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New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Fred Claus, Lions for Lambs, P2

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Last weekend, November got off to a strong start with lots of folks heading out for Ridley Scott’s American Gangster and Jerry Seinfeld’s return in Bee Movie. This weekend will seek to build off of that success with a surefire holiday hit about Santa’s big brother, a political/war themed drama featuring one of the biggest stars in the world, and finally a modest thriller set in a parking garage. Will any of them be able to separate you from your cinematic dollar?

Fred Claus. (2007, 116 minutes, PG, family comedy, trailer) The pairing of Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti seemed so perfect in the first teaser for this film, but increasingly less so in the new trailers and commercials. I have a bad feeling about this, but I still have hopes that it will turn out well. It seems to be targeting the same type of crowd as Elf (which was brilliant). This movie centers on Fred, who must travel north to visit his kid brother and help out the elves in the workshop. Of course, things do not go quite as planned. I liked it until I saw the Secret Service elves, that kind of put me off. David Dobkin directs for the first time since Wedding Crashers.

Lions for Lambs. (2007, 88 minutes, R, drama, trailer) It will be interesting to see how this film is received, as the other recent war-themed movies haven’t turned out to be the hits they were expected to be (The Kingdom, Rendition). This movie has the star power of Tom Cruise and Robert Redford (who also directs), and it co-stars the director of The Kingdom, Peter Berg. It tells the intersecting tales of a soldier in Afghanistan, an idealistic professor in California, and a Senator in Washington DC. I have not seen much on this one, but I am interested in seeing it and its reception.

P2. (2007, 98 minutes, R, thriller, trailer) This one kind of snuck up on me. I remember seeing the title and not paying it any mind, and then I saw the trailer. Now, I make no presumption of greatness, but the trailer looks deliciously creepy. What sold me was the scene of Rachel Nichols opening her cell phone in a dark room only to have the light reveal Wes Bentley standing right behind her. Realistic? I don’t think so, but very effective. It is directed by Franck Khalfoun, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Alexandre Aja, who was behind the good remake of The Hills Have Eyes and the excellent (until the end) Haute Tension.

Also opening this week, but not near me:

  • After Dark Horror Fest 2: I am thinking about taking a bit of a drive to catch a few of these. Can anyone recommend the best of the bunch?
  • I’ll Believe You
  • No Country for Old Men
  • Saawariya
  • War/Dance

Box Office Predictions
Will this week be as bad as last week was for predictions? Time will tell; check in on my Box Office Update come Tuesday. I think that the new holiday comedy Fred Claus will come out strong and lead the pack in its opening frame. Vaughn is becoming a rather bankable name and Paul Giamatti is a good one to have for backup. Following that, last week’s top two will continue to have good showings. Lions for Lambs could have a decent open based on the star power, but I do not think it will have a great one, considering the topics. The remaining films will all be in the chase for as many bucks as they can eke out of viewers.

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

Rank Title Box Office
1 Fred Claus $38 million
2 American Gangster $24 million
3 Bee Movie $23 million
4 Lions for Lambs $13 million
5 Dan in Real Life $5.5 million
6 Saw IV $5 million
7 P2 $4.5 million
8 The Game Plan $3.5 million
9 Martian Child $2.5 million
10 Michael Clayton $2 million

What are you seeing this weekend?

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