Weekend Forecast for April 24-26, 2009
By Reagen Sulewski
April 24, 2009
Now this is more what we're used to with an April opening weekend. After the unusually strong run of spring films, studios are bailing on the last weekend of April in order to duck the coming May blockbusters. This gives us three forgettable wide releases as we just bide our time until summer starts, along with a nature documentary.
The film with by far the best chance of breaking out among this meagre group is Obsessed, a sort of update of Fatal Attraction for the new yuppie set. Idris Elba (currently starring on The Office and who totally sounds like the middle part of a palindrome) stars as a mid-level executive who starts to gain the attention of an office temp, Ali Larter, for whom the word "oversexed" doesn't quite cover it.
As she proceeds to stalk him and basically jump his bones, Elba's wife, played by Beyonce, starts to get more than just a little miffed. Before you can say "but *she's* the crazy one", knives and police are involved, and it's a knock-down, drag-em-out battle for her dude.
I mentioned Fatal Attraction above, but it's also a bit of a color-blind version of The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, as Larter tries to replace Beyonce in their domestic setup. Recent ads have played up the tete-a-tete between these two more prominently, a smart move given that this would be almost entirely unremarkable otherwise.
Obsessed is an interesting case of a movie as it's the first to really rely on Beyonce as an actress to open it, as opposed to just having her in a supporting role or singing all her lines. Career transitions have been made from stranger films and I suspect there's a large portion of her fanbase that really wants to see her kick some butt, especially against a skinny white girl (okay, maybe it's not so color-blind). Opening in a little over 2,500 venues, it should see an opening weekend of about $15 million.
This week's Serious Drama is handled by The Soloist, an adaptation of the true-life story of Nathaniel Wright, a gifted but schizophrenic cellist living on the streets of Los Angeles. His plight is discovered when a newspaper reporters stumbles over him, almost literally. As the reporter tries to lift him back onto his feet, while also helping his own struggling career, he discovers that helping may not be quite so easy.
Starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. as the cellist and reporter, respectively, it's a film that wants to be talking about important issues, of race, homelessness, mental illness, the power of music, and society at large. However, it looks as if it's trying to tackle too much and appears kind of saccharine. Another troubling sign is that the film was bumped from last Thanksgiving, and to this month, out of Oscar season, indicating a lack of confidence in it by Universal.
In fact, the film looks more like a slightly more upbeat Reign Over Me, the Adam Sandler vehicle from two years ago. These sort of depressing-yet-inspiring films have a pretty limited audience unless they have overwhelming critical support, which this film doesn't. Opening on 2,024 screens, it should come in with about $11 million this weekend.