Walter Mitty

(Photo by @ Fox/courtesy Everett Collection. Thumbnail: 20th Century Fox Film Corp)

22 Most Inspirational Movies

A new year can represent opportunity for new hopes and resolutions, and movies have the gift to inspire that personal change. If you’re eager to turn the page on 2021, here’s 22 of the most inspirational movies to charge your 2022.

Diet and exercise are always high contenders on new year’s resolutions lists, and movies like Brittany Runs a Marathon or Chariots of Fire will get you in motion. There are movies for getting in touch with inner hope (The Shawshank Redemption) and your roots (Lion), along with picking up new skills (Julie & Julia) and rekindling determination (Remember the Titans, Hidden Figures). And those entering 2021 with open hearts ought to seek out Wild and Groundhog Day. And some movies guide us through trauma and disaster, like Life of Pi, and Soul Surfer.

If it’s a new year, it’s a new you: Here’s 22 movies to inspire your 2022.

#1

A Beautiful Mind (2001)
74%

#1
Adjusted Score: 82551%
Critics Consensus: The well-acted A Beautiful Mind is both a moving love story and a revealing look at mental illness.
Synopsis: A human drama inspired by events in the life of John Forbes Nash Jr., and in part based on the... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 99278%
Critics Consensus: Brittany Runs a Marathon is an earnest and hilarious dramedy that finally gives Jillian Bell a role worthy of her gifts.
Synopsis: A hard-partying woman receives a startling wake-up call when a visit to the doctor reveals how unhealthy she is. Motivated... [More]
Directed By: Paul Downs Colaizzo

#3

The Bucket List (2007)
41%

#3
Adjusted Score: 47981%
Critics Consensus: Not even the earnest performances of the two leads can rescue The Bucket List from its schmaltzy script.
Synopsis: Billionaire Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) and car mechanic Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman) are complete strangers, until fate lands them in... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#4

Chariots of Fire (1981)
82%

#4
Adjusted Score: 87981%
Critics Consensus: Decidedly slower and less limber than the Olympic runners at the center of its story, the film nevertheless manages to make effectively stirring use of its spiritual and patriotic themes.
Synopsis: In the class-obsessed and religiously divided United Kingdom of the early 1920s, two determined young runners train for the 1924... [More]
Directed By: Hugh Hudson

#5

Chef (2014)
87%

#5
Adjusted Score: 93975%
Critics Consensus: Chef's charming cast and sharp, funny script add enough spice to make this feel-good comedy a flavorful -- if familiar -- treat.
Synopsis: After a controlling owner (Dustin Hoffman) pushes him too far, chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) quits his position at a... [More]
Directed By: Jon Favreau

#6

Forrest Gump (1994)
71%

#6
Adjusted Score: 78315%
Critics Consensus: Forrest Gump may be an overly sentimental film with a somewhat problematic message, but its sweetness and charm are usually enough to approximate true depth and grace.
Synopsis: Slow-witted Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) has never thought of himself as disadvantaged, and thanks to his supportive mother (Sally Field),... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 101368%
Critics Consensus: It follows a predictable narrative arc, but Good Will Hunting adds enough quirks to the journey -- and is loaded with enough powerful performances -- that it remains an entertaining, emotionally rich drama.
Synopsis: Will Hunting (Matt Damon) has a genius-level IQ but chooses to work as a janitor at MIT. When he solves... [More]
Directed By: Gus Van Sant

#8

Groundhog Day (1993)
97%

#8
Adjusted Score: 103336%
Critics Consensus: Smart, sweet, and inventive, Groundhog Day highlights Murray's dramatic gifts while still leaving plenty of room for laughs.
Synopsis: Phil (Bill Murray), a weatherman, is out to cover the annual emergence of the groundhog from its hole. He gets... [More]
Directed By: Harold Ramis

#9

Hidden Figures (2016)
93%

#9
Adjusted Score: 117305%
Critics Consensus: In heartwarming, crowd-pleasing fashion, Hidden Figures celebrates overlooked -- and crucial -- contributions from a pivotal moment in American history.
Synopsis: Three brilliant African American women at NASA -- Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson -- serve as the brains... [More]
Directed By: Theodore Melfi

#10

The Intouchables (2011)
75%

#10
Adjusted Score: 79776%
Critics Consensus: It handles its potentially prickly subject matter with kid gloves, but Intouchables gets by thanks to its strong cast and some remarkably sensitive direction.
Synopsis: An unlikely friendship develops between a wealthy quadriplegic (François Cluzet) and his caretaker (Omar Sy), just released from prison.... [More]

#11

Julie & Julia (2009)
77%

#11
Adjusted Score: 86315%
Critics Consensus: Boosted by Meryl Streep's charismatic performance as Julia Child, Julie and Julia is a light, but fairly entertaining culinary comedy.
Synopsis: Frustrated with a soul-killing job, New Yorker Julie Powell (Amy Adams) embarks on a daring project: she vows to prepare... [More]
Directed By: Nora Ephron

#12

Last Holiday (2006)
55%

#12
Adjusted Score: 59859%
Critics Consensus: Although Queen Latifah's bountiful life-affirming spirit permeates the film, director Wayne Wang is unable to revive this remake with any real flair.
Synopsis: The discovery that she has a terminal illness prompts introverted saleswoman Georgia Byrd (Queen Latifah) to reflect on what she... [More]
Directed By: Wayne Wang

#13

Life of Pi (2012)
86%

#13
Adjusted Score: 96906%
Critics Consensus: A 3D adaptation of a supposedly "unfilmable" book, Ang Lee's Life of Pi achieves the near impossible -- it's an astonishing technical achievement that's also emotionally rewarding.
Synopsis: After deciding to sell their zoo in India and move to Canada, Santosh and Gita Patel board a freighter with... [More]
Directed By: Ang Lee

#14

Lion (2016)
84%

#14
Adjusted Score: 99757%
Critics Consensus: Lion's undeniably uplifting story and talented cast make it a moving journey that transcends the typical cliches of its genre.
Synopsis: Five year old Saroo gets lost on a train which takes him thousands of miles across India, away from home... [More]
Directed By: Garth Davis

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 74431%
Critics Consensus: Will Smith's heartfelt performance elevates The Pursuit of Happyness above mere melodrama.
Synopsis: Life is a struggle for single father Chris Gardner (Will Smith). Evicted from their apartment, he and his young son... [More]
Directed By: Gabriele Muccino

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 76982%
Critics Consensus: An inspirational crowd-pleaser with a healthy dose of social commentary, Remember the Titans may be predictable, but it's also well-crafted and features terrific performances.
Synopsis: In Virginia, high school football is a way of life, an institution revered, each game celebrated more lavishly than Christmas,... [More]
Directed By: Boaz Yakin

#17

Rocky (1976)
91%

#17
Adjusted Score: 97736%
Critics Consensus: This story of a down-on-his-luck boxer is thoroughly predictable, but Sylvester Stallone's script and stunning performance in the title role brush aside complaints.
Synopsis: Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), a small-time boxer from working-class Philadelphia, is arbitrarily chosen to take on the reigning world heavyweight... [More]
Directed By: John G. Avildsen

#18
Adjusted Score: 58866%
Critics Consensus: It doesn't lack for ambition, but The Secret Life of Walter Mitty fails to back up its grand designs with enough substance to anchor the spectacle.
Synopsis: Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller), an employee at Life magazine, spends day after monotonous day developing photos for the publication. To... [More]
Directed By: Ben Stiller

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 96496%
Critics Consensus: The Shawshank Redemption is an uplifting, deeply satisfying prison drama with sensitive direction and fine performances.
Synopsis: Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison for the murders of his wife and... [More]
Directed By: Frank Darabont

#20

Soul Surfer (2011)
45%

#20
Adjusted Score: 48567%
Critics Consensus: There's an amazing true story at the heart of Soul Surfer -- and unfortunately, it's drowned by waves of Hollywood cheese.
Synopsis: A natural talent in the sport of surfing, teenager Bethany Hamilton (AnnaSophia Robb) loses an arm in a shark attack.... [More]
Directed By: Sean McNamara

#21

Wild (2014)
88%

#21
Adjusted Score: 99459%
Critics Consensus: Powerfully moving and emotionally resonant, Wild finds director Jean-Marc Vallée and star Reese Witherspoon working at the peak of their respective powers.
Synopsis: Driven to the edge by the loss of her beloved mother (Laura Dern), the dissolution of her marriage and a... [More]
Directed By: Jean-Marc Vallée

#22

Yes Man (2008)
46%

#22
Adjusted Score: 51994%
Critics Consensus: Jim Carrey's comic convulsions are the only bright spots in this otherwise dim and predictable comedy.
Synopsis: Carl Allen (Jim Carrey) is stuck in a rut with his negative ways. Then he goes to a self-help seminar... [More]
Directed By: Peyton Reed

We continue our series of “Peacock presents” recommendations with 10 movies that will satisfy everyone in the room – from toddlers to grandparents. After thrills? We got you with two Fresh flicks from the Dark Knight trilogy. Looking to get a bit emotional? Try A Beautiful Mind. Feeling retro? We’ve got plenty to scratch that itch. So, slather that popcorn with butter and dim the lights, because these family flicks – all available now on Peacock – are going to make weekends at your place that much more fun.

TO SIGN UP FOR PEACOCK, GO TO PEACOCKTV.COM

Batman Begins (2005)

84%

A young Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) travels to the Far East, where he’s trained in the martial arts by Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson), a member of the mysterious League of Shadows. When Ducard reveals the League’s true purpose – the complete destruction of Gotham City – Wayne returns to Gotham intent on cleaning up the city without resorting to murder. With the help of Alfred (Michael Caine), his loyal butler, and Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), a tech expert at Wayne Enterprises, Batman is born.

Critics Consensus: Brooding and dark, but also exciting and smart, Batman Begins is a film that understands the essence of one of the definitive superheroes.


The Dark Knight (2008)

94%

With the help of allies Lt. Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and DA Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), Batman (Christian Bale) has been able to keep a tight lid on crime in Gotham City. But when a vile young criminal calling himself the Joker (Heath Ledger) suddenly throws the town into chaos, the caped Crusader begins to tread a fine line between heroism and vigilantism.

Critics Consensus: Dark, complex, and unforgettable, The Dark Knight succeeds not just as an entertaining comic book film, but as a richly thrilling crime saga.


Bernie (2011)

88%

Assistant funeral director Bernie Tiede (Jack Black) is one of the most-beloved residents in the small Texas town of Carthage. Sunday-school teacher, choir member and creator of spectacular funerals, Bernie is a friend to everyone, including Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine), a rich but nasty widow whom no one else likes. When Marjorie is found shot to death and stuffed in a freezer, Bernie is charged with the murder, and concerned Carthage citizens immediately spring to his defense.

Critics Consensus: Richard Linklater’s Bernie is a gently told and unexpectedly amusing true-crime comedy that benefits from an impressive performance by Jack Black.


A Beautiful Mind (2001)

74%

A human drama inspired by events in the life of John Forbes Nash Jr. (Russell Crowe), and in part based on the biography A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar. From the heights of notoriety to the depths of depravity, John Forbes Nash Jr. experienced it all. A mathematical genius, he made an astonishing discovery early in his career and stood on the brink of international acclaim. But the handsome and arrogant Nash soon found himself on a painful and harrowing journey of self-discovery.

Critics Consensus: The well-acted A Beautiful Mind is both a moving love story and a revealing look at mental illness.


Meet Joe Black (1998)

45%

Bill Parrish (Anthony Hopkins), businessman and devoted family man, is about to celebrate his 65th birthday. However, before he reaches that landmark, he is visited by Death (Brad Pitt), who has taken human form as Joe Black, a young man who recently died. Joe and Bill make a deal: Bill will be given a few extra days of his life, and Joe will spend the same time getting to know what it’s like to be human. It seems like a perfect arrangement, until Joe falls in love – with Bill’s daughter.

Critics Consensus: Meet Joe Black is pretty to look at and benefits from an agreeable cast, but that isn’t enough to offset this dawdling drama’s punishing three-hour runtime.


Tremors (1990)

86%

Repairmen Val McKee (Kevin Bacon) and Earl Bassett (Fred Ward) are tired of their dull lives in the small desert town of Perfection, Nev. But just as the two try to skip town, they happen upon a series of mysterious deaths and a concerned seismologist (Finn Carter) studying unnatural readings below the ground. With the help of an eccentric couple (Reba McEntire, Michael Gross), the group fights for survival against giant, worm-like monsters hungry for human flesh.

Critics Consensus: An affectionate throwback to 1950s creature features, Tremors reinvigorates its genre tropes with a finely balanced combination of horror and humor.


Cinderella Man (2005)

80%

During the Great Depression, ex-boxer James J. Braddock (Russell Crowe) works as a day laborer until his former manager Joe Gould (Paul Giamatti) offers him a one-time slot against a rising young contender. After he wins a shocking upset, Braddock goes back into the ring full time, against the wishes of his frightened wife, Mae (Renée Zellweger). Dubbed “The Cinderella Man” for his rags-to-riches story, Braddock sets his sights on the defending champion, the fearsome Max Baer (Craig Bierko).

Critics Consensus: With grittiness and an evocative sense of time and place, Cinderella Man is a powerful underdog story. And Ron Howard and Russell Crowe prove to be a solid combination.


Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) is living the American dream. He has a good job, a beautiful house, great children and a beautiful wife, named Emily (Julianne Moore). Cal’s seemingly perfect life unravels, however, when he learns that Emily has been unfaithful and wants a divorce. Over 40 and suddenly single, Cal is adrift in the fickle world of dating. Enter, Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), a self-styled player who takes Cal under his wing and teaches him how to be a hit with the ladies.

Critics Consensus: It never lives up to the first part of its title, but Crazy, Stupid, Love‘s unabashed sweetness – and its terrifically talented cast – more than make up for its flaws.


Ride Along (2014)

18%

For two years, security guard Ben (Kevin Hart) has tried to convince James (Ice Cube), a veteran cop, that he is worthy of James’ sister, Angela. When Ben is finally accepted into the police academy, James decides to test his mettle by inviting him along on a shift deliberately designed to scare the trainee. However, events take an unexpected turn when their wild night leads to Atlanta’s most-notorious criminal and Ben’s rapid-fire mouth proves as dangerous as the bullets whizzing by them.

Critics Consensus: Kevin Hart’s livewire presence gives Ride Along a shot of necessary energy, but it isn’t enough to rescue this would-be comedy from the buddy-cop doldrums.


Blues Brothers 2000 (1998)

46%

The now-brotherless Ellwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd) is finally out of prison, attempting to reunite the old band and find a few new partners in crime – played by John Goodman and J. Evan Bonifant. In this sequel to the original Blues Brothers comedy/musical, Ellwood battles the Chicago police, sings and dances his way out of numerous sticky situations, and manages to get the old band on the road for a hair-raising adventure.

Critics Consensus: Braving onward without the late John Belushi, Blues Brothers 2000 gets the band back together with a spirited soundtrack, but a mission that’s far less divine.

Thumbnail: (c) Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection, © Universal, © Warner Bros.

After a busy MLK frame which concluded with the Golden Globe Awards, Hollywood lets the dust settle this weekend as only one new film enters wide release – the horror remake "The Hitcher."

Other distributors will take this opportunity to widen their awards contenders into more theaters taking advantage of the frame in between when the Globes were awarded and when Academy Award nominations are announced. Ticket sales could be a bit sluggish which will be good news for holdovers.

Focus unleashes its widest release in company history with the horror film "The Hitcher" from its Rogue genre unit which finds a young couple tormented by a most unfriendly hitchhiker. The R-rated film will target the fright crowd and play mostly to teens and young adults looking for a winter scare. No horror film has hit box office gold since the pre-Halloween release of "Saw III." Moviegoers are usually in the mood for happy subject matter around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but now the time is right for this audience to make its way back. Many fright flicks have scored solid openings in the January-February corridor as fans of the genre get back into the mood for blood and violence. However, Sunday sales could be impacted by the NFL conference championships which will take millions of males out of the picture for the whole day.

"The Hitcher" comes from producer Michael Bay and the folks who redid "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." Now the 1986 Rutger Hauer predecessor was a popular film, but did not become a massive cult hit so interest in the new "Hitcher" may be more subdued. The marketing and distribution push has been heavy and Focus will greatly benefit from being the only new face at the marquees. Those films expanding into new markets are more for older adults and won’t be much of a threat. How many college kids would rather see a World War II drama in Japanese? "The Hitcher" should thrive and pick up lots of passengers during its journey up the box office charts. Opening wide in 2,831 theaters, the horror flick could collect about $15M over the weekend.


Only bad things can happen when you pick up Sean Bean on the side of the road.

With Oscar nominations right around the corner, a handful of distributors will expand their hopefuls into more markets in an effort to capitalize on Academy Award nods, if they come. Picturehouse’s sci-fi thriller "Pan’s Labyrinth" averaged $13,464 over four days last weekend from 194 sites and will more than double its run into 500 theaters on Friday. Guillermo del Toro‘s acclaimed Spanish-language fantasy could scare up around $3M this weekend.


"Pan’s Labyrinth," opening in not-quite-wide release.

Fox Searchlight has grossed a modest $3.7M for its Idi Amin drama "The Last King of Scotland" but hopes audiences will be more energized the second time around as it re-expands the pic into 400 locations. Forest Whitaker‘s Best Actor win at the Globes (and almost every other awards gala) has generated some heat for the film which many moviegoers passed up the first time around. The kudos could help "Scotland" take in around $2M this weekend.


Forest Whitaker exulting in his Golden Globe win.

Clint Eastwood took home the Globe for the best foreign language film on Monday for his war tale "Letters From Iwo Jima." While the film is not eligible for the same statue at the Oscars, it could pop up in a number of other categories given the Academy’s undying love for the Hollywood icon. Last weekend, the Japanese language pic averaged $12,856 from only 35 theaters and on Friday Warner Bros. will up the theater count to 300. Still a tough sell, "Letters" could shoot up a gross of just over $1M.


Golden Globe winner for best foreign language film "Letters From Iwo Jima."

Last weekend, "Stomp the Yard" kicked down the doors and surged into the number one spot attracting a bigger audience than anyone expected. Teen films typically drop hard on the second weekend and "The Hitcher" should take away a bit of the young adult crowd too so a decent fall should be expected. The Friday-to-Sunday gross for "Stomp" could decline by 45% to about $12M giving Sony a solid $40M in ten days.

"Night at the Museum" will face no new competition for its target audience of families. Fox will join the quarter-century club over the weekend and may slip 30% to about $12M for a cume to date of $204M.

LAST YEAR: Sony scored the first of a long string of number ones for the year with the vampire sequel "Underworld: Evolution" which bowed to a potent $26.9M. The Kate Beckinsale actioner faded fast but still walked away with $62.3M. The animated comedy "Hoodwinked" expanded and slipped just 16% ranking second with $10.4M. Disney’s basketball drama "Glory Road" placed third with $8.8M and was followed closely by Paramount’s "Last Holiday" with $8.7M. Focus added screens to "Brokeback Mountain" and inched up into fifth place with $7.4M. Smaller openings were seen by the dramas "End of the Spear" and "The New World" with $4.3M and $4M, respectively. Final tallies reached only $11.7M and $12.7M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Can Ben Stiller and his living artifacts four-peat at the top of the North American box office, or will one of the new releases take the crown over the four-day Dr. Martin Luther King holiday weekend? Ticket buyers will decide.

Leading the freshman class is the dance drama "Stomp the Yard" which could have breakout potential. Also opening are the fantasy pic "Arthur and the Invisibles," the drug dealer pic "Alpha Dog," and the horror flick "Primeval." With so many schools closed on Monday, the new films are targeting students of all ages who will have extra time on their hands.

The west and east coasts meet in "Stomp the Yard," a story of a Los Angeles student enrolled in an Atlanta university who uses his unique style to help his fraternity compete in a step dancing contest. The PG-13 film is short on starpower, but makes up for that with terrific marketing which is the real ingredient that will put asses into the seats. Sony has cut exciting trailers and commercial spots which should spark lots of interest with teens and young adults. Plus, MLK weekend is the perfect time to open a black college film since interest will be high for this particular subject matter. African American students will especially be out in solid numbers. However, the opening of Justin Timberlake‘s "Alpha Dog" could take away some of the young adult crowd.

"Stomp" should appeal to the same audiences that delivered bigger-than-expected openings for "Drumline" ($12.6M opening, $6,865 average), "ATL" ($11.6M, $7,212), and "You Got Served" ($16.1M, $8,341). The urban youth of America possesses tremendous spending power and Hollywood has just woken up to this in recent years financing low cost flicks that return handsome profits through theatrical and DVD sales. "Stomp" also offers an appealing story relevant to today’s young people and looks to join this list. Stepping into 2,051 theaters, "Stomp the Yard" could collect about $16M over four days this weekend.


An action shot from "Stomp the Yard."

The weekend’s only new kidpic comes in the form of the French production "Arthur and the Invisibles," a groundbreaking feature which mixes live-action with animation in a fantasy tale. The PG-rated film from The Weinstein Co. is directed by action professional Luc Besson ("The Fifth Element," "Joan of Arc") and features the voices of Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Snoop Dogg, and Madonna. With so many young children across the country having a long school holiday, "Arthur" should get some play as the only new option for parents who have taken enough trips to the Museum. Of course "Happily N’Ever After" flopping last weekend shows that family audiences will not come out for just anything. With about 2,500 theaters, it is the widest of the new titles which could help it get into double digit millions over the extended frame. The marketing push has been admirable too. MLK weekend has often seen better-than-expected results for debuting kiddie flicks like "Kangaroo Jack," "Racing Stripes," and "Hoodwinked." "Arthur and the Invisibles" may carve out its share of the pie and gross roughly $11M over the four-day period.


Those troll dolls have found a new purpose in "Arthur and the Invisibles."

Pop music king Justin Timberlake joins an ensemble cast which includes Emile Hirsch, Sharon Stone, and Bruce Willis in the gritty drama "Alpha Dog." Directed by Nick Cassavetes, the R-rated film tells of a drug dealer who kidnaps the younger brother of a friend who owes a debt. The Universal release is based on true events and will target older teens and twentysomethings. The marketing makes the film look slick and cool plus JT provides a built-in audience of fans that can be tapped into.

However, two main obstacles are in the way – the rating and competition from "Stomp the Yard." A large portion of Timberlake’s fans are young teens and they will have a hard time buying tickets. Plus, "Stomp" will be distracting the urban youth with its slick look and milder PG-13 rating. On top of that, the studio’s release is not too wide. These factors should curtail the potential of "Alpha." Critics have given solid support which may help a little, although Time Out New York boldly calls the pic the worst movie of the year in its zero-star review. Opening in about 1,200 theaters, "Alpha Dog" might bite down on around $8M over the long weekend.


Timberlake gets down in "Alpha Dog."

Every horror film since Halloween has flopped and the streak looks to continue with "Primeval" from Buena Vista. The R-rated film about a news crew hunting down a killer boasts no starpower and lacks a compelling plot worthy of the ten-dollar bills of genre fans. Marketing support has been weak and awareness is not very high. The fright flick seems to have the same potential as last month’s "Turistas" which bowed to a weak $3.6M and $2,282 average. "Primeval" will open wider with about 2,000 theaters and has an extended four-day session so a gross of roughly $6M could result followed by steep drops.

Zhang Yimou has seen solid but not spectacular averages for his latest Chinese epic "Curse of the Golden Flower" which has already grossed $2.2M from its limited release in about 60 theaters. Its average of $6,104 last weekend will drop considerably as it expands nationwide into about 1,200 playdates. The Mandarin-language period piece seems to be going too wide too fast and with all the choices in the multiplexes, Sony Classics may find it difficult to get multiplex crowds into all those new seats. "Curse" will try to play to fans of the "Hero" director, but Chow Yun Fat and Gong Li are no Jet Li and Zhang Ziyi at the American box office. A $4M gross over the long weekend could result.


These horses must be suffering from "The Curse of the Golden Flower."

Ben Stiller and Will Smith have been inseparable blockbuster brothers atop the box office charts for the last three weeks. But the weekend’s new releases should finally cause a breakup. Stiller’s runaway smash "Night at the Museum" has been holding up incredibly well against any competition that has come its way and will attempt to become the first film since 2003’s "The Return of the King" to remain number one for four consecutive weekends. The only thing standing in its path is a possible teen explosion for "Stomp." "Museum’s" four-day holiday gross could slip 25% from last weekend’s three-day figure giving the Fox hit about $18M and a remarkable cume to date of $187M.

Smith has done pretty well for himself too with "The Pursuit of Happyness" which should see another solid turnout over MLK weekend. A 20% drop would give Sony a four-day tally of $10M boosting its total to a stellar $137M.

Since it opened nationally on Christmas Day, "Dreamgirls" has been posting the best per-theater averages of any wide release. Now, Paramount will more than double the run and expand the Golden Globe nominee for Best Picture – Comedy or Musical from 852 to about 1,800 theaters. The Jamie FoxxBeyonce Knowles musical is the favorite to take home that honor, plus other statues, and the studio wants to make sure the product is available everywhere once the wins occur. Plus, films with African American casts routinely do very well over the King frame so a jump in sales is assured. For the four-day period, "Dreamgirls" may climb to around $11M putting the cume at $68M. If it wins the Globe for Best Picture and secures a sizable number of Oscar nominations the following week, the total domestic take could certainly surpass the $100M mark as it did for "Chicago" four years ago. The Richard Gere musical reached a similar $63.8M at the end of the weekend it went fully national into 1,841 locations and went on to a sensational $170.7M final total.

LAST YEAR: Disney kicked off the first of what would be many hit sports flicks in 2006 with the basketball drama "Glory Road" which opened at number one over MLK weekend with $16.9M over four days. The live action film barely beat out the animated comedy "Hoodwinked" which also grossed $16.9M over the Friday-to-Monday period, but was about $50,000 shy of the number one spot. The duo reached $42.6M and $51.2M, respectively. Third place also was held by a new release. Paramount’s Queen Latifah comedy "Last Holiday" bowed to a solid $15.5M on its way to $38.4M. Rounding out the top five were former number ones "The Chronicles of Narnia" with $12.8M and "Hostel" with $11.4M over the long weekend. Fox’s romance "Tristan & Isolde" found few lovers in its debut opening to $7.6M on its way to just $14.7M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Are you between the ages of 13 and 19? Do you like … stuff? Then click right here and cast your votes for the 329th annual Teen Choice Awards, which is where you can tell the universe that Puffy is more illing than Snoop Dogg, Will Ferrell is funnier than Brad Pitt, and Katie Holmes is cuter than Katey Sagal. Or something.

Click right here for the ballot, but don’t even think of voting if you’re older than 19. The Teen Choice Awards employ a bunch of enforcers who’ll come to your house and check your birth certificate.

I had to lie about my age to check out the nominees (don’t tell anyone), but the TCAs are poised to celebrate some of the following flicks:

Best Action Adventure:
"King Kong," "Mission Impossible 3," "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest," "Superman Returns," "V for Vendetta," "X-Men: The Last Stand"

Best Drama: "Flightplan," "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," "Pride & Prejudice," "Take the Lead," "Goal!," "Walk the Line"

Best Chick Flick: "Failure to Launch," "Just Like Heaven," "Just My Luck," "Last Holiday," "Aquamarine," "The Lake House"

Best Comedy: "Click," "Nacho Libre," "Scary Movie 4," "She’s the Man," "The Benchwarmers," "The Break-Up"

Best Thriller: "An American Haunting," "Hostel," "Red Eye," "Saw 2," "Silent Hill," "The Omen"

They also have a bunch of actor’s categories, but the choices managed to somehow get even sillier. Click here to cast your votes, kids.

The Weinstein’s "Hoodwinked" took on a trio of big studio rivals over the MLK holiday weekend, and early estimates for the four-day frame indicate that the little guy (er, girl) came out on top … if only by the slimmest of margins.

An animated comedy about the crazy goings-on over at grandma’s cabin, "Hoodwinked" pulled an estimated $16.6 million payday out of her goody basket, giving the relatively low-budget family flick the #1 spot. The company’s first animated feature debuted in December so as to qualify for Oscar consideration, but only in NY and LA. This weekend saw the flick hit 2,400 theaters.

Close behind in second place was Disney’s basketball drama "Glory Road," which scored about $16.4 million from 2,200 theaters. And not very far behind was Paramount’s Queen Latifomedy "Last Holiday," which made about $15.7 million from 2,500 theaters.

Still going strong in fourth place was Disney’s "The Chronicles of Narnia," which added another $12.2 million to its $263 million total, while the ferocious horror flick "Hostel" fell to fifth place with a haul of $11.6 million ($36.8m total).

Fox’s period romance "Tristan & Isolde" debuted somewhat solidly in 8th place, pulling in $7.8 million from 1,800 theaters.

And in massive primate news, Universal’s "King Kong" clocked in at 7th place with $9.2 million, but it also crossed over the $200m mark, which is something the Kongfans will be happy to learn.

Next week sees the unleashing of only one new wide release: Screen Gems romantic monster action thriller sequel "Underworld: Evolution," which stars several vampires, numerous werewolves, and one seriously hot female in black leather.

As always, you’re more than welcome to visit the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office for a closer look at the numbers.

This week at the movies brings us films about a risk-averse woman cutting loose ("Last Holiday"), a groundbreaking underdog basketball team ("Glory Road"), and an ancient folktale of grand passion ("Tristan & Isolde"). What do the critics have to say?

There are some actors and actresses who are so likable, they can pull off nearly anything, no matter how predictable. Queen Latifah is one of them. "Last Holiday," a remake of the Alec Guinness classic, tells the tale of a woman who, upon hearing dire medical news, decides to live every day as if it’s her last. Critics say a movie that could be a moderately entertaining rom-com about the virtues of believing in oneself becomes something altogether greater in the hands of Latifah, who brings a winning charm to every scene. At 68 percent, this is a "Holiday" to celebrate.

The Kentucky Wildcats were among the dominant programs in college basketball during coach Adolph Rupp’s 42-year tenure. But in 1966, an all-African American starting lineup from Texas Western defeated Rupp’s all-white squad. There is no doubt that this is an inspiring, true-life underdog tale, and many critics say "Glory Road," the big-screen adaptation starring Josh Lucas and Derek Luke, delivers the visceral thrills of our favorite sports flicks without skimping on the social commentary. But others say that inspiring true-life tales don’t necessarily make for exciting cinema; at 53 percent, this "Road" may be a little too well traveled.

Speaking of inspiring, there’s a Celtic folktale that has inspired some of the world’s most monumental artistic works, from "Romeo and Juliet" to one of Wagner’s most influential operas. But critics say the movie treatment of "Tristan & Isolde" isn’t poised to join the pantheon. A tale of romance in the war-torn aftermath of Roman control over England, critics say the film is too tepid and slow to pull off a sweeping romantic vision. At 32 percent on the Tomatometer, this is one love story that could use a little more passion.

Recent Queen Latifah Movies:
————————————
40% — Beauty Shop (2005)
33% — The Muppets: The Wizard of Oz (2005)
70% — Barbershop 2: Back in Business (2004)
3% — The Cookout (2004)
10% — Taxi (2004)

Recent Joshua Lucas Movies:
————————————
13% — Stealth (2005)
51% — An Unfinished Life (2005)
27% — Around the Bend (2004)
57% — Undertow (2004)
60% — Hulk (2003)

Lions Gate’s "Hostel," which was produced for less than 5 million clams, had a pretty spectacular opening weekend at the box office, bringing in an estimated $20.1 million from about 2,200 theaters. "Hostel" drew similar numbers to last year’s "White Noise," but had a tougher climb because A) it’s rated R, and B) it’s not as stupid.

Second and third place went to two multiplex juggernauts: Disney’s "The Chronicles of Narnia" tucked an additional $15.4 million into its $247.5 million collection plate, while Universal’s "King Kong" stuffed another $12.4 million into its $192.2 million banana patch.

The top five was rounded out by another pair of hang-arounders: Sony’s "Fun with Dick and Jane" made about $12.2 million ($81.3 million total) and Fox’s "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" raked in another $8.3 million ($66.4 million total).

Debuting (hilariously) in 13th and 19th place, respectively, were Fox’s "Grandma’s Boy" ($2.9 million from 2,000 theaters) and Romar’s "BloodRayne" ($1.2 million from 985 theaters). Expect both to be on DVD in time for tax day.

Next Friday sees the release of three new titles: Disney’s basketball drama "Glory Road," Paramount’s comedy "Last Holiday," and Fox’s romantic action drama "Tristan and Isolde."

For a closer look at the weekend numbers, please do stop on by the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office Page.

Fans of Queen Latifah will be pleased to know that her newest comedy is called "Last Holiday," it’s due for release on January 13th, and the all-new trailer is available right here.

Based on the 1950 Alec Guinness film of the same name, "Last Holiday" is about a woman who decides to go on a spend-happy skiing vacation after learning that she only has three weeks to love. (Or does she?)

Starring alongside the Queen are LL Cool J, Timothy Hutton, Alicia Witt, and Gerard Depardieu. Directed by Wayne Wang ("Beacuse of Winn-Dixie," "Maid in Manhattan"); screenplay by the team of Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman ("How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "Wild Wild West," "Doc Hollywood" & "Who Framed Roger Rabbit")

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