By Tim Briody
1. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
If there ever were a safe bet for a sequel to outdo the first film, this
could be it. Fellowship of the Ring delivered beyond all expectations for
the fans and recovered the entire trilogy's production budget for New
Line. The year-long salivating is nearly over for both this time.
Under the tree: A big honkin' pile of money.
2. Catch Me if You Can|
6. Gangs of New York
If your Christmas list included "more films starring Leonardo DiCaprio"
you're in luck. But this is practically a tale of two films. While the
Martin Scorsese period piece Gangs has been a troubled production, Catch
Me If You Can is the second Steven Spielberg project this year and the caper
film has as amazing pedigree with DeCaprio, Spielberg and Tom Hanks. One's
a tough sell and one is money in the bank.
Leo plays Secret Santa with himself (dirty!): It's coal circa the
mid-1800's for Gangs of New York and many (non-forged) checks for Catch Me
If You Can.
3. Star Trek: Nemesis
The Next Generation cast returns for one last voyage. Maybe. We think. If
tradition holds, this one will be a good movie, as it's "even," being the
tenth film in the franchise. And while the storyline appears to be light
years better than 1998's Insurrection, it could easily misfire badly and
there are still doubts about the life of the franchise. But given the
recent opening of Die Another Day and the nature of the beast in general,
it also wouldn't be unreasonable for this to be the biggest Trek film
Ordered off the Amazon.com Wish List: Star Trek: The Next Generation: The
Complete Fourth Season and Star Trek: First Contact on DVD.
4. Two Weeks Notice
There's no doubt the Generic Romantic Comedy Machine churned this one out.
(Input: Hugh Grant + Sandra Bullock. Output: He's a rich executive, she's
the lawyer for his corporation!) But these things tend to make money,
which is why no one has taken an axe to the damned thing after all these
years. Those two battle-tested veterans of the genre, Bullock and Grant,
are the main draw, and draw they will.
Holiday bonus: More than enough money to keep the GRCM running for many
5. The Hot Chick
If the fact that Adam Sandler continues to find work in Hollywood upsets a
lot of people, you can probably double that to get the number of people
who are upset that Rob Schneider has steady employment. But hey, he found
success with Deuce Bigalow in December of 1999, so there's no reason not
to expect a similar result here. Besides, there's always the Copy Guy
All they want for Christmas is: a lot more than eight crazy nights of box
7. Maid in Manhattan
gets engaged falls in love with a high
society type, when she's just a lowly maid, and after the formulaic wacky
class misunderstanding, lives happily ever after with her new life. Miss
Cleo has nothing on me. Despite success with The Wedding Planner, Two
Weeks Notice will probably win the battle of romantic comedies this month.
J-Lo may be in the news a bit more, but that hasn't translated into being
a big box office draw.
(I'd make a "ho ho ho" joke in this, but that would just be too easy.)
8. Analyze That
Analyze This was a funny film and surprise hit. The sequel completely
smacks of desperation to cash in. And it doesn't look very amusing,
either. But if it is a hit, how long will we have to wait for "Analyze The
In the stocking: Coupons for a free psychiatric visit for the filmmakers
9. Antwone Fisher
Denzel's directorial debut is about the events that cause a troubled young
man to seek out his family. Based on the title character's auto-biography
(and adapted by him as well), the film is providing exposure to newcomer
Derek Luke, and has Washington in a supporting role. There's hopes that
the acting will carry the film to Hurricane-like box office and provide
some award interest.
Included in the Christmas cards: Gift certificates to the Sony Gift Shop,
because it's the best place to discover new talent.
Because Save the Last Drumroll was a stupid title. It's definitely an
interesting take on the premise, and should be good for a few bucks,
though not much more.
Santa brings: Nothing, because this film is a distant memory by the time
Read Walid Habboub's December forecast
Read Kim Hollis' December forecast
Read David Mumpower's December forecast
Read Stephanie Star Smith's December forecast