Weekend Forecast for June 26-28, 2009

By Reagen Sulewski

June 24, 2009

We always hated it when Optimus Prime broke out his vacation photos.

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Although a couple of surprise films have broken through this summer, the season has so far lacked a film that truly defines summer blockbuster – with that massive opening weekend built on hype. All signs point to this weekend finally providing such a weekend, though if we've learned one lesson this summer, it's not to count on anything.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is the sequel to 2007's astoundingly successful toy-commercial-cum-action-movie directed by Michael Bay. After opening to $155 million over six days and earning close to three-quarters of a billion worldwide, Bay has to be looking to up the ante on the sequel, making it louder, shinier and explodier. Megatron is somehow back and organizing the Decepticons to recover an artifact that Shia LaBeouf's character stumbled upon ... and I feel silly for even taking this remotely seriously. Explosion!

The 2007 film veered between some undeniably gripping action scenes and outright ridiculousness, or in other words, the Michael Bay that we all know and love to hate. Explosion! It also introduced us to Megan Fox, for which you may either curse or worship Bay for at your leisure.

Reviews of the sequel are more or less abysmal (Explosion!), although that didn't stop people from going to see the first film. In this case, it might end up being a case where even though the general public knows the film will be ridiculous, there's sort of a mass-cultural hypnosis to see it - sort of the opposite of "nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded". Explosion! It also seems to be more overtly kiddie this time around, which probably doesn't hurt things, since it's firing at the 13 and under demo almost primarily.


Opening in approximately 4,000 venues starting with midnight showings on Wednesday, the second Transformers movie looks to be the sort of loud assault on the senses that this summer has been lacking, for better or worse, and with pent up demand from a lackluster June lineup, a massive five day opening weekend total of $165 million should be in the works. Explosion!, Linkin Park song over credits.

In the non-transforming robotic world, My Sister's Keeper tells the story of a young girl, played by Abigail Breslin, conceived specifically to help save her sister's life from leukemia. When it becomes clear that she'll need to give up her kidney to her sister, she sues her parents for emancipation, bringing a whole host of issues to bear about what her rights and responsibilities to her family, and what theirs are to her, really are.

Directed by Nick Cassavetes and also starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Patric as the parents and Alec Baldwin as Breslin's lawyer, it's almost like a less gimmicky version of Irreconcilable Differences (does anyone other than me remember that film? Probably not), but with a much higher cry factor. A film like this is never going to be anything resembling a blockbuster, but it looks like Cassavetes has gotten some strong performances out of Diaz, as a mother out of her mind with worry, and Breslin, as a young girl attempting to take control of her own life. It's also pretty much the only drama out there right now, and those seeking blockbuster relief might end up flocking to this if it can gather any momentum from word-of-mouth. I'd look for it to bring in about $12 million this weekend.

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