February 1, 2002
January sees the release of yet another teen comedy in Slackers, starring Jason Schwartzman of Rushmore fame and Devon Saw, who was last seen in Final Destination. The script is by David H. Steinberg, one of the writers of American Pie 2. The movie is about three college students who slack their way through life. Their lifestyle is disturbed when a non-slacker enters their life and blackmails them into changing their ways. Originally produced by the now-defunct Destination Studios, the movie was picked up by Screen Gems for distribution.
The movie's biggest advantage is that it will open on MLK weekend, which has recently proven to be a lucrative time for movies to open. This weekend in 2001 saw a very strong debut for Save the Last Dance, and if not for the re-release of Star Wars in '97, Save the Last Dance would be the biggest opener in January in history. In fact, the MLK weekend of 2001 saw net new box office business of $53.18 million. Previously, strong openers have included Next Friday in 2000, with a weekend take of $14.44 million and a Wednesday-through-Friday lead-in of $4.5 million for a total of $18.94 million; Varsity Blues in 1999, with a take of $15.92 million; Legends of the Fall in '95, with $14.04 million; and many others. In fact, eight of the 14 largest openers in January history have opened on MLK weekend, and this number includes the Star Wars re-release.
This bodes well for Slackers, as many of the successful movies, such as the aforementioned Save the Last Dance, Next Friday and Varsity Blues, as well as others such as Double Take, have you skewed to the teen demographic. It's also worth noting that all these movies were released in a span of two years. In addition, the fact that Slackers might have a tag of "From the writers of American Pie 2" attached will bode well for the film, even though it previously did not help.
These teen films are hit-and-miss, though, especially the ones with the more adult twist to them. This movie could very well surprise us with a strong weekend take, providing that the studio push is behind it and that the ads are effective. (Walid Habboub/BOP)
February 1, 2002
While Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend proved very lucrative in 2002, Slackers had its release date moved since our last updated listing and was not around for that excitement. Slackers will now struggle to find an audience in what is shaping up to be the weakest box office weekend, as far as debuts go, since Labor Day.
The ads for Slackers have been infrequent and unimpressive. It has the tone of last year's Tomcats except without the raunchiness. What doesn't help Slackers is the recent release of Orange County. The suggestion is not that there is a direct correlation between the two but that the ads for Orange County make it look like a polished version of Slackers. Slackers looks like Orange County's uglier cousin that never showers and is always drunk at the family get-togethers. (Walid Habboub/BOP)
Comparison films for Slackers
|American Pie 2
|Save the Last Dance