Cinema history is filled with movies that got burned under the hot summer sun, and every year, we get our share of critically panned big-budget duds (this year’s slate includes such low achievers asFantastic Four and Hot Pursuit). However, it takes a rare kind of awful to merit inclusion into RT’s Worst Summer Movies list, a compendium of cinematic horrors that were granted a wide theatrical release between the months of May and September in the years since the release of Jaws in 1975 kickstarted the blockbuster era. Without further ado, we present our countdown of the 50 worst-reviewed summer movies!
A terrorist attack is played out through multiple perspectives in the high-octane political thriller Vantage Point which leads the four-pack of new openers which also includes three small comedies. Sony will score its first number one hit since October with this star-driven actioner which boasts a cast that features Dennis Quaid, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver, Matthew Fox, and William Hurt. The PG-13 pic has the biggest marketing and distribution push of any new release this weekend so a comfortable lead over its competitors should be expected. None of the actors are guaranteed box office sensations, but together they equal one big bankable A-lister.
Adults will make up the primary age group and appeal seems strong to both males and females. The intriguing style of the film will make it stand out from the crowd, although fellow action options Jumper and Fool’s Gold will provide some competition. Plus many adults will be preoccupied with their last chance to see the Oscar nominees before Sunday night’s big show. The five Best Picture candidates banked $14M over Presidents’ Day weekend. Vantage Point should play to the same folks that came out for other star-driven non-special effects action and suspense pics from this time of year like Sahara ($18.1M), The Interpreter ($22.8M) and Premonition ($17.6M). Attacking over 3,000 locations, Vantage Point could open to about $21M this weekend.
The Spiderwick Chronicles got off to a solid start last weekend as the only major offering for families and with no new kidpics entering the scene, a smaller decline is assured. Sophomore drops for Disney’s own Presidents’ Day weekend films from the past two years were 37% for Bridge to Terabithia and 21% for 2006’s Eight Below. Spiderwick could fall in between with a 30% fall giving Paramount $13M for the frame and $44M after eleven days.
Following a potent debut, Step Up 2 The Streets will suffer a sizable drop. The dance sequel may lose 45% of its take and gross $10M pushing the eleven-day cume to $42M. Warner Bros. should see its comedy adventure Fool’s Gold drop by 35% to around $8M. Total would climb to $54M.
LAST YEAR: Spending its second weekend on top, Sony’s Ghost Rider starring Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage fell hard but still pulled in $20.1M to top the box office over Oscar weekend. Jim Carrey gave horror a chance with The Number 23 and debuted in second with a solid $14.6M bow. The New Line release eventually grossed $35.2M and was the first of many thrillers in 2007 that marked major Hollywood stars doing their first scary movies. Disney’s Bridge to Terabithia slipped one spot to third with $14.2M in its sophomore frame. Fox’s comedy Reno 911!: Miami debuted in fourth with $10.3M representing half of its eventual $20.3M final tally. Fellow comedy Norbit rounded out the top five with $9.8M in its third session. Opening at the lower rungs of the top ten were the Billy Bob Thornton drama The Astronaut Farmer with $4.5M and the slave trade drama Amazing Grace with $4.1M from a more limited release. Totals reached $11M for Warner Bros. and $21.3M for Goldwyn/Roadside Attractions.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
It’s definitely a week for TV on DVD. With the exception of a few exceptional dramatic feature films (Stephanie Daley, The Wind That Shakes the Barley), today’s releases offer a wealth of stellar television shows new to home video — which means it’s time to make room on the shelf for the latest seasons of The Office, Robot Chicken, 30 Rock, Nip/Tuck, and our favorite sword-wielding Princess of Power!
Standout performances lend this Sundance award winner emotional heft in a story about a 16-year-old girl (Amber Tamblyn) accused of killing her newborn child and the pregnant psychologist (Tilda Swinton) giving her a pre-trial assessment. Writer-director Hilary Brougher won screenwriting honors at Sundance for her script, and Tamblyn earned an Independent Spirit nomination for her delicate and piercing turn as the titular teenager.
Another film festival winner, Ken Loach‘s tale of brothers caught up in the Irish Civil War was a surprise pick that won the Palme d’Or award at Cannes. The fictionalized story was based on composite accounts of the turbulent, tragic events of 1920s Ireland; Cillian Murphy and Padraic Delaney star as the two brothers who become political enemies in the formation of the IRA. The DVD includes a featurette on director Loach’s work and a commentary track by Loach and University College Cork professor Donal O’Driscoll, who also served as historical advisor on the film.
If you’re in the mood for a documentary, check out this up close and personal look at the laborers behind Mexico City’s Periferico Beltway. Juan Carlos Rulfo won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance for this often beautiful examination of a construction in progress and the colorful group of men who wax poetic on life as they work, though ironically they’ll never afford cars to drive over the bridge themselves.
Yesss! Office fans rejoice, because Season 3 is now yours for the taking. Now, Season One was awesome, and Season Two ended with Casino Night, but Season Three had a number of its own memorable moments: the rise and fall of Jan, Phyllis’ wedding, and the most promising season finale yet for Jim & Pam hopefuls. Add to that a bonus menu overflowing with deleted scenes, commentaries, and special features like an interview with guest director Joss Whedon, the entire Lazy Scranton music video, and Kevin Cooks Stuff in the Office, and this is a must-have for any Michael Scott enthusiast!
NBC’s backstage sitcom had viewers in stitches during its first season, and with good reason; created by and starring former Saturday Night Live writer Tina Fey, 30 Rock’s cast of comic talents include Judah Friedlander, Tracey Morgan, Jane Krakowski, and the inimitable Alec Baldwin as the eccentric people behind the scenes at the fictional SNL-like TGS sketch comedy show. Accordingly, the DVD set contains three discs of episodes, deleted scenes, a True Hollywood Story-style blooper reel, the in-character “An Evening with Kenneth” shorts, and more.
Other Safe Bets This Week
If you missed this short-lived NBC drama — about a foursome of Irish-American brothers in New York — then you’re in luck; the whole series is now available in its entirety on DVD.
Season Two of Adult Swim’s runaway stop-motion sketch show hit is on DVD today, filled with all 20 episodes, Season One’s “Beavis and Butt-head meet the Teen Titans,” and the Robot Chicken Christmas Special.
If you long for the days when Tom Hanks didn’t take himself too seriously (as I do), check out Season Two of the best 1980s transvestite buddy situation comedy that ABC ever aired.
If you already watch Nip/Tuck, then you know why Season Four is so memorable. If not, I’ll give you a hint: Rosie O’Donnell sex scene. Rent it.
Because just one season wasn’t enough to satisfy your retro ‘toon girl power needs, here is the second and final installment of the She-Ra saga! A must-have for, well, anyone who had to own She-Ra: Princess of Power Season One (or those lucky shoppers who nabbed the Jem and the Holograms DVD before it went out of print!), this six-disc volume boasts all 28 digitally remastered episodes, two commentary tracks, a character gallery, She-Ra trivia, trailers, two collectible cards, an episode guide, a filmmaker documentary, and a packed-to-the-gills DVD-ROM featuring 28 scripts, storyboards, and more!
Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You…
A sweet coming-of-age character study set in a rural town that’s also…a meta-film? At fifty percent on the Tomatometer, it proved divisive, but count us among the viewers who’d give it a shot. Besides, they had us at Jay Baruchel (Undeclared) and Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls).
Emily Blunt‘s star has risen since The Devil Wears Prada, but perhaps not that high — she stars here as one of two college kids on a ride-share gone. Despite some solid creds (the flick is produced by Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney) critics say Chill lacks bite — but at least it’s not another run-of-the-mill gore fest.
Until next week, happy renting!
Movie fans came out in droves this weekend to see their favorite green ogre’s newest adventure as "Shrek the Third" easily captured the box office crown and broke the record for the biggest opening ever for an animated film.
That sent the super hero saga "Spider-Man 3" down to the runnerup spot but the overall marketplace once again beat last year’s levels for the third straight weekend giving the summer movie season an explosive start.
Executives at DreamWorks Animation and Paramount were drinking green champagne this weekend thanks to "Shrek the Third" which debuted to an astounding $122M, according to estimates, over the Friday-to-Sunday period and $122.9M since its early launch at 10pm on Thursday night in about 1,000 theaters. Invading 4,122 total locations, the PG-rated toon averaged a stunning $29,597 per cinema and surpassed the $108M bow of 2004’s "Shrek 2" which previously held the record for the biggest animated opening. That film, which was the first in history to break the 4,000-theater threshold, debuted on a Wednesday and captured $129M over its five-day premiere period. The next biggest toon opening is $70.5M for the 2004 Disney/Pixar vehicle "The Incredibles" which just shows how different the league that the "Shrek" franchise lives in is.
"Third" also set new opening weekend records for both DreamWorks and Paramount beating "Shrek 2" and "War of the Worlds" ($64.9M), respectively. The ogre sequel also generated the third best opening of all-time trailing only "Spider-Man 3"’s $151.1M from earlier this month and "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest’s" $135.6M from last July. That ranking should slip another spot next weekend after the new "Pirates" film sets sail.
The new ogre sequel grossed $907,000 on Thursday from night-before showings beginning at 10pm, hauled in $38.5M on Friday (its true opening day), surged 22% to $47M on Saturday, and is estimated to dip 22% on Sunday to $36.5M. "Shrek 2," which opened on the same exact weekend three years ago, also suffered a 22% Saturday-to-Sunday dip in its debut frame. The production budget on the new installment is estimated to be $160-170M.
Reuniting the voice talents of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and Antonio Banderas, "Shrek the Third" adds some new characters including a teen would-be king voiced by Justin Timberlake. The slender 92-minute film was not very well-liked by critics and earned the worst reviews for the franchise just as "Spider-Man 3" did a couple of weeks ago. However, moviegoers again disregarded the critics and came out for some early summer fun dropping some mighty big bags of cash at multiplexes nationwide. "Shrek" dominated the attention of ticket buyers and accounted for about 70% of all sales for the Top 20.
Studio research showed that Fiona’s hubby appealed to all audience segments becoming a true four-quadrant pic. Females made up 51% of the crowd and those over and under the age of 25 were evenly split. Teens, young adults, and families all came out in strong numbers. Those polled by CinemaScore gave the toon a B+ grade which is decent, but not spectacular. A fourth chapter of "Shrek" is already in development for a planned 2010 release.
Dropping 51% in its third weekend was two-time box office champ "Spider-Man 3" with an estimated $28.5M. Sony’s webslinger sequel flew to $281.9M (including Imax grosses) from North America and averaged $6,591 from a record high 4,324 theaters. After 17 days, the Venom pic shot up to number 28 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters just ahead of "The Matrix Reloaded" which grossed $281.5M in 2003. Given its rate of erosion and upcoming competition from Captain Jack, the third webcrawler still looks on a course to conclude its domestic run with $340-350M.
"Spider-Man 3" continues to rank number one in most international territories and grossed $49.6M overseas this weekend pushing its offshore cume to a scorching $465M and the global gross to a towering $747M. The latest Peter Parker tale has now become the top-grossing "Spidey" film overseas surpassing the $418M for the first film in 2002 and the $410M of "Spider-Man 2" in 2004. The third chapter has really taken off internationally as overseas box office accounts for 62% of the global tally. The first two super hero installments saw about 52% of their worldwide groesses come from outside of North America.
Fox’s horror sequel "28 Weeks Later" dropped one spot to third place with an estimated $5.2M bringing the ten-day total to $18.6M. The well-reviewed virus thriller declined by 48% which is impressive for a fright flick. Still, "Weeks" looks to finish with about $30-32M or about one-third less than the $45.1M of 2003’s "28 Days Later."
Only scraps were left for the other films playing at multiplexes as the rest of the movies in the top ten attracted weekend ticket sales of less than $4M each. Three-time chart-topper "Disturbia" took in an estimated $3.7M, off only 22%, for a $71.3M cume for Paramount. The sleeper hit should find its way to around $80M.
Universal’s Jane Fonda–Lindsay Lohan pic "Georgia Rule" dropped 48% to an estimated $3.5M in its second weekend pushing its ten-day total to a weak $12.6M. Look for a disappointing $20-22M final for the R-rated film which few have been showing interest in. New Line’s "Fracture" dipped just 17% to an estimated $2.5M putting the sum at $34.7M. A final tally of roughly $40M should result.
The Lionsgate comedy "Delta Farce" followed its dismal bow with a troubling 46% fall to an estimated $1.8M this weekend for a miniscule total of $6.1M in ten days. It will try to limp to a $10M overall gross. Following in eighth place was Buena Vista’s "The Invisible" with an estimated $1.3M, down 44%, putting the cume at $17.7M. The supernatural thriller will probably end up with about $21M. British import "Hot Fuzz" continued to have good legs dipping only 27% to an estimated $1.3M pushing the total to $21.1M. Focus will try to get to $25M.
Two very different films tied for tenth place with estimates of $1.1M a piece. Fox Searchlight enjoyed continued success with the expansion of the Keri Russell starrer "Waitress" which widened from 65 to 116 theaters for a solid $9,784 average serving up moviegoers in the top ten for the first time. That doubled the comedy’s cume to $2.2M. This Friday, "Waitress" will expand again to most markets across the country reaching over 500 theaters playing as an indie alternative to the mindless popcorn films of early summer. Paramount’s big-budget action flop "Next" fell 35% giving the Nicolas Cage actioner an embarrassing $16.6M to date. A $19M final seems likely.
Tumbling out of the top ten this weekend was Disney’s animated comedy "Meet the Robinsons" which fell a steep 71% thanks to the ogre’s arrival to an estimated $521,000. The G-rated toon has grossed $95.3M after its eighth weekend and may be headed for a $97M finish.
Meanwhile in just two theaters, Fox Searchlight saw a powerful debut for its musical romance "Once" which grossed an estimated $60,511 for a sizzling $30,256 per site. Showered with praise from critics, the R-rated film premieres in eleven new cities on Friday.
Yari Film Group had a mild debut for its ensemble drama "Even Money" which bowed to an estimated $26,013 from six playdates for a not-so-impressive $4,336 average.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $170.8M which was up 12% from last year when "The Da Vinci Code" opened at number one with $77.1M; and up 10% from 2005 when "Star Wars Episode III" debuted on top with $108.4M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Peter Parker suffered a massive sophomore slide, but "Spider-Man 3" still dominated the box office around the globe spending a second weekend at number one with no other film coming anywhere near its stellar numbers.
Among the frame’s four new releases, the zombie thriller "28 Weeks Later" fared best with a decent bow in the runnerup spot while the Jane Fonda–Lindsay Lohan pic "Georgia Rule" was mostly ignored and opened with disastrous results. Two other new comedies "Delta Farce" and "The Ex" barely registered a blip on the radar.
Sony was still crushing its competitors this weekend with "Spider-Man 3" which tumbled 60% to an estimated $60M in its second try in theaters. After ten days, the PG-13 hit has amassed a stunning $242.1M from North America and is still running ahead of its two predecessors. Ten-day cumes for 2002’s "Spider-Man" and 2004’s "Spider-Man 2" were $223M and $225M, respectively. However the new Venom installment is eroding faster as is often the case with the third part of a franchise. After the first three days, "Spider-Man 3" was an impressive 32% ahead of the first webslinger pic which opened on the exact same weekend in 2002. After seven days the lead was cut to 20% and now after ten days the gap has been reduced to 9%.
For the weekend, "Spider-Man 3" accounted for a stellar 64% of the box office for the top ten and grossed $17.1M on Friday (down 72% from its record-shattering opening day last week), $25M on Saturday (down 51% from last Saturday), and is projected to gross $18M on Sunday (down 55% from a week ago). The 60% second weekend drop is not uncommon for high-profile tentpole sequels with mammoth debuts. Some other sophomore drops include 53% for "X2: X-Men United," 54% for "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest," 63% for "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," and 67% for "X-Men: The Last Stand."
Where is part 3 headed in the long run? It would make sense to look at other action films that kicked off the summer movie season on the first weekend of May. The shares of the total cume collected in the first ten days were 64% for last year’s "Mission: Impossible III," 69% for 2003’s "X2," and 71% for 2004’s "Van Helsing." Based on its trajectory and the competitive road ahead, "Spider-Man 3" could be headed for a finish of about $340-360M domestically. That would make it the lowest-grossing Spidey film in North America, however the overseas markets are a different story.
"Spider-Man 3" grossed an estimated $85.4M internationally this weekend to boost its overseas haul up to a mammoth $379.6M for a colossal global gross of $622M. Next weekend, the Sandman entry will surpass the international takes of $418M and $410M for the first two Spider-Man flicks to become the top performer of the franchise outside of North America. With the "Spider-Man" fan base already maxed out domestically, Sony made a strategic move to grow the brand around the world by hosting several star-studded international red carpet premieres and opening the film in most countries days ahead of the United States leading to a substantial increase in moviegoer excitement in all markets. "Spider-Man 3" still stands a very good chance of becoming the biggest grossing film of the trilogy on a global scale with the North American shortfall being overshadowed by gains overseas. With a reported production budget of $258M, the super hero film should surpass the $900M mark worldwide this summer.
Flesh-eating zombies took control of second place this weekend as the horror sequel "28 Weeks Later" opened with an estimated $10M representing a solid, but somewhat weaker-than-expected debut. The R-rated gorefest averaged a decent $4,342 from 2,303 playdates and delivered a gross almost equal to the $10.1M that "28 Days Later" achieved in its opening frame in June 2003. That sleeper hit bowed in a thousand fewer locations with 1,260 theaters and scored a more potent $7,986 average. Adjust for four years of ticket price increases and "Weeks" generated an opening weekend average half that of "Days." The new chapter earned very high praise from most critics, but being the fourteenth horror film of 2007 probably hurt its cause as many genre fans have overdosed on frightfests. If the estimate holds (Fox estimated a rather slim 26% Saturday-to-Sunday drop), "Weeks" will become the first non-Spidey film to reach double digits on opening weekend since "Fracture" from mid-April.
The star-driven chick flick "Georgia Rule" was dead on arrival at the box office debuting to an estimated $5.9M from 2,523 theaters for a flimsy $2,330 average. The R-rated film stars Lindsay Lohan as a rebellious teen left with her no-nonsense grandmother (Jane Fonda) for the summer. Felicity Huffman plays the alcoholic middle mom in the family. "Georgia" played more to the Fonda crowd than to the Lohan audience. Studio research from Universal showed that a whopping 81% of the turnout was female, 79% was white, and 70% was over the age of 30.
"Georgia Rule" imploded at the box office since it repelled its two main consumer groups. Older women pay attention to reviews and critics were brutal in reviewing the dramedy. And younger teen girls who track Lohan obsessively couldn’t get in thanks to the harsh R rating. The opening was less than half the amount that the studio saw earlier this year when it targeted the same audience with the same number of theaters with the Diane Keaton–Mandy Moore pic "Becasue I Said So" which bowed to $13.1M over Super Bowl weekend. The Fonda flick was released over the Mother’s Day frame, but most daughters chose to give their moms the gift of not seeing "Georgia Rule."
Paramount’s hit teen thriller "Disturbia" enjoyed the best legs in the top ten dipping only 18% to an estimated $4.8M. Although in its fifth weekend, the Shia LaBeouf hit has the second largest theater count of any film and is playing in 3,106 locations that are still holding onto the durable thriller. Cume to date is $66.3M.
The military comedy "Delta Farce" bombed in its opening weekend grossing only $3.5M, according to estimates, landing in fifth place. The PG-13 pic averaged a dismal $1,813 from 1,931 locations for Lionsgate. Reviews were understandably pitiful.
New Line’s Anthony Hopkins–Ryan Gosling drama "Fracture" dipped only 22% to an estimated $2.9M in its fourth frame and upped its cume to $31M. The horror flick "The Invisible" dropped to seventh with an estimated $2.2M, down 33%, for a $15.5M total.
Sliding only 25% in its third round was the action-comedy "Hot Fuzz" with an estimated $1.7M for Focus putting the sum at $18.9M. Nicolas Cage followed with his sci-fi flop "Next" which took in an estimated $1.6M, down 45%, for a total of $14.6M. Rounding out the top ten with an estimated $1.6M as well was the Disney animated hit "Meet the Robinsons" which fell 39% for a sturdy $94.1M cume. The 3D comedy will enjoy its status as the year’s top-grossing toon for just one more week since "Shrek the Third," which opens on Friday, could march past it after only one weekend in theaters.
Debuting with miserable results outside of the top ten was the Zach Braff–Amanda Peet comedy "The Ex" which opened to an estimated $1.3M from 1,009 locations for a pathetic $1,288 average. The PG-13 date flick was released by MGM and earned poor reviews. With "The Ex," Hollywood has now seen a disturbing twelve wide releases over the last eight weeks fail to open to at least $5M. Numerous movies with little to offer paying moviegoers are being slaughtered in an overcrowded marketplace.
Three star-driven vehicles dropped out of the top ten this weekend. Will Ferrell’s blockbuster comedy "Blades of Glory" grossed an estimated $1.4M in its seventh lap and boosted its cume to $113.8M. Off 41%, the $60M-plus DreamWorks/Paramount pic looks to skate to a $116-118M finish. Ice Cube’s comedy sequel "Are We Done Yet?" fell 46% to an estimated $950,000 giving Sony $47.4M to date. The family film looks to end with just under $50M putting it 40% behind its predecessor "Are We There Yet?" which pulled in $82.3M two years ago. Warner Bros. has collected a measly $5M in ten days for its Eric Bana–Drew Barrymore poker pic "Lucky You" and will probably fold with an embarrassing $7M.
Arthouse darling "Waitress" starring Keri Russell expanded successfully in its second weekend serving up an estimated $636,000 from 65 sites for a solid $9,788 average. Fox Searchlight widened the acclaimed film from just four locations last weekend and pushed its cume to $788,000. A special Mother’s Day gift bag promotion across the country is expected to strengthen Sunday sales. This Friday, the comedy expands in its existing markets adding 57 theaters and on May 25 it will widen to 400-500 total theaters nationwide for the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $94.1M which was up 16% from last year when "Mission: Impossible III" stayed at number one with $25M; and up a scant 3% from 2005 when "Monster-in-Law" debuted on top with just $23.1M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
In what must be a first at the box office, an aerobics queen takes on killer zombies in a vicious battle for the silver medal during what no doubt will be another mammoth weekend for "Spider-Man 3."
Fox unleashes its horror sequel "28 Weeks Later," Universal counters with its femme-driven star vehicle "Georgia Rule," Lionsgate tosses in the comedy "Delta Farce," and MGM releases yet another laugher with "The Ex." Meanwhile, back in New York City, the webslinger will attempt to swing to a massive quarter-billion-dollar cume by the end of its second weekend.
As the second of ten sequels hitting theaters over the May-June corridor, "28 Weeks Later" is the follow-up to the cult hit zombie chiller "28 Days Later" which lit up theaters four years ago. Danny Boyle shifts from the director’s chair to the executive producer’s office as Juan Carlos Fresnadillo takes the helm. "Days" was very well-received which explains why a sequel was greenlit. In the new installment, the killer virus infects people once again as London tries to repopulate and madness ensues. The built-in audience will help the R-rated "Weeks" right out of the gate.
Its predecessor bowed to $10.1M from only 1,260 theaters for a potent $7,986 average on its way to a solid $45.1M final. Through video and cable, it found an even larger fan base and many will give "Weeks" a try. However working against it is of course competition from "Spider-Man 3" which has a hold on fans of comics and sci-fi. Plus 2007 has seen 1,001 horror films flood theaters causing recent fright fatigue. Casual fans of scary movies may pass on "Weeks" if they’re trying to stay away from blood and gore. Fox’s marketing has been clever and effective and the target audience is excited. Plus reviews have been very positive which will help a bit too since most horror films nowadays are either not screened for critics in advance or earn poor marks. Attacking over 2,000 theaters, "28 Weeks Later" might scare up around $13M this weekend.
"28 Weeks Later"
For those looking to avoid zombies and super heroes in their weekend entertainment, Universal offers the dramedy "Georgia Rule" starring Jane Fonda, Lindsay Lohan, and Felicity Huffman. The R-rated story tells of a teenage girl dumped at her grandmother’s house for the summer by her alcoholic mother which leads to the uncovering of family secrets. Just in time for Mother’s Day weekend, "Georgia" will play almost exclusively to women as men will have to be dragged against their will. However, moviegoers from a broad age group should turn out since the cast boasts stars of different generations. The one troublespot could be the rating though. Lohan arguably still has pull with teenage girls who may be left out because of the MPAA’s tag. But the film’s two uses of the F word are essential to the story as are the adult themes so the R was unavoidable.
"Georgia Rule" should play to the same audience that the studio saw for previous chick flicks like Diane Keaton‘s "Because I Said So" ($13.1M opening, $5,195 average), Meryl Streep‘s "Prime" ($6.2M, $3,405), and Debra Messing‘s "The Wedding Date" ($11.1M, $6,566). Reaching the $23.1M debut of Fonda’s last film "Monster-in-Law" is not likely however since it won’t crossover into other demographic groups like the J. Lo pic did. The weekend’s new releases will not provide too much competition which means that the universal appeal of the webslinger sequel will be the main enemy. Bad reviews will eat into sales from mature adults, but many from the "Desperate Housewives" crowd will still make a trip out to this chick flick. "Georgia Rule" enters 2,523 theaters on Friday and could walk away with about $13M.
Larry the Cable Guy stars in the new military comedy "Delta Farce" which also hits theaters on Friday. The PG-13 film from Lionsgate finds three hapless men being mistaken for Army recruits who are sent to Iraq but mistakenly dropped in Mexico. Not since "Best Defense" has a film of this type been such an unwelcome entry in the marketplace. Young males are the only group likely to show interest and with Spidey in only his second swing, few will find this new comedy worth paying top dollar for. Plus starpower is lacking and none of the cast members are known for anchoring box office hits. Larry’s self-titled film last spring bowed to just $6.9M and this one will probably slump even lower. Opening in about 1,800 locations, "Delta Farce" will probably shoot up around $4M.
Zach Braff and Amanda Peet play a thirtysomething New York couple with a new baby in the new romantic comedy "The Ex" marketed by The Weinstein Company and distributed by MGM. In the PG-13 pic, the likable duo moves to Ohio where Braff’s character gets a job at her father’s ad agency where he butts heads with his wife’s former fling from high school. Jason Bateman, Charles Grodin, and Donal Logue co-star. "The Ex" will be targeting the date crowd and young women, but will have rough sailing. "Georgia Rule" will already be tapping into the female moviegoing base and Spidey is attracting his share of women and young adults too. The promotional push has not been too forceful either so the film may end up with just the die-hard "Scrubs" fans. Mixed reviews won’t help either. Also, Braff and Peet are not box office anchors who sell lots of tickets. Sure "Garden State" was an indie hit with $26.8M in 2004, but that was a word-of-mouth platform release that made its money over time and not a commercial Hollywood comedy. Debuting in 1,009 theaters, "The Ex" might gross roughly $3M this weekend.
None of these new films will come close to defeating the mighty "Spider-Man 3" which will enjoy its second comfortable box office win in a row. But a steep fall is likely. The first webslinger flick opened at the beginning of May five years ago and dropped by only 38% on the second weekend which was phenomenal. But like most sequels, especialy third-parters, "Spider-Man 3" attracted so much of its total audience upfront that rapid erosion is assured. The previous record-holder for the biggest opening weekend, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest," fell by 54% in its second adventure last July while its summer counterpart "X-Men: The Last Stand" tumbled by a troubling 67% in its sophomore frame. Of course that was coming off of a Memorial Day holiday opening so the decline was larger than normal.
"Spider-Man 3" has already been taking a hit during the week dropping to $10.3M on Monday and $8M on Tuesday. Those numbers come close to what "The Matrix Reloaded" took in on the same days after its colossal opening weekend in mid-May 2003. That sci-fi pic crashed 60% in its second weekend despite its sophomore frame being helped by a holiday. Luckily for the Sandman flick the competition this weekend will not be too menacing. "Spider-Man 3" could still fall by more than 55% to about $65M this weekend which would boost the domestic haul to a mammoth $247M in only ten days.
LAST YEAR: Tom Cruise topped the charts with "Mission Impossible: III" which dropped 48% in its second weekend to $25M. Opening in second place was the pricey disaster film "Poseidon" which debuted to $22.2M for Warner Bros. on its way to a disappointing $60.7M domestically. Worldwide, the Kurt Russell starrer grossed $182M. Robin Williams placed third with "RV" which eased by less than 10% to $10M in its third weekend. Lindsay Lohan stumbled into fourth with her new comedy "Just My Luck" which opened to a weak $5.7M on its way to $17.3M for Fox. Rounding out the top five was the horror flick "An American Haunting" with $3.6M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
This week at the movies we have zombies ("28 Weeks Later," starring Robert Carlyle), family conflict ("Georgia Rule," with Lindsay Lohan and Jane Fonda), office hijinks ("The Ex," starring Zach Braff and Amanda Peet), and military mishaps ("Delta Farce," starring Larry the Cable Guy). What do the critics have to say?
Taking place six months after the original, "28 Weeks Later" opens with American troops cleaning up England, positive all the zombies are dead and the rage virus is no more. Or is it…?! Though it lacks the humanism that made "28 Days Later" a classic, the scribes are giving high marks for "28 Weeks"’ fantastic atmosphere and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s punchy direction. At 69 percent Tomatometer (and a surprising 83 percent from the Cream of the Crop), horror buffs may want to make "Weeks" their weekend destination.
Art imitates life once again: Lindsay Lohan stars in "Georgia Rule" as a rebellious teen heading towards trouble. But rehab and paparazzi are replaced with bucolic farmlands and Jane Fonda, who plays the tough grandmother who takes Lohan under her wing for some attitude readjustment. Critics concede Lohan does a fine job, but none of the characters emerge beyond stereotypes and the direction is pedestrian. With its uninviting 20 percent Tomatometer, stay out of "Georgia."
Zach Braff stars in "The Ex" as a slacker relocating from New York to Ohio for a new job who’s then at the mercy of a sadistic boss (Jason Bateman) — who happens to be one of his wife’s old flames (Amanda Peet). The critics argue that the film is unbalanced, with not enough laughs to compensate for the dark elements. And Braff and his co-stars come off as either unsympathetic or plain unpleasant. At 24 percent Tomatometer, "Ex" does not mark the spot.
With no press screenings, critics were denied the graceful presence of Larry the Cable Guy and his new film, "Delta Farce." Mr. Cable Guy plays a military recruit who, with two other bumbling soldiers, is mistakenly cast off in Mexico en route to Fallujah, Iraq. Git-r-done and guess That Tomatometer.
Larry the Cable Guy, with hat on fire.
Also opening in limited release: "Brand Upon the Brain!," a bizarre autobiographical horror movie from Guy Maddin, is at 92 percent; "I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone," a neorealistic drama from Malaysia, is at 91 percent; "Day Night Day Night," "ShowBusiness: The Road to Broadway," a chronicle of the 2003-2004 Broadway season, is at 86 percent; a minimalist film about suicide bombers, is at 71 percent; "The Hip Hop Project," a documentary about a teens using hip-hop for social progress, is at 64 percent; "Allegro," an ambitious Danish sci-fi flick, is at 62 percent; "Provoked," the recent true story of a woman’s fight for civil rights, is at 50 percent, "The Salon," the oft-delayed comedy from "Barbershop" creator Mark Brown, is at 20 percent.
In this week’s wrap-up of news that ended up on the editing room floor, Adam Sandler and Kevin James wish they knew how to quit each other, a new movie crossbreeds a 1980s classic with Pauly Shore, and there has been a Leonardo DiCaprio sighting.
Adam Sandler and Kevin James will join the attack on the institution of marriage, in "I now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry." The film will be directed by Dennis Dugan ("Happy Gilmore") and written by Alexander Payne and James Taylor (the authors of "Sideways"). James and Sandler star as two firefighters who pretend to be a gay couple in order to receive their fire department’s domestic partner benefits. Hilarity ensues.
D.J. Qualls, Keith David, and Danny Trejo will star in "Delta Farce" as three amigos that are in the army now. The trio is mistakenly dropped in Mexico instead of Iraq, and they wind up defending a village from bandits. C.B. Harding ("The Blue Collar Comedy Tour") is slated to direct.
In breaking news, Leonardo DiCaprio was photographed! That’s right, dashing Leo has been (gasp!) filming "The Blood Diamond," and (double gasp!) some sneaky and well-compensated photographer shot some photos of him in the act (of, uh, acting)!
In other news:
Several more actors join the ensemble cast of the Anthony Hopkins-directed indie "Slipstream" – John Turturro, Camryn Manheim, Jeffrey Tambor, S. Epatha Merkerson, Fionnula Flanagan, Christopher Lawford and Michael Clarke Duncan. The cast already includes Hopkins, Christian Slater, Stella Arroyave, Lisa Pepper, Kevin McCarthy, Gavin Grazer, Aaron Tucker and Lana Antonova.