It's All About The Movies
Week of December 1st to December 7th 2013 - Volume One, Issue Forty-Three.
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Dear Movie Lover,

Holiday 2013 Forecast

Although we may be exactly four weeks away from Christmas, what's traditionally known as the "holiday" box office season officially kicked off on the first weekend of November. So it's time for a holiday movie forecast, predicting the domestic box office for some of the biggest titles of the season.

Anticipated sequels Thor: The Dark World, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug should dominate the season-combined, these three will likely earn over $800 million. After that, Disney Animation's Frozen and long-awaited comedy sequel Anchorman: The Legend Continues should also do strong business. Other serious contenders include late year awards contenders American Hustle, Saving Mr. Banks and The Wolf of Wall Street, among others.

Listed below are the movies we think will be the Top 12.

1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Nov. 22): In March 2012, The Hunger Games shocked the world when it opened to an incredible $152.5 million, which remains an unprecedented start for a non-sequel. The movie held well, and ultimately closed with an incredible $408 million (back then, it ranked 11th all-time). In the year-and-a-half since then, the fanbase has only grown in size-many who enjoyed the movie checked out the book series, while those who missed the movie in theaters caught it at home. All of this begs the question: can Catching Fire match or exceed its predecessor? With a bigger fanbase, more aggressive marketing and a prime holiday release date, the gut reaction is "absolutely." The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will be the highest-grossing movie of the season with at least $335 million.   

2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Dec. 13): The first Hobbit earned a very strong $303 million last year, though anecdotal evidence suggests that many Lord of the Rings fans weren't thrilled with the movie. Historically, when an anticipated movie receives lukewarm audience reactions, its sequel suffers at the box office. Warner Bros. is working overtime to try to keep too many fans from bailing: the marketing material emphasizes Lord of the Rings favorites Gandalf and Legolas, and the prospect of finally seeing the dragon Smaug should also help. Forecast: $230 million 

3. Thor: The Dark World (Nov. 8): A lot is riding on Thor: The Dark World; it's the second entry in Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the first one outside of the all-star Iron Man franchise. Thanks to goodwill from The Avengers, Iron Man 3 increased 31 percent over Iron Man 2-if Thor 2 has a similar bump over the first Thor ($181 million), it will earn $237 million. Unfortunately, Thor 2 doesn't add 3D (the first one was in 3D as well) and the marketing hasn't been quite as strong as the material for Iron Man 3. Still, a total north of $200 million is likely, and big foreign grosses (over $400 million) should be expected as well. Forecast: $220 million 

4. Frozen (Nov. 27): Disney Animation is back on Thanksgiving weekend for the first time since 2010, when Tangled opened strong on its way to just over $200 million. Frozen's story isn't as immediately interesting, and marketing has yet to sell this to boys the way Tangled did. Still, this is the latest holiday season in which the studios have neglected to schedule compelling content for families in December. As a result, Frozen should play well all the way through Christmas, and could end up matching Wreck-It Ralph ($189.4 million). Forecast: $185 million 

5. Anchorman: The Legend Continues (Dec. 20): In 2004, the original Anchorman earned a solid $85.3 million in theaters. In the years since, though, it's become a massive hit on video and TV, and Paramount and the filmmakers are finally releasing a sequel over nine years later. The opportunity to spend more time with Ron Burgundy and company is an enticing one, and the marketing material has does a nice job of moving the story forward and setting up some new gags. While Anchorman 2 probably won't get the "Austin Powers bump," it's hard to imagine it earns less than $150 million. Forecast: $165 million 

6. Saving Mr. Banks (Dec. 13 limited, Dec. 20 nationwide): On the surface, the story of how Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) convinced E.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) to make the movie Mary Poppins sounds like the kind of inside baseball fare that audiences aren't going to show much interest in. Trailers make Saving Mr. Banks seem accessible, though, and early word is that it's a crowd-pleaser. The movie appears to have something for people of any age, which could make it the de facto choice for family audiences this season. Forecast: $130 million 

7. The Wolf of Wall Street (Dec. 25): Originally scheduled for Nov. 15, The Wolf of Wall Street recently moved back to Christmas Day to give director Martin Scorsese more time to edit the movie. All of the marketing has been strong so far, and the material is right in the wheelhouses of Scorsese (Goodfellas) and star Leonardo DiCaprio. Wolf does appear to have a mean, satirical edge to it, which can be a turn-off for holiday audiences; still, it has enough obvious advantages that it should be a safe bet to earn over $100 million. Forecast: $125 million 

8. American Hustle (Dec. 13 limited, Dec. 18 nationwide): Director David O. Russell has had a critical and commercial resurgence in the past few years with The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook, which earned $93.6 million and $132.1 million, respectively, and won three acting Oscars. For American Hustle, Russell has brought a dream team together from those two casts (Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence), and put all of them in some insane 70s costumes and hairdos. While previews are light on story, they do give off a fun/cool vibe that aligns nicely with Russell's brand. If the movie turns out to actually be good-and there are rumblings that it is-this could turn out to be a huge hit with adult audiences. Forecast: $120 million

9. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Dec. 25): Blending fantasy and reality in one man's journey of self-discovery, Walter Mitty's previews have stood out from the pack in recent months. It also helps that star Ben Stiller has found a lot of success around the holidays, and that this is Kristen Wiig's first major studio role since Bridesmaids. Word from initial screenings is only so-so, though, and it's unclear if this is for families (it's rated "PG") or for adults (it appears to have some heavy elements). Forecast: $95 million 

10. Grudge Match (Dec. 25): Stars Robert DeNiro and Sylvester Stallone have struggled a bit at the box office this year, though there are reasons to expect Grudge Match to reverse this. The opportunity to see the actors behind Jake LaMotta and Rocky Balboa square off in the boxing ring is an appealing one, and the comedic elements will make this an easy choice. It doesn't hurt that these two are getting support from Kevin Hart, who has amassed a devoted fan base in recent years. Forecast: $80 million 

11. Ender's Game (Nov. 1): This is cheating, of course, since Ender's Game already opened to $27 million this weekend. With tough competition from Thor: The Dark World and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, it's likely that the adaptation burns out quickly and ends up in the same range as similar titles Eragon ($75 million) and The Golden Compass ($70.1 million). Forecast: $75 million 

12. Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas (Dec. 13): Setting a Madea movie at Christmas is a stroke of genius-not only does it give Madea a chance to dress up as Santa, but it also allows themes of family and community to be more seemlessly integrated with the story. Prolific writer/director/actor Tyler Perry's three highest-grossing movies all feature the wise-cracking Madea, and it's likely that A Madea Christmas follows suit. Forecast: $70 million

Discover Tune In and Watch
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Coming Attractions:  
December 1st - December 7th
Check Today's Listings for dates and times (ET) of these features as well as more great films. All the time.
A young French car thief kills a policeman and tries to persuade a girl to hide in Italy with him.
Running Time: 90 Minutes Crime Drama
Starring: Jean Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger
Directed By: Jean Luc Goddard
The Christmas Wife
A widower, not wanting to face his first Christmas alone, responds to an ad for "social introductions".
Running Time: 73 Minutes Romance Drama
Starring: Jason Robards,  Julie Harris
Directed By: David Hugh Jones
Don't Pass Me By
A stirring story about love, regret and second chances told in a series of vignettes woven together.  The story follows four women at crises points in their lives.
Running Time: 100 Minutes Drama
Starring: Sean Stone, Keith David, C.Thomas Howell
Directed By: Eric Priestly
Victory At Sea
Pearl Harbor is one of twenty-six episodes that document naval combat during World War Two.  Famous or its musical score, eloquent narration and
combat footage.
Running time: 30 Minutes Action War
Starring: Leonard Graves  Franklin D. Roosevelt  Adolf Hitler
Directed By: Documentary footage from the US Naval Command
Star Turn:

As  Dr. Ryan Stone in Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity, Sandra Bullock gives an emotionally naked performance that will likely earn her an Oscar nomination. Bullock's tremendous talent and range---to say nothing of her trademark grace and good humor in good times and bad---is what has earned her top spot on Entertainment Weekly's annual list of the most exciting performers of 2013.
A true collaborator on Gravity, it was Bullock's feeling that her character, Dr. Ryan Stone, was in a raw state of mourning for her dead child. Originally the script called for her character to have a child waiting for her back on Earth. Bullock proposed, "What if she had absolutely noting to fight for? She's lost a child. There's nothing back home and she's a person who is basically a machine." That was her idea and Cuaron was open to it.
As for quashing talk of another Gravity, Bullock appreciated Cuaron's  alternate ending idea of George Clooney falling from the sky on top of her at the end. Audiences would see them on top of one another, limbs everywhere. Hands intertwined as they die clutching the dirt of Earth.
Does the real ending, with Bullock flat on her face crawling out the sea...struggling to stand upright and shakily walking off leave room for Gravity 2? And does that scene sort of remind us of Gwyneth Paltrow's emergence from the sea at the close of the film Shakespeare In Love? What's that famous line about "the sincerest form of flattery"?
Did You Know?
Pop Star Perfumes
We've sampled five musical scents. Here's our assessment of what they should---and actually do---smell like.
SOMEDAY By Justin Bieber

Should Smell Like:
Cherry ChapStick, new Nikes, maple leaves
Actually Smells Like:
Grape Bubble Yum, Jasmine, Selena Gomez's shampoo
PULSE By Beyoncé

Should Smell Like:
Destiny, leotards, diamond dust, baby powder
Actually Smells Like:
St. Bart's by proxy, yacht deck, orchid, lemon peel

Should Smell Like:
A bed of roses, the Jersey shore, hair spray
Actually Smells Like:
Guitar wood, musk, flowers

Should Smell Like:
Blonde ambition, pulverized hydrangeas
Actually Smells Like:
SPF 30, gardenias from Eva Peron's balcony, success

Should Smell Like:
Christmas trees, kittens, Grammys
Actually Smells Like:
Fruity Pebbles, cashmere sweaters, lingerie drawer sachets
You're probably mentally pairing one or more of these pop star perfumes with their
latest chart toppers. Santa Babies, you're on to something!

See you on every day. Where the films are always fabulous and always free. On desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Mike and Monika


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