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New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Live Free or Die Hard, Ratatouille

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This week brings a mere two releases, and one of them has already been open for a couple of days. Both of this week's major releases carry with them decent expectations from the studios. One is a sequel in a series of films that last appeared on the big screen  twelve years ago, the other is the latest in a line of animated hits for a big name outfit. They are both courting vastly different audiences, and both could be standing to receive some great attention.

Live Free or Die Hard. (2007, 130 minutes, PG-13, action, trailer). This opened on Wednesday, and has received primarily positive response. There was some concern that the PG-13 rating would effectively neuter the violence and language that has been a staple of the series thus far, but it looks like the violence is still there, and the language is a non-factor. I am reserving final judgment until I see it, but the trailers have been suitably explosive, and who doesn't like Bruce facing terrorists? Len Wiseman, of Underworld fame, directs.

Ratatouille. (2007, 110 minutes, G, animated comedy, trailer) I have already seen this, and it is a brilliant outing, a definite crowd pleaser, and a step up from last year's Cars. Of course, those are two very different movies, but the inevitable comparison of all Pixar films is inevitable, and they have not had a bad one yet. This was written and directed by Brad Bird, who previously brought us The Iron Giant and The Incredibles; in this film he was brought in as a fixer on a problem project. He pulled out a gem, a story that tells the unlikely story of a rat that wants to be a chef, and the friendship that is struck with a human who lacks the skills to be a chef. This is an absolute must-see.

Also opening this week, but not near me:

  • Evening
  • Dr. Bronner's Soapbox
  • Ghosts of Cite Soleil
  • One to Another
  • Vitus

Box Office Predictions

Pixar will rule this weekend, no doubt in my mind. I saw the sneak for Ratatouille a few weeks back, and it is a brilliant film, hands down one of the best of the year, and I have no doubt that it will be another winner for the premiere CG animated film outfit. The latest Die Hard outing, some 12 years or so out from the last, is receiving pretty good word of mouth and will likely have a strong weekend following its Wednesday opening. Evan Almighty will begin its slide to the bottom as well this week.

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

Rank Title Box Office
1 Ratatouille $55 million
2 Live Free or Die Hard $35 million
3 Evan Almighty $18 million
4 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer $12 million
5 1408 $11 million
6 Knocked Up $5 million
7 Ocean's Thirteen $5 million
8 Surf's Up $3 million
9 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End $3 million
10 Shrek the Third $2.5 million

What are you seeing this weekend?

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