We Crank Up Another High Voltage Reject Report


I don’t feel like boring you to death here at the Reject Report this week. It looks like we could be in for a big “who cares” lineup of movies on hand at theaters. Although, to be honest, I think the die-hard fans may care about Crank: High Voltage, State of Play and 17 Again. But after a few weeks of big hits, we are due for a down weekend and I think this is it.

I was also going to go on a whole screed giving you further thoughts about why Observe and Report is tanking, but the truth is I really can’t tell you why. I know there are people who say the dark comedy turned them off, but we’ve had lots of movies with dark subject matter that have done very good business this year — particularly these slasher movies. (Friday the 13th, anyone?) Now we are seeing a lot of articles about the quote-unquote “date rape” scene, and they are all implying that this is what’s now sinking the movie. But then Tropic Thunder didn’t sink because of all the stories about the use of that infamous word that starts with the letter “R”. This latest controversy might even help Observe and Report — some people might go see it now, just to see what all the fuss is about.

I think maybe, just maybe, there is a combination of things about Observe and Report that is turning people off of seeing it, including the fact that it’s yet another mall cop movie (albeit a different one), the fact that it’s yet another Seth Rogen movie and people might be fed up seeing him, and so on. But then Seth Rogen could appear in another movie and it could end up a hit. So who knows? Anyway, enough about Observe and Report. I have no good answers to provide about why it’s going down the drain, but quite frankly, I don’t see anyone else coming up with any good answers, either. All these other explanations I keep on seeing can all be countered with: “yeah, but why did such-and-such movie do so well, then?” I guess people simply are turned right off of seeing it.

I’m going to be relatively quick about the movies this weekend, because we all know the winner at the box office is going to be 17 Again, and it’s all because these teenage girls who saw High School Musical are still in love with Zac Efron, and so they’ll see this movie — just because he is in it. Basically, this movie is about some older guy (Matthew Perry) whose life didn’t turn out the way he wanted it to, but one day he wakes up and discovers he’s 17 again. So that’s basically the movie.

As I said, there will be a sizable chunk of people who will see this movie just because Zac Efron is in it. I also predict there will be plenty of Zac Efron haters who WON’T go see 17 Again, just because Efron is in it. Heck, I’ve read the comments everywhere where these serious movie fans are all trashing Efron, so I know what I’m talking about. My understanding is that Efron is trying to do the Anne Hathaway thing and try and get rid of that goody-goody Disney image by taking on other “more serious” roles. To be honest with you, though, I don’t see how Efron will be taken any more seriously if he stars in that horrible-sounding Jonny Quest movie that is being floated for him right now — the one that is also supposed to star Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson. That may sound like a recipe for a hit, but it also sounds like a recipe for a really bad movie to me. But that’s only my view on it.

Bottom line is 17 Again is in 3,200 theaters and should win the weekend just based on the theater count alone. I say $22 million for 17 Again.

Next up is State of Play, which rolls out in 2,800 theaters. According to the summary over at IMDB, “A team of investigative reporters work alongside a police detective to try to solve the murder of a congressman’s mistress.” Russell Crowe stars in it along with Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright Penn, Helen Mirren, Jason Bateman and others. Kevin Macdonald directs and the writers are Matthew Michael Carnahan and Tony Gilroy. It’s based on a six-part BBC miniseries of the same name.

Now, my feeling is this might get up to $18 million, but I wonder if this would do better if the original actors had remained part of the cast. Crowe had taken on the role that Brad Pitt backed out of, and Ed Norton had also backed out and was replaced by Affleck. It would have been the big re-teaming of Pitt-Norton after they were in The Fight Club, and that would have caused a lot of excitement. Alas, it was not to be, and I think this kind of explains why this movie is being released in the pit of April. Anyway, my guess is $18 million, but you never know, it could surprise people and do better.

Finally I come to Crank: High Voltage, which fans of Jason Statham are looking forward to with baited breath, I am sure. Only problem is it’s in 2,200 theaters and so it really doesn’t have too good a shot to win the weekend with a theater count like that. Statham plays Chev Chelios, who is kidnapped by medics who want to remove his organs. But Chelios wakes up on the operating table after his heart is replaced by some electronic device, and he goes off trying to get his heart back. Fun stuff. Amy Smart and Bai Ling also star and apparently we hear there will be another big public sex scene involving Statham and Smart, so this will interest the folks who are interested in that stuff.

The last Crank movie opened to $10 million which, given its production budget of $12 million, wasn’t such a bad deal. This one should do better than that now that more people know about it. I think this will get up to $13 million. But like I say, it won’t be in as many theaters as the other movies, so I think that’s all it will do.

That’s it. My predicted order of finish:

  1. 17 Again $22 million
  2. State of Play $18 Million
  3. Monsters vs. Aliens $14 million
  4. Hannah Montana $13.8 million
  5. Crank: High Voltage $13 million
  6. Fast and Furious $12.7 million
  7. Observe and Report $6 million
  8. Knowing $3.6 million
  9. I Love You, Man $3.5 million
  10. The Haunting in Connecticut $2.9 million

And may I also point out that Hannah Montana has been dropping like a rock all week and barely finished ahead of Monsters vs. Aliens on Wednesday night, so that’s why I am predicting those 3-D monsters and aliens to finally move ahead of her.

That’s it.

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