December Movie Preview

https://i1.wp.com/static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Film/Pix/pictures/2012/11/30/1354275728957/The-Hobbit-An-Unexpected--010.jpgThough we thought it could be, it’s now officially safe to say that November was easily one of the strongest box office months of the year so far. Between Wreck-It Ralph, Flight, Skyfall, Lincoln, and more, a handful of films exploded onto the silver screen this month, pleasing both critics and audiences alike in the process. Even with a couple of speed bumps along the road (Red Dawn, Twilight), November was still overwhelmed by a large amount of quality pictures, from international blockbusters like those previously mentioned to worthy Oscar contenders like Life of Pi and Silver Linings Playbook. Now, however, all eyes move to December and the lucrative Christmas box office, and after the fantastic month just passed, December has some pretty enormous shoes to fill. Luckily, Peter Jackson, Kathryn Bigelow, Quentin Tarantino, and Judd Apatow are all returning to cinemas this month, so let’s take a look at the last month of this year and see which films are catching our eye and which are already making us cringe:

December 7th 

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/f8/Playing_for_Keeps_Poster.jpgPlaying for Keeps – From Gabriele Muccino, the director of The Pursuit of Happyness, Playing for Keeps stars Gerard Butler as a former professional athlete who coaches his son’s soccer team to try to make up for past mistakes, only to find himself unable to resist his players’ restless and gorgeous moms. Honestly, I hadn’t heard much about this film before this article, but from what I see it looks pretty much like a generic romantic comedy with a star-filled cast (Jessica Biel, Dennis Quaid, Uma Thurman, Catharine Zeta-Jones). However, it being a romantic comedy starring Gerard Butler makes me think it could have some legs in terms of box office numbers, but that will probably depend on positive word of mouth both critically and publically.


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December 14th

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/b3/The_Hobbit-_An_Unexpected_Journey.jpegThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel of the same name and the prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit follows Bilbo Baggins as he journeys to the Lonely Mountain with a group of Dwarves to reclaim a stolen treasure. The amount of hype and excitement surrounding this film is unbelievable, but from what we have seen so far, it’s all rightfully deserved. I am still a little skeptical after Peter Jackson decided to turn this one novel into three films instead of two, but personally I believe this is going to be one of the best movies of the year. Riding off of the success of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, I think The Hobbit is going to be the film that implodes the December box office.

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December 19th 

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/0a/The_Guilt_Trip_Poster.jpgThe Guilt Trip – The Guilt Trip, from The Proposal director Anne Fletcher, stars Seth Rogen as an inventor who invites his mother, Barbara Streisand, on a trip across the country as he tries to sell his new product. While it’s nice to see Streisand in a starring role again (she hasn’t starred in a film since The Mirror Has Two Faces in 1996), unfortunately this looks like a pretty underwhelming comedy. From everything that has been shown (cheap slapstick jokes, eye-rolling misunderstandings between mother and son), this is shaping up to look like one of the worst films of December, and with two other films coming out this weekend, as well as The Hobbit still five days old, don’t expect it to do well at the box office.

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https://i1.wp.com/4.bp.blogspot.com/-Y4zajaJXCDs/UEeeNTwGXlI/AAAAAAAADHE/VQbA_6D54Ko/s1600/monsters3d.jpgMonsters, Inc. 3D – Going along with Disney’s trend of re-releasing their animated films in 3D, Monsters Inc. 3D is the re-release of the 2001 family blockbuster about two monsters who have to deal with the scariest creature known to them (and ironically the creature they are scaring to power their city): a human child. While normally re-releases are something that I am against because it seems like a way for studios to make more money, these Disney 3D re-releases are a rare exception because they are fantastic films that everyone should be able to see in theaters at least once. Re-releases never do well box office wise, but if you have never seen Monsters Inc. in the theater, yea you should probably do that ASAP!

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https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/77/ZeroDarkThirty2012Poster.jpgZero Dark Thirty (NY/LA) – Coming off of her Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow bring us Zero Dark Thirty, which chronicles a group of CIA agents and military soldiers on their decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden. As of now, Zero Dark Thirty is getting rave reviews (currently, it has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and it recently won the New York Film Critics prizes for Best Picture and Best Director), and rightfully so since the story looks to be unbelievably captivating. However, the film has a super limited release this weekend, and given its modern war subject matter, I wouldn’t expect it to make a dent at the box office until its wide release in January.

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December 21st

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/b8/The_Impossible.jpgThe Impossible – Another film receiving critical acclaim is The Impossible, which stars Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor as a British family whose Thailand vacation quickly turns into a disaster after the 2006 tsunami hits and separates them, leaving both to survive the extreme devastation and hopefully find one another. What looks so fantastic about this film is the acting by Watts and McGregor, and although it is getting some considerable award buzz, the lack of advertising makes me skeptical about it’s performance numbers wise. With the right marketing push, The Impossible could become a strong limited-release player, people just need to know about it – what is the studio waiting for?

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https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/d1/Jack_Reacher_poster.jpgJack Reacher – Based on a series of novels by Lee Child, Jack Reacher stars Tom Cruise (fresh off his action return in last year’s Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) as the eponymous character, a homicide investigator who digs deeper into a case involving a trained military persona who killed five random individuals. When the first trailer was released, I honestly wasn’t too excited for this film, but I do find the whole dynamic and persona of Reacher really interesting, and if Ghost Protocol proved anything it’s that Tom Cruise can still kick major ass. Overall, I’m not sure if this is a movie I will be checking out, but due to the fact that it is Tom Cruise in an action movie, I’m expecting it to open pretty well and hold up depending on its quality.

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https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/eb/This_is_40.jpgThis is 40 – Advertised as the “sort-of sequel to Knocked Up,” This is 40 follows the lives of Pete and Debbie a couple of years after the events of director Judd Apatow’s 2007 comedy blockbuster. From the trailers, Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann both look to be real winners, both comically and emotionally, and with Apatow penning the script and directing the film (as he did with both the great The 40 Year Old Virgin and the somewhat underwhelming Funny People), everything points in the direction of this being a fantastic comedy film. I would normally expect a film with such a winning pedigree to open up big, but with two powerhouses coming out on Christmas, don’t expect it to stay on top for long, if at all.

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December 25th

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/05/Parental_Guidance_film_poster.jpgParental Guidance – This family film stars Billy Crystal and Bette Midler as two grandparents who agree to take care of their three grandchildren and resort to an older style of parenting after the 21st century methods don’t click so well. The movie does looks like it will deliver some laughs (most coming from the always reliable Crystal and Midler), but in general it doesn’t look like it offers anything new and it will most likely be another generic Christmas comedy. This is a film I could see doing well at the box office just because it appeals to a pretty broad audience, but the other two films coming out on Christmas makes me think this one is going to be left in the dust.

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https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/b0/Les-miserables-movie-poster1.jpgLes Miserables – Based on one of the most beloved and acclaimed musicals of all time, Les Miserables follows the story of Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), a criminal who breaks parole and ends up caring for Cossette (Amanda Seyfriend), the daughter of the tragic Fantine (Anne Hathaway), all while trying to evade Javert (Russell Crowe), the policeman who has been hunting him for decades. While at first I was a little skeptical (mostly because I didn’t think a film adaptation could do this musical justice), all of that went out the window when the first trailer was released because everything (plot, characters, performances, Academy Award winning director Tom Hooper’s direction) about it looks fantastic and perfectly suited to make for one emotional epic. This is one of the most anticipated films for many people, so expect it to implode the box office along with The Hobbit, especially since it’s also riding a huge wave of Oscar buzz.

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https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/8b/Django_Unchained_Poster.jpgDjango Unchained – After the success of Inglorious Bastards, Quentin Tarantino is back behind the camera to deliver film fans Django Unchained, which follows a slave-turned-bounty hunter, Django (Jamie Foxx), as he sets out with his mentor to rescue his wife from a vicious Mississippi slave owner, played by Leonardo DiCaprio in what will surely be a tour-de-force performance (I mean, have you seen the trailers!?). Now I might be biased here because Tarantino is one of, if not my, favorite director, but I think this film looks spectacular and it has easily been one of my most anticipated of the year for quite some time now. Although this film is riding off of the success of Inglorious Bastards and the extreme cinematic respect for Tarantino, the fact that it is going up against Les Miserables makes me think that it might not top the box office this Christmas, but I’ll definitely be there waiting patiently to see what new cinematic experience Tarantino has to offer his fans.

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Overall, December looks like it might be the strongest month this year, and with releases like The Hobbit, Les Miserables, and Django Unchained, it would be hard for someone to argue with that. What are you guys excited for this month? Sound off in the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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