Weekend Forecast for November 5-7, 2010
By Reagen Sulewski
November 5, 2010
So enough of the prelude. With all the gimmicky and stunt movies out of the way, we've reached the point of the movie season where the heavy hitting concepts and stars come out to play, with nine-figure budgets the norm instead of the result of horrible overruns. And November starts off with the classic fall battle – animation vs. star-driven comedy … vs. Tyler Perry.
Megamind is the odds-on favorite to take this first leg of the box office battle, seeing as it's a flashy 3D animated film featuring Will Ferrell and Brad Pitt. What it's about is almost immaterial in light of that, but let's go into it anyway.
This is DreamWorks/Paramount's take on the Superman tale, though for copyright reasons we'll be calling him Metro Man here, and we'll also be examining the flipside of that story. In the Megamind world, two children from a doomed planet are sent to Earth (again, DC lawyers, please pay no attention to this not at all derivative story!), one landing in a rich family's mansion and becoming a hero, the other landing in a prison for the criminally insane and becoming a villain. And they say nature vs nurture is settled.
Rivals throughout the years, Megamind (voice of Ferrell) eventually defeats Metro Man (Pitt), at which point there's the “now what?” moment, compounded by the arrival of an even bigger villain requiring Megamind to flip sides to get that praise he always wanted. Superhero Psychology 101, really.
In addition to Pitt and Ferrell, the movie also has the voices of Tina Fey as the completely-different-from Lois Lane reporter character and David Cross as Megamind's minion Minion (Despicable Me producers on line two...), a talking fish in a jar on a robot's body. Okay, that's different at least.
As the second execution of this basic “villain does good” concept this year, it's possible that audiences won't be up for a second go-round, but I'm skeptical of that – slickly produced animated features with celebrity voices flop only if they look absolutely dire. While this didn't start out well in its campaign – that rapping ad was phenomenally incompetent – it recovered in time to look like most other films of its type. It's hard to figure out if it's going to have the same warm-hearted center as Despicable Me, which propelled it to nearly $250 million, but it should at least have the benefit of a similar start, at around $54 million.
Due Date pairs up two of the hottest commodities in Hollywood lately, Robert Downey Jr and Zach Galiafianakis on a road trip comedy, a la Planes, Trains & Automobiles. In fact, it's pretty much exactly that, with Downey playing the slightly prissy character on his way home for an important family event, while Zach G is the buffoonish character who ends up putting obstacles in Downey's way. So, Galifianakis is not that far from his character in The Hangover, which Todd Phillips also directed.