Holiday Movie Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
November 19, 2010
4. Yogi Bear (December 17th)
Another 3D film, another '60s cartoon adaptation, another massive income haul for the holidays. Yes, Yogi Bear is but one of the season's extravagant number of children's entertainments, and it's got a real leg up on the competition: with the aforementioned credentials, it's an obvious and assured descendant of Alvin and the Chipmunks - the little film that brought in $200 million not once but two times now. Yogi's live-action cast doesn't seem to have been played-up in the trailers much, and indeed, this one's going to be all about the CGI-animated title character (voice o'Dan Aykroyd) and his pet sidekick (Justin Timberlake, nearly unrecognizable, and who should be receiving his Golden Globe nomination for The Social Network just as this film rolls into town). All in all, am I perhaps out of line in assigning an $162 million total to a '60s cartoon bear? Maybe. But the history books are on my side here, whether I like it or not.
Opening weekend: $43 million / Total gross: $162 million
5. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (December 10th)
This is one I was somewhat looking forward to, at least from an academic point of view. After all, it's the surprisingly- (hey, I was surprised) produced sequel to one of summer 2008's rare box office disappointments, a bold move on the studio's part that may well pay off, especially considering diminished expectations. I can't tell much of a plot or villain from the trailers (The White Witch returns?), but fantasy and the Narnia brand still sell. And while it doesn't look like this third film will capture either the month's special effects slot, nor be its definitive children's film, it still ought to coast on name recognition and family-friendliness, and reach one hundred million, at the least - even if it won't be beating up on a certain CGI forest-dweller. After all, that release date's just perfect to restore some of the series' lost status quo, even if you won't get all the 2005-era audience back.
Opening weekend: $48 million / Total gross: $133 million
6. Gulliver's Travels (December 22nd)
Here's a title that's followed the same brilliant model as Little Fockers: in moving a potentially-unpromising June release into a lucrative December slot, the studio's turned an undefined summer film into what should be a holiday-time special effects blockbuster. That's the good news. The bad: considering four of the five films listed directly above this one, it certainly won't be the only kids-aimed big-budget entertainment in town. Its own merits are perhaps modest: Jack Black's live-action vehicles have been hit-and-miss as of late, and he's certainly going to be the main attraction in this one; the story seems familiar enough, even if it has been recast as a comedy with some sprightly actors (Emily Blunt and Jason Segel?). So what we've got isn't as unabashedly commercial as Yogi Bear or as markedly solemn as Narnia. But it could still pull its weight.
Opening weekend: $44 million (5-day) / Total gross: $124 million