October 2009 Forecast

By Michael Lynderey

October 2, 2009

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9. Amelia (October 23rd)

Something about this awards-bait biography reminds me distinctly of last year's Changeling - especially the release date, the period costuming, and the presence of a strong female lead (Hilary Swank, a master at chameleonic performances, as Amelia Earhart). Of course, Ms. Earhart has already had her turn at bat this year (see Amy Adams in Night at the Museum 2; in some surreal movie universe, I'd like to see the Swank and Adams versions of the character meet). With solid enough reviews, this can open okay and then have a few decent weekends. If it gets really top-level critical acclamation, though, it can soar even higher throughout November, especially if Swank becomes the Best Actress front-runner (something she has a habit of doing).

Opening weekend: $9 million / Total gross: $42 million

10. Astro Boy (October 23rd)

Based on the old TV show and manga comics, and boy, does it look it, too. Animated sci-fi adventures can certainly do well (see Monsters vs. Aliens), but sprightly-looking 3-D cartoon that Astro Boy is, I just don't think this character is remembered with particular fondness today. And with all the other kids' properties getting a film adaptation this month, competition is certainly high. Like last year's Speed Racer, Astro Boy is one old-time cartoon probably best left to the history books.

Opening weekend: $15 million / Total gross: $36 million

11. Whip It (October 2nd)

This roller derby-fest takes up the quirky teenage spot occupied last year by Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist. With direction by Drew Barrymore and featuring Ellen Page, Kristen Wiig, Juliette Lewis, and Barrymore herself, this one's definitely got a lot of girl power, and it's Page's first real starring role after Juno. Whip It got good enough notices at the Toronto Film Festival, but do people really want to see a movie about the intricacies of roller skating? As a premise, it's almost singularly unappealing, but if the reviews are gushy enough, legs may develop.

Opening weekend: $12 million / Total gross: $35 million


12. The Invention of Lying (October 2nd)

Whaddya know? Ricky Gervais is back. After his very funny Ghost Town barely made a blimp on the box office last September, I'm glad that he's getting another chance as leading man. But if a funny Ricky Gervais movie couldn't do well at the box office in September 2008, is there any reason to believe a funny Ricky Gervais movie is going to do better in October 2009? It doesn't help that the premise here seems tantalizingly weird. Interesting mash-up of a supporting cast, though - whoever thought Jonah Hill, Jennifer Garner, Christopher Guest, Tina Fey and Patrick Stewart would ever end up in the same movie? Add Tyler Perry and Lindsay Lohan to that line-up and you've got possibly the most mis-matched batch of actors ever assembled.

Opening weekend: $9 million / Total gross: $21 million

13. Zombieland (October 2nd)

The unexpected re-invigoration of the zombie genre during the 2000s climaxes with this film, and it would appear that it's a subgenre that at this point has been done just about to death (yes, even as comedy). The stars - Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin - are an oddly-assembled if potentially entertaining bunch, but they don't really have much box office clout, nor does the trailer paint Zombieland as anything new and exciting. Sure, it could be a pretty funny film, but it's going to be overshadowed by the month's trashier horror movies all the same. The previously mentioned yet still inexplicable box office failures of both Jennifer's Body and Sorority Row, two much more commercially appealing projects, don't bode well for this one either.

Opening weekend: $6 million / Total gross: $17 million

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