By George Rose
September 15, 2009
Summer is over with the passing of Labor Day. I think we can all agree that there's no need to wait until the official start of fall on September 22nd. The weather right now is cold, cloudy, and overcast; what about this suggests summer is still in full swing? Maybe this weather is only present where I live in the Northeast. Maybe global warming really has shifted the seasons out of balance. Or maybe I just think too much. Any way you slice it, summer feels over. Hopefully the drama has ended with it.
One thing that reminds me so painfully that summer is over – the absence of big opening weekend blockbusters. Gone are the days of the Decepticons and Hogwarts wizards. We have arrived at the start of the lackluster fall schedule. Gerard Butler stars in Gamer, a movie that feels like the child of Arnold Schwarzenegger's The Running Man and Jason Statham's Death Race. Yawn. Neither of those were any good so I don't imagine their inbred offspring would produce the hit Butler needs to make him a reliable solo star. Though I will admit the release of his Law Abiding Citizen in October looks promising and co-stars Oscar winner Jamie Foxx. Still, it will need to earn more than Gamer's $9 million on opening weekend to prove his celebrity.
No trial is necessary for writer/director Tyler Perry. His stage-to-screen incarnations of the beloved Madea character average opening weekends over $20 million and gross over $50 million, proof that his unique blend of comedy and drama is always somewhat in demand. His latest, I Can Do Bad All By Myself, opened to $23 million. That's great by September "standards" (ninth biggest September opening), and even Perry's (his third biggest opening), but we are nowhere near summer successes like Transformers 2 ($109 million). We aren't even close to the critically reviled wannabes like G.I. Joe ($55 million).
In fact, just a quick glance at the upcoming releases shows that there probably won't be a $50+ million opening until November 6th's A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey. But how can September even expect to compete with behemoths like May or the holiday season? Sure, September's slate looks entertaining enough with movies like Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, The Informant!, and Surrogates coming out, but where are the Star Treks and Ups? November, that's where, and it's all Hollywood's fault. They're too unoriginal to produce consistent quality but too greedy to stop pumping out five new movies a week. Because of this, the dumping ground known as the fall movie season is too flooded to let the few bright stars shine.
Being bombarded by B-movie fillers during the next month should be enough to convince me of finding other hobbies, but a true movie fan never gives up. There is always one bright star somewhere in the distance that provides the light at the end of the tunnel. For me it's probably Twilight's New Moon, but that's more because of my vampire fetish than it is for the series itself (never read the books). With Season 2 of True Blood now complete, my next fix won't be until Twilight 2. The break is good, but what about movies like Love Happens is supposed to make the withdrawal any easier?