This is it. The end of the sometimes dour winter/spring movie season and the last weekend of April where many movies go to die. This weekend isn’t looking that bad even if we’re getting a lot of the same kind of throwaway movies we normally get on this weekend with one of them standing a chance of breaking out and possibly even beating the unstoppable Captain America: The Winter Soldier before we start getting a slew of big money summer movies.
First up, we have Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann starring in the female-centric comedy The Other Woman (20th Century Fox), which looks to update the premise of The First Wives Club for younger modern women who may appreciate the premise of women getting revenge on a cheating husband or boyfriend.
Besides having a strong premise that can immediately connect with women, what the raunchy comedy has going for it is a solid comedy box office draw in Cameron Diaz, who had early hits with The Mask and There’s Something About Mary opposite Jim Carrey and Ben Stiller, respectively, but who has moved onto even bigger things like voicing Fiona in DreamWorks Animation’s mega-blockbuster “Shrek” movies and starring in the two “Charlie’s Angels” movies. She’s also returned to comedy in recent years with solid hits like 2008′s What Happens in Vegas, which opened with $20 million against the second weekend of Iron Man, and two $30 million openers in 2011 with The Green Hornet and Bad Teacher, the latter which she was definitely more responsible for it becoming a $100 million hit. In between, she reteamed with Tom Cruise for their second movie together, Knight and Day, which didn’t do as well as some expected but was more blamed on Cruise than her. Then again, we can’t forget about Diaz’s 2002 bomb The Sweetest Thing, which opened slightly earlier in April but also at a time where she hadn’t quite proven herself at carrying a comedy on her own.
The movie is directed by second gen. filmmaker Nick Cassavetes, who is not exactly known for comedy, having mostly directed dramas including My Sister’s Keeper (which also starred Cameron Diaz but bombed pretty badly), John Q, Alpha Dog and a little movie that all women seem to love called The Notebook. Few women will care too much about who is directing the movie, but Diaz has some good comedy back-up in Leslie Mann aka Mrs. Judd Apatow, a dreamy leading man in Nikolaj Coster-Waldau from “Game of Thrones”–although he’s becoming less likable on that show’s current season–and a pretty model to hate in real-life model Kate Upton, so women have more than a few reasons to check the movie out.
Essentially, The Other Woman offers something that’s been missing from the box office and that’s a movie specifically targeting women 17 and up, and it’s in a good position to do as well as or better than Universal’s Baby Mama starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, which opened on the same date six years ago to $17.4 million on its way to $60 million total. The Other Woman should be good for around that amount this weekend with the only real shot to win the weekend and should be able to hold up well enough for $55 million despite having some serious comedy competition coming up in two weeks with Universal’s Neighbors.
Last November, “Fast and Furious” star Paul Walker was taken from this world quite suddenly and tragically, but he had already filmed Brick Mansions (Relativity), a remake of the French Parkour action-thriller District B13, originally masterminded by Luc Besson, who co-wrote the English screenplay to transplant the story to Detroit, Michigan. Before his death, Walker headlined this action movie as a police officer, who looks to infiltrated a crime-infested neighborhood along with an ex-con (played by original District B13 star David Belle).
Besides co-writing the screenplay, Besson hired a regular editor of his films to direct it–no one you would have heard of and no one with a name like Olivier Megaton–but Relativity isn’t marketing this as a new Besson movie, despite the fact that they’ve released two movies he’s been associated, last year’s crime-comedy The Family ($14 million opening, $36 million total) and the Kevin Costner action-thriller 3 Days to Kill, which has brought in roughly $30 million. Right now, Besson’s upcoming sci-fi thriller Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson and being released by Universal, is the only movie that looks to surpass his current box office slump, although that’s also opening against the Michael Bay-produced relaunch of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
As morbid as it might sound, Brick Mansions‘ best bet this weekend is that there’s a curiosity factor among “Fast and Furious” fans to see one of Walker’s last movies in a similar way as more people went to see The Dark Knight than might have if its star Heath Ledger hadn’t pass away months earlier (Sorry to be blunt, but it’s kind of true.) Regardless of any motives to get this out before the summer, the combination of Walker and the action-filled commercials should be enough to get guys to see the movie over some of the other choices even if the movie just doesn’t jump out as something that absolutely has to be seen in theaters.
Because of that last bit, Brick Mansions looks to pull in around the same as Besson’s other recent movies, probably around $10 million this weekend or slightly more and $30 million or less in its theatrical run with way too much summer competition hitting theaters starting next week.
For the second horror movie of April, the legendary British Hammer Films presents The Quiet Ones (Lionsgate), a PG-13 retro take on the found footage horror formula starring Sam Claflin from “The Hunger Games” and Jared Harris from “Mad Men.” Claflin has played “that good looking guy who isn’t the star” in big movies like Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Snow White and the Huntsman and last year’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, but there’s nothing to show that his presence in this period horror movie will do much to get female fans of some of his other movies to go out and see this one.
Lionsgate has done a good job marketing the movie’s scares as they have with other horror movies, but they’re also releasing it into a moderate 2,000 theaters at the end of April–a weekend where they often dump movies–so they clearly don’t have a lot of confidence in it. Then you look at a well-reviewed horror movie like Oculus barely making a mark and you have to think that moviegoers are taking a break from horror movies after such a strong 2013.
While The Quiet Ones has a slight chance at breaking out and making more than $10 million this weekend, we just don’t see that happening with competition from Brick Mansions from the same younger audience. It probably will fall just short of that amount with stronger summer fare opening over the next few weeks and it’s going to be hard for the film to gross even $25 million in theaters.
This weekend last year saw the release of two movies that probably weren’t going to fare that well, especially opening the weekend before Iron Man 3 kicked off the summer. Michael Bay’s attempt to break away from his mega-blockbuster action movies with the crime-comedy Pain & Gain (Paramount), starring Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg, went into the weekend with the strongest chance at winning, and it did so, but with just $20.2 million in nearly 3,300 theaters, a bland $6,178 compared to other movies from the trio, but still #1. The other new movie, the ensemble comedy The Big Wedding (Lionsgate), starring Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried, Topher Grace and really, actors who should have known better like Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton and Robin Williams, tanked with just $7.6 million in 2,633 theaters to take fourth place behind Oblivion and 42. Not that its under-$3,000 per theater would matter much, because it would be summer soon and movies like this would be long forgotten. The Top 10 brought in $78 million which shouldn’t be hard to top this week if two of the three new movies do better than The Big Wedding.
This Week’s Updated Predictions -
1. The Other Woman (20th Century Fox) – $18.2 million N/A (up .6 million)
2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Marvel Studios/Disney) – $15.5 million -39%
3. Heaven is for Real (Sony/TriStar Pictures) – $14.5 million -35%
4. Rio 2 (20th Century Fox) – $13.4 million -42% (up .1 million)
5. Brick Mansions (Relativity) – $10.8 million N/A (up .2 million)
6. The Quiet Ones (Lionsgate) – $7.3 million N/A (down 1.7 million)
7. Transcendence (Warner Bros.) – $5.0 million -58%
8. A Haunted House 2 (Open Road Films) – $4 million -55%
9. Draft Day (Summit) – $3.4 million -38% (up .1 million)
10. Divergent (Summit) – $3.1 million -45%
This Week’s Limited Releases:
Sorry, been too busy with this year’s Tribeca Film Festival to watch some of the movies being released in select cities, so no “CHOSEN ONE” this week.
Action, Thrillers and Horror:
Jeremy Saulnier’s Blue Ruin (RADiUS-TWC), a prize winner at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, stars Macon Blair as Dwight Evans, an outsider separated from his wife and children who gets caught up in a feud against a family, one of whose members killed his parents. Things quickly escalate and get out of control as Dwight learns how far the family will go to put an end to it.
Written and directed by Omid Nooshin, the suspense thriller Last Passenger (Cohen Media Group) stars Dougray Scott as Lewish Shaler, a doctor who has been raising a young son, who discovers that the train they’re taking back from London has been hijacked by a sociopath who plans on crashing it.
Speaking of the Tribeca Film Festival, Caradog W James’ The Machine (XLrating Media) premiered there last year with a premise that seems ill-timed after last weekend’s bomb Transcendence. It involves two computer programmers who fall in love after creating artificial intelligence in order to help humanity (just like in Transcendence!)–but then the British Government wants to use their discovery to turn it into a robotic weapon.
Tom Hardy stars in Locke (A24), the second feature as a director by Oscar-nominated British screenwriter Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things, Eastern Promises), in this one Hardy playing a site manager for a major new building construction whose life starts to fall apart when he leaves his job and family behind to be there for a woman he had a one-night stand with who is about to give birth.
Video Interview with Tom Hardy and Steven Knight (Coming Soon!)
Set in Hungary during WWII and inspired by a true story, Mark Schmidt’s Walking with the Enemy (Liberty Studios) stars Jonas Armstrong as a young Jew named Elek Cohen who is separated from his family and dons a Nazi uniform in order to infiltrate the ranks of the occupying forces to get more information and stay one step ahead of them. (No, it’s not a wacky comedy despite the premise.) Sir Ben Kingsley plays a small role as the Hungarian regent trying to maintain diplomacy among the occupying Nazis while also trying to protect the Jews of his city.
Foreign Films of Interest:
Opening at the IFC Center on Friday is French auteur filmmaker Francois Ozon’s latest film Young and Beautiful, (Sundance Selects) which takes a look at a year in the life of 17-year-old Isabelle (Cesar-nominated Marine Vacht) over the course of four seasons.
Also opening at the IFC Center, Argentinean filmmaker Lucia Puenzo (XXY) returns with The German Doctor (Samuel Goldwyn Films) based on her own novel about Josef Mengele, the Nazi SS officer known as the “Angel of Death” who spent years in hiding in Patagonia during the 60s living with an Argentinean family.
For those looking for something cheerier, we have The Girl and Death (Shadow Distribution) from filmmaker Jos Stelling about Nicolai–also a doctor post-WWII but this time a Russian one–who returns to a former hotel and brothel in Liepzig,Germany where he first met his great love five decades earlier. Her name was Elise (played by Dutch actress Sylvia Hoeks), a courtesan who was already on the payroll for the Count that owns the hotel, and the film deals with the conflict between Nicolai trying to get Elise away from the Count.
Bicycling with Moliere (Strand Releasing) is the new comedy from Philippe Le Guay (The Women on the Sixth Floor), starring Lambert Wilson (The Matrix Reloaded) and Fabrice Luchini playing two very different French actors and friends who rarely agree on anything except their love for Moliere’s “The Misanthrope.” Wilson plays a soap opera actor who travels to the island where Luchini’s character has retired to convince him to return to Paris to stage a new production of their favorite play. It opens at New York’s Film Forum on Wednesday.
Documentaries of Note:
Artist Ralph Steadman, best known for his work illustrating the words of Hunter S. Thompson, has the spotlight shone on him in Charles Paul’s For No Good Reason (Sony Pictures Classics), which takes a look at Steadman’s unique style of painting through the eyes of his good friend Johnny Depp, who comes to visit his studio with cameras in tow. The doc includes interviews with other Steadman collaborators and those he’s influenced including Terry Gilliam, Richard E. Grant and others. It opens in New York and L.A. on Friday.
Having just played at the Tribeca Film Festival last week, Mike Brett and Steve Jamison’s Next Goal Wins (Agile Films) looks at the campaign by American Samoa to turn their football team–considered one of the worst in the world around with the help of Dutch coach Thomas Rongen as they prepare for the World Cup qualifiers. It opens in select cities and VOD on Friday.
Next week, it’s May! It’s officially summer! (Sorry, Cap!) And The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Sony) will finally be released in North America after more than two weeks playing in international markets. Also look for our annual Summer Movie Box Office Preview sometime in the next week as well.
You can read stuff like this and regular box office, awards and festival coverage on the Weekend Warrior Blog and to keep up with the latest articles and posts, you can follow us on Twitter.”
Copyright 2014 Edward Douglas