Reject Report: Zack and Miri

Well, it’s time for an extra-controversial Reject Report this week! I must say, we haven’t had a controversy around here for a while, not since way back in the spring when this Fanboys-Superhero Movie nonsense broke out. Remember that? That was when the fanboys protested the Weinstein Company’s mishandling of the release of their movie Fanboys by boycotting that company’s other release Superhero Movie, which went down to total defeat at the box office. The fanboy community then vowed never to go see a Weinstein movie again until they gave a proper release to Fanboys.

A lot has changed since then. Fanboys is getting a January release, and the Weinstein Company is now rolling out Kevin Smith’s latest masterpiece ‘o raunch Zack and Miri Make a Porno. If there are two things that go hand in hand, though, it’s controversy and the Weinstein Company, because that’s what we have been getting this week with this Porno movie. So I’ll be talking about that this week. Also, The Haunting of Molly Hartley rolls out and two other releases, Changeling and RockNRolla, go wide. So we are in store for a very busy Halloween weekend at the movies. So without much delay, let’s get right to Zack and Miri.

As the title suggests, Zack and Miri Make a Porno is exactly what the title makes it out to be. It’s a story about these two longtime friends Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks), both of whom have dead-end lives and are desperate for cash. They hit on a sure-fire plan for riches: make a porno movie! As these two make their X-rated movie they realize they may actually have feelings for each other. Jason Mewes is also in it.

So that sums up the plot in a nutshell, and now onto the controversy surrounding the marketing of this movie. The Weinstein Company, it seems to me, are attempting to market this flick as if it was some sort of Judd Apatow-type flick. That makes a lot of sense when you think of it, because Judd Apatow movies tend to open to hauls of $20 to $30 million dollars! But the key word here is that Weinstein is “attempting” to market the flick. They have been running into nothing but problems on that score. First of all, this movie was slapped with an NC-17 rating by the MPAA — a box-office kiss of death right there. So Kevin Smith had it appealed and they finally got an R rating. You would think that would solve a lot of the problems. Heck, no!!

There have been all kinds of roadblocks getting this movie marketed. We’ve seen movie posters banned and changed to suit the MPAA and everyone else. We’ve seen newspapers reject ads for this movie, and TV networks rejecting TV commercials during certain broadcasts (NFL games and so on) just because this flick had the word “Porno” in the title! We’ve had movie theaters in Utah refuse to screen the flick on the grounds that the movie was “almost NC-17″. And on and on and on.

Granted, some people will say this is exactly the type of headline-grabbing publicity this movie needs. I have a different view. I think the problems getting this thing marketed have really hurt this movie, and all it will get is the usual “cult” audience that usually goes to Kevin Smith movies. I don’t care if this is in 2,700 theaters. Unfortunately, $14 million is all I see for this flick. It is too bad, too, that in this day and age we still have all this censorship going on down in the USA. Too many Americans in too many parts of the United States are just too uptight. So that is what I see happening with Zack and Miri.

Since I have wasted all my time on Zack and Miri Make a Porno, I’ll be brief with the other three wide releases this week:

The Haunting of Molly Hartley is directed by Mickey Riddell and stars Haley Bennett as Molly, a young teenager approaching her 18th birthday. Turns out she suffered a knife attack at the hands of her mother. Now she’s about to learn the truth about that attack and her fate — in the service of the Devil!!! Evil stuff.

This one is in almost as many theaters as Zack and Miri is, and it is Halloween, but somehow I don’t see it doing quite as well as these other flicks rolling out this week. A lot of the predictions I see have this flick finishing in the middle of the pack. I am going to predict $9 million, which is a little higher than what a lot of people are saying, simply because the horror fans have been starved for entertainment. But Saw V is going to cut into quite a bit of business. Did I mention it’s PG-13?

Changeling opened a week ago and now goes wide everywhere this weekend. This is that Clint Eastwood-directed movie starring Angelina Jolie, Gattlin Griffith, Michelle Martins and John Malkovich. Set in 1928, Jolie plays the mother of a child who is kidnapped, but miraculously her son is returned — or so it seems. It doesn’t take long for her to figure out the child is not hers, so the quest begins to try and find her son. This is based on a true story, by the way.

Angelina Jolie is getting some Oscar buzz for her performance in this movie, so the Oscar crowd will no doubt show up for this one. But it’s only rolling out in 1,850 theaters. So I predict decent business but nothing spectacular; $11 million for Angelina and Changeling.

Finally, RocknRolla is a British crime-themed film directed by Guy Ritchie. The same guy who is married to Madonna and going through an ugly, tabloid-fodder divorce. I don’t think anyone in the world cares that he has this movie out right now: all they care about is this Madonna nonsense and all the revelations. Gerard Butler, Thandie Newton, and Tom Wilkinson appear in this story involving real-estate scamming activity in London.

I’ll be very brief and to the point; this flick is going to expand to 826 screens and make about $2 million, and more people are interested in the director’s divorce case than his movie. And that’s all I will say about that.

So that sums up these new releases and expanded releases. Not exactly what I would call a lineup ready to set the world on fire at the theaters, unfortunately. Which leaves the door wide open for High School Musical 3: Senior Year to finish first once again for a second week in a row, to the chagrin of a lot of people (including myself).

Here’s the good news, as I see it: this movie looks like it is dropping like a rock. A rush of people went to see it last week, so it’s likely that it will take a dive the way Hannah Montana did, and the way Sex and the City did, and the way other highly-anticipated movies have dropped after its initial week. Some people are predicting an over 50 percent drop, and I totally agree with them. In particular I noticed that on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week High School Musical 3 was actually getting beat at the box office by Saw V. IT GOT BEAT BY SAW V!!!! So the good news is that this High School Musical 3 movie looks like it is sinking fast.

Still, the weekend audiences should pick this movie up off the canvas one last time for another first-place finish before it finally crashes and burns for good. $19 million is my estimate for High School Musical 3 this weekend, which still represents an over 50 percent drop.

Here’s a look at what I predict is in store at the box office this weekend.

1. High School Musical 3: Senior Year $19 million
2. Zack and Miri Make a Porno $14 million
3. Saw V $13 million
4. Changeling $11 million
5. The Haunting of Molly Hartley
$9 million
6. Beverly Hills Chihuahua
$5.1 million
7. Max Payne $5 million
8. The Secret Life of Bees $4 million
9. Pride and Glory $3.9 million
10. Eagle Eye $3.6 million

That’s right: W. is off the map this week. That Oliver Stone movie is dropping like a — stone. Deep into the bottom of the swimming pool.

That is all for now! Wish I was more optimistic about how Kevin Smith’s movie will do, but look on the bright side: a showing like this would be his biggest-ever open. I know, that’s hard to believe. We’ll see what happens at weekend’s end once again, right here at the Reject Report!


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