What can I say, I am a sucker for those 'little film that could' kind of Cinderella-stories and today, when big-budgeted sequels and tentpole-wannabe-s rule everything, it was great to see last year that people ARE still interested in little films IF these films are special...reaally special. So which low budgeted tiny indie (or not so tiny OR indie) could surprise at the Box Office this year ? Let's have a closer look :
- The Iron LadyThe Weinsteins will campaign the hell out of this one, it has a Holiday Season-release date and Meryl Streep in the leading role. She has been extremely succesful at the Box Office lately, so there is no need to assume that her streak will end now...especially with the Weinsteins in her corner. The film has an excellent shot at delivering 'The Queen-numbers' (57M US + 67M overseas) BUT I think it will do better...probably MUCH better...100M+100M ? I mean, look at the numbers of The King's Speech...and Meryl Streep is a much bigger (Box Office-) star than Colin Firth was last year.
- The DescendantsGeorge Clooney sold an Oscary dramedy two years ago...could he do it again ? Probably. If Payne's Sideways could make 72M 7 years ago, The Descendants with Clooney should have a good shot at that magical 100M domestic number...but 'Up in the Air' s 80M would be a great accomplishment already.
- Machine Gun PreacherCould be the 'inspirational' film of the year. It is the story of Sam Childers, a former drug-dealing biker tough guy who found God and became a crusader for hundreds of Sudanese children who've been forced to become soldiers...take that Soul Surfer!
- One DayThe high-concept, the built-in audience thanks to the source material and Anne Hathaway's star power might just be enough...although rave reviews would definitely help...A LOT.
- Wuthering HeightsApparently, the marketing will focus on the tragic, forbidden love story, trying to appeal to the Twilight-audience...well, if they can pull it off, we might just have „the overachiever” of the year. Having said that, a BO-performance closer to recent British romances (Jane Eyre, The Young Victoria) is definitely a (much) more reasonable guess at this point.
- The Skin I live inFor some reason, I'm getting a Black Swan-vibe here, I don't know whether it has something to do with the fact that it has the same kind of creepy/edgy-yet-campy story, but it could be definitely a film that people could talk about.
- DriveThe genre is audience-friendly and Cannes-word suggests it will be critically acclaimed, the only problem is that Ryan Gosling isn't a BO-star...although after Crazy Stupid Love, that might change...we'll see!
- The Rum DiaryJohnny Depp...rest my case.
And let's not forget about „the 'big' studio films that could”, either...sounds stupid, I know.
- War HorseOn paper, this should be definitely THE film of the Holiday Season...too bad it is coming out relatively late. Anyway, 100M stateside and another 200M on the international circuit could happen without a hitch.
- Extremely Loud and Incredibly CloseSandra Bullock and Tom Hanks are probably the most likeable Oscar-winners today, add the always reliable Daldry, the source material, the December-release date and the family drama factor, and we might just have another The Blind Side on our hands...and I mean that strictly Box Office-wise...
- The Girl with the Dragon TattooUnfortunately this doesn't have the luxury of „might”, it HAS TO bring in big numbers simply because it had a big budget (100M)...so 100M stateside and 200M on the international circuit are pretty much the least it should do...for what it's worth, I think it will do much better.
- J. EdgarTricky...Eastwood's previous high-profile biopic didn't exactly do well at the Box Office, but then again, Invictus didn't feature one of the biggest movie stars in the lead role, either...so what will it be BO-wise...another Invictus or another Aviator (ironically enough, Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby beat the latter in 2004) ?
- HugoScorsese + 3D + family fantasy + Thanksgiving release date...with this formula, it definitely SHOULD do well...
- Young AdultJason Reitman's recent films (Up in the Air, Juno) did remarkably well at the Box Office, but both of those films were strong Oscar-contenders (bp-bd-acting-script nominations)...considering Charlize Theron isn't exactly a solo draw, either, the film kind of has to be a serious Awards-contender to get that extra-push...it will come down to the reviews...although a release date wouldn't hurt, either.
- We bought a ZooCameron Crowe had been more miss than hit lately, so hopefully he is back to his A-game this time around. If he is, Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson could definitely help him turn this film into a hit.
- The HelpEarly words is great – but then again, not official early word is always great – and it definitely looks „feel-good” enough...well, if it manages to get at least a fraction of The Blind Side-audience, it will be a success. At this point, 50M would be nice...but 100M would be a story...AND a huge Oscar-push, as well...