The Day the Reject Report Stood Still

Welcome to another Reject Report, and yet another easy weekend for those predicting the first place finisher at the box office. Everyone is saying The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008 remake) is going to win. The only question is by how much.

And yet again, Awards Season at the theaters will be upstaged by yet another low-brow popcorn movie for the masses. You know, the Golden Globes nominations were just announced yesterday, and a lot of these movie sites (Hollywood Elsewhere, Movie City News, In Contention and the rest) are going gaga over films that, well, no one is actually paying gobs of money to go and see. That doesn’t make these bad films, but there is certainly a disconnect going on — we have excitement in the press over these award contenders but we’ll be lucky if any of them do Top Ten business this week at all.

In particular, the movie freaks are going ape over Milk and Slumdog Millionaire, and Gran Torino and Frost/Nixon and other flicks. You’re hearing plenty about them, that’s for sure. But these films are still not showing up in a lot of theaters. I think Milk is up to 328 now. Big freaking deal — it ain’t coming to my area, that’s for sure. Neither is Gran Torino, which is only rolling out on six screens this weekend. So forget about going to see that one if you live in the boondocks like I do.

Whether the masses like it or not, they aren’t going to have much choice in new releases beyond The Day the Earth Stood Still, a movie that is certain to win absolutely nothing. Nothing except, of course, the box office title this weekend. On to the latest movies.

The Day the Earth Stood Still is a loose remake of the 1951 film of the same name that saw an alien land on earth along with an indestructible robot called Gort. That flick is considered a sci-fi classic. This one stars Keanu Reeves, an actor notorious for appearing in one bad movie after another lately. It also stars beautiful Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Connelly, a woman extremely popular with guys — so get ready to see lots of drooling guys at the theater this weekend. She is also known for appearing in some good movies occasionally, so maybe this sci-fi flick will be good, too.

Both Reeves and Connelly have been doing the talk-show rounds this week, appearing on one late-night show after another to promote the movie and hype up the interest. Once again, we have an alien and an indestructible robot landing on earth, and all heck breaks loose once again on planet Earth. Scott Derrickson directs.

Now, it was around this time of year — this month, anyway — that the new Star Trek movie was supposed to be released, but it’s been pushed back. Same for that Harry Potter flick. Just think what the box office would have been like if those two flicks had been released in November and December — it would have been through the roof. Anyway, the fans of fantasy and in particular sci-fi are starved for entertainment right now. I know a few people have been saying that they are unimpressed with this latest flick, but I have a feeling people will go see it anyway. I remember when Cloverfield showed up at theaters and made over $40 million. This looks like a similar draw, and it’s in about 3,600 theaters. The prognostications seem to indicate a haul of $47-$49 million, so I’ll go with $48.5 for The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Two other movies that will be rolling out in a few theaters: Delgo is an animated feature from Atlanta, Georgia’s Fathom Studios, a CGI movie that has been in the works since 1999. It features the voices of Freddie Prinze, Jr., Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Anne Bancroft who, insightful readers will note, has been dead since 2005. Yes, this movie has taken a long time to get released. Prinze plays Delgo, a teenager who must find a way, with his friends’ help, to save his world from the war between the Lockni and Nohrin people. It’s in over 2,000 theaters but is not expected to do a lot of business. I’d say $3.5 million is my guess for Delgo.

And finally there is Nothing Like the Holidays, from Overture Films, which features a mostly Latino cast including John Leguizamo, Freddy Rodriguez, Alfred Molina, Jay Hernandez, Elizabeth Pena, Luis Guzman and, uh, Debra Messing, who is definitely NOT Latino. The feeling among a lot of people is that this movie will do well with Latino audiences, who of course are a vastly underserved audience at the movie theaters. The story revolves around the Rodriguez family who gather in Chicago for Christmas, a time of peace, love and joy and all that — except the mother and father are getting divorced. So we’re getting another “upheaval in the family” movie. Sounds to me like something similar to what Tyler Perry would write. Oh, and did I mention that Tyler Perry movies tend to make a lot of money?

This flick probably would make more money if it actually were a Tyler Perry production, though. I only see this one making it to $7 million.

So here is what I see happening at the theaters this weekend:

1. The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) $48.5 million
2. Four Christmases $12 million
3. Twilight $9 million
4. Nothing Like the Holidays $7 million
5. Bolt
$6 million
6. Australia
$4.5 million
7. Quantum of Solace $4 million
8. Delgo $3.3 million
9. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa $3.2 million
10. Transporter 3 $2.5 million

And there you have it. Back at the end of the weekend when we see how much cash was made at the theaters. See you then.

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