With one new wide release and a handful of minor limited releases, we thought we would do something special today. We'll include our thoughts on Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones in next week's article. Until then, we're going to have a Year-End Special with three categories that each of our contributors submitted responses for. Our responses are included below with highlights indicating items that appear on multiple lists. Also, don't confuse these with our Top Ten lists as they are not. We might put one of those together later.
The race for #1 this weekend is going to be tight. While I ultimately think The Secret Life of Walter Mitty will come out on top with The Hobbit's third week and the debut of The Wolf of Wall Street chomping at its heels. The big issue is whether any of the films will burn off too much attention debuting on Wednesday instead of the normal Friday. Holdovers have a better shot at staying number one in those situations, but I think it will be tight. Even American Hustle or Grudge Match could prove more appealing.
Wesley Lovell: Apart from my interest in the latest Martin Scorsese film, the wide releases aren't particularly appetizing. Even the specialty box office doesn't look that exciting with August: Osage County having the sheer star power to seem the most appealing.
Peter J. Patrick: The last of the big holiday releases are here - enjoy!
It used to be that Peter Jackson films dominated the holiday box office, but Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues changes that with this week's likely #1 debut.
Wesley Lovell: I'm interested in the two limited release films this week, but not those going wide.
Peter J. Patrick: Christmas comes early to both the megaplex and the art-house.
Tripp Burton: The big guns are coming out over Christmas, but this weekend there are some fabulous films coming out in limited release if you can find them.
There is no question about what will top the box office. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug should do so handily. The big question is whether the somewhat poorly received first film will keep many fans away expecting it to be worse. Critics have already chimed in that this one is back on track, if a bit long, so it might still do well.
Wesley Lovell: I'm a Tolkien fan, so I've already got my tickets to The Hobbit. Saving Mr. Banks is a good choice for the specialty box office and American Hustle may be as well.
Peter J. Patrick: And the Oscar hopefuls keep coming.
Tripp Burton: I'm not too interested in the big releases this week, but there is some really exciting stuff sneaking out to a few theatres.
There are no new wide releases this weekend; however, Inside Llewyn Davis is as close a potential blockbuster as the indie crowd can get and should easily be the top new release this weekend.
Wesley Lovell: I had never been a Coens fan until their post-Oscar output and have been fairly fascinated now that they aren't trying for the gold. This latest doesn't look too bad.
Peter J. Patrick: Slim pickings in quantity this week, but hopefully not in quality.
Tripp Burton: Nothing is opening wide this week, but that doesn't mean that worthy stuff isn't coming out to theatres.
The battle royale this weekend will be between the second week of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire sure to be somewhere in the vicinity of $80 or $90 million and Frozen, the latest Disney animated feature. Since the last two major Disney pictures debuted around $50 million for the weekend, it's likely Katniss will claim a second week (and probably even a third) at the top of the box office.
Wesley Lovell: Apart from the stinky new Jason Statham flick, this is a fantastic weekend for new releases. Frozen is easily the most exciting prospect among new releases while a tough competition between Spike Lee's remake Oldboy and Idris Elba-starrer Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. However, looking more intently at it, there is no competition to Mandela.
Peter J. Patrick: A little something for everyone this Thanksgiving weekend.
Tripp Burton: Thanksgiving is upon us, and with it comes a selection of interesting films for all types of filmgoers.
How high will The Hunger Games: Catching Fire take this weekend's box office? The first film debuted to over $150 million at the box office just over one-third of what the film would ultimately collect. It's been over a year since it premiered, but now finds itself firmly in the "holiday" season, which should enable it to perform better than its predecessor, but not by much, though if the franchise has picked up more fans since its last outing, it could become only the second film in history to open with an unadjusted total of $200 million.
Wesley Lovell: I'll be at the IMAX showing this weekend of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as will millions of others around the world. On the specialty market, Philomena promises to be an excellent choice.
Peter J. Patrick: Something for everyone this week - the second installment of the Hunger Games for the masses; Philomena for the discerning.
Tripp Burton: With the holiday season right around the corner, we get the tentpole release I am most looking forward to this week, as well as a well-received festival hit.
There's only one new wide release this weekend, but The Best Man Holiday cannot hope to overcome the second weekend of Thor: The Dark World.
Wesley Lovell: The Best Man Holiday doesn't look bad, but Nebraska is the only film any film geek should care about this week.
Peter J. Patrick: Alexander Payne's latest Oscar hopeful, Nebraska, provides the film lover's bait this week.
Tripp Burton: Nebraska is one of the most anticipated releases of the year, and the only film that seems like it is worth checking out this weekend.
No other wide releases this weekend and no hold overs will be able to trump Thor: The Dark World, which will have two weeks to rule the #1 position at the box office before The Hunger Games (spoofed this week in The Starving Games sequel Catching Fire stomps the competition for three weekends until The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug does the same.
Wesley Lovell: It should come as no surprise that my primary recommendation this week is Thor: The Dark World. However, I'm also interested in seeing spoof feature The Straving Games. As bad as these films are, it's somewhat fun to sit down and thoroughly let your brain go and laugh at the utter inanity.
Peter J. Patrick: Another holiday weekend, another blockbuster opening and some possibly good stuff at the art-house make it an interesting moviegoing week.
Tripp Burton: As the end begins to wrap up, some interesting films are continuing to sneak in, at least at the art houses.
Three very distinct genres with differing viewerbases. Last Vegas has the best potential to climb to the top of the chart. Well known actors in a Las Vegas comedy should attract the broadest support while many geeks will choose Ender's Game and families will go for Free Birds. Adult audiences have dominated this year's box office, so Last Vegas is likely to benefit greatly from that.
Wesley Lovell: While I might see Last Vegas for the fun of it, this week's best releases will be on the limited front with Dallas Buyers Club being tops on anyone's list.
Peter J. Patrick: A typical early Oscar season week. The films I most want to see, Dallas Buyers Club and About Time, are as usual, opening in limited release.
Tripp Burton: As we enter November, we are getting a lot of interesting films from all walks of filmmaking.
While Ridley Scott has a decent track record at the box office, the Jackass films have a better one which should push it to first place even against the strong holdover that's Gravity.
Wesley Lovell: The Counselor might be interesting, but strangely enough, Bad Grandpa doesn't look terribly bad. Blue Is the Warmest Color has great press, but the trailer doesn't look that interesting.
Peter J. Patrick: Can The Counselor stop Gravity's hold on the box office or will it be the week's go-to film for sold-out showings of the blockbuster hit?
Tripp Burton: This week brings us one Pulitzer Prize winner, one Palme d'Or winner, and Jackass.
You don't remake one of the most acclaimed horror films of all time only to expect a flop. Positioned as the only horror film on the horizon for Halloween, Carrie should easily pull in strong dollars for the next couple of weeks as date night and Halloween parties turn to their annual fright-fix. The Fifth Estate is likely to finish outside the top ten while Escape Plan hopes only to not embarrass itself.
Wesley Lovell: I don't have much of a desire to see any of the week's new releases, but 12 Years a Slave, All Is Lost and Kill Your Darlings should be worthwhile films to see.
Peter J. Patrick: Oscar, Oscar, will we have seen this year's Oscar winner by week's end?
Tripp Burton: While the multiplexes are busy getting everyone in the mood for Halloween, two of the most hailed movies of the year are starting to sneak out into limited release.
Tom Hanks starring in Captain Phillips doesn't guarantee it's success, but word of mouth and relentless marketing may. Captain Phillips was initially slated to win the weekend easily against the grindhouse niche film Machete Kills. However, after the stellar debut of Gravity, it will need to do exceedingly well to top that.
Wesley Lovell: Captain Phillips looks better in its second trailer than it did in its first, so it could be worth catching; however, for me, Escape from Tomorrow is the sole release this week I'm excited about.
Peter J. Patrick: Major fall releases continue with Captain Phillips making this the second decent movie week in a row in some time.
Tripp Burton: October is always an interesting mix of awards season and Halloween season, and this week is no difference. Overall, though, it looks to be a great weekend for moviegoing
Early tracking shows that Alfonso Cuaron's space thriller is going to open fairly strong, which should easily put it ahead of the weekend's other new release Runner Runner and the expanding Metallica: Through the Never.
Wesley Lovell: It's an easy choice this weekend: Gravity.
Peter J. Patrick: Oscar magnet Gravity should dwarf the competition. A.C.O.D. looks like it could be a sleeper. Everything else this week looks like it's headed for a quick video release.
Tripp Burton: One of the most anticipated movies of the year, Gravity is the film to see this weekend.
There hasn't been much in the way of family entertainment the last month, giving Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 to make a large bit of cash. The first film is well liked and the second film could build on that reputation. The problem is critics haven't started weighing in on the movie, which could lead to trouble. Looking at the other releases, I suspect only Rush has a chance of beating Cloudy.
Wesley Lovell: Rush looks like it could be fun and Cloudy 2 looks punny, but limited release Metallica: Through the Never looks most appealing this weekend.
Peter J. Patrick: Rush to see Festival hit Rush and take your time getting around to the week's other releases.
Tripp Burton: Some interesting films are starting to creep into theatres, but none of them are drawing me in too much.