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Weekend Forecast for December 21-23, 2012

By Reagen Sulewski

December 21, 2012

We're more horrified than you, Seth.

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It's Christmas Day that brings out the heavy hitters, as two films decide to skip the dead zone that is Christmas Eve and go straight to the bonanza that is Christmas Day. The odds-on favorite to win is Les Miserables, the adaptation of the stage music that in turn is based on the Victor Hugo novel about the French Revolution (no, not that one). Directed by Tom Hooper, relatively fresh off winning a Best Director Oscar for The King's Speech, this is probably the biggest scale production of the material ever (a non-musical version notoriously bombed in 1998).

Hugh Jackman plays the main role of Jean Valjean, a man on the run for decades after breaking parole (from his original crime of stealing bread, and several escape attempts) from the relentless officer Javert (Russell Crowe) and his caring for the daughter of a desperate factory worker (Anne Hathaway). The film is also filled out by Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter, and for those who care about such things, was filmed in a slightly unusual manner for movie musicals, where the actors actually sung on set instead of lip-syncing to prerecorded tracks.

For those who like such things as musicals (you strange, strange people), this appears to have been done right, and is one of the few that deserves this massive scale. It's also one of the most beloved musicals ever, and the hype surrounding this version has been tremendous, with it coming in as an anointed co-favorite for Best Picture with Zero Dark Thirty. A huge Christmas Day figure of around $16 million seems entirely possible.

Another period piece opens that day in Django Unchained, the latest from Quentin Tarantino. Jamie Foxx stars as the title character, a slave rescued from bondage by a European bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) who needs his help in tracking down a pair of particularly loathsome fugitives, in exchange for helping Foxx rescue his wife (Kerry Washington) from a plantation owner (a preening Leonardo DiCaprio). Essentially a big-budget spaghetti western mixed with a love story and blaxploitation styling, this is Tarantino once again throwing down against what he obviously considers the rest of Hollywood's tame offerings.




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The most amazing thing about recent Tarantino is that he seems to have convinced the rest of the world to go along with him. This looks to be the equal in audaciousness to Inglourious Basterds, which he managed to open to $38 million, and a total of $120 million, plus a Best Picture nomination. With the rapturous reviews (it's near perfect at Rotten Tomatoes), the latter seems entirely possible again, although the Christmas Day release will make direct comparisons to opening weekends difficult. I'd expect an opening day figure of around $15 million.

Let's not forget, even though we'd like to, Parental Guidance, or The Final Humiliation of Billy Crystal. He and Bette Midler star as grandparents who volunteer to look after their daughter's three children while she's on a work trip, with the inevitable chaos ensuing. Essentially 90 minutes of “kids these days” combined with shots to the crotch, this is an embarrassing looking attempt at “family” entertainment – so much so that I'm a little afraid it's actually going to be a hit. Then again, it's the sole Christmas release not being screened for critics, and there's not a single thing in the ads that anyone can reasonably find funny, so maybe it's meant to be a stern dramatic cautionary tale. Anyhow, with just a “nationwide” release pattern from Walden Media, this is probably going to make a mild splash on Christmas Day of about $3 million and then disappear.

With all these films, it's easy to forget that the roost is still going to be ruled by Peter Jackson and The Hobbit. Even with mediocre word-of-mouth and severely mixed reactions to the 48 FPS shooting method, it did open to $84 million, and as such has a huge headstart on everything else. Tiny weekend dropoffs don't happen until next weekend, so this is still going to see a significant fall this weekend before starting its Christmas run, where it likely leads each day other than the 25th. For this weekend, however, we're looking at around $44 million.

We also can't forget about a few other films that should have some impact on the week to come as well. Rise of the Guardians did manage to make it to this weekend after all, and with kids off school and in a Christmas mood should manage to hit around $6 million this frame. Lincoln continues to run strongly and garner awards attention, and probably earns $5 million this weekend. Skyfall isn't completely out of it either, and should be close to $5 million.


Forecast: Weekend of December 21-23, 2012
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 4,100 +55 44.3
2 Jack Reacher 3,352 New 19.6
3 This Is 40 2,912 New 17.1
4 Monsters, Inc 3D 2,618 New 10.4
5 The Guilt Trip 2,431 New 6.7
6 Rise of the Guardians 3,031 -356 6.2
7 Lincoln 2,293 +8 5.7
8 Skyfall 2,365 -559 4.8
9 Life of Pi 1,750 -798 3.6
10 Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away 840 New 2.8

Continued:       1       2       3

     


 
 

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