The Worst Christmas Movies

From painful family reunions to sequels no child asked for to multiple Vince Vaughn and Tim Allen vehicles, these are all the Christmas films that scored less than 30% on the Tomatometer. And to make sure these movies landed on enough critics’ naughty lists to be deemed truly universally loathed, every entry had to have at least 20 reviews for inclusion. This leaves the likes of Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas and Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey?! out in the cold, but makes plenty of space for Home Alone 3, Christmas With the Kranks, and Deck the Halls. It’s more cinematic coal than you can handle in our guide to the worst Christmas movies ever!

Best Christmas Movies | Worst Christmas Movies
Best and Worst Christmas Horror | Best Foreign Christmas Movies
Rotten Christmas Movies We Love | Modern Christmas Classics

#22

Home Alone 3 (1997)
29%

#22
Adjusted Score: 29795%
Critics Consensus: Macaulay Culkin's precocious charisma is sorely missed in this hollow sequel, which doubles down on the broad comedy while lacking all the hallmarks that made the original a classic.
Synopsis: When an inept group of criminals tries to get a stolen top-secret computer chip through airport security, it ends up... [More]
Directed By: Raja Gosnell

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 31645%
Critics Consensus: Unaccompanied Minors, while featuring credible performances by its mostly young cast, is simply a rehash of other, funnier movies.
Synopsis: When a Christmas Eve blizzard shuts down the airport, five stranded youths take the opportunity to run wild and have... [More]
Directed By: Paul Feig

#20

Noel (2004)
28%

#20
Adjusted Score: 27488%
Critics Consensus: Noel strains for holiday uplift, but -- despite the involvement of an outstanding ensemble cast -- settles for treacly sentiment instead.
Synopsis: It's nearly Christmas in New York City. Rose (Susan Sarandon) is in the hospital with her elderly mother, who's been... [More]
Directed By: Chazz Palminteri

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When their plans for an exotic vacation fall apart, unmarried couple Brad (Vince Vaughn) and Kate (Reese Witherspoon) must spend... [More]
Directed By: Seth Gordon

#18
Adjusted Score: 24781%
Critics Consensus: Neither parent nor child will find any merriment in this mess.
Synopsis: Estranged from his father (Gary Cole), college student Jake (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) is lured home to New York for Christmas... [More]
Directed By: Arlene Sanford

#17
Adjusted Score: 22479%
Critics Consensus: The endearingly cheesy Santa Claus Conquers the Martians might just be so naughty it's nice for viewers seeking a sub-competent sci-fi holiday adventure.
Synopsis: Martian ruler Kimar (Leonard Hicks) is upset that the children of Mars are lazy and under the influence of too... [More]
Directed By: Nicholas Webster

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 20076%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In 19th-century England, a minister's quest to modernize his village puts him at odds with people who believe that whoever... [More]
Directed By: John Stephenson

#15

Fred Claus (2007)
21%

#15
Adjusted Score: 26668%
Critics Consensus: A slew of talent is wasted in this contrived and overly sentimental Christmas film, which can't quite get the balance between slapstick humor and schmaltzy uplift.
Synopsis: Of the two Claus brothers, Fred (Vince Vaughn) is the troublemaker and polar opposite of his saintly sibling, Nicholas (Paul... [More]
Directed By: David Dobkin

#14

Santa Claus (1985)
20%

#14
Adjusted Score: 17877%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In ancient times, a man named Claus (David Huddleston), who delivers toys in his small village, fulfills his destiny to... [More]
Directed By: Jeannot Szwarc

#13
Adjusted Score: 20565%
Critics Consensus: It boasts a few laughs, but overall, Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas ranks among Perry's least entertaining or substantive works.
Synopsis: Madea (Tyler Perry) accompanies her niece, Eileen (Anna Maria Horsford), to the small town of Buck Tussel to pay a... [More]
Directed By: Tyler Perry

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 20154%
Critics Consensus: The Perfect Holiday is the perfect example of Christmas movie clichés run amok.
Synopsis: Nancy (Gabrielle Union), a divorced mother of three, feels especially lonely during the holidays. Sensing her sadness, Nancy's youngest daughter,... [More]
Directed By: Lance Rivera

#11

Love the Coopers (2015)
18%

#11
Adjusted Score: 22469%
Critics Consensus: Love the Coopers has a talented cast and a uniquely bittersweet blend of holiday cheer in its better moments, but they're all let down by a script content to settle for cloying smarm.
Synopsis: For their annual Christmas Eve celebration, Sam Cooper (John Goodman) and his wife Charlotte (Diane Keaton) welcome four generations of... [More]
Directed By: Jessie Nelson

#10
Adjusted Score: 18145%
Critics Consensus: Playing Jack Frost as an evil cross between Liza Minnelli and Liberace, Martin Short is a welcome presence, but this tired series continues drawing from its bag of bland gags and dumb slapstick.
Synopsis: Christmas cheer turns into holiday chaos when Scott Calvin (Tim Allen), aka Santa, invites his in-laws (Ann-Margret, Alan Arkin) for... [More]
Directed By: Michael Lembeck

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 22493%
Critics Consensus: Arnold Schwarzenegger tries his best, but Jingle All the Way suffers from an uneven tone, shifting wildly from a would-be satire on materialism to an antic, slapstick yuk-fest.
Synopsis: Workaholic Howard Langston (Arnold Schwarzenegger) wants to make things up to his son, Jamie (Jake Lloyd), and wife, Liz (Rita... [More]
Directed By: Brian Levant

#8
Adjusted Score: 13815%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Boyd is forced to spend Christmas at his parents' house and has to hit the road with his eccentric father... [More]
Directed By: Tristram Shapeero

#7

Black Christmas (2006)
15%

#7
Adjusted Score: 17355%
Critics Consensus: A gratuitous remake of the 1974 slasher, Black Christmas pumps out the gore and blood with zero creativity, humor, or visual flair.
Synopsis: The holiday season turns deadly for a group of sorority sisters (Katie Cassidy, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Lacey Chabert, Michelle Trachtenberg)... [More]
Directed By: Glen Morgan

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 13230%
Critics Consensus: An American Carol suffers not so much from its perceived political bias, but from the fact that it simply is not very funny.
Synopsis: Documentary filmmaker Michael Malone (Kevin Farley) makes movies about America's shortcomings and is now embarking on a campaign to abolish... [More]
Directed By: David Zucker

#5

Mixed Nuts (1994)
13%

#5
Adjusted Score: 13454%
Critics Consensus: Mixed Nuts may provoke strong allergic reactions in all but the most undemanding filmgoers -- and the most forgiving Steve Martin fans.
Synopsis: Philip (Steve Martin) manages a suicide-prevention hotline called Lifesavers, assisted by Mrs. Munchnik (Madeline Kahn) and Catherine (Rita Wilson). On... [More]
Directed By: Nora Ephron

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 10795%
Critics Consensus: Surviving Christmas is unpleasant characters attacking each other for 90 minutes before delivering a typical, hollow anti-consumerist message
Synopsis: A wealthy executive, Drew Latham (Ben Affleck) has no close relationships and becomes nostalgic for his childhood home as Christmas... [More]
Directed By: Mike Mitchell

#3

Deck the Halls (2006)
6%

#3
Adjusted Score: 8098%
Critics Consensus: Relying on flat humor and a preposterous plot, Deck the Halls is an unnecessarily mean-spirited holiday movie that does little to put viewers in a holiday mood.
Synopsis: Steve (Matthew Broderick), suburban dad and Christmas enthusiast, finds a wrinkle in his well-ordered existence with the arrival of his... [More]
Directed By: John Whitesell

#2
Adjusted Score: 10574%
Critics Consensus: A mirthless movie as fresh as last year's fruit cake, Christmas with the Kranks is a coarse, garish comedy that promotes conformity.
Synopsis: Finally alone for the holidays, Luther (Tim Allen) and Nora Krank (Jamie Lee Curtis) plan to eschew the Christmas traditions... [More]
Directed By: Joe Roth

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 597%
Critics Consensus: Misguided, misconceived, and misbegotten on every level, The Nutcracker in 3D is a stunning exercise in astonishing cinematic wrong-headedness.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Starring: Unknown Actor
Directed By: Andreas Morell

Some Santas want to spread joy to the world…and others just want to watch the world burn. As Christmas approaches, take some time to this week’s special extra 24 Frames gallery, looking at the variations of jolly St. Nick across movie history.

Christmas is just around the corner and you know what that means: holiday mirth, exchanging gifts, eating foods you wouldn’t touch at any other time in the year, and, yes, ugly sweaters!  The holiday tradition inspires this week’s 24 Frames gallery, which looks at some of the most compelling knitted monstrosities from film and TV history.

It’s Friday, there’s a new raft of movies in the UK cinemas this week, but are any of them any good? This week the UK film hacks give us their opinions on Clint Eastwood‘s latest directorial film starring Angelina Jolie, Changeling. Also out this week is Hollywood satire What Just Happened, and an early Christmas present in the shape of a festive flick starring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon in Four Christmases. So what did the critics think?

Based on a true story, Changeling stars Angelina Jolie as an overworked single mother who fights for the truth following the disappearance of her son, and is ably directed by veteran cowpoke Clint Eastwood. At a – just-below-Fresh – 59% on the Tomatometer, Changeling doesn’t have the pedigree of previous Eastwood outings, but most critics agree that Angelina Jolie’s assured performance has Oscar-bait written all over it. If we were just counting the UK critics responses the film would stand at a much healthier 83% on the Tomatometer, which just goes to show the difference in tastes on either side of the Atlantic.

What Just Happened is a Hollywood satire starring Robert De Niro as an outrageous movie producer, and is based on the real life memoirs of Art Linson, who also adapted his book for the big screen. Most critics agreed that De Niro is on fine form, following the disastrous Righteous Kill (21% on the Tomatometer), who puts in a classic performance as the back stabbing producer. But old Bobby can’t do enough to save What Just Happened from the ignominy of a Rotten 53% rating on the Tomatometer. Critics accuse the film of lacking the necessary satirical bite needed to do the source material justice, with many suggesting that the film has fallen prey to the Hollywood practices and foibles that the film itself seeks to criticise.

Vince Vaughn stars in his second festive holiday vehicle, after the dismal Fred Claus of Christmas 2007 (21% on the Tomatometer), alongside Reese Witherspoon in Four Christmases. Helmed by the director of the highly-praised but little-seen documentary King Of Kong (97%), Seth Gordon, hopes were high for Four Christmases, but unfortunately at 26% on the Tomatometer, it’s more of a Turkey than a Christmas pudding. The UK scribes have criticised the lack of Christmas cheer, the miscasting of the two principle actors and the horrific waste of a fine supporting cast. Christmas comes earlier every year, Four Christmases probably shouldn’t have come at all.

Quote Of The Week

” “Hang on lads, I’ve got a great idea…” said Michael Caine at the end of The Italian Job. Presumably he didn’t mean waiting 40 years before pulling off a caper that wouldn’t blow the bloody doors off a rabbit hutch.”

Flawless. Elliot Noble, Sky Movies.

1. Fred Claus – 21%

Twelve long months after it first debuted in theaters, Vince Vaughn‘s Fred Claus is finally making its way to DVD. The comedy about Santa’s (Paul Giamatti) ne’er do well brother, Fred (Vaughn) disappointed critics and performed decently last November; by holding its home video release until the 2008 holiday season, will Fred Claus get a second chance at success?

Hard up for cash, the bitter, joyless Fred (Vaughn) joins his little brother, Nicholas — that’s Saint Nick — in the North Pole to work alongside elves in the toy factory one Christmas. As his bad attitude wreaks havoc on Santa’s workshop, a slimy efficiency expert (Kevin Spacey) arrives with a plan to shut Santa down for good. Can Fred rise to the occasion to help save Christmas?

The single-disc release includes a feature-length commentary by director David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers) along with thirteen deleted scenes. The Blu-ray disc is much fuller, including the Race to Save Christmas DVD game, additional featurettes, Vince and Paul’s Fireside Chats, a bit with cameo players (and “other” brothers) Frank Stallone, Stephen Baldwin, and Roger Clinton, and a music video by Ludacris, whose hip hop holiday track appears on the Fred Claus soundtrack (“Fred Claus, y’all”).

Watch an exclusive clip from the Fred Claus DVD below!

Next: Hancock

2. Hancock (Two Disc Unrated Edition) — 38%

In a day and age where superheroes (and their movies) are a dime a dozen, it’s refreshing to see a hero who is much more deeply flawed than the bookish Spider-Man, or the dark and depressed Batman; enter Hancock (Will Smith), a misanthropic, irresponsible, alcoholic superhero who uses his powers for good but leaves a litter of collateral damage in his wake.

Criticized for poor execution despite an intriguing premise, Hancock also stars Jason Bateman and Charlize Theron. The Two-Disc Unrated Special Edition includes both the theatrical cut and an unrated version of the film, a digital copy, and a dozen behind-the-scenes featurettes.

Next: A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All

3. A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All

Subtitled “The Greatest Gift of All,” Stephen Colbert’s A Colbert Christmas is indeed one of the greatest gifts of the week. In it, the Comedy Central pundit hosts his first holiday special, which aired on Sunday and is available on DVD this week; special guests Feist, John Legend, Toby Keith, Willie Nelson, Elvis Costello and Jon Stewart join him to sing songs like “Can I Interest You In Hannukah?” and “There Are Much Worse Things To Believe In” by the fireside. You can also download A Colbert Christmas on iTunes Tuesday!

Holiday bonus: a portion of the proceeds from the DVD and iTunes sales will go to the charity Feeding America, so in helping yourself to a little Colbert, you’re helping others this holiday season.

Next: 24: Redemption

4. 24: Redemption

While the Writer’s Strike wreaked havoc with many a television show’s schedule, one surprise side effect of 24‘s year-long hiatus comes to fruition this week: a two-hour “prequel” telefilm that covers the events between 24‘s sixth and seventh season (also known as Day 6 and Day 7)! The prequel, which aired in the U.S. on Sunday November 23 and in the U.K. on Monday Nov. 24, will be available on DVD this week in an extended Director’s Cut that should prepare you for January’s seventh season premiere.

Expect to be reintroduced to anti-terrorism agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), who finds himself looking for some peace and quiet in the wrong place — the fictional war-torn African nation of Sangala — the day that the new U.S. President Allison Taylor is to be sworn into office. A commentary track, making-of featurettes, sneak peeks at season seven’s first batch of episodes, and more fan-centric goodies comprise a great bonus menu.

Next: Space Chimps

5. Space Chimps — 35%

It started with a premise both simple and to the point: chimpanzees in space. Sadly, this 20th Century Fox animated feature was not destined for Oscar’s Best Animation race; most critics deemed it a weak contender in today’s era of Pixar-dominated excellence. The CG-animated tale follows a trio of NASA monkeys launched into the galaxy who become a tiny planet’s only hope of thwarting an evil alien dictator; Andy Samberg (Hot Rod) leads a voice cast that includes Jeff Daniels, Patrick Warburton, Cheryl Hines, Jane Lynch, and Stanley Tucci. Aside from a single featurette, the DVD shockingly has no additional materials.

Next: Meet Dave

6. Meet Dave — 19%

With the exception of the Shrek films and a surprising supporting role in Dreamgirls, the once-great comic Eddie Murphy has been wallowing in cinematic never-never land for years. Last summer’s Meet Dave didn’t change that. A sci-fi comedy about a crew of tiny aliens led by Eddie Murphy piloting a 6-foot-tall spaceship that looks like Eddie Murphy, Meet Dave turned off most critics with its lame gags and poor direction. And we’d expected so much more from the director of Norbit.

Next: Beverly Hills, 90210 — The Sixth Season

7. Beverly Hills, 90210 – The Sixth Season

Whether or not you’re addicted to the CW’s new reboot of this ’90s teen soap, you have to admit that the original Beverly Hills, 90210 was a classic of its generation. The angst-filled antics of twins Brenda and Brandon Walsh (and their friends Kelly Taylor, Steve Sanders, David Silver, Donna Martin and our favorite, Dylan McKay) brought the most pressing teen issues of the day to primetime television — and gave later shows like spin-off Melrose Place and MySpace-generation clone The O.C. a reason for being.

Season Six of Beverly Hills, 90210 hits shelves this week — you remember it, don’t you? It was the gang’s junior year of college, the season that Donna got out of her abusive relationship with musician Ray, Kelly got hooked on coke, and Dylan married the Noxzema girl (who was immediately blown up by a car bomb meant for him). Sigh. Good stuff, 90210. Good stuff.

Next: Bottle Rocket – Criterion Collection

8. Bottle Rocket – Criterion Collection

Filmmaker Wes Anderson made a splash with his indie debut, 1996’s Bottle Rocket; the buddy caper comedy also introduced the world to thespian brothers Luke and Owen Wilson (the latter of whom co-wrote the script with Anderson). This week, after a long period of anticipation, the folks at Criterion are giving Bottle Rocket their signature treatment, releasing a spiffy two-disc remastered edition chock full of goodies and overseen by Anderson himself.

Included in the Criterion package are a feature-length commentary by Anderson and Owen Wilson, a making-of documentary, storyboard and location photos, new featurettes, Anderson’s 1992 short film that inspired Bottle Rocket, and a booklet containing an “appreciation” of the film by Martin Scorsese. Next month, Criterion will release the film as one of their first-ever Blu-ray titles.

Next: Freaks and Geeks The Yearbook Edition (reprinted)

9. Freaks and Geeks The Yearbook Edition (reprinted)

You may already own the Judd Apatow-produced, celebrated (but short-lived) 1999 television series Freaks and Geeks on DVD. But do you own it in its limited edition “yearbook” packaging, originally released in 2004 only via its official site?

If not, you’re in luck; Shout! Factory is re-releasing the special 8-disc set in this special package once more, which features an 80-page color yearbook so vivid and filled with awesome tidbits from production that it’ll have you reminiscing over the good old days at McKinley High School, class of ’81. All 18 episodes are here, with over 20 audio commentaries by everyone ranging from Apatow, creator Paul Feig, and episode directors Jake Kasdan and Ken Kwapis, to cast members Seth Rogen, Linda Cardellini, and Jason Segel; just about everyone involved in Freaks and Geeks shows up at one point or another. Also find deleted scenes, audition tapes, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and more.

Next: Superman: Doomsday — Blu-ray

10. Superman: Doomsday — Blu-ray

What would happen to the world if Superman died? Last year, we found out when DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation released the direct-to-DVD film Superman: Doomsday (although comics fans already knew from the original Death of Superman storyline published in 1992) in which the Man of Steel fell victim to the genetically-engineered Krypton-born super-villain, Doomsday.

This week you can watch the saga with new eyes as Superman: Doomsday comes to Blu-ray. (A new 2-disc standard DVD also releases this week.) Special features include a filmmaker commentary, four making-of featurettes, a sneak peek at DC’s upcoming direct-to-DVD title Wonder Woman, and more.

Until next week, happy renting!

This weekend For the first time this decade, a new release seems set to take over the number one spot during the busy Thanksgiving holiday weekend at the North American box office. Studios are cramming a six-pack of new titles into multiplexes nationwide hoping the recent famine in the marketplace will be replaced by a feast. The films lack major stars, but they do however have clearly-defined audiences which will hopefully allow them to survive and expand the overall pie.

Disney leads the way with the fantasy extravaganza Enchanted for young girls while Fox counters with the much more violent action offering Hitman aimed at young men. MGM goes for a scare with the horror film The Mist, Sony targets African American moviegoers with This Christmas, and August Rush from Warner Bros. will try to tap into family audiences. Meanwhile, Miramax goes after older adults and upscale crowds with its acclaimed thriller No Country For Old Men which widens into national release after two weeks of sold out shows in limited play.

Once upon a time, Disney regularly opened a new family film at number one over Thanksgiving weekend. After a long absence, the Mouse House is now poised to take its rightful place on the turkey throne with its fairy tale adventure pic Enchanted which finds an animated princess thrust upon the real world where people do not live happily ever after. The PG-rated film will appeal to the millions of young girls and mothers who have become devotees of Disney’s lucrative army of princesses. Getting in boys may be a bit tough, but the female following should be more than enough to propel this massive release into the top spot at the holiday box office.

Not since 1999’s Toy Story 2 has Disney, or any other studio for that matter, opened a new film at number one over this holiday frame. Holdovers have consistently ruled since 2000, mostly big guns that debuted on the weekend before the holiday to get an early jump on the cash. But from 1994 through 1999, Disney enjoyed an unprecedented streak ruling the Thanksgiving box office every year with an iron fist. Now that magic is back, thanks in part to a surprisingly weak line-up of November titles coming from Hollywood’s magic factories. With the widest release by far of any new film, no holdovers to stand in its way, and a holiday frame that welcomes family entertainment, Enchanted looks to become the queen bee. Opening in an ultrawide 3,632 theaters, the fantasy film may charm its way to about $30M over the Friday-to-Sunday period and $43M during the extended Wednesday-to-Sunday span.


Amy Adams in Enchanted

Fox hopes that young men from coast to coast will stamp their necks with barcodes and hit the megaplexes to see its new action thriller Hitman. Based on the popular video game, the R-rated film about a genetically-engineered superassassin has its eyes set squarely on male audiences done with cartoon Vikings and ready for some guns and ammo. The studio’s marketing has been superb with slickly-edited television spots featuring operatic tunes that really sell the picture to the target audience. Unfortunately there are no marquee names in the cast to help bring in business. Direct competition from Beowulf will also curtail grosses a bit. With a strong marketing push exciting the core crowd, look for a solid and respectable opening. Hitman invades 2,401 venues and might capture $13M over the weekend and $19M over five days.


Timothy Olyphant in Hitman

Some folks may be in search of a scare this weekend so MGM is rolling out the fright flick The Mist, a film adaptation of a Stephen King story. The R-rated pic comes from director Frank Darabont (The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption) and stars Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, and Andre Braugher. The actors add little starpower so Mist‘s commercial prospects will instead have to rely on King’s name and the popularity of the horror genre. With the pre-Halloween gorefests now eroding away, competition should not come from fellow thrillers. Instead movies like Hitman and Beowulf will be factors as both will play to older teens and twentysomethings. Historically, horror films have rarely found success over Thanksgiving weekend since audiences tend to flock to happy tales. Attacking 2,423 theaters, The Mist may scare up about $10M over the Friday-to-Sunday period and roughly $14M across the five-day span.


Thomas Jane and co. in The Mist

The true meaning of family is explored once again in the holiday drama This Christmas from Sony. The PG-13 story about different generations of the Whitfield clan reuniting for the holidays stars Delroy Lindo, Regina King, Mekhi Phifer, and pop singer Chris Brown. The studio is aiming primarily for African American adults. With American Gangster going into its fourth frame and most other films neglecting this particular audience, Christmas should have clear sailing as it heads into the multiplexes. But starpower is lacking. Gangster and Why Did I Get Married? both did stellar business thanks in part to A-list drawing power from Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry, respectively. This Christmas opens in 1,802 playdates, with a widening to 1,858 on Friday, and could be in for a three-day bow of $8M and a five-day tally of $11M.


This Christmas

Likely to have a tough time finding ticket buyers this weekend is the new PG-rated drama August Rush which brings together an oddly assembled cast including Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Terrence Howard, and Robin Williams. The Warner Bros. tale about a young music prodigy in search of his parents will no doubt have its work cut out for it trying to convince parents to not spend their time and money on Disney fairy tales, talking bees, Santa’s siblings, and wonder emporiums. Competition is too strong for this one and overall excitement is quite low. August Rush opens Wednesday in 2,280 theaters and expands to 2,310 on Friday. Look for a three-day debut of $5M and a five-day tally of $7M.


Freddie Highmore and Robin Williams in August Rush

With few options for older adults looking for serious fare over the long weekend, Miramax is rolling out its critical darling No Country For Old Men from the Coen brothers into nationwide release. Expanding from 148 to 860 locations, the R-rated thriller starring Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, and Tommy Lee Jones will try to target those folks that have already watched Denzel and Russell go head-to-head and are looking for more shoot-em-up action from veteran filmmakers and actors. Hot buzz has been spreading over its two weeks in limited release so awareness is now high enough to take the pic wider. Last weekend’s scorching $20,782 average will probably get sliced in half and some people will opt for happier films over Thanksgiving. But direct competition is not too fierce and word-of-mouth is on its side. Look for No Country For Old Men to take in about $7M over three days and $10M over five.


Josh Brolin in No Country for Old men

Last weekend’s champ Beowulf would normally see a sizable sophomore drop especially with Hitman stealing away young men. But thanks to the holiday cushion, the decline should not be as bad. A 30% fall may result giving Paramount a Friday-to-Sunday take of around $19M which would push the cume to $60M after ten days. Studio stablemate Bee Movie will join the century club by Friday and should remain a solid option for families. Look for a 20% dip to roughly $11M and a boost in the total to $111M.

A 25% drop might be in the works for American Gangster which may tap into patient adults that have heard the buzz, but just haven’t made a trip to the theaters yet. Universal could take in about $9.5M over three days and raise its sum to $116M. Christmas films routinely see their three-day grosses climb over the turkey frame when compared to the previous weekend thanks to the cheery holiday mood of ticket buyers. That could come as good news to Warner Bros. which might see its Vince Vaughn offering Fred Claus edge up by 10% to around $13M. Cume would hit $54M.

LAST YEAR Despite five new films opening in wide release over the turkey frame, moviegoers continued to spend their money on the same films as the top two spots remained unchanged. Sophomores Happy Feet and Casino Royale led the session with $37M and $30.8M, respectively, over three days. The penguin toon dipped only 11% while the rejuvenated Bond flick dropped by just 25% giving the pair a towering combined gross of $193M after ten days. Denzel Washington won the bronze with his new sci-fi actioner Deja Vu which bowed to $20.6M while the Christmas comedy Deck the Halls followed in fourth with a debut of $12M. Final grosses reached $64M and $35.1M. Borat rounded out the top five with $10.3M in its fourth weekend. Other new releases stumbled. MGM’s political drama Bobby expanded nationally and took in only $4.9M on its way to a weak $11.2M. Warner Bros. debuted its sci-fi drama The Fountain to the tune of $3.8M and New Line saw just $3.2M for its Jack Black pet project Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny. The pics ended their runs quickly with a measly $10.1M and $8.3M, respectively.

author: Gitesh Pandya www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

One animated film will bump another from the number one spot at the North American box office. But the new warrior Beowulf is no B movie but an A-list production from an Oscar-winning director offering action audiences something new. Also opening this weekend but likely to see more modest grosses are the family pic Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium and the romantic drama Love in the Time of Cholera. Without a compelling selection of great films, the marketplace should once again fall well below year-ago levels.

Paramount looks to capture the box office crown without the help of DreamWorks this time with Beowulf, a computer-animated action adventure based on the ancient epic poem. The PG-13 film comes from Robert Zemeckis who expands upon the motion capture technology he used in 2004’s The Polar Express. This time around his film is aimed at somewhat older moviegoers as young children will be too frightened by the violence, gore, and yes, nudity. Beowulf aims to pry 14-year-old boys away from their videogame systems and into the multiplexes with a new type of action film that is presented in 3D in selected theaters. Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, and Angelina Jolie lend their voices and digital likenesses.

The marketing has been terrific on the part of the studio. The core audience of young males is excited and ready to buy tickets and the film might even pull in part of the literary crowd curious to see how this classic tale is adapted to the big screen. The marketplace needs something like this now with hits like American Gangster skewing more adult and kidpics like Bee Movie not offering enough violence. If last December’s Eragon could open to $23.2M, then surely Beowulf can target the same crowd and go higher. Launching in over 2,800 theaters, Beowulf could conquer the box office this weekend with about $32M.


The digitally-altered likeness of Ray Winstone in Beowulf

Dustin Hoffman stars as the eccentric owner of a magical toy store in Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, a new entry for family audiences from Fox. The G-rated film co-stars Natalie Portman and Jason Bateman. With Bee Movie and Fred Claus already out there doing solid business, and likely to collect a combined $30M this weekend, competition for Emporium will be intense. Bad reviews will make parents hesitate, but if kids respond to the TV commercials, then they will find a way to force their parents to take them. Opening wide in around 3,200 locations, Mr. Magorium could bow to about $11M this weekend and try to remain a relevant choice over the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday session.


Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman in Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium

To counter his current role as a brutal killer in No Country for Old Men, Javier Bardem stars in the romantic drama Love in the Time of Cholera. The R-rated tale from New Line is getting a moderately wide release and will play to an older adult audience with a female skew. The Oscar buzz Bardem has been receiving for Country could rub off on Cholera helping its case. And Latino audiences are being counted on to show up as are fans of Oprah who has endorsed the book that the film is based on. But overall, the Columbia-set film has not generated enough excitement to deliver a solid debut. Plus poor reviews will turn away much of the target audience. A slot on the lower end of the top ten could await. Opening in about 800 theaters, Love in the Time of Cholera might gross around $3M over the weekend.


Love in the Time of Cholera

Bee Movie should fall from its spot at the top of the box office and slide by about 30% since there is not too much new competition for young kids. A weekend tally of $18M could result giving Paramount $97M to date. Universal’s American Gangster should drop by 40% to about $14.5M giving the crime saga a total of $102M. The holiday comedy Fred Claus could dip by 35% in its second weekend. That would leave the Warner Bros. release with a weekend take of $12M and a ten-day cume of $35.5M.

LAST YEAR: In a major pre-holiday showdown, the penguin toon Happy Feet edged out the new James Bond film Casino Royale for the number one spot with a strong opening of $41.5M. The Warner Bros. family hit went on to collect $198M domestically and a stellar $384M worldwide. Sony’s relaunched spy series still posted a muscular debut grossing $40.8M over the weekend on its way to $167M domestically and a sensational $595M globally making the Daniel Craig-starrer the top-grossing 007 flick ever. After two weeks on top, Fox’s Borat slipped to third with $14.6M. Rounding out the top five were Disney’s The Santa Clause 3 with $8.3M and the Sony release Stranger Than Fiction with $6.6M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Three new releases failed to steal attention away from last weekend’s top two
films which continued to rule the North American box office swapping chart
positions in the process. Jerry Seinfeld’s animated hit
Bee
Movie
enjoyed the better hold and jumped into first place while the
Denzel
Washington
Russell
Crowe
crime drama
American Gangster

suffered a moderate decline and claimed the runnerup position. Ticket buyers
have spent nearly $153M on the duo over the past ten days. Among newcomers, the
Christmas comedy
Fred Claus

starring Vince
Vaughn
generated respectable results while
Tom Cruise
suffered his worst opening in twenty-one years with the political drama
Lions for Lambs

which finshed a weak fourth for the frame. The overall marketplace struggled
once again as for the first time in five years, a November top ten failed to
break the $100M mark.

Paramount and DreamWorks missed out on a top spot debut last weekend with their
new toon Bee
Movie
,
but this time they managed to grab the number one slot. The
PG-rated film slipped 32% and collected an estimated $26M boosting the ten-day
tally to a robust $72.2M. Though a good hold, especially with the opening of
rival family flick Fred Claus, the decline was somewhat larger than the
drops of other recent animated kidpics that bowed on the first weekend of
November. Last year,
Flushed Away
dipped by only 12%, 2005’s
Chicken Little

slid just 21%, and 2004’s
The Incredibles

dropped 29%. The Veterans Day holiday was observed on a Friday last year giving
a large number of school children a day off which helped deliver the sensational
hold of Flushed. This year, the holiday will be observed on Monday when
Bee is still expected to score solid results. Look for the insect pic to reach
the neighborhood of $120M domestically with international prospects also looking
rosy.


Dropping an understandable 44% to second place was former champ
American Gangster

with an estimated $24.3M in its sophomore frame. After only ten days, Universal
has shot up a remarkable $80.7M and has already surpassed the total grosses of
most of Washington’s previous films. Gangster currently ranks as the
fifth biggest
Denzel
pic ever behind
Remember the
Titans
($115.6M),
The Pelican Brief

($100.8M), Crimson
Tide
($91.4M), and
Inside Man

($88.5M). The
Ridley Scott-directed
drama also stands as the fourth highest grossing film in Russell
Crowe
‘s career after
Gladiator

($187.7M), A
Beautiful Mind
($170.7M), and

Master and Commander
($93.9M). At its current pace, American Gangster
should find its way to $130-140M from North America making it the studio’s third
biggest hit of 2007 after
The Bourne Ultimatum

and Knocked Up.
End-of-year awards attention could send it higher though.


Opening in third place was the Christmas comedy
Fred Claus

which took in an estimated $19.2M from an ultrawide release in 3,603 locations.
Averaging a mediocre $5,336 per site, the PG-rated flick about Santa’s older
brother stars
Vince Vaughn
and
Paul Giamatti
and played to a family audience. The Warner Bros. release is one of only two
films this year to launch in more than 3,500 theaters and fail to gross at least
$30M on opening weekend. The other was the animated penguin pic
Surf’s Up
which
debuted to $17.6M in June. Instead, Fred performed in line with last
November’s yuletide laugher The
Santa Clause 3

which bowed to $19.5M on its way to a $84.5M final.



Tom Cruise
suffered one of the worst opening weekends of his career with the poor turnout
for his political drama
Lions for Lambs

which stumbled into fourth place with an estimated $6.7M. The R-rated pic
also stars
Robert Redford
and
Meryl Streep.
Lions averaged a feeble $3,029 from 2,215 theaters and was panned by most
critics. Despite the starpower, bad reviews and the subject matter which dealt
with war in the Middle East helped to repel paying customers.


Excluding 1999’s
Magnolia
in which Cruise had a supporting role, Lions attracted
the smallest debut for the actor since Ridley Scott’s
Legend
which
opened with just $4.3M in 1986. It also ended the star’s streak of thirteen consecutive number one openings over fifteen years and is guaranteed to stop his industry-leading streak of seven straight years of having $100M+ grossers. The Redford project marked the first film for United Artists which is now run by Cruise and producing partner Paula Wagner. Parent company MGM took distribution duties in North America with Fox handling the release in the rest of the world where the film also launched this weekend to mixed results.


In its third weekend, the Steve Carell dramedy
Dan in Real Life

dipped only 25% to an estimated $5.9M and lifted its total to a respectable
$30.7M for Buena Vista. The horror sequel
Saw IV
tumbled 52%
to an estimated $5M putting its sum at $58.1M for Lionsgate. Family hit
The Game Plan

took in an estimated $2.4M, off 39%, and reached $85.4M making it the
top-grossing film since the summer movie season ended.


The woman-in-peril thriller
P2
debuted poorly in
eighth with an estimated $2.2M from 2,131 locations for a pitiful $1,032
average. The R-rated film about a workaholic stalked by a killer in a parking
garage on Christmas Eve is the first release from Summit Entertainment which was
testing its distribution operation ahead of its real slate of films which will
hit theaters in 2008.


Vampires and martians rounded out the top ten. The horror flick

30 Days of Night

grossed an estimated $2.1M, down 44%, and placed ninth. Cume is $37.4M for Sony.
New Line’s
John Cusack
drama Martian
Child
fell a troubling 48% in its second weekend to an estimated
$1.8M. The New Line release has collected only $6M in ten days and should end up
with a weak $9-10M.


Three modestly-budgeted films were bumped out of the top ten this weekend.
George Clooney‘s
legal thriller
Michael Clayton
dipped 40% to an estimated $1.7M bringing its cume
to a decent $35.6M. The $22M film should find its way to about $40M for Warner
Bros., but has the chance to go higher if it scores some major award
nominations.


Miramax generated a sizzling debut for
No Country for
Old Men
, the newest film from the Coen Brothers. The R-rated entry
grossed an estimated $1.2M while playing in only 28 theaters for a sensational
average of $42,929 per site. Co-produced by Paramount Vantage, it will expand to
more markets on Friday.



Tyler Perry’s latest hit
Why
Did I Get Married?
grossed an estimated $1.6M, off 38%, and boosted
its total to an impressive $53.3M. The profitable $15M Lionsgate title looks to
end with roughly $57M. It’s been a tougher road for Miramax’s crime drama Gone
Baby Gone
which took in an estimated $1.5M, down 33%, giving
Ben Affleck‘s
directorial debut only $17.1M to date. Produced for $19M, the
Casey AffleckMorgan
Freeman
drama should end its run with about $22M.


The top ten films grossed an estimated $95.6M which was down 10% from last
year when Borat
remained in first place with $28.3M; and down 11% from 2005 when Chicken
Little
stayed in the top spot with $31.7M.

Author: Gitesh Pandaya,
www.boxofficeguru.com

This week at the movies, we’ve got Santa’s not-so-little helper (Fred
Claus
, starring
Vince Vaughn and
Paul Giamatti), geopolitics (Lions for
Lambs
, starring
Robert Redford,
Tom Cruise, and
Meryl Streep), and one scary
parking garage (P2, starring
Rachel Nichols
and Wes Bentley). What do the critics have to
say?

Fred
Claus
hit theaters two weeks before Thanksgiving, hoping to spread
some early Yuletide cheer. Unfortunately, the critics have made a list, checked
it twice, and determined this one’s a lump of coal.
Vince Vaughn stars as
Santa’s no-good brother, a repo man who’s lived in the shadow of St. Nick (Paul Giamatti); after a run-in with the law, Santa agrees to help his bro on the
condition that he do some hard labor at the North Pole to help with the
seasonal demand for toys. It’s a pretty funny premise, and the cast includes
such able thespians as
Miranda Richardson,
Kevin Spacey,
Chris "Ludacris"
Bridges
, and Rachel Weisz. But the pundits say Fred never settles on a
workable tone, awkwardly vacillating between wacky slapstick and sappy
sentiment. At 32 percent on the Tomatometer, ’tis not the season for Fred
Claus
.
 



Vaughn trains for the upcoming Breaking Away prequel.
 

Lions for
Lambs
is an ambitious attempt to look at the complexities of
our current political landscape from a number of different angles. It stars
Robert Redford (who also directed),
Tom Cruise, and
Meryl Streep. But despite
such impressive pedigree, pundits say the film falls flat. Lions looks at
the war on terror from the perspectives of two young enlistees, a college
professor, a senator and TV reporter. Critics say Redford’s heart is in the
right place in wanting greater engagement in politics from the general public;
it’s just that Lions is weighted down with too much talk, and ends up
coming across as a civics lesson rather than a compelling drama. At 30 percent,
on the Tomatometer, Lions for Lambs is the worst-reviewed film of
Redford’s directorial career. (Check out our interview with Lambs
screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan
here.)



"You’re a jerk!"

Fred Claus isn’t the only Christmas-themed movie in theaters this week.
P2
is the story of a woman who’s late to Christmas Eve dinner because she’s tied up
— literally. In order to see what Santa has delivered for her this year, she
must escape the clutches of an evil security guard. Some critics say P2 is
much better than it sounds, a game of cinematic cat and mouse with a dark sense
of humor. However, others say it’s still essentially a genre exercise, and pretty gory to
boot. P2 currently stands at 46 percent on the Tomatometer.



The latest Olympic event: Formal Wear Garage Relay.

Also opening this week in limited release: the documentary
Steal a Pencil for
Me
, about a strange love affair during the Holocaust, is at 100 percent on
the Tomatometer;
No Country for
Old Men
, a dark, tense crime film from
the Coen Brothers, is at 89 percent (check out our review from Cannes
here, and
our feature on the Coens’ filmography
here);
Holly,
a drama about child
prostitution in Vietnam, is at 86 percent;
Note By Note
, a documentary
detailing the manufacture of a Steinway piano, is at 80 percent;
War/Dance
,
a doc about a music festival in the midst of war-torn Uganda, is at 67 percent;
and Nightmare Man, a horror flick about a woman being attacked by an evil
spirit, is at 50 percent.



I say, war can dance, war can dance.

Recent Vince Vaughn Movies:
————————————
82% — Into the Wild (2007)
33% — The Break-Up (2006)
69% — Thumbsucker (2005)
74% — Wedding Crashers (2005)
29% — Be Cool (2005)

Robert Redford-Directed Movies:
—————————————–
41% — The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)
71% — The Horse Whisperer (1998)
96% — Quiz Show (1994)
78% — A River Runs Through It (1992)
58% — The Milagro Beanfield War (1988)
89% — Ordinary People (1980)

Vince Vaughn and Tom Cruise go head to head at the North American box office this weekend with their latest releases. The dodgeball champ goes for holiday laughs with Fred Claus while the top gun offers up a serious political tale in Lions For Lambs. For those looking for a scare, the horror flick P2 also attacks the multiplexes. Add in last weekend’s holdover titles and the marketplace should deliver three $20M+ grossers for the first time since mid-July.

Taming down their comedy for a family audience, the Wedding Crashers team of Vince Vaughn and director David Dobkin offer up Christmas cheer with the holiday comedy Fred Claus. The PG-rated pic features the comic actor playing the brother of Santa (Paul Giamatti). Rachel Weisz and Kathy Bates both scored a ‘with’ credit while Kevin Spacey‘s agents landed the coveted ‘and’ credit for their client. Family audiences will make up the bulk of the business but Warner Bros. is hoping to draw teens and young adults with Vaughn’s humor.

Reviews have been sour, but these types of holiday films are sold more on the comedy and the marketing. The studio is giving Claus a big jolly push and there are no major live-action options for parents to take their kids to. Bee Movie‘s second weekend will provide most of the competition, but usually two high-profile star-driven family pics can co-exist at this time of year. Debuting ultrawide in more than 3,400 theaters, Fred Claus may laugh up about $28M this weekend.


Vince Vaughn and some friends in Fred Claus

Studio boss Tom Cruise co-stars with Oscar winners Robert Redford and Meryl Streep in the new politically-themed drama Lions For Lambs from United Artists and MGM. Directed by Redford, the R-rated film examines the U.S. government’s involvement in the Middle East through three different stories. Cruise plays a hotshot senator who is interviewed by a veteran journalist, played by Streep. Redford stars as a wise college professor discussing the life with a star student. And in smaller roles, Derek Luke and Michael Peña are cast as university students determined to join the army to make this a better world.

In a smart move, Lions has downplayed its political storyline involving the Middle East as most others that have gone down that path have crashed and burned at the box office this fall. Audiences have told Hollywood on numerous occasions that they are not interested in paying top dollar for that kind of entertainment. Instead, the film is being positioned as a dramatic thriller with great acting performances almost the same way Cruise’s A Few Good Men was marketed 15 years ago. Lions will skew older than most other releases in the marketplace and will face intense competition for adults from American Gangster. Plus bad reviews will have a big impact too since the target audience plays close attention to the opinions of critics. This could very well be Tom Cruise’s lowest-grossing film in ages. Landing in 2,200 locations, Lions For Lambs might debut with around $10M.


Lions For Lambs

The horror genre discovers a new location to find fear in – the parking garage! The new suspense thriller P2 from Summit Entertainment tells of a trapped woman on Christmas Eve who faces a security guard that stalks her. The R-rated pic will appeal to the few who did not get their fill of fright flicks during October. With no starpower and only a moderate push on the marketing side, don’t expect big numbers here. Most genre fans will wait for the DVD. P2 opens in about 2,000 theaters and could debut with around $3M over the weekend.


P2

After a powerhouse debut, American Gangster should witness a sizable drop in its second frame. Good word-of-mouth and Oscar buzz will prevent the decline from being too high though. A 45% fall would give the Ridley Scott pic roughly $24M for the weekend and a rock solid ten-day cume of $80M. Kidpics usually hold up well in early November so a slim decline for Bee Movie could result. Monday’s observance of Veterans Day will see many schools close and help give Sunday a boost too. Look for Paramount to see a 30% drop to about $27M for the Jerry Seinfeld toon which would raise the total to a healthy $75M after ten days.

LAST YEAR: Moviegoers kept annoying friends with their best Kazakh impressions as Borat tripled its theatercount and remained at number one for the second week with $28.3M for Fox. Disney’s The Santa Clause 3 and Paramount’s Flushed Away enjoyed sensational holds and stayed put in their spots as well with $16.9M and $16.6M, respectively. Will Ferrell‘s Stranger Than Fiction bowed in fourth with $13.4M on its way to $40.1M for Sony. Lionsgate rounded out the top five with Saw III with $7M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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