Weekend Forecast for March 28-30, 2014
By Reagen Sulewski
March 28, 2014
Spring's run of unusual blockbuster candidates continue this week with a very strange combination of director, cast and subject. Real mass appeal films are just around the corner, but this might do for now.
It's hard to think of a filmmaker whose style is less suited for mass market success than Darren Aronofsky, especially once he passed on the Batman franchise. But then, there's no one I can think of better suited to a story about devotion and obsession than him, so perhaps the story of Noah is a perfect fit after all. Russell Crowe stars as the title figure, as a man charged by God to build an ark to save his family and all the animals of the world from a great flood. Meanwhile, local marauders jealous of Noah's really nice boat demand a spot when the flood happens, although they simultaneously insist it won't occur.
In addition to Crowe, the cast also includes Jennifer Connelly as Noah's wife, Emma Watson as his adopted daughter, Ray Winstone as Tubal-cain, the leader of the marauders, Nick Nolte, Kevin Durand and, in what feels like it could be the greatest “and” billing of all time, Anthony Hopkins as Methuselah. While my favorite telling of this story is and always will be Billy Cosby's (“Riiiiiight. What's an ark?”), perhaps there's room for a more modern take on the story. And hey, if people looking for religious movie will give modest business to an amateurish, strawman-filled production like God's Not Dead, then perhaps a more professional production that's at least based on *something* can do quite a bit better.
Although this looks like nothing quite so much as a biblically-set 2012, the production values are certainly high quality, and with a little more grounded (ha!) story and Oscar calibre actors,this has a decent shot at success. Although early trailers were... not good, reviews have come in surprisingly strong, and the advertising push has been good in mainstream circles, which should lead to a bit of a breakout. I'd look for a weekend of $36 million here.
When Arnold Schwarzenegger returned to acting after his political interlude, he found an action audience that had both dwindled in numbers and had largely forgotten him. His films since then have largely been met with yawns, and Sabotage (I'm tellin' alla y'all) looks to be much the same.
Schwarzenegger wins the prize for the least likely person to star in an Agatha Christie adaptation, as this is a loose play off Ten Little Indians, though I presume Christie never had DEA agents in mind for her mystery. After a successful raid on a drug house, Schwarzenegger's team (including Terrence Howard, Mirelle Enos, Sam Worthington and Josh Holloway, among notable actors) starts getting knocked off one by one in bizarre and elaborate ways. As the body count rises, suspicions are heightened about the loyalties of the remaining team members. And then there's bullets – lots and lots of bullets.
Last January's The Last Stand opened to just $7 million, and Escape Plan, which reunited him with Sylvester Stallone, didn't fare much better, with just $10 million. There's little to distance this, if at anything at all, from either of those films, and this is just another sign of how the action world has passed Arnold by. I'd look for about $8 million this weekend.