Weekend Forecast for March 11-13, 2016
By Reagen Sulewski
March 11, 2016
It's a relatively busy March weekend but with only one of the four new films showing any real life, and likely not enough to top the weekend box office. Welcome to the consequences of tentpole films moving to March.
Earlier this year, the Internet was set ablaze by the release of a trailer for what appeared to be at the time a secret Cloverfield sequel. In much the same way that the original Cloverfield trailer appeared with no advance buzz and no record of it appearing in upcoming lists, 10 Cloverfield Lane announced a bold looking film set in that universe of monsters. That's since proven to be something of a fib, as the film actually started existence as an unrelated film called The Cellar, and even producer J.J. Abrams has since stated that it's only a “spiritual sequel.”
The setting: what appears to be some sort of bomb shelter as two men and one woman, two with some form of minor injury, wile away the time. Slowly, we start to see that things are not all as they seem with some sideways glances, bursts of temper and the appearance of restraints. Suddenly, there is an act of violence and an escape attempt, followed by a chase and a frantic call of “you'll kill us all!!!!” - and we have our perceptions twisted about five times in the span of 15 seconds. Is it the truth, or simply a clever ruse – or is it something even more complicated than that?
Essentially a high-budgeted, double length Twilight Zone episode, it certainly at least promises something rarely seen of late in theaters, the adult-oriented, twisty thriller with some feints towards horror and sci-fi. That sort of genre jumble generally ends badly for films, but with Cloverfield's combo of horror, action and romantic comedy, the precedent is there, with some careful pump priming by the marketing department.
A cast of John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead (and some change) isn't blockbusting, but known enough to allow for people to justify it as an A picture. What helps a lot more are the excellent reviews, some of the best of the year. This, combined with the hype-o-riffic ad campaign, does present some good chances for a breakout performance. Comparable films are difficult to come by, since there's really been not too much like it in the marketplace for awhile, except for perhaps some of the M. Night Shyamalan movies that aren't embarrassing (as I said, it's been a while). Even putting it beside the original Cloverfield movie doesn't make all that much sense given the dramatic differences, but if people really do consider it to be a quasi-sequel, it might approach the $40 million of that film's opening weekend. That's a bit ambitious, though, and I expect a weekend more in the realm of $28 million.
Seemingly following the Mike Meyers career path, only in a more profane fashion, Sacha Baron Cohen returns with The Brothers Grimsby, wherein he plays a soccer hooligan (with a curiously out of date Mod hairstyle) pressed into service to help out his master-spy brother (Mark Strong), for reasons. Cue hilariously inappropriate and awkward “humor” surrounding genitals, bodily functions and brick-to-head stupidity.