November 2009 Forecast

By Michael Lynderey

November 6, 2009

After vampire baseball comes the vampire marathon.

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With the truly bizarre Halloween-season box office out of the way, November launches us into a summer-style schedule full of blockbusters-of-the-week. And this year, there's a three-way fight to the top; the contenders are New Moon, 2012, and A Christmas Carol. And if December disappoints, the battle for the third quarter's biggest film may be won here.

1. The Twilight Saga: New Moon (November 20th)

It's really a no-brainer of the highest order that New Moon, the sequel to last fall's biggest film, is going to be huge. The real question is this: can it overcome the various heavyweights lined up to challenge it, and win the month? I think so, especially since it seems that the Twilight franchise has somehow only widened its fanbase during the last year. How odd it is also to find such popularity surrounding vampires, who are generally some of horror's most boring characters (Count Yorga being an obvious exception, of course). Anyway, Twilight 2's brought back everybody from the first movie (save for director Catherine Hardwicke), and the trailers have been carefully designed to appease fans. Odd as it may sound, the Twilight pictures appear ready and willing to stake out their claim as a latter-day, and considerably soapier, version of the Harry Potter series. Like most sequels to well-received films, this one ought to open bigger than the first, and then probably finisher bigger, too. I suspect that the third entry, scheduled for June 2010, will see a slight dip. But for now, it's New Moon's day in the sun (take all the pun you can get out of that one).

Opening weekend: $95 million / Total gross: $225 million


2. 2012 (November 13th)

Roland Emmerich just won't let the world catch a break. Evidently not content with all the cinematic death and destruction already credited to his name, he has chosen to give us 2012, a film that looks suspiciously like a remake of his own The Day After Tomorrow - and unapologetically so. However, ever since the box office failure of another Day - the one when the Earth Stood Still, last December - I've suspected that end-of-the-world disaster epics don't do that well around the holiday season (not without Will Smith in the lead, anyway). On the plus side, this one's got John Cusack (in his third team-up with Amanda Peet), some great special effects, and a topical premise (well, the real 2012 is coming up), so a typically-apocalyptic total of about $200 million should be an easy enough mark. Besides, this one's got at least three times as many explosions in the trailer as last December's Keanu Reeves movie did, so working that out to three times the box office ought to be simple enough math.

Opening weekend: $72 million / Total gross: $201 million

3. Disney's A Christmas Carol (November 6th)

I can't think of a better way to start the holiday season than with yet another Robert Zemeckis excursion into the macabre depths of CGI animation; after Zemeckis' absolutely masterful The Polar Express (2004), and the somewhat less masterful if still entertaining Beowulf (2007), a Christmas Carol seems like the next logical choice for similar screen treatment. Aside from those great-looking trailers, it's got Jim Carrey, who seems to be phasing himself in slowly but surely into star voice over roles. Still, if I had to quibble with the box office prospects here - and I always do - I'd say that while pretty well-known, the plot of A Christmas Carol is just sort of kid-unfriendly, when you think about it, isn't it? But humbug to that thought.

Opening weekend: $51 million / Total gross: $185 million

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