The Girl With The Darkest Tintin Bought A War Horse Mission? Impossible - Week 9 Preview | Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol | The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo | War Horse

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The Girl With The Darkest Tintin Bought A War Horse Mission? Impossible - Week 9 Preview

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
War Horse
The Adventures of Tintin
We Bought a Zoo
The Darkest Hour
Some have argued you can never have too much of a good thing. I believe the holiday season has proven that wrong time and again. You don't need six new reindeer sweaters, you don't need six loafs of fruitcake, you don't need six new Michael Bolton "Swinging Christmas" albums, and you most certainly don't need six movies released in one five-day period, yet that's exactly what Hollywood has stuffed in our stockings. They realize that even depressed people during this time can only buy one movie ticket before they've passed out from their bottle of Jack Daniels, right?

Starting on Wednesday, three new films flood the marketplace: Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol moves from IMAX to everywhere, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo goes from a movie in Swedish to a movie with English accents so we'll still need subtitles, and The Adventures of Tintin takes the internationally beloved French comic series and drops it onto an American youth market that only responds to fart sounds and poop jokes.

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol has already done the impossible by seeming relevant this holiday season. Its record breaking IMAX performance is not going unnoticed and now a film that seemingly had no buzz months ago feels like it could really be the BIG film of December. If Paramount's marketing team can really get Tom Cruise to have his first $100 million hit in five years (we're not counting Tropic Thunder here, even though his awesomeness during the final credits dance sequence may have been the best thing in the entire movie), they'll be receiving Christmas bonuses long into April.

Then again, maybe the reports of Tom's death have been greatly exaggerated. Since M:I-3 (while not the stuff of legend at $134 million domestically, it doubled that internationally), he's been in three movies. Lions for Lambs was a legal drama directed by Robert Redford, not McG. No one expected this to be A Few More Good Men. Even though Valkyrie was a WWII movie directed by X-Men director Bryan Singer, which part of WWII did you not understand? Unless it had Indiana Jones battling Nazis, there was little chance of this being a blockbuster.

That leaves us with Knight & Day, an 80's-esque action-comedy with Cameron Diaz. This seemed to be something right up the Tom Cruise Hit Parade alley so that clearly was a disappointment with a $76.4 million total, but that's only one, one!, vehicle that didn't deliver typical Tom Cruise numbers. We just had a month where both Ben Stiller and Adam Sandler underperformed with their films. M:I-GP looks like it will get him right back on track and put those thoughts of him entering the Harrison Ford after Air Force One stage of his career to rest. At least until him jumps on someone else's couch

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is hoping to become the adult version of Harry Potter and Twilight mania. Director David Fincher is already planning on filming the next two films back-to-back. Maybe they should wait to see if people really want to see a missing person riddle wrapped with a serial killer mystery inside a sexually abusive enigma the first time before assuming the audience can't get enough of it. That said, I'd be shocked if this wasn't at least the second biggest film to come out of these last minute releases.

The Adventures of Tintin seems to be as mysterious to viewers as last month's head-scratching film Hugo. What exactly is it?! Ironically, this is supposed to be a much more straight-ahead action story, yet by marketing it on brand awareness in a country that's unfamiliar with the brand, it just comes across as some other art-house attempt at kids' fare. Super, so the parents of G.A.T.E. students will drag their children to it and everyone else will be doing the Macarena with the Chipmunks. Ai!!!

On Friday Fox releases We Bought a Zoo because they didn't want to compete with the previous three films and didn't want to wait until War Horse and The Darkest Hour opened on Sunday. This makes sense how? About the only thing this family dramedy has going for it is animals. As we learned a few years ago with Marley & Me, animals can go a long way toward making a hit film. That film's success was one of the biggest surprises I can recall in any movie pool. If Matt Damon and Cameron Crowe can pull off the same feat, does that make Scarlett Johansson the new Jennifer Aniston… And would she even want that?

In a release schedule that I can never recall before, Steven Spielberg has two movies he's directed coming out the same week. Just five days after Tintin opens, War Horse exits the starting gate. While I've heard it's based on a great stage show, how does that translate into a live-action Saving Private Mr. Ed? I'll admit I was one of those who saw Shindler's List on Christmas Day 18 years ago, yet that was under the guise of being a truly remarkable film. This seems more like a WWI version of Seabiscuit, and much like we just reminded ourselves about Valkyrie, which part of WWI did you not understand?

Finally, we only have one film left and then all the Holiday Movie Pool cards have been played on the table. It'll only be about counting the box-office receipts after that. What do we have for the last call? The Darkest Hour. A pretty much no-name cast with a no-name director and a producer only known by fanboy geeks.

In some ways this reminds me a lot of 1998's The Faculty. Fresh from From Dusk Till Dawn, Robert Rodriguez directed a screenplay from Scream scribe Kevin Williamson and had a rising young cast of Josh Harnett, Usher, and Jordana Brewster as classmates who realize their teachers were aliens, even if these aliens looked like Salma Hayek, Famke Janssen, and even Jon Stewart. They hoped to have another Scream size hit. It was more like an "It's not that bad if Norbit is what's on the other channel" movie. We're probably in the same territory here with The Darkest Hour.

Join us on Tuesday (Monday's a federal holiday, so we'll want to include that in the weekend totals) to see how this huge glut of films fared and if it will be a Merry Christmas for any of them!

by Matt Neuenburg on 12/21/2011

Movies Mentioned in this Post: Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, The Adventures of Tintin, The Darkest Hour, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, War Horse, We Bought a Zoo
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