Hollywood doubles its comedy output from last weekend, putting out two films that can loosely be described as comedies. And trust us when we mean “loosely”.
Weekend Forecast for April 16-18, 2010
By Reagen Sulewski
April 16, 2010
When you think about independent movies, you don’t usually think about super hero films. And yet, in the case of Kick-Ass, that’s exactly what we’ve got. A microscopically-budgeted $28 million adaptation of the alternative Marvel comic book, it was produced with completely independent money, then sold to Universal and Lionsgate to distribute. It’s a nice story of artistic integrity, but it’s not exactly the kind of thing audiences tend to care about.
The plot of the film revolves around a nerdy teenager who decides to become a superhero, despite having no actual powers or crime-fighting ability, essentially to impress a girl. After his initial failed attempts, he’s left with metal bonded to his bones and nerve damage that allows him to take a beating like no one else. After this, he finds himself in the midst of a war between a group of other self-proclaimed heroes (including a ten-year-old foulmouthed assassin) and organized crime.
Openly comedic superhero films don’t tend to play well, as the core audience usually considers these Serious Business. You can have moments of funny in the film, but it can’t be the focus. See: Mystery Men and Blankman for examples. Kick-Ass compensates by adding in a bit of the old ultra-violence, which might be enough to help it get over that hump with comic fans.
Light on public recognition and star power (Nicolas Cage, in his annual legally mandated comic film, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse are its sole known names), Kick-Ass is going to struggle to catch on with the general public, too. Probably its closest comparison is Sin City, which had a lot more style and hype, and still only opened to $29 million. Reviews are generally positive, although not ecstatically so, which is going to keep it out of true hit territory. Opening at a little more than 3,000 venues, it should find an opening weekend of about $26 million.
More traditional comedy arrives in the form of Death at a Funeral, a mostly-black remake of a 2007 British film of the same name. Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Tracy Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Danny Glover, Regina Hall, Peter Dinklage, Luke Wilson and James Marsden are the major names involved as family that comes together following the death of their patriarch. Complications arise in spades as bodies go missing, secrets are uncovered and old wounds are reopened, leading to an all-over farce.
Directed by, for some reason, Neil LaBute of The Wicker Man and In the Company of Men fame, Death a a Funeral is as broad a comedy as it gets short of The Three Stooges. It should probably play well with the Tyler Perry crowd, and while not having his stamp of approval, has a lot higher name recognition with the stars, allowing for a bigger crossover audience. Although what’s likely to keep it from really breaking out is how horrible the film looks – sadly, this doesn’t ensure a bomb anymore. Opening at about 2,500 venues, it should start with a little under $25 million and challenge for top spot on the weekend.
Clash of the Titans and Date Night battled it out last weekend and landed in mostly the same territory as this weekend's new openers should. Titans eventually edged out the Carrell/Fey pairing by a little over a million, though it’ll be close to impossible for Titans to win this pairing a second straight week. The 3D swords and sandals film dropped over 50% in its second weekend, though with $115 million already in the bank and a likely $175 million domestic total, its producers aren’t exactly crying. Date Night, meanwhile, should get some cushion from being a non-challenging comedy with likeable leads who aren’t too far up the stardom ladder. Playing at edgy without actually being edgy, it’s the kind of film that could hang on for a couple of weeks – hey, look at Couples Retreat – and maybe make it to around $80 million, which is decently respectable. Give it $15 million this weekend, with Titans falling to $12 million.
How to Train Your Dragon nearly snuck by both those films last week, with just a 14% fall in its third weekend. That’s unlikely to be repeated, but after falling just a third in its second weekend, it’s proving to be a moderate hit after what felt like a disappointing opening. Standard dropoff would place it at around $200 million for a final total, but with this showing, it might get up to around $225 million. $19 million in its fourth weekend should help it get on its way there.
Further down the list we have Why Did I Get Married Too?, which exhibited the usual one-and-done behavior of Tyler Perry films, dropping almost two-thirds in its return trip. It’s headed for about $60 million total. Give it around $6 million this weekend, about the same as The Last Song, Miley Cyrus’s failed attempt to take over the movie world.