Weekend Preview (4.9.10)


Date movies in April? Three of my projected top five films this week are romantic comedies or romances. The big one opening is Date Night with Steve Carell and Tina Fey, a surefire hit that no studios wanted to mess with, hence why nothing else (basically) is coming out this weekend.

In addition to that are holdovers Why Did I Get Married Too? from Tyler Perry and The Last Song, the latest Nicholas Sparks adaptation starring Miley Cyrus. All this and you have to wonder about studios’ plans for April. We’re going to be hit with an adult family comedy, another romcom and a family comedy too before we see May and the salvation of the summer blockbuster season. What gives? Perhaps love does bloom in spring.

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Date Night

Directed by Shawn Levy
Written by Josh Klausner
Starring: Steve Carell, Tina Fey

The Word: The two biggest middle-aged comedians (and the two saviors of NBC primetime television thanks to their hit shows), finally converge on the big screen … for Fox. The movie is about a couple who finally decides to get some alone time by going to a fancy restaurant. When they take someone’s reservation, a case of mistaken identity forces them to go on the run from some nasty criminals. Night at the Museum 2‘s Shawn Levy directs Shrek writer Josh Klausner’s script.

Rotten Tomatoes: 66%

My Thoughts: In watching this trailer, I was not as quick to dismiss Date Night as overdone stupid couples action comedy as some writers were, because of these two master ad-libbers. Top critics have confirmed my optimism. This is not Jennifer Anniston and Gerard Butler, people. This will actually be genuine back-and-forth humor from trained professional comedians. I don’t expect genius, but sound evidence to the careers of these impressive actors.

Recommendation: Worth admission, especially in the context of most romantic comedies this year or lately in general.


Letters to God

Directed by David Nixon and Patrick Doughtie
Written by Patrick Doughtie, Art D’Alessandro, Sandra Thrift, Cullen Douglas
Starring: Lisa Curtis, Christopher Schmidt, Tanner Maguire

The Word: Vivendi Entertainment usually sticks to straight-to-video distribution, but they think they’ve found something more than a Hallmark movie in Letters to God, a religious-themed tearjerker about a young boy with life-threatening cancer who writers letters to God and how it inspires his family — and his mailman.

Rotten Tomatoes: N/A

My Thoughts: There hasn’t been much good to be said of children dying of cancer in movies lately, especially with how Extraordinary Measures completely failed back in January and that had a real cast and a huge theater distribution. “Letters” comes out in just fewer than 900 theaters and no known names. If you’re looking for a littler inspiration, it could be worth it considering it was actually distributed for theaters, which means it has to be better than DVD material, right?

Recommendation: Worth dismissin’, but if that’s your thing, rent it later.

Box Office Predictions

The box office is set for a big clash this weekend. Last week’s titan, which didn’t fair well in the word-of-mouth category could be set for a big fall, but no romantic comedy has earned more than $30 M this year, which is where most would estimate “Clash” to fall. To be bold, or not to be bold? We haven’t had a romantic comedy of this kind of potential every in April.

I’m going to do it though. I suspect that positive buzz and the wide demographic appeal (and big release numbers) of its stars will give Date Night the slight edge over Clash of the Titans. I think it will earn about $35 million (a huge victory for romantic comedies) to $28 M for “Clash.”

Without any competition from minor films (Letters to God will not be a factor), things should pretty much just adjust for Date Night. I think that no family competition and great buzz should keep How To Drain Your Dragon in third with around $18 M. Why Did I Get Married Too? should come up with about $14 million. The Last Song should hold up for fifth with $8 million.

  1. Date Night
  2. Clash of the Titans
  3. How to Train Your Dragon
  4. Why Did I Get Married Too?
  5. The Last Song


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