October 17, 2008

New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Max Payne, The Secret Life of Bees, Sex Drive, W.

Last week saw Leonardo Dicaprio and Ridley Scott get shut down by some talking dogs and flesh eating people. Who saw that coming? I'll tell you, the families that were thirsting for inoffensive family fare they could take their children to and teens and twenty-somethings with a little blood lust. Not many people want to see drama set with the backdrop of a real conflict. Oh well, we see what we can and move on. This week's releases are top billed by a video game adaptation and a real life adaptation. Which one will win?

Max Payne. (2008, 100 minutes, PG-13, action, trailer) Leaping from computer and television screens across the country and onto the big screen. The film, based on the same-named video game, features the character Max Payne teaming with an assassin to descend into the criminal underworld to track down those responsible for the slaying of his family. Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis star as Payne and the assassin and are joined by Chris O'Donnell, Beau Bridges, Ludacris, and Amaury Nolasco. John Moore is behind the camera for the first time since the 2006 remake of The Omen. Will it be any good? I hope so, I like the trailer and Wahlberg seems right for the role.

The Secret Life of Bees. (2008, 110 minutes, PG-13, drama, trailer) I have heard good things about this drama. Dakota Fanning stars as Lily, a young girl who runs away following the death of her mother, joining her is her friend Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson). She flees to the town where her mother came from and it leads her to three sisters (Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys, and Sophie Okonedo) who teach her about beekeeping and honey production. Actually, that sounds rather dry, but the trailer looks good. The film was directed and adapted by Gina Prince-Bythewood.

Sex Drive. (2008, 109 minutes, R, comedy, trailer) I am not so sure about this one, I think it will be sporadically funny, but it looks like it will lack a good deal of heart that makes the raunchy Apatow comedies work so well. It centers on an 18 year old who is unlucky in love, turns to the internet, and chooses to drive 500 miles to meet this internet chick. Comedy ensues as he steals his older brother's GTO. I look at the runtime and it just seems too long for a movie like this. Time will tell if it is any good. There is always hope.

W. (2008, 131 minutes, PG-13, comedy/drama, trailer) While Max Payne is probably the one I want to see first this weekend, this is the most intriguing. Oliver Stone has made a send off of sorts for the final months of the Bush Presidency by making a film about his rise to power. Is it a comedy? Drama? Fact? Fiction? Probably a mix of all of the above. The trailer looks quite good, it will be interesting to see how the public reacts to it. The cast includes Josh Brolin in the lead role, along with James Cromwell, Elizabeth Banks (she's very busy this Fall), Richard Dreyfuss, Rob Corddry, Scott Glenn, Ioan Gruffudd, Toby Jones, and Stacey Keach.

Also opening this week, but not near me:

  • The Elephant King
  • Filth and Wisdom
  • Morning Light
  • Tru Loved
  • What Just Happened

Box Office Predictions
Will the talking chihuahuas win the box office for a third straight week? I am going to have to say no, of course I did not expect it to win a second weekend. I feel fairly certain that Max Payne will successfully blast those pups to second place. Now, will W. have the power to push them further down? Doubtful, as I think it is still a little questionable how early word of mouth will help the Oliver Stone film.

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

RankTitleBox Office
1Max Payne$20 million
2Beverly Hills Chihuahua$11 million
3W. $10 million
4Quarantine$7.5 million
5Body of Lies$7 million

Sex Drive

$6 million
7Eagle Eye$5.5 million
8The Secret Life of Bees$4.5 million
9Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist$3.5 million
10The Express$2.5 million


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