You might well call this a summer preview weekend, as two of the big releases are near to carbon copies of two of this summer’s films. Add in an early release for Earth Day and it’s a full weekend.
Weekend Forecast for April 23-25, 2010
By Reagen Sulewski
April 23, 2010
Leading the way is The Losers, an adaptation of a DC Vertigo comic about a betrayed black ops unit seeking revenge of the system that let them down. As should be clear at this point, this is more or less The A-Team, but with less name recognition. Not that the basic concept isn’t full of potential if revamped and taken a little more seriously, which this film appears to do, while still retaining a sense of humor.
It’s also trying to keep a sense of humor with its cast of eccentric mercenaries, which is usually a recipe for success in this genre these days, or at least modest popularity. But there are three real problems with this becoming a hit, some more easy to overcome than others. The first is the notability of the subject matter, which is to say that there basically is none. The second is the cast, which is mostly unremarkable for the general public, with minor stars in Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana and Chris Evans in important roles, and that’s basically it. The third is the bad reviews of the film, which hammer on the silliness of the plot and the frenetic comic book touches included by director Sylvain White (director of nothing you liked before).
By themselves, each of those things wouldn’t necessarily hamstring the film, but together, they’re keeping it in minor film status. It ends up looking a little better than something like Smokin’ Aces (which was much worse than its stylish ads) and should be able to get an opening weekend of around $17 million.
The second film of the week sees Jennifer Lopez return to the screen in The Back-Up Plan after about four years away. In the film, Lopez plays a busy professional who conceives via artificial insemination after giving up hope on romance, only to find her true love on that very day, and wackiness ensues.
Aside from stealing the thunder from Jennifer Aniston’s upcoming film The Switch, The Back-Up Plan's crime appears to be that it’s one of those films that thinks it’s being all empowering and stuff to women when really it’s just insulting. Wow, the novelty of a pregnant career woman dating! Oh, the cold feet he’ll have about raising someone else’s kids! Oh, the wacky pregnancy cravings! It’s like they grafted a 1950s script into modern sensibilities.
As for Lopez’s appeal, it’s hard to judge at this point. Her last role was a supporting one in El Cantante, which grossed just $7 million total. The last film of hers with any kind of blockbuster aspirations was Monster-In-Law, which opened to $23 million and finished with $83 million. That was back in better times for Lopez, and with a better concept. Time out of mind for audiences rarely lets stars jump back into the position they were in, with the only real recent example that comes to mind being Sandra Bullock, and that after just two years of absence. Add in some rather horrific reviews and I’d say we’re looking at around $11 million for its opening weekend.
Debuting on Thursday, Oceans is Disney’s next production in their line of nature documentaries, this time focusing on, wait, wait, I’ll get this one…
Last year, they did this with Earth, an edited down version of their Planet Earth series. A solid earner with around $30 million total, it started with about $9 million in 1,800 theaters. Expectations seem to have been dialed down for Oceans, as it’s starting in just over 1,200 venues. That makes sense, as the narrowing of focus will necessarily cut off some interest in the film. Give it around $6 million this weekend, with about $9 million after four days.
After some jockeying back and forth, Kick-Ass did eventually beat How to Train Your Dragon for top spot at the box office last weekend, if only just. The independently produced comic book movie is a qualified success, as its rock-bottom budget didn’t take much to be surpassed. However, despite large amounts of early Internet buzz, the general public didn’t bite on this ultra-violent comic movie, and world-of-mouth should give it next to nil support for upcoming weeks. A drop to around $8 million wouldn’t be out of the question here.
That gives Dragon yet another shot at staying in the top two for the weekend. After a slow start (relatively speaking), this 3D animated film has now reached $160 million and appears headed straight for $200 million-ville. It’s a pretty remarkable showing and speaks to the power that word-of-mouth still has. Look for about $15 million this weekend, and another shot at first place if The Losers, well, lose.
Date Night’s turning into a modest hit after what felt like a disappointing opening weekend for its two stars, Tina Fey and Steve Carell, with the $50 million benchmark reached after just over two weekends. $100 million isn’t out of the question here, though it might be a little bit of a stretch. It should see $11 million in business in its third weekend.
The question about Death at a Funeral’s holding power probably relates more to whether audiences feel it looks like a Tyler Perry movie (even though it has nothing to do with him) than as to whether they thought it looked great or not. This remake of a British farce is essentially already a winner, though, with just a $21 million budget. I’d guess we’re looking at $8 million for weekend two. Meanwhile, Clash of the Titans defied its seeming death to hold at $15 million in its third weekend, but did fall to fifth overall. I suspect audiences are about done with this film despite the 3D spectacle, and something around $7 million should be in the cards here.