Archive for the ‘17 Again’ Category

Weekend Preview: Wolverine Slashes Into Theaters To The Start "Summer"

May 1, 2009

For whatever reason, somewhere over the course of the last few decades, a Hollywood executive must have thought it was a good idea to claim that the first week in May was the start of Summer movie season. Logical? No. Summer doesn’t actually begin for another 7 weeks, and I see no reason why the whole world should follow anything that Hollywood says, but for whatever reason, we’ve all bought into this lie, and its expected that the first film of the “Summer” (seriously, though, we aren’t even halfway through Spring!) will be huge. “Huge” would certainly be an appropriate term to describe this weekend last year, as Iron Man found $98.6 million in its opening weekend on its way to a $318 million finish. This year, the debut of X-Men Origins: Wolverine begs the question: Which is stronger, iron or adamantium? Also, Matthew McConaughey opens his latest romantic comedy, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, and an animated movie I honestly know nothing about, Battle for Terra, hits screens.

Sorry Beyonce, but your brief reign atop the box office chart here ends with the opening of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The rebellious Marvel character that Hugh Jackman popularized in the first three X-Men films gets his own treatment with Wolverine, which also serves as a foundation for the dozens of “Origins” spinoffs that Fox will instantly put into production if Wolverine breaks out. Advertising has been pervasive, and awareness is huge for Wolverine, and if the success of Fast And Furious is any indication, audiences are more than game for a loud, explosive action movie this year, and it doesn’t even matter if reviews aren’t great.. Some analysts have argued that audiences might be getting tired of Wolverine as a character after the trilogy of X-Men films, but in this Era of Easy Entertainment, comfortable familiarity is what sells, so I don’t think that should have a negative effect on box office. Wolverine is clawing its way into a whopping 4,099 theaters, and it should have no trouble trouncing the rest of the Top 12. Look for $96 million by the end of this weekend, and a greenlight for Magneto and Gambit by Monday.

With a film as huge as Wolverine hitting screens, everything else ends up seeming like an afterthought. Still, Warner Brothers may be able to find a decent gross for the rom-com Ghosts of Girlfirends Past, which stars Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner. This is a classic example of counter-programming, and as The Devil Wears Prada showed us in 2006 when it debuted to $27 million against Superman Returns, there’s more than enough room for two big openers in one weekend. Personally, I don’t understand why people like McConaughey so much. He has always come across to me as smarmy, cocky, and dumb. Ladies, if that’s what you’re looking for in a man, then I’ve sadly got little to offer you. Despite my disapproval, though, McConaughey is a proven draw, and Garner makes for a likable romantic lead. Reviews are saying that the fantasy comedy is lacking in originality and humor, which is pretty much consistent with every other romantic comedy released these days, but advertising has been strong, and this provides women with an option other than Wolverine. Popping up in 3,175 theaters, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past could nab $20 million this weekend.

What the heck is Battle For Terra? I’ve seen literally no advertising for this Lionsgate release. With a little cyber-sleuthing, though, I’ve gathered that it’s a 3-D sci-fi animated film about a space war between aliens and humans. Reviews are only alright, there is zero awareness for this title, and similarly themed Monsters Vs. Aliens, even in its sixth week, will outshadow this one for sure. Terra zaps itself into just 1,159 theaters this weekend, and a gross of $3 million should result.

Among holdovers, we’ll probably see some larger-than-usual drops due to Wolverine‘s debut. Last week’s champ, Obsessed, which was destined to be front-loaded anyway, will probably fall by a steep 60% to about $11.5 million. Fighting has a lot working against it. It’s a teen film, which always signifies a big second weekend drop, and it’s an action film, which looks a lot less cool than Wolverine. The Channing Tatum feature might find $4.5 million. It will be interesting to see if Jamie Foxx’s non-sequitur appearance on American Idol this week will soften the second weekend drop for The Soloist. Still, unless there is some sort of divine intervention, The Soloist (with its $60 million pricetag) won’t be considered a hit. Give it $4.7 million as well. Disney’s re-edited version of the popular Planet Earth miniseries, Earth, actually has the best chance for a solid holdover this weekend. Appealing to families and intellectuals alike, Earth has been doing well during the week, and it might find $5.5 million over the weekend frame.

Predicted Top 12 For May 1-3, 2009
1. X-Men Origins: Wolverine – $96 million
2. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past – $20 million
3. Obsessed – $11.5 million
4. 17 Again – $6 million
5. Earth – $5.5 million
6. Monsters Vs. Aliens – $5.5 million
7. The Soloist – $4.7 million
8. Fighting – $4.5 million
9. State Of Play – $4 million
10. Hannah Montana The Movie – $3.6 million
11. Fast And Furious – $3.3 million
12. Battle For Terra – $3 million

How much do you think Wolverine will earn at the box office this weekend? Can it break the $100 million barrier? Put your predictions in the comments!


Friday Estimates: Beyonce In Obsessed Earns $11 Million On Opening Day!

April 25, 2009

Steve Mason just posted Friday Estimates over at Big Hollywood, and I gotta say, this weekend is so Beyonce! Indeed, even I, who certainly had the highest weekend prediction among analysts of $20 million, undercut Obsessed, which earned a crazy good $11 million on Friday. The Era Of Easy Entertainment is real, people! It should be headed to a $26 million weekend, and an easy first place.

Everything else sort of failed to break out, and there will be lots of films in the $8-11 million range this weekend. Here are Mason’s estimates:

Exclusive Steve Mason Early Friday Estimates
1. Obsessed – $11M, $4,375 PTA, $11M cume
Fighting – $3.72M, $1,610 PTA, $3.72M cume
3. 17 Again – $3.61M, $1,109 PTA, $31.91M cume
The Soloist – $3.43M, $1,695 PTA, $3.43M cume
5. Earth – $2.61M, $1,447 PTA, $9.39M cume
State of Play – $2.58M, $1,029 PTA, $22.12M cume
Hannah Montana: The Movie – $2.21M, $685 PTA, $61.41M cume
Fast & Furious – $1.86M, $524 PTA, $5.79M cume
Monsters vs. Aliens – $1.8M, $536 PTA, $168.09M cume
10. Crank: High Voltage – $1M, $450 PTA, $10.11M cume

Top Five Movies Where People Appear To Be Different Ages Than They Actually Are But Use This To Gain Some Sort Of Insight Into Their Life

April 16, 2009

Last week it was Miley Cyrus, this week another Disney protege is attacking theaters across the country in the most original movie since… Every other movie ever made in this genre. 17 Again (itself a remake of the 1989 movie 18 Again. Why they felt it necessary to knock off a year is beyond me. Perhaps the pornographic connotations surrounding 18?…) tells the story of a man approaching middle-age with the apprehension and nostalgia everybody faces. Due to what looks like a magic whirlpool and a magician janitor, he is thrown into his seventeen year old body and allowed to be young again. Sound familiar? It should. No doubt there will be humorous antics as this man-child protects his daughter from the evil boys trying to date her and eventually realizes that ‘being young is hard,’ and that he should, ‘be closer with his children.’ I swear to you I have read no spoilers, but I guarantee you that’s what happens. Oh, there will also likely be some ‘adult situation’ he was supposed to handle, and he will now have to do it as a kid, to humorous results.

I write about this sarcastically, as if I don’t like the concept, but this isn’t entirely true. I actually tend to enjoy these movies, despite their lack of originality. 17 Again has surprisingly good reviews (at least compared to what I was predicting), and doesn’t look all bad. Yes, it’s ripe with cliche (the wise, magic janitor; the plot itself), but it actually has some potential to be a funny, light-hearted, feel-good movie. In honor of this movie hitting theaters, I will count down the top “Movies Where People Appear To Be Different Ages Than They Actually Are.”

5. Vice Versa

This film gets high marks for being original, for movies at least. Though the question remains: which film? There were 3 films made in 1918, 1937, and the most popular in 1948. As far as I can tell, the ’48 version was the first mainstream example. The plot? What the hell do you expect? A guy is given a magic stone, wishes he could have the carefree life his son, and voila. He does. They both take advantage of their new situation until they realize how hard life is for the other, and they have to relocate the lost stone to fix the situation. Evidently it’s based off a novel of the same name written in 1882, giving you some sense of how old this idea really is.

It was remade a FORTH TIME in 1988 (this era was fraught with the genre, along with box-cuts) in a movie starring Fred Savage and Judge Reinhold. It didn’t do that well at the box office and has never been all that respected critically.

4. Freaky Friday
Another one of those movies where you can ask: which version? It started as a children’s book in the seventies. The ‘classic’ film was released in 1976, there was a male version Like Father Like Son released in (guess when?) 1987, a made for TV feature in ’95, and the most recent 2003 version starring Lindsay Lohan. (tidbit: Vice Versa, Like Father Like Son, and 18 Again were all released within one year. Overkill much). The plot? A mother and daughter switch lives. The result? The mother has to deal with the difficulties of being an angst filled teenager, and the daughter has to find a way to use her youthful talents to help her mother’s career. All along, they learn to love each other more. In a surprise ending, they switch back and are better for the experience.

3. 13 Going on 30

I reluctantly include this on the list, and only do so for the respect it has received for the public at large. Personally, I don’t get it. Maybe it’s a girl thing. It’s essentially a remake of the winner on this list (an actual classic). I felt it didn’t really add anything to the genre, but was made just for the sake of it. I will say this: the movie’s charm comes almost exclusively from Jennifer Garner, who seems to enjoy the roll she is in. It garnered (get it? Garner… never mind.) pretty positive reviews and is considered a funny, albeit a retreading movie.

2. Jack
It’s not a movie you’d technically think of fitting in this genre. There’s no ‘supernatural switch,’ nobody suddenly waking up and screaming when they look into the mirror. Yet it completely fits into the absurdly long heading of this article. I would have included another Robin Williams Movie, Mrs. Doubtfire, but that was too much a stretch, since it’s only a costume that makes the person look older (it would certainly, however, make it onto the best “Going In Drag” movies, a list of only 2 movies, and the other isn’t White Chicks).

Jack however fits nicely into this list, once you accept the notion. There’s no magic in this story, no body switching or voodoo. Jack is a boy who has a rare aging disorder; he ages at four times the speed of a normal person. Thus at age 10, he appears to be 40. We see him interact with his classmates, and attempt to overcome their prejudice as he is different from everyone else. It’s a humorous, often touching movie (I defy someone not to feel sad when Jack asks his teacher, played by J-Lo, to the dance because he knows how strange it would be for the younger girls). Ultimately, it’s not about learning the difficulties of life or old age, but understanding to cherish life itself.

Note: I realize with this basis The Curious Case of Benjamin Button fits my criteria. Since I’ve made the list, I’ll say it’s too recent to tell. But it was a good movie.

1. Big

If you saw the title of this post and didn’t immediately recognize that this movie would be number one, it means one of two things: you haven’t seen it recently, or you haven’t seen it at all. Either way, you need to go watch this movie. It really did transcend a lot of it’s genres stereotypes and delivered a quality, humorous, all around great movie that helped launch Tom Hanks’ career. The plot is as generic as the others: a young boy, tired of being excluded because of his youth, makes a wish to a carnival machine to be big. His wish is granted.

It’s the rest of this movie that makes it amazing. The supporting characters are great, and it shows the beauty of youthful thinking in an adult-minded world. In the classic scene pictured at the left, Josh plays foot piano with the CEO of a company, opening his inner youth and allowing Josh to get into the big leagues with his ‘fresh ideas.’ The movie is bold in many ways: the mother thinks Josh has been kidnapped, and is an emotional wreck the entire movie, and it’s highly implied that Josh loses his virginity while in his adult state. A risky movie, considering he’s only twelve.

What is perhaps the highlight of this movie is the relationship between Josh and his best friend. As he becomes more accustomed to adult life, he loses all of that boyish charm he first exhibited so strongly and begins to alienate the boy that had helped him the entire time. He finally realizes the beauty and rareness of youth, and works to turn back the process.

Funny Moment #46, at a nice dinner party Josh eats baby corn like corn on the cob and spits out caviar into a napkin.

These stories are old, repetitive, and formulaic, but somehow mange to still be fun and popular. I think they’re so appealing because they typically allow us to imagine looking at our lives from a different perspective. We can imagine how our own mother would act around us, not recognizing our thirty year old body. We can see how they might have feelings they can’t fully express to us. Ultimately, they all call for us to cherish the present (and, of course, realizing the difficulties of being a parent/teenager).