Like a marathon runner reaching the end of their main energy supplies at the close of a race, the summer movie season is down to pulling out the reserve stocks and throwing them into its system just to try and complete its run. This weekend’s two new releases might provide a small burst of energy to the box office, but boy are we going to feel it later.
Weekend Forecast for August 6-8, 2010
By Reagen Sulewski
August 6, 2010
Likely to lead the way of these two is The Other Guys, what you might call a double-buddy comedy. Sam Jackson and The Rock play the two toughest cops in New York City, a combination of Shaft, John McClane and Bullit. However, those aren’t the two main cops we’re following. Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg play, well, the other cops – Ferrell, an impossibly straight-laced and literal-minded bureaucrat, Wahlberg a cop-movie idolizing loose-cannon.
The ads for this film stress the odd couple nature of the partnership, with Ferrell mostly playing a more restrained character than his usual idiot man-child. Instead, it's Wahlberg who goes over the top with manic energy (with one notable exception).
While Ferrell can be a huge comedy draw at times, he can also miss wildly, as Semi-Pro showed. Wahlberg is a bit of an unknown in this kind of thing ("The Happening wasn't a comedy?" you ask), though he's mostly parodying his own, overly intense action persona, mixed with incompetence. Reviews are surprising positive for this, though I think everyone's made up their mind pre-review on this. I don't think it has quite the heat of Ferrell's broader, higher-concept films, but should still be able to take the weekend crown on over 3,200 screens with about $26 million.
The dance craze of the past few years reaches its pinnacle of pointlessness in Step Up 3D, a film that seems to redefine "cash-in". Even Breakin' only got the one sequel, though I'm sure they'd have tried for three if 3D had been a thing back then.
The plot? Well, there's a dance contest, see, and some guy and some girl and oh, swoon, will they ever just see how their moves show how much they really care for each other and I think I'm going to be sick.
As we saw last week, 3D is no guarantee that you'll turn a moribund franchise into one that's a world-beater, though you may be able to bring something up from nothing into something. Step Up probably isn't old and tired just yet, and the enduring popularity of So You Think You Can Dance shows that there's probably an audience for this yet. Just don't expect a break out, and on 2,400 screens, it should see around $23 million.
After three weekends, Inception is due to fall out of the top spot of the box office charts, but that's after no small feat of bringing in over $200 million in that period. That it did so by being a thinking-man's action movie is even more remarkable, and Hollywood should basically just agree to do whatever Chris Nolan says from now on. Give it $19 million this weekend.
Dinner For Schmucks fell short of the top spot in its debut with $23.5 million, or basically what you'd expect for a Steve Carell/Paul Rudd comedy at this point. Audience reception was abysmal, though, and I wouldn't be shocked to see the returns for the second weekend fall through the floor. As low as $11 million seems possible.
Carell's other film in release, Despicable Me, is the brighter spot on the resume, and though it'll lose its 3D screens this weekend, still seems like a bright option at the theatres, and not dependent on the gimmick for its success. It'll cross the $200 million milestone with around $10 million this weekend, and will almost make up for Robin Hood for Universal.
Angelina Jolie's Salt, meanwhile, is getting tossed over the shoulders of movie goers (I proudly accept this trophy for Most Forced Metaphor Involving a Movie's Title. I'd like to thank Gene Shalit, without whom this category simply wouldn't exist...), though it's not a total disaster, with about a $120 million final total looming. Give it anouth $10 million this weekend.
Charlie St. Cloud and Cats & Dogs 2 were twin disappointments last weekend but of different magnitudes despite their identical box office. St. Cloud failed to break Zac Efron as a cross-over movie star, though you might chalk that up to just poor choice of material, and call $12 million for a sappy melodrama if not a win, at least not a bomb. Cats & Dogs, meanwhile, shut the door on that accursed franchise, and shot through the head the invincibility of 3D cinema. Look for $7 million for St. Cloud and $6 million for Cats & Dogs.