Weekend Forecast for June 1-3, 2007
By Reagen Sulewski
June 1, 2007
After a mind-boggling May, the first weekend of June has the box office take a little bit of a breather. There's nothing even approaching a blockbuster on the slate, though we have a little more of a rounded group of new releases to try and fill out the incredibly thin number of offerings out there.
Leading off the group is Knocked Up, the latest from comedy god Judd Apatow. Two years ago, mostly known for creating the cult (read: cancelled) TV series Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared, he came out of virtually nowhere to direct one of the funniest and most successful comedies of the summer in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, simultaneously turning Steve Carell into a big comedy star.
That film grossed over $100 million in domestic box office after a relatively tiny opening weekend, proving that Apatow was on to something. Virgin was a riotous sex farce, but with a heart, which is something that's often missing from broad summer comedies (The Farellys were great at this, once upon a time). Knocked Up is attempting to follow in those footsteps, moving on to the next logical step after sex – pregnancy.
Knocked Up stars Apatow alumnus Seth Rogan as a typical schlub who happens to hit the jackpot at the bar one night with uber-Babe Katherine Heigl. Unfortunately (or depending on your perspective, fortunately), she gets pregnant on their one-night stand. Teeny tiny clothes, Lamaze classes and other hilarity ensue, as these two crazy kids try to decide if this accident actually means something.
I expect this film to follow the 40-Year-Old Virgin model to a strong degree – while Heigl is on one of the most popular shows on TV right now, almost nobody could pick Rogen out of a lineup right now (although he's a huge favorite here – witness our pick of this movie as our most anticipated of the summer). Reviews for the film are astoundingly high, so this, plus Apatow's name, plus Heigl, plus some pretty funny ads should start this film off well - relatively speaking that is, as I envision a $22 million opening weekend at just over 2,800 locations.
When a formerly big-name actor's career hits the skids, via bad performances, poor choices or a raging ego, one of the common ways to attempt a comeback is by playing a villain. Kevin Costner is taking this idea to heart in Mr. Brooks, playing a sociopathic serial killer.
Costner's character's cover is as Man of the Year of Portland, because who would suspect that dude to be a killer? No one, as it seems, not even super detective Demi Moore. That is, until a voyeur played by Dane Cook catches him in a mistake (aside: I totally believe that Cook is a peeper), which leads to the hunt being on, and maybe, cross fingers, Cook's brutal murder on-screen. One wonders slightly how Ashton Kutcher didn't get this role – I mean, he had an in!
One of the conceits of the film is that Costner's madness is driven by voices in his head, a personality voiced by the sincerely creepy William Hurt. Costner does his fair share of menacing in the film though, and it's an interesting turn for an actor that has largely been the vanilla leading man type.
There's something of a novelty factor to seeing if he can pull the role off, and if reviews are to be believed, he mostly does, although the film itself is not as well received. There's still a large amount of general distaste for Costner, and he is almost certainly still box office poison. I don't see a way for this to be a hit, although respectable totals are possible, perhaps starting with about $10 million this weekend.