The best football movies capture the grit, the drama, the glory, and even the absurd comedic potential of the sport. To that tight end, we’ve huddled together the 30 Favorite Football Movies, as fine a lineup of critics’ and popular fan choices as you’ll ever see.
Filling the roster are classics synonymous with football flicks (Remember the Titans, Rudy), comedies to tackle the funny bone (The Waterboy, The Replacements), industry insiders (Jerry Maguire, Draft Day), and the inspirational tearjerkers (Brian’s Song). And it’s an-all ages club, from elementary (Little Giants), to high school (Varsity Blues), to college (We Are Marshall), and, of course, the winding road to the pros (Invincible). Whether they’re set on field, in the locker room, or in the halls, these movies capture the spirit of football in its complex glory. These movies are not ranked by Tomatometer scores, but by their stature and impact inside the arena of sports cinema. So even if some critics gave these movies a hard time, the fact that they’ve been accepted by audiences and fans as film ambassadors to the football life was the true weighing factor.
So welcome to Rotten Tomatoes’ 30 Favorite Football Movies. No need to review the play on this one: We guarantee you’re seeing a big dogpile of the gridiron movie greats. —Alex Vo
(Photo by Claudette Barius/©Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection)
“Alright alright alright!” Only one man in Hollywood could fully embody the laidback cool of that now-famous catchphrase: Matthew McConaughey. The actor broke into the scene with the landmark stoner comedy Dazed and Confused, and for a while there looked like he was good to just coast on his twangy bro-charm and ample shirtless scenes. Occasional dramas like Amistad and Frailty gave him acting cred, which some would say was squandered on a string of duds like Fool’s Gold, Failure to Launch, and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past – the mediocrity cresting with the 0% Surfer, Dude.
Then came the McConaissance.
It all started with 2011’s The Lincoln Lawyer: He entered one side a laughing stock, and came out the other a bona fide movie legend. The hits followed: Magic Mike, Mud, The Wolf of Wall Street, and an honest-to-God Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club. And there was that critically-lauded turn in HBO’s True Detective. Before 2011, McConaughey had notched six Certified Fresh films over 20 years; this past decade, he’s racked up nine. See where they all place, including his latest The Gentlemen, as we rank the best Matthew McConaughey movies (and the worst) by Tomatometer! —Alex Vo
Moviegoers are in for a feast as studios will unleash a wide menu of new options on Friday trying to reach holiday patrons on the weekend before Santa comes to town. Disney leads the way with its adventure sequel National Treasure: Book of Secrets which is getting the widest launch by far of the five new films. The Nicolas Cage actioner will face off against other star-driven movies like Charlie Wilson’s War with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts and Johnny Depp‘s Sweeney Todd. Comedy comes in the form of Walk Hard while romance pops up in P.S. I Love You. With so many choices, there should be something for everyone allowing the overall box office to remain healthy. Plus with Christmas Eve falling on a Monday, Sunday sales will be stronger than usual giving the weekend numbers an added boost.
Nicolas Cage hit a career high in 2004 with National Treasure which bowed to $35.1M on its way to $173M, his highest gross ever. Now Disney and superproducer Jerry Bruckheimer reteam for the PG-rated sequel National Treasure: Book of Secrets which aims to target the same broad audience that made the first such a big hit. The rating and the studio’s name help to attract families and younger kids while Cage and the action element bring in teens and young adults. Competition from I Am Legend‘s second weekend will cut into some of the action business, but history has shown that two high-profile action movies can indeed survive at the same time. Secrets delivers the entertainment that the target audience is looking for and the marketing push has been strong. The built-in fan base knows what it’s getting so expect a big opening. Reviews will be mostly irrelevant. Invading over 3,500 theaters, National Treasure: Book of Secrets might take in about $44M this weekend.
To find success, the studio is using two tactics. It is pushing the comedy element to show ticket buyers that they will not be in for a serious lecture, and it is promoting the A-list stars heavily. Hanks and Roberts have sold billions of dollars worth of tickets worldwide and this is their first pairing. The R-rated film will appeal mostly to older adults which means there will still be plenty of potential over the next two weeks. The final gross will not rely entirely on the opening weekend results. With Roberts delivering a very flattering line about the Golden Globes in the film, it was no surprise that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association returned the favor by honoring War with five Globe nods including Best Picture – Comedy or Musical. Those nominations have become a key element in the marketing. Reviews have been strong too. Launching in roughly 2,500 theaters, Charlie Wilson’s War could collect about $14M over the weekend.
Although Paramount is marketing the revenge flick like a 3,000-theater bow, it is only going into about 1,000 locations this weekend. That should lead to sold out
shows and a very high average. Plus with so many other films releasing at the same time, getting second and third screens within multiplexes will be difficult. The gruesome pic should bring out hard-core fans first and then reach a more mainstream crowd after Christmas when seeing blood and gore will not be as bad of a thing. Positive reviews and four Globe nominations will also help to convince audiences, but the starpower of Depp and Burton is the film’s biggest asset. Look for a debut of around $10M this weekend followed by good legs in the coming weeks.
Alvin and the Chipmunks is in a much better position since all kids will be out of school for the rest of the year. Business this week, all next week, and the session before New Year’s will be sizzling. National Treasure will take away some ticket sales, but with so many R-rated films filling up screens, parents will keep looking at the Chipmunks as the only game in town for small children. Alvin and the Chipmunks could decline by 40% and collect around $27M over the weekend pushing the ten-day total to a sensational $80M.
LAST YEAR: Ben Stiller and Robin Williams rocked the box office with the action comedy Night at the Museum which debuted powerfully in first place with $42.2M over the four-day holiday frame with Christmas Day falling on a Monday. Fox found itself with a megahit as the effects-driven pic topped the charts for
three straight weeks, ended up with a mammoth $250.9M domestically, and even conquered overseas multiplexes with an eye-popping $574M worldwide haul. Will Smith‘s uplifting drama The Pursuit of Happyness dropped a spot to second with a strong $22.6M over four days. Opening with muscle in third was Sylvester Stallone‘s Rocky Balboa with $17M over the four-day weekend and a potent $26.7M across its six-day debut period. The MGM release became a solid hit for the franchise earning great reviews plus an impressive $70.3M. Universal followed with its new CIA thriller The Good Shepherd starring Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, and Robert De Niro which launched with $14.1M on its way to $59.9M. The kidpic Charlotte’s Web ranked fifth with $9.6M in its sophomore session. Opening in eighth place with mild results was the football drama We Are Marshall with $8.6M over four days for Warner Bros. The Matthew McConaughey flick ended up scoring $43.5M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
If you’ve been itching for a good rental, you’re in luck — even the gambles this week are near Fresh on the Tomatometer! Quentin Tarantino fans already know to look for his Death Proof on shelves today; you’re also in store for a wide variety of new discs, from a director-approved epic (Troy) to a critically-lauded Hong Kong gangster pic (Triad Election), with a British horror-comedy (Severance) and a landmark documentary box set (The Up Series ) to boot.
The day has come! Quentin Tarantino‘s diesel-fueled half of Grindhouse is the first of the two to be released in extended versions (look for Robert Rodriguez‘s zombie outbreak film Planet Terror in October), making this our most anticipated DVD release of the week. Watch 25 additional minutes of the scarred and psychotic Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) stalking two set of lovely ladies in his “death proof” muscle car; this extended version screened in competition at Cannes and includes more of QT’s signature snappy dialogue, plus Arlene’s (Vanessa Ferlito) full lapdance scene set to the smoky sounds of the Coasters’ “Down in Mexico.” Although we’ll have to wait for an inevitable super-duper Grindhouse DVD edition to peep all those awesome fake trailers, this one’s got a second disc full of behind-the-scenes featurettes (Stunts on Wheels, Finding Quentin’s Girls, Introducing Zoe Bell, and more).
Wolfgang Peterson‘s $180 million epic aimed to bring Homer’s battle tome The Iliad to the big screen in grand measure, and it certainly did so with sweeping combat scenes and plenty of good old fashioned Trojan intrigue. But critics wanted more heart to go with the beautiful beefcake landscape of Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, and Eric Bana; accordingly, emotional resonance is one improvement that Peterson claims to have added to his unrated director’s cut. In a brief introduction to the new edition, the director also promises over 30 minutes of never-before-seen footage and hints at more sex and violence. While this does extend the original runtime of two hours and 43 minutes to a whopping 201-minute marathon, sword-and-sandal enthusiasts should appreciate the TLC Peterson’s shoved into the version of Troy that he’d “always envisioned.”
A corporate team-building getaway turns into a deliciously funny nightmare when the Palisades Defense sales team starts getting killed one by one; critics call the Brit horror-comedy a mix between The Office and Hostel!
Hong Kong director Johnnie To serves up Godfather-esque gangster drama with his continuation of 2005’s Election. This time, new Triad boss Lok is plotting his own sly re-election, but a new rival wants to set the family towards legit business; bloody double-crossings ensue. While many critics thoroughly enjoyed the film’s prequel, most praise Triad Election as an equal, if not better, film.
Fans of Michael Apted‘s Up series should salivate at the chance to own all seven installments of the remarkable documentary series in one box set. What started in 1964 to track the socio-economic paths of young Britons (checking in on the same set of kids every seven years) has now taken viewers into the middle ages of its subjects. Special features include a 42 Up commentary track and an exclusive interview by Roger Ebert of Apted (who has continued to film the series between directing Hollywood flicks like Gorillas in the Mist, Nell, and the upcoming Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader).
Other Safe Bets This Week
Controversial Danish director Lars Von Trier (Dancer in the Dark, Dogville) gets considerably more accessible with this comedy about a company owner who hires an actor to play his firm’s nonexistent boss. Also interesting is von Trier’s pioneering use of the “Automavision” system to film, in which he set only the camera position and then let a computer select framing settings (“tilt, pan, and zoom”) at random. Oh, that Lars!
The 1972 cautionary camping classic is given the deluxe treatment with this new edition, rife with newly filmed cast and crew interviews, a “vintage” 1972 behind-the-scenes featurette titled The Dangerous World of Deliverance, and a new commentary by director John Boorman.
Beside being the first writing credit of Heroes co-exec producer Jeph Loeb, 1985’s Commando starred California governator Arnold Schwarzenegger the first of many gun-toting brawn-fests. As the improbably-named John Matrix, Ahnuld smells bad guys coming, wields circular saws like Frisbees, and delivers so-bad-its-good puns left and right. A thirteen-year-old Alyssa Milano stars as his feisty kidnapped daughter. Theme song by Power Station.
Scottish director Michael Caton-Jones (This Boy’s Life, Basic Instinct 2) shot on location to film this fictionalized account of an English teacher (Hugh Dancy) and a priest (John Hurt) trying to protect refugees during the Rwandan genocide.
Besides giving you another look at Michael Douglas‘s Oscar-winning performance as the venomous, utterly quotable corporate raider Gordon Gekko, this 20th anniversary edition boasts a new commentary (and deleted scene commentaries) by director Oliver Stone and two featurettes (Greed is Good and Money Never Sleeps – The Making of Wall Street).
If you don’t already know what this experimental doc is about (or haven’t heard of the infamous real-life incident on which it is based), suffice to say this film gives a whole new meaning to being an animal lover…
This feel-bad, then feel-good Matthew McConaughey football pic is fine, but can a little pigskin drama make the grief of tragedy go away?
Until next week, happy renting!
In this week’s Ketchup, Sam Raimi discusses possible options for a fourth "Spider-Man," the cast of "Iron Man" is looking rather sharp in the first cast photo, and the Disney brain trust makes a wise business decision.
This Week’s Most Popular News:
Sam Raimi Discusses "Spider-Man 4" Villains
A whole bunch of new bad guys might be on their way … but still no love for The Lizard?
First "Iron Man" Cast Photo!
The guys who are in charge of early marketing for Marvel’s "Iron Man" have been keeping us pretty busy over the last few weeks. And now comes a rather cool new cast photo.
Disney Halts DTV Sequels! Hooray!
Good news all around. Plus, get this: Disney CCO John Lasseter has called the upcoming Tinkerbell movie "unwatchable." Ouch.
Powerful New "Transformers" Ad
You guys know I’ve just recently come around on this "Transformers" flick. I was pretty skeptical at first, but with each new trailer and promo spot, I’m getting just a little more geeked for the movie…
Is Tarantino Preparing Two "Kill Bill" Sequels?
Well, according to one source he sure seems to be … maybe.
In Other News:
By now you’ve probably heard that Christina Ricci has joined the "Speed Racer" cast, but it looks like Fox and the Wachowski Brothers have found their "Racer X" villain. Fans of the TV series "Lost" will no doubt applaud the signing of…
…Matthew Fox as the "Speed Racer" baddie. (Movie fans will recognize Fox from his appearances in "We Are Marshall" and "Smokin’ Aces.") Sources indicate that Mr. Fox will do the movie while on his summer break from "Lost." Additionally, Australian actor Kick Gurry is in talks to play a hippie mechanic named "Sparky."
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Ben Stiller ruled Christmas weekend for the second time in two years with his new effects-driven comedy "Night at the Museum" which opened at number one with an estimated $30.8M, according to figures released by Fox.
The PG-rated pic averaged a muscular $8,358 from an ultrawide release in 3,685 theaters including Imax venues. Two years ago, Stiller topped this same holiday weekend with "Meet the Fockers" which bowed to $46.1M in three days and $70.5M over five days.
Fox did not report a four-day Friday-to-Monday holiday gross for "Museum," but the comedy should be able to collect more than $40M over that period. According to official studio figures, Friday bowed to $12.4M, Saturday saw a slight 3% increase to $12.8M, and Sunday is projected to tumble 56% to $5.6M. The overall box office always falls sharply on Christmas Eve, but enjoys a vibrant rebound on Christmas Day when moviegoers have more time to visit their local multiplex.
Most studios reported three-day estimates and many will also report four-day estimates on Monday, Christmas Day.
Sony saw its Will Smith drama "The Pursuit of Happyness" fall one notch to second place with an estimated $15M over three days. The true-life tale dropped 44% from its opening weekend and raised its ten-day cume to $53.3M.
Opening in third place was Sylvester Stallone‘s "Rocky Balboa" with an estimated $12.5M in three days and $22.2M over the five days since its Wednesday debut. The MGM pic averaged a respectable $4,143 over the Friday-to-Sunday period from 3,017 locations.
Oscar winners Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie saw their new CIA thriller "The Good Shepherd" bow in fourth place with an estimated $10M from 2,215 theaters for a good $4,505 average over three days. Directed by Robert De Niro, the frame’s only new R-rated pic played to an adult audience with studio data showing that the audience was 73% over the age of 30 and 53% male. Universal projected that the four-day tally will reach $13.9M.
In fifth place was Paramount’s family film "Charlotte’s Web" with an estimated $8M over three days, off 30%, for a cume of $26.8M after ten days. Fox’s fantasy adventure "Eragon" followed stumbling 69% in its second weekend to an estimated $7.2M. The dragon tale has taken in $37.6M in ten days.
The football drama "We Are Marshall" opened in seventh place with an estimated $6.6M from 2,606 venues for a lukewarm $2,548 average for Warner Bros. The studio’s penguin film "Happy Feet" followed in eighth with an estimated $5.1M, down 39%, for a $159.1M sum.
Sony’s "The Holiday" dropped 38% to an estimated $5M giving the Cameron Diaz–Kate Winslet film $35.1M to date. New Line rounded out the top ten with "The Nativity Story" which climbed up 1% to an estimated $4.7M raising its total to $31.4M.
In limited release, Warner Independent opened "The Painted Veil" in four theaters and grossed an estimated $47,000 in three days for a strong $11,750 average. Since its Wednesday launch, the Edward Norton period pic has collected $68,000 and on Friday the distributor will expand to 37 locations.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
This week at the movies, we’ve got living history hijinks ("Night at the Museum," starring Ben Stiller), the Italian Stallion’s return ("Rocky Balboa," starring Sylvester Stallone), a tragedy-to-triumph pigskin drama ("We Are Marshall," starring Matthew McConaughey), and the dark early days of the CIA ("The Good Shepherd," starring Matt Damon). What do the critics say?
It’s a great idea for a movie: what if all the cool stuff in a museum came to life after visiting hours? In "Night at the Museum," Ben Stiller stars as a less-than-competent security guard at the Museum of Natural History who inadvertently triggers an ancient curse, bringing to life the prehistoric people, animals, and dinosaur skeletons of the exhibits. Sounds kinda like a cross between "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" and "Jumanji," right? Unfortunately, critics say the gags in "Night at the Museum" are often shrill and noisy, despite a frighteningly funny cast that includes Owen Wilson, Ricky Gervais, Steve Coogan, and Ernest Borgnine. But as family fare goes, the whimsy of "Museum"’s CG-enhanced antics may pass the time easily enough. At 54 percent on the Tomatometer, this one may not be a "Night" to remember.
Forget prizefighting — Rocky’s only a few years shy of cashing social security checks. And his eponymous movie series has made nearly as many ill-advised comebacks as Evander Holyfield. So it’s something of a surprise — nay, a shock — that critics are praising "Rocky Balboa" as not only a return to form, but the best film in the series since the original. Sylvester Stallone — who else? — stars as the retired champ, lured back into the ring with the promise of testing his mettle against a younger fighter (played by real life pugilist Antonio Tarver). Pundits say the moribund series is back in fighting shape, for the back-to-basics "Rocky Balboa" is a gritty, poignant underdog story that redeems one of American cinema’s most iconic characters. At 77 percent on the Tomatometer, this one may still be a notch below the original "Rocky" (96 percent), but it gets to wear a new title belt: Certified Fresh.
After "Remember the Titans," "Invincible," and "Facing the Giants" you’d think there wouldn’t be enough material for another inspirational football movie. You’d be wrong. "We Are Marshall" tells the heartbreaking true story of the Marshall football program. In 1970, a plane crash claimed the lives of 75 coaches and players; the film, starring Matthew McConaughey, is about the football team’s (and the entire community’s) resurrection. Alas, good intentions can only go so far; critics say "Marshall" is all too typical of its genre, with schmaltz and clichés taking the place of the messiness that must have surrounded the story’s real-life circumstances. "We Are Marshall" currently stands at 44 percent on the Tomatometer.
In "The Good Shepherd," director Robert DeNiro takes us on a fictional tour of the dark history of the CIA, from its inception at the end of WWII to the Bay of Pigs debacle. And, critics say, he takes his time. "Shepherd" stars Matt Damon as reserved Yale grad Edward Wilson, a man who works his way up the ladder at the agency but slowly loses his soul in the process. The scribes say the film boasts wonderful production values and an outstanding cast (which includes DeNiro himself, Joe Pesci, and Alec Baldwin), but underuses many others (Angelina Jolie in particular, as Wilson’s wife). Worse, critics complain that despite the film’s nearly three-hour runtime, there is little action to be had and virtually no pace-quickening intrigue, making this a mind-numbingly long spy flick in which not a lot happens. At 44 percent on the Tomatometer, this "Shepherd" could have used more guidance.
Also opening this week in limited release: "The Case of the Grinning Cat," a graffiti-strewn French documentary, is at 100 percent; Clint Eastwood‘s Oscar hopeful "Letters from Iwo Jima," which sees the WWII battle from a Japanese perspective, is at 93 percent; "Venus," the tale of a May-December friendship starring Peter O’Toole, is at 87 percent; "The Painted Veil," based upon W. Somerset Maugham’s novel and starring Naomi Watts and Edward Norton, is at 77 percent; "The Curse of the Golden Flower," Zhang Yimou‘s period piece starring Gong Li and Chow Yun-Fat, is at 56 percent; "Matthew Barney: No Restraint," a doc about the avant-garde artist/filmmaker and Bjork spouse, is at 56 percent.
Recent Ben Stiller Movies:
51% — Tenacious D In: The Pick of Destiny (2006)
27% — School for Scoundrels (2006)
55% — Madagascar (2005)
38% — Meet the Fockers (2004)
69% — Anchorman: the Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
Moviegoers will have plenty to choose from over the long Christmas holiday weekend as four new star-driven wide releases hit the marketplace adding to an already crowded marquee.
The Ben Stiller fantasy pic "Night at the Museum" leads the way as the frame’s only new comedy while the Matthew McConaughey football drama "We Are Marshall" offers an inspirational story based on true events. Meanwhile, a pair of Italian Stallions hop into the director’s chair as Sylvester Stallone‘s boxing drama "Rocky Balboa" and Robert De Niro‘s espionage thriller "The Good Shepherd" offer even more choices to holiday moviegoers. As is typical of this time of year, Christmas Eve will hurt the box office on Sunday as last-minute shopping and early theater closings will take their toll. But the Monday holiday will see a major recovery since Christmas Day brings forth a surge in traffic to the multiplexes.
Blasting into nearly 3,700 theaters including 72 Imax venues is the comedy "Night at the Museum" which finds Ben Stiller playing the new night watchman at New York’s Museum of Natural History where all the artifacts and statues come to life each night. Director Shawn Levy ("Cheaper by the Dozen," "The Pink Panther") leaves behind Steve Martin to work with a younger funnyman and more special effects. The PG-rated film is aiming for broad audiences hoping to bring in entire families looking for a fun time this holiday season. "Museum" also plans to score with teens and young adults as the only major comedy option for them. With "The Holiday" being the only other laugher in the top ten to register with that lucrative group, look for a solid response.
Stiller brings considerable starpower to the film but he also gets backup from comedians like Robin Williams, Ricky Gervais, and Dick Van Dyke. Plus with the prestigious ‘and’ credit already claimed by Williams, Owen Wilson takes a sizable supporting role but is so cool that he is nowhere to be found in the credits at all. Audiences want happy and funny films during the Christmas holidays and "Night at the Museum" should post muscular numbers thanks to its starpower, lack of comedy competition, mild rating, and formidable marketing and distribution push. Fox looks to close up the books on 2006 by taking over the number one spot this weekend. Attacking 3,688 locations, "Night at the Museum" could debut to about $34M over the four-day Friday-to-Monday holiday period.
Sylvester Stallone brings the eye of the tiger back to the multiplexes one last time in "Rocky Balboa" which got a jumpstart on the holiday weekend with its Wednesday launch. The MGM release brings the iconic boxer back to the screen in what is supposedly the end of the franchise with Stallone back in the saddle as writer and director. In this tale, Rocky is brought back into the ring when media hype prompts fans to wonder who the best boxer is of all time. The underdog story on screen mirrored the one within industry circles. How could a franchise that died 16 years ago with the poorly-received "Rocky V" find its way back into the hearts of today’s moviegoers. MGM and the "Judge Dredd" star moved forward. Today, they proudly claim one of the best reviewed films of the Christmas season and the Wednesday bow is being counted on to get die-hard fans out early so they can spread positive buzz at work and in school going into the lucrative yet overcrowded weekend period.
With so many other films in the marketplace, and plenty with PG or G ratings aimed at luring in full families, "Rocky Balboa" will have to take its time at the box office as many moviegoers may need some convincing before spending money on the followup to the Tommy Gunn flick. Older adults are the ones who remember the excitement of the franchise, but the studio is hoping they could bring their kids with them for an uplifting tale that makes you feel good inside. "The Pursuit of Happyness" and "We Are Marshall" will be direct competitors in the feel-good genre and the latter will steal away many sports fans too. "Balboa" will have to rely on nostalgia and good word-of-mouth to carry it through round after round. Already playing in 2,752 theaters and adding more locations on Friday, "Rocky Balboa" may gross about $16M over four days and around $21M over six days.
For football fans this holiday weekend, Warner Bros. trots out another pigskin drama with "We Are Marshall" starring Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox, and David Strathairn. The PG-rated film tells the true story of the football program at Marshall University in West Virginia which had to be rebuilt from scratch after a plane crash killed most of the players and coaches. Hollywood seems to have an endless line-up of sports dramas these days and since most of them become commercial successes, it’s no wonder that they keep getting churned out. Just a few months ago, moviegoers powered the football flicks "Invincible" and "Gridiron Gang" to the number one spot with bows of $17M and $14.4M, respectively. "Marshall" should play to much of the same audience and with its underdog feel-good story, the time of year will help since people are in the mood for that type of emotion.
Reviews have not been too good, but that should not matter much. "We Are Marshall" is meant for sports fans and those who love stories about overcoming adversity, regardless of how predictable they may be. Sales from the heartland should be solid and with the tame rating, entire families can come out together. Plus McConaughey is a reliable draw at the box office and is believable as a quirky football coach. Still, competition will be strong and coming from all directions so a blowout will not be possible. Opening in 2,606 theaters, "We Are Marshall" could score about $14M over the Friday-to-Monday frame.
Countering the parade of PG flicks is the R-rated CIA thriller "The Good Shepherd" directed by Robert De Niro. The Universal release stars Matt Damon as Edward Wilson, a loyal government agent who helped to create the agency during the Cold War. Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin, William Hurt, John Turturro, and De Niro also star. "Shepherd" boasts solid starpower which could help the film have broad appeal. The subject matter appeals to the 30+ crowd, but Damon and Jolie should help to pull in twentysomethings. Teens and ethnic audiences will have minimal interest. Critics have been mixed on the film which could impact the overall turnout.
The last few months have not been kind to star-driven period dramas aimed at adult audiences. Pictures like "Hollywoodland," "All the King’s Men," and "Bobby" have all struggled to find paying audiences with none reaching the $15M mark in total sales. "Shepherd’s" cast is what will allow it to rise above those failures. But the fight for the attention and time of mature adults will be fierce and a running time of nearly three hours will allow for one less showtime per day on every screen further cutting into its commercial potential. Infiltrating 2,217 locations, "The Good Shepherd" might capture around $13M over four days.
With the calendar year coming to a close, things continue to get crowded in the specialty arena this weekend. Clint Eastwood‘s award-winning war drama "Letters From Iwo Jima" debuted on Wednesday in limited release ahead of a January expansion similar to what Warner Bros. did two years ago with the director’s "Million Dollar Baby" which went on to reign at the Oscars. Edward Norton and Naomi Watts star in the period romance "The Painted Veil" from Warner Independent which also platformed on Wednesday in New York and Los Angeles. Thursday brings the limited launches of Miramax’s "Venus" starring Golden Globe nominee Peter O’Toole and the Chinese period drama "Curse of the Golden Flower" from Sony Classics which stars Gong Li and Chow Yun-Fat.
Last weekend, Will Smith scored a number one hit with "The Pursuit of Happyness" which continues to please audiences. Overall moviegoing should increase over the holiday weekend, but more choices for adult audiences will give Sony some competition. "Pursuit’s" four-day take could drop 25% from its three-day debut gross giving the film about $20M and a cume of $58M after 11 days.
As a sci-fi actioner, Fox’s "Eragon" is likely to see one of the largest drops in the top ten. The dragon adventure might fall by 35% to around $15M over the four-day session leaving the studio with $46M.
Kidpics score big points over Christmas so "Charlotte’s Web" might see many of those fans who skipped out last weekend actually show up this time. The Paramount release’s four-day tally may slip 10% from its three-day bow and bring in roughly $10M. That would give the family film a total of $27M after 11 days.
LAST YEAR: With Christmas falling on a Sunday, the observed holiday on Monday gave the box office an expanded four-day holiday frame allowing the mega holdovers to repeat atop the charts. "King Kong" spent its second weekend at number one and grossed $33.3M over four days and was closely followed by "The Chronicles of Narnia" with $31.7M in its third adventure. The combined haul for the pair soared to $285M with much more still to come. Newcomers rounded out the top five with Jim Carrey defeating Steve Martin in the battle of the comedies. Sony’s "Fun With Dick and Jane" opened in third with $21.5M over four days while Fox’s sequel "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" settled for fourth with $15.3M. Final tallies reached $110.3M and $82.6M, respectively. Sony also claimed fifth with "Memoirs of a Geisha" which expanded nationally and took in $10.2M over the long weekend. Also opening were Fox Searchlight’s Johnny Knoxville comedy "The Ringer" with $7.7M over four days, the Jennifer Aniston pic "Rumor Has It" with $7.5M in two days for Warner Bros., and Universal’s "Munich" with $6M in four days. The films went on to reach $35.4M, $43M, and $47.4M respectively. The debuting horror pic "Wolf Creek" opened outside the top ten with $4.9M in two days on its way to $16.2M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
While out drumming up some publicity for his new drama "We Are Marshall," director McG (I think his real name is Joe McGinty McNichol or something) was (of course) asked about the status of his upcoming "Hot Wheels" movie, and here’s what he had to say…
(And in case you didn’t know it yet, yes, someone is making a movie out of "Hot Wheels.")
From McG via ComingSoon.net: "That’s something I’m going to produce, it doesn’t feel right for me as a director at this time. I’m going to produce it. We just have a take on that, it’s the story of a kid trying to reconcile with his father. It’s a kid who steals his dad’s racecar and ends up going through a sort of "Back to the Future" portal into this world, and he has to reconcile his relationship with his father. It’s very "Stand By Me" and it should be a good family movie, but it’s not for me as a director at this time. I mean, it’s the biggest toy in history. It’s not a joke."
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Interesting; the "Hot Wheels" movie is being approached like a "Stand By Me" sort of story. Uh huh.
David Strathairn is going to be a very busy man. Variety reports the respected character actor is joining the cast of the Paul Greengrass-helmed "The Bourne Ultimatum," as well as the fantasy film "The Spiderwick Chronicles."
In the third of the "Bourne" films, which star Matt Damon as a secret agent with a mysterious past, Strathairn will play the leader of a secret group pursuing Damon’s character. "Spiderwick," directed by Mark Waters, tells the story of a group of children who move into a mansion, thereby discovering a book which leads to adventure. The film also stars Freddie Highmore and Sarah Bolger.