By Tim Briody
A December forecast? Okay, easy! Here goes:
1. The Lord of the Rings
Yes, once again, Frodo and...what? No more Lord of the Rings movies? Damn. Those things made doing these forecasts a breeze. Let's try this, then.
1. Ocean's Twelve
In one of the weaker December slates in recent memory (thanks to the lack of hobbits), the movie with the silliest tagline of the month should take the box office crown. With all the big names back together and Steven Soderbergh again at the helm, the $183 million performance of the original should not be a problem, provided we're not looking at another Analyze That here, and that certainly doesn't appear to be the case. Anyone else think it would be highly amusing if these movies continued and were still successful and the cast was up for it? Eventually, we would get up to “Ocean's Twenty” (with the tagline “Twenty is the new Nineteen,” of course) and the series would just keep adding A-listers until naming the cast would take a good half-hour. No? Okay, moving on...
2. The Aviator
Leonardo DiCaprio will hope to repeat the success he found two years ago with Catch Me If You Can. December releases have always been kind to Leo, and Martin Scorsese brings arguably as much star power to a film as Steven Spielberg does. I figure a similar performance in the $150 million range here, though I couldn't be less interested.
3. Meet the Fockers
The latest entry in the “Let's See How We Can Embarrass Ben Stiller Now!” series is a sequel, the follow-up to the $166 million-earning Meet the Parents. From the moment we all left the theater in 2000, we were all wondering who would be the parents of male nurse Gaylord Focker. The casting of Dustin Hoffman (who plays crazy well) and Barbra Streissand (who is just crazy) gets points, but all the jokes seem fairly tired and played out. That said, audiences will still enjoy all the crotch shots and Gay Focker jokes that I'm sure will come in spades. I will still caution about Analyze That syndrome, however.
4. Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
I'm a fan of the books and think that adults get out of them as much as kids do, but seeing Jim Carrey in action as Uncle Olaf makes me think that he's just far too over-the-top for this role. Think Mike Myers as The Cat In The Hat scary. That's going to be a bit too much for some of the younger viewers. I can totally see this becoming a much bigger cult hit when it hits DVD, but I'm thinking it's an average box office performer.
5.Flight of the Phoenix
I know nothing about the original other than that my parents seem to be interested in seeing the remake. That's why it's here.
6. Blade: Trinity
Ryan Reynolds: Action Star! Jessica Biel: Asskicker!
What is the worst casting of the month?
I'll take Actors Who Should Fire Their Agents for $600, Alex...
This is the enigma of the month, and it's because of the presence of Adam Sandler. I'm not figuring his base audience (do they still exist?) will follow him to this, but if James L. Brooks works his magic that has worked in the past in films like As Good As It Gets, he could very well be seen by a brand new audience that will find out that he can kind of act. I realize he's not the central character in the film, but the early advertising is certainly focusing on him, to middling results. If it gets lots of awards buzz, it'll place higher on this list. If not, I figure it to place here.
8. Fat Albert
Talk about a good idea 20 years too late. And since it's live action and not animated, it's not even a good idea anymore. The Bill Cosby cameo is also just far too much of a reach for my tastes. It probably shouldn't even be this high on the list, but like I said, it's a light month.
9. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Confession: I enjoyed Rushmore well enough, but found The Royal Tenenbaums painful. Sorry. There will probably be an audience for the latest film by Wes Anderson. I'm still very fond of Bill Murray so I'll give it a shot as well, but I won't be there opening night. It sneaks into the top ten thanks to a below average month.
10. In Good Company
I pick this film among the other limited releases this month for two reasons. Scarlett Johansson is really hot and Topher Grace needs to be a bigger star. That is all.
Marty Doskins's December Forecast
John Seal's December Forecast