is how I think it could play out:
|2||From Paris with Love||$17 million|
|3||Dear John||$14 million|
|4||Edge of Darkness||$9 million|
|5||When in Rome||$7 million|
|6||The Tooth Fairy||$5 million|
|7||The Book of Eli||$4.5 million|
|9||The Lovely Bones||$3 million|
|10||Sherlock Holmes||$3 million|