1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (Warner Brothers, 4,375 Theaters, 130 Minutes, Rated PG-13): I am not the biggest Harry Potter fan in the world (meaning I have all the novels but never bought one at midnight while dressed as a Hufflepuff) but I find it hard to not view this last film with a bit of melancholy.
Yes, there will be Pottermore for the hardcore fans, but this film marks a definitive end of an era. It marks the end of a period of time where Harry Potter was a driving force in the international pop culture landscape. It is the end of an era we might not see again for a long time, if ever.
This film wraps up the second half of the last book as Harry and company go in search of the three remaining Horcruxes, find a shocking surprise about one of them, the final fate and true nature of Severus Snape, and the last stand of Harry and/or Voldemort.
2. Winnie The Pooh (Disney, 2,405 Theaters, 69 Minutes, Rated G): And then there’s this one, which I can see less as an actual film than a dark sacrifice to the evil movie gods that Disney is making for future commercial success. Like when the Harry Potter locomotive slams into this film and utterly destroys it, some of the Potter magic will be transferred to Disney.
Seriously, I have not seen anything near an appropriate about of publicity for this film. If I didn’t sign up for a lot of corporate e-mails from Disney (“Hey, take your daughter to Disney World! Oh, by the way, Winnie the Pooh is coming out!”), I’d see even less. It’s like Disney is just throwing this out there in a vain attempt at counterprogramming (although, is running a kids movie with a modicum of adult appeal at the same time as a kids movie with a lot of adult appeal really counterprogramming?).
The fact that the film has nine writers and two directors isn’t terribly assuring, although the 86% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes is. And it has already made over $6 million dollars overseas, which is a good head start in case it really does get crushed by Harry Potter.