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Friday, December 20, 2013

THIS WEEKEND'S BOX-OFFICE: 12/20/2013

The heart of Christmas season arrives this weekend with one new wide release and two wide expansions that I will check out. What will you see this weekend?
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
PROS:
- The first film is widely regarded as a modern classic, becoming one of the most popular cult comedies since the Austin Powers series in the late '90s.
- Will Ferrell and Paramount have mounted a game-changing viral marketing campaign over the last few months, generating a significant amount of awareness.
- Online tracking metrics are very strong across Twitter, Flixster, and Facebook. 
- Comedy has been a hot seller all year long, as evidenced by Identity Thief, This Is the End, The Heat, We're the Millers, and Bad Grandpa

CONS:
- The first film was a box office success, but only modestly so with an $85 million domestic run.
- The audience for this sequel could easily continue to be male-heavy.
- Competition from American Hustle and holdover The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug could be a factor.

American Hustle
PROS:
- The star-studded ensemble cast.
- Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence are fresh off the uber-successes of their Dark Knight and Hunger Games series, respectively. Not to mention recent Oscar wins.
- Reviews have been stellar, generating a significant number of awards nominations over the past week.
- Director David O. Russell is on a hot streak following The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook.

CONS:
- The competitive market could translate to more back-loading for this film, similar to how The Fighter performed.
- The Abscam story isn't one well-known to today's younger audiences.
- Will Anchorman 2 overshadow it this weekend?

Saving Mr. Banks
PROS:
- The allure of Tom Hanks portraying the iconic Walt Disney.
- Emma Thompson's recent nominations for her role in the film, as well as carryover goodwill from Hanks' turn in Captain Phillips.
- Mary Poppins still boasts a sizable fan base today, particularly through older women.
- The Disney name is a major attraction for families, especially around the holidays.

CONS:
- Awards buzz for this has been overshadowed by American Hustle, among other flicks.
- While Hanks will be a draw here, his role isn't getting as much attention as Thompson's or his nominated Captain Phillips turn. 
- Enticing men of any age will be a challenge given the competition from Anchorman 2, The Hobbit, andAmerican Hustle.
- The somewhat obscure title may also hold back upfront demand/interest.

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