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Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up. Part Two
by Christopher Stone

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This Christmas, The Chipmunks get their Gilligan on.

This Christmas, The Chipmunks get their Gilligan on.
Last time, I threw the spotlight on some of November's Box-Office holiday entries. This time out, we're looking at December.

ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIP-WRECKED (December 16): In two previous Christmas releases, these 1950s' animated icons have mined 21st-Century box-office gold with families hungry for kid-friendly flicks.
In their third big-screen holiday-time release, Alvin, Simon and Theodore (not The Beav) are joined by the Chipettes on a luxury, and not a three-hour, cruise. The partying is hearty until the CGI stars are Chip-wrecked on a remote island. Without the movie star, the millionaires, the professor and Maryanne, is there any hope for these furry castaways?

Hoping to return with a fourth film next holiday season, the answer is a resounding "Yes!"

NEW YEAR'S EVE (December 9): Director Garry Marshall, who has been entertaining the world via HAPPY DAYS and THE ODD COUPLE on
Ashton forsakes the other man and a half for NEW YEAR's EVE.

Ashton forsakes the other man and a half for NEW YEAR's EVE.
the small screen - and PRETTY WOMAN and BEACHES on the big screen, has assembled massive star power to explore the last holiday of the calendar year. Among the many luminaries are Robert De Niro, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ashton Kutcher, Zac Efron, and Lea Michelle. Together they celebrate love, hope, forgiveness, and fresh starts in this mélange of intertwining stories, all taking place in New York City, on December 31.
A few years back, director Marshall gave VALENTINE'S DAY a similar treatment, set on the West Coast. If NEW YEAR'S EVE is a box-office winner, then can a Garry Marshall remake of GROUNDHOG DAY be far behind?

CARNAGE (December 16): Neither the title nor the theme of this holiday release will put Match-Flickers in the Christmas mood. Based on the brutal Broadway hit, GOD OF CARNAGE, this razor-sharp drama is likely to evoke WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?, far more than holiday cheer, for
Not since VIRGINIA WOOLF? has marriage seen such CARNAGE.

Not since VIRGINIA WOOLF? has marriage seen such CARNAGE.
seasoned movie-goers.

But the Oscar buzz around the devastating drama has been loud and persistent - expect a mess of nominations to emanate from this one. Starring Kate Winslet, fresh from her Emmy win for the magnificent MILDRED PIERCE, Christophe Waltz, Jodie Foster, and John C. Reilly, CARNAGE is what results when the parents of a bully and the parents of his battered victim, meet in the hope of sorting things out.

A la VIRGINIA WOOLF?, things start off on a cordial light note, but the meeting segues into a brutal, cutting dialogue as the four parents rip off their masks, revealing their true natures. In the end, none of them will escape the CARNAGE.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE GHOST PROTOCOL (December 21): Some of you may be too young to remember the last time Tom Cruise had an unqualified box-office blockbuster, and that's why he returned to his last sure big-screen thing: the MISSION:
Can the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE franchise catch Cruise's falling stardom?

Can the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE franchise catch Cruise's falling stardom?
IMPOSSIBLE franchise, for a fourth go- round as Ethan Hunt.

In this Christmas release, the IMF is shuttered when it's implicated in a global terrorist bombing plot. GHOST PROTOCOL is initiated and Ethan and his rogue new team go undercover to vindicate their organization's good name.

If this one doesn't hit big, Tom Cruise could be on stage, in THE PLEASURE OF HIS COMPANY, at a dinner theater near you. Cruise's real MISSION this holiday season is to rescue his fallen stardom.

FALL BOX-OFFICE WATCH: It's been all about PUSS IN BOOTS 3D for the last two weeks at the nation's box-offices.

Last weekend the cat cornered $33.04 million box-office bucks, while Eddie Murphy's TOWER HEIST stole $25.1 million - and second place. A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS took third place with a less than festive $13.1 million - falling short of their ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY adventure.

And so it goes, Match-Flickers!

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The Business of Show
Every other Friday

Does advertising, public taste, or overindulged stars determine a movie's box office fate? Christoper Stone explores what's going on behind the box office.

Other Columns
Other columns by Christopher Stone:

The Cautionary Box-Office

Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up, Part 1

Quality Is Independent

Oh, the Horror!

Summer: The Biggest Winners and the Biggest Losers

All Columns

Christopher Stone
Christopher Stone is the author of the international best seller Re-Creating Your Self. With Mary Sheldon, he co-authored three highly successful hardcover books of guided meditations.

He is a member of the Writers Guild of America, West.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Christopher Stone by clicking here.

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