Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster, Giovanni Ribisi,
Caleb Landry Jones, Lukas Haas, Diego Lun & J.K. Simmons
Directed by Baltasar Kormákur for distribution by Universal
The Plot: A reformed international smuggler is pulled back into his old life when his brother-in-law botches a job for a ruthless criminal.
The Final Word: Actors stepping behind the camera is nothing new, but this is definitely a unique situation as Icelandic actor Baltasar Kormákur is directing this American version of a top foreign film that he headlined. While Universal probably isn’t expecting the film (based on the movie Reykjavik-Rotterdam) to break the bank, movies in this particular release window have historically opened strong as audiences are looking for something different than traditional holiday fare.
Starring: Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton, Keke Palmer,
Courtney B. Vance, Jeremy Jordan & Kris Kristofferson
Directed by Todd Graff for distribution by Warner Brothers
The Plot: Two choir members clash over their visions for how their group should prepare for the national championships.
The Final Word: Conversely to “Contraband,” while action films do well in this window, comedies don’t fare half as well. Audiences sense that comedies released so close to the holidays, but not during the holidays, were held back for a reason and in most cases they are right. Still, having Dolly Parton as your lead, at least guarantees your film some strong publicity.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST 3D
Starring (voices): Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White,
Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers, Angela Lansbury, Bradley Pierce,
Rex Everhart, Jesse Corti, Hal Smith & Jo Anne Worley
Directed by Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise for distribution by Disney
The Plot: The Oscar-nominated Disney film returns to theaters, but this time in 3D.
The Final Word: It may be a “tale as old as time” but it is also one of Disney’s most successful animated films EVER and following the success of “The Lion King 3D,” the house the mouse built may be able to afford another wing if this one performs as well. Disney actually has a little more banking on this than they did with “Lion,” as it was the success of “Lion” that prompted this continuation of re-releasing older classics with a 3D twist.
Previewed: Underworld: Awakening, Haywire, Redtails