(Photo by 20th Century Fox/ courtesy Everett Collection)

All Matt Damon Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

Before his breakout with Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon was already something of an actor to watch, showing versatility as a gaunt military medic in Courage Under Fire and as a determined law school grad in The Rainmaker. But looking to take creative control of his own career, he and partner-in-crime Ben Affleck wrote Good Will Hunting, earning the two a Best Original Screenplay Oscar, and an acting nom for Damon. After that, it was off to the races, working with the likes of Steven Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan), Kevin Smith (Dogma, though he already had a previous cameo in Chasing Amy), Anthony Minghella (The Talented Mr. Ripley), and Martin Scorsese (The Departed).

Damon worked with Gus Van Sant a few more times (Finding Forrester, Gerry) before finding a truly kindred creative partner in Steven Soderbergh. Together, along with another regular cast of collaborators, he’s starred in three Ocean’s movies, Contagion, The Informant!, and Behind the Candelabra, with small cameos in Soderbergh’s Che Guevara biopics. Around the same time as Ocean’s Eleven, Damon came into the Bourne series, whose first trilogy (Identity, Supremacy, and Ultimatum) would rewrite the book on action cinema in the 21st century, with its intimate shaky-cam presentation and intricate plotting and character work.

The 2010s were a big decade for science-fiction and Damon got in on the action, with work representing some of his best movies, and certainly among the most well-known: The Adjustment Bureau, Elysium, The Zero Theorem, Interstellar, and The Martian.

After a rough 2017 where he starred in only Rotten movies (The Great Wall, Suburbicon, Downsizing), and remaining off-screen for 2018, he made a late 2019 appearance with Ford v Ferrari, the high-octane true story co-starring Christian Bale, and directed by James Mangold. Next, he’ll be in The Last Duel, directed by Ridley Scott. Now, we’re ranking all of Matt Damon’s movies ranked by Tomatometer!

#50

Suburbicon (2017)
28%

#50
Adjusted Score: 46527%
Critics Consensus: A disappointing misfire for director George Clooney, Suburbicon attempts to juggle social satire, racial commentary, and murder mystery -- and ends up making a mess of all three.
Synopsis: Suburbicon is a peaceful, idyllic, suburban community with affordable homes and manicured lawns -- the perfect place to raise a... [More]
Directed By: George Clooney

#49
#49
Adjusted Score: 41051%
Critics Consensus: Its intentions are noble and its cast is impressive, but neither can compensate for The Monuments Men's stiffly nostalgic tone and curiously slack narrative.
Synopsis: During World War II, the Nazis steal countless pieces of art and hide them away. Some over-the-hill art scholars, historians,... [More]
Directed By: George Clooney

#48
#48
Adjusted Score: 34475%
Critics Consensus: This adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel comes off as rather flat and uninvolving. Scenes feel rushed and done in shorthand, and the romance between Damon and Cruz has no sparks.
Synopsis: The year is 1949. A young Texan named John Grady finds himself without a home after his mother sells the... [More]
Directed By: Billy Bob Thornton

#47

The Great Wall (2016)
35%

#47
Adjusted Score: 52763%
Critics Consensus: For a Yimou Zhang film featuring Matt Damon and Willem Dafoe battling ancient monsters, The Great Wall is neither as exciting nor as entertainingly bonkers as one might hope.
Synopsis: When a mercenary warrior (Matt Damon) is imprisoned within the Great Wall, he discovers the mystery behind one of the... [More]
Directed By: Zhang Yimou

#46
#46
Adjusted Score: 44179%
Critics Consensus: The Brothers Grimm is full of beautiful imagery, but the story is labored and less than enchanting.
Synopsis: The Brothers Grimm, Wilhelm (Matt Damon) and Jacob (Heath Ledger), are dysfunctional schemers who go from town to town putting... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#45

The Majestic (2001)
42%

#45
Adjusted Score: 46415%
Critics Consensus: Ponderous and overlong, The Majestic drowns in forced sentimentality and resembles a mish-mash of other, better films.
Synopsis: Rising Hollywood screenwriter Peter Appleton (Jim Carrey) is blacklisted in the early 1950s Red Scare. Following a drunken car accident,... [More]
Directed By: Frank Darabont

#44
Adjusted Score: 47760%
Critics Consensus: Despite the talent involved in The Legend of Bagger Vance, performances are hindered by an inadequate screenplay full of flat characters and bad dialogue. Also, not much happens, and some critics are offended by how the film glosses over issues of racism.
Synopsis: During the Great Depression, Georgia socialite Adele Invergordon (Charlize Theron) announces a publicity-garnering high-stakes match at her struggling family golf... [More]
Directed By: Robert Redford

#43

Happy Feet Two (2011)
45%

#43
Adjusted Score: 49213%
Critics Consensus: The animation is as eye-popping as ever, but Happy Feet Two's narrative is too noisily incoherent to recapture the Oscar-winning charm of its predecessor.
Synopsis: Mumble (Elijah Wood) the penguin, now called the Master of Tap, has an unusual problem: Erik, his son, is reluctant... [More]
Directed By: George Miller

#42

Hereafter (2010)
47%

#42
Adjusted Score: 55018%
Critics Consensus: Despite a thought-provoking premise and Clint Eastwood's typical flair as director, Hereafter fails to generate much compelling drama, straddling the line between poignant sentimentality and hokey tedium.
Synopsis: Three people set out on a spiritual journey after death touches their lives in different ways. George (Matt Damon) is... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#41

Downsizing (2017)
47%

#41
Adjusted Score: 68672%
Critics Consensus: Downsizing assembles a talented cast in pursuit of some truly interesting ideas -- which may be enough for some audiences to forgive the final product's frustrating shortcomings.
Synopsis: Mild-mannered therapist Paul Safranek and his wife, Audrey, decide to undergo a process in which scientists shrink people down to... [More]
Directed By: Alexander Payne

#40
Adjusted Score: 48232%
Critics Consensus: Geronimo: An American Legend fails to stir the soul, though its sweeping visuals and historical ambitions mark an intelligent change of pace for director Walter Hill.
Synopsis: Following the expansion of the United States into the Southwest, the Apache Indians are forced onto a reservation to live... [More]
Directed By: Walter Hill

#39

The Zero Theorem (2013)
48%

#39
Adjusted Score: 53176%
Critics Consensus: Fans of director Terry Gilliam's trademark visual aesthetic will find everything they've bargained for, but for the unconverted, The Zero Theorem may prove too muddled to enjoy.
Synopsis: Hired to crack a theorem, reclusive computer genius Qohen Leth (Christoph Waltz) begins to make headway until his controlled world... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#38

Titan A.E. (2000)
50%

#38
Adjusted Score: 54177%
Critics Consensus: Great visuals, but the story feels like a cut-and-paste job of other sci-fi movies.
Synopsis: A science-fiction film that combines traditional animation with computer generated images, "Titan A.E." takes place in the distant future, after... [More]
Directed By: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman

#37

Promised Land (2012)
53%

#37
Adjusted Score: 57988%
Critics Consensus: The earnest and well-intentioned Promised Land sports a likable cast, but it also suffers from oversimplified characterizations and a frustrating final act.
Synopsis: Corporate sales partners Steve Butler (Matt Damon) and Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand) arrive in a small town to secure drilling... [More]
Directed By: Gus Van Sant

#36

Green Zone (2010)
53%

#36
Adjusted Score: 60065%
Critics Consensus: Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass return to the propulsive action and visceral editing of the Bourne films -- but a cliched script and stock characters keep those methods from being as effective this time around.
Synopsis: Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Matt Damon) and his team of inspectors are on a mission in 2003 to find... [More]
Directed By: Paul Greengrass

#35

Ocean's Twelve (2004)
54%

#35
Adjusted Score: 60689%
Critics Consensus: While some have found the latest star-studded heist flick to be a fun, glossy star vehicle, others declare it's lazy, self-satisfied and illogical.
Synopsis: After successfully robbing five casinos in one night, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his crew of thieves have big problems.... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#34

Jason Bourne (2016)
54%

#34
Adjusted Score: 73837%
Critics Consensus: Jason Bourne delivers fans of the franchise more of what they've come to expect -- which is this sequel's biggest selling point as well as its greatest flaw.
Synopsis: It's been 10 years since Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) walked away from the agency that trained him to become a... [More]
Directed By: Paul Greengrass

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Discreet, idealistic and intensely loyal, Edward Wilson (Matt Damon) finds that service in the OSS and later as a founding... [More]
Directed By: Robert De Niro

#32

School Ties (1992)
60%

#32
Adjusted Score: 62876%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When David Greene (Brendan Fraser) receives a football scholarship to a prestigious prep school in the 1950s, he feels pressure... [More]
Directed By: Robert Mandel

#31

Gerry (2002)

#31
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Friends Gerry (Casey Affleck) and Gerry (Matt Damon) hike into Death Valley, but they stray so far from the trail... [More]
Directed By: Gus Van Sant

#30

Stuck on You (2003)
61%

#30
Adjusted Score: 65204%
Critics Consensus: An unusually sweet and charming comedy by the Farrelly brothers. Fans may miss the distinct lack of bodily fluids though.
Synopsis: In Martha's Vineyard, Mass., conjoined twins Walt (Greg Kinnear) and Bob Tenor (Matt Damon) make the best of their handicap... [More]

#29

Rounders (1998)
65%

#29
Adjusted Score: 69238%
Critics Consensus: Richly atmospheric and colorful performances contributed to the movie's entertainment value.
Synopsis: Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) loses his money in a poker game against Russian gangster Teddy "KGB" (John Malkovich). Under pressure... [More]
Directed By: John Dahl

#28

We Bought a Zoo (2011)
65%

#28
Adjusted Score: 70410%
Critics Consensus: We Bought a Zoo is a transparently cloying effort by director Cameron Crowe, but Matt Damon makes for a sympathetic central character.
Synopsis: Following his wife's untimely death, Los Angeles journalist Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) decides to make a fresh start by quitting... [More]
Directed By: Cameron Crowe

#27

Elysium (2013)
65%

#27
Adjusted Score: 74731%
Critics Consensus: After the heady sci-fi thrills of District 9, Elysium is a bit of a comedown for director Neill Blomkamp, but on its own terms, it delivers just often enough to satisfy.
Synopsis: In the year 2154, humanity is sharply divided between two classes of people: The ultrarich live aboard a luxurious space... [More]
Directed By: Neill Blomkamp

#26

Dogma (1999)

#26
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Two fallen angels who were ejected from paradise find themselves banned in Wisconsin. They are now headed for New Jersey... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith

#25
Adjusted Score: 73343%
Critics Consensus: A visually stunning film that may be too predictable and politically correct for adults, but should serve children well.
Synopsis: Follows the adventures of a wild and rambunctious mustang stallion as he journeys through the untamed American frontier. Encountering man... [More]
Directed By: Kelly Asbury, Lorna Cook

#24

Ocean's Thirteen (2007)
69%

#24
Adjusted Score: 77665%
Critics Consensus: Ocean's Thirteen reverts to the formula of the first installment, and the result is another slick and entertaining heist film.
Synopsis: Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his gang hatch an ambitious plot for revenge after ruthless casino owner Willy Bank (Al... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#23
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Just as he is on the brink of winning a Senate seat, politician David Norris (Matt Damon) meets a ballerina... [More]
Directed By: George Nolfi

#22

Interstellar (2014)
72%

#22
Adjusted Score: 88274%
Critics Consensus: Interstellar represents more of the thrilling, thought-provoking, and visually resplendent filmmaking moviegoers have come to expect from writer-director Christopher Nolan, even if its intellectual reach somewhat exceeds its grasp.
Synopsis: In Earth's future, a global crop blight and second Dust Bowl are slowly rendering the planet uninhabitable. Professor Brand (Michael... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#21

Syriana (2005)
73%

#21
Adjusted Score: 81330%
Critics Consensus: Ambitious, complicated, intellectual, and demanding of its audience, Syriana is both a gripping geopolitical thriller and wake-up call to the complacent.
Synopsis: The Middle Eastern oil industry is the backdrop of this tense drama, which weaves together numerous story lines. Bennett Holiday... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Gaghan

#20

Margaret (2011)
74%

#20
Adjusted Score: 78328%
Critics Consensus: A surfeit of ideas contributes to Margaret's excessive run time, but Anna Paquin does a admirable job of guiding viewers through emotional hell.
Synopsis: New York high-school student Lisa Cohen (Anna Paquin) inadvertently causes an accident in which a bus driver (Mark Ruffalo) runs... [More]
Directed By: Kenneth Lonergan

#19

Stillwater (2021)
74%

#19
Adjusted Score: 83096%
Critics Consensus: Stillwater isn't perfect, but its thoughtful approach to intelligent themes -- and strong performances from its leads -- give this timely drama a steadily building power.
Synopsis: Unemployed roughneck Bill Baker (Academy Award® winner Matt Damon) travels from Oklahoma to Marseille to visit his estranged daughter Allison... [More]
Directed By: Tom McCarthy

#18

Invictus (2009)
76%

#18
Adjusted Score: 85438%
Critics Consensus: Delivered with typically stately precision by director Clint Eastwood, Invictus may not be rousing enough for some viewers, but Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman inhabit their real-life characters with admirable conviction.
Synopsis: Following the fall of apartheid, newly elected President Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) faces a South Africa that is racially and... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#17

The Informant! (2009)
79%

#17
Adjusted Score: 88604%
Critics Consensus: A charismatic turn by star Matt Damon and a consistently ironic tone boost this quietly funny satire about a corporate whistle-blower.
Synopsis: Though a rising star in the ranks of Archer Daniels Midland, Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon) suddenly exposes a price-fixing conspiracy... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#16
Adjusted Score: 84798%
Critics Consensus: Invigorated by its talented cast and Francis Ford Coppola's strong direction, The Rainmaker is a satisfying legal drama -- and arguably the best of Hollywood's many John Grisham adaptations.
Synopsis: Struggling new attorney Rudy Baylor (Matt Damon) resorts to working for a shady lawyer (Mickey Rourke), where he meets paralegal... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 89773%
Critics Consensus: A well-made sequel that delivers the thrills.
Synopsis: Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is living in India when he is framed by Russian agent Kirill (Karl Urban) for the... [More]
Directed By: Paul Greengrass

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 88838%
Critics Consensus: With Matt Damon's unsettling performance offering a darkly twisted counterpoint to Anthony Minghella's glossy direction, The Talented Mr. Ripley is a suspense thriller that lingers.
Synopsis: To be young and carefree amid the blue waters and idyllic landscape of sun-drenched Italy in the late 1950s; that's... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Minghella

#13

Ocean's Eleven (2001)
83%

#13
Adjusted Score: 90209%
Critics Consensus: As fast-paced, witty, and entertaining as it is star-studded and coolly stylish, Ocean's Eleven offers a well-seasoned serving of popcorn entertainment.
Synopsis: Dapper Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is a man of action. Less than 24 hours into his parole from a New... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The story of a man (Matt Damon), salvaged, near death, from the ocean by an Italian fishing boat. When he... [More]
Directed By: Doug Liman

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 88174%
Critics Consensus: An emotional and intriguing tale of a military officer who must review the merits of a fallen officer while confronting his own war demons. Effectively depicts the terrors of war as well as its heartbreaking aftermath.
Synopsis: During the 1991 Gulf War, Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Serling (Denzel Washington) accidentally caused a friendly fire incident, a mistake that... [More]
Directed By: Edward Zwick

#10

Contagion (2011)

#10
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
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

#9

The Departed (2006)
90%

#9
Adjusted Score: 102533%
Critics Consensus: Featuring outstanding work from an excellent cast, The Departed is a thoroughly engrossing gangster drama with the gritty authenticity and soupy morality we come to expect from Martin Scorsese.
Synopsis: South Boston cop Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) goes under cover to infiltrate the organization of gangland chief Frank Costello (Jack... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#8

Ponyo (2008)

#8
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: During a forbidden excursion to see the surface world, a goldfish princess encounters a human boy named Sosuke, who gives... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

#7

The Martian (2015)
91%

#7
Adjusted Score: 107214%
Critics Consensus: Smart, thrilling, and surprisingly funny, The Martian offers a faithful adaptation of the bestselling book that brings out the best in leading man Matt Damon and director Ridley Scott.
Synopsis: When astronauts blast off from the planet Mars, they leave behind Mark Watney (Matt Damon), presumed dead after a fierce... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#6
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) continues his international quest to uncover his true identity. From Russia to Europe to northern Africa... [More]
Directed By: Paul Greengrass

#5

Ford v Ferrari (2019)
92%

#5
Adjusted Score: 114307%
Critics Consensus: Ford v Ferrari delivers all the polished auto action audiences will expect -- and balances it with enough gripping human drama to satisfy non-racing enthusiasts.
Synopsis: American automotive designer Carroll Shelby and fearless British race car driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#4
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) takes his men behind enemy lines to find Private James Ryan, whose three brothers have... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 97836%
Critics Consensus: Affectionate without sacrificing honesty, Behind the Candelabra couples award-worthy performances from Michael Douglas and Matt Damon with some typically sharp direction from Steven Soderbergh.
Synopsis: World-famous pianist Liberace (Michael Douglas) takes much-younger Scott Thorson (Matt Damon) as a lover, but the relationship deteriorates when Liberace... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#2

True Grit (2010)
95%

#2
Adjusted Score: 105673%
Critics Consensus: Girded by strong performances from Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, and lifted by some of the Coens' most finely tuned, unaffected work, True Grit is a worthy companion to the Charles Portis book.
Synopsis: After an outlaw named Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin) murders her father, feisty 14-year-old farm girl Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) hires... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 101367%
Critics Consensus: It follows a predictable narrative arc, but Good Will Hunting adds enough quirks to the journey -- and is loaded with enough powerful performances -- that it remains an entertaining, emotionally rich drama.
Synopsis: Will Hunting (Matt Damon) has a genius-level IQ but chooses to work as a janitor at MIT. When he solves... [More]
Directed By: Gus Van Sant

(Photo by DreamWorks Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection)

All George Clooney Movies Ranked

Having the #1 TV show to fall back on when starting a movie career was a good thing for George Clooney, especially when he was alternately starring in groovy, off-beat genre flicks (From Dusk till Dawn, Out of Sight) and helping destroy a comic book franchise (Batman & Robin). But by 1999, Clooney was ready to cut the cord on ER, paving the way for immediate movie breakthroughs in comedy (O Brother, Where Art Thou?), blockbusters (Ocean’s Eleven), and even as a director himself, with Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, which we’re including on this list because he also stars.

As seen beginning with Confessions, the cross-section of politics and media would be a driving concern for Clooney’s acting choices, such as Syriana, Michael Clayton, The Ides of March, Money Monster, and Good Night, and Good Luck. Yet he also switches to the broad buffoon with ease, especially with the Coen brothers, as in O Brother, Burn After Reading, and Hail, Caesar!. Somewhere in between this Bawdy George and Serious George, you’ll find material that has drawn Clooney some of his highest marks: Fantastic Mr. Fox, Up In the Air, and The Descendants, the latter two for which he was Best Actor Oscar-nominated.

Up until directing himself in 2020’s The Midnight Sky, Clooney hadn’t appeared in a narrative feature since 2016. Meanwhile, he got top billing in Grizzly II: Revenge, a film shot in 1983 that wasn’t completed and released until 2021. Will the movie finally restore Clooney’s rightful original career path as horror movie maven? We’ll just have to wait an see — until then, we’re looking back on all George Clooney movies, ranked by Tomatometer!

#36
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The insane Dr. Gangrene develops a new strain of violent vegetable in this sequel to the 1977 cult classic.... [More]
Directed By: John De Bello

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 8270%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: All hell breaks loose when a 15-ft grizzly bear, reacting to the slaughter of her cub by poachers, seeks revenge... [More]
Directed By: Andre Szots

#34

Batman & Robin (1997)
12%

#34
Adjusted Score: 17028%
Critics Consensus: Joel Schumacher's tongue-in-cheek attitude hits an unbearable limit in Batman & Robin resulting in a frantic and mindless movie that's too jokey to care much for.
Synopsis: This superhero adventure finds Batman (George Clooney) and his partner, Robin (Chris O'Donnell), attempting to the foil the sinister schemes... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 41051%
Critics Consensus: Its intentions are noble and its cast is impressive, but neither can compensate for The Monuments Men's stiffly nostalgic tone and curiously slack narrative.
Synopsis: During World War II, the Nazis steal countless pieces of art and hide them away. Some over-the-hill art scholars, historians,... [More]
Directed By: George Clooney

#32

The Good German (2006)
34%

#32
Adjusted Score: 39243%
Critics Consensus: Though Steven Soderbergh succeeds in emulating the glossy look of 1940s noirs, The Good German ultimately ends up as a self-conscious exercise in style that forgets to develop compelling characters.
Synopsis: Jake Geismar (George Clooney), an Army correspondent, helps his former lover, Lena Brandt (Cate Blanchett), comb post-World War II Berlin... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#31
#31
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Based on a true story, the film tells of the courageous men and women who risk their lives every working... [More]
Directed By: Wolfgang Petersen

#30

Tomorrowland (2015)
50%

#30
Adjusted Score: 61483%
Critics Consensus: Ambitious and visually stunning, Tomorrowland is unfortunately weighted down by uneven storytelling.
Synopsis: Whenever Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) touches a lapel pin with the letter T on it, she finds herself transported to... [More]
Directed By: Brad Bird

#29

The Midnight Sky (2020)
50%

#29
Adjusted Score: 67269%
Critics Consensus: The Midnight Sky lacks the dramatic heft to match its narrative scale, but its flaws are often balanced by thoughtful themes and a poignant performance from director-star George Clooney.
Synopsis: A lone scientist in the Arctic races to contact a crew of astronauts returning home to a mysterious global catastrophe.... [More]
Directed By: George Clooney

#28
Adjusted Score: 60910%
Critics Consensus: Though The Men Who Stare at Goats is a mostly entertaining, farcical glimpse of men at war, some may find its satire and dark humor less than edgy.
Synopsis: Struggling reporter Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) gets the scoop of a lifetime when he meets Lyn Cassady (George Clooney), who... [More]
Directed By: Grant Heslov

#27

One Fine Day (1996)
51%

#27
Adjusted Score: 52495%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Melanie Parker (Michelle Pfeiffer) is an architect who needs to give a very important presentation. Jack Taylor (George Clooney) is... [More]
Directed By: Michael Hoffman

#26

Leatherheads (2008)
52%

#26
Adjusted Score: 57622%
Critics Consensus: Despite a good premise and strong cast, this pro football romcom is half screwball and half fumble.
Synopsis: Dodge Connolly (George Clooney), captain of a 1920s football team, wants to give the sagging sport a boost and capture... [More]
Directed By: George Clooney

#25

Ocean's Twelve (2004)
54%

#25
Adjusted Score: 60689%
Critics Consensus: While some have found the latest star-studded heist flick to be a fun, glossy star vehicle, others declare it's lazy, self-satisfied and illogical.
Synopsis: After successfully robbing five casinos in one night, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his crew of thieves have big problems.... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 56540%
Critics Consensus: Contains some funny moments, but it's still a very lightweight comedy.
Synopsis: Five hapless misfits from the hard-luck streets of Cleveland band together to try and pull off the greatest job they've... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

#23

Money Monster (2016)
59%

#23
Adjusted Score: 77037%
Critics Consensus: Money Monster's strong cast and solidly written story ride a timely wave of socioeconomic anger that's powerful enough to overcome an occasionally muddled approach to its worthy themes.
Synopsis: Lee Gates is a Wall Street guru who picks hot stocks as host of the television show "Money Monster." Suddenly,... [More]
Directed By: Jodie Foster

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 64564%
Critics Consensus: A pulpy crime drama/vampire film hybrid, From Dusk Till Dawn is an uneven but often deliriously enjoyable B-movie.
Synopsis: On the run from a bank robbery that left several police officers dead, Seth Gecko (George Clooney) and his paranoid,... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

#21

The American (2010)

#21
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When an assignment in Sweden ends badly, master assassin Jack (George Clooney) retreats to the Italian countryside with the intention... [More]
Directed By: Anton Corbijn

#20

Solaris (2002)
66%

#20
Adjusted Score: 72962%
Critics Consensus: Slow-moving, cerebral, and ambiguous, Solaris is not a movie for everyone, but it offers intriguing issues to ponder.
Synopsis: Based on the classic science fiction novel by Stanislaw Lem, "Solaris" centers on a psychologist (George Clooney) sent to investigate... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#19

Ocean's Thirteen (2007)
69%

#19
Adjusted Score: 77665%
Critics Consensus: Ocean's Thirteen reverts to the formula of the first installment, and the result is another slick and entertaining heist film.
Synopsis: Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his gang hatch an ambitious plot for revenge after ruthless casino owner Willy Bank (Al... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#18

Syriana (2005)
73%

#18
Adjusted Score: 81330%
Critics Consensus: Ambitious, complicated, intellectual, and demanding of its audience, Syriana is both a gripping geopolitical thriller and wake-up call to the complacent.
Synopsis: The Middle Eastern oil industry is the backdrop of this tense drama, which weaves together numerous story lines. Bennett Holiday... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Gaghan

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 81382%
Critics Consensus: Though more mainstream than other Coen films, there are still funny oddball touches, and Clooney and Zeta-Jones sizzle like old-time movie stars.
Synopsis: Miles Massey (George Clooney) is an exceptional divorce lawyer who specializes in saving cheating husbands from having to pay expensive... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 89908%
Critics Consensus: With Burn After Reading, the Coen Brothers have crafted another clever comedy/thriller with an outlandish plot and memorable characters.
Synopsis: When a disc containing memoirs of a former CIA analyst (John Malkovich) falls into the hands of Linda Litzke (Frances... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#15
Adjusted Score: 82824%
Critics Consensus: Though not as good as Coen brothers' classics such as Blood Simple, the delightfully loopy O Brother, Where Art Thou? is still a lot of fun.
Synopsis: Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney) is having difficulty adjusting to his hard-labor sentence in Mississippi. He scams his way off... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#14
Adjusted Score: 83256%
Critics Consensus: Rockwell is spot-on as Barris, and Clooney directs with entertaining style and flair.
Synopsis: Game show television producer Chuck Barris (Sam Rockwell) is at the height of his career. His creation, "The Dating Game,"... [More]
Directed By: George Clooney

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 85725%
Critics Consensus: The Thin Red Line is a daringly philosophical World War II film with an enormous cast of eager stars.
Synopsis: In 1942, Private Witt (Jim Caviezel) is a U.S. Army absconder living peacefully with the locals of a small South... [More]
Directed By: Terrence Malick

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 92727%
Critics Consensus: While not exactly exposing revelatory truths, The Ides of March is supremely well-acted drama that moves at a measured, confident clip.
Synopsis: As Ohio's Democratic primary nears, charming Gov. Mike Morris (George Clooney) seems a shoo-in for the nomination over his opponent,... [More]
Directed By: George Clooney

#11

Ocean's Eleven (2001)
83%

#11
Adjusted Score: 90209%
Critics Consensus: As fast-paced, witty, and entertaining as it is star-studded and coolly stylish, Ocean's Eleven offers a well-seasoned serving of popcorn entertainment.
Synopsis: Dapper Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is a man of action. Less than 24 hours into his parole from a New... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#10

Hail, Caesar! (2016)
85%

#10
Adjusted Score: 108004%
Critics Consensus: Packed with period detail and perfectly cast, Hail, Caesar! finds the Coen brothers delivering an agreeably lightweight love letter to post-war Hollywood.
Synopsis: In the early 1950s, Eddie Mannix is busy at work trying to solve all the problems of the actors and... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#9

The Descendants (2011)
87%

#9
Adjusted Score: 96588%
Critics Consensus: Funny, moving, and beautifully acted, The Descendants captures the unpredictable messiness of life with eloquence and uncommon grace.
Synopsis: Native islander Matt King (George Clooney) lives with his family in Hawaii. Their world shatters when a tragic accident leaves... [More]
Directed By: Alexander Payne

#8

Up in the Air (2009)
90%

#8
Adjusted Score: 102108%
Critics Consensus: Led by charismatic performances by its three leads, director Jason Reitman delivers a smart blend of humor and emotion with just enough edge for mainstream audiences.
Synopsis: An idea from a young, new co-worker (Anna Kendrick) would put an end to the constant travel of corporate downsizer... [More]
Directed By: Jason Reitman

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Former prosecutor Michael Clayton (George Clooney) works as a "fixer" at the corporate law firm of Kenner, Bach and Ledeen,... [More]
Directed By: Tony Gilroy

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After 12 years of bucolic bliss, Mr. Fox (George Clooney) breaks a promise to his wife (Meryl Streep) and raids... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#5
Adjusted Score: 102100%
Critics Consensus: A passionate and concise cinematic civics lesson, Good Night, And Good Luck has plenty to say about today's political and cultural climate, and its ensemble cast is stellar.
Synopsis: When Senator Joseph McCarthy begins his foolhardy campaign to root out Communists in America, CBS News impresario Edward R. Murrow... [More]
Directed By: George Clooney

#4

Out of Sight (1998)
93%

#4
Adjusted Score: 97885%
Critics Consensus: Steven Soderbergh's intelligently crafted adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel is witty, sexy, suprisingly entertaining, and a star-making turn for George Clooney.
Synopsis: Meet Jack Foley (George Clooney), the most successful bank robber in the country. On the day he busts out of... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#3

Three Kings (1999)
94%

#3
Adjusted Score: 99165%
Critics Consensus: Three Kings successfully blends elements of action, drama, and comedy into a thoughtful, exciting movie on the Gulf War.
Synopsis: Just after the end of the Gulf War, four American soldiers decide to steal a cache of Saddam Hussein's hidden... [More]
Directed By: David O. Russell

#2

Gravity (2013)
96%

#2
Adjusted Score: 110246%
Critics Consensus: Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity is an eerie, tense sci-fi thriller that's masterfully directed and visually stunning.
Synopsis: Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a medical engineer on her first shuttle mission. Her commander is veteran astronaut Matt... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Cuarón

#1

Fail Safe (2000)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: 22154%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: During the 1960s, a computer error in Nebraska unwittingly sets off a perilous chain of events leading to a Cold... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Frears

It’s the beginning of the month, which means Netflix and Amazon Prime have added a ton of new choices to their streaming collections. Since we love you, we’ve combed through their lists to come up with a solid selection of Certified Fresh choices. Read on for the full list.


New on Netflix

 

The Hustler (1961) 96%

Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie, and George C. Scott star in Robert Rossen’s classic about a pool shark who gets in over his head when he agrees to a high stakes match.

Available now on: Netflix


Full Metal Jacket (1987) 92%

Matthew Modine and Vincent D’Onofrio star in Stanley Kubrick’s Certified Fresh Vietnam War movie, which takes viewers through a grueling boot camp before dropping them directly into the field of battle.

Available now on: Netflix


The Wonders (2014) 96%

Monica Bellucci stars in this Certified Fresh drama about a the teenage daughter from a family of struggling beekeepers who becomes obsessed with a mysterious television personality.

Available now on: Netflix


The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) 96%

David Lean’s celebrated war epic stars Alec Guinness as an obsessed World War II POW tasked with building a bridge for his Japanese captors, and William Holden as the escapee who vows to return to destroy it.

Available now on: Netflix


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, and Mark Ruffalo star in Michel Gondry’s mind-bending, deeply yearning sci-fi dramedy.

Available now on: Netflix


Jurassic Park (1993) 92%

Steven Spielberg’s dinosaur extravaganza blew audiences away back in 1993, and Netflix is streaming it now, in addition to its two non-Jurassic World sequels.

Available now on Netflix: Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Jurassic Park III


Star Trek: First Contact (1996) 92%

Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) leads the crew of the Enterprise back in time to prevent the Borg from conquering the Earth.

Available now on: Netflix


Traffic (2000) 92%

Michael Douglas and Benicio Del Toro lead an all-star cast in Steven Soderbergh’s ensemble thriller-drama centered on the drug trade.

Available now on: Netflix


Janis: Little Girl Blue (2015) 94%

This Certified Fresh documentary presents an in-depth portrait of the life and times of the egendary blues singer and Woodstock fave.

Available now on: Netflix


The Usual Suspects (1995) 88%

Kevin Spacey and Gabriel Byrne star in Bryan Singer’s crime thriller about a drug deal gone wrong and the criminal mastermind lurking in the shadows who pulls all the strings.

Available now on: Netflix


Cold in July (2014) 84%

Michael C. Hall and Sam Shepard star in a Certified Fresh thriller about a family man defending himself against an ex-con seeking revenge for the murder of his son.

Available now on: Netflix


Euro Pudding (2002)

This Certified Fresh French-Spanish comedy revolves around a grad student studying abroad in Spain who meets an eclectic group of fellow students from all over Europe.

Available now on: Netflix


New on Amazon Prime

 

Apocalypse Now (1979) 98%

Francis Ford Coppola’s harrowing Vietnam War drama follows a troubled captain (Martin Sheen) as he traverses the jungle in search of a rogue colonel (Marlon Brando) he’s been commanded to assassinate. Both the theatrical cut and Coppola’s extended version, Redux, are streaming now.

Available now on Amazon Prime: Apocalypse Now, Redux


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1967)

The final chapter in the saga of The Man with No Name, Sergio Leone’s iconic western centers on a trio of gunslingers (Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach) in search of a hidden stash of Confederate gold during the Civil War.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Ulee's Gold (1997) 94%

Peter Fonda and Patricia Richardson star in this Certified Fresh drama about an aging beekeeper caring for his criminal son’s two daughters who sets out to find his drug addicted daughter-in-law.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Carrie (1976)

Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, and John Travolta star in Brian DePalma’s horror classic, a tale of a lonely teenager with telekinetic powers.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Love & Mercy (2014) 89%

Paul Dano and John Cusack star in a Certified Fresh biopic of troubled Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson at two key intervals in his life.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


() %

This acclaimed British drama revolves around the residents and domestic staff of a grand English country estate. Season six was its last, so you can now stream the entire series.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Wayne's World (1992) 79%

It’s party time! Excellent! Mike Myers and Dana Carvey star in the classic SNL spinoff about a pair of metalheads with a goofy public access cable show.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Syriana (2005) 73%

George Clooney and Matt Damon star in this political thriller that weaves together several connected stories about corporate interests and moral intrigue in the Middle East.

Available now on: Amazon Prime

George Clooney

After nabbing Oscar notice for recent dramas like Syriana, Good Night, and Good Luck, and Michael Clayton, it was time George Clooney lightened things up. This week’s Leatherheads does just that; a 1920s period piece about the early days of football, the sports comedy — produced by, directed by, and starring Clooney himself — also strives to recall the golden age of the feisty, fast-talking screwball comedy.

Clooney’s debt to the likes of Preston Sturges and Howard Hawks is both apparent and considerable, as he acknowledged recently at a press day in Los Angeles. What he jokingly admits to as “stealing” is quite obviously homage, as the central romance in Leatherheads — actually, a love triangle between Clooney’s huckster footballer, Renee Zellweger‘s sassy reporter, and John Krasinski‘s star athlete — often gives way to lively Tommy gun patter resembling classics like His Girl Friday and Bringing Up Baby.

Read on for more with George Clooney on being on both sides of the camera in Leatherheads, the limitations of the screwball comedy in modern movies, paying homage to the classics, and completing his trifecta of idiots in the next Coen brothers film.

Leatherheads pays tribute to the classic screwball comedy in a big way. Were you going for a Hawks-Sturges kind of tempo?

George Clooney: I stole from Howard Hawks and Preston Sturges in a big way. I stole a scene. Wait, homage. I homaged the s— out of Howard Hawkes and Preston Sturges and early George Stevens. There’s a film called The More the Merrier that we were trying to rip off a lot.

How does George Clooney the director work with George Clooney the actor?

GC: Of the three films I directed, the other two (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Good Night, and Good Luck) I had parts in but I wasn’t the lead. It’s tricky, because there is an enormous amount of narcissism that comes into play. You’re breaking the trust between two actors, particularly if you’re in the lead. If you and I are doing a scene together, I’m not supposed to be judging you as an actor — now, a lot of actors do, and they’ll tell you what to do, but in general you’re not supposed to break the trust; the director is. As an actor, it’s easy, because I know specifically, precisely what I need in the scene, so I cut out one step. But it’s embarrassing when…you’re sitting across from Renee [Zellweger] and she’s doing a tremendous job in a scene, and you can feel the camera is in too close, too soon, and you just go, “OK, cut. Let’s try that again.” It’s a weird, awkward thing but you just acknowledge it off the bat and get over it.


Is the sort of rapid-fire dialogue and timing in Leatherheads unnatural for a modern actor?

GC: We called it front-foot acting. The tendency, probably since Montgomery Clift came on the scene, is to internalize. That’s great, and it has made for some of the most amazing work ever, but what gets lost in that is that ability to…almost answer just as if you couldn’t have heard the question. It has to be that quick. The difference is, you can’t do it exactly like Rosalind Russell. She was brilliant, but if you took that performance and put that into a modern film…it would just be like an impersonation. So with someone like John, or someone like Renee — they’re actors who don’t feel contemporary, which is important. There are a lot of actors who just feel like it’s 2008 no matter what you do.

We had the same problem with Good Night, and Good Luck. You had to have actors that didn’t fill everything with, “You know,” and both [Krasinsky and Zellweger] are very crisp, clean actors. We’d rehearse the scene as if we’d heard it all. And I’d go, “Ok now, faster, faster, faster,” to the point where it’s too fast then we’d slow it down. You have to understand that it’s a rollercoaster and it’ll go really quick and slow down. That finds itself when you rehearse it a few times on the set.

The Coen brothers did something similar with The Hudsucker Proxy. Did you talk to them about that?

GC: No, but I certainly watched Hudsucker Proxy…because, you know, I’ve stolen — homaged – the hell out of those guys over the years. And certainly there were things on this film that I was using that were from other films they’ve done. But Hudsucker I loved; I know people love to smash that film, but I really love that movie. But you have to be careful that it doesn’t leak into an impersonation of any kind.


Why make Leatherheads right after your Oscar-nominated role in Michael Clayton?

GC: Right after Good Night, and Good Luck and Syriana, everything that was coming to me was an issue film. They were happy to let me direct, but they were going to be the Richard Clark book — “We’re gonna do the big Valerie Plame story” — whatever it was, it was going to be something political. And I had a great fear of being the “issues” director. Because the issues change. And I have a much bigger interest in being a director. So I thought, “I want to do something that’s completely away from this,” and I like screwing with different genres. This is a world I knew a little bit of. So I spent a summer stealing — homaging — from Philadelphia Story, those films. The thing I came up with, it’s horrible, really, was the whole John Kerry-swiftboat thing; the idea that he’s holding a secret. Not that I thought that John Kerry wasn’t [a war hero]! It’s just that I thought, well what if he wasn’t really a war hero, and if there was an innocent way to do it where you didn’t make him a bad guy?

Renee’s character seems to be a throwback to the old heroines of screwball comedies, like Rosalind Russell and Katherine Hepburn…

GC: In the original draft of the film, John’s character and Lexie were boyfriend and girlfriend in college, and they came out together. She wasn’t active, she had nothing to do. And, I was now too old to be stealing the college girl [laughs]. So it felt as if it needed to be changed and she needed to have something to do. Really, it was more about…there weren’t women sportswriters in 1925; they’re fighting to do it now, even. So it felt like that was a great ballsy thing to be. But it wasn’t a comment on the press, I was just having fun.

What kind of idiot are you playing in the next Coen Brothers film?

GC: Well, first of all, I’m playing this character, Harry Pfarrer in Burn After Reading. I’ve now leaped heads and shoulders over the other idiots I’ve played; this is my trilogy of idiots with the Coen brothers. That one’s gonna be fun. I had to go and do an extra shot yesterday, I grew a beard back for half a day’s work, and they showed me little bits of it and I was like, “Turn it off, I don’t want to see it!” It’s so…big. The only thing that makes me feel good is that Brad [Pitt] is an even bigger idiot than I am in it, so that makes me feel safe.

Leatherheads is in theaters this week and currently has a Tomatometer of 45 percent.

Five new films push their way into nationwide release on Friday hoping to challenge two-time champ The Rock making for what should be a free-for-all at the North American box office with many different studios having a realistic shot at claiming the number one spot. Among the top contenders are Sony’s crime thriller We Own the Night, the Lionsgate comedy Why Did I Get Married?, and the George Clooney vehicle Michael Clayton which expands nationally after its scorching debut in limited release. Adding to the mix are the costume drama Elizabeth: The Golden Age and the baseball tale The Final Season. The box office race should be a tight one with as many as four films likely to reach the low double digit millions.

Oscar nominated actors Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix face off as brothers on different sides of the law in the new action thriller We Own the Night. The R-rated pic co-stars Robert Duvall and Eva Mendes and will target an adult audience with a slightly male skew. The former Marky Mark proved his box office pull last spring as the only major star in Shooter which bowed to $14.5M and a $5,176 average by targeting the same audience. Things will be more difficult this time because of the intense competition for mature audiences especially from Michael Clayton. But Night‘s biggest advantage over Michael is that it has two commercial stars instead of just one. The combo should lead to a slim edge at the cash registers.

Despite its awkward title, Night has been pushing itself as an action-packed thriller with faces people love to watch. Reviews have been mixed and with such a crowded field, it will be hard to stand out as a must-see option. Starpower should be the main factor here and showdowns between two solid actors are usually popular with ticket buyers. Opening in over 2,000 theaters, We Own the Night could debut to about $12M.


Phoenix and Wahlberg in We Own the Night

Taking on those boys with some machismo of his own, George Clooney heads into wide release with his legal drama Michael Clayton which Warner Bros. has drummed up plenty of awards buzz for. The R-rated pic bowed to a sizzling $47,994 average last weekend from its platform bow in the Clooney-friendly towns of New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto. This weekend, the thriller will face the real test when it enters every major market across the 50 states. Thanks to his political outspokenness, the Academy Award winning actor has become a polarizing figure. He could easily win an election to become mayor of Hollywood, but in other parts of the country people would gladly pay theaters to not play his movies.

Clayton will test his drawing power since the film has no other box office anchors in it. Co-stars Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton, and Sydney Pollack are well-respected, but they don’t sell tickets. There is plenty of direct competition which is why the film got a head start a week early. Buzz from its red hot platform bow has spread helping to build interest. The crowd will consist of the same people that opened Syriana to $11.7M, The Black Dahlia to $10M, and Zodiac to $13.4M. Night will take away some males and Elizabeth will steal some females so a huge gross will be hard to find. But over the long-term the film could have legs. Expanding into 2,511 locations, Michael Clayton stands as the widest of the new offerings and may capture around $11M over the Friday-to-Sunday period.


Clooney as Clayton

Tyler Perry‘s latest relationship comedy Why Did I Get Married? finds trouble brewing when four married couples come together for an annual winter getaway. The writer/director’s films have always tapped into his loyal fan base with African American women at the core. His 2005 smash Diary of a Mad Black Woman surprised the industry with its first-place debut with $21.9M and a $14,771 average and was followed a year later by Madea’s Family Reunion which grew bigger with a $30M launch. Perry’s last pic Daddy’s Little Girls, also a February release, saw more modest numbers with a $11.2M opening as the filmmaker did not star in the pic.

Married does not have the promotional value of Black History Month or the help of Presidents Day which Girls had early this year. However, Perry’s new film will not face any direct competitors for its target audience. Girls had to face the second weekend of Eddie Murphy‘s hit comedy Norbit which offered some audience overlap. Plus Married boasts more starpower with Perry back on screen and an added boost will come from Janet Jackson who is always a strong draw at the box office with the target audience every time she makes a rare appearance in a movie. The PG-13 film from Lionsgate is unlike anything else in the marketplace right now and with few buzzworthy films aimed at black moviegoers in recent months, it should successfully connect. Debuting in 2,011 theaters, Why Did I Get Married? might open with roughly $12M this weekend.


Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?
Another female-driven film, but taking place centuries ago and across the pond, is the historical drama Elizabeth: The Golden Age which finds Cate Blanchett reprising the role of the British Queen which made her a star nine years ago. The PG-13 pic also finds Geoffrey Rush returning and adds Clive Owen to the mix telling the story of the later years of the monarch’s 16th century reign when threats from Spain and a possible love affair at home led to new challenges. Though at the core a costume drama like its predecessor, Universal’s marketing has played up the action and adventure elements in hopes of attracting men looking for warfare and battle scenes. That may backfire when word gets out that there is actually very little action on screen.

The first Elizabeth opened in limited release in November 1998 and rolled through awards season that winter eventually reaching an impressive $30M while never playing in more than 600 theaters. It also bagged seven Oscar nominations including Best Picture. Now the studio is hoping that a built-in audience will want to take another trip to the past. Though the first was an acclaimed picture, no real demand ever surfaced for a sequel. So it will be tough for Golden Age at the box office especially with all the competition. Female-led dramas often struggle in the marketplace since it is often too hard for adult women to drag men with them to the multiplex for these stories. New films from Clooney and Wahlberg offer more cross-gender appeal. Ordering her troops into 2,000 theaters on Friday, Elizabeth: The Golden Age might take home about $8M over the three-day period.


Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush in Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Likely to strike out at the box office this weekend is the high school baseball pic The Final Season which stars Sean Astin, Larry Miller, and Powers Boothe. The PG-rated film offers no starpower and has generated very little excitement for itself in the marketplace. Most sports fans interested in the national pastime will tune into the playoffs on their television sets this weekend. A quick trip to DVD is assured for this one which has no guarantee to clinch a spot in the top ten. Opening in about 1,000 theaters, a weekend take of just $2M could be in the works.


The Final Season

Among holdovers, The Game Plan surprised the industry two weeks in a row by taking the number one spot. Given its strong legs and continued lack of competition for the family audience and younger teens, a third round on top is not totally out of the question. Should all the newbies eat into each other and all fail to reach the $12M mark, the Disney kidpic by default may stay put. A 25% decline would give The Game Plan a third weekend tally of $12.5M pushing the 17-day total to a solid $58M.

Paramount and DreamWorks were caught by surprise by the lack of strength for the opening of the Ben Stiller comedy The Heartbreak Kid. With nothing to keep it afloat, a 45% decline might be in order especially since adults will be distracted by a wide assortment of other options. That would give the Farrelly brothers a sophomore session of about $7.5M and a cume of only $25.5M after ten days.

LAST YEAR: Sony used the Friday the 13th before Halloween to launch the sequel to one of the most successful horror films in history and captured the number one spot. The Grudge 2 bowed on top with $20.8M accounting for more than half of its $39.1M final. Eventual Oscar champ The Departed slipped to second with $19M easing only 29% for Warner Bros. The Robin Williams political comedy Man of the Year debuted in third with $12.3M before finishing with a disappointing $37.3M for Universal. Rounding out the top five were the Sony toon Open Season with $11.1M and New Line’s fright franchise flick Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning with $7.5M for a steep 60% plunge. Opening with weak results in sixth was the action pic The Marine with $7.1M on its way to $18.8M for Fox. The religious-themed drama One Night with the King bowed to $4.1M with a good $4,518 average and finished with $13.4M for 8X.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

And the casts for the new Marvel movies just keep getting better and better. This time around? The multi-talented Tim Blake Nelson has been cast as a pivotal villain in Louis Leterrier’s The Incredible Hulk.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Tim Blake Nelson will play a scientist known as Samuel Sterns. Marvel maniacs will no doubt recognize that name as "The Leader," a gamma-irradiated mega-genius with a giant head. Dang this should make for an entertaining movie.

Nelson, who’s probably best known for Syriana, Minority Report and (especially) O Brother Where Art Thou, will join Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, and William Hurt in Leterrier’s "semi-sequel" to Ang Lee’s oft-maligned Hulk. This one and Iron Man are expected to hit theaters next summer. Cool.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Universal looks to score its first number one hit in nearly a year this weekend with the new Steve Carell comedy "Evan Almighty" which hits the multiplexes on Friday targeting a broad family audience.

Reaching out to adult moviegoers are MGM with the John Cusack chiller "1408" and Paramount Vantage with the Angelina Jolie starrer "A Mighty Heart." Overall, the marketplace could slow down a bit this weekend before another wave of high-profile summer blockbusters arrives towards the end of June.

The sixth consecutive sequel to open at number one has a different formula up its sleeve. "Evan Almighty" loses Jim Carrey from "Bruce Almighty," drops the rating from PG-13 to PG, and shifts the plot over to a Biblical story while courting family audiences. Michael Bay isn’t the only one with a transformer at the box office this summer. Universal’s big-budget comedy offering should easily top the charts, however the financial picture will be very different. Steve Carell, whose starpower has blossomed since the 2003’s "Bruce," takes over as the lead playing a TV anchorman-turned-congressman who is told by God to build an ark because a mighty flood is coming. Morgan Freeman reprises his supporting role as the big G.

On a budget rumored to have ballooned to $175M thanks to extensive special effects and overages, "Evan Almighty" stands as one of the priciest comedies ever. The loss of Jim Carrey means it has almost no chance of reaching the $68M three-day opening weekend gross of "Bruce" from four years ago when it shocked the film industry by kicking "The Matrix Reloaded" out of the top spot in only its second frame. It reached a domestic haul of $242.8M. "Evan Almighty" could conceivably gross half the amount of "Bruce," while costing twice as much to produce. Does that mean it will lose money? Not necessarily. "Evan" would love nothing more than to follow in the footsteps of "Night at the Museum," another effects-driven comedy led by a popular comedian aimed at families, which has grossed over $570M worldwide. If it can tap into that crowd, then it will be a divine road ahead.

"Evan"’s trim running time of about 90 minutes will help since multiplexes can schedule numerous showtimes per day. Competition will come from current chart-topper "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer," another action-comedy sequel tamed down to a PG to cater to eight-year-old boys on summer vacation. Teens and young adults who have to wait until the fall to see new episodes of Carell’s "The Office" may line up for "Evan" and give it a try, despite the negative reviews. There’s not much else exciting that demo right now. And given its themes, moviegoers in the Bible Belt may contribute some solid sales on opening weekend as the studio is wisely targeting churches in its marketing outreach. Opening in 3,602 theaters, "Evan Almighty" could premiere to about $40M this weekend.


"Evan Almighty"

John Cusack hopes to avoid the current horror curse at the box office with his new psychological thriller "1408." The MGM release finds the actor playing a writer who checks into a haunted hotel room that many have died in. Samuel L. Jackson co-stars in the PG-13 pic. Scary movies have been slaughtered at the cash registers lately. Even star-driven adult thrillers have struggled as witnessed by openings of $11.2M for "Perfect Stranger" starring Halle Berry and Bruce Willis, $10M for Hilary Swank‘s "The Reaping," $10M for Kevin Costner‘s "Mr. Brooks," and $7.6M for Luke Wilson‘s hotel-themed "Vacancy." Managing to surge a bit higher were Sandra Bullock‘s "Premonition" with $17.6M and Jim Carrey’s "The Number 23" with $14.6M. "1408" may not scare up that much business given consumer apathy towards fright flicks right now. Plus Cusack and Jackson are not really known for packing them in on opening weekend unless there are bigger stars present. Checking into 2,678 theaters, "1408" might take in about $12M this weekend.


John Cusack in "1408"

Angelina Jolie headlines this weekend’s serious offering for adult audiences, "A Mighty Heart." Directed by Michael Winterbottom ("The Road to Guantanamo," "Welcome to Sarajevo"), the R-rated film finds the Oscar-winning actress playing Mariane Pearl, wife of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, and documents her struggle to find her kidnapped husband in Pakistan. In a summer of sequels and effects-driven action pictures for kids on vacation, Paramount Vantage is going after the adults that are often neglected at this time of year. Reviews for "Heart" have been strong with Jolie already earning kudos buzz and the film should appeal to the same audiences that came out for other acclaimed political thrillers like "United 93" ($11.5M, $6,395 average), "The Constant Gardener" ($8.7M, $6,444), and "Syriana" ($11.7M, $6,699). Competition will come from "Ocean’s Thirteen" and "Knocked Up" which have both been playing well with the 30-plus crowd. Debuting in about 1,350 theaters, "A Mighty Heart" might open in the vicinity of $7M.


Angelina Jolie in "A Mighty Heart"

Last weekend, Fox’s "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" opened at the top and was just one of six sequels to land in the top ten. Its 2005 predecessor tumbled 59% in its second weekend thanks to poor word-of-mouth and intense competition from newcomers "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Wedding Crashers" which stole over $90M worth of ticket sales away from holdover pics. "Silver Surfer" has been greeted with marginally better responses and will not face as much competition from the incoming class this weekend, although "Evan Almighty" will be gunning for that PG-loving family crowd. A drop of 55% would give the new "Fantastic Four" saga around $25M for the frame and a ten-day cume of $103M.

"Ocean’s Thirteen" will see some of its adult audience get pulled away by the weekend’s two new mature-skewing flicks. A 40% decline will leave the caper sequel with roughly $12M pushing the total to $91M after 17 days for Warner Bros. Universal’s comedy sensation "Knocked Up" will smash through the $100M mark this weekend, probably on Friday. Look for a 30% fall to around $10M boosting the cume to $108M.

LAST YEAR: Adam Sandler scored his usual table at the top spot with his comedy "Click" which bowed to $40M for Sony on its way to $137.3M domestically and over $235M worldwide. The Disney/Pixar toon "Cars" dropped to the runnerup spot but dipped only 31% to $23.3M. Sophomores "Nacho Libre" and "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" were both hit hard and tumbled by more than 50% each to $12.7M and $9.8M, respectively. Focus launched the Tyrese Gibson actioner "Waist Deep" to a solid $9.4M from just over 1,000 theaters on its way to $21.3M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Hollywood studios try to inject some juice into the North American box office this weekend by unleashing three big new releases aimed at getting people back into the habit of going to the movies.

Boys will be courted with the fantasy adventure pic "Eragon," girls will get to play with "Charlotte’s Web," and adults looking for a feel-good story to counter their holiday shopping blues will have the father-and-son Smith team in "The Pursuit of Happyness."

The dragon tale "Eragon" attacks the cinemas on Friday giving fantasy audiences the entertainment they’ve been missing this holiday season. Fox’s PG-rated actioner will try to fill a void in a season without a "Potter," "Narnia," or "Hobbit." Don’t expect grosses to come close to the numbers posted by those megahits, but if "Eragon" can still reach a portion of that huge audience, the studio will be happy. Ordinarily, the effects-driven film would probably have a tough time at the box office but thanks to a severe lack of competition, Fox has a golden opportunity. The marketing push has been strong and young males have little else to be excited by. Gamers might also be interested in seeing this adventure on the big screen and leave behind their new hardware for a couple of hours. A built-in audience of readers of the book will help too. Landing in 3,020 theaters, "Eragon" could open with around $23M this weekend.


The latest fantasy novel turned fantasy epic: "Eragon."

The beloved children’s story "Charlotte’s Web" hits the multiplexes with Hollywood’s favorite young girl Dakota Fanning in the lead role. Paramount’s G-rated tale will aim for family audiences and is using the starpower of voice actors Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, and John Cleese to connect with parents. With "Happy Feet" being the only major family film to do well over the past few weeks, kids should be ready to move on to something new. Girls will probably outnumber the boys here especially with "Eragon" opening at the same time. But the brand is known and the rating is tame so parents will look at this as a safe bet for their younger ones. Good reviews will help too. With children going on their school holidays soon, look for long-term strength as many will wait until Christmas week to go and see it. Opening in over 3,000 theaters, "Charlotte’s Web" might take in about $21M this weekend.


"Charlotte’s Web," no longer in animated form.

Will Smith and his real-life son Jaden Smith hit the big screen together in Sony’s uplifting drama "The Pursuit of Happyness" which aims to give adult moviegoers something to see this weekend. Based on the true story of Chris Gardner, the PG-13 film tells the story of a man who hits hard times and becomes homeless and moonlights during the day in a stock broker training program hoping for a new lease on life. "Pursuit" has gotten Smith some notice for his acting performance (including a Golden Globe nomination) and the novelty of seeing father and son in a movie together will certainly help sell tickets. The man in black has some of the strongest pull among Hollywood stars at the box office with appeal that transcends all age, race, and gender lines. It’s no wonder that he is now pursuing his tenth $100M blockbuster.

Reviews have been mixed for the film overall even though Smith is hearing buzz about a possible Oscar nomination. Sony must have been hoping for better reactions from critics though. Instead, the studio will appeal directly to adult moviegoers and their desire to see an uplifting feel-good story anchored by a popular star at this time of year. Don’t expect "Pursuit" to reach the levels of the actor’s last film "Hitch" which bowed to $43.1M from 3,575 theaters for a $12,068 average. But if good word-of-mouth circulates, it could stay in the top ten throughout the holiday season and go on to be a winner. Appeal looks solid with both men and women plus a strong turnout from African Americans will help to boost the grosses. Opening in 2,852 theaters, "The Pursuit of Happyness" might debut with around $19M.


Will Smith and son, playing Chris Gardner and son, in "The Pursuit of Happyness."

Opening with special solo engagements in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco is the lavish musical "Dreamgirls" starring Jamie Foxx, Beyonce Knowles, Eddie Murphy, and Jennifer Hudson. Paramount and DreamWorks are putting on a special live roadshow performance with these engageemnts for ten days before the film expands across the country on December 25. In New York City, "Dreamgirls" opens exclusively at the giant Ziegfeld theater which has already sold out its five weekend performances. With a giant auditorium of 1,200 seats and ticket prices of $25, look for this one theater to contribute over $100,000 to the weekend gross. West Coast venues hope to contribute similar numbers. Though the gross will be inflated by the ticket price, sky high demand thanks to critics awards, Globe nods, and Oscar buzz has already led to Friday’s opening night shows in California to sell out as well.


"Dreamgirls," opening in limited locations.

Other new films entering the marketplace in limited release include Steven Soderbergh‘s World War II drama "The Good German" starring George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, and Tobey Maguire from Warner Bros. MGM counters with its Iraq War drama "Home of the Brave" starring Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Biel, Christina Ricci, and 50 Cent. The Weinstein Company platforms the Jude Law thriller "Breaking and Entering" from director Anthony Minghella in an Oscar-qualifying run in Los Angeles.


Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson in "Home of the Brave."

Among holdovers, last weekend’s top film "Apocalypto" moves into its all-important second weekend which will indicate what type of staying power Mel Gibson‘s latest film has. Curiousity and media hype helped to bring out moviegoers on the first weekend, but will they keep coming? The Buena Vista release fared much better than expected on Sunday grossing $840,000 more than originally expected. The studio expected a Sunday drop of 38% but was pleased to see the bloody epic dip only 23%. This weekend’s three new offerings do not look to give too much of a direct threat to "Apocalypto" so a 35% drop may in order. That would give the Mayan adventure about $9M for the frame and $29M in ten days.

Warner Bros. will see some competition for its penguin blockbuster "Happy Feet," but its hit toon has been holding up quite well each week. A 35% fall would leave "Feet" with around $8.5M and allow it to flirt with the $150M mark. Sony’s "The Holiday" got off to a decent but not spectacular start with its $12.8M bow. The Cameron DiazKate Winslet starrer may slide 35% to roughly $8.5M pushing the total to $25M after ten days.

LAST YEAR: Leaping into the number one spot, although with less muscle than expected, Peter Jackson‘s "King Kong" opened with $50.1M over the weekend and $66.2M over its five-day debut. Universal’s mega-budgeted ape flick went on to gross a commendable $218.1M domestically and $549M worldwide which fell a bit short of the film’s lofty expectations given its budget and filmmaker. "Kong" knocked fellow effects-driven actioner "The Chronicles of Narnia" to second place with $31.8M dropping 51% in its sophomore frame. "Narnia" would eventually climb back into the top spot. Debuting in third was the romantic comedy "The Family Stone" starring Sarah Jessica Parker with $12.5M on its way to $60.1M for Fox. Warner Bros. rounded out the top five with "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" which grossed $6M and "Syriana" which collected $5.6M. No other films dared to open against "King Kong," however the critically acclaimed "Brokeback Mountain" expanded to just 69 theaters in its second weekend and jumped into the top ten with $2.5M for a scorching $36,355 average.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

A wave of new releases hits the multilplexes on Friday as the North American box office looks to bounce back after a slugglish weekend and get the final month of the year started with a bang.

Mel Gibson‘s ultraviolent historical epic "Apocalypto" hits theaters nationwide while his "What Women Want" director Nancy Meyers counters with the feel-good romantic comedy "The Holiday" starring Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet. The latter’s iceberg lover Leonardo DiCaprio stars in the new political thriller "Blood Diamond" and kids too young for all those flicks will be offered the family comedy "Unaccompanied Minors."

Mel Gibson once again plays tricks on the box office bringing forth one of the most unpredictable grossers of the year in "Apocalypto." The R-rated film examines the end of the once-great Mayan civilization from five centuries ago with the story of one brave man, captured by warriors and set to be sacrificed, who must break free and rescue his pregnant wife and young son. As one of the bloodiest and most violent films of 2006, the Buena Vista release is also one of the most challenging to market. Like the director’s last effort, 2004’s smash hit "The Passion of the Christ," "Apocalypto" is made in a language now dead and is subtitled all the way through. But whereas "Passion" had some small level of starpower, Gibson’s new offering boasts a cast of unknowns including many non-actors.

Selling a subtitled film with no stars about a part of history that few today are talking about is risky enough. But Gibson’s arrest over the summer for drunk driving and his anti-Jewish remarks led to horrible PR for "Apocalypto’s" only marketable asset. A few weeks ago, this film looked like it would have a tough road to travel in order to succeed. But like with "Passion," targeted marketing at those audience segments most likely to embrace the pic has helped fuel positive buzz and even good reviews have sparked more interest, not only with moviegoers, but also with exhibitors. Disney upped its opening weekend run from 2,000 to 2,500 theaters as the exhibition community is showing more confidence in the box office potential of the film. "Passion" also saw its theater bookings jump in the final weeks before launching.

Because of Gibson’s summer escapade, there are some who cannot be convinced to spend money and time on a Mel movie. However, the controversy has given "Apocalypto" a ton of free media exposure over the last couple of months and curiosity has grown. Plus the studio has wisely targeted the large Latino audience which never gets to see a big Hollywood epic made about its ancient history. They came out in big numbers for "Passion" and are expected to show up again this weekend. Also there are moviegoers sick of wasting time and money on sequels and remakes who want something fresh and unique that are looking at the Mayan adventure as an experience they can’t get anywhere else. It will be a closely-watched opening for "Apocalypto," but a weekend tally of about $15M could result giving Gibson a reasonable shot at scoring back-to-back number one hits with foreign language movies.

Mel Gibson’s "Apocalypto."

Moviegoers in search of less bloodshed and a lower body count this weekend will be checking out the new romantic comedy "The Holiday" which stars Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet as two frustrated professionals who decide to swap homes in order to get away from their woes. The PG-13 film finds Diaz going to snowy England while Winslet’s character heads to sunny Los Angeles. Jude Law and Jack Black play the love interests in the Nancy Meyers film. "Holiday" boasts plenty of starpower even though the casting of Nacho Libre in a date movie will have many scratching their heads. Teenage girls and adult women will make up the primary audience, but male interest will be there too thanks to the sassy Diaz who remains a big box office pull with both genders.

Female audiences have been neglected in recent weeks with most major grossers tapping into male or family audiences. The December marketplace will welcome a multi-star romantic comedy set during the Christmas season, however the whites-only casting policy may prevent a more diverse turnout. Sony offered sneak previews last Saturday to boost awareness and word-of-mouth. "Holiday" looks to reach the same crowds that came out for previous mid-December romantic comedies like last year’s "The Family Stone" ($12.5M opening), Meyers’ 2003 hit "Something’s Gotta Give" ($16.1M), and 2002’s Yankee-Brit combo "Two Weeks Notice" ($14.3M). "The Holiday" should receive good cheer from ticket buyers and take in roughly $15M this weekend.

Kate Winslet and Jack Black in "The Holiday."

Like this weekend’s Mel Gibson epic, Leonardo DiCaprio’s new film "Blood Diamond" is also a violent tale of a man whose village is ransacked by warlords and who must fight to retrieve his wife and family. This time, the action takes place only seven years ago in the African nation of Sierra Leone where rebels fight to protect their illegal diamond trade. Djimon Hounsou and Jennifer Connelly co-star in the R-rated film directed by Ed Zwick ("The Last Samurai," "Glory"). Warner Bros. has poured some major marketing dollars into hyping up its new political thriller and like most major releases these days, "Blood Diamond" has some controversy of its own which the studio hopes will help generate more interest. Many stories have been written about how the film might impact the global diamond industry as more Americans (by far the world’s largest consumers of the gem) learn about how conflict diamonds make their way into the market.

Story and starpower should be the main factors at the box office, however. DiCaprio has pull and Hounsou has been getting lots of notice for this role including winning the Best Supporting Actor award from the National Board of Review this week. A year ago this weekend, DiCaprio’s "Departed" foe Matt Damon teamed up with George Clooney for the international political saga "Syriana" which went nationwide with a $11.7M opening from 1,752 theaters for a $6,699 average. With mixed reviews and only 158 more theaters, "Blood Diamond" could find itself in the same neighborhood as it will appeal to much the same audience. Young women who dig the "Titanic" boy and want more upbeat entertainment may get steered over to "The Holiday" and young men who seek screen violence will find much more of it in "Apocalypto" so competition will be fierce this weekend. Opening in 1,910 theaters, "Blood Diamond" might shine with around $12M this weekend.

Leo and Djimon in "Blood Diamond."

Kids have just one new movie aimed at them this weekend. Warner Bros. offers up its second wide release of the frame with "Unaccompanied Minors," a story about a group of children causing chaos when left behind at an airport. The PG-rated film will play exclusively to the family crowd and with "Happy Feet," "Deck the Halls," and even "The Santa Clause 3" still lingering in the marketplace, competition will be tight. Lewis Black and Wilmer Valderrama are the only major names here so starpower will not be much of a factor in drawing in paying customers. "Minors" just does not have enough bells and whistles to rise above the crowded arena. Although the film opens with the most number of theaters, it may end up with the worst gross among the newbies. "Unaccompanied Minors" sneaks into 2,775 sites and could take in about $9M.

A group of kids up to airport hijinks in "Unaccompanied Minors."

After a three-week party atop the box office charts, "Happy Feet" will dance its way down a couple of notches thanks to the wave of new product. "Unaccompanied Minors" will be the only true competitor so the drop should not be too hard. A 35% fall to about $11M could result giving Warner Bros. $136M overall.

James Bond has also been celebrating a solid box office run with its three straight silver medals and is hoping to surpass "The Devil Wears Prada" ($124.7M) and "Over the Hedge" ($155M) to eventually become the top-grossing film of 2006 to not reach the number one spot. This weekend, a 40% decline could be in order giving Agent 007 around $9M for the session pushing the cume for Sony to $129M.

LAST YEAR: Making a big splash at the box office was "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" which bowed to a ferocious $65.6M for the second largest December opening in history. Disney’s effects-filled adventure went on to capture $291.7M domestically and a stunning $750M worldwide. Opening far back in the runnerup spot, but still posting solid numbers, was the oil industry drama "Syriana" with $11.7M and a $6,699 average. The Warner Bros. release went on to gross $50.8M domestically and $93M globally. "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" dropped to third after three weeks at number one and grossed $10.3M. The Johnny Cash flick "Walk the Line" followed with $5.7M and the family comedy "Yours, Mine & Ours" rounded out the top five with $5.1M. Debuting in limited release with explosive averages were "Memoirs of a Geisha" with a $85,313 average from eight locations and "Brokeback Mountain" with a $109,485 average from only five theaters. Final domestic grosses reached $57M and $83M and each won three Oscars.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This weekend, multiplexes hope to cram in lots of moviegoers thanks to a wide selection of new films. Six movies open or expand nationally on Friday making for what will be one of the most competitive weekends of the holiday season.

Adult audiences looking for a laugh can see Will Ferrell in a more mature role in "Stranger Than Fiction." The female vote will be split with daughters going for a scare with Sarah Michelle Gellar in "The Return" while their mothers can spend the evening with Russell Crowe in the romantic comedy "A Good Year." The action flick "Harsh Times" rounds out the menu of new releases targeting young men.

In addition, the cross-continent drama "Babel" expands across the country after two weeks of stellar results in limited release. Despite all the new opponents entering the field, reigning box office incumbent "Borat" will go fully national in an attempt to be re-elected for a second term as commander-in-chief. Rarely does a November weekend have so many new offerings. The fight for screens and moviegoer attention will be fierce. Not every film will survive so some casualties will be left behind on the battlefield by the end of the frame.

After battling Sacha Baron Cohen with race cars last summer in "Talladega Nights," Will Ferrell once again takes on the British comedian at the box office with "Stranger Than Fiction" which will try to stop the seemingly unstoppable "Borat" machine. In the PG-13 film, the funnyman plays an agent with the IRS who begins to hear a voice narrating his life and his every move. Emma Thompson provides the voice while Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, and Queen Latifah co-star. Directed by Marc Forster ("Finding Neverland," "Monster’s Ball"), "Stranger" takes an A-list comedian and puts him in a more mature and serious film that still has some comedic elements. That means that the 14-year-old boys who powered "Talladega Nights" to a $47M opening will take a pass this time around.

When Jim Carrey went arthouse, he saw "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" open to $8.2M with a $6,042 average and "Man on the Moon" bow to $7.5M with a $3,615 average. Adam Sandler‘s "Spanglish" debuted to $8.8M and a $3,617 average. It can often be a tough sell to take a comedian known mostly for mainstream comedies and put him into a more mature film, even if it still has laughs. "Stranger Than Fiction" might find it difficult to pull in teens and young adults, but mature adults will have interest. Reviews have been generally good and the concept makes the film stand out in the current marketplace. Competition for adults will come from both "Babel" and "A Good Year" while "Borat" will continue to steal away millions of moviegoers looking for a good laugh. Launching in 2,264 theaters, "Stranger Than Fiction" might open with roughly $16M.


Will Ferrell screaming at a bus in "Stranger Than Fiction."

Halloween may have passed but those in search of a scare, and were disappointed that "The Grudge 2" did not have Sarah Michelle Gellar in a full role, will have a chance to see their favorite vampire slayer in the new supernatural thriller "The Return." With a commercially friendly PG-13 rating, the spookfest finds Gellar playing a young businesswoman guided by mysterious forces to avenge her own death from a previous life. In the horror genre, Gellar is a bonafide star and can pull in teens and young adults. But with so many fright sequels cramming into theaters recently during the pre-pumpkin period, many genre fans might be all scared out by now. Luckily for "The Return," competition will not be too fierce as nothing else is exciting teenage girls at the moment. The marketing push has been decent, but in many ways it does not stand out as something special or unique that is worth seeing right away. Opening in 1,986 theaters, "The Return" might gross around $8M over the weekend.


Sarah Michelle Gellar, padding her horror credentials in "The Return."

Russell Crowe reteams with his "Gladiator" director Ridley Scott for a trip to a new genre (romantic comedy) in "A Good Year." The PG-13 film finds the former Maximus playing a financial guru who finds women and wine at a french vineyard he inherits. Talk about a tough sell. On paper, the Scott-Crowe combo is box office gold, only they chose to try out a type of film that will repel fans who spent $187.7M on the 2000 Best Picture Oscar winner. Plus the Fox release has no notable female star to boost its potential. Add to that the bad buzz that "Year" received at the Toronto Film Festival plus the mostly negative reviews from critics, and it surely will have its work cut out for it. Could this be "All the King’s Men" all over again?

"A Good Year" stands as that rare film which reunites an Oscar-caliber director with an Oscar-winning actor that earns bad reviews and lukewarm studio support. Crowe’s last film "Cinderella Man" bowed to $18.3M from 2,812 theaters for a $6,515 average in June of last year and was considered an underperformer. The actor’s latest picture lacks the Ron Howard film’s strong critical support, added starpower from Renee Zellweger, and sizable push from Universal. "A Good Year" should play mostly to adult female audiences as the male appeal is low. That makes "Babel" and "Stranger Than Fiction," which have better cross-gender appeal, direct competitors this weekend for mature couples. Opening in 2,066 theaters, "A Good Year" could find itself with about $8M this weekend and a rough road ahead.


Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott enter chick flick territory with "A Good Year."

Still in the top ten with "The Prestige," Christian Bale comes back for double duty in the new action thriller "Harsh Times" from MGM. The R-rated film from the writer of "Training Day" finds the Caped Crusader playing an ex-Army Ranger enlisting with the LAPD who still has ties into the crime world in South Central. "Harsh" will play to urban audiences and should skew male but will find the marketplace difficult to navigate with bigger titles like "Borat" and "Saw III" already doing strong business with that demo. Bale lacks the drawing power of Denzel Washington in his Oscar-winning role in "Training Day" so the grosses should not be in the same ballpark. A moderate national release in over 900 theaters will also limit the potential. "Harsh Times" will have to fight hard in order to crack the top ten and could finish the frame with around $3M.


Christian Bale as a psychopath in "Harsh Times."

Among holdovers, all eyes will be on "Borat" this weekend. Can the Kazakh superstar spend another weekend at number one? Following its robust $26.5M bow from 837 theaters, the Sacha Baron Cohen starrer has delivered solid midweek results grossing over $3M on both Monday and Tuesday. Now, Fox will expand the raunchy comedy on Friday by more than tripling the run to 2,565 theaters allowing everyone to have easy access to the most-talked-about film of the season. Word-of-mouth has been encouraging and "Borat" might even reach the Holy Grail of the box office – repeat business.

Last weekend’s potent average of $31,607 will certainly come crashing down since the film will be in more theaters and most of the hardcore fans have now already seen it. But the buzz is still hot and the Uzbekistan-hating TV journalist is now trying to crossover into new audience segments not initially sold on the concept last week. With the frame’s new films all a mixed bag without a surefire smash among them, "Borat" looks ready to retain its hold on the number one spot. A weekend gross of around $24M could result giving Fox a stellar $62M in only ten days.


"Kazakhstan is the greatest…"

Another cross-cultural film with a five-letter title starting with a B expanding over the weekend is "Babel" starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. Paramount Vantage has attracted scorching results in limited release for two weeks and is now hoping that moviegoers nationwide are ready for the acclaimed drama. Last weekend, "Babel" popped into the Top 20 with a stellar $26,264 average from 35 locations. On Friday, the R-rated film expands to over 1,200 sites and should continue to play to an upscale adult audience.

"Babel" is likely to play to the same crowd that powered last December’s "Syriana" to a $11.7M bow from 1,752 theaters for a $6,699 average. That film had more theaters and a star, George Clooney, who is despised by many American moviegoers for his political beliefs. On the other hand, Pitt can cheat on his wife and father a baby with another woman, and the public still can’t get enough of him. That’s pure starpower. But "Babel" is not the type of commercial role that Pitt attracts large crowds to. Still, the average should be solid so given its level of distribution, "Babel" could gross about $10M this weekend.


Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, looking rather disheveled in "Babel."

Disney and Paramount went head to head last weekend with competing kidpics and split the family vote in half pretty evenly. "Flushed Away" is getting better word-of-mouth and is offering audiences something new so its decline might be smaller than that of "The Santa Clause 3." Kid movies opening in early November typically have good legs and enjoy strong second weekend holds. Sophomore drops for recent films of the genre include 21% for last year’s "Chicken Little," 29% for 2004’s "The Incredibles," 15% for 2003’s "Elf," and 15% for 2002’s "The Santa Clause 2." This weekend, "Clause 3" might drop by 25% and "Flushed" could wash away 20% leaving each with a three-day tally in the neighborhood of $15M. That would push ten-day cumes to roughly $39M a piece for the Mouse House pic and the rat toon.

LAST YEAR: Disney’s poultry toon "Chicken Little" stayed at number one for a second weekend with an impressive $31.7M. Three new releases followed within a tight range. Sony’s big-budget kidpic "Zathura" bowed in second with $13.4M on its way to a disappointing $28.2M. Jennifer Aniston was close behind with her thriller "Derailed" which opened to $12.2M. The Weinstein Co. release went on to gross a moderate $36M. Paramount’s urban action pic "Get Rich or Die Tryin’" debuted in fourth place with a $12M weekend and $17.7M over five days. The 50 Cent starrer finished its run with $31M. Rounding out the top five was the military drama "Jarhead" which tumbled 58% to $11.7M. Premiering to sensational results was the period film "Pride & Prejudice" which grossed $2.9M from only 215 theaters for a sizzling $13,326 average. The Focus release went on to become an awards contender and took in $38.4M making it the top-grossing pic among the weekend’s new films.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

The "Die Hard" series is well-known for giving Bruce Willis nasty villains played by good actors: Alan Rickman, Bill Sadler, Jeremy Irons… And now comes word that Jeffrey Wright might be pulling villain duty for John McClane’s fourth manic misadventure.

From the humorously titled website JewReview.net: "Since I wasn’t able to actually be in my hometown of Baltimore for the set of "Live Free or Die Hard," I sent out my feelers for at least a few scoops on the fourth installment of the Bruce Willis action flick. And wouldn’t you know it, JewReview.net has some major news coming out of the Len Wiseman-directed flick.

Jeffrey Wright ("Syriana," "Angels in America") is going to be that one guy making John McClane’s life a living hell? And it would only make sense, as production moves from Baltimore to Wright’s hometown of Washington DC.

Right now, all we know is he’ll be the head of an agency; McClane will then be leading the team to stop him. A call back from Wright’s people hasn’t been returned to confirm any extra plot details."

Click here for the full report.

Low budget horror film “Alone in the Dark” took home the industry’s biggest booby prize as Hollywood’s annual anti-Oscars, The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards, dished out awards in 24 competition categories. The dishonors came courtesy of the Los Angeles-based Bad Cinema Society, a panel of movie critics and film fans which annually awards Hollywood’s worst films and performances.

Though “Alone in the Dark” didn’t receive the most awards, it managed to beat the field in four major categories, including worst film of the year, worst director (Uwe Boll, who some critics and fans have likened to legendary bad movie maker Ed Wood), worst actress (Tara Reid), and worst special effects.

The top award winner for 2005, with five Stinkers, was “Son of the Mask,” New Line’s ill-conceived follow-up to the Jim Carrey mega-hit “The Mask.” The mind-numbing sequel, which was inexplicably still produced after Carrey refused to participate in the project, took honors for Worst Actor (Jamie Kennedy), Worst Sequel, and Worst Couple (Kennedy and anyone forced to co-star with him). The film was also named 2005’s foulest family film.

Jessica Simpson picked up three awards for her portrayal of Daisy Duke in the big screen remake of the TV series “The Dukes of Hazzard.” Her warbling of “These Boot Are Made For Walkin’” earned her a Stinker for worst song in a movie. She was also named worst supporting actress of the year and can lay claim to having sported the most annoying fake accent in a movie.

Media target Paris Hilton, who had a small role in the horror remake “House of Wax,” came away unscathed by the society. Mentioned as a worst supporting actress on other year-end lists, the hotel heiress did not make the final cut on the more selective Stinkers ballot. "To get on the Stinkers ballot you are judged on your performance, not your tabloid persona,” said Stinkers Bad Movie Awards co-founder Michael Lancaster. “Anyone that would put Paris Hilton on a list of the five worst supporting actresses in 2005 didn’t see a lot of movies in 2005."

The Stinkers ballot featured five worst film candidates that any other year would have been winners or at the very least runners-up in their own right. Proof positive that 2005 will go down as one of the worst film years on record. One category (worst song) had ten nominees, tying a Stinker record. “Hollywood just doesn’t seem to understand that what’s keeping paying customers away is the bad product they hype. You can’t just keep advertising that bad films are the funniest films of the year. Eventually the lies will catch up with you,” said Bad Cinema Society co-founder Ray Wright. He warned that 2006 was gearing up to be more of the same. “We’ve already had another film by Uwe Boll [BloodRayne] released and we will be all over ‘The Pink Panther.’”

With more than 50 sequels and remakes lined up for release in the next year, it’s safe to say that Hollywood has run out of ideas.” Added Lancaster, “I think the public has finally caught on to what we’ve been saying for years — that a lot of what Hollywood sells is not worth the price of an admission ticket. I love that people are avoiding some of these overhyped films like the plague.”

Lancaster and Wright say the film that earned the most Stinkers for 2005 (“Son of the Mask”) is a perfect example of a Hollywood system gone horribly wrong. “I can’t for the life of me imagine how this project got approved. I think the minute Jim Carrey passes on this you say, ‘let’s not make the sequel.’ Now I guess we can all see how New Line is spending their ‘Lord of the Rings’ profits,” said Lancaster.

The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards have been featured in Entertainment Weekly, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times, and on the BBC, CNN, as well as in a slew of regional and international newspapers and magazines. The group’s website has received nearly two million hits.

Complete list of winners and nominees for 2005:

WORST FILM
Alone in the Dark

WORST SENSE OF DIRECTION (Stop them before they direct again!)
Uwe Boll (Alone in the Dark)

WORST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Jamie Kennedy (Son of the Mask)

WORST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Tara Reid (Alone in the Dark)

WORST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Tyler Perry (as Madea) (Diary of a Mad Black Woman)

WORST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Jessica Simpson (The Dukes of Hazzard)

WORST SCREENPLAY FOR A FILM GROSSING MORE THAN $100 MILLION*
*using Hollywood math
Fantastic Four

MOST PAINFULLY UNFUNNY COMEDY
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo

WORST SONG OR SONG PERFORMANCE IN A FILM OR ITS END CREDITS
These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ (Jessica Simpson) (The Dukes of Hazzard)

MOST INTRUSIVE MUSICAL SCORE
Son of the Mask

LESS THAN DYNAMIC DUO
Samuel L. Jackson and Eugene Levy (The Man)

WORST ON-SCREEN COUPLE
Jamie Kennedy and anyone forced to co-star with him (Son of the Mask)

MOST ANNOYING FAKE ACCENT
MALE: Norm MacDonald (Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo)
FEMALE: Jessica Simpson (The Dukes of Hazzard)

LEAST "SPECIAL" SPECIAL EFFECTS
Alone in the Dark

WORST REMAKE
Yours, Mine and Ours

WORST SEQUEL
Son of the Mask

WORST RESURRECTION OF A "CLASSIC" TV SERIES
The Honeymooners

THE SPENCER BRESLIN AWARD (FOR WORST PERFORMANCE BY A CHILD)
Adrian Alonso (The Legend of Zorro)

WORST CHILD ENSEMBLE
Yours, Mine and Ours

FOULEST FAMILY FILM
Son of the Mask

LEAST SCARY HORROR MOVIE
The Fog

MOST OVERRATED FILM
Syriana

WORST ANIMATED FILM
Chicken Little

For full nominee lists and more awards, stop by the Stinkers official website!

Like most pathetic movie geeks, I was up at the crack of dawn (ok, 8:30am eastern time) to see how my nomination prediction ballot would measure up. (I was perfect on all 20 acting nods and all 10 screenwriting nods, but I erroneously predicted that “Walk the Line” would get nominated over “Capote” for Best Picture, and I picked Croneberg for director over Benett Miller.) Anyhow, here are the nominations for us to rant and rave about for the next five weeks…

BEST PICTURE
Brokeback Mountain
Capote
Crash
Good Night, and Good Luck.
Munich

BEST DIRECTOR
George Clooney – Good Night, and Good Luck.
Paul Haggis – Crash
Ang Lee – Brokeback Mountain
Bennett Miller – Capote
Steven Spielberg – Munich

BEST ACTOR

Philip Seymour Hoffman – Capote
Terrence HowardHustle & Flow
Heath Ledger – Brokeback Mountain
Joaquin PhoenixWalk the Line
David Strathairn – Good Night, and Good Luck.

BEST ACTRESS
Judi DenchMrs. Henderson Presents
Felicity HuffmanTransamerica
Keira KnightleyPride & Prejudice
Charlize TheronNorth Country
Reese Witherspoon – Walk the Line

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Matt Dillon – Crash
George Clooney – Syriana
Paul GiamattiCinderella Man
Jake Gyllenhaal – Brokeback Mountain
William HurtA History of Violence

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Amy AdamsJunebug
Catherine Keener – Capote
Frances McDormand – North Country
Rachel WeiszThe Constant Gardener
Michelle Williams – Brokeback Mountain

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Match PointWoody Allen
The Squid & the WhaleNoah Baumbach
Good Night, and Good Luck. – George Clooney & Grant Heslov
Syriana – Stephen Gaghan
Crash – Paul Haggis & Robert Moresco

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Constant Gardener – Jeffrey Caine
Capote – Dan Futterman
Munich – Tony Kushner & Eric Roth
Brokeback Mountain – Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana
A History of Violence – Josh Olson

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Don’t Tell (La Bestia nel Cuore) – Italy
Joyeux Noel – France
Paradise Now – Palestine
Sophie Scholl – Germany
Tsotsi – South Africa

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Darwin’s Nightmare
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
March of the Penguins
Murderball
Street Fight

ANIMATED FILM
Corpse Bride
Howl’s Moving Casle
Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

ART DIRECTION

Good Night, and Good Luck.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
King Kong
Memoirs of a Geisha
Pride & Prejudice

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Batman Begins
Brokeback Mountain
Good Night, and Good Luck.
Memoirs of a Geisha
The New World

COSTUME DESIGN

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Memoirs of a Geisha
Mrs. Henderson Presents
Pride & Prejudice
Walk the Line

FILM EDITING

Cinderella Man
The Constant Gardener
Crash
Munich
Walk the Line

MAKEUP
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Cinderella Man
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

SCORE

Brokeback Mountain
The Constant Gardener
Memoirs of a Geisha
Munich
Pride & Prejudice

SONG
“In The Deep” – Crash
“It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” – Hustle & Flow
“Travelin’ Thru” – Transamerica

SOUND EDITING

King Kong
Memoirs of a Geisha
War of the Worlds

SOUND MIXING

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
King Kong
Memoirs of a Geisha
Walk the Line
War of the Worlds

VISUAL EFFECTS
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
King Kong
War of the Worlds

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of The Bang Bang Club
God Sleeps in Rwanda
The Mushroom Club
A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

Ausreisser (The Runaway)
Cashback
The Last Farm
Our Time Is Up
Six Shooter

ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Badgered
The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation
The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello
9
One Man Band

I hate to sound like a geek (actually, no I don’t), but how was Episode III not nominated for best FX? And would it have been so hard for the Academy to throw some small amount of love towards Sin City?

And how the hell was Serenity not nominated for Best Picture???

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