Max Braden's October 2008 Forecast
By Max Braden
October 3, 2008
Weekend Starting October 17thMax Payne
I've never played the videogame, but I had the impression it was a fairly straightforward first person shooter. I mean, the title pretty much imples guns and violence, right? So what's with this supernatural stuff in the movie's trailer? The nifty cinematography will probably be a draw along with Mark Wahlberg. I like him, but he suffers when his thug persona leaves no room for snarky dialogue. The slow motion artistry will probably be seen as true the series by its fans, but it just strikes me as drudgery each time I see it. Expect a Hitman-like box office, though I wouldn't really call that a hit.
Forecast: $19-23 million.
Right at the peak of election season, here comes Oliver Stone shining a light on the last decade in George W. Bush's life. Josh Brolin, who had a critically acclaimed 2007 with No Country for Old Men and American Gangster, is transformed by makeup to look like the president. James Cromwell plays the senior Bush, Elizabeth Banks looks less convincing as Laura Bush, Richard Dreyfuss plays Cheney, and Thandie Newton plays Condi. Gawkers may come out to see what Stone is up to, but I think most audiences will have had too much politics already.
Forecast: $12-14 million.
Awards Season Alert! Stone didn't get any recognition for World Trade Center but he may help Brolin gain recognition again this year. But the political element may be a poison pill.
Weekend Starting October 24thHigh School Musical 3: Senior Year
I admit it, I had to see what this phenomenon was about, so I watched the first movie (and half of the second. Peer pressure.) If I'd been in the development meeting where someone said, "Remember those beach party movies Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon did 40 years ago? Let's remake them!" I would have said, "Holy cheese, Batman, you're crazy." And then I would have been fired, because that idea turned out to be a huge moneymaker. If Disney releases this movie wider than the Hannah Montana movie, Harry Potter may become a distant memory.
Forecast: $50 million.
Another Halloween, another Saw movie. The series seems to have survived the negative label of "torture porn" and become more of a tradition along the lines of long running horror franchises like Friday the 13th and Halloween. The producers have wisely kept on Tobin Bell and Shawnee Smith to maintain a sense of continuity rather than an installment in name only. But the horror series has hit a plateau in opening box office, and last year's Saw total box office fell short of the previous two.
Forecast: $27-29 million.
Awards Season Alert! The amount of Oscar experience in Synecdoche, New York is almost ridiculous: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Samantha Morton, Emily Watson, Michelle Williams, Diane Wiest, and writer-director Charlie Kaufman. The talent saturation alone suggests something will come out of it, no doubt for Hoffman. Again.
Weekend Starting October 31thZack and Miri Make a Porno
Audiences who see the trailer for this will naturally think it's another Judd Apatow production, which is probably good news for Kevin Smith. Apatow go-to Seth Rogen stars with Elizabeth Banks as a couple of average achievers who do what the title suggests. Hot tip: we're not very likely to see Banks in the type of money shots the title suggests.
Forecast: $16-18 million.
Awards Season Alert! This season's Clint Eastwood project stars Angelina Jolie in Changeling, set in 1920s Los Angeles around the abduction of a child. Amy Ryan and John Malkovich cocompete for Oscar attention.