Weekend Forecast for June 8-10, 2012
By Reagen Sulewski
June 8, 2012
Who knew it would take Charlize Theron to get summer going again? For the second straight weekend, the leggy South African is at the forefront of a film about to take over the box office charts. Not just that, but with two likely blockbusters coming out, it's feeling like a proper summer movie weekend for the first time since The Avengers.
When the first information started leaking out about Ridley Scott's newest project Prometheus, the space setting and the look of the images had everyone wondering whether this was something to do with the Alien series, which is where Scott first made his name. After a while of playing coy, Fox finally came out and said, “No! No no no no. Well, yes,” and revealed the project as an Alien prequel. At that point the viral marketing campaign went into overdrive, and we got things like a TED Talk from the founder of Weyland Industries, which if you're a giant nerd *raising hand* is funny and clever.
So on to the movie, then. Theron stars with Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace, Idris Elba and Guy Pearce (among others) as an interstellar exploration crew investigating a series of runes they believe have been left by an ancient civilization as a welcoming mat. Suffice to say they're not, and if you tell me anything more about this before I see it, I will straight up *cut* you. I'm talking to you, 20th Century Fox, who seems intent on releasing just about every crucial moment from the movie out into the wild before it ever hits theaters. While it's tempting to consider that a sign of insecurity, it's also a tactic that works to sell films – get as many of those amazing looking moments out there in the hopes that each one of them will convince a slightly different group of people to buy a ticket, or else think that if there's that many moments to show, there's that many more that they're holding back. Either way, it's a move that's projecting strength.
It's hard to gauge the popularity of the Alien franchise today, since both of the last two movies in it were both critical and commercial flops, and Aliens was all the way back in 1986. We might as well talk about what a Jaws 5 might bring in (don't get any ideas, people). At this point, enough time has passed that we can basically ignore Alien 3 and Resurrection and take the series' strong reputation just from the first two films, especially given the return of Ridley Scott.
While Scott isn't a guaranteed hit-maker (and doesn't always try to), he definitely can bring the blockbuster sensibility when he wants to. The film in his repertoire that this seems most like on the surface (I mean, other than Alien) is Hannibal, where he took over a recast Silence of the Lambs franchise. The film itself wasn't all that great, but Scott was able to make people care about a sequel to a ten-year old film that featured only a couple of familiar actors from the original. The belief is that he can breathe new life back into that relatively rare genre combo of horror/sci-fi, and judging by the good but not spectacular reviews, he's done just that. And while this doesn't show well on TV, the 3D trailer is a truly spectacular use of the technology, and may just drive more box office that way. I'm putting this in the middle tier of potential summer hits, and I look for a starting box office of $67 million.