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November, December looking at big films

By Staff | Oct 31, 2012

November and December holidays bring long awaited “tent pole” movie releases and a technological improvement which debuts on a limited basis at some showings of “The Hobbit”

Curtis McCall has seen previews – and predicts super hit status for the new James Bond, “Skyfall,” “Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2,” and “The Hobbit.”

The latter will be released in some markets in a 48 frames per second projection enhancement. McCall, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners in West Virginia, does not expect any WV cinema to play “The Hobbit” at 48 frames on the first wave. He anticipated that Marquee will make conversions on the second wave, later, in 2013. Originally, he thought that his Charleston Southridge complex might be on the first wave or conversions.

“It’s not going to happen (by Christmas). Everybody should have one by next summer,” McCall said.

Having watched a preview of the new process, McCall indicated that variances in “perception” and “depth” were observed in a test screening.

“There were mixed feelings. Some people liked it, some hated it, it’s a different look,” he said.

According to accounts in Boxoffice and Hollywood Reporter, test viewers have related that screen realism improves, but others think the process has too much of a “video” feel, losing the “cinematic” contest.

“Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2,” “The Hobbit,” “Jack Reacher,” “Lincoln”

McCall expects that both “Breaking Dawn Part 2” and “The Hobbit” will be in the $300 to $400 million dollar nationwide box office range. Lions Gate/Summit has hinted that “Twilight” will continue in some re-booted form, which could be a small screen series or a big screen spin following the werewolves. Top secret for now.

Others with high preview accolades include the Disney “Monsters Inc. 3D” conversion, Spielberg’s “Lincoln”, and Tom Cruise’s “Jack Reacher”

Advance premieres now before midnight

Advance premiere night showings will begin earlier, McCall said. Studios have approved showings in the nine o’clock range, which will in some cases eliminate the midnight screenings. The change appears to come in partial reaction to the Colorado tragedy in the summer. Still, theatre owners have previously lobbied for earlier start times and early week openings.

“It does not make any difference whether you open a movie on Monday or Tuesday, you will still do most of your business on Friday , Saturday and Sunday,” McCall said. He agreed that a pre-midnight Thursday opening will allow more attendance.

The change will put “millions” into the boxoffice. More people will likely come to a 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. Thursday screening, especially those who work the next day. “They will be out by midnight, instead of two or three in the morning and can be home in ten minutes,” McCall explained. He added, the change might free up some Friday and Saturday night sell-outs , since more fervent fans will attend on Thursday.

That means that “Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part Two,” “Skyfall,” “The Hobbit,” and releases prior will premiere in the nine or ten o’clock range.

Theaters still ‘safe haven’ but world has changed

McCall said that “Dark Knight Rises ” nationally probably missed “about one hundred million” in revenue due to the Colorado shooting.. “You got an initial push back, but it’s hard to quantify,” McCall explained due to the tragedy occurring during the blockbuster rich summer season. “Did we lose some business , yes,” he said, adding, that the shootings which impacted the movie theatre’s “safe haven” illusion has resulted in “a whole new world,” referring to the post 9/11 random terrorist environment.

“We don’t get any complaints,” McCall said referring to security after the incident. Customers appear to still accept the movie theatre as a “safe haven,” but in reality, “it’s a whole new world,” considering both random acts and terroristic scenarios, which in the summer had owners receiving alerts from the Department of Homeland Security.

Tentative holiday movie lineup

NOV. 2

“Flight” – Director Robert (“Back to the Future”) Zemeckis directs Denzel Washington and John Goodman in the story of an airline pilot who saves the plane from crashing. During the follow up investigation issues surface for the new hero.

“Man With the Iron Fists” – Russell Crowe and RZA star in this adventure of a blacksmith in feudal China who makes weapons for his small village.

“Wreck-it Ralph” – A video game villain wants to be a hero, but the goal brings havoc to the arcade. The animated film flick features voices of John C. Reilly an Sarah Silverman

NOV. 9

“Skyfall” – Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem star in 007’s latest where the agent’s loyalty to M is tested when her past baggage comes front and center.

NOV. 16

“Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2” – Will the break up and make up of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson impact this guaranteed mega hit? Will this be the last gathering of the Cullens? A spin-off, re-boot or TV series is rumored. One possibility, a werewolf theme series.

“Lincoln” – Steven Spielberg takes on the political drama of the American president who struggled with Civil War carnage , conflicts in his cabinet , and his decision to emancipate the slaves. Daniel Day-Lewis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt star.

“Anna Karenina” – Keira Knightley and Jude Law star in this 19th Century Russia high-society drama where the aristocrat has an affair with Count Vronsky.

NOV. 21

“Life of Pi 3D” – Ang Lee directs Sonu Sood and Tabu in the story of a zookeeper’s son who’s shipwrecked with a Bengal tiger, hyena, zebra, and an orangutan.

“Red Dawn” – An American city awakens as foreign soldier drop from the sky invading our homeland. This is a re-make of a 1984 film starring Patrick (“Dirty Dancing”) Swayze where the call “Wolverines” became famous before X Men hit mainstream.

“Rise of the Guardians 3D” – Described as a folklore version of “The Avengers,” Peter (“Monsters vs Aliens”) Ramsey takes the director’s chair in this animated adaptation of the immortals teams up to protect the innocence of the world’s children with voices by Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin, Isla Fisher, and Chris Pine.

“Silver Linings Playbook” – David Russell directs Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro, and Chris Tucker

NOV. 23

“Hitchcock” – Anthony Hopkins, Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel, Toni Collette in Sacha Gervasi’s love story between Alfred Hitchcock and his wife Alma Reville during the shooting of “Psycho”

NOV. 30

“Killing Them Softly” – Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins, James Gandofini, Ray Liotta, Sam Shepard details a mob enforcer investigating a heist during a poker game.

DEC. 7

“Playing for Keeps” – Jessica Biel, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Dennis Quai, Uma Thurman in director Gabriele (“Seven Pounds,” “Last Kiss”) Muccino’s story of a former sports start making a new start as the coach of his son’s soccer team.

DEC. 14

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” – Peter Jackson returns to his “Lord of the Rings” Middle Earth nine years after “Return of the King” set records and garnered eleven Oscars. It’s a prequel.

DEC. 21

“Jack Reacher” – Christopher (Valkkyrie) McQuarrie directs Tom Cruise’s latest action flick where he teams with Richard Jenkins, Michael Raymond-James, Robert Duvall, and Werner Herzog. A homicide investigator discovers why a military sniper shot five random victims.

“Monsters Inc. 3D” – Voices of Billy Crystal, John Goodman, James Coburn, Jennifer Tilly and Frank Oz

“This is 40” – Judd Apatow directs Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jason Segel, and Melissa McCarthy . We see Pete and Debbie a few years after she was “Knocked Up.”

“Zero Dark Thirty” – Kathryn (“The Hurt Locker”) Bigelow directs Harold Perrineau, Stephen Dillane, Mark Duplass and Scott Adkins chronicle thehunt for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks .

DEC. 25

“Django Unchained” – Quentin Tarantino directs a “western” about a slave turned bounty hunter trying to free his wife who has been captured by a Mississippi plantation owner Jamie Foxx, Don Johnson, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kerry Washington

“The Guilt Trip” – Barbra Streisand, Seth Rogen, Adam Scott and Colin Hanks stars in Anne Fletcher’s story of an inventor and his mom on the road attempting to sell his latest creation.

“Les Miserables” – Hugh Jackson and Russell Crowe in director Tom Hooper’s adaptation

“Parental Guidance” – Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, Marisa Tomei, and Bailee Madison star in Andy Fickman’s tale of a harried mom leaving her three kids with her parents so she can look for work.

“Promised Land” – Matt Damon reunited with Gus Van Sant (“Good Will Hunting”) as a salesman for a natural gas company faces a life changer after he comes to town to tap available environmental resources.


JAN. 4: “Texas Chainsaw 3D”; JAN. 11, “Gangster Squad,” “Stand Up Guys,” “Promised Land.”

“Doughboy” special screening

An encore West Virginia filmed patriotic attraction will precede the 2012 Holiday film releases.

The made in Wheeling, “Doughboy” will return for one day, Veterans Day, to select theatres. The DOVE Foundation has applauded the film as “truly remarkable and inspirational.” The showplaces include the Towngate Theatre in Wheeling and the Strand in Moundsville. The Band, Madison Rising singing the Star Spangled Banner will precede the film’s showing.

“Many of the participating theaters are using the event as a fund raiser for a local veteran’s organization in their areas,” says Kristin Seibert, DOUGHBOY’s executive producer. “We created this movie to say thank you to our veterans. These Nov. 11th screenings will help us continue with the mission of our film.”

In addition, Curtis McCall, CEO and President of Marquee Cinemas, has confirmed that the J. W. Myers directed hit will return to his theatres in January and/or February 2013. He described it as a “hit” by “grassroots marketing.”

Myers in an email said that the company’s newest shot in Wheeling in 2012, “Random Acts of Christmas” will not be ready until 2013.