March 9, 2007

New Movies and Box Office Predictions: 300, The Ultimate Gift

There is only one film going into wide release this weekend. It is a film that does not feature any big name stars, but seems to promise an awe inspiring time in the darkened theater. I, for one, cannot wait to see if it lives up to the hype that has built up in my mind. I am terribly frightened that I am setting myself up for a fall, but I cannot help it. Only one new wide release hitting means that the box office take is ripe for the plucking by said solo release. Without much new competition, and the hype surrounding the film, it is almost assured of the top slot. We can only wait, and watch to see how everything unfolds.

300. (2007, 116 minutes, R, action, trailer) Frank Miller made a huge impression on this moviegoer two years ago when Robert Rodriguez brought Sin City to the big screen. Based on that success, it is getting a sequel and paved the way for more of Miller's work. Director Zack Snyder impressed with his reimagining of Dawn of the Dead, is set to turn cinema on its ear with his adaptation (written with Kurt Johnstad and Michael Gordon) of the epic 300. From the trailers, it is a visionary film, heavily stylized and looking just gorgeous. I cannot wait to see the battle of Thermopylae unfold onscreen. The David versus Goliath tale is one I am unfamiliar with, and I do not expect to learn the truth of it here, but rather witness a wildly imaginative take in it. I cannot wait.

Amazing Grace. (2007, 111 minutes, PG, drama, trailer) This is another "based on a true story" film, this time about William Wilberforce. He led the British Abolition movement, seeking to outlaw the slave trade. This is social change that is met with great opposition by those in power. Along the way he is urged along by many, including the man who wrote "Amazing Grace." The movie stars Mr. Fantastic, Ioan Gruffudd, Albert Finney, and Michael Gambon. It was directed by Michael Apted, who is probably most famous for helming Gorillas in the Mist, but also helmed the excellent Always Outnumbered and the Bond film The World is Not Enough.

The Ultimate Gift. (2007, 114 minutes, PG-13, drama, trailer) This film is not opening in my area, but it looks like one that will be worthy of seeking on DVD when it arrives. It is the story of a wealthy man who has passed, he leaves the bulk of his estate to his grandson, a shallow boy. In order to claim the wealth, he must undertake twelve tasks. Fellow Blogcritic Gerald Wright reviewed the film prior to today's release, painting a picture of a person bettering himself through these trials. The question that comes to my mind is whether he truly becomes better, or if it is a farce in order to achieve wealth? Money can be a great motivator. I am assuming that this is not what the film is about, but a valid question still. James Garner stars along with Abigail Breslin (hot on the heels of her Oscar nomination), Brian Dennehy, and Lee Meriwether. This is being released through the Fox Faith imprint.

The Aura. (2006, 138 minutes, unrated, drama, trailer) This film from late Argentinian director Fabian Bielinsky (who only made two films) sounds fascinating. Allow me to quote from the description: "a tale of an epileptic taxidermist with an active imagination and a photographic memory who infiltrates a gang planning a high-stakes heist." Doesn't that intrigue you? It sounds so utterly weird that I almost have to see it.

Also opening this week, but not near me:
  • Believe in Me
  • Beyond the Gates
  • Exterminating Angels
  • The Host
  • Maxed Out
  • The Namesake

Box Office Predictions
Ghost Rider has taken the last two weekends, will it take a third? Not if John Travolta has anything to say about it. I am pretty sure the star power of the goofy looking mid-life comedy is going to take the top spot, after a couple of weekends featuring a flaming skull and an unfunny Jim Carrey, I think people are ready for a laugh. After that, it's anyone's guess. Zodiac is an iffy proposition, with its long run time likely to discourage some from going to see it, still, I think it will be strong enough to place second.

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

RankTitleBox Office
1300$42 million
2Wild Hogs$21 million
3Zodiac$9 million
4Bridge to Terabithia$6 million

Ghost Rider

$5.5 million
6The Number 23

$4 million

7Norbit$3.5 million
8Music and Lyrics$2.5 million
9Amazing Grace$2 million
10Black Snake Moan$2 million

What are you seeing this weekend?


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