December Forecast

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 ever.

Ordered off the 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 more years.

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 movie.

All they want for Christmas is: a lot more than eight crazy nights of box office.

7. Maid in Manhattan

Jennifer Lopez 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 Other Thing"?

In the stocking: Coupons for a free psychiatric visit for the filmmakers and cast.

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.

10. Drumline

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 he arrives.

  • Read Walid Habboub's December forecast
  • Read Kim Hollis' December forecast
  • Read David Mumpower's December forecast
  • Read Stephanie Star Smith's December forecast



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