Holiday Movie Forecast

By Michael Lynderey

November 19, 2010

All I want for Christmas is not you. It's this bike.

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7. The Tourist (December 10th)

The first real adult-aimed non-comedy on this list, and even then it might be kind of funny. How bizarre it is, though, that we once again find ourselves with the plot of The Bounty Hunter, Killers, and Knight and Day (a know-nothing civilian dragged into gunplay by an omnipotent mystery man) - albeit with a gender switch, this time, as Johnny Depp is made the target of assassins, courtesy of Angelina Jolie's conniving temptress. Jolie, looking excessively ravenous, is certainly playing to type there, but Depp's been cast as a character a lot less self-aware than his usual lot of playful misfits. The trailer doesn't really distinguish The Tourist from the other films of this sort, but star power - that ever-elusive yet always potent box office aphrodisiac - is surely with this picture, and that's one factor that might be more important than normal around the holidays. That said, barring extremely positive reviews, The Tourist represents my $100 million cut-off point this holiday season. Would be glad to be wrong.

Opening weekend: $24 million / Total gross: $96 million

8. Tangled (November 24th)

To get the gist of Tangled, one only has to examine the plot: what we have here is another comically-skewered hero to the rescue... another feisty princess... yet more parodic plays on fairy tale motifs... Yes, it all sounds like a Shrekian pop culture riff, with the voices of Mandy Moore (long-time no see - and no see again in this movie, sadly) and Zachary Levi, in the tradition of the somewhat noticeably quirkier Mike Myers and Cameron Diaz. While the similar Happily N'Ever After probably represents the box office nadir for this subgenre, Tangled comes from Disney, after all, and taking up the Enchanted slot of yesteryear certainly ought to help. Still... $100 million? Just three weeks after Megamind? Five days after Potter? Isn't that asking a little much? Surely not every trendy CGI fairy tale is going to get to three digits this year, right? ...right?

Opening weekend: $30 million (5-day) / Total gross: $79 million (or $100 million?)


9. The Fighter (limited December 10th; wide December 17th)
Here's a Mark Wahlberg-Christian Bale team-up that's a gritty sports movie, set in Boston and reminding one off-handedly of Wahlberg's own film Invincible, except with a whole lot more Oscar bite. Amy Adams, no stranger to leggy holiday movies, is on hand to up the female factor. Something tells me the reviews will be good, and that, along with star power and awards buzz, ought to run this picture sturdily enough for a month or so. And when it comes to seething on-screen anger, aren't Wahlberg and Bale just a perfect match?

Opening weekend: $14 million / Total gross: $68 million

10. How Do You Know (December 17th)

Not a very catchy title, that, but How Do You Know represents the newest addition to an old-line, time-honored staple - the big-star holiday dramedy. And it's directed by a man who's certainly made his share: James L. Brooks, helmer of Terms of Endearment, As Good as It Gets, and Spanglish. The cast is well-assembled: Owen Wilson, on the rebound, Reese Witherspoon, still a draw, Paul Rudd, no stranger to mid-size hits, and Jack Nicholson, a familiar presence in Brooks' holiday repertoire. That's a solid roll call, but the trailers (save for one line) don't particularly excite me, and the 500-pound Focker machine (don't ask) is driving into town just five days after How Do You Know bows. So, yes, while this type of movie can usually coast past $100 million by January 15th, with this one, put me down as a wobbler.

Opening weekend: $17 million / Total gross: $62 million

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