Weekend Forecast for February 6-8, 2009
By Reagen Sulewski
February 6, 2009
The first weekend of February gives us the typical variety pack of mid-level blockbusters, but with no real potential for a breakout hit, the top spot is up for grabs.
Potentially leading the way in the romantic comedy market is He's Just Not That Into You, based on the self-help book that broke the news to women that, hey, we guys aren't that complicated and we mean what we say. It's sort of incredible that someone turned this into a money-making idea, but then again, it's not that thick of a book.
In turn, we now have it becoming a movie, with an inter-connected series of women dealing with unnecessarily complicated relationships, mostly by not realizing the truth of the title. A star-studded cast of Jennifer Aniston, Scarlett Johansson, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connolly and Ginnifer Goodwin make up the leads in these stories as they deal with problems ranging from infidelity (their own and that of others), online dating, and the "friend zone". Significant (vestigial?) male roles go to Ben Affleck, Kevin Connolly, Justin Long and Bradley Cooper. The film is directed by Ken Kwapis, one of the directors of The Office, obviously an expert in this kind of comedy of embarrassment.
A sort of anti-Love, Actually, it has some potential as the rom-com equivalent of a blockbuster, especially with that cast. Reviews are pretty awful, as far as those go, but aside from horror films, it's one of the more review-proof genres out there. What matters here is the concept and the cast, and it's one of the more solid ones to come around in some time, even if it's probably yet another one of these films that's mortifying to women. Opening in 3,175 venues, it should be good for about $23 million and a weekend crown.
Steve Martin seems not to be content just to try and make us forget why we loved him so, but also to try and bring down the very genre of comedy with him. The Pink Panther 2 is the latest evidence of that, as he brings us a sequel to the surprisingly successful remake/reimagining of the Peter Sellers classic series about the bumbling French detective Jacques Clouseau.
I say surprisingly, because it appeared to have all the hallmarks of the comedy bomb – a remake, starring an actor who's been out of the comedy A-list for awhile, filled with pratfalls. Somehow, this opened to $20 million two years ago, so we're back for round two. The producers seem to have realized that the funniest thing about the first film was Martin's fevered attempts to pronounce the word "hamburger" in an outrageous French accent, and have decided to repeat that gag as much as possible, throwing it in the ads and riding it all the way into the ground. And more power to them (admittedly, it still gets me. Every time. I can't explain it).
The sequel could probably be subtitled "More of the Same", and would probably seem like a positive to a lot of people. Martin as Clouseau joins up with an international task force to try and stop an art thief, largely getting in the way of himself and succeeding despite his own incompetence. Jean Reno and Emily Mortimer are back, and the cast has ballooned, with John Cleese, Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina, Jeremy Irons and Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai signing on. Martin is at least trying his best, but I predict a little bit of bleed off on this, though not too much. What sort of worked last time ought to sort of work again (and really, after Paul Blart, people have no room to talk about bad comedy). Give it $17 million for an opening weekend.