Weekend Movie Preview (2.24.12)

After a hot start to 2012, the box office appears to have cooled off again in anticipation of what I’m guessing will be a very eventful March. This weekend’s options include a Navy SEAL film touting itself as the most realistic war movie ever, Tyler Perry’s latest drama, a thriller starring Amanda Seyfried and a comedy from the lovable duo of Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston.

Now in Theaters

Act of Valor

Directed by Mike McCoy, Scott Waugh
Written by Kurt Johnstad
Starring: Several active-duty U.S. Navy SEALs

Summary: A film based closely on the dangerous real-life missions of Navy SEALs as portrayed by actual Navy SEALs. They must recover a captured CIA agent.

The Word: A film like this is unprecedented—in a sense. We’ve seen military-inspired films and propaganda, but this sounds like a bunch of Navy SEALs simply thought that their lives were pretty badass and what they do in real life would make a great movie. Turns out this was a recruitment video that the producers thought would make for an awesome full-length feature.

Rotten Tomatoes: 21% (bad)

My Thoughts: I would have to imagine a film like this is going to be all or nothing. Either this will be the most realistic and fascinating film ever, or there will be too much of an attempt to apply a Hollywood sheen to real-life events that it will end up making a mockery of the SEALs. Or it could just be boring. Looks like more negative from early reviews.



Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds

Written and Directed by Tyler Perry
Starring: Tyler Perry, Gabrielle Union, Thandie Newton, Phylicia Rashad

Summary: A wealthy businessman (Perry) lives a good albeit predictable existence, but his encounter with a struggling single mother (Newton) leads him to question what he wants out of life.

The Word: Perry continues to be a powerhouse at writing, directing and producing his own films. He takes center stage in “Good Deeds” without the fat suit in his first offering of 2012. Newton adds another recognizable element that might help the filmmaker appeal to a wider audience.

Rotten Tomatoes: N/A

My Thoughts: Perry’s films offer few surprises. Somehow he manages to tell the same family-driven story with the same core values a hundred different ways, some humorous and some more dramatic. Although “Good Deeds” might draw interest from outside of the Black community, at the same time it might be less appealing to the fan base that loves the “Madea” films and Perry’s sitcoms.



Directed by Heitor Dhalia
Written by Allison Burnett
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Jennifer Carpenter, Daniel Sunjata, Wes Bentley

Summary: When a young woman’s (Seyfried) sister goes missing, she believes it’s the same man who kidnapped her along with many others (who ended up dead), only the police never found a shred of proof. She then goes armed vigilante to find her sister, whether the police will help her or not.

The Word: Seyfried could use some help. We know she has talent, but her films have flopped lately and gotten mediocre to bad reviews, from “Chloe” to “In Time” to “Red Riding Hood.” This film has a lot of thriller conventions, especially the “is she telling the truth or is she crazy?” motif.

Rotten Tomatoes: N/A

My Thoughts:  I’m all for revenge flicks, but I’m not feeling this one. Seyfried doesn’t look like a convincing desperate angry chick. I’m glad she’s moved on from romance films for the most part, but she can’t seem to find her place as a leading lady. Anyway, I’m at least glad to see “Dexter” star Jennifer Carpenter getting some big-screen action.




Directed by David Wain
Written by David Wain, Ken Marino
Starring: Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston, Malin Ackerman, Ray Liotta

Summary: A married couple is forced to leave New York after the husband (Rudd) loses his job. After an unbearable stop with family in Georgia, they head to a bed and breakfast that happens to be a hippie commune.

The Word: It’s been quite some time since “The Object of My Affection” —  am I right Rudd and Aniston fans? “Wanderlust” was pushed back from last October, but “Role Models” and “Wet Hot American Summer” director David Wain should be enough to make this comedy worth a look. Wain teamed up with his “Party Down” and “Children’s Hospital” star Ken Marino to work on the script as well.

Rotten Tomatoes: 64% (good)

My Thoughts:  I love Rudd (look for a feature soon), and he should counterbalance Aniston, who despite a great turn in “Horrible Bosses” seems to be back to the usual material. Other than recycled hallucinogenic drug sequence, the film shows promise, plus I have to give Wain the benefit of the doubt here due to his previous films’ track records. Marino is also an under-appreciated comedian.



Box Office Predictions

Fights for the number one spot can be tough to call, but when it’s Tyler Perry vs. real Navy SEALs, always go with Tyler Perry. Good Deeds might not be a Perry comedy which would guarantee $20-plus million, but his films rarely dip below that. $17-20 million seems likely. Act of Valor could surprise thanks to its marketing blitz, but poor reviews and no star quality will hurt this more than people think. The range would be $15-20 million, but I’m guessing the lower end. If it blows “Good Deeds” out of the water, thank the Middle-America crowd for getting out to theaters given some sense of duty to entertain themselves patriotically.

Holdovers seem likely to round out the Top 10. With no new family competition Journey 2: The Mysterious Island will make a push to edge out Safe House. I’m nervous about saying it will, but either way it’ll be close. No reason to believe the film won’t have another excellent weekend. The Vow will finish close behind.

“Wanderlust” should come in with $10-12 million or maybe even less considering its lack”lust”er marketing, while “Gone” should tank with $6-8 million.


1. Good Deeds
2. Act of Valor
3. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
4.  Safe House
5. The Vow


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