December 2006 Forecast
By Marty Doskins
December 2, 2006
Well, it's time to wrap up another big year at the box office. This year will definitely go out with a bang as we have quite a few potential $100+ million and a couple that could be $200+ million before it's all said and done. And we also have the last minute push for Oscar nomination. A lot of these contenders will have limited releases this month and then go wider during the early part of January.
Let's move on to my top ten for December 2006.
1. Night at the Museum
This should definitely be the big hit for the month. I believe it will go over the $200 million mark before it finishes its run. There has been a lot of marketing for this film spread over a long period of time, which helps keep it in the public's mind. Ben Stiller is a popular actor and can easily carry a movie on his shoulders. The premise seems like a grown-up Toy Story and it should appeal to those adults that are still kids at heart.
2. Charlotte's Web
Speaking of kids at heart (and kids for that matter), this adaptation of the classic children's novel should be right up there with Night at the Museum. I'm not quite convinced it will pass $200 million, but it definitely has a chance. It's been a long time since the old animated version of the book came out and a lot of students have read this book in their English classes since then. I think many of those readers will want to see the book come to life. Also, there are those that just love animal movies. I think the combination of these two groups will push the box office receipts on this one pretty high.
We've seen quite a few young adult books made into movies recently, but they haven't done all that well. For example, Hoot and How to Eat Fried Worms didn't exactly break the bank. But I think this film has an advantage over those two films – dragons. Hoot and Worms were just about what it's like to be a kid in the real world. This film takes off to a fantasy world filled with flying beasts. The other films seemed to have a limited audience where I think many fantasy fans will enjoy this one as well.
4. Pursuit of Happyness
Will Smith = box office success (except for that golf movie).
5. The Good Shepherd
This should be an interesting one to watch. You have another huge cast – Robert DeNiro, Matt Damon, and Angelina Jolie. Plus, DeNiro is directing this one, but it's been 13 years since he last did that. It's also got a topical story with all of the covert actions going on – the creation of the CIA. However, there doesn't seem to have been a ton of marketing in place, but I think the star names should carry this one quite far.
6. The Holiday
This romantic comedy has a pretty big name cast, which should help it out a lot – Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, and Jack Black. Each brings his or her own set of fans to the romantic comedy genre. You already have a big group that sees "romcoms", plus you'll be attracting some that may not have considered seeing one of these films. I think they've done a good job putting together the previews to not make it look too much like a "chick flick" so there won't be so many guys turned off by seeing it. It should make in excess of $100 million eventually.
This film has been much talked about on the various media outlets for quite a while. There have been a lot of interviews with the stars, such as Beyonce Knowles and Eddie Murphy and their personal appeal will definitely bring in audiences. The Broadway play has been successful in both its original run and all of the subsequent runs that have been done across the country. There's definitely a built-in audience for this one. There's also some talk of Oscar potential, but that remains to be seen.
8. The Nativity Story
Films with religious themes can be tricky to figure out. You'll definitely have a lot of religious people seeing this just because it's not a secular movie. However, there hasn't been the controversy surrounding this film like some others that have done well in the past, like Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ. This lack of controversy is why I've placed it so far down on my Top 10.
9. Rocky Balboa
It's been so long since Rocky V, people aren't interested in the character anymore. Sure, the original Rocky is a classic and will stay that way, but I think the series got more and more watered down with each release. They strayed farther and farther away from the things that made the first one so good and were just put together to make a buck. I think this has hurt the series and is going to hurt this film as well.
10. Unaccompanied Minors
This latest version of a Home Alone-type story is another breath of fresh air for those looking for a family film this holiday season. Since family films seem to get a somewhat limited audience, I've had to place this one at number ten, but definitely on the chart.