Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Hi, and welcome to a post-Election edition of the Reject Report. I hope everyone is done celebrating Barack Obama’s victory — or alternatively, recovered from a big drunken hangover after John McCain lost. It’s time to forget about politics for awhile, and spend the weekend doing what Americans have been doing all fall — attend yet another nice, clean movie.

Yes, those lovable Madagascar zoo animals are back in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. As well, Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson show up in Soul Men, and Paul Rudd, Seann William Scott and the rest are in Role Models.

These are this weekend’s three big wide releases and they will get the writeup here at the Reject Report. Of course, you are all sitting there at home scratching your head in disgust about what’s being served up at the theaters. “They’re delaying James Bond for this?” Indeed, they are.

Yes, this was originally supposed to have been the big weekend that Quantum of Solace rolled out around the world, including in North America. Instead, it got moved up a week in the UK and then was pushed back one week here in North America. Which means North America comes out on the short end of the release schedule this time — by two full weeks.

I have to say, it sucks to be a movie fan living in North America right now –especially if you are a James Bond movie fan. While the rest of the world (seemingly) is giving away its hard-earned money in record numbers to Quantum of Solace (which set a British weekend record of £15.5 million), we’re stuck with yet another weekend of funny animals on American and Canadian movie screens. I wouldn’t blame Bond fans in the USA and Canada one bit if they feel left out from all the fun. I understand the move of that latest Harry Potter movie originally scheduled for November 21 had something to do with the changing of the Bond release date; apparently MGM wanted to take advantage of that big shift. Oh, and by the way, that’s yet another outrage — the move of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to next summer. That move disappointed the Harry Potter fans and has left November for dead as a barren wasteland. It’s basically 007, or nothing.

Anyway, we’re stuck with yet another family movie likely to dominate at the theaters, and Bond — James Bond — will have to wait until next week.

On to the latest movies. We begin with Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, the sequel to the original Madagascar movie that was made by DreamWoirks, the same people that brought you Kung Fu Panda. It features the star-power voices of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Schwimmer, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, Alec Baldwin, Andy Richter and the late, great Bernie Mac as Zuba. The storyline follows our lovable animal friends from the New York zoo all the way to the wilds of Africa, which is a lot different from their sheltered life back home.

There’s a bit of a disagreement out there about how well this thing might do. A lot of the prognosticators seem to think this one will do business in the low-to-mid $50 million range while others think it will get up past $60 million. The first Madagascar movie made $47 million in its initial release, and this latest one will be rolling out in 3,900 theaters from coast to coast. I am going to predict $57 million for Escape 2 Africa because while I believe the kids will flock to see this one, I have a feeling that it won’t make it to $60 million.

The other movie starring Bernie Mac rolling out this weekend is Soul Men, which also stars Samuel L. Jackson. The story is about Louis (Jackson) and Floyd (Mac), a singing duo who had not performed together in two decades but who reunited in a reunion concert in honor of their former lead singer Marcus Hook.

Not only is Bernie Mac getting a send-off in this flick, but so is Isaac Hayes who also died before this movie was released. So I believe we’ll see the Heath Ledger effect at work at the box office for this one, with people wanting to see the final performances of deceased people one last time. I think this movie, which would otherwise be considered a nice, small movie, will get about $12 million. Rest in peace, Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes.

Finally, we have Role Models. The plotline features Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott, both veterans of the recent raunchy-teen-movie craze, playing a pair of energy drink reps who are sentenced to community service and have to enroll in a Big Brother program being mentors to these kids. Yeah, I don’t picture these two as the role-model type either. Good casting. Christopher Mintz-Plasse is in it; so is Elizabeth Banks who seems to be starring in every movie ever made these days. (Is she in that James Bond movie, too?)

You know, I’ve read these other predictions out there that seem to suggest that this flick will do $11 or $12 million in its opening week. But there is no way it will get that much business. Frankly, there is no way this movie is going to do better than Zack and Miri Make a Porno did in its opening weekend. No way, whatsoever. This movie is going to get $9.5 million, and if it does better than that Kevin Smith should jump off a cliff.

So those are my bold predictions this week, and yes, they do buck some of the trends from some of the other prognosticators. But I do need to take a stand of my own and be different from time to time here at the Reject Report. My projected order of finish:

1. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa $57 million
2. Soul Men $12 million
3. Role Models $9.5 million
4. High School Musical 3: Senior Year $7.5 million
5. Zack and Miri Make a Porno
$7.2 million
6. Changeling
$7 million
7. Saw V $5.7 million
8. Beverly Hills Chihuahua $3.4 million
9. The Haunting of Molly Hartley $3.1 million
10. The Secret Life of Bees $3 million

There you have it — back at weekend’s end with the results of what is sure to be another nice, clean weekend at the movies here at the Reject Report.


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