Weekend Forecast for January 16-18, 2015
By Reagen Sulewski
January 16, 2015
For this movie, we have Josh Gad (with you so far...) marrying Kaley Cuoco (I love science fiction) and falling into the trap of having no friends and therefore no one to throw him a bachelor party or be his groomsmen. Instead of just opening up about this and there being no movie, we get this toothless mesh of The Hangover, Wedding Crashers and Hitch, with a nice dose of gay-panic jokes on top. This feels like a bit of a holdover from before Kevin Hart became the Black Comic White People Can Agree On, particularly in the mismatch of the star power of the two leads. Josh Gad may be talented (I said *may*), but Frozen aside, hasn't done much of note to inspire being cast alongside one of the biggest comic draws out there today.
We're about to see just what Hart's box office clout is, as with awful reviews and little to help him out cast wise (Olivia Thirlby! Jorge Garcia! Cloris Leachman!), The Wedding Ringer is basically all on Hart. That's not nothing, as the trio of 2014 films he starred in – Ride Along, About Last Night and Think Like a Man Too – demonstrate. Indeed, the latter of those films was basically given over to him as a showcase, deviating from the ensemble romantic comedy that was the first film. All of those films opened up to at least the mid 20s, but I wouldn't be shocked to see this fall a little below those others, thanks to the shoddy reviews and amateur look of the movie. That still probably means about $21 million this weekend.
One of the great icons of British children's literature, Paddington Bear, arrives this weekend in a confusing combination of being dumped and with critical raves. The story of a Peruvian bear abandoned in London, then adopted into English society, it enters upon a series of misadventures as could only befall a small foreign talking bear.
Originally cast with Colin Firth as the voice of the bear, he famously parted ways with the production in public after shooting completed, which everyone and their dog took to mean that the project was complete garbage. Surprisingly, it has a near perfect record with reviews, albeit with few actually calling the film anything special, merely saying it's decent and inoffensive. That may be enough for success in the notoriously lenient kids' film market, which has propelled all manner of crap to profitability.
The biggest hurdle it will probably face is in North America, where the character is not as familiar as it is in England. It's probably something of the equivalent of Curious George there, and a bit of a curiosity here, but the quality boost from the reviews may give it a nice push. The human cast of the film is a veritable rogue's gallery of British character actors, including Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Imelda Staunton, Peter Capaldi, Michael Gambon and Jim Broadbent among others. As well, in what feels like a bit of stunt casting, Nicole Kidman plays the film's antagonist, a knife-wielding taxidermist, a dark-seeming role for a gentle children's film.