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Box Office Breakdown: Book of Secrets a National Hit

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

This holiday weekend introduced a slew of big-ticket features in our cineplexes.  It also brought us a wide cast of former Oscar-winners competing for our theater dollars.  By Monday, , , , , and Oscar-nominee had all made entries into the Top Ten - but it was who wound up striking gold.

earned $45 million, an increase of $10 million over the 2004 original.  This was the second hit for Cage this year, following the critically-panned Ghost Rider.  In addition to having the weekend’s best gross, Secrets also had the best average of any movie over those three days.  Although ‘s fourth place was respectable (especially for a politically-based film these days), its $3760 per screen take clearly set it apart from this week’s champ.  In contrast, earned an $11,184 average for an impressive 10th place finish.

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Review: ‘Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street’

Get the closest shave ever…I just got back from the midnight showing of . Previously, I had seen the original Broadway cast perform this show via video cassette tape in my “History of Theater” class. I also saw a very stripped down version of the show performed by a national touring cast without sets or costumes. This film was every bit as good visually, musically and narratively as either one of those shows. For those of you who are unaware of the plot, let me catch you up.

Benjamin Barker () is a happily married man with a beautiful yellow-haired wife and a bouncing bay girl living in ye olde London. A man by the name of Judge Turpin () takes a liking to Barker’s wife and frames him for a crime which he is convicted and exiled for. Upon Barker’s return to London years later, he finds that his wife is dead and his little girl is being held hostage by the evil Turpin. Hell bent on revenge, and now going by the name Sweeney Todd, Barker takes up residence above Mrs. Lovett’s () Meat Pie shop. There, the trained barber kills his customers in hopes that one day it will be the Judge’s turn for a shave.

Oh yeah, and the bodies get baked into the pies.

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Box Office Breakdown: Will Smith a Legend in December

I Am Legend

You have to wonder whether is just a wee bit jealous of his friend’s success…

This weekend, not only smashed the box office debut of Cruise’s , he pounded everything in his path.  - the third adaptation of the 1954 Richard Matheson novel - nearly doubled the take of its nearest competitor while breaking the record for a December release.  Legend’s $77 million debut surpassed the bar set by Oscar-winner .  The final installment in the Lords trilogy brought in $72.6 million back in 2003.

Although was far behind in second place, its $44 million weekend was nothing to sneeze at.  The movie not only exceeded most expectations, it downright embarrassed third place finisher, How could anyone possibly explain freaky-looking chipmunks taking down a large polar bear?  The latter film only added another $8.8 million to its total, putting it a smidge closer to its $180 million budget.  (Granted, it has done better overseas.)

But let’s not be fooled by the large numbers at the top of the charts, the weekend’s most notable turnout was made by #11: .  The comedic charmer earned an impressive $35,686 per screen.  Meanwhile, (which opened in 3566 more theaters) averaged only $21,411.  Take that, Fresh Prince!

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In Theaters This Weekend (12/14)

The Kite Runner

Here are some possible suggestions for your upcoming weekend:

‘Alvin and the Chipmunks’ Gets CGI Treatment

Alvin and the ChipmunksI still remember Saturday mornings watching , the cartoon, on TV. I even remember the special show the series did about the Berlin Wall – truly heady stuff for a show designed only for children. Every year around this time, you’ll hear their Christmas tune on the radio. Now, someone has taken the bold step to answer the question which plagues my generation: does Alvin still want a hula-hoop?

Okay, that’s not really the burning question. A better question would be, what madman thought a live-action version of the chipmunks would work? And WHY? But like it or not, the live-action version of is indeed coming to theaters, and as soon as December 14. What can fans expect from this barely-publicized flick?

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FilmCrunch 065: Transformers, 9/11 Loose Change, Old Cartoons

Veronica Santiago and Neil Estep review the theatrical release of in this episode of FilmCrunch. In addition, they also look at the 9/11 documentary Loose Change and give their thoughts on the evidence and theories presented in the movie. Lastly, they take a look at the influx of old-school cartoons being transformed and updated for the big screen. Check the video for all the goods.

Now we want to hear from you - hit the forums and let us know what you think, what you want us to watch next, and any other recommendations you have for the show.


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