The Reject Report: October 17 Box Office

Welcome to yet another wild and crazy edition of the Reject Report. Once again we have another weekend chock full of movies, with four new wide releases coming up once again. Who can afford to go see all these movies? Especially in this lousy economy? The releases this weekend are Max Payne, Sex Drive, The Secret Life of Bees and of course W. So I’ll begin with Sex Drive.

Sex Drive is cut from the same cloth as American Pie and the Judd Apatow movies: it’s another one of these raunchy coming-of-age teen sex comedies, and some people say it could be pretty good. It’s about this 18-year-old guy played by Josh Zuckerman, a virgin who meets his (supposed) dream girl online. He decides to drive right across the country to meet her, and his friends (played by Clark Duke and Amanda Crew) are along for the ride. The movie features a hilarious Amish guy played by Seth Green.

Anyway, it sounds like the filmmakers have at least put in a decent effort with this flick. I’ve read a few good things about this movie, in spite of the title. Which, my friends, sums up the problem this flick faces with the uptight movie going public. Who picked this title, anyway? The marketing department? If so, that entire department deserves to be fired!. Sex Drive sounds like the kind of title you’d put on a cut-rate piece-of-junk aimed at gross people and folks who are likely to be arrested. You think girlfriends are going to join their guys at a movie with this title? I don’t care if its inspiration comes from these great Eighties teen comedies.

Keep in mind: this is America we are talking about, land of religion and overly boring people. These folks made a hit out of Beverly Hills Chihuahua, and they’re going to make a flop out of Sex Drive. I predict Harold and Kumar-type numbers: $5 million.

Next up is The Secret Life of Bees, and I have to admit: when I first heard the title for this flick I immediately thought this was some cheap animated flick. Or maybe it was a documentary about bees!! Like heck it is — this one has Queen Latifah in it and seems to be aimed at the younger Tyler Perry/Oprah Winfrey family crowd. This one stars Dakota Fanning as Lily, a 14-year-old girl in 1964 South Carolina taken in by three black beekeeping sisters in a town that holds the secrets to her late mother’s past. It’s directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood.

Given the demographic audience that this flick is being marketed to, I have to think it will do some decent business because there does seems to be a demand for this type of movie from that particular audience. Heck, they’re under served as it is! So I would not be surprised by a $7.5 million haul, although quite frankly I think this movie could end up doing a little better or possibly far worse. The box offices lately have been like the stock market — too volatile. So who knows, really, what the final total will be.

Next up is W., the much anticipated and long-awaited Oliver Stone pic with Josh Brolin starring as George W. Bush. What a lot of people might not know is this is supposed to be satirical/comedic in tone, not one of Stone’s usual conspiracy-theory types of movies. I suppose Stone figures Bush is someone who deserved to be laughed at. Elizabeth Banks plays Laura Bush, and that’s kind of interesting because she’s also in Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Richard Dreyfuss plays Dick Cheney and James Cromwell plays W.’s dad, George H.W. Bush.

Now, I am sure there is going to be an extremely divided reaction to this movie. A lot of these die-hard Democrats in the big cities are going to flock to see it, while Republicans will probably avoid this movie like the plague and even denounce it on these radio talk shows. Given the publicity, though, I have to think it will make at least SOME money, but I have said it before and I will say it again: people DO NOT want to see POLITICS at the movies. Politics is something you get enough of at home when you tune in CNN, Fox News and MSNBC! Who needs to go to the movies to see that!?

The likely result is $10 million in business for W., coming entirely from Democrats and die-hard readers of the Huffington Post. And that’s what I have to say about that flick.

Finally we have Max Payne, which has the widest release this weekend of all new movies at 3,376 (compared to about 2,400 for Sex Drive and just over 2,000 for W.). It’s based on the video game of the same name that came out earlier this decade and it stars Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, and Beau Bridges. Wahlberg plays Payne, a cop whose family is brutally murdered and who heads into the underworld to find the peoplen who committed the brutal crimes. He’s joined by an assassin (Kunis) out to avenge her sister’s death.

That’s the jist of Max Payne, and this looks to be the box office winner this weekend, with a $18 million gross. I’d predict it to do better but I hear these reviews are TERRIBLE. It was running around 8 per cent the last time I looked, and at this time of year these bad reviews COUNT. Maybe these reviews don’t count the rest of the year, but people sure pay attention if everyone out there is saying a movie is absolutely terrible. Still, $18 million will be enough to win the weekend and enough for people to complain in unison about the bad taste of moviegoers in north America.

The predicted damages:

1. Max Payne $18 million
2. Beverly Hills Chihuahua $11.5 million
3. W. $10 million
4. Quarantine $7.7 million
5. The Secret Life of Bees
$7.5 million
6. Body of Lies
$7.3 million
7. Eagle Eye $6.5 million
8. Sex Drive $5 million
9. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist $4.5 million
10. The Express $3.5 million

That sums it up for the predictions this week! See you at the end of the weekend when I once again try and explain why my predictions are all wrong — again — right here at The Reject Report.


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