It is the annual weekend when movies are in conflict with themselves -- when the box office confronts competition from the Oscars. With six of the nine films vying for the Best Picture award boasting ticket-sales revenue of more than $100 million (Lincoln grossed $177 million; Django Unchained, $158 million; Les MisÃ©rables, $146 million; Argo, $128 million; Life of Pi, $112 million; and Silver Linings Playbook, $101 million), the Academy Awards telecast is expected to soar in the ratings, and, as a consequence, attract moviegoers who might otherwise have headed off to their local multiplex. It doesn't help that the two movies that are opening in wide release this weekend have produced low tracking figures; i.e., not many people are interested in seeing them. The action thriller Snitch, starring Dwayne The Rock Johnson, which received mixed reviews, is expected to kick off with a mediocre $12 million, according to pundits, while the sci-fi horror flick Dark Skies, which was not screened for critics, may be lucky to hit $10 million. Indeed, Daily Variety has indicated that Universal's Identity Thief is likely to outdraw both of them and might very well rise to the top spot in its third week. And no one is ruling out A Good Day to Die Hard as a possible contender for the No. 1 spot.
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.