Big Hitter: An Early Box Office Prediction Plus The New Harry Potter Trailer

What I'm Seeing This Week
It *may* be the best week of screenings I've ever come across. Invictus this evening, Nine, Avatar, and Sherlock Holmes round out the week. After that I'll be able to publish my "Top 10 of 2009" without too many films missing; only The Lovely Bones and Precious would still need a gander.

What I Saw Last Week
Brothers, Leap Year, and The Princess and the Frog. I reviewed Brothers, giving it an average C grade. Leap Year isn't out until January, and thus can't be mentioned, unless it's the middle of the night and we're whispering via phone. The Princess and the Frog goes wide this weekend, so I'll have a review up then. I found it charming if a little specific to New Orleans.

Press Releases of Note
/Film continues with the likable and engaging Tobolowsky files while Anne Thompson weighs in on the "18 Sundance Titles to Watch".

Today's Movie Stories on the Internets
The Washington D.C. Film Critics have named Up in the Air the best film of 2009. It's quite good, but I'll respectfully disagree on that front. However, it brings me to a larger (and much more dispiriting) topic: the lack of a Seattle Film Critics group. As a Seattleite with aspirations, I find it difficult to believe that our culture-laden city has no official voice in the film realm. We're the city of Nirvana and Death Cab for Cutie, we're home to the largest film festival in the world (The Seattle International Film Festival), and both Sleepless in Seattle and 10 Things I Hate About You were filmed here. Do I even need to bring up Seattle Grace hospital? My point is this: I want a Seattle Film Critic's Society back in Seattle. And I want to join it. Let's get this done. We're a legitimate city, and we already lost the Sonics. How much more must we endure?

Deep Thought of the Week
Personal bias affects the way you feel about films. Minute or massive, your experiences shape how you feel about art. If you had siblings growing up you'll feel a certain way about The Family Stone, if you've loved a best pal you're likely to appreciate My Best Friend's Wedding. Or you may hate both of those films given the baggage you came in with.

But it's not just your personal circumstances -- it's also the weather, who you're with, and the last time you've eaten. Anything can affect an experience, which makes the whole darned concept of recommending depressing or disturbing films difficult. If a film is well done, but heartbreaking, is that a movie you want people taking in? Last year's Revolutionary Road or this year's Precious seem to be classic examples. Whenever people ask me, "Should I see movie X?" I invariably end up factoring in a few dozen things before answering. Are they single? Do they prefer comedies? Are they a homebody, meaning a trip to the multiplex had better be worth it? But I can't do that for all of y'all, because I don't know everyone. Plus, you can't know what you don't know. Does the economy mean that happier movies would do better because people are seeking escape? Do war films engage an audience better in a time of war? Huge global shifts inform our opinions all the time. But we're at one percent knowledge on them, like a kid in the middle of a storm trying to say when it will be sunny again.

Early Box Office Take
I've currently got The Princess and the Frog winning the weekend, easily, finishing somewhere in the $30-$39 million range. It looks as though the film is getting 1,000 more theaters than Invictus, and of course the children should drive a significant box-office result.

Videos For You
That new Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows sneak peek trailer: