Weekend Forecast for April 27-29, 2012
By Reagen Sulewski
April 27, 2012
There's just one last week to go before we get into the real fun stuff. Keep strong, folks, keep strong. At least there's a nice variety of films this week, with four new movies running the gamut from kiddie to horror.
A pretty sure bet to lead the way among these is The Five-Year Engagement, the second collaboration between Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller as writer and director (and the third when you throw in The Muppets, where the two are credited as co-writers). This is one of those films that could be filed under “does what it says on the tin," as it portrays five years in the life of an engaged couple, played by Segel and Emily Blunt, as their wedding plans are delayed by career and family obligations.
By all accounts a fairly episodic film as befitting its nature, it's also from the Judd Apatow factory of comedies that combine wacky personality-based comedy with emotional catharsis. It also holds to the formula of calling in a group of strong supporting characters to steal scenes and build up the world of the movie, with notable performers including Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Rhys Ifans, Mindy Kaling and last week's breakout star Kevin Hart.
The Apatow brand has been a pretty successful one, though I believe Engagement is going to rely a lot more on Segel. He had a nice one-two punch of Forgetting Sarah Marshall and I Love You, Man a few years ago, which both opened to around $17 million and gave him some street cred. Some supporting roles in a few other movies were added to that before he broke out in a big way with The Muppets, which he rescued from obscurity to help open to $29 million. I don't want to credit too much of The Muppets to his future movies since it's attached to a franchise, but it's something that's definitely gotten his face out to a lot of people as a leading man instead of just “that guy on that TV show." For her part, Blunt doesn't bring a lot to the equation, as she's been in a couple of big movies, though none as the main attraction or without a big name star to really carry the load. Reviews are solid but not spectacular, and the ads are decent but missing a big laughline, so I think we're looking at just a modest bump over Segel's previous starring roles, with around a $19 million opening weekend.
Children's films are handled by Aardman Animations this weekend, as they return to their traditional clay-mation format with The Pirates! Band of Misfits, after a couple of dalliances in CGI. Based on a popular book series, it's a wacky comedic take on life on the high seas, with an ineffectual pirate captain (voiced by Hugh Grant) placed in a pirate competition that leads through a bunch of historical figures like Charles Darwin and Queen Victoria. Also voicing characters are Salma Hayek, Jeremy Piven and Martin Freeman, so it's not your DreamWorks-level of superstar voices, but just respectable, I guess.