With a summer movie season that has been truly horrifying to most movie studios, it seems only appropriate that as we approach the end of it, the weekend is led off by a couple of scary movies.
Weekend Forecast for August 26-28, 2005
By Reagen Sulewski
August 26, 2005
It's not a particularly controversial statement that Terry Gilliam makes films that aren't particularly palatable to the mainstream. The seven years between the release of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and his latest film The Brothers Grimm, is an easy testament to this. So when looking at the finished product of this film, it's both a surprise and not one to see how commercial looking the film is.
Of course, that's almost a given when your film stars Matt Damon and Heath Ledger in a fantasy/action/horror/comedy. Damon and Ledger play the famous fairy tale-writers in a fictionalized (no, really?) story about them as 18th century con-men, who rid towns of their ghosts, albeit ones they themselves have created. When it turns out that the latest town they're trying their schemes on really is haunted, they end up in a tale bigger than either of them imagined.
Gilliam is known for creating visual masterpieces with a warped sensibility – he is a Monty Python alumnus after all. The visual stylings appear to be here in spades, rivaling that of Tim Burton's blockbuster quirk-fests. There's something a bit... off about the comedy of the film in the trailer and ads, despite the game attempts of Damon and Ledger. It's clearly trying to occupy the same territory as Pirates of the Caribbean, but isn't coming anywhere close to the brilliant whimsy and Indiana-Jones-esque adventure of that film.
Ledger's box office pull of late is nothing to hang your hat on, with the recent flop of Lords of Dogtown still somewhat fresh in memories. Damon has been on a bit of a winning streak of late, but has shown weaknesses himself, in the comedy Stuck on You, which opened to only $9 million. Opening on just over 3,000 screens, The Brothers Grimm won't do many favors for anyone involved, especially with its $80 million budget, starting with around $14 million.
Filming The Cave must have seemed very familiar to Cole Hauser, with its marked similarities to 2000's Pitch Black, a film about the things that screech and eat you in the night. In The Cave, a group of cave divers in Romania discover some heretofore unknown creatures in a massive network of underground tunnels. Are the creatures dangerous to the divers? Let's just say if they were nice and cuddly, there wouldn't be much of a film.
Other leads in the film include Morris Chestnut and Piper Perabo (so much for her being the next Julia Roberts) and in the continuing coincidence factory that is Hollywood, British actress Lena Headley appears in both this film and The Brothers Grimm. That's really the most interesting thing about this movie, though, as it looks to be another generic creature feature with no real star power. Look for this film to earn a modest $5 million this weekend.
Speaking of movies copying other movies, Undiscovered really wants to be the underrated movie The Thing Called Love, about aspiring country singers in Nashville. This one's about aspiring rock singers in Los Angeles, but that's not much of a reach in style. The good news for Pell James, the female lead of Undiscovered, is that Sandra Bullock got her start in that movie. The bad news for her, and the rest of the cast (including Ashlee Simpson!), is that this movie is nowhere near as good as that film.
Taking a critical thrashing as a shallow music video with occasional interruptions for romantic scenes, Undiscovered looks to live up to its title, with virtually no promotion going out for the film. Give it about $2 million this weekend and a quick trip to DVD, where it belonged in the first place.
Top spot on the weekend last frame went to The 40 Year-Old Virgin, and most signs point towards a repeat of that performance. Outpacing estimates to earn a shade over $21 million last weekend, the raunchy but sweet comedy took a lot of people by surprise and established Steve Carell as a comedic force. Comedies have always had an easier time capturing word-of-mouth, and like Wedding Crashers earlier this summer, this film looks to have a very good shot at sticking around for several weekend. Taking on a few extra screens, it should earn about $16 million for a second straight first place finish.
Red Eye also did well to establish some new box office performers in Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy, opening to just over $16 million. The thriller from Wes Craven came in as a decent popcorn option for late summer, and should get around average legs, earning another $10 million this weekend.
Four Brothers fell from first to third last weekend, but did a decent $12.5 million of business, cementing its place as a solid hit for Paramount. This weekend should bring in another $8 million, putting it at around $55 million total after three weekends.
Those damned Penguins keep on marching, and add almost 300 more screens against weak competition. The film has seen virtually zero drop-off since entering wide release, and with an expansion of this size will probably see a slight uptick. For the fourth straight weekend March of the Penguins will earn about $7 million.
Wedding Crashers keeps on rolling as well, although it took its first slight wounding last weekend from The 40 Year-Old Virgin. Still, the damage was probably less than a million dollars. Watch for this film to earn another $5.5 million on its march to the $200 million mark a few weekends from now.