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Weekend Forecast for July 18-20

By Reagen Sulewski

July 18, 2014

Rob Lowe's not even in the movie. He just showed up.

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Fire and Rescue has Dusty the plane (voice of Dane Cook – and boy are they probably rethinking that casting session now) sidelined from racing due to a mechanical problem, and shifted into the world of water bombing. Again, this makes *no* sense if you think about it for even one second (there's no animals! Why do they care about the fires!), but let's let them run with this. So yada yada yada, all the plane puns. And that's basically it, as it's a fairly generic looking adventure/coming of age story that practically screams little kids only. There is nothing about this film that does not have “cash grab” written all over it. The first Planes movie showed expected legs, so it's not as if its target audience thought it was terrible, but it's also a completely inessential film that has an extremely limited audience. Disney's quickly wearing out its welcome on this series, and the move to turn some of these clearly-meant-for-home-video sequels into theatrical features is definitely diluting the brand. Hopefully this is the end of pushing their luck, with about a $19 million opening weekend.

Comedy is handled this weekend by Sex Tape, starring Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz. The pair star as a married couple stuck in a rut who decide to spice up their bedroom with some taping action, then accidentally upload the video into the cloud where it somehow escapes to all their friends, and then basically the whole world. This spawns a frantic effort in one night to try and reclaim all the copies before their embarrassment becomes complete (proving only that the writers don't really know how the Internet works – as Newsradio once said, getting something off the Internet is like getting pee out of a pool).

OK, so it's not logic that we're looking for here, but rather raunch and laughs. That, I can understand. Except the film really doesn't deliver on that, with reviews calling it out for a tepid treatment of the subject. Few things are more disappointing than comedies that don't deliver on the promise, and there isn't even a sense from the commercials that there's some great bits that they just can't show you on TV. A game supporting cast, featuring Rob Lowe, Rob Corddry, Ellie Kemper and Nat Faxon, doesn't seem able to save this film, and you'd really hope that director Jake Kasdan (a long long ways from Zero Effect) would be able to pull a more interesting-looking film out of this concept and group of actors. This feels like an attempt to make This is 40 “wackier” and edgier, or Date Night with less likable characters. I'd look for a meagre $15 million opening weekend here.

Opening in 700 or so theaters, so we have to talk about it, is Persecuted, a religious-right persecution fantasy which looks incompetent as well as incoherent. Starring James Remar as a leading religious figure who is somehow the last man standing in the way of a bill that would require all faiths to be blended into one big mash (so enforced Unitarianism? Have the makers of this film ever met a Unitarian?), he's framed for murder then something something Jesus. Really, most of what you need to know about this film can be told by the fact that Gretchen Carlson plays a crucial role in the proceedings. While religious-themed films have seen a recent uptick in audience, it's usually affirmational films that get audiences, not bizarrely plotted genre films that families would have a tough time in seeing. Without a lot of marketing push, this should be stuck in the $1 to $2 million range.




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The door seems wide open for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes to repeat as box office champion for the week, after a $72 million start. Reviews have continually hailed this as one the best offerings that summer has given us, and it's gratifying to see that audiences responded positively to an intelligent blockbuster. While like the first Apes film in the reboot, legs aren't that likely, the big opening weekend is reward enough. A second weekend of around $34 million should handily take the title for a second straight week.

As Transformers: Age of Extinction limps home, the weakness of some major franchise films really been made clear, at least domestically. Losing 84% of your business in two weeks is a remarkable feat, no matter how lousy your film may or may not be. Then again, this may just be the first film to crack the $1 billion mark without hitting $300 million domestic, so maybe we're all idiots. Michael Bay laughing at me from his giant pile of money makes that sound like the more likely conclusion. At any rate, it should earn about $7 million this weekend.

Tammy should compete strongly with Sex Tape for this weekend's least satisfying comedy experience, so at least it's got that going for it. Melissa McCarthy needs to find a new The Heat, and fast, or hope that St. Vincent fills that bill. It certainly does not have that giant international box office to count on. I'd look for just $6 million this weekend.


Forecast: Weekend of July 18-20, 2014
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 3,969 +2 34.0
2 The Purge: Anarchy 2,805 New 22.4
3 Planes: Fire and Rescue 3,826 New 18.4
4 Sex Tape 3,062 New 15.6
5 Transformers: Age of Extinction 3,224 -689 6.7
6 Tammy 3,402 -63 6.2
7 22 Jump Street 2,229 -589 4.0
8 How to Train Your Dragon 2 2,169 -716 3.8
9 Earth To Echo 2,450 -780 3.0
10 Maleficent 1,541 -536 2.9

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