Weekend Forecast for January 18-20, 2013
By Reagen Sulewski
January 18, 2013
The third weekend of the year is positively flooded with new content, including three new films and the first chance for most of the country to see one of the top Oscar contenders of the year. It's a possible rare feat that might be the real story of this weekend, though.
After headlining the top film of last weekend with the expansion of Zero Dark Thirty, Jessica Chastain is set to double that achievement, albeit not with the same film. Although virtually unrecognizable in a brunette wig, she's the main drawing card in the horror film Mama, which is the most likely film to top the charts this weekend.
She and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones) play a couple who find his long-lost nieces in the woods after a five year search. Somehow they survived all this time, but just how did these young children stay alive – or perhaps more importantly, who was protecting them all this time, and is whoever, or whatever, ready to give them up?
Expanded from a short film by neophyte director Andres Muschietti, this is sort of a hybrid of three different kinds of horror – The Scary House, The Creepy Little Girl (x2), and the The Thing In The Woods. It's also one of the darkest-looking horror films in some time, and I don't mean in tone. The entire thing looks like it was shot by candlelight, which I suppose makes that all the more scarier in some people's eyes. The main hook appears to be the affection the girls still have for their monstrous protector and the creepy little whisper that anchors the end of the trailer and commercials. It's a bit weak, but successful horror films have been built off less. And of course, horror sells in just about any form these days. This one reminds me a bit of 2011's Insidious, but with a little better star power and better commercials. With non-Chainsaw horror running in the upper teens of late, look for this to start with about $17 million.
Arnold Schwarzenegger makes his return to leading roles after almost ten years in politics with the rather insane looking The Last Stand, from Korean director Kim Jee-woon. Schwarzenegger plays an Arizona sheriff with the rather unlikely name of Ray Owens called on to assist in the capture of a Mexican drug lord who has escaped from a Las Vegas prison, and who is making a run back to the border. With his band of misfit deputies and an arsenal that could apparently take over a small country, he gets to be the last thing between a violent criminal and his freedom. Make things go boom now.
The Last Stand doesn't appear to aspire to much other than a balls-to-the-wall action film with some crazy driving stunts and lots and lots of weaponry, and it apparently succeeds on that level, in addition to some half-hearted comedy, in the form of self-deprecating old jokes from Arnold, and Johnny Knoxville playing a slightly damaged weapons hoarder and a walking argument for background checks.