Well, you might say that Christmas comes early to the Reject Report, because this Thanksgiving we have three new movies rolling out. One of them is entitled Four Christmases, starring Vince Vaughn. We also have Transporter 3 and the highly-touted Australia.
Actually, come to think of it, we are looking at a down week of sorts at the box office, because most of the big heavy hitters have already rolled out and done their damage. November has been a big month of blockbusters, thanks to Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Quantum of Solace, and of course Twilight. It looks as if Twilight will continue to do good business and I am predicting a weekend haul of $31 million for that flick, which would be a dropoff of over half what it took in during its premiere weekend. The question is will any of these new movies be able to beat it?
We’ll start with Australia, yet another one of these Oscar hopefuls — and the fact that I am referring to it as “yet another one of these Oscar hopefuls” tells you all you need to know about its prospects, because it threatens to get lost in the shuffle. Anyway, check it out. Baz Luhrman directs this flick set in northern Australia during World War II. The story is about an English aristocrat (Nicole Kidman) who inherits a cattle ranch in the country. She teams up with a rough-and-tumble cattle drover (Hugh Jackman) to protect her property from being taken over. Of course, while they drive their cattle across the land the Japanese decide to bomb Darwin, so there’s quite a lot going on here.
You know, I want to see movies like Australia do well, because they’re important, serious movies made by important, serious people. And they never do make a fortune, it seems. This one is in 2,600 theaters, and I think there will be enough interest for it to make something around $18 million for the weekend and $27 million for the five day Thanksgiving period. That won’t be enough to win the weekend, though, which means you’ll once again see the usual people blasting Nicole Kidman’s ability to carry a movie. It’ll be too bad, too. This flick wasn’t made in order to win at the box office; it was made for reasons that had to do with high art and so on. I kind of hope this thing turns out OK at the box office.
Next up is Four Christmases which, based on the trailers I see on late-might TV, looks like yet another take-the-money-and-run Christmas-season movie like we normally expect to see every year around Thanksgiving. Except this one features A-list actors and the famous Vince Vaughn. This movie looks to have Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon as a couple attempting to visit all four of their divorced parents on Christmas Day. Jon Voight, Robert Duvall, Mary Steenburgen and Sissy Spacek all star in this flick.
This movie has been getting heavy promotion from TV ads the last several days, and it opens up on over 3,200 screens, a sizable number. I expect Four Christmases to do the best of the new releases this holiday weekend. Yet I am only expecting it to get $21 million for the weekend and maybe $31 million for the full five days. Why? Because I have a feeling it’s going to be awful, and that people will figure out it will be awful and they won’t show up in droves. In fact, the review in the Hollywood Reporter was calling this “one of the most joyless Christmas movies ever”. Anyway, I still think some people will see it.
Finally we have Transporter 3, which seems a little out of place given all the vampires, funny animals and singing teenagers that have shown up on movie screens all fall. But the James Bond action fans might have their appetites for another action movie whetted, so they may want to see this. This is the third Transporter flick and it once again stars action icon Jason Statham as Frank Martin, the Transporter. Here he must “transport” Valentina, daughter of a Ukrainian official with its Environmental Protection Agency, from Marseilles to Odessa on the Black Sea while battling all kinds of dangerous people. Natalya Rudakova and François Berléand also star. Fun stuff; I hope it’s good.
I looked up the numbers for Transporter 2 and that flick made about $16 million during its opening weekend. That gives you a pretty good indication of how this one should do. I’ll say $16 million for the weekend (surprise, surprise) and $25 million for the five-days for sequel number 3.
So there you go: three wide releases, all of which will go down to defeat at the hands of Twilight which should rule for the second weekend in a row, thanks to the vast fangirl community out there. But who knows? Maybe they’ll stay home this week. I’m convinced there will be a big dropoff in numbers for Twilight. The question is: how much? If it drops upwards of 70 percent, which could well happen, it could spell trouble and Twilight could be had. Let’s face it, though — it’s not facing a really strong lineup of potential box office contenders this week.
So here is what I see for the weekend numbers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday:
|1. Twilight||$31 million|
|2. Four Christmases||$21 million|
|3. Australia||$18 million|
|4. Bolt||$16.5 million|
|5. Transporter 3
|6. Quantum of Solace
|7. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa||$9 million|
|8. Role Models||$5 million|
|9. Changeling||$2 million|
|10. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas||$1.8 million|
There you have it. I’ll be back to wrap up the Thanksgiving box office totals at the end of the weekend. Enjoy eating birds, and enjoy the football on TV. And of course, enjoy the movies.