Lest you were worried that studios have run out of ideas for new films, here's yet another prequel/reboot/sequel/whathaveyou to confirm those fears for you. I'll shut up about this soon, but it's out to mid-June before there's an original film of any significance.
Weekend Forecast for May 19-21, 2017
By Reagen Sulewski
May 19, 2017
At the very least, it's a film that appears to be quality. Alien: Covenant, the fifth film carrying the Alien name but really the sixth in the series and the second chronologically and oh no I've gone cross-eyed... follows up 2012's Prometheus with a colony ship landing on a distant and peaceful... too peaceful planet. Discovering the android David (Michael Fassbender) still remaining from that last doomed mission, it soon becomes clear that something sinister and vicious and predatory is out to get them all.
Returning more to its sci-fi horror roots, away from the action films that have dotted the series since the first one in 1979, Ridley Scott also has come back to re-stamp the franchise with his style. While Prometheus was bogged down with a confusing plot and somewhat baffling mythos, Alien: Covenant gives us what we've been looking for all along – a small crew with no help coming versus a pure animal instinct with razor sharp teeth and acid for blood. In addition to Fassbender returning, it adds (a barely recognizable) Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride (in a rare non-comedic role) and Demian Bichir, leaving it light on the top-line talent, instead relying on the Alien name and some really fantastic and moody advertising.
Despite the missteps in some of the Alien sequels, there's definitely an appetite for more in this series, as the $50 million plus opening of Prometheus showed when the ads merely hinted around the idea that it was connected to it. Some idiot plotting might have done some damage here, but it's also decided to go right for the jugular, plus giving us some of our first real looks at the Alien in daylight – showing a new confidence with the FX. It's stunning work, and hints that there might be deeper content within. While Scott has been hit or miss lately, his big budget work has at least shown ambition. This all leads into what should be around $40 million to start this weekend.
It's also been five years since the last Wimpy Kid movie, though I don't really anticipate as much from that audience for The Long Haul, this edition of the franchise. That time gap has necessitated a complete recasting, with the title role for the tween book series going to Nickelodeon actor Jason Drucker, and Alicia Silverstone and Tom Everett Scott stepping in as the parents (P.S. You Are Old). It's the usual sort of juvenile (literally!) antics that won't appeal to anyone under eight and over 15 – a very narrow band of movie goers indeed. With that five-year gap, there's also a real sense that it's a series that's been forgotten, and its cultural cachet gone. We've seen this before with other YA novel adaptations, which need to strike when the fire is hot. I see no real urgency of the audience for this, and advertising has been minimal to invisible, leading to what should be about $11 million this weekend.
Slightly older teen angst is handled by Everything, Everything, one of the many faux-John Green novels brought to the big screen in light of the success of The Fault in Our Stars. Everything, Everything is a maudlin story about a Bubble Girl with an immunodeficiency who falls for the boy next door, leading her to risk everything for love. Starring Amandla Stenberg (Rue from The Hunger Games) and Nick Robinson (one of the Jurassic World twerps), it's basically a fairy tale in a modern setting finely tuned to appeal to teenager's sense of persecution and alienation – if only that were a lucrative market anymore. I'd expect about $7 million this weekend.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 likely cedes top spot this weekend after two weeks and about $270 million. At this point, we're into standard comic book drop offs. The weekend should bring around $32 million, though with over $400 million in sight as a domestic final figure, there's no danger in there not being at least a third edition of this, the goofiest of the MCU films.
Last weekend's new openers were a giant bag of fail, with Amy Schumer's Snatched debuting to just $19 million, essentially cutting in half the opening weekend of Trainwreck. That theme should continue, as this drops to around $9 million this weekend. Paging Judd Apatow... please step away from your approximately 327 HBO shows to help out a friend!
That will look like a smashing success compared to the King Arthur movie, which started at just $15 million against a $175 million budget. And this is the guy they want to turn the live action Aladdin over to? Give it $6 million this weekend to continue the disaster scenario.