Weekend Forecast for April 27-29, 2007
By Reagen Sulewski
April 27, 2007
We have just one more weekend of substandard releases to go until the summer blockbusters arrive and blow the doors off a truly lame April. Until then, though, we've got to slug through some pretty awful looking releases. Not too far now, people.
To the surprise of many, Nicolas Cage's Ghost Rider was a huge hit this spring, threatening his return as a major box office draw. Thankfully there's always his notoriously scattershot script picking to rely on. That comes to the forefront with Next, a science-fiction film based on a Phillip K. Dick story. Dick's stories have often fared poorly in the trip from book to screen in the past, and this appears to be no exception.
Cage plays a magican with the ability to see every outcome of an action before it happens. Although picking lotto numbers appears to be out of the question, he does seem to have knowledge of a potential terrorist attack on the United States, which leads him to be pursued by government agents (led by Julianne Moore), who quite naturally would like a heads up. Cage's character fears that he'll be locked up as a prediction machine for the rest of his life, and has also had a vision of his girlfriend (Jessica Biel) being murdered, and sets off running.
Most of the problem with this movie (which admittedly, doesn't have all that bad a premise) are the special effects, which look like they were a lower priority in the budget than Nic Cage's hair gel. We expect better these days, and films that look like they were designed on an Amiga just won't cut it. Reviews have also not been kind, cutting into the plot holes and wooden acting. Cage has proven he can sell crap already this year, but there's only so much he can handle. Although Next is getting a pretty wide release and heavy ad support, I see this one coming in for around $14 million on the weekend.
The Invisible is hoping to entice teen audiences in the same manner that Disturbia did to win two straight weeks at the box office, albeit as a supernatural thriller. The film stars Justin Chatwin (whose biggest role to date was as Tom Cruise's son in War of the Worlds) as a high school student who is attacked and left for dead, but finds himself walking around as a ghost.
His only chance to get back to life is to try and communicate with the living and get them to find his body, though as a ghost, that proves mighty difficult. If this sounds like The Sixth Sense in reverse, well, there's a reason for that, as it's produced by some of the same people. This film is firmly lodged in the teen demo, and has a bit of a feel of a film like The Covenant, with its grey/blue gothic look and Teen Beat friendly stars. I expect this one to have a pretty limited appeal, and should be good for about $9 million this weekend.