It’s certainly not resting this very busy weekend when the return of Mr. “Greed is Good” himself and a bunch of 3-D fantasy owls will battle for the #1 spot, with any number of other interesting things happening on the sidelines.
The smart money seems to be pretty positive that “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” will earn in the neighborhood of $20 million and so may end up winning the weekend. At least that’s what I’m reading via jolly Carl DiOrio and the more circumspect Ben Fritz.
The audience for the latest from Oliver Stone skews fairly older, not only because it’s a topical thriller from the bombastic but literate Stone, but because it’s a sequel to a hit movie that is — shockingly for some of us — old enough that 24 year-old co-star Shia LaBeouf was barely a toddler when it first came out. That may help with the film’s longevity since older audiences tend to take their time seeing a new movie. Also, a bit of extra publicity from Gekko-man Michael Douglas‘s well-publicized upbeat battle with cancer might add to awareness over the long term. The reviews, which also have a somewhat stronger effect on older viewers, are only meh-to-okay with somewhat better response from more blue-state-centric “top critics.”
“Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” is also doing better with the “cream of the crop” crowd than the critical hoi polloi, but interest from regular folks hasn’t been what the makers of this $50-60 million 3D animated production have been hoping for. The film is PG rated, but many feel it is excessively dark and violent for the kids. That may make it truer to the popular books it’s drawn from, and it’s certainly no surprise given that this is from Zack Snyder of “Watchmen” and “300.” Still, this will get at least some boost from the those 3D premium prices and is expected to make, I guess, between $15-20 million, though I personally find the character designs pretty unappealing and I wonder if others feel the same way.
The gurus are not optimistic when it comes to “You Again.” We fans of Kristen Bell are, it seems, once again being forced to wonder about this hugely skilled young actress’s bad luck, first with the early cancellation of the “Veronica Mars” television series, then somehow being saddled with the only uninteresting part in the otherwise first-rate “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” and then to a series of roundly drubbed releases like this one, which is something considering the film’s rather amazing supporting cast.
Oddly, this comedy reunites her with Andy Fickman, the director of what I guess must be her best movie role so far, as the singing and dancing and unbelievably naive female lead of “Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical.” However, our own Jason Zingale’s very negative review is very much line with the majority of critics and audiences aren’t expected to like this one all that much better, with low expectations that still might end up covering its modest studio budget of $20 million. Still, no wonder Ms. Bell seems truly desperate to get that long discussed “Veronica Mars” movie off the ground.
“The Virginity Hit,” which has been in limited release, is expanding into 700 theaters this weekend. The mockumentary horny teenager flick had generated high hopes at one point and has been sponsored by Will Ferrell and his comedy partner Adam McKay, but those hopes have been scaled back once more people got a look at the thing, it seems. David Medsker roundly disliked it, but his slam is a love-letter compared to my Rotten Tomatoes pull quote of the week from Dustin Putnam:
Crass and detestable, a combination of American Pie, The Blair Witch Project and crap.
That, however, is not all because this weekend sees several notable limited releases. The highly buzzed and very well reviewed suspense one-man show for Ryan Reynolds and enormous cinematic challenge for director Rodrigo Cortés, “Buried,” opens in 11 theaters this weekend. There’s also the hugely divisive cinephile-bait, “Enter the Void,” a druggy fantasia about life after death from the ever controversial Gasper Noé, the acclaimed documentary about the should-be hot topic of education, “Waiting for Superman,” and two movies which I actually saw and reviewed myself, the free-speech docu-drama “Howl” starring James Franco as poet Allen Ginsberg and Woody Allen’s latest all-star outing, “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger,” which I’m somewhat surprised to say I actually kind of recommend.