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New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Grindhouse, The Reaping, Are We Done Yet?, Firehouse Dog

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This week sees the release of four new films to theaters, but rather than all coming out on Friday, they are staggered, presumably to take advantage of kids on spring break, and the buildup to the Easter weekend. I am sure that the weekend will see a bit of a downturn, so why not try and get some momentum during the week? Two films opened this past Wednesday, one on Thursday, and one more on the normal release day of Friday. These four films give you the choice of family comedy or horror. The stars arriving this week include Ice Cube, Hilary Swank, Kurt Russell, Bruce Willis, and Rosario Dawson.

Firehouse Dog. (2007, 111 minutes, PG, family, trailer) I'm not sure what to make of this movie. I have only seen a couple of commercials for it, and I can't say that they have excited me. It is the story of a stunt dog who gets separated from his owner and ends up at a firehouse, where he helps a young boy and his father get the house on track and stop an arsonist. The one thing that may be good about it is Josh Hutcherson; he is a good young actor who has already impressed this year in Bridge to Terabithia. It was directed by Todd Holland who has spent much of his time on the small screen, directing episodes of Malcolm in the Middle, Wonderfalls, among others.

Are We Done Yet? (2007, 92 minutes, PG, comedy, trailer) Sequel to Are We There Yet? sees Ice Cube and Nia Long settling down and moving the family out to the country. I never saw the original, no interest, but I do like Ice Cube and the easy going charisma that he has on the screen (excepting xXx: State of the Union, of course). This looks to be a none too great family comedy that could very well be a sweetly entertaining film. It looks like it is going to anchor on the fish-out-of-water story as these former city dwellers come face to face with nature. Another thing that the movie has going for it is John C. McGinley (Scrubs, Wild Hogs) who seems to be comic gold in whatever he does lately. This was directed by Steve Carr, who has also helmed Rebound and Daddy Day Care.

The Reaping. (2007, 96 minutes, R, thriller, trailer) This is the kind of movie that could go either way. I am hoping it will be good, but expecting it to be, well, let's just say not so good. It stars Hilary Swank as an investigator who sets out to disprove supposedly miraculous occurrences. She is a woman who lost her faith and turned to a career of debunking. She arrives at a small town that is being confronted with what appear to be the Biblical plagues. Swank must figure out what is going on, which may be having an effect on her faith. David Morrissey (Basic Instinct 2) and AnnaSophia Robb (Josh Hutcherson's Bridge to Terabithia co-star) co-star. It was directed by Stephen Hopkins who has had some success in the horror/thriller realm with A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, Predator 2, and The Ghost and the Darkness to his name.

Grindhouse. (2007, 165 minutes, R, horror, trailer) Now here is a project that I have been anticipating for quite some time. Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino got together and decided to pay tribute to the grindhouse double features of the '70s. For those of you who may not know, a grindhouse was a theater that would run exploitation double features in run-down theaters that may only have been cleaned once a year. It was the only place to go and see films that exploit anything and everything; the films would be old and marked up, there might be missing frames or reels, and they tended to be low budget affairs. In other words, this is where you would find any young horror fan in training. Anyway, each director has directed a feature film, complete with a low budget look, and prints that will be purposely less than stellar. Rodriguez has the zombie flick Planet Terror, featuring Rose McGowan with a gun for a leg, while Tarantino has the car chase slasher flick Death Proof, featuring a scarred Kurt Russell as a serial killer out for a night of fun. In between the features will be a series of fake movie trailers to complete the effect. Man, I cannot wait to sink down into the darkened theater and be violated by this project.

An Unreasonable Man. (2006, 122 minutes, unrated, documentary, trailer) This documentary is opening at the local arthouse this week. It is a documentary centered on Ralph Nader, featuring archival footage and over forty on-camera interviews. It follows his career from his rise to prominence in the 1960s to the present day. As a special attraction, Ralph Nader will appear in person for a post-film Q&A on Saturday, April 7, following the 1pm showing.

The Animation Show 3. (2007, 81 minutes, PG-13, animation) I have to say that I love this series. I may not love every part of it, but the idea is great. It is a collection of animated shorts from around the world, put together by Mike Judge and Don Hertzfeldt. They put together these films that many would never have the opportunity to see and takes them on tour. The first two volumes were recently released on DVD.

Also opening this week, but not near me:

  • Black Book
  • The Hoax
  • The TV Set

Box Office Predictions

This is going to be a hard weekend to predict. I suspect the holiday will put a damper on movie-going, so I suspect that business will see a downturn from recent weeks. I also think that this was a bad weekend to open Grindhouse; that, combined with the length of the double feature, not to mention that it is a bit of an odd project (that I cannot wait to see), will result in a low weekend total. I am also of the opinion that The Reaping will pull mediocre numbers, potentially below Grindhouse. Then there are the two Wednesday releases, looking to capitalize on spring break and the family-oriented holiday weekend. Firehouse Dog hasn't had much of an ad campaign, at least not that I have seen, whereas the new Ice Cube comedy has been everywhere, I suspect that will be the winner.

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

Rank Title Box Office
1 Are We Done Yet? $25 million
2 Blades of Glory $21 million
3 Meet the Robinsons $16 million
4 Grindhouse $15 million
5

300

$8 million
6 The Reaping

$7 million

7 TMNT $5 million
8 Wild Hogs $4 million
9 Shooter $3.5 million
10 Premoniton $2 million

What are you seeing this weekend?

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About Draven99

  • http://gentopix.blogspot.com bharath

    free rider of public financing:

    Ralph Nader is always a dubious element. even though he has championed many public causes, he had only stood for presidency. He never tried to convince his city to vote him mayor, nor his state to vote him a senator or a congressman. Without even limited success he believes his vision resonates with country at large. I think public financing has this drawback. Cheap shots who can’t raise money would like to get a free ride without putting in the work.

  • http://gentopix.blogspot.com bharath

    Grind house may be the one that I will watch. Tarantino with Rodriguez is a fantastic pair. I have been expecting them to come together again after sin city. It gonna be fun.

  • Tom

    Free ride? Don’t be ridiculous. Anyone who has paid any attention to Ralph Nader knows he’s a non-stop workhorse.

    Public Financing of elections is crucial if we want to get past the non-stop corruption we have now. Do you really want to elect candidates based on their skill to plead for lots of money?

    Martin Luther King, Jr. never ran for mayor or congress either, but with his views he, too, would have made a wonderful president. No one else has as long a list of legislative accomplishments that Nader has. That gives him incredible experience.

    If the Democrats and Republicans would let him into their debates, he’d probably win. No matter what’s been said about him, Ralph Nader has been best on the issues all along.

  • Sanjay

    I just heard that Francis and Sophia Coppola is making the movie “Apocalypse Now”. They want Tom Cruise and Danzel Washington to star in it. I can’t wait to see this one.

    Truly,
    Sanjay

  • http://blogcritics.org/ Phillip Winn

    Hmmm… Are We Done Yet? opened to $10M less than you expected, but Blades of Glory was pretty close, within $2M, and Meet the Robinsons was basically right on target. Grindhouse was lower than you expected, but not by much. A lot of other folks were surprised, but you were less than $3M high, and you said ahead of time that you expected it to be really low, so kudos to you!

    The Reaping drew fewer people than you expected, but 300 was right on. TMNT was right on, too, though both Wild Hogs and Shooter did better than you expected after a few weeks.

    Anyway, not bad. Not bad at all.