“Megan Fox, Megan Fox, Megan Fox!!” What better way to drum up interest in this week’s edition of the Reject Report than to do some major name-dropping of one of the actresses in one of this week’s movies, How To Lose Friends and Alienate People. Actually, there’s a lot of star power out there this weekend: Julianne Moore, Drew Barrymore, Ed Harris, Greg Kinnear, you name them. The flicks rolling out include Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Bindness, Flash of Genius, An American Carol and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Several others are going wide as well including Appaloosa and Religulous, a documentary starring Bill Maher.
The one person people around here seem to care about, though, is Megan Fox, so I might as well get started by previewing How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. Heck, we need our Internet hits.
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People is based on the book of the same name by Toby Young, which was his autobiographical account of coming to America from the UK to work in the magazine business for the likes of Vanity Fair. Here, Simon Pegg takes on the Toby Young role, except the names have been changed to protect the innocent (his character is now Sidney Young). It’s basically the same story with Pegg playing this British wanker trying to fit in with the magazine business in Manhattan. Jeff Bridges plays his boss, Kirsten Dunst plays a colleague he has a love affair with, and Megan Fox plays some babe starlet he confides with.
It rolls out on 1,750 screens on this side of the world. You know what? I think this movie is going to be a flop. This is the story of some Brit trying to fit in to high society in New York and nobody cares about high society right now or these silly magazines, not with all that money being flushed down the drain on Wall Street after Congress blew their initial attempt to get a bailout deal passed. I’m not going out of my way to see it, and neither will a lot of people. It’s too bad, because I liked the book. This movie really ought to have been released a year ago or even six months ago. To top it all off, this movie is facing off against five other new wide releases, two expanding wide releases and a sneak preview this weekend, as well as all these other holdovers. That’s why $5 million is all this will get.
Next up is Flash of Genius, which rolls out on 1,098 screens. It is directed by Marc Abraham and stars Greg Kinnear, Lauren Graham and Dermot Mulroney. This is based on the true story of Dr. Robert Kearns, a college professor who takes on the automobile industry, who he claims stole his idea for the intermittent windshield wiper, which would eventually be used in every car in the world.
It’s not in a lot of theaters, not as many as the other new releases this week, so I think we are looking at a modest $4 million take for Flash of Genius.
Next up is Blindness, directed by Fernando Meirelles and starring Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo. The movie is about a virus that blinds everyone who comes in contact with it, with the population going into panic and these victims being quarantined. Moore plays a woman who is unaffected by the virus and she pretends to be blind in order to be with her husband (Ruffalo).
The bad news for this flick is that it’s being PROTESTED. Organizations such as the National Federation of the Blind are protesting the movie because they say it portrays blind people as monsters. Anyway, that’s the reaction to the movie. This film has been on the festival circuit and is in 1,690 theaters. I see this one doing somewhere around $8 million based on the festival buzz and publicity from that, and from this latest controversy.
Next up is An American Carol, which stars Kevin Farley, Kelsey Grammer, Leslie Nielsen, Dennis Hopper, James Woods and Jon Voight. It’s from funnyman David Zucker (of Airplane! fame) and is loosely based on A Christmas Carol, except it’s based on the Independence Day holiday instead. Here, Zucker goes after Michael Moore and lampoons him, with the spoof character of Michael Malone, played by Farley. In this movie Malone is campaigning to eliminate the Fourth of July holiday and he’s visited by the ghosts of Fourth of July past: George Washington, George S. Patton and John F. Kennedy.
So that should be something to keep these conservatives happy. But I’ve said this before: politics doesn’t seem to be a big hit at the box office this year. I see this one only getting somewhere around $3.7 million.
Two more movies rolling out: one of them is Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist starring Michael Cera and Kat Dennings as Nick and Norah. Here, a member of this band Nick has just broken up with his girlfriend and he sees his ex at this club with a new guy. Determined to show he’s over her, Nick asks Norah to be his five-minute girlfriend. And that kicks off a night of fun and adventure.
This movie was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival along with the rest of them (Blindness, Appaloosa etc.) and I think this will get decent business with a younger crowd. (Yes, this means you.) So I think this will get something in the $15 million range in over 2,400 theaters.
Finally, the last of the six widest releases is Beverly Hills Chihuahua, rolling out on over 3,200 screens. It’s from Walt Disney Pictures and it’s a live-action comedy about a pampered chihuahua named Chloe, voiced by Drew Barrymore. On vacation in Mexico, Chloe accidentally gets lost there and has to rely on her friends to get back home — including Delgado and Papi, voiced by Andy Garcia and George Lopez.
I think this flick will get up there in the high 20s — probably $28 million — but not more than that. My sense of it is that there’s a lot of people out there who may not think this is on the same level as some of the other family-oriented flicks out there. I just don’t think there will be wide appeal for this flick in the way that Kung Fu Panda or WALL-E was able to command audiences. But it will finish in first place. The expected finish:
A brief rundown on three other movies, two of which are expanding this weekend. One is Appaloosa, which stars and is directed by Ed Harris and based on Robert B. Parker’s Western novel. It co-stars Viggo Mortensen and Renée Zellweger. This is yet another movie that rolled out at the Toronto International Film Festival. Needless to say, this weekend is a great time to catch a lot of the movies you didn’t travel all the way to Toronto to see (and for much cheaper prices, too). I expect a Top Ten finish for this one, which opened Sept. 19 and now has expanded to over 1,000 theaters.
Another is Bill Maher’s Religulous, a documentary directed by Larry Charles which takes on organized religion around the world. It rolled out on 2 screens Oct. 1 and will expand to over 500 this weekend.
Finally, there is The Express, which rolls out officially everywhere next week. This weekend, though, there are 700 sneak peaks on Oct 4. This is that Ernie Davis football movie and I’ll have more to say about it next week.
Whew!!! Needless to say there is a lot of movies out there right now and a lot of competition for the movie dollar. I say this will be a great weekend for people to go to the movies and enjoy themselves at the theaters. The question is: which movie to go see? The one with Megan Fox, perhaps?
We’ll find out who wins at the end of the weekend when we count the loot here at the Reject Report.