Weekend Forecast for March 29-31, 2013
By Reagen Sulewski
March 28, 2013
March is suddenly one of the go-to months for box office, as a look back at the last four weeks shows. There's one more week to go, and another mini-blockbuster set to launch that might be the most ridiculous of the bunch. Are we really this hard-up for action films?
Apparently so. Four years ago, Hasbro continued its assault on the multiplex, commissioning G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, based on the popular line of toys, and specifically the 1980s version. Despite, or perhaps because of, its complete and utter ridiculousness, it opened to over $50 million and earned $300 million worldwide. Thus we have the inevitable sequel, G.I. Joe Retaliation, which has enough cast changes and plot swerves that it almost counts as a reboot.
When last we left the Joes... oh, who gives a crap. Channing Tatum and Jonathan Pryce are about the only bits of continuity from the first film, and it was almost not even that much. After adding Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis as new heroes, Tatum was deemed superfluous... until seemingly every movie he was in started to break out. A hasty rewrite later and the film was delayed from last fall until this week. At any rate, we're sort of getting the Ghost Protocol version of this film, with the G.I. Joe squad made into outlaws and terrorists by a shapeshifting President of the USA. Throw in a bunch of ninjas, impractically large guns and some weird action set-pieces, and you've got the recipe for a popcorn blockbuster. But man – and I know it's based on toys for 10-year-olds – does it have to read like it was *written* by 10-year-olds, too?
While Johnson's films haven't always hit when he's the sole leading man, he's made a decent career of adding value to other franchises. Look at the difference between Fast & Furious 4 and 5 for an example of that. Willis seems to be a bit puzzled as to what he's doing in this film, although it's not as if his own films have been all that awesome lately at the box office either. And of course, there's Tatum's own particular rise to medium superstardom since 2009. It does look like the slapdash nature of the first film has been discarded this time, though it's still running uphill a bit against its own reputation. The addition of Johnson and Willis probably make this a kind of lateral move, and should help it open to around $51 million.
Open Road Films is hoping to repeat the trick that Summit did with the Twilight series by jumping on the Stephenie Meyer bandwagon. The Host was her first novel, before she twigged onto that whole “broody sparkly vampire” nonsense that became popular for inexplicable reasons, and now comes to the big screen. In it, Earth has been invaded by a race of aliens who take over the bodies of humans, destroying the humans inside, and recognizable by their extremely pale blue eyes. These new parasites are pretty close to perfect beings, it would seem and they've essentially ushered in a new era of harmony and peace to Earth. Why are we struggling against them again?