It’s another beautiful and sunny week here at The Reject Report. Alright, that’s a lie. For one, we’re all very sad that John Cairns — who did such a splendid job with this column for over 3-years — has moved on to bigger and better things. Secondly, this has quickly turned into one of the most depressing weeks at the box office of 2010. Two major new releases come to play with a bunch of back-sliding films, none of which seem to have any forward momentum. It’s all shaping up for what looks to be a very, very light weekend.
The Major Releases
First up is The Losers, the action-comedy from director Sylvain White, based on the comic series by Andy Diggle. It’s a fun movie for the “crank your brain down to negative eleven” crowd, with a performance from Jason Patric (as the film’s villain) that you’re sure to either love or hate. In fact, your love or hate for Patric’s performance will likely be the crux upon which your opinion of the entire movie hangs. But as we found out with Rob Hunter’s review, it’s possible to have a lot of fun with the character, the action and the movie as a whole.
Yet while our Rob Hunter gave The Losers a generous B- grade, critics at Rotten Tomatoes are aggregating at a 36% Rotten rating, which isn’t so hot. The film also is not tracking particularly well, putting a predictable weekend finish in the $12.5 million range, well short of Kick-Ass’ take last week.
Onward we move, on to the Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy vehicle The Back-Up Plan. According to reviews — Rotten Tomatoes at 18% Rotten and our own Adam Charles giving it an emphatic F grade — this movie is a giant rectal exam committed to celluloid. The interesting twist is that this film is (a) the widest release of the weekend, bowing in 3,280 theaters and (b) tracking relatively well. Don’t be surprised if it slides right by The Losers.
The Limited Releases
In limited release this week, we have two films. DisneyNature’s Oceans, a documentary about — well, oceans — that released this past Thursday in honor of Earth Day. It’s playing in 1,200 theaters and will likely be a good draw for school field trips and parents who have already taken their kids to learn How to Train Your Dragon. At least this time they might learn something about real animals, not fictional ones. The hold-back on Oceans is that it’s just another G-rated nature doc. Nothing we haven’t seen before. But don’t be surprised if it churns out just under $10 million in ticket sales.
The other (very) limited release this week is Paper Man, the Ryan Reynolds-led costumed characters story about a washed-up writer (Jeff Daniels) who forms an unlikely friendship with a Long Island teenager (Emma Stone). Sadly, this one is so far off the radar that it won’t make it into the top ten. However, if it has a strong showing in New York and LA this weekend, it may open wider at a later date. Don’t hold your breath though, as you’re more likely to see it On-Demand in a few weeks.
This may not be good news for many fans out there, but it looks like Kick-Ass is going to take a relatively big hit this week. It’s not tracking at any more than about $10 million, which would be 50%+ drop from its opening weekend. Word of mouth is strong, but general appeal is not. Unfortunately, it simply did not connect with the masses. It’s the opposite scenario with How to Train Your Dragon, which will likely take the weekend, exacting some revenge on Kick-Ass for last week’s last minute defeat. The Dreamworks Animation release is holding strong — and will continue to do so right on through to the release of Iron Man 2 in two weeks — dominating the family market. The only other release that will continue to be strong is Date Night, further solidifying the box office draw of Steve Carrell and Tina Fey, as Death at a Funeral should drop about 40% and slide out of the top five.
A Special Note
Even though it won’t end up on any box office reports anywhere, I wanted to make special note this week of Best Worst Movie, the fantastic documentary about the cult phenomenon around the film Troll 2. It is opening this weekend in Austin, TX (home of FSR) at the world famous Alamo Drafthouse. It will have an expanded release over the next several weeks, so keep an eye on the film’s official website for more information. If it comes within an hour drive of where you live, go see it. It’s perhaps the most insightful and fun documentary that you will see all year.
As I mentioned in my opening, this week has depressing written all over it. Not one of the major releases is tracking high enough to win the weekend, leaving things wide open for How to Train Your Dragon to step in and take the top spot. Look for a tight race for second though, between The Losers and The Back-Up Plan, with J-Lo squeaking out a win. Here’s how the top ten should shake out:
- How to Train Your Dragon – $15.2 million
- The Back-Up Plan – $14.1 million
- The Losers – $13.5 million
- Kick-Ass – $10.5 million
- Date Night – $9.7 million
- Death at a Funeral – $9.5 million
- Oceans – $8.7 million
- Clash of the Titans – $8.5 million
- The Last Song -$4.1 million
- Alice in Wonderland – $2.3 million
Check back with us on Sunday afternoon to see how it all turns out. For now, this has been another rousing edition of The Reject Report.