Hollywood studios turn hopeful eye toward holiday

Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:58am EST
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By Carl DiOrio

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - One or more of Wednesday's three wide-release movies might turn out to be a box-office turkey, but film distributors see the long Thanksgiving session as a lucrative opportunity for new films and holdovers alike.

The main debutantes during the holiday frame:

* Warner Bros.' seasonal comedy "Four Christmases" features Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon. The stars' established audience appeal offers a sturdy base of support, and prerelease tracking surveys show sufficiently broad interest to make "Christmases" a frontrunner among the new releases.

* Lionsgate's Jason Statham-starring "Transporter 3" has Frenchman Olivier Megaton directing for producers Luc Besson and Steven Chasman. Young males appear a dependable fan base for the action franchise, so the sequel should start particularly well and hunker down in second place among the new releases during the five-day span.

* Fox's Baz Luhrmann-helmed "Australia" stars Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman in an action adventure of epic sweep and 165-minute running time. The film -- whose $130 million in production costs were cut to $78 million through Aussie tax rebates -- has drawn encouraging early reviews, and tracking indicates good interest among older moviegoers.

All wide openers carry PG-13 ratings.


On Wednesday Focus Features will open Gus Van Sant's R-rated Harvey Milk biopic, "Milk," in 35 theaters in 21 markets.   Continued...

<p>Tourists pause on a walkway at a shopping mall which offers a view of the famed Hollywood sign at the hills in California March 14, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>