Weekend Movies: History, Fiction, and Historical Fiction

Not one of this weekend’s three major openers seems to be headed for major success. Weird genre movies rarely do huge numbers, princess movies are on the decline (though the Pixar brand might help), and a smaller romantic disaster film will be limited by its R rating. One thing is for sure – the box office results ought to be interesting.

Without a doubt, Pixar’s not-so Pixar-ish ‘Brave‘ will come in first. ‘Brave’ marks two milestones for Pixar: It’s the studio’s first princess movie and its first period piece. In this fairy tale, a Scottish princess rebels against her mother when three suitors are brought in to participate in games for her hand in marriage. Being just as wild as her untamed red hair, the princess wants nothing to do with this plan, so she sets off/stumbles on a course to change her fate.

‘Brave’ ought to entertain the little ones, but adults will be left wanting more. The film plays out more like a Disney movie than a Pixar title. It has more silly content aimed for children than quality content for adults. Pixar typically blends both very well, but ‘Brave’ feels off kilter.

I like genre movies and I love the idea of melding vampire lore with a well-known historical figure, but after seeing the trailers for ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter‘, I knew that it had problems. The trailers left me asking, “Who is this intended for?” At first, I thought that it targeted the vampire-hungry teenage audience, but then the film received an R rating for a little nudity and a lot of violence – which mostly rules out teenagers. Given that even I didn’t want to see the movie after watching the trailers (and I love this sort of guilty pleasure material), I doubt too many regular adults will either. Imagine ‘Underworld‘ meets ‘Jonah Hex‘. Do you really want to see that?

Again, I believe that the third wide release this weekend is doomed by its unnecessary R rating. ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World‘ would make for a perfect date night film, but the rating will undoubtedly hurt its box office potential. While the violence of ‘Abraham Lincoln’ warranted its stern rating, the R-rated content in ‘Seeking a Friend’ is not necessary. This unlikely romantic dramedy takes place just after mankind is made aware of a 70-mile-wide asteroid that’s just three weeks away from colliding with and ending life on Earth. Had the few F-bombs and a quick shot of graphic violence been removed, this would be a perfect PG-13 date night flick. Fans of Carell’s ‘Dan in Real Life‘ would flock to see the actor command another strong dramatic role. Of the three wide openers, ‘Seeking a Friend’ is the only one that I recommend for adults.

Finally, opening in limited release is Woody Allen’s first film since last year’s extremely successful ‘Midnight in Paris‘. Allen once again hops in front of the camera in ‘To Rome with Love‘, another European comedy. Unlike ‘Midnight in Paris’, ‘Rome’ is opening to mixed reviews. This marks the first small week of the film’s platform release. If you have the chance to see it, let us know what you think.


  1. JM

    I wonder what kind of flop ‘To Rome with Love‘ is going to be.

    I liked ‘Whatever Works’ but ‘You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger’ was painful to endure.

      • Mike

        I doubt Rome will be a “flop.” It will probably do better than some Allen films but not as well as ‘Paris.’ Overseas it will make good money. Typical for Woody’s annual releases.

        • JM

          ‘To Rome With Love’ is a critical flop at RT, compared to ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ or ‘Match Point.’

          But I find my Woody Allen enthusiasms don’t align with the critics that well.

          I even liked ‘Scoop’ and ‘What’s Up, Tiger Lily?’

          I’m curious which Woody fans will love ‘Rome’ and which will abandon it, which way the buzz will blow, versus which way my affections will fall.

          I don’t even know if box office matters with his films. I’m thinking his financing is a business model 90% based on tv rights and home video.

  2. EM

    The film plays out more like a Disney movie than a Pixar title.

    Disney, apart from Pixar, has made many, many movies over the years. If this film plays out like Sleeping Beauty or Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, then it’s a masterpiece.

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