After a relatively weak September box office, the first weekend of October brings out a few big guns to try to start the month out strong.
Weekend Forecast for October 5-7, 2007
By Reagen Sulewski
October 5, 2007
[tm:1311_]The Heartbreak Kid[/tm] reunites [bp:122_]Ben Stiller[/bp] and the Farrelly Brothers for the first time since 1998's surprise smash There's Something About Mary, which they and Paramount are more than happy to let you associate this film with. In the film, Stiller (whose graying hair makes him a little questionable as the titular "kid") plays a man who believes he's finally found his perfect woman after years of panicking at the thought of commitment.
However, on the honeymoon, his dream turns into a nightmare as more and more of her personality starts to show in unpleasant ways. Stiller meets another woman ([bp:7190_]Michelle Monaghan[/bp]) on his honeymoon who may actually be "the one", but he still has his increasingly spiteful wife to survive.
This film plays as almost the opposite of "Mary", though still taking the time to abuse Stiller in inventive(?) ways. This is the kind of slapstick farce both Stiller and Farrelly do best, for better or worse. The Farrellys need a hit after the flops of Stuck on You and Fever Pitch, and this return to formula might be the way to get it. Its star, Stiller, is riding high off the incredible success of Night at the Museum last Christmas, though the primarily family audience of that film won't follow him to this R-rated film. Those customers won't really be needed, though, and Heartbreak Kid could perform similarly to 2004's Along Came Polly. Opening on over 3,200 screens, this should easily win the weekend with about $33 million.
What hath Lord of the Rings wrought? Judging by this week, studios are continuing to ride the pre-teen fantasy trend right into the ground. The Seeker: The Dark is Rising is yet another film that follows the formula of a kid discovering that he has a secret destiny as a savior in a mystery land. You've seen this (or at least the commercials) before with Bridge to Terabitha and Eragon and a few other films (maybe even Dungeons & Dragons if we stretch a little).
The ads don't give me a lot of hope for this one besides a stronger than normal cast, which includes Christopher Eccelston and [bp:7608_]Ian McShane[/bp] (who will be setting a personal record for least profanity used in one of his roles). Surprisingly, it's getting a release of over 3,100 screens – Fox is putting a lot of weight into this one – but that's no guarantee that anyone will go. I see an opening weekend of just $5 million.
The final new film opening wide is [tm:4031_]Feel the Noise[/tm], which disappointingly is not the Quiet Riot biopic that we've all been waiting for. Instead it's a film that seeks to capitalize on yet another sub-genre of music, reggaeton.
The film stars Omarion Grandberry (formerly of B2K, which was responsible for You Got Served, one of the lowest ranked films ever on IMDb) as an aspiring rapper forced out of New York by street thugs wanting to kill him. While hiding out in Puerto Rico, he discovers this thriving scene, a blend of hip-hop and Hispanic dance influences (although he'd have to be one of the most clueless rappers ever, since it's been around for decades), and discovers that he's got a knack for it, drawing the attention of record producers. For some reason he wants to go back to New York to record his album – perhaps you see the problem here.
It's apparently formula week, as this is just another of those "find and express yourself through this novel form of music that we hope will sell tons of soundtracks" films, a la the aforementioned You Got Served, Save the Last Dance, or Breakin' (but not Breakin' 2). This is probably most notable for being produced by [bp:106_]Jennifer Lopez[/bp], but no one goes to see a movie for its producers. Don't look for more than $3 million here.
[tm:3553_]The Game Plan[/tm] was an upset winner of the box office last weekend, drawing in $22 million worth of business. The Rock's first foray into family films proved to be a pretty good fit for him, even if the movie itself looked like warmed-over pap. I'm not too surprised that he was able to carry a family film, as he's a pretty charismatic guy who doesn't take himself too seriously. I just didn'[t expect this part of his career to work so soon. This should do okay in its second weekend with no serious competition, and should see about $13 million.
[tm:1950_]The Kingdom[/tm] was the film that was supposed to top the charts and didn't, but it did do basically what everyone expected of it otherwise, opening to a little over $17 million. The terrorism angle remains ultra-relevant, which can be hit or miss for a film. Luckily, it had Peter Berg's deft hand for directing action and creating tension, and a solid if not white-hot cast. Reviews weren't that kind to it, but it should maintain about $10 million this frame.
Limited releases see a few more high-profile openings and expansions this weekend, with [bp:443_]George Clooney[/bp] starring in [tm:2565_]Michael Clayton[/tm] on 15 screens. His latest collaboration with [bp:1775_]Steven Soderbergh[/bp] (who produces) is a Grisham-esque legal thriller, but one that seems to have a little more depth in it. We shall see. [tm:4025_]The Darjeeling Limited[/tm], Wes Anderson's latest, moves from a limited NY/LA engagement to 19 screens – still pretty tiny, but it also boasted a gaudy $65,000 per screen average last weekend.
The [bp:78_]Brad Pitt[/bp] western [tm:1220_]The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford[/tm] ("never fit on a marquee, luv") moves to around 60 screens this weekend, though its returns have been more tepid – it dropped a somewhat alarming 37% in its second weekend on five screens. That's not a bad number for a wide release film, but potentially deadly for a platforming film. [bp:22_]Sean Penn[/bp]'s latest as a director, [tm:3367_]Into the Wild[/tm], fared much better in its second week, cracking the top 20 on 33 screens and a $20,000 per screen average. It's rewarded with a quadrupling of its venues, and might get close to $1 million this frame.