Weekend Forecast for August 15-17, 2008
By Reagen Sulewski
August 15, 2008
After getting off to a lackluster midweek start, the weekend is set to begin properly, with three more new films in wide release, and another handful in a limited fashion. And while The Dark Knight is still set to fall, the chances of it holding onto the top spot for an amazing fifth weekend in a row are stronger than they were just two days ago.
Tropic Thunder's Wednesday was an underwhelming $6.5 million, not much more than half of last weekend's Pineapple Express's opening day, and just a little more than Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2's opening. I'm sure that last statement gave some DreamWorks executives chills.
All isn't lost, but things are looking considerably more grim for the Hollywood/war movie satire. The hope is that with this top-notch cast, things will pick up on the weekend with the idea that it couldn't possibly be this much of a bomb given how much star power there is here. In the best-case scenario, opening on Wednesday was just a poorly planned, poorly advertised idea (Pineapple Express was much more vocal about its unusual opening). I'm revising strongly downwards to about a $26 million opening weekend to add to its $10 million pre weekend.
That would be enough to beat The Dark Knight, but the weekend has a backup plan, that of a new Star Wars film. All other things being equal, this news would be enough to sends geeks all aflutter. However, the mere fact that this is a Star Wars film opening in August is revealing. Star Wars: The Clone Wars is an animated film that covers the period between Episodes II and III, with open warfare going on between the Galactic Republic and a group of independent planets. After Jabba the Hutt's son is kidnapped (with a forklift?) Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Anakin's new apprentice are sent on a rescue mission to prevent the conflict from growing wider.
Supposedly this film will fill in holes from the main films, but it's really planned as a lead-in towards a TV series. Also, at this point, anti-climactic can really be the only way to describe it, since the full story of Anakin/Darth has been told. Still, you would think that any Star Wars product would still capture imaginations. That is, unless you haven't actually seen a frame of this. Although the animation is somewhat eye-popping, it just looks wrong for the series. Then there's the acting and writing, which looks horrid, proving that someone other than George Lucas can screw up dialogue in a Star Wars movie.
It's like everything that was wrong about the prequels has been concentrated into one movie, although that won't scare away every Star Wars fan. With a heavy hype machine in full effect, look for a $21 million opening weekend for Clone Wars, with a strong focus on youngsters in the audience.
With the August slate, horror films start to appear a little more on the release schedule, like this week's Mirrors. Starring Kiefer Sutherland, and Amy Smart, the film focuses on an evil spirit that exists in reflections that tries to take over a family. Surprisingly this is not a remake of a Japanese horror film, though it has that feel. Written and directed by Alexander Aja, of High Tension and The Hills Have Eyes fame, it's sure to be a little ridiculous but extremely stylish.