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New in Theaters Nov. 27: Frozen, Oldboy, Black Nativity, Homefront

View Chris Kavan's Profile

By Chris Kavan - 11/26/13 at 06:45 AM CT

Gobble, gobble - and welcome to an early box office preview. Thanks the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Hollywood is making Wednesday the new Friday and the many new releases are taking advantage of the extra-long "weekend". With Hunger Games: Catching Fire burning up the box office - will any of there newcomers be able to top Katniss and the fellow tributes for the top of the box office? There are certainly going to be some challengers, but it may be tough to pull off. Here are your contenders:

FROZEN If anyone has a chance at taking down Catching Fire, it will be Disney - and it looks like Frozen is shaping up to be the family film of the winter 2013 season and should play well all month. You have a new classic character in the form of Olaf the snowman and a heartfelt adventure with two strong female characters - the fearless Anna and her (literal) icy sister Elsa - whose powers to create ice and snow threaten the entire kingdom with an eternal winter. Although it is still early, reviews are strong and, unlike the turkey of a movie Free Birds - this has pedigree and prestige - plus some strong vocal talent in the form of Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Alan Tudyk, CiarŠn Hinds, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad. Will this become yet another beloved Disney classic? It's a bit early to tell, but signs are good that it will be a hit and it might just have enough power to dethrone the current YA champ, given this is a family holiday - expect some decent crowds to show up for this one.

OLDBOY I don't know how well Oldboy is going to do in theaters, but I am a huge fan of Chan-wook Park's original version - in fact, it's one of my favorite revenge thriller and would rank high on my list of foreign films in general. When I heard Spike Lee was doing a remake, I was nervous and bit perplexed, but, I have to admit, the more I read and saw about Oldboy, the more interested I have become. The casting of Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen and Sharlto Copley help a lot - as I think they really sell the roles they are given. While it looks like they have taken some of the same plot lines and even scenes from Park's film, Lee also will put his own spin on things and I am looking forward to his interpretation. One this is certain, if he keeps those twists intact, a lot of people are going to be talking about this one. It's not really the type of film I expect to do big business at the box office, but in terms of films I am looking forward to - this tops the others this week by and far.

BLACK NATIVITY Given the recent success of Best Man Holiday, going after a contemporary African American audience can certainly lead to success. Black Nativity is based on a musical by Langston Hughes and does feature some big names: Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson, Tyrese Gibson and Mary J. Blige all lend their talent to the film. As with the source material - there is music involved - and with Hudson on board, at least you know that part of the film is in good hands. Yet early reports also suggest the film is a bit heavy-handed when it comes to the message it delivers. Whether the actors are enough to overcome a somewhat plodding story remains to be seen, but if as many people show up to this as Best Man Holiday, it should spell success and compared to many other films out there, the budget on this one is probably much more down to Earth.

HOMEFRONT Finally, for those who need a boost of action and testosterone this holiday, don't worry, Jason Statham is here to save the day. I have yet to see a film where Statham plays anyone but... Statham (as in, someone who kicks, punches and shoots his way out of whatever predicament he finds himself in) and Homefront looks no different. In this case, Statham is a former DEA agent looking to settle down with his family in a nice, quiet town only to find himself getting tangled up with a local meth dealer (James Franco - apparently moving on from Marijuana - who knew? It is a gateway drug!) whose name is "Gator". Will this film be redneck enough for the masses? Hey - it was written by Sylvester Stallone - so there you go. I predict another middling return followed by this becoming a guilty pleasure, sure to please once it makes its inevitable Netflix debut. You just won't find me in the theater for this one - even if Winona Ryder is there as Gator's girlfriend.

It's going to be a busy holiday weekend - with one strong holdover and four new films all vying for the biggest box office audience. I think it's pretty much going to be a knock-down battle between Catching Fire and Frozen - but I'll be back on Sunday following the long Thanksgiving weekend with the final results.


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