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Weekend Forecast for December 27-29, 2013

By Reagen Sulewski

December 24, 2013

Gentlemen, to evil!

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It's one of the tightest Christmas weekends in recent memory, with as many as six different films having a chance to take the top spot on the weekend, and not all of those being among the weekend's slate of new offerings.

I don't know about you, but six new wide releases on Christmas Day just isn't quite enough. In theory, I could only spend half the day watching all the new films out that day, if I for some reason hated myself. I look forward to the day when I can spend a whole 24 hours watching the new releases of the day, if I could rope some poor theater operator into staying open. Of course, the idea is that you go back multiple times during the week, and it'd be a shame to have a demographic not satisfied.

A strong contender to lead the way for the new films is The Wolf of Wall Street. After the faux-Scorsese of American Hustle, here comes the real stuff. Scorsese's new muse Leonado DiCaprio stars as infamous Wall Street scammer Jordan Belfort, who found a way to milk the system in the 1980s, taking millions in pump and dump schemes before finally being caught. The film spans his rise and fall, his excesses and scams, and how he fit right into the emerging corporate greed culture at that time. The film also stars Jonah Hill as his brash confidant, and Kyle Chandler as a federal investigator hot on his tail and openly challenging his legitimacy. In this sense it resembles a corporate version of Goodfellas with a dash of Catch Me If You Can.




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This is now DiCaprio's fifth collaboration with Scorsese, with three of the previous four grossing over $100 million, and even the least of them still earning $75 million domestically. The Wolf of Wall Street differs slightly from the rest of them, in that it contains a lot more overt comedy than the other films, while still ostensibly remaining a comedy. This can only help the film's prospects, as a little levity is often missing from Scorsese's movies. DiCaprio himself hasn't played comedy all that much either, although with the hot streak he's riding (let's just forget about J. Edgar for a moment) it's hard to argue he needs to change anything.

Indeed, this is yet another pairing of one of the highest-earning and consistent actors with a director who suddenly can do no wrong in his later career after struggling for commercial relevance earlier on. May we all find our greatest successes in our 60s and 70s. Reviews are not as great as for recent Scorsese films, but the pairing of actor and director has proven solid before, and the tone of the film is a little easier to jump into than for others. For the Christmas week, The Wolf of Wall Street should earn about $45 million, with about $27 million of that coming on the weekend.

A film that might have seemed like a slam dunk hit a few months ago but has slipped a bit, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty features Ben Stiller directing Ben Stiller in the title role, as an absent minded office worker given to daydreams. Stuck in a rut of routine and fantasizing about a coworker (played by Kristin Wiig), he's shaken out of this while helping to produce the last issue of LIFE magazine (so this was a while ago, then) and a famous negative goes missing. This inspires him to embark on a voyage of discovery (or does it?) with larger than life adventures involving sharks, mountain climbing and longboarding down remote highways.


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