Weekend Forecast for January 26-28, 2007
By Reagen Sulewski
January 26, 2007
Oscar nominations are finally out, and several of 2006's films will be making their final runs at the box office starting this weekend. However, with few breakout hits in the mix, there's room for some new entries, including the four brand new films entering the market this weekend.
Leading the way for these is yet another in the seemingly endless generic "Movie" series, Epic Movie. After last year's execrable Date Movie, which decided that attempting to parody comedies was too hard, and simply tried to up the ante on the grossness, anything would have to be a step up. I probably shouldn't speak quite so quickly, judging by Epic Movie's ad campaign. Once again, we seem to have a movie that's aiming for the absolute least common denominator to make sure that even the stupidest and dullest in the audience get the jokes they're making about the most obvious targets in Hollywood.
While the Scary Movie franchise continues to see consistent strong openings (varying slightly on the quality of its targets), last year's Date Movie was a slide back in attempting to expand to non-horror parody, opening to $21 million, about half of the Scary Movies' average. Part of that may have been due to the weak targets it took on, which in theory has been corrected here. Among the movies being tweaked are Pirates of the Caribbean, The Chronicles of Narnia, Superman Returns and last but not least, Snakes on a Plane, last summer's ubiquitously hyped film. This one brings up the thought that they are making the same mistake again after all, making fun of a film that's not able to be pa. Well, that, or they're just not funny enough in the first place.
I would like to think that audiences are wising up to this kind of crap, but that appears wildly optimistic. Opening on over 2,800 screens this weekend, I look for it to win the weekend with about $19 million.
Smokin' Aces is the latest from director Joe Carnahan, who brought us Narc, and was then unceremoniously dumped from the set of Mission: Impossible III by Tom Cruise. A star-filled gangster film, it features Jeremy Piven as a Las Vegas-magician-turned-snitch who finds himself pursued by an entire bevy of hitmen who don't want to see him testify. Among those after him, either to kill or protect him, are Ben Affleck, Ryan Reynolds, Ray Liotta, rapper Common and Alicia Keys, in her first movie role.
A blend of comedy and a lot of violence, Smokin' Aces promises wacky mayhem with a few deaths mixed in, a la Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, or Snatch. Fans of that don't look to be disappointed – let me say two words to you: chainsaw assassin. Kind of like music to your ears, no? Critics have not been kind to the film due to its over-the-top action without much of a sensical plot. This isn't likely to turn off fans of the genre, but it may limit its crossover appeal. The cast might help in this regard, but I wouldn't count on that to any extreme extent. I predict about a $12 million weekend for Smokin' Aces, and a solid second place finish.