Weekend Forecast for July 25-27, 2008

By Reagen Sulewski

July 25, 2008

When MMORPGs go live and get out of hand.

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The Dark Knight's monstrous opening weekend hasn't rendered all other movies redundant just yet, although it kind of feels like it. Movies still continue to be released and exhibited other than Batman's latest, with two more out this week for some unknown reason. Why even try?

In 1998, the concept of an active TV series continuing its season on the big screen was a bit of a novelty. Come to think of it, it still is, but The X-Files: Fight the Future was the first film to really seriously try this model out. Opening to an at-the-time-impressive $30 million, it seemed to open up a world of crossover potential for TV series, but weak reviews and an extraordinary frontloaded box office pattern kind of shut the door on that. It limped home to $83 million and sort of killed off its series – it did last for four more seasons (including that Season 9 that never happened. Never. Happened) but the balloon had been popped.

Now, six years after the official end of the paranormal adventures of FBI agents Mulder and Scully, it's back with The X-Files: I Want to Believe. Staying away (wisely) from the mythology of what was one of the densest series to hit network TV since Twin Peaks, this film follows more in the vein of the monster-of-the-week episodes, though as befitting the series, details are guarded closer than the Caramilk secret. My way out on a limb guess: it's something to do with aliens (the Caramilk thing, too).


The big question is how many fans of The X-Files are actually left after all these years, and whether they can be bothered to come out for a new movie. I think there's still a strong nostalgia factor out there, especially since we're seeing David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson reuniting with the promise of romantic sparks for all the ‘shippers out there.

The problem is, with that secrecy and with no existing TV support to drive hype, it's got to sink or swim on how good the film looks, and honestly, it's not that interesting looking. Other than people who are still burning a candle under their shrine of series creator Chris Carter, support for this is going to be next to nil. That doesn't mean that it can't still translate into a solid opening weekend, but I'll be surprised if it's more than that. Look for about $45 million this weekend.

If I didn't know better, I'd say Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell were having a contest to see which of them can inspire the greatest despair among movie critics over the tastes of the general public. Sandler threw down strongly with You Don't Mess With the Zohan, but Will Ferrell clearly wasn't going to take the release and subsequent popularity of such crap lying down. Hence, Step Brothers, starring himself and John C. Reilly (reuniting the Talladega Nights duo), which seeks to combine stupidity and popularity in perhaps never before seen levels of cynicism.

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