2014 Holiday Movie Pool Preview | The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 | The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies | Big Hero 6

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2014 Holiday Movie Pool Preview

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Big Hero 6
Into the Woods
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
Dumb and Dumber To
The Penguins of Madagascar
Exodus: Gods and Kings
Horrible Bosses 2
Top Five
Beyond the Lights
Big Eyes
The Interview
The Pyramid
The pumpkins have been smashed, the trick-or-treaters have retreated, and fog machines have run dry, so it's really time for the 18th Annual Holiday Movie Pool! We've never had just one week to get our picks in, so don't delay and determine Hollywood's final opuses (or is that opusi?) from their three-penny operas.

Will Interstellar be this year's Gravity or will asking Matthew McConaughey to be somber and pensive bring this film crashing back down to Earth?

Can The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 be an even bigger smash than Catching Fire or are folks in a "You know, wake me when we get to Part 2" mood?

Can it be a win-win in the family film battle of Dec. 19 between Annie and Night At The Museum: Secret of the Tomb or will the sun only come out for one of these films?

Make your predictions, cast your votes, and take a dip in the 2014 Holiday Movie Pool! It's the pool where all you have to do is guess the Top Five moneymakers of the season. It's not like we're asking you to do anything hard like look through the swimsuit edition of all 13 dwarves from The Hobbit.

In case if you don't know what's coming out for the holiday season of 2014, here's a quick run-down of this year's crop!


November 7
- Interstellar
Matthew McConaughey going from stock Rom-Com character to Lincoln car spokesperson seemed like a logical progression. Matthew McConaughey going from stock Rom-Com character to enjoyable character actor to Oscar winner to headlining a movie with a budget bigger than Donald Trump's hair to Lincoln car spokesperson... Now that's a stretch! Director Christopher Nolan's hoping his vision of Gravity meets Leaving on a Jet Plane connects with audiences as much as he's connected to casting Michael Caine in all of his movies.

- Big Hero 6
Disney is three-for-three in their last three animated films of the holiday season. They each reached the Top Five and one "froze" out everything except for the flick that was Catching Fire. (I think it had something to do with wanting to build a snowman in the summer when the snow glows white on the mountain tonight) Will this animated tale of super heroics fit the same bill or will this not seem so "super" since we've become inundated with "real" super hero movies. If the Big Hero 6 was a signing group, that might sell better with the primary school girl crowd.

November 14
- Beyond the Lights
Uh, it's the tale of a singer who falls in love with one of her security attachment. It's like The Bodyguard without the star-power of Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner... And, if you make The Bodyguard without Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, you get... Beyond The Lights.

- Dumb and Dumber To
Of all the films in the world that deserve a sequel, I'm pretty sure this topped no one's list. That said, it's hard not to be at least a little nostalgic for a world when we are all a little dumber. It may be 20 years later, but the jokes and the hits (and the misses) all seem to be in the same gloriously dumb package. Will those raised on this kind of stupidity in the 90's want to bring their kids back to the animal farm or have we developed a more sophisticated palate with our Mad Men and Breaking Bad ways? Yeah, I'm betting we're still pretty dumb too... I mean to.

November 21
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
Hey, little baby, don't say a word. Papa's gonna buy you a Mockingjay. And if that Mockingjay don't sing, he's going to make another one for you next year anyway. Last year's Catching Fire burned the Holiday Pool to the ground. An uninteresting trailer and seemingly lackluster promotion could cause this one to stumble. However, nobody puts Katniss in the corner. Who's got their money on director David O. Russell remaking Dirty Dancing with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper? Everyone!

November 26
- Horrible Bosses 2
Bawdy, rowdy, hipster comedies being released on Thanksgiving weekend? Good luck with that. I thought we'd established the rules for when these types of movies can work and I didn't have "After you ditch your family to clean the dishes by themselves" as that window. Everyone from the first one returns and by everyone I mean people who are incapable of opening a movie by themselves.

- The Penguins of Madagascar
Speaking of being unable to open a movie by themselves, the verdict is still out on these sidekicks from the Madagascar franchise. It's ironic in a non-Alanis Morrisette way that originally Penguins and the Despicable Me spin-off, Minions, were both supposed to be released this season. Universal saw the DM2 dollar signs and pushed Minions to next summer, abandoning the sidekick biz all to the DreamWorks peeps. Considering the recent DW box-office doldrums, Penguins could use all the alone time it can get.

December 5
- The Pyramid
Finally! Studios used to release these cheap horror movies on Christmas Day thinking high school boys wanted any excuse to get out of the house, instead of realizing all they wanted to do was stay home and play their new $60 videogames. Now they're releasing the season's cheap horror film before they get their videogame. Genius!

- Top Five
Chris Rock writes, stars, and directs his latest effort about a successful comedian who may have finally met his match. Lots of real comedians cite Chris Rock and one of the funniest and smartest people they know. It'd be nice if he could have a film where that actually all came together... You know, besides the Grown Ups films.

December 12
- Exodus: Gods and Kings
It's an interesting trend where low-budget films made by self-admitted Christians can make 1000% more than their budget and big-budget endeavors by Hollywood's movers and shakers seem to stay seated in the pew. Here's hoping Ridley Scott can make more sense of Moses and Pharaoh than he made sense of Prometheus.

December 17
- The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Could this be the WrestleMania III of The Hobbit films? Everyone remembers that epic Hulk Hogan/Andre The Giant battle and this has that plus Randy "Macho Man" Savage, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, and Hillbilly Jim all in the same match! Warner Bros. can only hope interest is high for the final, ever, Middle Earth saga from Peter Jackson as the second Hobbit made $50 million less than Hobbit 1 and they don't want to lose another $50 million. It's their Precious!

December 19
- Annie
Originally intended as a Willow Smith project thanks to her own Daddy Warbucks, Will Smith, she sadly won't be able to shake her hair back and forth as they decided she was too old for the role. (Like that's ever stopped anyone in Hollywood) Instead, the youngest-ever Oscar nominated actress Quvenzhané Wallis was cast as the iconic pupil-less girl. Anything Jamie Foxx can do to erase his acoustic Electro performance in Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be a holiday gift we all can enjoy.

- Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
If he's made three Meet The Parents and three Madagascars, why shouldn't Ben Stiller make three Night at the Museums? It's not like we want him making another The Watch or Tower Heist. The first was a surprise smash in 2006 while the sequel was a little tainted in 2009. Since it's opening directly against another family friendly film, you have to ask if the filmmakers actually have a secret in their tomb or if they're about to get buried.

December 25
- Big Eyes
Tim Burton's making a movie without Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter? It's a Christmas miracle! He still has Danny Elfman in the fold for the music, though, so part of the holy trinity is still intact. Timmy's rolling with Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz for a change of pace in a change-of-pace movie about an artist who rose to fame pretending to be the painter of his wife's paintings. But then it gets dark, right? Really really dark? Are we sure someone didn't just pick-pocket Burton's DGA card and make their own movie?

- The Interview
Seth Rogan and James Franco reunite for this tried and true tale of tabloid TV reporters being asked by the CIA to kill Kim Jong-un when they visit North Korea. If only I had a dollar for every time one of these movies has been made. Still, it wouldn't be more than the dollars Seth and James have made making by producing these low-budget movies into nice income hits. The only question is if their summertime magic works in the colder winter nights.

- Into the Woods
There's more than one musical hitting the screens this season. Disney's hoping their magic can work at bringing Stephen Sondheim's classic fractured fairy tale to a bigger audience than Broadway. Filled with popular big names like Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Emily Blunt and Chris Pine, will that be enough to convince people to give this deconstructionist view of Fantasyland a chance? Reminding people that even if you have a "happily ever after" there may be therapy sessions required later isn't what most folks are "Into."

- Unbroken
Angelina Jolie is taking a turn behind the camera to film this WWII story based on the bestselling book of the same name. Telling the tale of a American sailor lost at sea for 40 days before being captured and imprisoned by the Japanese, it certainly reminds me to keep things in perspective if I can't get a cell signal. Did Angie and Brad just decide to make his-and-hers war movies at the same time to save money on production?

by Matt Neuenburg on 11/03/2014

Movies Mentioned in this Post: Annie, Beyond the Lights, Big Eyes, Big Hero 6, Dumb and Dumber To, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Horrible Bosses 2, Interstellar, Into the Woods, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, The Interview, The Penguins of Madagascar, The Pyramid, Top Five, Unbroken
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