December Forecast

By Walid Habboub

1. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Much like last month’s champion this month’s champion is a slam dunk. Lord Of The Rings The Two Towers will undoubtedly reign over all December releases and will most likely be the second biggest movie of 2002, which would be quite an achievement. With its predecessor grossing over $300 million, only $47 million of which came over the first weekend, The Two Towers seems destined to surpass Fellowship of the Ring in both scale and gate receipts. None shall come close.

2. Analyze That

While the ads might seem boring, they are actually quite ingenious. Much like the Matrix sequels, Analyze That does not need to be sold so instead of putting together ads with the funniest gags in the film included, Warner Bros. has cleverly saved the laughs for the feature. The studio knew that people would show up based on the strength of the extremely popular original film and they worried about the film having legs through December. With that in mind, Analyze That should open north of $20 million and should really benefit from the holiday season.

3. Catch Me if You Can

It doesn’t look like the greatest film ever, hell it doesn’t look like the greatest film since last week, but the names attached to this film should make it a huge seller. Tom Hanks carried Cast Away to mammoth box office take two years ago when the film was more or less hated by moviegoers. Steven Spielberg opened the dull-looking A.I to $30 million and helped propel Minority Report to a huge box office take even though that film was as bland as they come. Leonardo DiCaprio is a huge heartthrob, enough said. So the advertising won’t sell this film but the big names will.

4. Gangs of New York

There aren’t many lead actors that can say they starred in both a Steven Spielberg film and a Martin Scorsese film during their careers; Leonardo DiCaprio is doing it in a week. Ironically, this is Scorsese’s first venture into Spielberg’s territory of overindulgence and the jury is still out on whether this film works. What is known is that it’s a gritty three hour period piece with loads and loads of violence and tragedy. What is also known, and what will be the only way this film can make true money, is that the film will most likely be heavily mentioned during Oscar time. Scorsese is respected by everyone, even Nick Nolte, and Hollywood could finally recognize him for his directorial work with his first truly big Hollywood film. He also has Miramax backing him up and they’ll be damned if they lose money on their biggest investment ever.

5. Two Weeks Notice

Sandra Bullock is back in familiar territory, the romantic comedy. Now cast her against a strong male lead whose star is quickly heating up again and you have a major holiday hit. Bullock scored big two years ago with Miss Congeniality and Grant is being mentioned for an Oscar nomination for his work in About a Boy so they are both quite capable in this genre. With this film being released a week before Christmas and with it having family appeal, Bullock and Grant should have a big hit on their hands.

6. The Hot Chick

Rob Schneider films are funny in a dumb sort of way. A very dumb sort of way. The Hot Chick seems no different. Chick is Schneider’s first film since the smash hit The Animal was released 18 months ago and it looks to be in the exact same vein as all other Schneider films. The ads and trailer play very well and the pillow-fighting scene looks drop dead funny. Couple all of that with a quirky premise that leaves the door open for a lot of crude jokes, and The Animal could be the breakout hit of the month.

7. Star Trek: Nemesis

It certainly has been difficult seeing this franchise go downhill like it has but the fact remains that downhill is exactly where it is going. The last Trek film went out with a whimper four years ago and no one seemed to care. The only good news is that this is an even numbered Trek film so it might actually be a decent movie. I’d seriously suggest that the score be replaced with a 112 minute funeral march.

8. Maid in Manhattan

This film might be as painful to watch as it is to see Ralph Fiennes attempt to smile, but nonetheless, it’s a romantic comedy with a big name attached to it. The Cinderella premise will likely bring a lot of people in, but the movie itself will likely chase them away. It looks likely that the future Mrs. Affleck will continue her streak of mediocre successes.

9. About Schmidt

Jack Nicholson will likely get an Oscar nomination for his role in About Schmidt so you can be guaranteed that people will come out to see this film. While I’m only placing this film at number nine, I think it has A Beautiful Mind-type break out potential. Sure, Ron Howard might not be attached to About Schmidt, but then again A Beautiful Mind didn’t really need Ron Howard to win its many Oscars. Strong word of mouth and critical buzz will carry this film, and it could very well be a very long ride.

10. Antwone Fisher

Denzel Washington’s directorial debut was well received at the Toronto International Film Festival and it will likely be pushed as a critically lauded film. Unfortunately, the film isn’t that great, but the prospect of last year’s Best Actor Oscar winner directing his first film, a tough drama based on a true story, will draw moviegoers’ attention. Whether it can carry its momentum into the new year will be the real measure of success.

  • Read Tim Briody's December forecast
  • Read Kim Hollis' December forecast
  • Read David Mumpower's December forecast
  • Read Stephanie Star Smith's December forecast



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