Box Office Predictions (Dec. 25-28)


Merry Christmas to Everyone!

And it shall be a rewarding Christmas in the movie industry as well with FIVE new wide releases and the “Oscar contenders” expanding.  No matter what kind of person you are, there will definitely be a movie for you to see this weekend.

First up on the list is Adam Sandler’s family/adventure film, Bedtime Stories.  Sandler in a Disney film?  Say it ain’t so!  It’s a silly premise, but aren’t all kids films?  Sandler tells bedtime stories to his nephew and niece and finds out that the details of the stories actually come true in real life.  He then begins to manipulate the stories to benefit in real life from a hotel handyman to becoming the manager.  Adam Sandler is one of the most bankable actors in the business, and combining his star power with a Disney kids film… that spells out success!  Opening in almost 3,700 theaters this weekend, don’t bet against Bedtime Stories.

Next… the Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson, and that cute dog in the family film Marley & Me.  Based on the best selling book, this is about a couple who decide to get a golden lab that ends up being the worst dog in the entire world.  Even though Aniston hasn’t done anything close to great, she’s still a high power actress that can bring in the crowds.  Opening in about 3,500 theaters, expect her to do the same for this film.

Now here’s the movie I’m super-stoked to see.  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  Directed by David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac), adapted by Eric Roth (Forrest Gump), and starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett.  This fantasy/romance is loosely based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald short about a man who ages backwards but meets with his love, Daisy, just at the right moment when they’re the same age.  But then of course he gets younger while she gets older.  It’s a wicked premise and I’m very excited to see how Fincher plays with this dark and tricky story… plus all of the special effects.  This is a major contender for Best Picture and I believe everyone knows that.  Should that be a reason for someone to skip this long, serious film for a lighter one this weekend?  Possibly… but I don’t think that’s going to matter too much.  Opening in about 3,000 theaters, Paramount is wishing for a big box office to boost its Oscar chances.

Valkyrie hopes to soar to the top this weekend with its World War II plot of a group of German officers planning to kill Hitler.  Starring Tom Cruise (as a Nazi?) and directed by Bryan Singer (X-2, Superman Returns), this had the potential of topping the box office if didn’t have to come out this weekend.  With all the competition, don’t expect Valkyrie to land in the Top 3.

Finally, the comic-to-film, The Spirit, about a cop who takes on an entire city of corruption and villains, looks to draw in the Frank Miller crowd who loved Sin City and 300.  The visuals look the same.  It certainly feels the same.  But who wants to see the same film again, just done differently?  Oh wait, check out these stars in the film:  Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, and Eva Mendes… with Gabriel Macht (who?) as the lead.  Of the five new releases, The Spirit has the lowest theater count of 2,509.  Is the studio being cautious anticipating a possible bust?  We’ll have to see at the end of the week.

Then there are the plenty of films expanding to more theaters.  This includes many Oscar contenders such as:  Doubt (1,267 theaters), Frost/Nixon (205 theaters), Gran Torino (84 theaters) and The Reader (116 theaters). 

My Predictions:

1.  Bedtime Stories – $45 million
2.  Marley & Me – $25 million
3.  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – $20 million
4.  Yes Man – $16 million
5.  Valkyrie – $14 million

Phil’s Predictions:

1.  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – $45 million
2.  Marley & Me – $37 million
3.  Bedtime Stories – $22 million
4.  Valkyrie – $19 million
5.  The Spirit – $13 million


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