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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15. The Next Three Days (November 19th)

The action thriller sweepstakes get another entrant, and one with some serious pedigree: the film's star, Russell Crowe, is a decent draw, and the directing and co-writing credits are by the prestige-evoking name of one Paul Haggis. There's some decent action in the trailer, and the prison-break shenanigans unavoidably remind one somewhat of Law Abiding Citizen, certainly a decent hit if there ever was one. Liam Neeson's also around for one key trailer scene, long enough to make the unmistakable connection to his own film Taken, another picture where an angry man sets things straight. It's a real busy month, though, even for adults, and barring some real critical adoration, The Next Three Days probably isn't going to break out. Even if his wife does.

Opening weekend: $14 million / Total gross: $42 million


16. Limited releases

As is the norm at awards time, the studios flood open their gates and unleash a maelstrom of serious, critically-acclaimed dramas, meant to enlighten the unenlightened, expand those minds that need expanding, and reap more than a handful of nominations from a seemingly unlimited number of awards committees. Most of us little people won't see these films at a local theater until January, but some note of their existence probably has to be made.

For one, there's Country Strong, with Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw as disgruntled (?) country singers. On the darker side, the Natalie Portman-Mila Kunis ballet hook-up Black Swan rolls into town, and the trailers for that one have certainly effectively played up the film's thriller elements. Elsewhere, Helen Mirren duels with Shakespeare in The Tempest, Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart headline the family drama Rabbit Hole (yes, I'm sure someone dies), Ryan Gosling romances Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams, though not necessarily in that order, and definitely not in the same movie (you've gotta see All Good Things and Blue Valentine to collect 'em all), and Sofia Coppola returns with another put-down of celebrity life, I think, with Somewhere. The box office thunder this season is not likely to be on these films' side, even though some of them may well be very, very good. Such is life.

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