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Welcome to another hung-over edition of the Reject Report and the big question is who will have the box-office hangover this weekend — The Hangover, or Will Ferrell? Or will Up finally come down to earth?

You know, it could well be another Up weekend from the looks of it, because a lot of people are trashing Ferrell’s latest movie, Land of the Lost, and suggesting Ferrell’s career is hitting the skids. But who knows, really. This is one of those strange weekends where any number of scenarios could play out, and the mystery over how Land of the Lost will do is contributing to that.

There are actually three new releases this weekend, and I’ll start off with the non-contender of the whole bunch, My Life in Ruins. This is a romantic comedy film set among the ruins of ancient Greece starring Nia Vardalos of My Big Fat Greek Wedding fame, and it also stars Richard Dreyfuss and Alexis Georgoulis. Vardalos plays this Greek tour guide on tour who winds up recapturing her romantic side while guiding these folks around.

To me, this sounds like something that will play to an older audience, and I think maybe the thinking is it will serve as counterprogramming to all the other junk aimed at kids at your local theaters. Problem is, for a strategy like that to work the other movies need to be junk, and that isn’t the case right now. In fact, this movie was running at about 9 percent over at Rotten Tomatoes, so this movie is in tough. This is no My Big Fat Greek Wedding, I’m afraid, and I predict $5 million will be the total this weekend for My Life in Ruins.

Next is The Hangover, which has got to be the most under-the-radar of all the summer season movies up until recently. I’ve seen the trailers for it and I gotta say, this looks like funny stuff. It’s directed by Todd Phillips, the same person who directed Old School. And this is exactly what you expect it to be — it’s a group of guys who awaken from this wild bachelor party in Vegas to discover – oops – one of them is missing. So they need to find the groom for the wedding, whereever he is, and figure out what the F happened last night.

I’m hearing some good comments about this one, and I also notice it’s in 3,300 theaters. That’s a lot higher than I would have thought for a movie like this, but maybe these theater owners have read the tracking and know what sells. And the reviews and the buzz have been through the roof. Heck, even I’m excited about this flick and I can’t say I get excited too often. I am thinking this movie could surprise a few people and hit $26 million.

Now onto Land of the Lost, which ranks as the first — wait, no, it’s actually the second retread of a TV show to be released this summer after Star Trek. The only difference is that Star Trek was (a) more of a prequel to the TV show and (b) uh, actually, quite good. This, however, is a revival of an old Saturday morning TV show, and not even a cartoon at that! Instead, it’s based on one of Sid and Marty Krofft’s better efforts.

You all know by now how well the Saturday morning thing went over last year with Speed Racer. But unlike Speed Racer, it looks like they are trying to go the “family movie” route and launch Will Ferrell into what surely has got to be the “Steve Martin” portion of his career. (Although this film is rated PG-13, which might actually drive the families away. Honestly, I don’t know what audience they are trying to get with this movie.)

Here, Ferrell plays Dr. Rick Marshall, who, along with this family, is sucked back in time to the age of the dinosaurs. So we get some cool shots of Ferrell being chased by dinosaurs and stuff like that. Looks to me like this is a big B movie.

Seems to me we had a movie that was sort of like this before: 10,000 BC from last year. Different type of story, yes, but it was another prehistoric movie. It opened to about $33 million if I recall, which was definitely less than what they hoped for – but it wasn’t a summer release, either.

I have to think Land of the Lost will do the same sort of business, maybe $35 million. Keep in mind, 10,000 BC was a flaming turd, and it still got over $30 million. Will Ferrell’s presence ought to put this movie over $30 million, at least. But I gotta say, watch out for these box office pundits and other folks this weekend, who are all waiting like vultures for the final box office totals so they can carve up Ferrell and say his career is in the toilet. The knives are already out for this guy. I’m going to say right now, though, that Ferrell’s presence in Land of the Lost will probably help the box office and save this flick from utter collapse. Whether it will help his career is another story.

You know what this all points to, of course. We are looking at Up winning for the second weekend in a row, likely around $38 million, thanks to excellent buzz as well as 98 percent approval at Rotten Tomatoes, and a lot of other things going for it. Pixar strikes again.

The likely totals, as I see it:

  1. Up $38 million
  2. Land of the Lost $35 million
  3. The Hangover $26 million
  4. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian $12 million
  5. Terminator:Salvation $10 million
  6. Drag Me to Hell $9 Million
  7. Star Trek $7.5 million
  8. Angels and Demons $6 million
  9. My Life in Ruins $5 million
  10. Dance Flick $2.5 million

I don’t feel like writing anymore, so that’s it for now. See you at weekend’s end when we perform the autopsy again on yet another weekend of blown predictions right here at the Reject Report.


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