Thursday, November 8, 2012

In Theaters This Weekend: November 9, 2012


What is this, James Bond Day?! This should be quite the easy post to assemble this week though, and honestly, it's barely even worth writing. Outside of the fact that "Skyfall" is the only new film opening in wide release this weekend, it's also one of a handful of films that we've already detailed in our In Anticipation series. "Lincoln" will also get its official release - albeit in only 11 theaters - but since it will get an expansion to a wide release next weekend, I want to save that as my headliner there.

I'll briefly run through some of my thoughts on "Skyfall", and if nothing else, at least we have some box office predictions we can discuss.

Hit the jump for more.

So "Skyfall" is the 23rd James Bond film to release, making it one of the longest running franchises ever. This will be the third film to feature Daniel Craig in the lead role, previously headlining "Casino Royale" and "Quantum of Solace". For this installment, Bond's loyalty to "M" is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost. Seems like a pretty basic Bond plot, though I'm definitely not the best versed in the series.

Before I dig any deeper, here's a link to Nathan's In Anticipation post for the film, where he lays out some key details (and as he's seen every James Bond film to-date, he has as good a perspective on this as anyone).

As far as early reviews for the film, they've pretty easily been the best that this franchise has ever seen, with many already proclaiming that this may be the best Bond film ever. And while that's an impressive feat for any film in a 23-installment series, let's not over-inflate those claims too much. It very well may be the best the series has had to offer, but if you really think about it, has this franchise ever been the most prolific? Sure, there has been plenty of great action and mystery, but for many, "Casino Royale" became the favorite a few years back, and even though that's a solid pick, it's nothing amazing; really just some above-average action fare. But so far, the film has reviewed to an impressive 92% amongst critics.

Many praise Academy Award-winning director Sam Mendes ("American Beauty") for his rejuvenation of the franchise, which by all accounts, should be stale and overdone. But most all critics agree that not only does Mendes provide one of the best character studies for the character of James Bond, he also fills the film with plenty of high-octane action.

As I mentioned on this week's CinemaCast, even though I'm not generally a big Bond fan, this is my most anticipated film of November. I'm so intrigued with the overwhelmingly positive reviews that I just have to see how great it can be. I'm not sure if I ultimately expect much more than something like the better Jason Bourne films, but nonetheless, this should be a giant leap up from the last installment, "Quantum of Solace". I expect that most all of us should be able to check this one out with ease this weekend, and if nothing else, we'll get plenty of action & entertainment out of it. Depending on your James Bond affinities, you might have more or less interest in this than I, but from all accounts, this looks like it should be a success.

As far as box office predictions go, if the international grosses for "Skyfall" so far (it opened two weeks ago overseas) are any indication, this should be a monster hit. The film so far has banked nearly $300MM internationally, shattering most all opening records in locations it's released. This is the first blockbuster hit we've seen in theaters in a while, and unless I'm terribly over-valuing what this film can do, I would expect a total north of $60MM is possible. I don't want to be too aggressive, but something between $65MM and $70MM feels good for this one.

Last weekend, "Wreck-It Ralph" led all titles with $49MM. This being a very well-crafted Disney 3D spectacle, smaller-than-usual drops in its second week seem expected. Giving it a general 30% dip from its opening weekend totals would put it somewhere around $35MM this weekend. That seems like a good place to start, though I'm not sure if the "Skyfall" audience will have any influence on this or not. "Flight" made a strong appearance last week as well, opening with $24MM. Character dramas generally don't fare nearly as well as animated features in their second weekends, but word-of-mouth should be strong for this picture, and I expect something similar to what "Argo" was able to achieve in its second weekend. Something around $16MM should be possible.

Those will be the only titles really vying for the top spots this week. With "Skyfall" finally hitting U.S. theaters - by all accounts, it should have a cake walk taking the top spot - I would expect an uptick in overall box office numbers this weekend.

That's what we can look forward to this weekend. Are you planning on checking out "Skyfall"?