The Reject Report Meets the Browns

The Reject ReportWelcome to what promises to be one of the least interesting weeks for The Reject Report since I started doing this column. I would have called it “the least”, but there was that one week way back in the fall when only one new movie was rolled out, so that was even worse.

But hoo boy, are we clearly at a low point of the movie year for 2008 right now. I am less than excited at this week’s offerings. Drillbit Taylor, Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns and Shutter are your new wide releases, and frankly none of them look likely to set the world on fire. But some lovebirds out there may have a heavy date, and a lot of people may be repelled by all the basketball on TV and will want something to do at the cinemas. That’s why I’m writing this column, as a public service. Believe me, there’s no other reason this week.

Here we go.

Drillbit TaylorDrillbit Taylor is the latest comedy from the Judd Apatow factory. It’s based on an original idea by John Hughes, and stars Owen Wilson in his first major movie appearance since the suicide attempt (and The Darjeeling Limited). You would think with all those people associated with the movie that this has hit written all over it, right? The story is about three high schoolers who get singled out by the school bully, and to retaliate they hire Drillbit Taylor (Wilson) to protect them. Alex Frost plays the class bully and Troy Gentile, Nate Hartley, and David Dorfman are the high schoolers. And just so you know that it is Apatow production, rest assured: Leslie Mann is in the cast. Steven Brill directs, and the film is written by Seth Rogen (Superbad!) and Kristofor Brown.

You know, the bloom is off the rose for the Apatow bunch after what happened to Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. That flick not just bombed, it completely tanked with the public. So I don’t think people are going to rush to an Apatow movie anymore just because he’s the producer. It would be akin to people getting up to watch a Smurfs cartoon on Saturday morning, just because it was made by Hanna-Barbera. Okay, bad example, but you get the idea. Anyway, I just see this Drillbit Taylor flick getting about $13 million. I know it’s in some 2,700 theaters this weekend, so it will do some business, but I just don’t see the enthusiasm from the fans for this flick.

Meet the BrownsTyler Perry’s Meet the Browns is next — and given Tyler Perry’s ability to pack them in at the theaters no matter what he comes up with, I think this deserves some attention as a possible contender this weekend. It’s about a woman and a single mother (Brenda, played by Angela Bassett) who loses her job. Then her father (who she’s never met) passes away. She returns to Georgia for the funeral and meets the family she never knew she had — the Browns! And maybe they’ll help her get off the canvas. Sound familiar? Seems to be the Tyler Perry formula. He’s in the movie playing Madea and Uncle Joe. David Mann and Tamela J. Mann are also in it.

The movie is based on Perry’s stage play of the same name. At last count, this was booked in some 2,006 theaters, which is a lot, but not as much as the other movies playing this weekend. It will be very interesting to see how this one does with a lower theater count. I think it could do very well, since Tyler Perry movies are known for getting an audience. I think $17 million is what we can expect for Meet the Browns.

ShutterShutter is a horror movie directed by Masayuki Ochiai, and stars Joshua Jackson, Rachael Taylor and Megumi Okina. The movie is a remake of a Thai movie of the same name that was released in 2004. The story revolves around two newlyweds, one of them a photographer, who discover haunting images in photographs taken after a tragic accident. They fear these ghost images in the photos could be connected to this accident.

This movie, too, is in 2,700 theaters, roughly the same numbers as Drillbit Taylor. But I just don’t see how this one is going to do very well: not too many fans seem interested enough in it. I think $7 million is my estimate here, and frankly I’d put the figure lower except the theater count is pretty high, and there’s not that much else out there for movie fans to see.

Personally, I think we are in for a lousy weekend at the theaters for these new releases and some of the old ones, too. The NCAA tournament is on, so a lot of people are going to be at home all weekend glued to their television sets. Fat chance these college basketball fans are going to be heading off to the local cinema to see any of these flicks! As for these latest efforts, I don’t see any of them winning the box office title. Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! will be in its second weekend, and even if it drops off by 50% it should still win easily. So that is my prediction for the weekend: Horton wins again!

Here’s my forecast of how the weekend ought to shape up.
1 Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! $23 million
2 Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns $17 million
3 Drillbit Taylor $13 million
4 10,000 B.C. $ 7.5 million
5 Shutter $7 million
6 Never Back Down $4.5 million
7 College Road Trip $4.2 million
8 Vantage Point $3.3 million
9 The Bank Job $3.1 million
10 Doomsday $2.7 million

Well, that was boring. Wish I could be more enthusiastic about this week’s offerings, but I’m just not. Like I say, May is not too far away, and things will get much better soon. A lot of people made a big deal about the fact that Horton’s $45 million showing at the box office last weekend was the best opening weekend of 2008. So what? Wait until May comes along and we’ll see some big, big numbers. Higher box office openings, for sure.

Back at weekend’s end, as we’ll see who winds up first (once again?) at the box office here at The Reject Report.

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