Thor: The Dark World and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire led the way in a huge November, helped by breakout hits The Best Man Holiday and Frozen. It’s unlikely December reaches the same heights, but there a lot of films coming out this month, some surefire blockbusters and others that will need to rely on word of mouth and Oscar buzz to carry them through. Let’s take a look at the final month of 2013.
Out of the Furnace
My Thoughts: I’m pretty much on board for anything featuring Christian Bale, especially when he gets to kick some ass. Out of the Furnace is rounded out by a very strong cast, although the reviews are only slightly above mediocre. Furthermore, it’s opening on the weekend after Thanksgiving, which is customarily not a good time to release a movie. Still, the pedigree of the cost should ensure a decent gross.
Opening Weekend: $14 million
Total Gross: $51 million
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
My Thoughts: I was disappointed in the first Hobbit, so I’m hoping this one brings back some of that old LOTR magic. The trailers and commercials seem to be centering a lot on the action, so that’s a plus. And, hey, how can you say no to Benedict Cumberbatch voicing the titular dragon, Smaug, with a level of gravitas only his mesmerizingly sexy voice can conjure? Did…did I just type that? Anyway, moving on, I do think a fair number of people were also let down by the An Unexpected Journey, so I expect a slight fall off for this sequel.
Opening Weekend: $77 million
Total Gross: $268 million
A Madea Christmas
My Thoughts: Well, I guess it was only a matter of time before we got a Madea Christmas movie. Tyler Perry’s series has been very successful, especially when considering the meager budgets of these films. That said, they have been slowing down a bit, but the Christmas gimmick might be just enough to turn it around. However, even helped by the usual box office yuletide boosts, this flick is sure to have awful legs.
Opening Weekend: $27 million
Total Gross: $65 million
Anchorman: The Legend Continues
My Thoughts: Nine and a half years after the original Anchorman, Ron Burgandy and crew return in a sequel that is all but guaranteed to easily beat the gross of the original. The original flick was no slouch, grossing a solid $85 million back in 2004. However, the fanbase for the movie and characters has only grown since then and the second entry looks to have some big laughs, as well as that great subversive wit that made the first one such a classic. The Legend Continues should do great business over Christmas.
Opening Weekend: $38 million
Total Gross: $140 million
Walking with Dinosaurs
My Thoughts: I finally saw the trailer for this film a few days ago, and it just upset me. Walking with Dinosaurs was a fantastic, seminal piece of educational television aired back when the Discovery Channel actually had educational programming. Those were the days, weren’t they? And now that great, informative series is being turned into a childish cash-grab aimed squarely at little kids? What a shame. It won’t have too much competition, but even still, I don’t expect much.
Opening Weekend: $10 million
Total Gross: $42 million
My Thoughts: Say what you will about the acting ability, or lack thereof, possessed by Keanu Reeves, you cannot argue that he is one of the nicest, most charitable and down-to-earth celebrities in Hollywood today. But, anyway, this is right in his niche, playing a messianic character in a stylish action flick. Yeah, you can say it looks ridiculous and you could argue it bastardizes the important Japanese story of the 47 Ronin by trying too hard to make it like 300, but….well, you’d have a point. Since Christmas is going to be very crowded, I think 47 Ronin will get pushed aside and never find its footing.
Opening Weekend: $13 million
Total Gross: $50 million
My Thoughts: The popularity of Justin Bieber seems to have wavered a bit since his last documentary, Never Say Never, opened to a potent $29 million almost three years ago. I don’t have much faith in Bieber’s ability to stay relevant as he grows older and I think in five or so years, he’ll be little more than a memory. So I don’t expect this flick to come anywhere close to its predecessor.
Opening Weekend: $14 million
Total Gross: $47 million
My Thoughts: Since everybody else has already said this, allow me to join the club: it’s Rocky Balboa vs. Jake LaMotta! In all seriousness, Grudge Match, on the surface, shares a lot of similarities with Rocky Balboa. But it appears significantly more light-hearted and parodies some tropes and cliches seen in previous boxing movies. It’s got a solid cast, and Kevin Hart is a very funny guy, so you know what, I’m on board. I don’t think too many other people will be, but you never know.
Opening Weekend: $13 million
Total Gross: $58 million
The Wolf of Wall Street
My Predictions: It’s really hard to go wrong when Scorsese and DiCaprio get together. The Wolf of Wall Street does seem a tad dark and cynical for Christmas, which tends to skew toward family pictures, but then again, look at the fantastic numbers done by the bloody Django Unchained (the D is silent) just last year. I think this will do just fine, and Oscar buzz could give it a long life throughout January.
Opening Weekend: $19 million
Total Gross: $90 million
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
My Thoughts: Ben Stiller has actually found quite a bit of success at this time of year. Both Meet the Fockers and Night at the Museum made over $250 million. Even Little Fockers made almost $150 million. And The Secret Life of Walter Mitty seems like it could be that crowd-pleasing, family friendly uplifting movie that’s perfect for this time of year. Then again, it could be a total disappointment. Who knows? It’s an interesting story to adapt and I can’t deny that it appeals to my inner daydreamer. So I think Walter Mitty will end up as the highest grossing Christmas release.
Opening Weekend: $22 million
Total Gross: $108 million
With that, we bid farewell to 2013. It was a fun year, with everything you’d expect. Mega-blockbusters, surprise breakouts and some flops as well. I’m excited for a lot of what 2014 has to offer, but for now the film to which I’m most looking forward is X-Men: Days of Future Past. If you haven’t watched the trailer for that yet, do yourself a favor and give it a view. So, I’ll be back on Sunday to with another box office wrap up. Until we meet again.