It's All Bond All the Time as 'Solace' Forced Down America's Throat
Welcome back to Defamer Attractions, your weekly guide to everything new, noteworthy and cash-hoarding at the movies. That latter qualifier is the centerpiece of today's new openings, with the 007 franchise facing virtually no competition outside a few escaped zoo animals from last week. But you still have options, including some critics' choice for this year's best picture and the usual harvest of fresh DVD's. As always, our opinions are our own, but their hauling power is unmatched and they seat millions comfortably. Take a test drive after the jump?WHAT'S NEW: Quantum of Solace has the wide-release slot to itself, where Daniel Craig's brooding Bond will likely crest above $60 million — by far the highest opening gross of any 007 film to date. We'll call it for $63.7 million despite some pull from leftovers Madagascar 2 and Role Models, themselves expecting $40 million and $10 million respectively in their second weekends. Your options are a lot better when avoiding the multiplex in LA: Jean-Claude Van Damme's meta-self-biopic JCVD is opening, along with the almost universally acclaimed Catherine Deneuve/Mathieu Amalric dramedy A Christmas Tale. Also: The Alphabet Killers, featuring Eliza Dushku as a police detective (!); the explicit gay Israeli romantic comedy Antarctica; the talky Afghanistan war indie B.O.H.I.C.A. (Army slang for "Bend Over Here it Comes Again"); the Liberian repression doc Pray the Devil Back to Hell; the Jewish basketball chronicle The First Basket; and a new adaptation of Dalton Trumbo's novel Johnny Got His Gun. THE BIG LOSER: Aside from the glut of indies above, chasing scraps from art-house audiences on their way to DVD — and Soul Men continuing to underperform with $2.2 million or so — today's slate seems to be pretty insulated from disaster. Everyone wins!
THE UNDERDOG: Trainspotting director Danny Boyle is said to have made the best film of his career with Slumdog Millionaire, about a winning 18-year-old contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Except the host thinks he's cheating; he knows too much for a Mumbai slum kid, and his eventual grilling at the hands of the police reveals a sort of Dickens-meets-Bollywood trajectory of lessons learned, knowledge gained ad love lost throughout his youth. Rhapsodizing critics are pushing it for a Best Picture nomination, which, if the Oscar witches at Fox Searchlight have anything to say about it, it will probably receive. But it will need Little Miss Sunshine/Juno traction at the box office, and on 10 screens this weekend, that would probably mean a per-screen average of at least $12,000 to start. Like its hero, we think it's got a good shot. FOR SHUT-INS: New DVD's this week include Hellboy II: The Golden Army, the gay Hutt-starring Star Wars: The Clone Wars; Takeshi Miike's mystifying Sukiyaki Western Django; and complete-series box sets of both The Sopranos and The Cosby Show. So is it Bond or nothing for you? Are you saving seats on the Slumdog Millionaire bandwagon? Or is The Clone Wars badness just too tempting to ignore any longer? Be honest! You're among friends.