Weekend Preview (10.8.10)

We’re getting into a more premature than usual October lull. You can tell when you have so many random films thrown into one weekend, none of which seem like real winners (unless you count Secretariat in the literal sense). We have our first female-charged sports underdog film since “The Blind Side” took the box office by storm and another Katherine Heigl romantic comedy/drama.

The horror offerings (always coming up and about this time of year) include Wes Craven’s “My Soul to Take” and Ryan Reynolds in the indie thriller “Buried,” which will get fewer than 100 theaters this weekend. Last, there’s more from Zach Galifianakis in the indie comedy “It’s Kind of a Funny Story”

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Life As We Know It

Directed by Greg Berlanti
Written by Ian Deitchman, Kristen Rusk Robinson
Starring: Katherine Heigl, Josh Duhamel, Josh Lucas

The Word: Katherine Heigl teams up with another male lead, “Transformers” star Josh Duhamel in this story about two people who dislike each other whose mutual friends die in a car accident and leave them in custody of their baby daughter. Greg Berlanti who executive produces “Brothers and Sisters” and wrote “The Green Lantern” directs.

Rotten Tomatoes: 26% (very bad)

My Thoughts: I think the real trouble with this film is that it’s predictable and rides the fence between serious drama and romantic comedy. It’s a bit odd when you have a seen about a tragic death in a movie with a scene of Heigl and Duhamel’s pathetic first date.

Recommendation: Romantic comedies have been scarce this season, but I find no compelling reason. (This is not the rhyming edition of Weekend Preview, I promise).


Directed by Randall Wallace
Written by Mike Rich, William Nack (book)
Starring: Diane Lane, John Malkovich, James Cromwell

The Word: Disney waited a good many years (smartly so) after “Seabiscuit” was all the rage in 2003. This horse-racing story, however, deals with Triple Crown winner Secretariat from the ’70s and the woman owner who helped him defy the odds for them both.

Rotten Tomatoes: 61% (good)

My Thoughts: I am pleasantly surprised to see majority positive reviews on RT. What that should tell you is that “Secretariat” manages to get the typical underdog sports story formula right, but that’s it.

Recommendation: An uplifting sports story often falls in the “formulaic but effective” category. I suppose this would not be money wasted, but not necessary well-spent.

My Soul To Take

Written and Directed by Wes Crave
Starring: Max Thieriot, Denzel Whitaker, Zena Grey

The Word: Wes Craven is an exciting name for horror fans. The “A Nightmare on Elm Street” creator and “Scream” director brings us a film about a killer who stalks seven kids born the day he supposedly died (think reincarnation).

Rotten Tomatoes: N/A

My Thoughts: What’s this film doing in 3D? Anyway, not being a huge horror fan, I can separate myself from the Wes Craven name and see this just doesn’t look very good or original, just very Craven.

Recommendation: Jam-packed with horror films this October is, so don’t feel pressured to see any particular one.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story

Written and Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
Starring: Keir Gilchrist, Emma Roberts, Zach Galifianakis

The Word: From the acclaimed duo who brought us “Sugar” and “Half Nelson” comes a comedy set in the psychiatric ward of a hospital. A teen (Gilchrist) dealing with depression finds a number of life-changing relationships await him.

Rotten Tomatoes: 63% (good)

My Thoughts: Looks like a pretty typical charming indie that ought to win over audience sympathy quickly. Galifianakis looks hysterical but reserved, which will be refreshing. Boden and Fleck have yet to churn out any inferior products in their brief but strong partnership.

Recommendation: Although it could be waited on, I think this ought to be a solid film.

Box Office Predictions

Ok, well last week will be the last time I overestimate a horror film that isn’t a proven commodity. “Let Me In” tanked and maybe I should’ve seen it coming. Regardless, this week isn’t exactly a cakewalk either considering no newcomer is super hyped-up or anything.

Fittingly, I think Secretariat will win by a nose. Disney tends to do well with its sports dramas and early reviews, PG ratings and the success of “The Blind Side” will help. I think it edges The Social Network by as few as a million. Somewhere between $15-18 million sounds right and “Network” should hit exactly $15 million or so. Any more from that film would be an impressive feat for a second week.

In third and fourth I’m — with reservation — slating the other newcomers. Katherine Heigl’s worst film still brought in $15 million and while I think she will not suddenly reverse the downward trend, Life As We Know It will not be a total failure. $10-$15 million sounds fair and modest. Then there’s Wes Craven, who has his following. I’m thinking maybe $8-10 million for My Soul to Take, which would just place it above the rest of the returners.

As for the fifth-place finisher, I underestimated Legend of the Guardians last week, which despite slow weekday sales, spiked over the weekend due to the nature of its demographic. I think it does well enough to hold off “The Town” by slimmest of margins.

  1. Secretariat
  2. The Social Network
  3. Life As We Know It
  4. My Soul to Take
  5. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole


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