This Week’s Theatrical Releases.

1. I Am Legend (3,606 Theaters, 101 Minutes, Rated PG-13): Any savvy Sci-Fi fan will tell you that this is not first time Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel has been adapted for the screen. Actually, it is the fourth. First was the 1964 Vincent Price vehicle The Last Man on Earth. Next came 1971′ The Omega Man, part two of Charlton Heston’s trilogy of thinking man’s science fiction, coming between Planet of the Apes and Soylent Green. Most recently, certainly not by accident, The Asylum released a direct-to-video version called I Am Omega.

This particular adaption has been in the works since 1997, when Ridley Scott and Arnold Schwarznegger were attached. Will Smith was involved in the second go around, with Michael Bay to direct, in 2002. Finally, Smith and Francis Lawrence brought the story back to the screen.

Why is this story so popular? Well, my guess is that people can relate to being the last man on Earth–the sense of isolation and loneliness. The fact that he has to fight diseased, flesh-eating, creatures of the night is just a bonus.

Certain things have been changed from the book. The diseased are now more zombies than vampires and rumor has it that the movie’s ending is a bit more cheery.

2. Alvin and the Chipmunks (3,475 Theaters, 90 Minutes, Rated PG): I have a confession to make. When I was a little kid, I was a big fan of the Chipmunks. On Saturday mornings, if my parents stopped on the Alvin Show for more than a millisecond, and I heard the theme song, I would instantly wake up and be in front of the TV in nothing flat. I am still the not-so-proud owner of cassettes featuring sped-up versions of Beatles and Christmas songs.

So the curmudgeon in me likes to grumble about this update of the singing rodent brothers. Not a big fan of the CGI or fart humor in this version.

But a post by comics blogger Valerie D’Orazio opened my eyes a bit. The producers are not making this movie for me. Sure, I’d bet they’d love if I came out to see the flick, that would be gravy. But they are aiming squarely at the kids of today. Kids whose education in social graces have apparently broken down to such a point that farting in peoples faces is downright hilarious.

This, however, does not mean the movie will not be awful.

3 The Perfect Holiday (1,307 Theaters, 96 Minutes, Rated PG): A little girl asks a department store Santa Claus to find a boyfriend for her divorced mom for Christmas. Hilarity ensues.

Tyler Perry has shown us that there is an untapped market for comedies featuring a predominantly African-American casts. But is the holiday season big enough for two Christmas-themed films in that genre?

My guess? Probably yes. This Christmas came out of nowhere and did fairly well at the box office. and is showing lasting power. And this flick has something else going for it. Namely, past Oscar-nominees Terrence Howard and Queen Latifah in small roles.

Sure, the films might take away audience share from one another. That is always a possibility. But I believe the market is big enough to support them both.

Now, the predictions. This is what I predicted for last week:

  1. The Golden Compass
  2. Enchanted
  3. Beowulf
  4. This Christmas
  5. Awake

And this is how it turned out:

  1. The Golden Compass
  2. Enchanted
  3. This Christmas
  4. Fred Claus
  5. Beowulf

I was 2 for 5 for a total of 37 of 85 in 17 weeks for an average of 43%. This is my picks for this weekend.

  1. I Am Legend
  2. The Golden Compass
  3. Enchanted
  4. The Perfect Holiday
  5. This Christmas

What do you think?

About William Gatevackes 1967 Articles
William is cursed with the shared love of comic books and of films. Luckily, this is a great time for him to be alive. His writing has been featured on Broken Frontier.com, PopMatters.com and in Comics Foundry magazine.
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