As Sam Jackson once said, “Hold onto your butts.” Summer starts two weeks early this year. Today we get just one wide release – an expensive visual effects-filled star vehicle. Tom Cruise fans, be sure to soak it in, because this is his only movie of 2013.
Up-and-coming director Joseph Kosinski follows up ‘Tron: Legacy‘ with ‘Oblivion’, a science fiction flick that’s part ‘Wall-E‘, part ‘Moon‘ and part ‘Independence Day‘. Set several decades in the future, Earth has seen better days. No, we humans didn’t wipe it out with our gas-guzzling vehicles or uncontrollable amounts of garbage. Instead, when the world was under attack from an alien race, mankind turned to the only weapon powerful enough to take the planet back: nukes. In the process, the alien race destroyed our moon, completely throwing the world’s climate out of whack. Between the two major changes, Earth is a desolate wasteland. All humans have transplanted to one of two places: a giant ship floating in orbit or a moon within our solar system that can support human life.
Cruise plays Wall-E and Andrea Riseborough plays his Eve. The two work together in cleaning up the planet from remaining vengeful aliens determined to destroy the fusion power stations that fuel the orbiting space station. When a spaceship crash lands near their home, the sole survivor (Olga Kurylenko) causes them to question everything they know.
Opening on more than 3,800 screens, including special 1.89:1 format IMAX screens, ‘Oblivion’ is literally the only wide release this weekend. Its closest competitor is the 348-screen release of ‘Home Run’. This PG-13 sports drama tells the story of a profession baseball player who’s forced into rehab. While trying to kick a drug habit, he comes to terms with his past as he starts coaching a team for troubled youth. If you saw last year’s ‘Touchback‘, you have an idea about the type of movie that ‘Home Run’ might be.
The powers-that-be in studio-driven Hollywood have finally realized that Rob Zombie’s movies aren’t worth releasing wide. Anchor Bay is only opening ‘The Lords of Salem‘ on 300 screens. The IMDb description makes it sound like a joke. A trio of radio DJs receive a mysterious vinyl record from what they think is a local band trying to make it big. As they listen, it plays backwards and unlocks disturbing flashbacks. When they play the album on-air, it surprisingly plays forward and is a big hit. Immediately afterward, another mysterious package arrives containing promotional materials – tickets, posters and swag – for an upcoming gig with “The Lords of Salem.” Of course, hell will be unleashed at this supposed show. Kill me now.
The only other notable limited release is Lionsgate’s ‘Filly Brown‘. The music-driven drama tells the story of a young singer whose talent is more than worthy of stardom, but when she finally gets her big break, the label wants to push her sexuality more than her music. Conundrum! Leading actress Gina Rodriguez was said to give a breakout performance at the Sundance Film Festival. Lou Diamond Phillips, Edward James Olmos, Emilio Rivera and Noel Gugliemi co-star.