USA Today goes WAY out on a limb and picks six sequels, all from wildly popular series, as holiday season hits. Their seventh pick for blockbusterdom stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, and is directed by Steven Spielberg – hmm, sounds risky:
- In each of the past two holiday seasons, exactly seven movies released from the start of November through the end of the year broke the magical $100 million mark at the box office. That’s the widely accepted point at which a hit becomes a blockbuster, when everyone from toddlers to seniors shows up — maybe even more than once.
This year, USA TODAY is going out on a Christmas-tree limb to predict which seven movies are not just going to be successful, but wildly successful.
The Super Seven films most likely to bring joy to the world and money to the multiplex are The Santa Clause 2 (opening today), Harry Potter (news – web sites) and the Chamber of Secrets (Nov. 15), Die Another Day (the latest James Bond, Nov. 22), Analyze That (the sequel to Analyze This, Dec. 6), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Dec. 18), Star Trek: Nemesis (Dec. 13) and Catch Me if You Can (Dec. 25).
Six of the seven are sequels or the latest episode in a popular series. (The holidays are a time of tradition, after all.)
The one exception is the con-man chronicle Catch Me, but that movie comes from the electric trio of Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks and director Steven Spielberg. ”With that combination, how could it be anything but huge?” asks Drew Devlin of the business tipsheet Independent Marketing Edge. He places Catch Me right up there with Rings and Potter.
That Catch Me is based on the exploits of a real-life rascal wanted by the police in more than two dozen countries adds to the surefire allure.
….”The potential is there for the box office to be much better than last year, and last year set a record,” Devlin says. Moviegoers spent $8.13 billion in 2001.
And now is when records get shattered.
”The November-to-December holiday season is the most important time of the year” for the movies, Borys says. ”The holiday season is a traditional time of the year to go see films. Filmgoers have come to expect exciting and enjoyable choices. I think the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings sequels are favorites to lead the list of this year’s holiday $100 million-grossers.”
John Shaw, an analyst with Movieline International, says Two Weeks Notice, a comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant opening Dec. 20, and Solaris, a sci-fi romance film with George Clooney to be released Nov. 27, are the leading contenders.
Such bold predictions – I am a bit surprised no one selected Waste Not, Want Not, a biopic about sewage treatment pioneer Manuel Disposal starring Carrot Top, as a leading contender.