Weekend Preview (5.14.10)


The Merrie men have come to the month of May. Well, kind of, as this “Robin Hood” doesn’t really take place in the bandit days of Hood, but I’m too big a fan of alliteration. Anyway, it’ll be tough for Sir Robin going against the man of metal, but he should still fare pretty well, at least over in Europe where the story is a bit more beloved and “Iron Man 2” is heading into its third weekend already.

This weekend introduces a little early summer love into the newborn movie season with Summit Entertainment’s “Letters to Juliet” and “Just Wright,” both of which wanted to give at least a couple weeks cushion from “Sex and the City 2.”

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Robin Hood

Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by Brian Helgeland, Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris
Starring: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Mark Strong

The Word: Scott and Crowe re-team for their first historical epic since “Gladiator.” That is if you can call Robin Hood’s legend and the myriad of factual inaccuracies that will likely plague this film “historical.” With a script from Brian Helgeland, expect ideology and themes to spray all over this one to make up for the lack of blood caused by a PG-13 rating.

Rotten Tomatoes: 46% (not good)

My Thoughts: I’m as disappointed as anyone that this isn’t a hard R, but Scott has never made a film that wasn’t at least good. I expect this to lean a bit more toward “Kingdom of Heaven” than “Gladiator” in terms being more decent as opposed to great, but those who expect the action end to deliver rather than the plot and intellectuality will likely be in for more of an enjoyable experience.

Recommendation: Worth admission; an epic like this just doesn’t carry any weight on video.


Letters to Juliet

Directed by Gary Winick
Written by Jose Rivera, Tim Sullivan
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Egan

The Word: The first taste of summer romance comes courtesy of starlet Amanda Seyfried in a trans-generational love story a la “The Notebook,” only without the Nicholas Sparks name attached. In Verona, Italy, women leave letters in a wall asking Juliet for love advice. When Seyfried’s character responds to an old letter, it reignites the search for an old woman’s romance.

Rotten Tomatoes: 38% (bad)

My Thoughts: This should do the trick for ladies looking for a love story to whet their summer romance appetite. The trailer simply oozes charm and I give points because of Seyfried. With “Motorcycle Diaries” scribe Jose Rivera and “13 Going on 30’s” Gary Winick, at least there is experienced talent behind the camera too.

Recommendation: Worth renting later. Come September if you want a good chick flick, this would make for one of your better options.


Just Wright

Directed by Sanaa Hamri
Written by Michael Elliot
Starring: Queen Latifah, Common, Paula Patton

The Word: Queen Latifah and Common hook up in this romantic comedy about a star basketball player who blows out his knee and the physical therapist that helps him return to the game (and gets repaid in the form of some sugar). Problem is, “Precious based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” beauty Paula Patton is dating this basketball player and she happens to be best friends with the Queen.

Rotten Tomatoes: 41% ( not good)

My Thoughts: “Just Wright” looks like a unique romantic comedy concept with the sports angle. That said, Fox Searchlight clearly wants to hook the male audience with basketball and cameos from guys like star Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard. The story appears a bit soap opera-ish, but I’ve sat through romantic comedy trailers five times more painful than this one. Plus, Paula Patton is gorgeous.

Recommendation: Worth renting later at the very most.

Box Office Predictions

It would take an incredible feat for any of these new films to beat Iron Man 2 coming off of a $120 million-plus weekend. Based on reviews and how quickly most of these huge first-weekend grossers drop-off in their second week, I’m going to go with $65 million for Tony Stark’s second big weekend.

With all the runner-ups last week taking in fewer than $10 million, it should be easy for virtually every newcomer to sneak in here beneath our No. 1. Robin Hood should have the easiest time generating good cash with a timeless character, Ridley Scott’s track record and a PG-13 rating. I think it could reach about $25 million. Letters to Juliet should easily be third after what Amanda Seyfried did with “Dear John” in February and a lack of appealing romance movies in theaters lately. I’ll say $18-20 million.

There’s no doubt when you compare these next two films as to which is better, but Just Wright needs so little to beat How to Train Your Dragon that I just can’t see it making less than the ‘ole vet. No family films are offering competition this week, but I think the rom com can manage $5-6 million and beat it out (as well as “Nightmare on Elm Street,” but it will be close

  1. Iron Man 2
  2. Robin Hood
  3. Letters to Juliet
  4. Just Wright
  5. How to Train Your Dragon


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