Holiday 2014 Forecast: 'The Interview'
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The Interview

Release Date: December 25th

Studio: Sony/Columbia

Genre: Comedy

Director: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg

Writers: Dan Sterling

Cast: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan

Studio Description: Dave Skylark (Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Rogen) run the popular celebrity tabloid TV show "Skylark Tonight." When they discover that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is a fan of the show, they land an interview with him in an attempt to legitimize themselves as journalists. As Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them, perhaps the two least-qualified men imaginable, to assassinate Kim Jong-un.

Analysis: The Interview arrives seven months after Neighbors, which became star Seth Rogen's highest-grossing live-action movie ever with $150.1 million. It also marks the second directorial outing for Rogen and Evan Goldberg after last Summer's This is the End, which also topped $100 million.

While the Rogen brand has probably never been stronger, The Interview is undeniably a tougher sell than the previously mentioned titles. The movie finds Rogen and frequent co-star James Franco recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. This set up has stirred up some controversy, and the movie has reportedly been altered in post-production to avoid inflicting the wrath of the real-life Kim Jong Un.

Comedies with geopolitical commentary have a rocky history. Team America: World Police also satirized the North Korean dictator (Kim Jong Ill at the time), and wound up tanking with $32.8 million. More recently, Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator bombed with $59.7 million.

With the Rogen/Franco team-up and some pretty funny previews, The Interview is in a much better position than those two titles. As strange as this sounds, the movie may also benefit from a Christmas Day release: in the past three years, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Django Unchained and The Wolf of Wall Street were all controversial R-rated movies that scored with adult moviegoers over the holiday.

Ultimately, The Interview should wind up in the same general range as Rogen and Franco's Pineapple Express ($87.3 million) and This is the End ($101.5 million).

Forecast: $90 million

Similar Movies: Neighbors, The Wolf of Wall Street, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, This is the End, Django Unchained, The Dictator, Your Highness, Little Fockers, You Don't Mess with the Zohan, Borat, Team America: World Police

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