Weekend Forecast for September 4-7, 2009

By Reagen Sulewski

September 4, 2009

You've got a purty mouth.

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Well, that's it. With the Labor Day weekend arriving, it marks the official end of summer and the disappearance of tentpole blockbusters, for at least a couple of months. Hopefully it was better for you than it was for me.

While the weekend itself, which had long been considered a dumping ground, has started to be rehabilitated as a spot where films might actually make some money (see: 2007's Halloween remake), it's still a net drain on movie audiences. Thus, few studios are willing to risk anything with breakout potential on it. On the other hand, with this weekend's three new releases, it's not going to be won by a film in the single digits, either, like has happened surprisingly recently.

After staying out of the limelight for a couple of years, Sandra Bullock had her biggest hit ever this summer with The Proposal, which opened to $33 million. Perhaps even more surprising was that this light romantic comedy then developed some old-school legs, and as of last weekend has earned $160 million. It's even still in the Top 20 overall. What the world was hankering for was some wacky romantic comedy, apparently. So, she's back for another round of it, with All About Steve.

In it, Bullock plays a slightly unstable woman (and crossword puzzle designer – did they pick this with madlibs?) who goes on a blind date with a TV cameraman, played by Bradley Cooper, and decides that despite him not really showing all that much interest, that they are soul mates. The next logical step is to follow him across the country as he covers breaking news stories, and putting herself in harm's way. It's the only real way to show that you care, you know.


While in theory, another romantic comedy with the stars of the two biggest comedies of the summer seems like a slam dunk, in execution, this feels kind of lacking. By giving Bullock the "Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle" role, it's in essence making Bradley Cooper the lead. And while his stock has never been higher because of The Hangover, I don't think he's in the Ryan Reynolds place with women yet, which is what helped push The Proposal over the top. And we haven't even gotten to the point of noting that it just doesn't look funny. I'd say this film is a step back for both Bullock and Cooper, and will likely be remembered in Bullock's oeuvre with films like Forces of Nature and Practical Magic. Opening at 2,251 theaters, it should see an opening weekend of approximately $15 million over four days.

Gamer is the requisite bargain basement action film for this weekend, which is similar looking enough to last year's Death Race to make a person wonder if Jason Statham's agent is slipping.

Instead, Gerard Butler plays the role of the condemned criminal forced to compete in a deadly sport for our entertainment. Here, it's an interactive war game, where convicts are directly controlled as a kind of avatar of video game players in a real live fire fight. Butler is the most famous of these, having survived despite the odds after being taken from his family by the game's creator (played by Michael C. Hall).

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