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New in Theaters November 22: Coco, Lady Bird, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

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By Chris Kavan - 11/23/17 at 09:19 AM CT

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! As we enter into the Thanksgiving long weekend, one film is going to stand above the rest. Coco, the latest from Disney's Pixar brand, is going to easily top the weekend. Justice League was a superheroic letdown and Thor has been out plenty long enough. Coco should have no problem asserting itself. Meanwhile, two other films are going from limited to wide release - the Denzel Washington courtroom drama Roman J Israel, Esq. and the well-received Greta Gerwig comedy Lady Bird. Since today is essentially Friday, all the movies, new and old, will have plenty of time to bring in audiences.

COCO The latest offering from the animated powerhouse Pixar has already conquered Mexico - becoming the highest-grossing U.S. release of all time in that country ($41.4 million and counting) and looks to extend Disney's winning streak over Thanksgiving. Last year, the release was Moana - and Coco looks to follow in those footsteps. Moana opened with $2.6 million in Tuesday previews, Coco is close behind with $2.3 million. Moana went on to open with $82 million over five days (the second-best Thanksgiving weekend total on record) and, once again, Coco should be close behind with a likely $77 million total. If Latino audiences embrace it, it could go even higher. The film follows the story of Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) wants nothing more than to be like his musical idol Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt) - and he has the guitar chops to prove it. The only problem is his family has a long-standing ban on music but through a series of events, Miguel finds himself in the Land of the Dead and guided by the trickster Hector (Gael García Bernal) he will find out the truth behind his families strange legacy. The film looks like Pixar gold - vibrant, colorful (both in look and character) and with a lot of heart. Having the film have a Mexican theme, respecting the culture, should only serve to bring in a wider audience than usual. No doubt this will join the ranks of Pixar's hits.

LADY BIRD Ever since its release in early November, Lady Bird has been killing it in limited release. It has already broken into the top 10, and if it can continue its winning streak, there's no reason to think it can't crack the top five over the holiday. Lady Bird follows Christine McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) also known as Lady Bird, as she attends her final year in a Catholic high school in Sacramento who dreams of escaping California for collect on the East Coast. The coming-of-age comedy is full of adventure and humor as the decision not only affects her, but her family as well. Greta Gerwig has established herself as a fine actress and writer, and if Lady Bird is any indication, she will find as much success if not more as a director. This could wind up on many end-of-year nominations, and I have a feeling the weekend will also be kind to it.

ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ. While it hasn't had nearly the universal praise of Lady Bird, Roman J. Israel, Esq. has Denzel Washington and Colin Farrell, names big enough to draw a decent crowd. Our title character (Washington) is a eccentric, driven and idealistic defense attorney - but one who works behind the scenes, letting his partner do the courtroom battles while he does the planning. But when his partner dies of a sudden heart attack, he is left to drift, eventually finding himself as part of the firm of the slick George Pierce (Farrell) and finds his long-held ideals put to the test as he slowly succumbs to the pressure and immorality of his new position. The film has earned mixed reviews, so I don't think it will be a huge breakout hit, but on the basis of the stars alone, it should have a decent debut.

There is plenty to give thanks for over the holidays, good movies are just one of them. I'll be back on Sunday with all the details.


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