The Reject Report Enters District 9


Welcome to another dog day afternoon, or evening or morning or whatever it is where you are, here at the Reject Report. The big question this week concerns the box office fortunes of last weekend’s box office champ G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra… which might end up being referred to as the Fall of the Cobra by the end of the weekend. It’s pretty much a given that there will be a significant dropoff from last week, the question is how much. Will it be a 60 percent dropoff? I think that could be what is in store, because I really don’t see a lot of legs for this movie. I think most of the people who wanted to see it have already gone, and so a very big dropoff is likely to happen. I’m pretty sure the haul will be somewhere around $24 million.

The big question is whether this haul will indeed be enough for G.I. Joe to hang onto first place for a second weekend in a row, or whether any of the other contenders are likely to “deliver the goods” and topple it. Let’s go through what the top four new movies at the box office are likely to be, starting with the first one: The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard.

Opening in less than 2,000 theaters, The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard stars Jeremy Piven of “Entourage”/Ari Gold fame (also fresh off his recent infamous mercury poisoning episode on Broadway), as Don Ready, a guy brought in to try and help a car dealership liquidate automobiles like crazy and stop it from going under. Ving Rhames, James Brolin and yes, Ed Helms are also in it.

The posters say the guys behind Talladega Nights and Step Brothers are responsible for this flick. Maybe so, but the early word out there is that this movie is total crap, and the box office is not expected to be a good one. Maybe Piven will con a few “Entourage” fans into seeing this flick just by his presence. At the very least, the promos seemed aimed at the “Entourage” fans, right down to the clips of that Asian car salesman guy who looks like a distant relative of Rex Lee. I have a hard time believing this movie will get past $9 million.

Next is Bandslam, which is open in just a few more theaters that The Goods, about 2,100. Aly Michalka, Vanessa Hudgens, Gaelan Connell and Lisa Kudrow star in this music-based comedy where some dude is asked to manage this rock band that ends up going up against the best in a Battle of the Bands.

I know I know, Vanessa Hudgens is in it, so that might get some people interested. But I really don’t think it is going to get very far in only 2,100 theaters. My guess is it will somehow get to $10 million.

Next is The Time Traveler’s Wife, based on the best-selling novel, and it stars Rachel McAdams as, you guessed it, the wife of a time traveler, played by Eric Bana. And as it turns out it isn’t easy being the wife of a time-traveller, because this guy keeps on disappearing to travel through time all the time.

This looks to me to be a bit of a chick flick/date movie to me. It opens in about 3,000 theaters and should do okay business, though I notice the reviews aren’t the greatest. This is the kind of movie that would need some help from good reviews, and it isn’t getting it. So I think it will stall at $19 million.

Finally we have District 9, a sci-fi movie produced by Peter Jackson and directed by Neill Blomkamp. It’s about this race of aliens who come to Earth and wind up living in Johannesburg, South Africa, in a place called District 9. The nations of the world spend years trying to figure out what to do with these aliens. A field operative, Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley), becomes the key person caught in-between as the tensions between the aliens and humans heat up.

I am going to tell you right now — this movie sounds good, and it looks to me to be a bit of a sleeper hit. I wonder if maybe we could have a situation where what happened with The Hangover also happens here — with people coming out of nowhere to see the movie. Already, the buzz is really good. In fact I was checking the Rotten Tomatoes scores — which, as you know, everyone proudly trashes and claims they don’t care about. This movie was running at 94 percent on Thursday night. Ninety-four percent! That’s pretty good.

So maybe people will actually be intrigued by some of the positive buzz out there. Besides, man, look at what else is out there this weekend — The Goods looks like utter crap, and these other movies look hit and miss. And you’ve probably already seen G.I.Joe, so I think District 9 is going to run away with the weekend, likely in the neighborhood of $31 million.

There are other movies out there, such as the animated Ponyo which I think will probably do $5 million. As well, Spread is in 91 theaters and Paper Heart is in 68. So there’s quite a bit out there at the theaters right now as far as new stuff is concerned. Heck, you might want to go try and find movies like The Hurt Locker which a lot of serious movie-type people have written about for weeks– but which few people have been paying money to go see. Well, now that it is August, maybe people will actually see it — but the distribution is still only a little over 500 theaters and the domestic gross overall is under $10 million.

I’m just ranting. Here’s the likely weekend finish:

  1. District 9 $31 million
  2. G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra $24 million
  3. The Time Traveler’s Wife $19 million
  4. Julie & Julia $13 million
  5. Bandslam $10 million
  6. The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard $9 million
  7. G-Force $6 million
  8. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince $5.5 million
  9. Ponyo $5 million
  10. Funny People $4 million

That’s all for now. See you at weekend’s end to see who delivers “the Goods” at the multiplexes, right here at the Reject Report! (I know already — bad pun.)

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