“About Time” –

“About Time” –

Free Birds

“Free Birds”

The Hunger Games: Cathing Fire

The Hunger Games: Cathing Fire

November news: November can't miss! Any month that brings sequels to "Thor" and "The Hunger Games" and ends with Thanksgiving is as safe a boxoffice bet as you can make.

November got off to an okay start last weekend with Summit Entertainment's sci-fi action adventure "Ender's Game,"opening in first place to $28 million, and good holdover ticket sales for Paramount's comedy "Bad Grandpa" ($20.5 million, down only 36 percent). Adding to the momentum were openings for CBS Films' comedy "Last Vegas"($16.5 million) and Relativity Media and Reel FX's 3D animated comedy "Free Birds" ($16.2 million).

This weekend should see some major multiplex madness as Marvel Studios and Disney launch the 3D fantasy action adventure "Thor: The Dark World,"from "Game of Thrones" director Alan Taylor, with approximately 3,800 playdates.

"World's" tracking through the roof in double-digits as an overall first choice. It's doing best with 25-plus males and nearly as well with under-25 males. Moreover, under-25 females are tracking only a little less and although its score with 25-plus females is lower, they're still in double-digits. That should translate into Marvel-size grosses!

The Story: Thor (Chris Hemsworth) faces an enemy pre-dating the Universe who's unstoppable even by Odin and Asgard. Embarking on a perilous personal journey that will reunite him with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) Thor must sacrifice everything to save Earth and the Nine Realms.

The original "Thor" opened from Paramount and Marvel May 6, 2011 to $65.7 million and went on to do $181 million in domestic theatres. It also grossed over $268 million in international theatres.

"World's" already off to a strong start internationally. It opened to $109.4 million last weekend in 36 territories representing about 70 percent of the international marketplace – including France, the UK, Korea, Germany, Spain, Taiwan, Australia, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Slovenia, Indonesia, Philippines, Iceland, Denmark, Austria, Israel, Portugal, Netherlands, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, Ukraine, Croatia, Turkey, Norway, Colombia and Panama. Still ahead are such lucrative international territories as Argentina, Italy, China and Japan.

"World's" only new wide release competition Nov. 8 is Universal Pictures and Working Title Films' R rated time travel romantic comedy "About Time," from "Love Actually" director Richard Curtis. It's opening with approximately 1,200 playdates and is tracking best with 25-plus females.

The Story: Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) discovers at age 21 that he can travel through time, as his father (Bill Nighy) explains the men in his family have always done. When Tim sets out to find a girlfriend, that turns out to be way more difficult than expected. Finally he falls in love with Mary (Rachel McAdams), but an unfortunate time-travel incident means they've never met – and that leads to their meeting for the first time again and again.

Nov. 15 should see "World" still dominating the boxoffice with only one new wide release arriving -- Universal's R rated comedy "The Best Man Holiday," directed by Malcolm Lee ("Scary MoVie") and starring Monica Calhoun, Morris Chestnut and Melissa De Sousa. It's tracking best with 25-plus females and next best with under-25 females.

The Story: After 15 years college friends reunite for Christmas and find out just how quickly old passions can still spark.

This weekend was also supposed to have seen the launch of Paramount and Red Granite Pictures' biographical crime drama "The Wolf of Wall Street," from Martin Scorsese, Oscar-winning director of "The Departed," and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. But "Wolf's" opening's been delayed until Dec. 25 to allow Scorsese more time to work on post-production. Insiders are buzzing that Paramount has a serious Oscar contender in "Wolf."

The boxoffice should sizzle Nov. 22 as Lionsgate's sci-fi action adventure "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" catches fire. Based on the second book in Suzanne Collins' best-selling trilogy, it's directed by Francis Lawrence ("Water For Elephants"), who's next two films are "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay" Part 1 for release in 2014 and Part 2 for release in 2015.

The Story: Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) return home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games and set out on a Victor's Tour of the District. Katniss senses a rebellion brewing, but the Capitol remains in control as President Snow (Donald Sutherland) prepares for the 75th Games, a competition that could change Panem forever.

The first episode in "The Hunger Games" franchise, which was directed by Gary Ross ("Seabisquit"), opened Mar. 23, 2012 to $152.5 million and ended up doing $408 million in domestic theatres. Hollywood handicappers are projecting a hot "Fire" debut to between $140 million and $150 million.

For "Fire" to set a November opening weekend record it will have to beat Summit's "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," which opened Nov. 20, 2009 to $142.8 million at 4,024 theatres. "Moon" ultimately grossed $296.6 million domestically.

"Fire's" only new wide release competition will be the PG-13 rated comedy "Delivery Man" from DreamWorks and Touchstone Pictures, directed by Ken Scott ("Starbuck") and starring Vince Vaughn, Chris Pratt and Cobie Smulders.

The Story: David Wozniak (Vaughn) is an underachiever who doesn't know he's fathered 533 children through anonymous donations to a fertility clinic 20 years earlier. When 142 of those kids file suit to find out who their dad is, David must decide what to do.

With Thanksgiving falling on Th., Nov. 28, Hollywood will start its extended holiday weekend on Wed., Nov. 27 with four wide releases competing for moviegoers' time and money. As is always the case now with holiday weekends, there will be something for everyone playing in the multiplexes

Walt Disney Pictures' PG rated animated action adventure "Frozen" is targeted to family audiences, Thanksgiving's biggest moviegoing demo. It's directed by Chris Buck ("Surf's Up") & Jennifer Lee, who co-wrote "Wreck-It Ralph."

The Story: Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) and Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), team up for an epic adventure with Olaf the Snowman (Josh Gad) to find Anna's sister, the Snow Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel), who's put the Kingdom in a state of eternal winter.

Thanksgiving weekend will also have something new for male action fans in the R rated action thriller "Homefront", from Open Road Films, Endgame Entertainment and Millennium Films. Directed by Gary Fleder ("Kiss the Girls"), it stars James Franco, Jason Statham and Winona Ryder.

The Story: Former DEA agent Phil Broker (Statham) relocates to a quiet small town with his young daughter to escape his troubled past. But things turn out to be far from quiet when Broker and a local drug lord cross paths.

Also competing for action fans' attention will be FilmDistrict's R rated action drama "Oldboy," directed by Spike Lee ("Red Hook Summer") and starring Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen and Samuel L. Jackson.

The Story: An advertising executive (Brolin), who's been kidnapped off the street and held for 20 years in solitary confinement in a hotel room, is unexpectedly released. But when he embarks on an obsessive mission to discover who ruined his life, he finds he's still trapped in a web of conspiracy.

Fox Searchlight's adult appeal Christmas-set PG rated musical drama "Black Nativity" will also be in the Thanksgiving weekend mix. Directed by Kasi Lemmons ("Talk to Me"), it stars Forest Whitaker, Angela Basset and Jennifer Hudson.

The Story: This contemporary adaptation of Langston Hughes' stage play follows Langston (Jacob Latimore), a street-wise teen from Baltimore raised by a single mother (Hudson), as he travels to New York to spend Christmas with estranged relatives (Whitaker and Bassett). Unwilling to live by their rules, Langston decides to return home to his mom. On his inspirational journey, which includes some divine intervention, he discovers the true meaning of faith, healing and family.

Bottom line: November will give Hollywood lots to be thankful for!