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MARTIN GROVE'S HOLLYWOOD REPORT -- JOLLY JANUARY– 1/4/16


 
NORM OF THE NORTH

NORM OF THE NORTH

KUNG FU PANDA 3

KUNG FU PANDA 3

THE FIFTH WAVE - ALEX ROE & CHLOE GRACE MORETZ

THE FIFTH WAVE - ALEX ROE & CHLOE GRACE MORETZ

Jolly January: January isn't known for boxoffice heatwaves, but this year may be different.

Thanks to "Star Wars: The Force Awakens,"January ticket sales should be much more robust than usual. The Lucasfilm Ltd. PG-13 rated 3D sci-fi action adventure released through Disney did $88.3 million last weekend, bringing its three week domestic cume to $740.3 million. With its $770.5 million in international theatres, its worldwide total is now $1.5 billion.

"It now stands as the #6 movie of all-time globally, passing 'Avengers: Age of Ultron,' and will soon pass both 'Furious 7' and 'Marvel's The Avengers' to take the #4 global spot," Disney said Sunday. "Domestically, it is en route to becoming the highest grossing movie of all-time."

That domestic record is held for the moment by "Avatar" with $760.5 million, but "Awakens" should overtake it later this week.

Hollywood handicappers see "Awakens"heading for $1 billion or more in the U.S. and Canada. With most of those additional ticket sales being generated in the coming weeks, that should make for a jolly January at the multiplexes.

Because "Awakens"dominated the holiday boxoffice to such a great extent, moviegoers should be catching up in January with the holdovers they skipped in order to see "Awakens"one or more times.

In particular,new titles that have gotten media attention from Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild and Critics Choice nominations should benefit as January unfolds – including, "Carol,""The Hateful Eight,""Joy,""The Revenant,""The Big Short"and"Spotlight."

Besides these high profile holdovers, moviegoers will also be choosing from over a dozen new wide releases arriving this month. Here's a quick look at what to watch for.

          Last weekend saw The Weinstein Company's adult male appeal R rated western "The Hateful Eight"expand from its special 70mm roadshow showings in 100 theatres to 2,474 locations.

          The eighth film from writer-director and two time Oscar winner Quentin Tarantino, "Hateful"was a strong third for the weekend with $16.2 million and a two week cume of $29.6million. It has three Globes noms and six Critics Choice nods (including screenplay for Tarantino in both races).

          Set in post-Civil War Wyoming, a stagecoach hurtles through the wintry landscape with John (Kurt Russell), a bounty hunter,and his fugitive Daisy (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Racing to Red Rock, where John plans to bring Daisy to justice, they encounter strangers, including a former Union soldier turned bounty hunter (Samuel L. Jackson). When a blizzard overtakes their mountainside stopover, they realize they may not make it to Red Rock after all.

          Three new wide releases will be competing for moviegoers' time and money this weekend.

          The true-events-inspired R rated drama "The Revenant,"from 20th Century Fox, New Regency Pictures and RatPac Entertainment, is opening at about 3,000 theatres. It should play best to adult men.

          Last weekend at 4 theatres, "Revenant" did a lively $0.45 million ($112,500 per location), bringing its cume for two weeks in exclusive release to $1.3 million.

          "Revenant"has four Globes noms (including best picture-drama)and nine Critics Choice Awards noms (including best picture). Its director, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, is a best directing Globes and Critics Choice nominee. Last year he was a directing, original screenplay and best picture producer Oscar winner for "Birdman."

          "Revenant"stars five-time Oscar nominee Leonardo DiCaprio(a SAG lead male actor nominee for his performance) as trapper Hugh Glass, who's severely injured in uncharted American wildernessby a bear and left for dead by John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), a traitorous member of his team.Through sheer will, Glass must navigate a hostile environment to survive and exact vengeance on Fitzgerald.

          The R rated adult female appeal romantic drama "Carol,"from The Weinstein Company, Film 4 and Killer Films, goes wide after a strong seven weeks in limited release. Last weekend at 189 theatres, "Carol" did $1.3 million, bringing its cume to $5 million.

          "Carol"has five Globes noms, including best picture-drama and best director for Todd Haynes. It also received nine Critics Choice noms, including best picture and director.

          The film's stars, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, are SAG nominees for lead female actor and supporting female actor, respectively. Blanchett also has a Globes best actress-drama nom and is a Critics Choice best actress nominee. Mara also is a Globes best actress nominee and has a supporting actress Critics Choice nom.

          In "Carol,"Mara plays a department store clerk in 1950s New Yorkwho falls for an older, married woman (Blanchett).

          Gramercy Pictures' PG-13 rated horror thriller "The Forest,"opening Jan. 8 at about 2,300 theatres, is from first time feature director Jason Zada. Starring are: Natalie Dormer,Taylor Kinney and Yukiyoshi Ozawa. It should play best to women under 25, the core audience for most horror films.

          This horror tale is set in an actual suicide forest near the base of Japan's Mount Fuji. Dormer plays a woman who enters the forest seeking the truth about her missing sister's fate.

          Three films open wide Jan. 15 for the four day holiday weekend that ends Mon., Jan. 18 with Martin Luther King Day.

          Paramount, 3 Arts Entertainment and Dune Films' R rated action thriller "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,"from"Transformers" franchise director Michael Bay, is based on the book by Mitchell Zuckoff. It should play best to adult men.

          John Krasinski, Pablo Schreiber and James Badge Dale star in this story set during the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya that leftAmbassador J. Christopher Stevens dead and a security team struggling to make sense out of chaos.

          Universal Pictures' PG-13 rated action comedy "Ride Along 2"

is directed by Tim Story ("Ride Along") and stars Olivia Munn, Glen Powell and Kevin Hart. It should play best to adult men.

          Hart plays Ben Barber, who as his wedding day approaches, goes to Miami with James Payton (Ice Cube), who's about to become his brother-in-law. Their mission –to bring down the drug dealer supplying Atlanta's dealers.

          Lionsgate's PG rated animated family appeal comedy adventure "Norm of the North"is directed by first time feature director Trevor Wall. Starring are the voice talents of Bill Nighy, Rob Schneider and Heather Graham.

          When a polar bear named Norm and his three lemming friends are displaced from their Arctic home, they wind up in New York City whereNorm becomes a corporation's mascot. Thenhe learns he's now tied to the fate of his homeland.

          Jan. 22 will bring three wide releases. STX Entertainment and Lakeshore Entertainment's PG-13 rated horror thriller "The Boy"is directed by William Brent Bell ("The Devil Inside") and stars Lauren Cohan, Rupert Evans and Ben Robson. It should play best to under-25 females, the core audience for most horror films.

          Cohan plays Greta, a young American hired as a nanny in a remote English village, who discovers the family's eight-year-old is a life-sized doll that the parents care for as if it's a real boy. It's their way of coping with the death of their son20 years earlier. Soon a series of disturbing and inexplicable events bring Greta's worst nightmare to life as she comes to believe the doll is actually alive.

          Lionsgate's R rated comedy "Dirty Grandpa"is directed by Dan Mazer ("I Give It a Year") and stars Robert DeNiro and Zac Effron. It should play best to under-25 men and next best to men over 25.

          In "Grandpa,"Effron plays uptight Jason Kelly, who's a week away from marrying his boss' ultra-controlling daughter (Julianne Hough). Then Jason's unexpectedly tricked into driving his foul-mouthed grandfather, perverted former Army general Dick Kelly (De Niro), to Daytona Beach, Florida for spring break.

          Columbia and GK Films' PG-13 rated sci-fi thriller "The 5th Wave" is directed by J Blakeson ("The Disappearance of Alice Creed") and stars Chloë Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe and Liev Schreiber. It should play well to adult men and may also bring in under-25 females since its story revolves around Moretz.

          In "5th," four waves of increasingly deadly attacks have decimated most of Earth. Cassie (Moretz), who's on the run and  desperately trying to save her younger brother, is preparing for the inevitable and lethal fifth wave. She teams up with Evan (Alex Roe), who's probably her final hope -- if she can trust him.

          Four wide openings Jan. 29 will round out the year's first month. The PG rated family appeal 3D animated action adventure "Kung Fu Panda 3"is from DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox. Directed by first time feature director Alessandro Carloni &Jennifer Yuh ("Kung Fu Panda 2"), it stars the voices of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie and Dustin Hoffman.

          Black voices Po, who reunites with his long-lost father to visit a secret panda paradise where they meet many hilarious new panda characters. But when the supernatural villain Kai (J.K. Simmons) emerges, defeating all of China's kung fu masters, Po must do the impossible -- and turn a village ofclumsy, fun-loving Pandas into the ultimate band of Kung Fu Pandas.

          Disney's PG-13 rated action drama "The Finest Hours,"based on a true story, is directed by Craig Gillespie ("Million Dollar Arm") and stars Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster and Eric Bana. It should play best to adult men.

          "Hours" takes place in February 1952 when one of the worst storms ever to hit the East Coast struck New England, ripping in half an oil tanker off the coast of Cape Cod. Four members of the Coast Guard on a small lifeboat, facing frigid temperatures and 70-foot high waves, set out to rescue more than 30 sailors trapped aboard the rapidly-sinking vessel.

          The Weinstein Company's R rated western "Jane Got a Gun" is directed by Gavin O'Connor ("Warrior") and stars Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor and Rodrigo Santoro. It should play best to adult men and may also bring in adult women as its story revolves around Portman's character.

          Portman plays Jane Hammond, who's built a new life with her husband Bill "Ham"Hammond (Noah Emmerich) after being tormented by the ultra-violent Bishop Boys outlaw gang. She's back in the gang's cross-hairs again when Ham stumbles home riddled with bullets after dueling with the Boys and their leader(McGregor). With the vengeful crew hot on Ham's trail, Jane has nowhere to turn for help but to Dan Frost (Joel Edgerton), her former fiancé.

          Open Road Films' R rated comedy "Fifty Shades of Black"

is directed by Michael Tiddes ("A Haunted House") and stars Jane Seymour, Marlon Wayans and Kali Hawk. It should play best to adult men and women.

          "Black" is a parody of the 2015 hit "50 Shades of Grey," which grossed $166.2 million domestically.

         

Bottom line:If all goes well for Hollywood, having something for everyone playing in January, will mean everyone winds up seeing something.