Weekend Forecast for February 15-17, 2013
By Reagen Sulewski
February 14, 2013
The weekend starts one day early, at least as far as the movies are concerned. Something to do with chocolates, flowers and an angel in a diaper. Sometimes I don't really get holidays.
Probably the top movie this Valentine's Day weekend is the most romantic film imaginable – A Good Day to Die Hard, the fifth film in the Die Hard series, which you have to admit is living up to its title. The series leaves the continent for the first time, heading to Russia, where John McClane is on vacation, and just happens to stumble into a terrorist plot of some kind because why else would we be watching this? Naturally, he decides to lend out his particular brand of stopping bad guys to the people on the case, which just happens to include his son, now a CIA operative. Letting the ridiculousness of that just slide on by, aren't we ready for more over-the-top against-all-odds action?
Well, maybe we are. While the general idea behind the series is familiar, if having undergone a few tweaks over the decades (Happy 25th anniversary, Die Hard 1! You're welcome for feeling old), the execution at times has been lacking. In fact, I wouldn't even argue too hard if you wanted to say that only the first was any good, although I have a spot in my heart for all of them for their cartoonish excess. Irish director John Moore, he of Behind Enemy Lines, Max Payne and the 6/6/6 remake of The Omen gets the director chair this time, which I cannot in any way see as an improvement on Len Wiseman, let alone John McTiernan (who is, shall we say, indisposed at the moment) or even Renny Harlin. So we are almost entirely relying on our good will towards the series for this outing.
The last few weeks have not been kind, at the risk of understatement, to classic action stars, with three of Bruce Willis' contemporaries bombing quite spectacularly in their own films. The major difference here is of course that none of those films were in a franchise, which is kind of all what audiences want to see these days, at least in action. I bet even a Tango & Cash sequel would do decent business these days but don't get any ideas, Hollywood. 2007's Live Free or Die Hard opened to $33 million over an extended weekend, but was partially subsumed by the first Transformers movie. A February opening shouldn't detract from that, and may even help out by giving the film a bit more attention away from a crowded summer marketplace. It also helps a bit that Willis has kept current in action with RED and Looper. Even the execrable Cop Out managed an $18 million opening weekend. Over four days, Die Hard 5 should manage $46 million, with $35 million of that happening over the Friday-to-Sunday period.
Nicolas Sparks continues his assault on romance with the latest of his books to be turned into a movie, Safe Haven. Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough play the couple standing on the beach kissing in the rain, and that's all women need to hear so just shut up and take them already. If you're concerned at all about the plot, it's essentially Sleeping With The Enemy without all that boring character establishing part. Hough plays a mysterious stranger who shows up in a small North Carolina town where Duhamel has just been waiting with his three kids for someone to share his life with since his wife died and oh my God just nominate these people for sainthood already.