By David Mumpower
October 12, 2012
Mid-October somehow feel likes Christmas this weekend. Five new films enter the marketplace, four of which actually matter. Two of those are legitimate awards contenders while the other two are shamelessly commercial.
Coming on the heels of strong box office performers Taken 2 and Hotel Transylvania, the movies at your current Cineplex right now are as good as we have seen in calendar 2012. I have no idea how or why this is happening. Let’s all enjoy a refreshing weekend of movie choices that actually live up to the phrase “something for everyone”.
The predominant debut is Argo, a based on real life events premise so secretive the documents were not even declassified until 1997. The so-called Canadian Caper occurred during the Iran Hostage Crisis. A joint venture of the Canadian and American governments enabled the rescue of six American diplomats who had evaded Iranian authorities during the turmoil.
The backdrop for the rescue was a fake movie production. Washington D.C. politicians called on a few Hollywood power players to pretend to shoot a movie in the area. The entire shoot was a pretext for an attempt to retrieve the Americans before they could be taken hostage. This is a real thing that happened, which proves yet again that truth can be stranger than fiction.
Argo is already getting pummeled by cynics for being the loosest possible adaptation of the Canadian Caper’s events. This has in no way impacted its critical reception, though. Argo is currently 92% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, 94% among top critics. It is receiving heavy awards season buzz and should attract a respectable number of movie goers this weekend. I’m expecting a $17 million debut followed by an extended run in theaters as rapturous word-of-mouth creates lasting demand for consumers.
One of the other two movies poised to take a run at Taken 2 is Here Comes the Boom. Funny fat man Kevin James attempts to join the ranks of Will Ferrell in Blades of Glory and Adam Sandler in The Waterboy with an athletic movie featuring someone less than athletic. The story here is as basic as they come. School needs money. Teacher wants to help. Teacher gets bad idea and runs with it.
In this case, the bad idea is cage fighting. James retires from his career as a zookeeper in order to start taking beatings for a living. The Ghost of Chris Farley must be livid that he died before he could play this role.
We have chronicled on several occasions how much audiences love Kevin James. Hitch was at one point the biggest romantic comedy of all time, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry earned $120 million and Paul Blart: Mall Cop actually finished with a higher box office total than Taken (by $1.3 million). Even The Zookeeper, a terrible movie that was completely disposable to boot, grossed $80 million domestically. There is no reason to believe that Here Comes the Boom will be anything less than a solid box office performer. A $21 million opening weekend would demonstrate James’ continued strength as an opener.