As seems to be tradition now, two straight weeks of no-question blockbusters just won't happen in the Holiday season. Whether it's studios running scared of obviously strong films, or just an inability to produce enough AAA films to fill a season, we're left with a bit of a breather this weekend, which is led by a film that I'm not sure anyone, even its stars, requested.
Weekend Forecast for November 14-16, 2014
By Reagen Sulewski
November 14, 2014
Dumb and Dumber To may represent one of the more cynical moves of 2014 in entertainment, reuniting Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels and the Farrelly brothers for a 20-years-later sequel to the original “biggest idiots in the world” comedy. While it had its charms, it's more of a time capsule film than anything that's spawned legions of imitators. In the meantime, few of its principles have weathered the last two decades well: The Farrellys, once kings of comedy, have not had a proper hit in well over a decade – Carrey hasn't done anything of real note in about five years, and Daniels... well, Daniels has The Newsroom.
This film has the pair – well, it hardly matters, does it? But okay – trying to find Daniels' daughter who was given up for adoption and who should in all likelihood never have any contact with either of these guys regardless of her parentage. The road-trip nature of the first film is repeated, including oblivious encounters with dangerous criminal elements who want to harm them. But the over-50 Carrey and the nearly *60* Daniels are showing their miles quite heavily here, and one gets the feeling that we're dealing with a retread, and one without the edge of the first film.
Among the “way too late” sequels that have started to roll out in the last decade or so, there's little to look at in a positive way, and many that serve as warnings for this film. The latest Sin City, Wall Street, Blues Brothers and Predator films, to name but a few, did not inspire a ton of ticket buyers. Dumb and Dumber To seems to be based on the faulty premises that Carrey is still a comedy draw like he was in that magical year of 1994, and that fans of the original film are still interested in the material 20 years later, not having outgrown it. I think we'll be looking at a relatively dismal $16 million opening weekend.
Beyond the Lights is a moderately wide releasing film from the writer and director of Love and Basketball, a romance/sports movie from earlier this century that has a sizable cult following despite its silly title. Gina Prince-Bythewood hopes to do that a little better this time with the story of a Rihanna-like pop singer driven to the edge of madness by a domineering stage mother and the pressures of fame. Gugu Mbatha-Raw (of the late and unjustly cancelled Undercovers) plays the lead role, with much of the action of the film taking place after an abortive suicide attempt is foiled by a handsome police officer. A tentative romance starts, with worries about his blue-collar world and her famous lifestyle clashing, as well as her still-present stage mother (Minnie Driver) trying to drive them apart, because of the threat he represents to her role.
This isn't world-shaking stuff, but it appears to be an intelligently handled drama with an attractive (albeit not well-known) cast and should capture a modest audience this weekend for a start of around $8 million.
The weekend should still belong to last week's new films, Big Hero 6 and Interstellar. The animated film won with a decent edge over the space film, $56 to 47 million. Demographics work in Big Hero 6's favor for following weekends, as well as the somewhat divisive response to Interstellar's plot and science. Then again, Interstellar is the film that more people are talking about, and it can't be ignored, so that may play as an advantage for it. For this weekend, however, the gap is too large to make up, and Disney's first foray into animating its Marvel properties should chalk up a second weekend win with $36 million. Interstellar should find a solid $29 million for its second frame. Everything's about to be shot out of the water by next weekend's big tentpole release, so these films need to make while the making's good.