Max Braden's October 2008 Forecast

By Max Braden

October 3, 2008

The girl looks receptive to the idea of a devil's threesome. The boy does not.

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It's October already? I'm still thinking about the end of summer. October tends to be a precursor month leading into the holiday season: one or two box office hits and one or two significant award contenders. For award watchers, there's Body of Lies, Changeling, and Synecdoche, New York. For the rest of you: singing and dancing!

Weekend Starting October 3rd

Beverly Hills Chihuahua
Whoever said 'never work with children and animals' must not have wanted to make money. I wouldn't call a bug-eyed, jittery, rat-like canine 'cute,' but lots of kids would, which is why this movie is going to win the weekend. Experience has taught me never to bet against talking and singing animals, especially when it's a product of Disney. It may not become the classic The Increbile Journey was, or cash in as well as Alvin and the Chipmunks, but these little pups offer something for the family until Bolt arrives at Thanksgiving.
Forecast: $28-32 million.

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
It's true, Michael Cera looks like he's just repeating characters he played in Juno and Superbad. You could call him a young version of Hugh Grant. But it's not a one-note performance. This type of material allows him to be subtly funny and more importantly serve as the tether for Kat Dennings to let loose and stay grounded at the same time. This kind of bumbling, crazy night romance will appeal to high school, college, and 30-something crowds who see the trailer and think "I went through that."
Forecast: $21-23 million.

Awards Season Alert! Oscar-nominated Greg Kinnear stars in the underdog drama Flash of Genius, which will start critics and audiences thinking about award season, but will be too early and unadventurous to gain him any nominations in January.


Weekend Starting October 10th

Body of Lies
This time last year we got the fast paced terrorism actioner The Kingdom, which came in second at the box office. I think Body of Lies should take the top spot this weekend. Director Ridley Scott previously has worked with Russell Crowe twice before (Oscar-winning Gladiator, and A Good Year) and delivered the Oscar-winning war film Black Hawk Down, as well as last year's foray into corruption, American Gangster. Leonardo DiCaprio is playing the same type of deceptive characters he did in The Departed and Blood Diamond. The whole combination should pull audiences in, looking for a thinking man's action movie.
Forecast: $24-26 million.

It's getting into Halloween season and audiences are looking for a scare. Quarantine takes the as-it-happened approach of Cloverfield and applies it the zombie genre. This time the outbreak is rabies. No big stars here, but the genre is what matters. Last year at this time we had the vampire horror 30 Days of Night, which was awful, and won its weekend with almost $16 million. I predict moderate frothing at the mouth.
Forecast: $18-22 million.

Awards Season Alert! Body of Lies has plenty of bait, the most promising probably being Ridley Scott himself. The Express is one of those race-relations-slash-underdog-coaching-dramas that seems award worthy on paper, gets good reviews, but is ultimately passed over when nominations are handed out (except maybe at the Golden Globes. Remember The Great Debaters?).

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