http://chud.com/nextraimages/k9possecover.jpgI was hanging out on Wednesday night with some friends and I was making plans for next weekend without realizing it was Christmas weekend. I went to a birthday party a couple days back and realized I hadn’t seen that person in a year. Instead of blaming this on getting old, I think I’ve fallen into a time-space continuum. Donations are appreciated by my alien masters.

NOTES AND NOTES AND NOTES AND NOTES

- Will Smith is looking like the biggest star in Hollywood right now. Even though he rarely gets a white leading lady (quote Cleavon Little all you want here, cause I’m going to. In my head), and if he has a white femme costar (I, Robot) it’s usually a platonic thing or they’re animated (ala Shark Tale). Regardless he’s one of the biggest draws around, and has managed to maintain his bankability while also exploring his actorly side. It’s a tricky balance though it also shows why he and Matt Damon have managed to maintain their stardom, whilst many of their contemporaries have not. But the race barrier is fascinating, it’s funny how the biggest star in the country is black, and yet there’s some things he just can’t do on screen. We’re also looking at a president candidate who may in fact win and will still be black. I guess this really is the new Willenium. That’s the story this week, his I Am Legend should open really really big. But who cares? Big Willie Styles, I guess.

- You watch the AVP 2 footage (or AVPR, or SLP MODE, whatever the heck they’re calling it)? The most interesting thing about it, besides being gorier than the first film in five minutes, is the release date. 1/18/08. Fox has decided to see how big Cloverfield’s footprints really are. It’s a bold move: AVP is considered to have a base or – that is to say – an audience who will show up regardless of quality or merit. This is goodwill run amok (like a Chuck Jones fowl I can think of), but I have to credit Fox for some great dumb bravado, there may be some nose-cutting, face-spiting going on here. And who knows which will be better as of today? I don’t. And I know lots.

UPDATED: It appears the 1/18 date is for the UK. So… Nevermind. Still, if they did that, then that’d be cool.

- We’re hitting the end of the year now. 2007 has shook out to be one of the great years of cinema. But as Jeremy pointed out, that will likely not be reflected in any of the awards ceremonies. Clutch these great films tight, and make sure the light keeps shining for them. Expect some sort of wrap up in the next couple of weeks. From a box office perspective. From me. Cause that’s what I do.

- The year-end lists have begun! Everything at this point has been screened, and we’ve only got a month or so until the nominees are announced. Thank Christ. I live in LA, so at least all the academy talk (like the strike talk) can be defended because it’s our lifeblood and culture (gag). What this does mean is that more good movies are afoot, and with good to Masterpiece used for Sweeney Todd and There Will Be Blood, and with Charlie Wilson’s War and Walk Hard also getting positive notices, there’s a bunch of stuff worth checking out in the pipeline that should help you get through the sluggish early weeks of January

- Alvin and the Chimunks as a CGI movie? I guess we knew it was coming, but if anyone I know actually pays to see this, it will be good to know. You know who really should have directed it? Takashi Miike. A single man who’s a father to three singing chipmunks? Ah, acid.

- Have I mentioned The New Beverly screenings of The Wright Stuff to an excess? Tonight brings Mickey Dolenz, Head, and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Sunday offers Evil Dead 2, Raising Arizona, and a bonus special film. Wednesday night I got my Top Secret poster signed by David Zucker and Jim Abrahams and had one hell of a time.

YOU MUST BE USED TO ME PREDICTIN’, ALL THAT SWEET WINE-IN AND DININ’, BUT I’M PREDICTING YOU TONIGHT (WHOA OH OH OH)

The big story this weekend besides I Am Legend’s blockbuster gross will be the 60% tumble that Golden Compass takes. With a crowded 12/21 marketplace, it might be out of some markets come next Friday, and all the second prints will be gone. It’s not going to get better. Not for a while.

But, that said, I Am Legend should also be huge, opening in the $50 range, while Alvin and the Chipmunks should work as counter-programming enough. Both have relatively short run times, which will help. There’s also The Perfect Holiday, which looks to be vaguely similar to This Christmas and opened to Death on Wednesday. Otherwise, there’s limited releases with The Kite Runner and Youth Without Youth, while Atonement and Juno are doing some expanding (though not so much that it’s going to be easy to see either).

And here we go:

1. I Am Legend - $52.3 Million
2. Alvin and the Chipmunks - $14.3 Million
3. The Golden Compass - $12.1 Million
4. Enchanted - $7.2 Million
5. The Perfect Holiday- $6.4 Million

And then Sunday, I’ll give a lecture on The Importance of Being Earnest. Get those ladyfingers ready!