The Reject Report Gets Uninvited


Welcome to what is shaping up as another dull week here at the Reject Report. We’ve gotten all the excitement of the Oscar nominations out of the way, and so we have in store a humdrum weekend with three new movies rolling out: Taken, The Uninvited and New in Town. Still, the big question on everyone’s mind is whether any of these three will be able to stop the big, fat steamroller that is Paul Blart: Mall Cop.

Aren’t you fed up yet with Paul Blart: Mall Cop? I have got to say, I have no idea why this movie is so popular. In fact I have been reading some of these other prognostications and there are folks out there who insist that Paul Blart has a chance to win this weekend, too — mainly because the enthusiasm level for these other flicks is so low. Or, should I say, supposedly low. Anyway, I might as well get on with the preview of the weekend, and I’ll start with a look at Renee Zellweger’s new movie New in Town.

New in Town is a romantic comedy/chick flick starring Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr., and it’s about this high-achieving professional woman from Miami who uproots herself and lands in this tiny Minnesota town where it’s bitterly cold. The plant is struggling and Zellweger’s character eventually has to find a way to save everyone’s job. Connick plays the union boss and he bats heads with Zellweger at first and, well, you can see where this is leading in the plot department.

What I find most interesting about the movie is not the plot, but the fact that it was filmed in Winnipeg, Manitoba around the same time I was living in that cold, miserable province. In fact, it was being filmed there under the name Chilled in Miami. There were lots of stories running last year in the local Winnipeg press about Renee Zellweger, all along the lines of “what the heck is she doing here in THIS town”? They aren’t used to the big Hollywood stars up there.

The bad news: folks at Rotten Tomatoes seem totally unimpressed; they had this flick running at around 12 percent. In fact, I don’t think the public will be too impressed, either. This is being released as female counter-programming to the Super Bowl — but doggonit, you’ve got to do better than 12 percent at Rotten Tomatoes. I think $6 million is all this flick will get. Don’t worry, though, I’m sure lots of people in Winnipeg will go see it.

Next is a horror movie called The Uninvited. Aren’t people fed up yet with horror movies? We’ve had a few horror movies lately – The Unborn, My Bloody Valentine 3D and last week’s Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. They’ve done pretty consistent business, each in the $20 million range. So The Uninvited ought to do $20 million, too, right? Maybe not.

This is a remake of Kim Jee-Woon’s Korean horror thriller Changhwa Hongryon, released in 2003. This movie is about a young woman (Emily Browning) recovering from mental illness. She returns home to be with her sister Alex, but in the meantime her father has remarried a woman (Elizabeth Banks) who isn’t such a nice person, and there are a few other things going on.

So that’s The Uninvited, which has been getting pretty decent reviews from some critics as of late. The question is whether the filmmakers will feel “uninvited” at movie theaters by the end of the weekend. I have a feeling this will do $14 million in business — less than some of the other horror flicks that have rolled out in recent weeks. I just have a feeling we could have a glut on our hands in the horror department. I dunno what makes this a big time of year for horror movies. Why the studios release these flicks during the pit of winter instead of during Halloween, when everyone wants to see these types of movies, is kind of beyond me. Maybe it’s because the studios know they will all open to $20 million bucks. Anyway, I sense this one won’t.

Finally, we have Taken, an action-packed spy movie. This stars Liam Neeson as a retired ex-spy trying to save his kidnapped daughter — and by the way, aren’t you fed up yet with kidnapped-daughter movies? Anyway, there’s supposed to be a lot of action in this one. Maggie Grace plays the daughter who gets kidnapped, and Famke Janssen is the ex-wife.

Here’s the issue with this movie: it’s already been released in France and in Europe. In fact, it was released ages ago; last year, in fact. So there are plenty of people out there who have akready seen it or who can look for a bootleg copy on the Internet. That is bound to hurt. (At least, that’s what Michael Moore would have us believe, as he has blamed the Internet for hurting business for his own movies.) I’ve seen predictions of a haul this weekend of anywhere between $14 and $20 million. So I’ll go with $17 million and we’ll see what happens.

Yikes! Not exactly the most exciting weekend ever at the box office, but I suppose it could be worse. Anyway, I hope I am right this weekend with my predictions. I’m sick of being wrong every week. The predicted damages:

  1. Taken $17 million
  2. The Uninvited $14 million
  3. Paul Blart: Mall Cop $13 million
  4. Underworld:Rise of the Lycans $12.5 million
  5. Gran Torino $11 million
  6. Slumdog Millionaire $10 million
  7. Hotel for Dogs $8 million
  8. New in Town $6 million
  9. My Bloody Valentine 3D $5.5 million
  10. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button $5.3 million

Also, I notice that The Wrestler, Milk and The Reader are expanding so I wouldn’t discount a top ten finish for any of them. I think these three will be tightly bunched, duking it out for the final spots on the list.

That about sums it up for me this week. Needless to say, Paul Blart has not only made fools of the American moviegoing public — the movie’s made a fool out of me, too. Well, I sure hope this weekend marks a turning point: the End of Paul Blart. Good Riddance.

See you this weekend for the box office results here at the Reject Report.

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