This month is definitely the right way to finish off the year. The top five films this month are sure to be hits at the box office, each for their own reasons. Those reasons are listed below. You didn't think I'd let you stop here without reading the rest of the column?
December 2005 Forecast
By Marty Doskins
December 2, 2005
The one thing that did kind of surprise me this month is that there isn't a huge amount of limited releases coming out on Christmas Day. Studios usually reserve that date for those late films they want to push for Oscar contention. If the films get a lot of buzz early, they usually increase their take when they get a wider release. But it's not happening this year.
And now, let's move on to my top ten.
1. King Kong
There's not much doubt what's going to be the number one draw this month. Director Peter Jackson can write his own ticket after the enormous success of the Lord of the Rings films. If Peter Jackson says he wants to remake a classic film about a giant gorilla, Peter Jackson gets to remake a classic film about a giant gorilla. That's all there is to it. He has his pick of cast and crew and basically a blank check for the film's budget. I think there is little doubt that the investment from the studio will pay off in big profit sharing checks.
2. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
I believe this one will be up here at the top once the dust settles. However, I think the one drawback is the CGI that was used for this film. Instead of blending and enhancing the film, I think it's a glaring distraction. You look at the commercials and see that these are obviously computer-generated characters you're looking at. But with that being said, I think the popularity of the classic C.S. Lewis series will help it out tremendously, similar to the Harry Potter following.
3. Cheaper by the Dozen 2
The first film did very well at the box office and also hung on for a long time after release ("legs" for you numbers people). Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt were wonderful as the parents of this large family. They brought a realistic feel to the roles and you could actually buy this being a family, unlike the monstrosity that is Yours, Mine, and Ours. The cast chemistry is back together and I think the audiences (and their wallets) will follow.
4. Fun with Dick and Jane
Not quite back to the old Jim Carrey, but I think it's close enough. This film seems to be a good fit for Carrey as he plays a man thrown into a difficult situation (think Liar, Liar). While Carrey may still be trying for an Oscar (which may never come), it's good to see him go back and take on the type of role that gave him his opportunity. The film-going public responds well to him in this type of character and I believe it will be enough to put the movie into the top 5 for December.
5. Memoirs of a Geisha
Waaaaaaaaayyyy back when, I believe Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise were attached to this film. Time moved on and things changed. Spielberg and Cruise went on to make the successful War of the Worlds and we now have Rob Marshall directing. The continuing popularity of Asian films will help this along with star power from Zhang Ziyi and Ken Watanabe.
6. The Family Stone
A good, solid romantic comedy always does fairly well at the box office. They also usually hang on pretty long. This film's got a good cast, solid behind-the-scenes work, and support from the studio. It should do well.
7. Rumor Has It
Jennifer Aniston is definitely trying to show that she has what it takes to bring in audiences to empty theater seats. By keeping in the people's minds, I think she will do just that. It may be a while, but I think she will ultimately be the most successful former Friends cast member. Keep plugging away at it, Jennifer.
8. Aeon Flux
Mmmm...Charlize Theron in skin-tight suit. Mmmm...Matrix-like film. The perfect combination to get those fanboys out in force. Plus, I think we'll also see more traditional audiences as well. The Matrix trilogy has a huge following in both cult and mainstream audiences and I think this film has the potential to do the same. The look of this film is its appeal; it looks slick and futuristic (and I'm not just talking about Charlize). That was a big draw for the Matrix and I think it will definitely apply here as well.
9. The Ringer
Johnny Knoxville has quite a following among the younger moviegoers, who are the ones that bring in the dollars. Having that backing should prove successful for one of his comedies. Plus, having the Farrelly Brothers as producers can't hurt either.
10. The Matador
Pierce Brosnan is releasing another film through his own production company. It has been nice seeing him in a role other than James Bond lately and I think there will be enough interest in his work to get this pushed onto the top 10. He will definitely have a life after portraying the famous secret agent, no doubt about it.
I'm still not sure about Hoodwinked and Brokeback Mountain. I haven't seen much advertising support for Hoodwinked. Brokeback Mountain has had a lot early critical acclaim, but theater counts could put it in the top 10.
Michael Bentley's December 2005 forecast
Kim Hollis's December 2005 forecast
David Mumpower's December 2005 forecast