Paramount Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by Paramount Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)

All Nickelodeon Movies Ranked

As the first parlors to exhibit films in public settings for mass consumption, it is impossible to understate the nickelodeon’s impact on cinema. These early 20th century… Oh. Wait. Wrong Nickelodeon.

As the studio to give our world SpongeBob Squarepants and Nacho Libre, it is impossible to understate Nickelodeon Movies’ impact on cinema. In these weary times of snark and cynicism (this sentence being puddin’ proof), count on the Nick to mount cheery, earnest films. Not only are they well-versed in the aforementioned cartoon spongiology, but Rugrats, the Ninja Turtles, Tintin, and the one-and-only Avatar have all called the studio home. And now we’re ranking every Nickelodeon Movie by Tomatometer!

#34
#34
Adjusted Score: 12203%
Critics Consensus: The Last Airbender squanders its popular source material with incomprehensible plotting, horrible acting, and detached joyless direction.
Synopsis: The four nations of Air, Water, Earth and Fire lived in harmony until the Fire Nation declared war. A century... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 8780%
Critics Consensus: The initial set-up is unbelievable, the plotting is predictable and stale, and the comedy depends on repetitive pratfalls that soon get old.
Synopsis: When Coast Guard Adm. Frank Beardsley (Dennis Quaid) decides to move his family of eight children back to his old... [More]
Directed By: Raja Gosnell

#32
Adjusted Score: 26660%
Critics Consensus: Neither entertaining enough to recommend nor remarkably awful, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles may bear the distinction of being the dullest movie ever made about talking bipedal reptiles.
Synopsis: Spawned from a lab experiment gone awry, teenage terrapins Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael live in the sewers beneath New... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Liebesman

#31
Adjusted Score: 24621%
Critics Consensus: Unimaginative and unfunny, this tale of barnyard mischief borders on 'udder' creepiness and adds little to this summer's repertoire of animated films.
Synopsis: Like the other animals in the barn, Otis the bull (Kevin James) likes to sing and play while the farmer... [More]
Directed By: Steve Oedekerk

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 27925%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When straight-laced fire superintendent Jake Carson and his elite team of firefighters come to the rescue of three siblings, they... [More]
Directed By: Andy Fickman

#29

Fun Size (2012)
25%

#29
Adjusted Score: 26434%
Critics Consensus: It occasionally shows surprising flashes of wit, but Fun Size is too safe and formulaic -- not to mention unfunny -- to survive comparisons to the '80s teen movies it eagerly imitates.
Synopsis: Wren (Victoria Justice) is a high-school senior who can't wait to get away from her dysfunctional family. On Halloween, Wren's... [More]
Directed By: Josh Schwartz

#28

Snow Day (2000)
29%

#28
Adjusted Score: 29925%
Critics Consensus: Weak assembly of characters and story lines made this movie forgettable and silly.
Synopsis: Anything can happen on a snow day --- and for Hal and Natalie Brandston, it does. When the sun sets... [More]
Directed By: Chris Koch

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 30947%
Critics Consensus: Bland, unoriginal, and lacking the wit of the TV series, Hey Arnold is a 30 min cartoon stretched beyond its running time.
Synopsis: Arnold (Spencer Klein) and his pal, Gerald (Jamil Walker Smith), learn their beloved neighborhood is about to be torn down... [More]
Directed By: Tuck Tucker

#26

Clockstoppers (2002)
29%

#26
Adjusted Score: 31266%
Critics Consensus: A pleasant diversion for the young teens, but a waste of time for anyone older.
Synopsis: Until now, Zak Gibbs' (Jesse Bradford) greatest challenge has been to find a way to buy a car. But when... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Frakes

#25

Monster Trucks (2016)
32%

#25
Adjusted Score: 37702%
Critics Consensus: Despite flashes of inspiration, the singularly high-concept Monster Trucks shows that it takes more than monsters and trucks to create a compelling feature film.
Synopsis: Looking for any way to get away from the life and town he was born into, Tripp (Lucas Till), a... [More]
Directed By: Chris Wedge

#24

Good Burger (1997)
34%

#24
Adjusted Score: 36068%
Critics Consensus: Good Burger might please hardcore fans of the 1990s Nickelodeon TV series that launched leads Kenan and Kel to stardom, but for all others, it will likely prove a comedy that is neither satisfyingly rare nor well done.
Synopsis: Teen misfits (Kel Mitchell, Kenan Thompson) at a modest burger joint face competition from a hamburger emporium across the street.... [More]
Directed By: Brian Robbins

#23

Wonder Park (2019)
34%

#23
Adjusted Score: 40090%
Critics Consensus: Colorful and energetic but lacking a compelling story, Wonder Park is little more than a competently made diversion for very young viewers.
Synopsis: Buckle up for an epic adventure where anything is possible. A young girl named June with a big imagination makes... [More]
Directed By: Dylan Brown

#22
Adjusted Score: 47433%
Critics Consensus: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is a slight improvement over its predecessor, but still lacks the wit or anarchic energy of the comics that birthed the franchise.
Synopsis: The turtles face a new challenge when Shredder escapes from custody and joins forces with Baxter Stockman, a mad scientist... [More]
Directed By: Dave Green

#21

Rugrats Go Wild (2003)
39%

#21
Adjusted Score: 41495%
Critics Consensus: The Rugrats franchise has gone from fresh to formulaic.
Synopsis: Chuckie (Nancy Cartwright) and Tommy (Elizabeth Daily) find themselves stranded with their parents on a remote island. By coincidence, the... [More]
Directed By: Norton Virgien, John Eng

#20

Nacho Libre (2006)
40%

#20
Adjusted Score: 45907%
Critics Consensus: At times hilarious, but other times offensive, Director Jared Hess is unable to recapture the collective charisma of his Napoleon characters, instead relying on a one-joke concept that runs out of steam. Sure to entertain the adolescents, however.
Synopsis: Ignacio (Jack Black), or Nacho to his friends, works as a cook in the Mexican monastery where he grew up.... [More]
Directed By: Jared Hess

#19

Imagine That (2009)
41%

#19
Adjusted Score: 44460%
Critics Consensus: Despite a promising turn by newcomer Yara Shahidi, Imagine That is another pedestrian family comedy that squanders Eddie Murphy's comedic talents.
Synopsis: Like many busy professionals, Evan Danielson (Eddie Murphy) is so focused on his career that quality time with his young... [More]
Directed By: Karey Kirkpatrick

#18

Hotel for Dogs (2009)
46%

#18
Adjusted Score: 49589%
Critics Consensus: Hotel for Dogs may appeal to children and dog lovers, but it's ultimately contrived, predictable, and simplistic.
Synopsis: After moving into a foster home that forbids pets, siblings Andi (Emma Roberts) and Bruce (Jake T. Austin) must quickly... [More]
Directed By: Thor Freudenthal

#17

Harriet the Spy (1996)
48%

#17
Adjusted Score: 49220%
Critics Consensus: Harriet the Spy is a rapid-fire mystery movie that doesn't have much to offer beyond the two decent lead performances.
Synopsis: Harriet (Michelle Trachtenberg) may only be in the sixth grade, but she's already found her calling: to be a spy.... [More]
Directed By: Bronwen Hughes

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 60298%
Critics Consensus: Charming characters; loads of fun for kids and adults.
Synopsis: This animated comedy finds Tommy Pickles (E.G. Daily) trying to return his baby brother to the hospital after being warned... [More]

#15
Adjusted Score: 69256%
Critics Consensus: Although its story may leave fans on the surface, The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run is a wondrously wacky visit to Bikini Bottom that retains the charm of the original series.
Synopsis: In the first-ever all CGI SpongeBob motion picture event, THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE ON THE RUN, SpongeBob SquarePants, his best... [More]
Directed By: Tim Hill

#14
Adjusted Score: 72333%
Critics Consensus: Surreally goofy and entertaining for both children and their parents.
Synopsis: In this lively animated adventure, undersea oddball SpongeBob SquarePants and his starfish friend, Patrick, embark on a quest to clear... [More]

#13
Adjusted Score: 76694%
Critics Consensus: Although it softens the nasty edges of its source material, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is a gothic visual treat, and it features a hilariously manic turn from Jim Carrey as the evil Count Olaf.
Synopsis: After the three young Baudelaire siblings are left orphaned by a fire in their mansion, they are carted off to... [More]
Directed By: Brad Silberling

#12
Adjusted Score: 73104%
Critics Consensus: Based on two of British writer Louise Rennison's popular books, Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging is a pleasant and funny tween comedy, comfortable for UK audiences as well as stateside crowds.
Synopsis: Based on the books by Louise Rennison, this tale follows 14-year-old Georgia Nicholson as she attempts to woo Robbie, one... [More]
Directed By: Gurinder Chadha

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 75409%
Critics Consensus: What Jimmy Neutron lacks in computer animation, it makes up for in charm and cleverness.
Synopsis: "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius" tells the simple story of a 10-year-old boy and his robot dog - battling evil, rescuing... [More]
Directed By: John A. Davis

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 82081%
Critics Consensus: Drawing deep from the classic Raiders of the Lost Ark playbook, Steven Spielberg has crafted another spirited, thrilling adventure in the form of Tintin.
Synopsis: While shopping at an outdoor market, young reporter Tintin (Jamie Bell), accompanied by his faithful dog, Snowy, buys a model... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#9
Adjusted Score: 78323%
Critics Consensus: When the Rugrats go to Paris, the result is Nickelodeon-style fun. The plot is effectively character-driven, and features catchy songs and great celebrity voice-acting.
Synopsis: In the long-running animated series' second feature film, the focus is on the show's perennial second banana, Chuckie (Christine Cavanaugh).... [More]

#8

Charlotte's Web (2006)
78%

#8
Adjusted Score: 84050%
Critics Consensus: Kids will be entertained by the straightforward plot and cute animals, and adults will be charmed by how quiet and humble the production is, a fine translation of E.B. White's genteel prose.
Synopsis: After learning that a young pig's days are numbered, a literate spider (Julia Roberts) weaves an elaborate plan to save... [More]
Directed By: Gary Winick

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 79777%
Critics Consensus: No job's too big and no pup's too small for PAW Patrol: The Movie, which should give its youthful target demographic exactly what they're looking for.
Synopsis: The PAW Patrol is on a roll! When their biggest rival, Humdinger, becomes Mayor of nearby Adventure City and starts... [More]
Directed By: Cal Brunker

#6
Adjusted Score: 81375%
Critics Consensus: The Wild Thornberrys Movie brings its beloved clan to the big screen for an animated adventure that should prove entertaining for all ages.
Synopsis: "The Wild Thornberrys" feature film finds one of America's favorite animated families going on wild adventures around the world. Now,... [More]

#5
Adjusted Score: 83701%
Critics Consensus: The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water won't win over many viewers who aren't fans of the show, but for the converted, it's another colorful burst of manic fun.
Synopsis: Life is dandy in Bikini Bottom for SpongeBob Squarepants (Tom Kenny) and his friends Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke), Squidward (Rodger Bumpass),... [More]

#4
Adjusted Score: 85678%
Critics Consensus: The Spiderwick Chronicles is an entertaining children's adventure, with heart and imagination to spare.
Synopsis: Of the three Grace children, Jared (Freddie Highmore) has always been thought of as the troublemaker. So when strange things... [More]
Directed By: Mark Waters

#3

Mad Hot Ballroom (2005)
84%

#3
Adjusted Score: 88450%
Critics Consensus: This heartwarming documentary will win audiences over, as the sheer charm of precocious, enthusiastic children learning to dance resonates from the screen.
Synopsis: Documentary filmmaker Marilyn Agrelo chronicles the lives of several New York City schoolchildren as they get ready for a dancing... [More]
Directed By: Marilyn Agrelo

#2
Adjusted Score: 93176%
Critics Consensus: Led by a winning performance from Isabela Moner, Dora and the Lost City of Gold is a family-friendly adventure that retains its source material's youthful spirit.
Synopsis: Having spent most of her life exploring the jungle, nothing could prepare Dora for her most dangerous adventure yet --... [More]
Directed By: James Bobin

#1

Rango (2011)
88%

#1
Adjusted Score: 95564%
Critics Consensus: Rango is a smart, giddily creative burst of beautifully animated entertainment, and Johnny Depp gives a colorful vocal performance as a household pet in an unfamiliar world.
Synopsis: A chameleon (Johnny Depp) who has lived as a sheltered family pet finds himself in the grip of an identity... [More]
Directed By: Gore Verbinski

(Photo by Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection)

All Laurence Fishburne Movies Ranked

Laurence Fishburne made his movie debut in just about the best way possible: As part of the platoon that goes up the river in Apocalypse Now. He was 14 when filming started and production was so troubled that by the time the movie released, Fishburne had already celebrated his 17th birthday.

The ensuing ’80s saw the actor taking mostly smaller roles but working with big name directors (Steven Spielberg in The Color Purple, Spike Lee in School Daze) that kept him — still credited as Larry at the time — employed and just a performance away from stardom. The chance came in 1991 with John Singleton’s explosive dramatic debut, Boyz n the Hood, in which he played young father Furious Styles. And Fishburne famously closed out the decade with The Matrix, a movie still at the forefront of pop culture 20 years later. When Fishburne was cast as the Bowery King in John Wick: Chapter 2, there was immediate rejoicing that he was reuniting on-screen with Matrix alum Keanu Reeves.

And after 2019’s Parabellum, what further wacky misadventures await Reeves and Fishburne in the series? As we await another sequel, we’re ranking all Laurence Fishburne movies by Tomatometer!

#59

Imprisoned (2018)
0%

#59
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A prison warden frames a parolee for a murder.... [More]
Directed By: Paul Kampf

#58

Band of the Hand (1986)
11%

#58
Adjusted Score: 10737%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An Indian Vietnam veteran (Stephen Lang) trains five street punks in the Everglades to fight vice in Miami.... [More]
Directed By: Paul Michael Glaser

#57

Quicksilver (1986)
13%

#57
Adjusted Score: 12736%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A hotshot stock-exchange floor trader (Kevin Bacon) loses his shirt and becomes a bicycle messenger in a hilly city.... [More]
Directed By: Tom Donnelly

#56

Fled (1996)
18%

#56
Adjusted Score: 19364%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: During a routine prison work detail, convict Piper (Laurence Fishburne) is chained to Dodge (Stephen Baldwin), a cyberhacker, when gunfire... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Hooks

#55

Ride Along (2014)
18%

#55
Adjusted Score: 22345%
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.
Synopsis: For two years, security guard Ben (Kevin Hart) has tried to convince James (Ice Cube), a veteran cop, that he... [More]
Directed By: Tim Story

#54

The Colony (2013)
20%

#54
Adjusted Score: 20567%
Critics Consensus: A formulaic sci-fi thriller, The Colony features cliched dialogue, cheesy special effects, and underdeveloped characters.
Synopsis: Forced to live underground, survivors of an ice age embark on a mission to reach another outpost.... [More]
Directed By: Jeff Renfroe

#53

Just Cause (1995)
26%

#53
Adjusted Score: 26409%
Critics Consensus: Just Cause you round up a phenomenal cast, that doesn't mean you have everything you need for a solid legal thriller -- and this film is forgettable proof.
Synopsis: Paul Armstrong (Sean Connery), a law professor who staunchly fights the death penalty, is lured into defending a death row... [More]
Directed By: Arne Glimcher

#52

Biker Boyz (2003)
23%

#52
Adjusted Score: 24652%
Critics Consensus: Waste of a good cast. For a movie about bike racing, it never gets up to speed.
Synopsis: Slick Will, the mechanic for a legendary motorcycle racer named Smoke (Laurence Fishburne), is struck dead during an off-the-grid race.... [More]
Directed By: Reggie Rock Bythewood

#51
#51
Adjusted Score: 24641%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A tenacious federal agent traces the supply line of a group of cagey and experienced cocaine dealers.... [More]
Directed By: Jason Cabell

#50

Bad Company (1994)
27%

#50
Adjusted Score: 23064%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An ex-CIA man (Laurence Fishburne) sleeps with his new boss (Ellen Barkin), out to kill her partner (Frank Langella) in... [More]
Directed By: James Hong, Damian Harris

#49

Event Horizon (1997)
29%

#49
Adjusted Score: 34133%
Critics Consensus: Despite a strong opening that promises sci-fi thrills, Event Horizon quickly devolves into an exercise of style over substance whose flashy effects and gratuitous gore fail to mask its overreliance on horror clichés.
Synopsis: When the Event Horizon, a spacecraft that vanished years earlier, suddenly reappears, a team is dispatched to investigate the ship.... [More]
Directed By: Paul Anderson

#48

Once in the Life (2000)
28%

#48
Adjusted Score: 28108%
Critics Consensus: Once in a Life is a promising directorial effort by Laurence Fishburne. But the story is too conventional and similar to the many ghetto action/dramas that come before it.
Synopsis: A gritty drama centered around brotherhood and friendship, "Once in the Life" is a realistic depiction of how everyday choices... [More]
Directed By: Laurence Fishburne

#47
Adjusted Score: 56047%
Critics Consensus: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice smothers a potentially powerful story -- and some of America's most iconic superheroes -- in a grim whirlwind of effects-driven action.
Synopsis: It's been nearly two years since Superman's (Henry Cavill) colossal battle with Zod (Michael Shannon) devastated the city of Metropolis.... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#46

Passengers (2016)
30%

#46
Adjusted Score: 47143%
Critics Consensus: Passengers proves Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence work well together -- and that even their chemistry isn't enough to overcome a fatally flawed story.
Synopsis: On a routine journey through space to a new home, two passengers, sleeping in suspended animation, are awakened 90 years... [More]
Directed By: Morten Tyldum

#45

Death Wish II (1982)
33%

#45
Adjusted Score: 33826%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Relocating to Los Angeles from New York City, vigilante Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) wants to start a safer life for... [More]
Directed By: Michael Winner

#44
#44
Adjusted Score: 41561%
Critics Consensus: A disappointing conclusion to the Matrix trilogy as characters and ideas take a back seat to the special effects.
Synopsis: In a dystopia overrun by robots, Neo (Keanu Reeves), mankind's greatest hope, is trapped in a limbo world. Meanwhile, the... [More]

#43

21 (2008)
36%

#43
Adjusted Score: 42709%
Critics Consensus: 21 could have been a fascinating study had it not supplanted the true story on which it is based with mundane melodrama.
Synopsis: Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess), a brilliant student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, needs some quick cash to pay his tuition... [More]
Directed By: Robert Luketic

#42
Adjusted Score: 44235%
Critics Consensus: While an improvement on its predecessor, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is nevertheless a juvenile, simplistic picture that has little benefit beyond its special effects.
Synopsis: Reed (Ioan Gruffudd), Susan (Jessica Alba), Johnny (Chris Evans) and Ben (Michael Chiklis) face an intergalactic messenger who has arrived... [More]
Directed By: Tim Story

#41

Cherry 2000 (1988)
38%

#41
Adjusted Score: 38881%
Critics Consensus: While Cherry 2000 has a certain low-budget appeal, all but the most ardent genre enthusiasts are likely to find its silly story and uneven performances unintentionally amusing.
Synopsis: In the post-apocalyptic California of 2017, Sam Treadwell (David Andrews) manages a recycling plant. His companion is Cherry 2000 (Pamela... [More]
Directed By: Steve DeJarnatt

#40

Armored (2009)
40%

#40
Adjusted Score: 41499%
Critics Consensus: This B-grade thriller has a good cast and director but is undone by plot holes and messy conclusion.
Synopsis: Following his return from Iraq, Ty Hackett (Columbus Short) takes a job at the same armored-car company where his father... [More]
Directed By: Nimród Antal

#39

Cadence (1990)
42%

#39
Adjusted Score: 41164%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A misfit soldier (Charlie Sheen) lands in a bully's (Martin Sheen) stockade with five men united by their race and... [More]
Directed By: Martin Sheen

#38

Hoodlum (1997)
43%

#38
Adjusted Score: 42570%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Having just been released from jail, Bumpy Johnson (Laurence Fishburne) returns to his criminal ways as a linchpin in the... [More]
Directed By: Bill Duke

#37

Khumba (2013)
44%

#37
Adjusted Score: 37218%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After his herd rejects him for having only half his stripes, a young zebra (Jake T. Austin) sets out on... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Silverston

#36

Higher Learning (1995)
45%

#36
Adjusted Score: 47107%
Critics Consensus: It's hard to fault Higher Learning's goals; unfortunately, writer-director John Singleton too often struggles to fit his themes within a consistently engaging story.
Synopsis: In John Singleton's powerful portrait of college life in the 1990s, a group of incoming freshmen at Columbus University --... [More]
Directed By: John Singleton

#35

Gardens of Stone (1987)
47%

#35
Adjusted Score: 46441%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Grizzled war veteran Sgt. Clell Hazard (James Caan) is disheartened when he is stationed as a guard in Arlington National... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#34

Bobby (2006)
46%

#34
Adjusted Score: 53384%
Critics Consensus: Despite best intentions from director Emilio Estevez and his ensemble cast, they succumb to a script filled with pointless subplots and awkward moments working too hard to parallel contemporary times.
Synopsis: In 1968 the lives of a retired doorman (Anthony Hopkins), hotel manager (William H. Macy), lounge singer (Demi Moore), busboy... [More]
Directed By: Emilio Estevez

#33
Adjusted Score: 60542%
Critics Consensus: Where'd You Go, Bernadette offers dispiriting proof that a talented director, bestselling source material, and terrific cast can add up to far less than the sum of their parts.
Synopsis: Former architect Bernadette Fox seems to have it all -- a beautiful home in Seattle, a successful and loving husband,... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater

#32

Osmosis Jones (2001)
56%

#32
Adjusted Score: 58971%
Critics Consensus: The animated portion of Osmosis is zippy and fun, but the live-action portion is lethargic.
Synopsis: A cutting-edge, live action/animated action adventure comedy about one white blood cell's (Chris Rock) race against the biological clock to... [More]

#31

Standoff (2016)
56%

#31
Adjusted Score: 56063%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Armed with a shotgun and one bullet, a war veteran (Thomas Jane) tries to protect a young murder witness from... [More]
Directed By: Adam Alleca

#30

School Daze (1988)
56%

#30
Adjusted Score: 56417%
Critics Consensus: School Daze is undeniably messy, but thought-provoking themes, strong performances, and Spike Lee's ingratiating energy help tie it all together.
Synopsis: At historically black Mission College, the activist-minded Dap (Larry Fishburne) immerses himself in a world of political rhetoric and social... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#29

Man of Steel (2013)
56%

#29
Adjusted Score: 70176%
Critics Consensus: Man of Steel's exhilarating action and spectacle can't fully overcome its detours into generic blockbuster territory.
Synopsis: With the imminent destruction of Krypton, their home planet, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and his wife seek to preserve their race... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 65416%
Critics Consensus: This remake has been praised by some as an expertly made B-movie, and dismissed by others as formulaic.
Synopsis: While en route to prison, a bus carrying criminals Marion (Laurence Fishburne), Beck (John Alberto Leguizamo) and Anna (Aisha Hinds)... [More]
Directed By: Jean Richet

#27

The Signal (2014)
61%

#27
Adjusted Score: 63323%
Critics Consensus: Director William Eubank clearly has big ideas and an impressive level of technical expertise; unfortunately, The Signal fritters them away on a poorly constructed story.
Synopsis: A surprise awaits three college students (Brenton Thwaites, Beau Knapp, Olivia Cooke) who think they have tracked a rival computer... [More]
Directed By: William Eubank

#26

Rudderless (2014)
64%

#26
Adjusted Score: 64104%
Critics Consensus: Rudderless asks its cast to carry an awful lot of weight for its occasionally manipulative story; fortunately, this talented bunch -- led by Billy Crudup -- is often more than up to the task.
Synopsis: After a grieving father finds a box of demo tapes made by his now-dead son, he forms a band in... [More]
Directed By: William H. Macy

#25

Predators (2010)
64%

#25
Adjusted Score: 71671%
Critics Consensus: After a string of subpar sequels, this bloody, action-packed reboot takes the Predator franchise back to its testosterone-fueled roots.
Synopsis: Brought together on a mysterious planet, a mercenary (Adrien Brody) and a group of coldblooded killers now become the prey.... [More]
Directed By: Nimród Antal

#24

Red Heat (1988)
67%

#24
Adjusted Score: 67150%
Critics Consensus: Red Heat's overreliance on genre formula is bolstered by Walter Hill's rugged direction and a strong touch of humor.
Synopsis: A Moscow detective (Arnold Schwarzenegger) shows his local police escort (James Belushi) how to hunt a Soviet drug smuggler in... [More]
Directed By: Walter Hill

#23

Othello (1995)
67%

#23
Adjusted Score: 68029%
Critics Consensus: Perhaps less than the sum of its parts, Othello is still highly entertaining, and features excellent performances from Laurence Fishburne and Kenneth Branagh.
Synopsis: Heroic general Othello (Laurence Fishburne), the only African in the Venetian army, is carrying on a courtship with white noblewoman... [More]
Directed By: Oliver Parker

#22

The Mule (2018)
71%

#22
Adjusted Score: 81208%
Critics Consensus: A flawed yet enjoyable late-period Eastwood entry, The Mule stubbornly retains its footing despite a few missteps on its occasionally unpredictable path.
Synopsis: Broke, alone and facing foreclosure on his business, 90-year-old horticulturist Earl Stone takes a job as a drug courier for... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 79671%
Critics Consensus: Fast-paced, with eye-popping stunts and special effects, the latest Mission: Impossible installment delivers everything an action fan could ask for. A thrilling summer popcorn flick.
Synopsis: Retired from active duty, and training recruits for the Impossible Mission Force, agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) faces the toughest... [More]
Directed By: J.J. Abrams

#20

Rumble Fish (1983)
74%

#20
Adjusted Score: 76664%
Critics Consensus: Rumble Fish frustrates even as it intrigues, but director Francis Ford Coppola's strong visual style helps compensate for a certain narrative stasis.
Synopsis: Disaffected and restless, Rusty James (Matt Dillon) is spoiling for a fight. Abandoned by his mother and living with his... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#19

King of New York (1990)
71%

#19
Adjusted Score: 72436%
Critics Consensus: King of New York covers familiar narrative ground with impressive style -- and leaves plenty of room for its talented cast to deliver gripping performances.
Synopsis: A crime lord plots to take control of New York's underground drug economy and distribute the profits to the poor.... [More]
Directed By: Abel Ferrara

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 81666%
Critics Consensus: Though its heady themes are a departure from its predecessor, The Matrix Reloaded is a worthy sequel packed with popcorn-friendly thrills.
Synopsis: Freedom fighters Neo (Keanu Reeves), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) continue to lead the revolt against the Machine... [More]

#17
Adjusted Score: 74457%
Critics Consensus: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors offers an imaginative and surprisingly satisfying rebound for a franchise already starting to succumb to sequelitis.
Synopsis: During a hallucinatory incident, young Kristen Parker (Patricia Arquette) has her wrists slashed by dream-stalking monster Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund).... [More]
Directed By: Chuck Russell

#16

Class Action (1991)
76%

#16
Adjusted Score: 77242%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Liberal activist lawyer Jedediah (Gene Hackman) alienated daughter Maggie (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) years ago when she discovered his many affairs.... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#15

The Cotton Club (1984)
77%

#15
Adjusted Score: 77853%
Critics Consensus: Energetic and brimming with memorable performers, The Cotton Club entertains with its visual and musical pizazz even as its plot only garners polite applause.
Synopsis: The lives of various characters intersect at Harlem's renowned Cotton Club. Handsome horn player Dix Dwyer (Richard Gere) falls for... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#14

Last Flag Flying (2017)
77%

#14
Adjusted Score: 92210%
Critics Consensus: Last Flag Flying balances raw drama against refreshing moments of humor in an impeccably cast film that wrestles with questions of patriotism, family, and grief.
Synopsis: Thirty years after serving together in the Vietnam War, Larry "Doc" Shepherd, Sal Nealon and the Rev. Richard Mueller reunite... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater

#13

The Color Purple (1985)
81%

#13
Adjusted Score: 82023%
Critics Consensus: It might have been better served by a filmmaker with a deeper connection to the source material, but The Color Purple remains a worthy, well-acted adaptation of Alice Walker's classic novel.
Synopsis: An epic tale spanning forty years in the life of Celie (Whoopi Goldberg), an African-American woman living in the South... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 90717%
Critics Consensus: A warm, family-friendly underdog story, featuring terrific supporting performances from Keke Palmer, Laurence Fishburne, and Angela Bassett.
Synopsis: Akeelah, an 11-year-old girl living in South Los Angeles, discovers she has a talent for spelling, which she hopes will... [More]
Directed By: Doug Atchison

#11

Contagion (2011)
85%

#11
Adjusted Score: 94933%
Critics Consensus: Tense, tightly plotted, and bolstered by a stellar cast, Contagion is an exceptionally smart -- and scary -- disaster movie.
Synopsis: When Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) returns to Minnesota from a Hong Kong business trip, she attributes the malaise she feels... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#10

Deep Cover (1992)
86%

#10
Adjusted Score: 86714%
Critics Consensus: Deep Cover rises above standard-issue crime thriller fare thanks to a smartly cynical script and powerhouse performances from its unorthodox but well-matched leads.
Synopsis: David Jason (Jeff Goldblum) is the biggest drug dealer in Los Angeles, and Russell Stevens (Larry Fishburne) is an undercover... [More]
Directed By: Bill Duke

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 54049%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A semi-fictionalized account of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first all-African-American Air Force squadron during World War II, the film centers... [More]
Directed By: Robert Markowitz

#8

The Matrix (1999)
88%

#8
Adjusted Score: 95178%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to the Wachowskis' imaginative vision, The Matrix is a smartly crafted combination of spectacular action and groundbreaking special effects.
Synopsis: Neo (Keanu Reeves) believes that Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), an elusive figure considered to be the most dangerous man alive, can... [More]

#7

Mystic River (2003)
88%

#7
Adjusted Score: 94129%
Critics Consensus: Anchored by the exceptional acting of its strong cast, Mystic River is a somber drama that unfolds in layers and conveys the tragedy of its story with visceral power.
Synopsis: When the daughter (Emmy Rossum) of ex-con Jimmy Marcus (Sean Penn) is murdered, two of his childhood friends from the... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 105674%
Critics Consensus: A lighter, brighter superhero movie powered by the effortless charisma of Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly, Ant-Man and The Wasp offers a much-needed MCU palate cleanser.
Synopsis: Scott Lang is grappling with the consequences of his choices as both a superhero and a father. Approached by Hope... [More]
Directed By: Peyton Reed

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 108749%
Critics Consensus: John Wick: Chapter 2 does what a sequel should -- which in this case means doubling down on the non-stop, thrillingly choreographed action that made its predecessor so much fun.
Synopsis: Retired super-assassin John Wick's plans to resume a quiet civilian life are cut short when Italian gangster Santino D'Antonio shows... [More]
Directed By: Chad Stahelski

#4
Adjusted Score: 100625%
Critics Consensus: With a fascinating real-life story and powerhouse performances from Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne, What's Love Got to Do With It? is a can't miss biopic.
Synopsis: Based on the life of the legendary soul singer, Tina Turner (Angela Bassett) -- born Anna Mae Bullock -- discovers... [More]
Directed By: Brian Gibson

#3

Boyz N the Hood (1991)
96%

#3
Adjusted Score: 100272%
Critics Consensus: Well-acted and thematically rich, Boyz N the Hood observes Black America with far more depth and compassion than many of the like-minded films its success inspired.
Synopsis: Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is sent to live with his father, Furious Styles (Larry Fishburne), in tough South Central Los... [More]
Directed By: John Singleton

#2

Apocalypse Now (1979)
98%

#2
Adjusted Score: 105775%
Critics Consensus: Francis Ford Coppola's haunting, hallucinatory Vietnam War epic is cinema at its most audacious and visionary.
Synopsis: In Vietnam in 1970, Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) takes a perilous and increasingly hallucinatory journey upriver to find and terminate... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#1
Adjusted Score: 103363%
Critics Consensus: As sensitive as the young man at its center, Searching for Bobby Fischer uses a prodigy's struggle to find personal balance as the background for a powerfully moving drama.
Synopsis: After he beats his dad (Joe Mantegna) in a chess match, Josh Waitzkin (Max Pomeranc), a 7-year-old, gets noticed for... [More]
Directed By: Steven Zaillian

We know how difficult it can be to find something worth watching when you’re scrolling through all of Netflix’s endless choices, so we’ve narrowed down the selection for you. Read on for the full list of Netflix original movies and series, as well as everything Fresh on the Tomatometer, coming to Netflix this month.


November 1 – November 5

 

It's Not Yet Dark (2016) 95%

This documentary narrated by Colin Farrell follows Irish filmmaker with ALS, Simon Fitzmaurice, as he embarks on directing his first film.

Available now on: Netflix


Williams (2017) 93%

This documentary tells the story of Sir Frank Williams, who brought together a winning Formula One racing team but suffered a near-fatal car accident in 1986 that left him wheelchair-bound.

Available now on: Netflix


Men in Black (1997) 92%

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones star in this sci-fi action comedy about a pair of mismatched agents in a secret organization whose mission is to safeguard humanity from extraterrestrial interference.

Available now on: Netflix


Michael Clayton (2007) 91%

George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, and Tom Wilkinson star in Sydney Pollack’s Oscar-winning thriller about a corporate fixer who discovers a conspiracy when one of his clients is sued in a class action case.

Available now on: Netflix


Field of Dreams (1989) 87%

Kevin Costner and Ray Liotta star in this magical sports tale about a farmer who hears a mysterious voice calling him to build a baseball diamond in the middle of his cornfield and discovers it has the ability to heal the soul.

Available now on: Netflix


The Homesman (2014) 80%

Tommy Lee Jones directs and stars, alongside and Hilary Swank, in a Western about a former schoolteacher who recruits a man with a past to help her establish a sanctuary for troubled women.

Available now on: Netflix


Where the Day Takes You (1992) 80%

Dermot Mulroney, Sean Astin, and Lara Flynn Boyle headline an ensemble cast in this drama about a prison parolee’s former life on the streets of Los Angeles with a group of fellow runaways.

Available now on: Netflix


42 (2013) 81%

Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford star in this fact-based story about Jackie Robinson, the talented athlete and star Negro League baseball player who became the first black player in the MLB.

Available now on: Netflix


Charlotte's Web (2006) 78%

Julia Roberts and Steve Buscemi lend their voices to this live-action adaptation of the beloved children’s novel about a farm pig who, with the help of a friendly spider, convinces his owners he’s too unique to be slaughtered.

Available now on: Netflix


Oculus (2013) 74%

After the bizarre death of their parents, a pair of siblings return to their childhood home in order to confront the murderous party responsible: a haunted antique mirror that has the power to distort reality.

Available now on: Netflix


The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) 67%

Will Smith and his son Jaden star in this biographical drama about entrepreneur Chris Gardner and the year he spent homeless while raising his young son.

Available now on: Netflix


The Reader (2008) 63%

Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes star in Stephen Daldry’s drama about a young man who falls for an older woman who turns out to be a former Nazi prison guard.

Available now on: Netflix


Call My Agent!: Season 2 (2017)

This Netflix original series imported from France follows four talent agents as they struggle through the daily travails of their business. The second season is now available to stream.

Available now on: Netflix


November 6 – November 12

 

Killing Ground (2016) 74%

This Certified Fresh indie thriller follows a young couple on a camping vacation who encounter an abandoned camp and a lost child and soon find themselves terrorized by locals.

Available now on: Netflix


Lady Dynamite: Season 2 (2017) 100%

Maria Bamford stars in this semi-autobiographical Netflix original comedy about an actress struggling with mental health issues who moves back to Los Angeles and tries to get her career back on track. Season 2 will drop on November 10.

Available 11/10 on: Netflix


November 13 – November 19

 

DeRay Davis: How to Act Black (2017)

One of the many comedy specials Netflix has been trotting out, this live show features comic DeRay Davis talking about dating and the showbiz life as a black man.

Available 11/14 on: Netflix


Mudbound (2017) 97%

Carey Mulligan and Jason Clarke star in Dee Rees’ Netflix original film about two Mississippi farming families struggling to eke out livings for themselves on opposite sides of a social barrier.

Available 11/17 on: Netflix


Marvel's The Punisher: Season 1 (2017) 67%

John Bernthal stars Netflix’s Marvel series as Frank Castle, a.k.a. the Punisher, a vigilante who discovers a criminal conspiracy in New York that extends beyond the bounds of his city.

Available 11/17 on: Netflix


Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond - Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton (2017) 92%

This Netflix original documentary hones in on Jim Carrey’s time shooting the film Man on the Moon, which prompted him to transform himself into the persona of famed comedian Andy Kaufman.

Available 11/17 on: Netflix


Spirit Riding Free: Season 3 (2017)

This Netflix original children’s animated series based on the Oscar-nominated film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron follows the adventures of a city girl named Lucky who moves to the country and befriends a wild horse.

Available 11/17 on: Netflix


November 20 – November 26

Piranha (2010) 74%

Adam Scott, Elisabeth Shue, and Jerry O’Connell star in Alexandre Aja’s remake of Joe Dante’s original 1978 film about a lakeside community terrorized by prehistoric maneating fish.

Available 11/20 on: Netflix


Saving Capitalism (2017) 100%

This Netflix original documentary follows former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich as he travels the US and reports on the country’s shifting economy.

Available 11/21 on: Netflix


Godless: Miniseries (2017) 83%

Jack O’Connell, Jeff Daniels, and Michelle Dockery star in this Netflix original limited series about an 1880s outlaw on the trail of a former partner who betrayed him and fled to New Mexico.

Available 11/22 on: Netflix


She's Gotta Have It: Season 1 (2017) 84%

This Netflix original comedy based on the 1986 Spike Lee film of the same name centers on a woman trying to juggle a relationship with three different men.

Available 11/22 on: Netflix


Cuba and the Cameraman (2017) 100%

Documentarian Jon Alpert pulled together footage and material from over four decades of covering Cuba through the lens of three families affected by Fidel Castro’s regime for this Netflix original documentary.

Available 11/24 on: Netflix


November 27 – November 30

Broadchurch: Season 3 (2017) 98%

David Tennant and Olivia Colman star in this British crime drama about a pair of detectives investigating the mysterious death of a young boy and the effect the murder has on the surrounding community.

Available 11/27 on: Netflix


Glitch: Season 2 (2017) 80%

This Netflix original import from Australia centers on six individuals who suddenly appear in a cemetery with no memory and a detective who attempts to solve the mystery.

Available 11/28 on: Netflix


Other Netflix Originals Coming in November:

There isn’t a whole lot of new stuff to check out on Netflix this week, but Amazon Prime added a ton of great films ranging from classic horror comedies to cult favorite action flicks and from quiet family dramas to Certified Fresh children’s films . Check out the full list below.


New on Netflix

 

Raw (2016) 92%

This unusual horror/dark comedy/coming-of-age film centers on a lifelong vegetarian who discovers a taste for raw meat during her first year of veterinary school.

Available now on: Netflix


New on Amazon Prime

 

Sense and Sensibility (1995) 97%

Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet star in Ang Lee’s adaptation of the Jane Austen novel about the efforts of a widow and her daughters to deal with the sudden poverty brought about by the death of her husband.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


The Americans: Season 5 (2017) 94%

This slow-burning espionage series stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as married undercover KGB spies infiltrating the US at the height of the Cold War.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Ordinary People (1980) 89%

Robert Redford’s Best Picture-winning domestic drama stars Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch, and Timothy Hutton in the moving story of a family coming apart at the seams.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Little Women (1994) 93%

Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon star in this adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott novel about four sisters growing up in New England just after the Civil War.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


An American Werewolf in London (1981) 88%

David Naughton and Griffin Dunne star in this classic horror comedy from John Landis, about an American college student who becomes a werewolf after a brutal attack on the English moors.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Saturday Night Fever (1977) 82%

– Director’s Cut

It’s got a killer soundtrack, a star-making performance from John Travolta, and a narrative that’s far grittier and sadder than decades of parodies would suggest. The director’s cut is now available to stream.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Megan Leavey (2017) 86%

Kate Mara stars in this inspirational true story about the bond between a Marine corporal and the K9 patrol dog she served two tours of duty with in Iraq.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Predestination (2014) 84%

Ethan Hawke and Sara Snook star in this mindbending sci-fi mystery about a time-traveling agent whose chance meeting with a stranger during the 1970s leads to revelations in his decade-spanning investigation.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


A River Runs Through It (1992) 80%

Brad Pitt and Craig Sheffer star in Robert Redford’s quiet drama about the lives of two young brothers growing up in rural Montana.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


A Mighty Heart (2007) 79%

Angelina Jolie stars in Michael Winterbottom’s fact-based drama about the hardships endured by Mariane Pearl, the wife of journalist Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped and murdered by Al-Qaeda in 2002.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Charlotte's Web (2006) 78%

Julia Roberts and Steve Buscemi lend their voices to this live-action adaptation of the beloved children’s novel about a farm pig who, with the help of a friendly spider, convinces his owners he’s too unique to be slaughtered.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Philadelphia (1993) 81%

Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington star in Jonathan Demme’s timely drama about an attorney with AIDS who takes his own firm to court for wrongful termination after he suspects one of his colleagues discovered his condition and prompted his firing.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Surf's Up (2007) 79%

Shia LaBeouf and Jeff Bridges provide their voices for this animated mockumentary exploring the penguin surf scene in Antarctica.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


American Horror Story: Roanoke (2016) 74%

The sixth season of FX’s popular horror anthology series utilizes a mock true crime documentary format to tell the tale of a married couple who move into a rural North Carolina farmhouse and experience supernatural terror.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Romper Stomper (1992) 79%

A young Russell Crowe stars in this Australian drama about a gang of racist skinheads who clash with the growing Asian immigrant population.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Big Fish (2003) 76%

Tim Burton’s adaptation of Daniel Wallace’s novel tells the story of a father whose propensity for tall tales has driven a wedge between himself and his son.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


The Machinist (2004) 77%

Christian Bale stars in this psychological thriller about a factory worker with an acute case of insomnia who begins to suspect he might be losing his mind.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


The Italian Job (2003) 73%

Charlize Theron and Mark Wahlberg lead an ensemble cast in this remake of the 1969 caper about a team of thieves who are betrayed by one of their own and plan a revenge heist.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


The Professional (1994) 74%

Luc Besson hit his groove with this cult favorite, starring Jean Reno as a withdrawn hitman saddled with an orphaned 12-year-old (Natalie Portman) after her family is slaughtered by a corrupt cop (Gary Oldman).

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Coming to America (1988) 72%

Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall star in this comedy about an African prince who travels to the US and masquerades as a common immigrant in hopes of finding love.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


New on FandangoNOW

 

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) 94%

Andy Serkis returns as ape leader Caesar in the third installment of the rebooted Planet of the Apes franchise, which finds the apes squaring off against a ruthless colonel bent on eradicating all threats to humans.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017) 80%

In a follow-up to his Oscar-winning 2006 documentary, Al Gore examines the progress made in the fight against global warming since the first film.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


Wish Upon (2017) 19%

Joey King and Ryan Phillippe star in this horror film about a sad teen who’s gifted a special music box that gives her the ability to turn her deepest desires into reality.

Available now on: FandangoNOW


The Emoji Movie (2017) 6%

T.J. Miller and James Corden provide the voices for this animated film about an emoji unsure of his identity who embarks on a quest to be like everyone else.

Available now on: FandangoNOW

Steven Spielberg’s first family movie since 1991’s Hook is in theaters this week: The BFG, adaptation of the beloved Roald Dahl children’s book. The cross-pollination of two talented storytelling titans inspires this week’s gallery: 24 Certified Fresh children’s book movie adaptations!

C.S. Lewis was no dummy. His Narnia books might have had all the necessary ingredients for success with the younger set — sweeping drama, larger-than-life action, and the fate of the world hanging in the balance, to name a few — but he must have known his ace in the hole was the fact that one of his main characters was a talking lion who wasn’t afraid to tear things up when the bad guys got out of hand. (Why do you think “The Lion” got top billing in that first book? Duh.) Now that the second film in Disney/Walden’s big-budget reimagining of the Narnia series, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, is heading to theaters, we here at RT thought it would be the perfect time to revisit some of our favorite theatrical talking animals.

Our parameters were fairly loose — the movies had to be live-action, and the animals had to, you know, talk — which enabled us to make our selections from across the animal kingdom without regard for Tomatometer, as you’ll soon see. Prepare to relive your fondest (and not-so-fondest) memories of chatty fauna in Hollywood — and, of course, to hit the comments section to take issue with our selections. It’s Total Recall!



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10. Paulie

Given the level of animosity he seems to inspire wherever he goes, you’d think a movie where a character voiced by Jay Mohr spends most of his time locked up in a cage and squawking for pet food would be a big hit — but unfortunately for Mohr, you’d be wrong. At 63 percent on the Tomatometer, Paulie is one of Mohr’s better-reviewed films — and okay, it stands out largely because it’s lumped in alongside titles like Are We There Yet? and The Adventures of Pluto Nash, but still, Mohr is at his most consistently charming here, as an unusually loquacious parrot whose search for his original owner (Hallie Kate Eisenberg, in her screen debut) sends him on a series of incredible adventures. Plus, you get Buddy Hackett in his final role. What’s not to like?

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9. Oh! Heavenly Dog

In one of the great cinematic pairings of the ’80s, box-office heavyweights Chevy Chase and Benji teamed up here for a crime caper about a private eye (Chase) whose death leaves him stranded between afterlife destinations, giving him a chance to return to Earth in the form of a stray dog (um, Benji) so he can punch his ticket to heaven by solving his own murder. Chase received top billing, but this is really a Benji movie, as evidenced by the involvement of director Joe Camp, who had already helmed a pair of features and a TV movie with the canine star. Both Benji and Chase would go on to make better movies, but none of them would include love scenes between Jane Seymour and a dog.



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8. The Shaggy Dog

For their first live-action feature-length comedy, Disney took an unused television pilot and turned it into one of the most successful films of 1959 (good Lord, it even outgrossed Ben-Hur). Tommy Kirk, fresh out of Old Yeller and on the brink of starring in seemingly every single live-action feature Disney made between 1960-65, takes the spotlight here as Wilby Daniels, the goggle-eyed teenage na�f who, thanks to a surprisingly intricate plot too complicated to go into here, winds up shuttling unpredictably back and forth between dog and human form. Though not exactly a critical favorite, The Shaggy Dog stands at a respectable 69 percent on the Tomatometer — and was, perhaps most importantly, responsible for Fred MacMurray’s late-period reincarnation as the go-to guy for films in need of cardigan-rockin’ dads.


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7. Charlotte’s Web

“Modern-day remake of beloved children’s classic” is a phrase that, nine times out of 10, is synonymous with cinematic disaster — but the 2006 film version of E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web proved to be the exception to the rule, soaring to 78 percent on the Tomatometer and racking up over $80 million at the box office. Of course, casting the voice talents of Robert Redford, Julia Roberts, Steve Buscemi, John Cleese, and Oprah Winfrey (as a horse, spider, rat, sheep, and goose, respectively) never hurts — but White’s timeless tribute to pan-species friendship has been resonating with readers young and old for over 50 years. Tell the story faithfully — as director Gary Winick and screenwriters Susannah Grant and Karey Kirkpatrick did here — and the audience will follow. Some pig, indeed.

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6. Stuart Little

Michael J. Fox as an adorable talking mouse and Nathan Lane as a jealous cat named Snowbell. How’s that for perfect casting? And it gets better — M. Night Shyamalan and David O. Russell were just two of the writers involved in bringing E.B. White’s 1945 classic Stuart Little (66 percent) to the big screen, and the human cast includes Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie, and Jonathan “The Human Head Weighs Eight Pounds” Lipnicki. It isn’t hard to see how the budget topped $100 million — or why Columbia earned it back, and then some. As White’s plucky protagonist and his arch-enemy, Fox and Lane helped make the film a hit with parents as well as kids — and helped make kid-friendly voicework appealing to actors with bigger box-office clout than, say, Jay Mohr.

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5. Francis

Before there was Jason, before there was Freddy, there was Francis the Talking Mule. Novelist David Stern’s creation was the inspiration for an incredible seven films, starting with 1950’s Francis (and ending, unfortunately, with 1956’s Francis in the Haunted House, which featured none of the actors from the first six installments). The plot — as with Jason and Freddy — was always basically the same, dropping soldier Peter Stirling (Donald O’Connor) into a ridiculous situation where he had to be bailed out by his sarcastic, braying friend (voiced by Chill Wills). Stirling’s penchant for ill-advised honesty when it came to Francis’ special talents invariably landed him under some sort of psychiatric observation, until the movie’s final act, when everyone realized he’d been telling the truth all along. Until the next movie, of course.

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4. Joe’s Apartment

Skits and short films rarely benefit from being turned into feature-length films — just ask Lorne Michaels — but as soon as MTV started airing brief clips of talking, singing, dancing cockroaches in the early ’90s, a Joe’s Apartment movie was a foregone conclusion. The film’s 12 percent Tomatometer speaks for itself, but this earnest tale of cockroaches with hearts of gold is still the only place to hear Billy West, Dave Chappelle, and Jim Turner voicing lifelike bugs, and it offers a tantalizing glimpse of the career Jerry O’Connell was building for himself before he wrote the First Daughter screenplay and became the world’s foremost Tom Cruise impersonator.

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3. The Wizard of Oz

All right, so maybe this is fudging a little — but what kind of talking animals list would be complete without a nod to Bert Lahr’s turn as the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz? Victor Fleming’s adaptation of the L. Frank Baum classic boasts a 100 percent Tomatometer rating for many reasons, not the least of which is Lahr’s iconic performance. In Baum’s book, the Lion gets his courage from a bottle, but Fleming and company understandably shied away from that idea; instead, his film counterpart finds it inside himself, and is rewarded with a shiny new medal. Lahr went on to acquire some hardware of his own, winning a Tony Award for his performance in the 1964 musical Foxy, but to most of us, he’ll always be best remembered as the guy who sang “If I Were the King of the Forest.”

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2. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books sat around for over five decades before someone started making blockbuster live-action epics out of them. The missing ingredients? CGI technology — and the gravitas-drenched voice of Liam Neeson as Aslan, the titular lion. Announced as having been awarded the role just five months before the film’s release — and only after director Andrew Adamson bumped his original choice for Aslan’s voice, Brian Cox. Neeson, of course, was perfect for the role, and although he can’t take all the credit for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe‘s 76 percent Tomatometer rating (or its nearly $300 million gross), his involvement certainly didn’t hurt. Neeson has described Aslan’s role in the upcoming Prince Caspian as more “parental” — here’s hoping the movie still makes room for him to lay some smack down.

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1. Babe

Yes, it’s true: A film about a talking pig who enters a sheepdog competition really was nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award. It was nominated for seven Oscars, actually — and came away with one, for Best Visual Effects. This George Miller-adapted fable (taken from the Dick King-Smith book) built a lot of buzz thanks to its then-state-of-the-art visuals, but it earned its 98 percent Tomatometer rating based on the story’s big heart, and a terrific cast that included the voices of Christine Cavanaugh (as Babe) and Hugo Weaving (as Rex the sheepdog) — not to mention James Cromwell, whose laid-back turn as Farmer Hoggett earned him a Best Actor nomination and boiled his long, distinguished career down into five words: “That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.”

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Dishonorable Mention – Howard the Duck

A Lucasfilm release based on one of Marvel Comics’ most beloved second-string characters — a wisecracking, cigar-chomping alien duck. A cast including Lea Thompson and Tim Robbins. A soundtrack featuring Thomas Dolby, Stevie Wonder, and Joe Walsh. What could go wrong? The answer, of course, is “everything” — thanks largely to a nigh-incomprehensible mess of a plot that virtually ignored the comics, Howard the Duck went down in history as an enormous flop, earning the almost universal enmity of critics (look at that 19 percent Tomatometer rating!) and making back less than half of its $40 million budget back during its American theatrical run. Howard the Duck has never even been released on DVD here in the States — and in a marketplace that has room for a 10th anniversary deluxe edition of Tommy Boy, that’s really saying something.

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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.


Nicolas Cage and Diane Kruger in National Treasure: Book of Secrets

Capping off a landmark year that saw his films Knocked Up and Superbad gross a combined $270M, Judd Apatow ends 2007 by waving his producing and writing wands around Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. Like the two previous hits, this Sony title carries the R rating thanks to envelope-pushing humor that audiences crave. John C. Reilly headlines the pic as a rock star who lives an up and down life. Normally a Reilly-led film would fail miserably at the box office since he has no track record of anchoring successful films. However, it is the Apatow name that provides the starpower here and so older teens and young adults should come out in solid numbers. There are no other comedies for that demographic right now plus a trim running time of 96 minutes will ensure plenty of showtimes.
Positive reviews will help too. Some may find the film through word-of-mouth so a prolonged run looks to be in order. Opening in over 2,500 theaters, Walk Hard may gross around $15M this weekend.


John C. Reilly and Jenna Fischer in Walk Hard

Universal will find out this weekend what means more at the box office, starpower or subject matter. The studio opens Charlie Wilson’s War, a new comedy-drama starring Oscar winners Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and Philip Seymour Hoffman about a covert U.S. operation that supplied weapons and training to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets in the 1980s. The topic is just about the last thing audiences want to pay to see on the big screen right now as evidenced by the horrendous grosses for other politically-themed dramas dealing with the Middle East.

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.


Tom Hanks in Charlie Wilson’s War

Setting a new record for most throats sliced open in a Hollywood musical, Paramount and DreamWorks give a moderate national roll-out to Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Directed by Tim Burton, the R-rated film stars Johnny Depp in the title role along with new mom Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, and Sacha Baron Cohen. Musicals are often tough sells at the box office but Depp-Burton concoctions almost always score big bucks. Like most song-and-dance pics, Sweeney Todd should skew slightly more female but appeal seems broader across many age groups.

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.


Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in Sweeney Todd

Following his career-making turn in one of the year’s most memorable hits 300, Gerard Butler turns to the world of flimsy grosses in the romantic drama P.S. I Love You starring opposite two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank. The weekend’s only new PG-13 film will play to an adult female audience which may be a bit tough to reach this weekend. Holiday activities will provide a distraction as will Tom, Julia, and Johnny who will steal away much of the potential of P.S. Negative reviews will only help keep ticket buyers away. Overall excitement is not too high and starpower is certainly low. Most fans who bought tickets for the Spartan actioner will be elsewhere this weekend. P.S. I Love You opens in about 2,200 locations and could gross about $5M this weekend.


Hilary Swank in P.S. I Love You

Will Smith has dominated the box office since last Friday’s explosive launch for his sci-fi thriller I Am Legend. However, the sophomore frame is likely to see a steep fall for a number of reasons. Competition will be a big factor with the freshman class stealing away different audience segments. The Batman factor will also be gone since fans of the Caped Crusader either have already seen the trailer for The Dark Knight with Legend last week, or are watching it online whenever they want. Plus sci-fi films typically attract the bulk of the business upfront leading to a large sophomore drop. A 60% tumble for I Am Legend could result giving the Warner Bros. pic about $31M for the weekend and $133M after ten days.

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

A wave of new product hits the marketplace at a time when exciting films are desperately needed to end the current box office funk. The science fiction thriller I Am Legend leads the way but will be joined by the family comedy Alvin and the Chipmunks and the romantic comedy The Perfect Holiday. For only the second time all year, just two films managed grosses of more than $5M last weekend. Hollywood critically needs this weekend to turn things around if it wants to end the year on a happy note.

Gunning for his seventh consecutive number one opening, Will Smith headlines the sci-fi thriller I Am Legend, the latest Hollywood film based on the classic 1954 novel of the same name. The PG-13 entry finds the superstar playing the last man alive on Earth after a virus wipes out the entire human population in the not-so-distant future. Legend could prove to be Smith’s greatest box office challenge to date since there are no famous co-stars, no big director, and the novel it is based on is not exactly a hot item in today’s era. This film is Will’s to make or break.

But for millions of movie fans, the former Fresh Prince plus action equals a definite trip to the local multiplex. The actor is right at the top of the current A list and is arguably the most bankable star alive consistently drawing in audiences that cut across all race, gender, and age barriers. Will Smith can bring out paying audiences for sci-fi (I, Robot), comedy (Hitch), drama (The Pursuit of Happyness), action (Bad Boys II), and animation (Shark Tale). With Legend he now flirts with the boundaries of horror as battling killer zombies that attack at night is a far cry from being a date doctor.

Warner Bros. has good timing for I Am Legend. The marketplace has been about as dead as the world depicted in the film and audiences are hungry for an event film to get them back into the habit of moviegoing. Competition will not be much of a factor and business will be coming in from many directions with teens and young adults leading the way and fans of sci-fi and action delivering a big bang too. The studio’s massive marketing push will do the trick and adding more bite will be the simultaneous Imax release where higher ticket prices ($16 in New York City) will give the grosses a boost. Plus the strategic move of playing the new prologue for next summer’s much-anticipated Batman flick The Dark Knight with the Imax release of I Am Legend just fuels more excitement and guarantees more asses in the seats.

Will Smith is looking to score one of the biggest December openings ever for a non-Peter Jackson flick. A big drop next weekend is likely, but for now consumers are keeping all eyes on I Am Legend which attacks 3,606 theaters on Friday. An opening weekend gross of about $50M could result.


Will Smith and friend in I Am Legend

Some younger moviegoers may not be in the mood for flesh-eating mutants. Luckily, Fox had the bright idea of getting jiggy with its new kidpic Alvin and the Chipmunks which will give parents and smaller children some harmless fun for the holidays. The PG-rated film is the latest big-screen treatment of a popular kids property from yesterday that gets a makeover for today’s sensibilities. When done right, ticket sales pour in from multiple generations. But when done wrong, you get disasters like The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Competition should not be too bad since Enchanted which is going into its fourth session is the only family film generating any decent dough right now. Instead, holiday shopping may be the real threat as many parents will wait until a little later before heading to the cinemas for this one. The property is not popular enough to create any true sense of urgency. But this is common in mid December. Last year, Charlotte’s Web got off to a slow start with a $11.5M bow but went on to make seven times that amount with a final tally of $82.6M. Fox’s marketing push has been aggressively targeting young kids and the studio knows that little success lies with teens and young adults. Going very wide with 3,476 playdates on Friday, Alvin and the Chipmunks could gross about $15M this weekend but hold on well over the holidays.


Alvin, Simon and Theodore

Christmas fun hits the multiplexes in another package with The Perfect Holiday from Yari Film Group. Morris Chestnut and Gabrielle Union star as single folks whose love lives cross while Queen Latifah and Terrence Howard play naughty and nice spirits along for the ride. The PG-rated film will play primarily to an African American audience which will make it a tricky sell at this moment in time. Though a very different film, Legend will steal away many in the target demographic and others who just saw This Christmas may not be looking for another story from the same category so soon. Poor reviews will also cause some box office headaches. Opening Wednesday in 1,306 locations, The Perfect Holiday could bow to about $7M over three days and $9M over five days.


The Perfect Holiday

Adding to the end-of-year frenzy that arthouse films find themselves in during awards season, Paramount Vantage’s The Kite Runner opens in 35 theaters in selected cities on Friday hoping to appeal to fans of the best-selling novel. The R-rated film in English and Dari tells of two young boys in Afghanistan whose lives take two very different paths after a violent incident right before the Soviet invasion of the country. Kite Runner has been included on some recent ten-best lists and scored two Golden Globe nominations. Reviews have been generally positive.


The Kite Runner

Following its not-so-explosive debut, The Golden Compass will have tough work cut out for it during the sophomore frame. The New Line adventure will see the sci-fi audience abandon ship and line up for Will Smith while parents looking for some fun for their kids will have some talking chipmunks to consider. A 50% drop could be in order for Compass which would give it about $13M for the weekend and a ten-day tally of $45M.

Disney’s Enchanted, which earned a pair of Golden Globe nominations, is slowly but surely making its way towards the $100M mark. Another moderate 35% decline would give the fairy tale pic around $7M which would push the sum up to $93M. Sony’s This Christmas will face direct competition from The Perfect Holiday so a 40% dip may result giving the pic $3M and $47M to date.

LAST YEAR: The man in black beat out some tough competition to conquer the box office. Will Smith’s The Pursuit of Happyness led a wave of new releases with its top spot debut grossing $26.5M for Sony. The feel-good smash played well over the holiday season surging to $162.6M domestically and $294M worldwide – an impressive sum for a Smith vehicle not driven by guns or special effects. Fox’s fantasy actioner Eragon bowed close behind in second with $23.2M on its way to $75M from North America representing only 30% of the global take. Overseas the numbers were much stronger with $175M in ticket sales for a powerful $250M tally worldwide. Third place also featured a new release. Paramount’s family film Charlotte’s Web debuted to the tune of $11.5M but reached a solid $82.6M by the end of the run. Rounding out the top five were the penguin toon Happy Feet with $8.4M and the romantic comedy The Holiday with $8M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Dakota Fanning is carving out quite the career for herself. She’ll follow up the controversial Sundance flick "Hounddog" (you know, the "Dakota Fanning Rape Movie") by playing one half of a real-life duo of disabled girls; younger sister Elle will also star.

The eleven-year-old Fanning (who turns a mature 12 this month) made headlines last month by playing an Elvis-loving rape victim in Deborah Kampmeier‘s "Hounddog," though critics mostly agreed that the scene in question wasn’t all that scandalous. Conservatives didn’t care, calling for a block of the movie and the arrest of the adults involved. Even state officials threw their opinions into the mix.


Fanning, making right wingers uncomfortable in "Hounddog"

Now Fanning is planning another controversial role with "Hurricane Mary," the true story about a mother’s fight to give her disabled twins a public school education. Fanning will star alongside Patricia Clarkson, Chris Cooper, William H. Macy, and Laura San Giacomo in the pic, while her look-alike eight-year-old sister Elle ("Babel") will play her twin sister.

Set to direct is Tony award-winning director Arvin Brown, who also has an extensive career in television ("Picket Fences," "Ally McBeal," "The Closer"). The script is written by actress Marianne Leone, who is married to Chris Cooper.

Production on the film (listed in IMDB under the title "Conquistadora") begins in New York in September; the 2008 film seems likely to debut on the festival circuit once completed.


The screen vet in lighter, more family-friendly fare

The ever-busy elder Fanning’s also got a few more juicy roles on her plate (whoever manages this girl is a project-picking genius), including the title role in Henry Selick‘s ("The Nightmare Before Christmas") "Coraline," from the Neil Gaiman book, and the still-in-development book adaptation "The Secret Life of Bees." Oh, and come Oscar time, she’ll be busy — she is the youngest member of the Academy (unless voters this month go for the two-years-younger Abigail Breslin).

Box office sales slumped this weekend as the top ten dipped to its worst level in four months with the college dance pic "Stomp the Yard" holding onto the top spot by a thin margin. Moviegoers ignored "The Hitcher," the frame’s only new wide release, which posted an underwhelming fourth-place debut. A handful of Oscar contenders expanded into wider release and saw encouraging results hoping to collect steady sales from serious film lovers in the weeks ahead. Overall, the marketplace was quiet as the gross for the number one film and the cume for the top ten were both the lowest since mid-September.


"Stomp the Yard" spent another weekend at the top.

Sony’s low-budget hit "Stomp the Yard" spent another weekend at the top of the charts grossing an estimated $13.3M dropping only 39% in its sophomore frame. The PG-13 hit showed a healthy hold since most films catering to teen and young adult audiences fall by 45% or more on the second weekend. After ten days, the $14M-budgeted pic has grossed a stellar $41.6M and is on its way to reaching $65-70M. "Stomp" averaged a solid $6,485 from 2,051 theaters in its second step.

Close behind in second place was the Fox juggernaut "Night at the Museum" which took in an estimated $13M, off only 24%, boosting the cume to $205.8M. On Saturday, the PG-rated Ben Stiller film became the sixth 2006 release to join the double century club. "Museum" now ranks fifth among last year’s releases and is likely to surpass the $217.5M of "The Da Vinci Code" to end off as the fourth biggest blockbuster released in 2006. With no major family films getting in its way in the coming weeks, "Museum" could find its way to nearly $240M from North America alone and over $450M worldwide.


"Dreamgirls" saw a rise in its popularity after Gloden Globes wins.

Thanks to a trio of Golden Globes and 307 additional theaters, the hit musical "Dreamgirls" saw its Friday-to-Sunday gross inch up 4% to an estimated $8.7M Averaging a respectable $3,935 from 2,214 sites in its fourth full weekend of national play, the Paramount/DreamWorks pic upped its cume to $78.1M and is easily on its way to joining the $100M club. The studio continues to spend lavishly on advertising and is eagerly anticipating Tuesday’s announcement of the Academy Award nominations. "Dreamgirls" is widely considered a shoo-in for a nomination for Best Picture, along with "The Departed" and "Babel."

Showing that horror fans may be getting sick of Hollywood’s endless line of fright film remakes, "The Hitcher" opened to disappointing results in fourth place with only $8.2M, according to estimates. The redo of the 1986 Rutger Hauer flick averaged only $2,904 from a very wide 2,835 theaters for Focus and its Rogue Pictures genre unit. The R-rated film was expected to perform better given that it was the only new choice for teens and young adults and the fact that it was given the widest bow in company history for its distributor. The strong hold for "Stomp the Yard" and the solid expansion of "Pan’s Labyrinth" which is pulling in fantasy and horror fans, may have contributed to the soft bow.


"The Hitcher" is not exactly catching fire at the B.O.

"The Hitcher" is the latest in a string of disappointments for Focus following "Catch a Fire" and "The Return." Since last winter’s Oscar-winning film "Brokeback Mountain" lassoed $83M, the distributor has seen most of its films underperform. The company saw an average domestic gross of just $13.4M from its eight wide releases in 2006 with "Jet Li’s Fearless" being its top grosser with $24.6M.

Will Smith’s "The Pursuit of Happyness" clocked its sixth weekend in the top five and grossed an estimated $6.7M, off only 25%, for a $146.5M cume. Sony should finish in the vicinity of $160M. Paramount’s Hilary Swank drama "Freedom Writers" followed with an estimated $5.6M, down just 24%, giving the pic $26.9M in 17 days. Look for the film to end in the $35-40M range.

Guillermo del Toro‘s fantasy thriller "Pan’s Labyrinth" jumped into the top ten thanks to its national expansion and claimed the number seven spot with an estimated $4.7M. The Picturehouse release enjoyed the best average among all wide releases taking in $7,759 per theater from 609 locations. Cume is $10.2M for the Spanish-language film. The futuristic drama "Children of Men" from director Alfonso Cuaron followed falling 42% to an estimated $3.7M for Universal pushing the cume to $27.5M.


Helen Mirren in "The Queen."

Also collecting an estimated $3.7M in ticket sales over the weekend was Miramax’s "The Queen" which expanded from 344 to 1,586 theaters following its two Golden Globe wins for lead actress and screenplay. Averaging a mild $2,333 per site, the acclaimed drama hit the top ten for only the second time in its long 17-week run and posted its best weekend gross to date. It had always played in fewer than 800 theaters until now and the distributor hopes that the Globe wins, plus the expected Oscar nominations on Tuesday, will allow the Helen Mirren film to appeal to a wider audience going forward. Total stands at $35.9M and counting. Rounding out the top ten was MGM’s "Arthur and the Invisibles" with an estimated $3.1M, down 28%, for a $9.3M cume. A final gross of around $15M seems likely.

The box office had a very international flavor this weekend as seven of the top twelve films were directed by filmmakers born outside of the United States.

Three films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. Universal’s kidnapping thriller "Alpha Dog" tumbled 55% in its second frame and took in an estimated $2.9M. With only $11.7M in the bank, the ensemble pic should sputter to a disappointing $15-17M final tally. Also crumbling in its sophomore frame was the horror film "Primeval" which crashed 70% and grossed $1.8M, according to estimates. Buena Vista has scared up just $9.5M in ten days and looks to conclude its run quickly with a poor $11M.

Paramount’s kidpic "Charlotte’s Web" has fared better over the holiday season and grossed an estimated $2.3M this weekend, down 40%. The family film has accumulated a solid $76.7M to date and should end its run with around $80M. Web bowed in mid-December with half the opening weekend gross of competing new release "Eragon," but has now outgrossed the dragon adventure which currently stands at $72.4M.


"Babel" took home a Golden Globe for Best Picture in Drama.

A trio of Golden Globe winners expanded their runs and climbed up the charts. Paramount Vantage’s "Babel," which took home the Best Picture — Drama trophy, re-expanded from 173 to 889 theaters and took in an estimated $2.3M for a $23.9M total to date. Fox Searchlight boosted its cume for "The Last King of Scotland" by 50% in one short weekend. The Forest Whitaker pic widened to 495 locations, from just four from last weekend, and collected an estimated $1.8M raising the total from $3.7M to $5.5M. Warner Bros. went from 35 to 360 locations for Clint Eastwood’s "Letters From Iwo Jima" which grossed an estimated $1.5M pushing the tally to $2.6M. Though not eligible for the Academy Award in the foreign language department, the Japanese-lingo pic is still considered a contender in the other Oscar categories.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $70.7M which was off a disturbing 19% from last year when "Underworld: Evolution" opened at number one with $26.9M; and down 10% from 2005 when "Are We There Yet?" debuted on top with $18.6M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Fox continued to dominate the North American box office with its holiday smash "Night at the Museum" which once again ruled over the charts in its second weekend as 2006 came to a close.

Will Smith‘s rags-to-riches hit "The Pursuit of Happyness" remained in second place while the musical "Dreamgirls" climbed up to number three in its first weekend of wide release. Moviegoers flooded the multiplexes as ticket sales for the top ten rose sharply over last weekend’s Christmas frame and even beat out last year’s four-day New Year’s holiday session.

The Ben Stiller comedy "Night at the Museum" continued as the most popular attraction for all audiences as the PG-rated hit hauled in an estimated $46.7M over the Friday-to-Monday holiday period rising a healthy 11% over its opening frame. After only 11 days in theaters, the effects-driven comedy has banked an impressive $125.8M and could be headed towards the $200M mark domestically. "Museum" was the widest release in the marketplace playing at 3,768 locations, including 72 Imax venues, and averaged a muscular $12,394 over four days.

For Stiller, "Museum" represented his sixth $100M blockbuster while for Robin Williams, who played a supporting part as President Teddy Roosevelt, the new pic gave him his tenth trip into the century club over the last twenty years. Audiences of all ages have been flocking to the Fox smash which has been a key component in keeping the current box office ahead of last year’s red hot marketplace as its 11-day cume has already surpassed the $120.6M start that "King Kong" generated in its first 13 days. Internationally, "Museum" has already grossed $65M putting its worldwide tally at $191M.

Staying put in second place was Will Smith‘s uplifting drama "The Pursuit of Happyness" with an estimated $24.7M over the four-day holiday frame, up 10% from last weekend. After 18 days, the Sony hit has grossed $103.7M and on New Year’s Day became the actor’s tenth $100M blockbuster in only eleven years. "Pursuit" averaged $8,606 over four days in its third weekend while playing in 2,870 sites. It also helped cap off a stellar year for Sony which led all studios with nearly $1.7 billion in North American ticket sales, accounting for 19% market share, and over $3.3 billion worldwide. A final domestic gross north of $140M could be possible.

The acclaimed musical "Dreamgirls" jumped up to third in its first full weekend of wide play grossing an estimated $18.7M over four days. The Paramount/DreamWorks pic averaged a sensational $21,915 from only 852 locations and upped its cume to $41.6M. The Jamie FoxxBeyonce Knowles hit will expand to about 1,800 playdates on January 12 for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday frame. "Dreamgirls" has earned five Golden Globe nominations including one for Best Picture – Comedy or Musical and is a major contender for Oscar nominations. The PG-13 film stood strong at number three while playing in 2,000-3,000 fewer theaters than the rest of the weekend’s top choices.

Paramount’s kidpic "Charlotte’s Web" followed in fourth with an estimated $15.1M over four days in its third weekend. Up a terrific 57% from the Christmas frame, the G-rated film has taken in $55.9M to date. The Matt Damon thriller "The Good Shepherd" collected an estimated $14.3M. Universal’s CIA drama was up 1% and raised its total to $38.3M in 11 days.

Sylvester Stallone found himself in sixth with "Rocky Balboa" which took in an estimated $13.7M in its second weekend. Dropping 20%, the MGM release has punched up a solid $51.1M in 13 days which amounts to more than twice the film’s budget. "Rocky" was the only film in the top ten to see its four-day gross drop. Fox’s fantasy adventure "Eragon" followed with an estimated $10.6M, up 13%, for a $58.8M total.

The football drama "We Are Marshall" climbed 19% to an estimated $10.2M in its second session giving Warner Bros. a modest $27.3M in 11 days. The studio’s runaway hit penguin toon "Happy Feet" jumped up 48% to an estimated $9.7M in its seventh weekend putting its cume at $178M. The global gross shot up to $292M and counting. Rounding out the top ten was the Cameron DiazKate Winslet comedy "The Holiday" which grossed an estimated $8.5M, up 24%, for a $51.8M total to date.

In limited release, Fox Searchlight debuted its Judi Dench drama "Notes on a Scandal" to an estimated $550,000 from only 22 theaters over four days for a potent $25,000 average. Cume sits at $750,000. MGM saw a more modest bow for its Renee Zellweger pic "Miss Potter" which bowed to an estimated $13,000 over four days from two cinemas for a mild $6,477 average. Paramount’s French murder drama "Perfume" bowed to an estimated $49,000 over four days from only three sites for a potent $16,333 average. Total is $69,000.

Elsewhere below the top ten, the James Bond actioner "Casino Royale" posted another impressive weekend in its seventh frame grossing an estimated $6.5M over four days. The Sony smash climbed 49% from last weekend and lifted its domestic haul to $155.4M with the global tally rising to a towering $493M. That makes it the fourth largest worldwide blockbuster of 2006 after "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest," "The Da Vinci Code," and "Ice Age: The Meltdown."

The horror film "Black Christmas" scared up an estimated $4.6M in its first full weekend of release from 1,544 theaters for a mild $2,983 average. Cume for MGM is $11.8M. Mel Gibson‘s "Apocalypto" eased 1% to an estimated $4.4M and pushed its total to $43.8M for Buena Vista.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $172M over four days which was up 8% from last year when "The Chronicles of Narnia" reclaimed the number one spot with $33.7M over the Friday-to-Monday holiday span.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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 DiazKate 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.

Miramax’s Peter O’Toole pic "Venus" bowed to an estimated $36,000 from three venues for a promising $12,079 average. Cume since Wednesday stands at $42,000.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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.

Ben Stiller in "Night at the Museum."

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.


Stallone is back for one more round in "Rocky Balboa."

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.


They are Marshall.

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.


Matt Damon and Alec Baldwin in "The Good Shepherd."

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.


Zhang Yimou’s "Curse of the Golden Flower."

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

Box office heavyweight Will Smith scored his sixth consecutive number one opening this weekend with his new rags-to-riches drama "The Pursuit of Happyness" which raced past two new kid movies to claim the top spot.

The mythical adventure "Eragon" opened well in second place while the family film "Charlotte’s Web" debuted in third with a modest launch. The one-two punch of "Pursuit" and "Eragon" kicked in a combined $50.5M and for only the second time in box office history, two December films opened to over $20M each on the same weekend.

Proving once again how strong his pull is with moviegoing audiences, Smith conquered the charts with an estimated $27M bow for "The Pursuit of Happyness" which on Thursday picked up two Golden Globe nominations including one for Best Actor in the drama category. Averaging a stunning $9,467 per theater in 2,852 locations, the PG-13 film tells the real-life story of a San Francisco man and his young son who become homeless and must try to get back on their feet. The former fresh prince’s real son Jaden plays his on-screen son in the uplifting, feel-good story.

With mixed reviews and no famous director or co-stars, "Pursuit" succeeded solely on the starpower of Smith and followed his last five films "Hitch," "Shark Tale," "I, Robot," "Bad Boys II," and "Men in Black II." Those five hits all opened at number one and went on to gross a jaw-dropping combined haul of $1.7 billion worldwide. With such a strong start, Will Smith should easily be able to score the tenth $100M domestic blockbuster of his career.

For Sony, "Pursuit" marked its record 13th number one opener of 2006 from a jam-packed slate of 27 releases. Sony also broke its own all-time studio box office record by crossing the $1.57 billion mark in domestic ticket sales with two full weeks still to go and three titles remaining in the top ten. The previous record was set by Sony in the "Spider-Man"-fueled year of 2002.

Opening in second place with some strength of its own was the dragon tale "Eragon" with an estimated $23.5M. Playing in 3,020 sites, the PG-rated film averaged a stellar $7,765 per theater. Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich, Djimon Hounsou, and Rachel Weisz star in the mythical adventure which was based on a teen author’s story. Driven by special effects, "Eragon" carried a reported production cost of more than $100M. With no "Lord of the Rings," "Harry Potter," or "Narnia" films this holiday season, fantasy audiences had nothing else to rally behind and so Fox took advantage of the opportunity by placing its actioner into the pre-Christmas slot. With school kids leaving for their holiday breaks in the days ahead, the dragon pic aims to soar towards the land of nine digits.

The only other time two December openers bowed to more than $20M each on the same frame was on this very weekend in 1997 when "Titanic" debuted at number one with $28.6M followed by the launch of the James Bond flick "Tomorrow Never Dies" with $25.1M. This weekend’s two new releases also helped to keep the overall box office within striking distance of last year’s colossal frame when "King Kong" ruled with a $50.1M opening and "Narnia" in its second weekend contributed a stellar $31.8M. Despite not having any film of the same magnitude, the marketplace this weekend had great breadth and saw the Top 20 dip only 7 percent versus last year.

Paramount got off to a slow start with its big holiday season offering for families "Charlotte’s Web" which bowed to an estimated $12M from 3,566 theaters for a mild $3,372 average. Based on the popular children’s book, the G-rated film stars Dakota Fanning and features voices from Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, and John Cleese. Studios never want to see an opening weekend average lower than its theater count, but Paramount is hoping that the upcoming school holidays will allow the well-reviewed film to have legs. Recent kidpics that the studio opened in mid-December went on to make six to seven times their opening weekend grosses. These include 2002’s "The Wild Thornberrys" with a $6M bow on its way to $39.9M and 2001’s "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius" whch debuted to $13.8M and reached $80.9M. "Web," which cost over $80M to produce, hopes to follow and capture the attention of parents and their smaller children in the days and weeks ahead when they have more available time.

The penguin blockbuster "Happy Feet" followed with an estimated $8.5M, down just 34 percent, for a $149.4M sum. The Warner Bros. smash now ranks number eight among 2006 films and should climb into the top five after the holiday season. Sony’s Cameron DiazKate Winslet comedy "The Holiday" dropped only 36 percent in its second weekend to an estimated $8.2M pushing its ten-day cume to $25.3M. Overseas grosses for the films rose to $59.7M and $28.5M, respectively.

Last weekend’s number one film "Apocalypto" tumbled down to sixth place with an estimated $7.7M. Dropping 49 percent, the Mayan adventure has grabbed $27.9M for Buena Vista in ten days but also suffered the largest decline of any film in the top ten. Fellow sophomore "Blood Diamond" fared better in its second weekend sliding only 28percent to an estimated $6.3M. Earning its star Leonardo DiCaprio one of his two Golden Globe nominations this year for Best Actor – Drama, the Warner Bros. title has mined $18.4M in ten days. "Blood Diamond" got off to a slow start, but is now showing that it could have the legs to go the distance over the holiday season.

The James Bond actioner "Casino Royale" grossed an estimated $5.7M, off 36 percent, to put its total at $137.6M for Sony. New Line’s Biblical drama "The Nativity Story" once again enjoyed the smallest drop in the top ten dipping a mere 18percent to an estimated $4.7M for a $23.1M cume. The family comedy "Unaccompanied Minors" followed in the ten spot with an estimated $3.7M, off 37percent, giving Warner Bros. a poor $10.2M to date.

Opening to spectacular results, thanks in part to its $25 ticket price, was the big-budget musical "Dreamgirls" from DreamWorks and Paramount with an estimated $360,000 from only three theaters for an unprecedented $120,000 average. Winner of five Golden Globe nominations including Best Picture in the comedy/musical category, the PG-13 pic was given a special exclusive release in solo houses in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. For the extra cash, ticket buyers were given a Broadway-style experience with reserved seating and a limited-edition program book. At a more standard adult ticket price of $10, that would translate to an average of about $48,000 which is still phenomenal. The studios reported that all 21 shows over the weekend were sold out. Starring Jamie Foxx, Beyonce Knowles, Eddie Murphy, and Jennifer Hudson, "Dreamgirls" opens nationally on Christmas Day in over 800 theaters.

Also platforming this weekend was the George Clooney starrer "The Good German" which opened to an estimated $79,000 from just five locations for a solid $15,800 average. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, the R-rated film co-stars Cate Blanchett and Tobey Maguire and follows an American war reporter’s escapades in Germany.

Three films dropped out of the top ten this weekend. Denzel Washington‘s action thriller "Deja Vu" fell 50 percent to an estimated $3M in its fourth assignment putting the total at $57.8M. Buena Vista should find its way to the neighborhood of $65M. Opening just five days after rival action pic "Casino Royale" has proven to be a major obstacle for "Deja Vu" which will end up with less than half the gross of the better-received Bond flick.

Fox’s holiday comedy "Deck the Halls" has also faced stiff competition for its target audience. The Danny DeVito pic took in an estimated $2M this weekend, down 50 percent, for a $32.9M cume. A $40M final seems likely. Disney’s "The Santa Clause 3" dropped 43 percent to an estimated $1.9M giving the studio $79.8M thus far. Tim Allen and pals should reach the $85M mark, or about 40 percent below the $139.2M of "Clause 2" from four years ago.

Elsewhere below the top ten, Golden Globe nominees for Best Picture posted good numbers. Fox’s "Borat," nominated for both Picture and Best Actor in the comedy/musical category, slipped 39 percent to an estimated $1.6M for a $122.8M total to date. The raunchy comedy had fallen by more than 45 percent in each of the last two weekends. Miramax’s "The Queen" slipped only 22 percent to an estimated $685,000 for a $25.7M cume in its eleventh consecutive weekend in the Top 20. Fellow Best Picture nominee in the drama category "Babel," which led all films with seven total Globe nominations, saw its weekend gross inch up 7 percent to an estimated $490,000 despite losing over one-third of its theaters. Paramount Vantage has taken in $18.3M so far and hopes that the nominations will allow the ensemble film to remain a relevant box office player through the holidays.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $107.3M which was down 10 percent from last year when "King Kong" opened at number one with $50.1M; but up 13 percent from 2004 when "Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events" debuted in the top spot with $30.1M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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