Weekend Forecast for December 23-25, 2011 Part 1
By Reagen Sulewski
December 20, 2011
There's been some hue and cry about not needing a remake, but let's face it – those Swedish movies were not that good and could use a bit of edge from a guy like Fincher, who might find his Se7en-era mojo and apply it here. It looks like he's gone even darker for this take on the material, but still managed to stay true to the spirit of the books. The film's positioning as “The Feel Bad Movie of The Year” seems warranted.
Ordinarily this might be the kind of film that has to fight for acclaim and buzz, but thanks to its international fame, it comes in with the full “cover of EW” treatment in the press. Reviews also seem to indicate that Fincher mostly got it right, so there's even more anticipation there. The hard-R aspect of the film will be the most difficult thing for the film to get past, as it will at least appear to be too intense for many viewers. That hasn't stopped a few films similar in tone from opening huge – 2001's Hannibal comes to mind – but with Christmas season depressing opening weekends, I think we're looking at around a $46 million start, and $56 million over five days.
Lastly, we have The Adventures of Tintin, the first of two films directed by Stephen Spielberg to open in the next four days. An animated adaptation of the Belgian graphic novel series, it's his first film to come in with the attitude of “Oh. North America. Right. You guys.” having already grossed over $220 million before ever seeing a paying customer here. Which makes some sense, seeing as it's an adventure series about a Belgian journalist detective that was originally written in French. It's probably more famous for being a thing that Americans don't know about than it is in its own right.
That said, “Spielberg” + “animated” +”adventure” probably adds up to a lot of interest on their own. The motion-capture CGI (with the help of Peter Jackson) seems to have risen to the point of “too accurate” though I'm sure it's a drawing point for a lot of people. Apparently some people are able to look at The Polar Express without screaming in horror too, but it takes all kinds. With voices from Jamie Bell, Daniel Craig (who must be busy on the publicity circuit this week), Andy Serkis (contractually obligated to appear in every mo-cap film), Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and Cary Elwes, it's not the biggest of casts, to be sure, but it's not totally necessary here and as previously mentioned kind of an afterthought for the North American audience. With Chipmunks faltering, this is a good bet to be the top family choice over the Christmas holidays, although that's probably not saying much. I'd look for $25 million on the weekend, and $31 million over five days.
Stay tuned for further forecasts this week.