Weekend Preview (6.30.10)

The first live action blockbuster since “Iron Man 2” (which feels like ages ago) finally hit theaters today and made $30 million just at midnight showings. Another potential young adult hit also finds its way into theaters tomorrow in “The Last Airbender” directed by the ever-controversial M. Night Shyamalan.

With the exception of one film in July, this month will get live action summer movies back on track and it starts quickly. No one can be too certain how Shyamalan will do with an action fantasy based on a Nickelodeon cartoon, but “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” will provide all the boost that the box office so desperately needs.

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The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Wed.)

Directed by David Slade
Written by Melissa Rosenberg, Stephenie Meyer (novel)
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner

The Word: The all-powerful Twilight franchise’s third installment amps up both action and love triangle as Bella is forced to decide with which man her allegiances truly lie after a growing mass of vampires descends on Forks to wreak havoc.

Rotten Tomatoes: 50% (mixed)

My Thoughts: I always felt if David Slade couldn’t make this series better, no one could and the reviews thus far are decidedly more mixed than ever before, so perhaps this could be the one actually watchable film in this entire franchise. Being good is another thing, but I’ll take watchable when it comes to justifying the hundreds of millions this movie will make this summer.

Recommendation: Borderline Twilight fans with Twi-hard friends, if there’s ever been a movie in this series worth putting up with, it’s “Eclipse” with a 50% RT rating and just a two-hour run time.

The Last Airbender (Thu.)

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
Written by M. Night Shyamalan, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko (TV series)
Starring: Noah Ringer, Dev Patel, Nicola Peltz, Jackson Rathbone

The Word: M. Night Shyamalan tries a different genre entirely in adapting this Nickelodeon TV series that ran from 2005-2008. It focuses on Aang, who in a world based on the elements where Fire has attacked the others, is the only one who can bend all four and must save the world.

Rotten Tomatoes: 7% (something awful)

My Thoughts: Upon first guess, I figured the visual ability of the film would make it entertaining at the minimum and that the quality would land squarely on the shoulders of a young cast. Apparently, this was too much for them to handle.

Recommendation: I suppose you have to go if you’re a young fan, rent it later if you like fantasy, avoid it otherwise. I’ve read 3-D is not worth it as well.

Box Office Predictions

For the second week now we’re looking at the three-day forecast but with films coming out a day or two days early. Nothing, however, should stop The Twilight Saga: Eclipse from dominating the box office. Because of the die-hard fans all going at midnight and Wednesday or Thursday, I’m going to guess the weekend total will only be $100 million as opposed to the possible record-breaking total it might otherwise have made.

The other newcomer is tougher to predict. It’s hard to say how extensive the built-in fan base for this movie is, which will ultimately determine how it does. A good comparison film is a movie that came out on DVD this week, “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief,” which earned about $30 million its first week. Using that as a measure, I’m going to say Toy Story 3 will hold up for second with $30-32 million. The Last Airbender will lose its opening day total from Thursday so I expect $25-30 million for the three-day total.

Much like last week, four and five should be easy to predict. Grown Ups should earn about $20 million and Knight and Day about $10 million. With “Airbender” cutting into “The Karate Kid’s” audience, I don’t expect it to leapfrog Cruise and Diaz in one of few date movie options, no matter how poorly they underperformed and might continue to.

  1. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
  2. Toy Story 3
  3. The Last Airbender
  4. Grown Ups
  5. Knight and Day


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