Super Bowl weekend tends to take its toll on the box office, so it’s no surprise that this one is another dumping ground for hopeless movies that likely wouldn’t make much more dough over some other weekend that offered more appealing competition.
This week’s trio of new releases includes a sequel to a long-dead horror franchise, a teen romance that was delayed for more than six months, and a Robert De Niro comedy from the director of ‘Ray’. I’m no sports fan, but even I’ll take the anticlimactic Super Bowl over this threesome.
Hitting nearly 3,000 screens is ‘Rings‘, the third installment in ‘The Ring’ franchise (which is actually an English-language remake of Japan’s ‘Ringu’ series). Methinks this PG-13 entry will perform much like last year’s ‘Blair Witch’ revival – meaning it won’t perform at all. Given that the first sequel was terrible, that none of the original cast has shown up for this round, and that M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Split’ is still performing exceptionally well, I don’t see ‘Rings’ having much of a draw. This third installment tells a new tale involving that pesky videotape that kills you seven days after watching it. This time, a young man views the tape and knows that he’s only days away from dying, so his girlfriend tries to save him after discovering a hidden movie within the movie. VCRs haven’t been produced in a while, so unless there’s a mini DVD hidden within the VHS tape, I don’t understand how this series can still be a thing. Apparently, Paramount isn’t ready to let it go just yet.
STX Entertainment had some big hits last year… one of which was not ‘The Space Between Us‘. Why is that? Because STX shifted its release date four times. Originally slated for July 29th, 2016, it was bumped back to Aug. 19th, then Dec. 21st, before being bumped up to Dec. 16th, which also didn’t hold (likely because of another big movie set in space that opened at that same time). Now, more than six months later, it’s finally opening to the public. (It’s worth pointing out that STX held promo and press screenings in many markets last fall prior to the repeated date changes.)
‘The Space Between Us’ tells the story of a crew sent to inhabit Mars. En route, it’s discovered that one of them is pregnant. Unable to turn back, she has her baby on Mars, but passes away during childbirth. Cut to 16 years later. Asa Butterfield plays the Martian son who wants nothing more than to go to Earth. When he finally gets to the blue planet, it’s learned that his body cannot handle Earth’s atmosphere. NASA attempts to send him home to Mars, so he and his girlfriend (Britt Robertson) go on the run. Expect angsty teen drama. Carla Gugino and Gary Oldman co-star.
When people think of Robert De Niro, they picture ‘Taxi Driver’ or ‘The Godfather Part II’. Not many associate him with comedy – but I do. Why? Because for the last 15 years, his career has been a joke. (See what I did there?) ‘The Comedian‘ is about a fictional insult comic played by De Niro. His loud-mouth antics haven’t aged well, so his career is slipping away. Following an altercation, he’s mandated to community service, where he meets an inspiring woman (Leslie Mann) who breathes life back into his faltering world.