As a sign of how low studio expectations may be, not a single of this week’s three new wide release movies will hit more than 2,700 screens. Considering that the year’s last successful opening was ‘The Expendables 2’ fourteen days ago, this doesn’t look like it’s shaping up to be a very lucrative weekend at the box office.
The week’s widest release is ‘The Possession‘, a PG-13 horror movie made by an unproven director, written by the duo that gave us ‘Knowing‘ (gag) and produced by Sam Raimi. (What is he thinking?) Deemed a Jewish version of ‘The Exorcist‘, the film stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan (the guy who’s been in countless bad movies), Kyra Sedgwick (that lady from the boring TV show) and some random kid as a broken family forced together again after the daughter accidentally releases a demon upon them. Unless Raimi writes and directs, I don’t want to see it. Give me ‘Drag Me to Hell‘, not ‘The Grudge‘.
The second biggest opener is ‘Lawless‘, a Prohibition-era gangster flick from the Aussies who gave us two brilliant films: ‘The Proposition‘ and ‘The Road‘. Unfortunately, ‘Lawless’ isn’t as great as either of those, but it’s still a solid bootlegging drama. Tom Hardy plays a badass who won’t back down against the law (Guy Pearce) when his moonshine racket is at stakes. Shia LaBeouf plays Hardy’s Pony Boy-ish little brother, who must choose whether to get his hands dirty in the family business or stay golden. Yes, LaBeouf plays a greaser – but not the lame-ass greaser he played in that bastardized fourth ‘Indiana Jones‘ movie. Hot damn, that movie sucked ass.
This weekend’s third wide release scares the living hell out of me. First, what’s an Oogielove? Second, where does this show come from? Third, why in the world is the movie showing on more than 2,100 screens? And fourth, since the demographic is apparently around the infant range, why would anyone feel inclined to take a two-year-old to the theater to see it? The most entertaining thing about this entire concept is the fact that the trailer for ‘The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure‘ tries to sell it like a kids’ version of ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’. You’re not having fun unless you’re singing along and interacting. I also crack up when the trailer claims to have brought “so many stars together, like Toni Braxton, Cloris Leachman, Christopher Lloyd, Chazz Palminteri, Cary Elwes and Jaime Pressly.” Because that list has “stars” written all over it. This is the line-up you’d see ABC throw together for a season of ‘Dancing with the Stars’, not one that you’d actually pay to watch in a feature film.
Indie comedy ‘For a Good Time, Call …‘ hits 23 screens thanks to Focus Features. If you don’t remember my review of this chick-flick comedy from Sundance, the film stars Ari Graynor and Lauren Miller as unlikely roommates who strike up a friendship when they start a run-from-home phone sex hotline.
‘Little Birds‘ stars Juno Temple, Kay Panabaker, Leslie Mann and Kate Bosworth. It tells the story of two underage girls who leave their Salton Sea home to follow a trio of boys back to Los Angeles. Of course, something terrible happens along the way. I’m guessing the “R” word because this is a Sundance drama, and that’s what those usually do.
Jessica Biel used nudity as a career-booster, and now that the hype is over, she’s returning to small titles that no one will ever see. In ‘The Tall Man‘, she plays a young widowed mother trying to get her kidnapped son back. Who took the kid? My guess is the Tall Man, duh.
Finally, Magnolia is releasing the Orlando Bloom thriller ‘The Good Doctor‘, in which he plays a doctor with a crush on a female patient. When she begins to recover, out of fear that he’ll never see her again, the doc finds ways to make her ill just so that he can keep her close. How awesome would it be if this was the surprise prequel to ‘The Human Centipede‘? Bloom can sew her up in the end and a bold title card could read: “First Sequence.” With a PG-13 rating, I’m guessing that ‘The Good Doctor’ isn’t nearly as good as my idea.