Weekend Preview (9.24.10)

After last week’s foursome boosted the box office by a third, another quad enters the fold, once again playing to a diverse crowd. The biggest animated film of the early portion of fall comes out and it’s directed by Zack Snyder. Then there’s a sequel 23 years in the making, a multi-generational all-girls affair and a low-budget teen comedy

Now Playing

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

Directed by Zack Snyder
Written by Josh Orloff and Emil Stern, Kathryn Lasky (novels)
Starring: (voices) Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, Geoffrey Rush, Helen Mirren

The Word: Snyder is known for his visual style and he’s teamed up with the Oscar-winning studio behind flightless bird adventure film, “Happy Feet.”  About a young owl who is captured and his friends seeking out legendary warrior owls to help defeat the evil enslaving him, this is needless to say non-traditional animated film fare in that if focuses on adventure/hero’s journey more than comedy.

Rotten Tomatoes: 59% (mixed)

My Thoughts: Presented in three dimensions, the animation for “Guardians” looks stunning and maybe worthy of the extra ticket price, but rarely anything is these days, so maybe not.

Recommendation: There’s a huge gap in family films between now and DreamWorks’ “Megamind” on Nov. 5, so take your time, but go if you have young owlets.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Directed by Oliver Stone
Written by Alan Loeb and Stephen Schiff, Oliver Stone and Stanley Weiser (characters)
Starring: Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan, Josh Brolin

The Word: Whoever honestly thought we’d see Gordon Gekko again, let alone 23 years later? Well, he’s out of jail (I love the “one mobile phone …” part of the trailer) and his daughter (Mulligan) is engaged to an ambitious youngster (LaBeouf) who’s about to get stuck in Gekko’s world of money madness.

Rotten Tomatoes: 52% (mixed)

My Thoughts: The thing I like here is that Stone waited for the economy to be incredibly relevant again. That, and he got some awesome talents in Brolin, LaBeouf and Mulligan. At the same time, I didn’t love the original that much that I need to go see this film and I imagine many others will feel the same way. “Wall Street” has its built-in audience, even a quarter of a century later.

Recommendation: “Wall Street” fans should go, but I can’t provide any good reason to go — given a mixed RT score — other than the talent in the cast, at least for those of you who feel on the “outside” of the “Wall Street” thing.

You Again

Directed by Andy Fickman
Written by Moe Jelline
Starring: Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, Betty White, Odette Yustman

The Word: Director Andy Fickman has had some success with family comedy (“The Gameplan”) and not-so-family comedy (“Reefer Madness”). Now he’s armed with a multi-generational cast that screams mommy-daughter movie, no matter how old you are. Kristen Bell stars as a girl who finds out her brother’s engaged to the girl that tormented her in high school. And oh yes, turns Bell’s mom (Curtis) was tormented by her new in-law (Weaver) in high school. Meanwhile, Betty White gets to have all the fun like usual.

Rotten Tomatoes: 29% (very bad)

My Thoughts: I think there’s a lot here to make “You Again” a successful “girl’s night out” comedy. The only thing is that it’s being released in September, which is unusual for the genre. It certainly doesn’t appeal to me, but Disney did a killer job casting key generational actresses.

Recommendation: Romantic comedies are slim pickings this fall with the exception of one movie in October. If that’s your genre, I can’t stop you.

The Virginity Hit

Written and Directed by Huck Botko and Andrew Gurland
Starring: Matt Bennett, Zack Pearlman, Jacob Davich, Nicole Weaver

The Word: Adam McKay and Will Ferrell present a comedy from one of the writers of “The Last Exorcism.” Huh? Well, both this film and that one use a handheld style with the look and feel of low budget. “The Virginity Hit” looks like the “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” meets “The Real World” meets high school. A group of friends attempt to document their friend losing his virginity to his girlfriend, who finds out. Not good.

Rotten Tomatoes: 32% (bad)

My Thoughts: Certainly different, but kind of troubling at the same time. Who thinks it’s a good idea to record their losing their virginity? This is not the type of thing high school kids need to see, as losing one’s virginity really shouldn’t be put on this kind of a pedestal, but I digress — not my place to say if it’s right, just if it’s funny, which I’m not sure about. The fact that it looks “real” might also convince people to see it, since that’s how reality TV works.

Recommendation: If this film happens to be in a theater by you, see “Easy A” instead. This movie will probably be on Netflix instant play in six weeks.

Box Office Predictions

If you look back at autumns past, some kind of family or animated film always dominates for a week if not longer. Though not by a landslide in comparison to other years, it’s safe to say Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole is that film. “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs” did it last year for a number of weeks in September. The year before was “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” in early October. You can’t really argue with “Owls” and I think it should do $25-30 million in ticket sales.

In second, I think you have to slate Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Dramas of this kind tend not to do a whole lot of business, but I think the nostalgia and some young talent make the film an appealing option, maybe good for $15-20 million, my thought being closer to the top end.

Third place is what I expect to be most heated. I’m picking last week’s champ The Town to hold up a lot, which suggests it should make about $15-16 million. I think You Again, given the time of year for these types of films, ought to finish close to it, maybe $12-15 million. With the talent and broad female appeal, it could be closer to $20 million, but I’m going to let the season and recent rom-com receipts win out. “The Virginity Hit” has a small release, so by default (and yes, good word of mouth), that leaves Easy A to finish fifth with$9-10 million.

  1. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole
  2. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
  3. The Town
  4. You Again
  5. Easy A

1 Comment

  1. Dad says:

    Just saw the new wall street film. Film is predictable and is widely based on our economic collapse of a couple of years back. Probably only interesting if you are into the market, money and wall street doings. I found it somewhat entertaining to relive what takes place everyday in our financial markets. I personally learned nothing new from this film.

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