Weekend Forecast for October 3-5, 2008
By Reagen Sulewski
October 3, 2008
There's a big drop off after this point, and with this many new films in the marketplace, some of them are bound to just completely bomb. It's not that there's not enough people out there – the total box office this weekend won't even be half of The Dark Knight's opening weekend – but you just can't put this much new product out in one weekend.
How To Lose Friends and Alienate People is a film based on the memoir of a British writer's failed attempts to break into Hollywood through Vanity Fair magazine. Simon Pegg plays the writer, whose boorish antics and utterly clueless behavior endear him to no one, including the sexbomb starlet (Megan Fox, clearly unconcerned about typecasting) he's chasing and his co-worker Kirsten Dunst.
Those antics pretty much are it when it comes to the movie, so a lot of your opinion of this movie is going to be based on whether you find Simon Pegg funny (and if you don't, what's wrong with you?) and how much solid obnoxiousness you can handle. Pegg is still struggling to breakout of his core audience of supporters and this year's Run Fatboy Run didn't end up being a huge step in that direction. The inside-baseballishness of this one means it won't be his breakout either, and I look for about $6 million for its opening weekend.
Blindness starts off with one of the more intriguing premises in sometime for a movie – a mysterious disease runs rampant and striking everyone it touches blind, while leaving them otherwise healthy. A group of victims is quarantined in an old abandoned hospital while the world tries to figure out what caused the disease. We follow this group through Julianne Moore, who plays a single sighted person in the "colony", protecting her husband (Mark Ruffalo) as a Lord-of-the-Flies-esque pecking order and society springs up.
Directed by Fernando Meirelles of City of God fame, this is a film that sounds like it has tremendous promise just from its "what if?" factor. Early reviews, however, indicate that he's kind of botched it, laying on the metaphor very heavy handedly. Pretension alert: no characters in the film have names. A Cannes audience notably nearly hooted this one off the screen in May. Releasing on just under 1,700 screens, it should still manage about $5 million based on the neat premise, but if you were hoping for awards buzz to push this along, you probably have to look elsewhere.
The fall has seemingly become a good time of year to release westerns, with this year's edition being Appaloosa, starring Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Jeremy Irons and Renee Zellweger. Directed by Harris, he and Mortensen play marshals who team up to fight a domineering rancher (Irons) but find themselves at odds over an old love (Zellweger). Sneaking in mostly under the radar, this is a film that's long on good reviews, but short on marquee appeal. It's run a couple of weekends in limited release and makes the move to about 1,000 screens this weekend, which should bump it up to about $4 million.