Weekend Movie Preview (1.21.11)

Last weekend we watched “The Green Hornet” top the box office with ease. The task is not so simple for this week’s entries. One film was a postponed would-be Oscar contender and releases in just 650 theaters. The other’s best shot lies in the hands of spotlit actress Natalie Portman as it releases in between her Golden Globe win and pending Oscar nomination.

New This Week

No Strings Attached

Directed by Ivan Reitman
Written by Elizabeth Meriwether
Starring: Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher

The Word: Natalie Portman is possibly the most buzzed-about actress right at this moment, and the hopes for her R-rated sex-centered comedy are pinned on it. Kutcher and Portman play friends who finally sleep together and decide to be sex partners who are friends rather than lovers. A large supporting cast of friends (Mindy Kaling, Greta Gerwig, Jake M. Johnson, oh, and Ludacris) help them sort through it. Strangely, Ivan Reitman of “Ghostbusters” fame directs.

Rotten Tomatoes: 48% (mixed)

My Thoughts: Portman’s going to find a way to save this movie. She usually does. The red band trailer that I linked to during the preview (but was taken down by YouTube) also gave me renewed hope and I’m almost never hopeful for romantic comedies.

Recommendation: On one hand — Portman. On the other hand — Kutcher. Ugh. If you can’t wait for Valentine’s Day to get in the gooeyness, I think you might be pleased.

The Way Back

Directed by Peter Weir
Written by Keith R. Clarke and Peter Weir, Slavomir Rawicz (novel)
Starring: Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Colin Farrell, Saoirse Ronan, Mark Strong

The Word: Acclaimed director Peter Weir (“Master and Commander,” “Dead Poet’s Society,” “The Truman Show”) tells this true but exaggerated story of several Siberian work camp escapees and their 4,000-mile trip to freedom in India. An excellent group of vets and up-and-comers comprise the cast: Sturgess (“Across the Universe”), Saoirse Ronan (“The Lovely Bones”), Mark Strong (“Kick-Ass”), Colin Farrell and Ed Harris.

Rotten Tomatoes: 80% (great)

My Thoughts: One of the few things I don’t completely get about Hollywood is how films like this end up getting dumped in January. I suppose it wasn’t good enough to warrant a studio’s Oscar-promoting budget, hence why Newmarket Films (right, who?) is distributing. However, it looks like this is a solid film.

Recommendation: If you’re all caught up on potential Oscar nominees, then you can see search for this film and determine for yourself if it should’ve been able to compete.

Box Office Predictions

There are two main components to predicting this weekend’s box office: can the crazy buzz about Natalie Portman counter Ashton Kutcher and land that film in a top spot? And also, how well will the Oscar-bound movies perform again this week? So while we have only one significant new release, we have one heck of a jigsaw puzzle.

The “X” factor for “No Strings Attached” is its R rating. A similar R-rated film in “Love and Other Drugs” opened with $9.7 million and had a favorable Thanksgiving release this past year. Now we’re in January — not typical R-rated comedy territory. We’ve seen rom-coms with PG or PG-13s pull in $20 million in January, can this do it?

While I was initially very hesitant, my vote is yes. No Strings Attached should make $15-20 million (closer to 20) and the The Green Hornet estimates are for around $15 million. As a stand-alone release, it is drawing all the attention it needs to succeed in so far as passing “Hornet.”

The rest here is up for grabs as all these films track at about $7-10 million. I’m crossing my fingers that The Dilemma will hold off the Oscar movies with $8-9 million, which is right where I have The King’s Speech.

In fifth I have a battle between ballerinas and marshals/outlaws. I’m going to guess Black Swan will have another strong week with Natalie’s Globe win and it’s been tracking just ahead of “True Grit” all week.

1. No Strings Attached
2. The Green Hornet
3. The Dilemma
4. The King’s Speech
5. Black Swan


You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment