Weekend Forecast for June 22-24, 2012
By Reagen Sulewski
June 22, 2012
So last weekend. That sure happened. Now let's never speak of it again. Replacing last weekend's parade of mediocrity with one of Hollywood's most consistent purveyors of entertainment is a good start. The rest of the weekend's fare? Ehhhhh. We'll see.
A few years ago, it would have been no contest at all to name the most consistent production company in Hollywood, thanks to Pixar's run of excellence. Then came Cars, and to a larger point Cars 2, which saw the company for the first time go for the straight up commercial route, leveraging the movie quality against the (rough guess here) beeelions in merchandise they were able to move. If you have any children in your vicinity, you know this to be true, as anything with a Lightning McQueen or Mater image on it is viewed with a disturbing possessiveness. But okay, maybe they're allowed one hit to their credibility (and in the final box office figures, it took a significant hit), with a return to integrity right after. Which brings us to their 2012 film, Brave.
Originally titled The Bear and The Bow, this is a bit of a departure for them in that it doesn't anthropomorphize anything in particular to get the plot going. In fact, Pixar has been pretty stingy with the details, although we do know that it takes place in medieval Scotland and centers around a young princess (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) who is determined not to be simply handed off in marriage. Taking control of her own destiny, she's sent on a quest to lift a curse that's been placed on her kingdom. It's the most magical and fairy-tale like that Pixar has gotten to date, and would seem to reflect a lot of the influence that Studio Ghibli has had on a lot of its key people.
It's a bit of a calculated gamble, as the female protagonist and the fantasy setting would eliminate a little bit of their demographic – namely young boys, as well as parents of very young children, who might get scared off by the PG rating. They've gone PG before to great effect with The Incredibles and gone heady in their concepts before, with Up and WALL-E, so the idea behind Brave certainly isn't a box office killer. What's more likely to hurt them is the small build-up of ill-will from Cars 2. As we saw with Adam Sandler, making a bad movie definitely hurts your next one. I expect people are more willing to forgive that as a one-time blip and look at the solid reviews for Brave and give it a chance. Those reviews aren't quite as strong as they have been for past Pixar films, but “good enough” should help keep it afloat. Accounting for a little slide-back, we should see an opening weekend of about $59 million.
A film premise that's inspired more double and triple takes than anything since Snakes on a Plane arrives in theaters this weekend in the form of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Points for imagination, right? Anyway, this film takes a rather ...unique view of history by positing that Lincoln's great battle was not about keeping the Union together and ending slavery, but rather that he was defending it against a vampire invasion. I look forward to George Washington Vs. Martian Invaders and James K. Polk Combats The Mermen.