We’re moving into the next week of the smaller blockbuster movies. You know, those that only make 45 million in their opening weekend.
Last weekend, despite early predictions, The Hangover edged out Up by just a few hundred thousand dollars. It made some 45 million to Up‘s 44.1. A close race to be sure. The Hangover is an hysterical movie, so I’m glad it’s performing well. They’re already talking about a sequel. Seriously.
But it will be interesting to see if this weekend will top last, or if we will have our lowest opening so far this summer. When it comes to bankable movies, there’s only two worthy of mention. Imagine That brings Eddie Murphy to another family comedy, hopefully one that performs better than his previous forays in this territory. It doesn’t have too many early reviews, which often isn’t a great designator in a company’s faith in a movie. But of the four that it has so far, three of them are positive, putting it at a cool 75% on Rotten Tomatoes. That beats Pluto Nash by a landslide.
Imagine That tells the story of a financial executive (Murphy) who finds himself in a business rut. His daughter (Yara Shahidi) has quite the active imagination, and dreams up a fantasy world with countries and monarchs all named after huge American corporations. When her drawing shows two of these characters getting married, it soon follows that the companies with the respective names decide to merge with one another. Realizing his daughter’s strange prophecy, the businessman will use her and whatever fairy she’s getting her information from to help him get ahead. And it’s likely he and his daughter will become close. Just throwing that out.
Family films have the strange power to make crap-loads of cash. I say this week-end might be a slump, but I’ve seen predictions for this movie upwards of 65 million. It certainly could happen, I just feel like I’ve heard very little about it. I’m not sure it’s been marketed well, unless it’s only been previewed on Nickelodeon. Or perhaps I’m just missing it. But it seems to be one of those movies that tries to appeal to adults, so I feel like I should be seeing it everywhere for it to rack in that much cash. Well, only time will tell. Come Monday we’ll see just how much another family friendly Eddie Murphy comedy can pull in.
Excitement Buzz: 5/10
Also coming out this week is the action/suspense film The Taking of Pelham 123. It stars Denzel Washington as Walter Garber, as a lowly dispatcher of the New York City subway system. The described ‘mastermind thief’ of a villain is portrayed by John Travolta, who I happen to love in bad-guy rolls. Swordfish, Broken Arrow, hot damn he can take cartoony villains and make them menacing. In this movie, he even sports a goatee, which means he’ll be willing to kill even more people than usual. Sweet.
Ryder (Travolta) along with three lackies hijack Pelham 123 in New York City’s subway and demands a large amount of money to be delivered within th hour, or people start to die. A plot elegant in its simplicity, no? Ten years ago, this would be pitched as ‘Die Hard’ on a subway train, if only this weren’t a remake of a 1974 movie. Anyway, he will only speak to Walter, who has extensive knowledge of the subway system. Walter has one question that nags him the entire film: even if they get the money, how do they plan to escape? I don’t know what it’ll be, but it’s going to be sweet. I imagine extensive use of dynamite, a wrecking ball, a helicopter, gold fish crackers, a catapult, the monster from Lost, and Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
It’s a standard action film, but it’s got big names in the leads, which will certainly draw viewers in (especially since Denzel is sooooo dreamy). Most predictions for this film are in the 30 million range, so Eddie Murphy might beat Denzel after all.
Excitement Buzz: 7/10
And finally, a movie I expect will make much less than it deserves, the new cerebral science fiction movie Moon
comes out this Friday. Starring Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey, the films tells the story of astronaut Sam Bell (Rockwell), who has lived on the moon alone for three long years, extracting the rare gas Helium-3 for a company called Lunar, which says it holds the key to solving Earth’s energy crisis. When he’s only two weeks away from the end of his tenure on the moon, when he plans to retire wealthy and make up for lost time with his wife and daughter, he begins to feel odd and has aural and visual hallucinations. The mystery unfolds as Sam discovers Lunar has been less than honest about their intentions and that the life he has created might not be what he had perceived. It’s at a 100% at Rotten Tomatoes after 19 reviews, so if that trend continues we could have an excellent, insightful science fiction film, more akin to 2001
than to Star Trek
Excitement Buzz: Me: 8/10, Females: 1/10.
Angry comment of the hour: In searching for pictures of Moon, I searched “Moon film,” aware that searching for ‘Moon’ would give me, well, pictures of the moon. I didn’t get at all what I wanted. Instead, I got poster after poster of New Moon, the Twilight sequel that makes self castration seem like an attraction at Disneyland.