New Movies to Crave: Be Our Guest in 3D, Contraband Optional
By Chris Kavan - 01/13/12 at 09:48 AM CT
Despite horrendous critical and audience reaction last week, The Devil Inside managed to get the 2012 new movie season off with a bang with an impressive nearly $34 million debut. This week has a couple of new films, one nationwide expansion and one 3D re-release that has a good chance of beating them all.
1) Disney found a gold mine when they decided to re-release The Lion King in 3D last year. With a total take of $94.2 million, it truly was the king of the box office during its run. Now Disney is hoping lightning strikes twice with Beauty and the Beast. I don't see any reason it won't: the family box office has quieted down, it's a beloved classic that adults who grew up with it would love to show to children and, in terms of release, it's a a sound strategy. Will it be as big as The Lion King? That's hard to say, but Finding Nemo is already being prepared for the 3D treatment, so it's obvious this is a strategy they will use in the future.
2) As a counter to this family programming, Mark Wahlberg, Giovanni Ribisi and Kate Beckinsale counter with Contraband. Smuggling never looked so good! This looks like a fair-to-middling action/crime hybrid. It has the best chance of beating the updated Beauty and the Beast, but it remains to be seen whether more families or action movie fans decide to take in a movie over the weekend.
3) I'm not sure exactly who the intended audience for Joyful Noise might be, but I have to imagine it's a pretty small target. A new choir director and her star talent (Queen Latifah and... Dolly Parton?!) face off in order to determine the direction their group will take. The closest thing I can compare this to is Sister Act (which, to its credit, wasn't such a terrible movie) but is there a built-in audience for this? I'm going to predict not a very big one.
4) Expanding to more theaters is the biopic of Margaret Thatcher The Iron Lady, in which Meryl Streep has been getting great reviews, even if the film itself hasn't. Still, with awards season finally heating up, it will be interesting to see if her performance is enough to attract a decent audience.
With the surprise last weekend, it could be anyone's game. Given the love of Disney (and especially Beauty and the Beast), I'm giving the edge to the 1991 animated classic. See you Sunday when we'll see if my prediction holds true.