Weekend Forecast for August 10-12, 2012
By Reagen Sulewski
August 10, 2012
The heights of the Bourne franchise under Damon, which saw Ultimatum open to $69 million, are way out of reach. There's also going to have to be some trust built up with viewers. With Bond, people know the film can be handed off successfully; we're in wait and see mode with Bourne. The film looks solid, however, and a decent opening weekend of $36 million isn't out of the question here.
A bit of a wild card as far as a potential weekend winner is here in the form of The Campaign, which matches Will Ferrell up against Zach Galifianakis. Ferrell plays a multi-term congressman from North Carolina who has essentially been unopposed for several terms and gotten lazy and stupid for it. With his shadowy businessman puppet masters unhappy with his performance, they bring in another useful idiot to challenge him in the form of Galifianakis, a fussy and meek representative of a local tourism board. Hilarity ensues as the battle of the idiots takes place in front of horrified image consultants, campaign managers and the voting public.
Jay Roach directs the film, but it's got to be the Ferrell and Galiafiankis show for this film to work, although they're mostly playing slight variations on their Anchorman and Hangover characters respectively. It's a fine line for both these actors to walk, however, as letting their ids run free on movies has failed before and could easily fail again. Thankfully, it looks like the film might have something to say, satirizing the current state of politics and soundbite journalism – not that it's going for anything serious, mind you, but having a point is a good thing.
It's been about two years since Ferrell's had a movie in theaters that's been intended to be big (stunts like Casa de mi padre don't count – but the fact he made a movie in Spanish and got it released says something about his power). The Other Guys was an unconventional pairing for an action-comedy but still opened to $35 million, which seems to be about his typical level, although he's not immune to a flop with things like Semi-Pro. Galiafianakis is a bit more of a wildcard, since we can certainly credit some of the success of the Hangover series to him, but there's zero reason to believe he's got $80 million drawing power for any comedy now. Due Date is a clear example of that, though helping to open that film to $32 million when it was widely seen as mediocre is a feat in itself.
Reviews aren't positioning this as any kind of instant comedy classic, though neither did they for Anchorman and look where we are with that film now. Ferrell and Galifianakis' audiences are probably close to a perfect overlap, so putting both of them in the same film isn't a 1+1=2 situation, but it does likely ensure that the film reaches its potential. I'd look for about a $29 million opening weekend here.
The verdict is already partially in for Hope Springs, which opened on Wednesday to $2.2 million. Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones (the pairing you've always wanted!) play a married couple stuck in a rut who undergo an intensive week-long therapy session (with Steve Carell!) to revitalize their marriage and I can't believe you're still reading this sentence. Anyway, it's a genteel and perhaps smartly constructed movie but seems the furthest thing from exciting. Streep and Jones are likely solid as always but movies aimed at older demographics like this and without any big hooks are not the kind of things that set the box office on fire. With that start, it's set for around $9 million on the weekend.