Weekend Forecast for August 13-15, 2010

By Reagen Sulewski

August 13, 2010

I'm not going to lie. I'm rather jealous of him right now.

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You want star power? You've got it in spades this weekend, with three films that feature some of the brightest wattage actors for several different generations of actors.

The biggest collection belongs to The Expendables, although a large portion of them may be eligible for AARP membership. A long time dream project of Sylvester Stallone, it's an old-school '80s-style macho action movie with guns and knives and explosions and bad guys and explosions and fire and grunting and explosions. He directs and stars with a group of current and former action stars (at one time, virtually anyone who's ever held a gun in a movie was rumored to be in this film) including Jason Statham, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Steve Austin, Mickey Rourke, and one-time foe Dolph Lundgren (Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger also feature in the ads, but have only glorified cameos). There's a couple of girls in the cast too, but I think they snuck into the set somehow.

Stallone's crew of mercenaries travels to South America to overthrow a dictator – even the premise is '80s bound – and, well, they shoot a bunch of things. There's not a lot more to it, and you're either excited by this group of stars or you're not.


People obviously seem willing to give Stallone another chance to be good again – the $17 and 18 million opening weekends for Rocky Balboa and Rambo are clear on that point – and he's reciprocated by giving audiences what it seems logical that they'd want from him. Gone, or at least diminished, is that destructive ego that produced generic, humorless films like The Specialist and Daylight. Not to mention that there's enough stars in this that he couldn't hog the spotlight even if he wanted to. I think there's enough curiosity that The Expendables, on its 3,200-plus screens, should be able to win the weekend with around $26 million.

The biggest single star belongs to Eat Pray Love, in the form of Julia Roberts. The film is an adaptation of the Elizabeth Gilbert memoir of how it's great to be rich, pretty and to have the time to travel around Europe basically forever (is it any wonder this woman's been on Oprah multiple times?) Wish-fulfillment on a grand scale, it's a self-help book disguised as a romantic comedy, or maybe the other way around – How Julia Roberts Got Her Appetite Back.

In addition to the Big Toothed One, there's a collection of himbos and/or other love interests for her to bounce around, including Billy Crudup, James Franco, Javier Bardem and Richard Jenkins (~one of these things is not like the others/one of these things just doesn't belong~), though it hardly matters for the purposes of the movie. Roberts actually hasn't been bulletproof as a box office draw for sometime, but in the right role (and this feels like a return to form for her), she can easily be a huge draw for women. Certainly not the kind of event like Sex and the City 2 (read that as sarcastically as you may like), but surely more successful than, for example, Diane Lane's Under the Tuscan Sun. Opening on a little over 3,000 screens, Eat Pray Love should find about $21 million worth of business this weekend.

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