The Reject ReportSome aliens are stupid. Other aliens are crazy. Some aliens are just in love, but we usually don’t see these aliens between May and August. No one wants to see alien love in their Summer blockbusters. They want explosions and people shooting those aliens with well-placed bullets.

Which brings us to this weekend, where two films about aliens getting blasted by pesky humans find release.

Of course, one is having a much larger opening than the other, and neither of them feature Smurfs. That’s right. I said Smurfs. We’ll talk about them here, too. Enjoy this week’s Reject Report, and if you want loving aliens, come back in November.

BIG HITTERS

Jon Favreau is a strange factor when dealing with Summer blockbusters. Sure, he brought Iron Man and Iron Man 2 to life, and those films had massive openings, $98.6m and $128.1m respectively. But Favreau wasn’t the selling point on either of those. Neither is he the selling point on Cowboys & Aliens. The same can be said for Daniel Craig or Harrison Ford, despite the last part of that statement bringing a tear to our Indiana Jones-loving eyes. Instead, Cowboys & Aliens is being sold on its title. It’s got Cowboys. It’s got Aliens. Those two beings are going to fight in Summer blockbuster fashion, and audiences will be out in droves to see that very thing.

Or will they? The title and likewise the premise are pretty divisive among mainstream casual moviegoers. Snickers come up when the title is revealed. Instead, the film’s financial success will be mainly hinging on the fans of either genre and the hopes that the combination fits like peanut butter and jelly. But the apprehension in audiences will keep Cowboys & Aliens from having a stellar opening. A similar sci-fi flick earlier this Summer, Super 8, debuted with $35.4m. While Cowboys & Aliens might do better – the Olivia Wilde crowd might beat a mean drum – it’s not going to have a $50m+ opening that almost seems a requirement here in these Summer months. Expect it to hit in the mid $40ms, and Universal can be thankful for that. That would still give Cowboys & Aliens the biggest opening for a Western in history. Put that in your peace pipe, Rango.

And for all you people who don’t think Harrison Ford has a sense of humor, here he is telling a joke on Letterman. It’s funny. I laughed.

Crazy, Stupid, Love provides the first bit of counter-programming to the aliens fighting the cowboys. Steve Carell, who has a solid string of Summer releases, stars, but it doesn’t seem likely this romantic comedy will reach the same levels as Get Smart, Despicable Me, or even Dinner for Schmucks. Granted, those three films were being sold to completely different audiences than Crazy, Stupid, Love, maybe even a wider audience in most cases. Expect the film to come in under $20m, but still not a bad showing for a film co-starring Ryan Gosling. That guy is box office poison. Not really. I’m just jealous and bitter.

Smurfs. $22.6m. As you were.

FAMILIARITIES

The Summer is winding down, and it’s looking clearer and clearer who the box office kings are going to be. We’ve pretty much already established Ken Jeong and Tyrese Gibson are the aces in the hole, but Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is creeping up. It’ll be passing by $300m domestic this weekend, $900m worldwide. Transformers: Dark of the Moon is still over $40m ahead of it to top the year, and it will still bring in another $5-7m this weekend. It’s going to be a close race, but when all is said and done, Deathly Hallows will probably just inch by.

Still, no matter which of the two comes out on top, they’ll each be bringing in over $1b in worldwide gross. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is already there, and 2011 will end up being the first year at least three films achieve that status. So take the word “slump,” crumple it up, set it on fire, and douse it with acid. Overkill, I know, but absolutely worth it.

LITTLE OPENERS

Here we have the other movie hitting this weekend featuring attacking aliens. What are they attacking, you might ask? Their attacking a block. Attack the Block is the first feature from Joe Cornish, and it’s already garnered some serious positive buzz. In fact, many have already stamped it on their Top 10 of the year. Our very own Brian Salisbury reviewed the film at SXSW and called the film “incredible” and claimed that it’s “rich with subtext and badassery.” Badassery. I like that word, Brian. Attack the Block opens in select cities.

See the Attack the Block trailer right here, then see the film if it’s playing near you. You won’t regret it:

Also opening in limited release are The Devil’s Double opening in select cities, The Interruptors opening in New York City, Life in a Day opening in select cities, Point Blank opening in New York and L.A., The Future opening in New York City, The Guard opening in New York and L.A., El Bulli: Cooking in Progress opening Wednesday in New York City, and Good Neighbors opening in New York and L.A.

Here’s how the weekend is shaping up:

  1. Cowboys & Aliens – $45.2m NEW
  2. Captain America: The First Avenger – $31.8 (-51%)
  3. Smurfs – $22.6m NEW
  4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – $21.6m (-54.4%)
  5. Crazy, Stupid, Love – $18.8m NEW
  6. Friends With Benefits – $9.9m (-46.7%)
  7. Horrible Bosses – $7.2m (-38.5%)
  8. Transformers: Dark of the Moon – $6.1m (-48.4%)
  9. Zookeeper – $5.8m (-33%)
  10. Cars 2 – $3.8m (-30.4%)

That gives us $172.8m for the top 10, down again from last weekend, but definitely not out. And remember what we did with that word “slump”? So you can’t use it. Ever. Still, that overall take is good considering the biggest film opening this weekend won’t have a huge debut. The top 5 films this weekend are all looking at decent weekends, weekends that could easily put them at the top of the charts at other times of the year. But I’m sure other box office analysts and reporters out there will begin using that S word again. Ah, let them. My S stand for CASH. I don’t care that it doesn’t make sense.

We’ll be back on Sunday to go over the weekend numbers.

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