What does it look like when Hollywood gives up on a weekend? Kind of like this one, actually.
Weekend Forecast for February 4-6, 2010
By Reagen Sulewski
February 4, 2011
Two profoundly underwhelming films make up this weekend's slate of new releases, leaving audiences mostly free for another weekend to check on Oscar nominated films. Still, if you have to see something new this weekend, the most popular choice is likely to be The Roommate, this generation's remake of Single White Female.
Apparently spawned by the fact that Minka Kelly and Leighton Meester look a lot alike, The Roommate has Kelly in the Bridget Fonda role (aka the normal one), as a college freshman (at age 30!) assigned Meester, who's got the Jennifer Jason Leigh role (aka the crazy one), trying to take over Kelly's life. Things deteriorate from there and PG-13 quality thrills result.
If that paragraph seems a little bare, it's because Sony Screen Gems seems to be doing everything in their power to hide actual details of the film from the public, other than to parade Kelly and Meester to the press like some double vision of hotness. Not a single review of the film has escaped to the public, which means a) the film sucks b) the studio thinks you're stupid c) and they think you'll pay to gaze at similarly looking hotties for 90 minutes.
Item c) is bizarrely untested as a theory, with neither of the two leads having any kind of significant film experience. While Kelly's highest profile role is probably the Friday Night Lights series (which you should absolutely watch, but few have), she may be best known as Derek Jeter's girlfriend. Meester still has her role on Gossip Girl to claim, but that's on the CW, which means absolutely no one watches it. These two aren't complete unknowns, but their entirely blank track records make this a bit of a crapshoot. I'd lean towards the side of it being nearly ignored, with about a $7 million opening weekend.
That said, that cast looks like Ocean's Eleven compared to Sanctum's, which has to play the Kevin Bacon game to get to a household name. In fact, you have to go all the way to the producer, James Cameron, until you get to see why this film is even in wide release. Cameron farms out this idea about underwater cave explorers, lending his name and 3D technology to give it a boost. I think we're about establish a baseline for just how desperate people are to see anything in 3D.
In some ways this compares to the late '90s-early '00s trend of adventure movies like Cliffhanger and Vertical Limit, but even Chris O'Donnell would be an improvement on this cast. Commercials for the film look awfully pretty, and I'm sure there are a couple of exciting action sequences in there somewhere, but we're ultimately talking about a film about people swimming underwater in the dark, starring no one you've ever heard of. Where do I line up? This film seems due for a $6 million debut.
These sorry excuses for new films mean that No Strings Attached will probably spend its second non-consecutive weekend at the top of the charts. Although it lost out to the horror film The Rite last weekend, there's no reason to think that film will do anything but plummet out of existence really, really quickly. Another weekend at the top of the charts could really help No Strings Attached on the kinda sorta Valentine's Weekend coming up. For now, $80 million looks like a distinct possibility for a final total, with $9 million being added this frame.
This gives The King's Speech yet another shot at the top spot, after finishing just a few million out on the strength of 12 Oscar nominations. And what with it looking like the front-runner for Best Picture now, a Slumdog-like run towards $150 million is very plausible. Look for it to be just shy of the top spot with $8 million.
Then we get into a bit of a logjam, with The Rite, The Mechanic and The Green Hornet throwing darts at the $7 million mark. That's a better total for some of those films than others, with Green Hornet able to feel a lot more proud about that than the other two. Both The Rite and The Mechanic will likely end their runs looking up at the $40 million mark. Finally, we've got True Grit, which after a small uptick last weekend, will drop down to about $5 million, but that's after passing the $150 million mark, and earning a moral victory by surging ahead of Little Fockers' gross.