Weekend Forecast for December 21-23, 2012
By Reagen Sulewski
December 21, 2012
Cruise's film is based on a series of novels by Lee Child about an ex-military investigator who lives a nomadic existence applying his skills to track down murderers and break up criminal organizations – like a mix of Alex Cross and Caine from Kung Fu. In this film, he's finds himself working for the defense attorney of a man accused of killing five people by sniper fire – only to uncover a larger conspiracy behind the crimes. And he gets to beat up a lot of people in methodical fashion too.
Directed by Christopher McQuarrie (writer of The Usual Suspects), Reacher looks like a bit of a throwback to '70s Tough Guy films, or perhaps a little more mainstream version of last year's Drive. So although it certainly has its action elements and a little bit of Bourne in it, it's more towards the crime thriller end of things, a genre which has fallen out of favor with movie audiences. Thanks to the proliferation of procedurals on TV, these films have stopped feeling special. Jack Reacher looks a little more cinematic than most and has the star power to push it (it's mostly Cruise's show, but has in supporting roles Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins and most exciting and bizarre of all, famed German director Werner Herzog as the film's main antagonist). Although Cruise ruled last Christmas with Mission: Impossible 4, he's likely not going to have as much luck this time around, with Reacher opening to about $19 million.
One of the emerging trends in film is the spin-off, which in recent years started with U.S. Marshalls, continued on through films like Elektra, Evan Almighty, Get Him to the Greek and The Bourne Legacy. The latest is This Is 40, which takes Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann's barely-keeping-it-together couple from Knocked Up and catches up with them five years later, apparently having stepped back from the brink of marital destruction, but still struggling with their relationship like all couples do. With Rogen apparently being too busy destroying his career, this film brings in Jason Segel, Chris O'Dowd, Megan Fox, Melissa McCarthy and many, many more to help with the heavy comedy lifting.
Getting back to the Bickersons is a decent idea for a movie, but I don't know if anyone was really dying for this film. On the other hand, Apatow, Rudd and Mann are all extremely funny people and if anyone can make this idea work, it's them. What This Is 40 needs to be a major hit is some uproarious moments in the trailer and commercials, and I don't think it has them. Several funny and chuckle-worthy moments to be sure, but nothing amazing that screams, “I've gotta see this!” What it is, though, is the only significant comedy for adults out right now and that's going to be good for a lot of default choices. This weekend, I'd say that's good for about $17 million.
Also opening on Friday is Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away 3D, which will help us all to open our jar of rainbows this Christmas. Effectively the closest thing we'll get to a concert film from the Cirque people, this is exec produced by James Cameron, directed by Andrew Adamson of the Shrek and Narnia films, and stars no one you've ever heard of. While Cirque shows remain a worldwide phenomenon, the main appeal is going to the shows, and not viewing a 3D version with a tacked on narrative. Opening in just 800 or so venues, this is likely to earn just $3 million or so this weekend.