New Year's Eve and The Sitter Both Open Ugly
By John Hamann
December 11, 2011
It's two weekends before Christmas, and what do loyal movie fans across this great continent get as a soother against holiday shopping? Two movie turds recycled from already used, bad ideas. Openers this weekend are New Year's Eve, another Garry Marshall "let's pick a semi-holiday and throw a 1,000 B-list stars at it" film and The Sitter, with Jonah Hill doing his best Elisabeth “Adventures in Babysitting” Shue impression. To put it nicely, both films suck, so I hope you are using your movie dollars to support solid holdovers like Hugo, The Descendants, or even The Muppets. Looking at the overall totals, folks were definitely concentrating on shopping, and waiting until next weekend to see a movie.
The number one film of the weekend is unfortunately New Year's Eve, the new romantic comedy from Pretty Woman director Garry Marshall. Starring a series of actors that couldn't open a film on their own if their lives depended on it, New Year's Eve thankfully failed to live up to the $56.3 million opening weekend that Valentine's Day had. It was still number one, though, earning $13.7 million, and will be the Christmas present we can't return for the next three weeks. Out to 3,505 screens, New Year's Eve earned a venue average of $3,910. New Year's Eve threw well under what tracking was expecting - $20 million – so at least there is a little something under the tree for me.
From Warner Bros. and New Line, New Year's Eve did have a bevy of recognizable faces, but few had recents hits on their resume. Take for example Michelle Pfeiffer (2009's Personal Effects went straight-to-video), Ashton Kutcher (see Michelle Pfeiffer entry), Zac Efron (Me and Orson Welles - $1.2 million domestic total), Halle Berry (Things We Lost In The Fire, $3.3 million domestic total), Sarah Jessica Parker (I Don't Know How She Does It - $9.7 million domestic total) and Hillary Swank (Conviction $6.8 million domestic total). Yes, New Year's Eve is packed with stars, but still only cost $56 million to make, which tells me that more than a few of these folks were just happy to have their phone ring. Warner Bros. really tried hard to sell this one on its star power, but when you look closer, only the BOP-hated Katherine Heigl brought any to this release.
Much like Valentine's Day, New Year's Eve is packed with schmaltz, bad jokes, and dialogue that feels like it was written by Randy Quaid. Valentine's Day had a much stronger cast that included Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway and Emma Roberts, yet it was still almost universally panned by critics. At RottenTomatoes, Valentine's Day was 18% fresh, setting the bar very low for New Year's Eve to beat. It failed. New Year's Eve had only seven positive reviews out of a possible 101, with most of the negative reviews comparing this one to The Love Boat. You have been warned, and hopefully this one is out of the top ten before 2012 begins.