Box office preview: Divide and conquer

That’s the studio strategy this week as three major releases with large and divergent natural constituencies hit movie theaters. All three movies are expected to do rather well by the folks whose job it is to guess these things, as evidenced by the small amount of daylight between the predictions showcased this week by the L.A. TimesBen Fritz and THR‘s ever jolly Carl DiOrio.

I don’t think there’s any reason at all to doubt that the family audience, which hasn’t had a new 3D animated comedy in a while to gawk at, will check out “Megamind.” Featuring the voices of Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Brad Pitt, and Jonah Hill, the film is the second of these comedies this year to focus on a putative villain after “Despicable Me.” This one takes a more superpowered spin with a pretty obvious spoof on the Superman mythos. Reviews are decent but muted, but the take is expected to be a very solid $50 million or so, which is not so muted.

Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Gallifianaki have a The reviews are substantially less positive for “Due Date,” which is to youngish men what “Megamind” is to families. I remember being unimpressed for the trailer for the new comedy from Todd Phillips starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Zach Gallifianakis, but apparently the sheer star power and the tried and true comic premise of a mismatched twosome on a road trip seems to be enough here for the R-rated comedy to get something in the $30-35 million neighborhood. Personally, however, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it under-perform. Star power just isn’t what it used to be these days and this is clearly not a second coming of Phillips’ “The Hangover.”

With a cast that includes Thandie Newton, Phylicia Rashad, Janet Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg and the Oprah herself, “For Colored Girls” is pretty clearly for African-American women as far as studio marketers are concerned. Based on the acclaimed  poetry-based play of the 1970s by Ntozake Shange (full title: For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf), the movie is not getting much acclaim from critics, who once again are none too fond of Perry’s penchant for melodrama, though many do seem to be given Perry credit for at least trying something different this time around. On the one hand, Tyler Perry’s fans are clearly unconcerned about critics, on the other, this is a very different kind of material than Perry’s usual. An amount of $20 million is being bandied about. In any case, one has to wonder what feminist author Shange makes of this excerpt from Carl DiOrio’s piece:

“In addition to Tyler’s core audience, we’re going after fans who are familiar with the play,” Lionsgate distribution topper David Spitz said. “We feel this could be the Sex and the City for African-American women.”

With Oscar season upon us, a number of notable films are coming up in limited release, including the Valerie Plame spy scandal film “Fair Game,” the fainting-inducing mountain climbing ordeal picture, “127 Hours,” and the Elliot Spitzer ordeal documentary, “Client Nine.” Notable for being both good and probably not having a chance in hell at an Oscar, however, is “Red Hill” which I’m not mentioning here not just because we were granted interviews with the director and star, though that never hurts, I admit shamefacedly.

Ryan Kwanten and Steve Bisley in

  

You can follow us on Twitter @moviebuffs and on Facebook as well.

Related Posts

Movie news and commentary…lots of it: “The Hobbit” is cast but <sigh> Mel Gibson exists and must be dealt with, somehow (updated)

Tonight’s box office preview has been moved to tomorrow because of a couple of a films news items that just can’t quite wait. The first can be dispensed with in a second. Casting has been announced on “The Hobbit,” short, snub-nosed and talented Martin Freeman will face his inevitable hobbity destiny as Bilbo Baggins, as Peter Jackson again casts a bunch of people I’ve mostly never heard of in smaller roles who’ll probably all be great.

And then there’s this news of Mel Gibson being let go from “The Hangover 2 just a day after it was announced he’d been hired to play a supporting role. Oy.

US-CINEMA-EDGE OF DARKNESS

Read the rest of this entry »

  

Related Posts

So I guess Jamie Foxx is playing the strong and silent type.

Another day, another trailer.

Via THR, this one is from Warner Brothers and Todd Phillips, who directed “The Hangover,” and stars Robert Downey, Jr. and Zach Galifianakis and is called “Due Date.” Don’t get your hopes too high.

So, am I missing something was that all just a big ball of not-humorous? Obviously, “Due Date” is going for a bit of pathos along with the road trip a la “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” but, if you’re trying to be funny, it’s awfully important that people laugh. I didn’t even smile. The movie could still be good — one of the flattest comedy trailers I ever saw was for the actually really funny 1996 comedy “The Impostors” with Stanley Tucci, who also directed, and Oliver Platt. Of course, that flick didn’t do very well. A better trailer wouldn’t have hurt.

  

Related Posts

What Else Ya Got? “The Hangover”

One of the biggest box office hits of the year, “The Hangover” finally comes to Blu-ray and DVD just in time for the holidays boasting a theatrical and unrated cut of the film (for once, you don’t have to choose between the two) and a slew of extras that are fun to watch once, but aren’t necessarily as good as you would expect.

Picture-in-Picture Commentary

The highlight of most Blu-ray releases is typically the audio commentary, and though this track featuring director Todd Phillips and co-stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis doesn’t start out strong, it gets better over time as they discuss everything from the music to Helms’ fake tooth to the different babies used during production. The picture-in-picture video doesn’t exactly, though, help because everyone involved looks positively bored (or just trying to enjoy the movie, you decide), so it can hardly be viewed as an incentive for Blu-ray owners.

Map of Destruction

This interactive feature lets you retrace the guys’ crazy night by visiting all of the locations they hit up along the way. From Caesar’s and the Riviera to Mike Tyson’s house, every stop includes interviews with the cast and footage of on-set antics. Tyson himself even gets a chance to shine with a great comeback on director Phillips.

The Madness of Ken Jeong

I’m not exactly sure why we needed eight minutes of Ken Jeong improvising, but this series of deleted scenes/alternate takes shows how he created the character of Mr. Chow through some experimenting.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

Related Posts