The fests keep playing, which would seem to be where all the interesting movies are at, but nowadays October is just a likely to house a winner as loser. But more on that in a minute.
DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK
Isn’t it funny how the Farrelly brothers spent ten years pissing away their good will? After their success with Dumb and Dumber, and the love Kingpin found on home video, There’s Something About Mary took it home. People loved the film, it was a sensation, and careers were made. The Farrellys, Ben Stiller and Cameron Diaz all benefited enormously (Chris Elliot? Sadly, not so much) The Farrellys were the Judd Apatows of their day. That is, until they tried to follow it up.
First came 2000’s Me, Myself and Irene. Mixing racial politics and a lot of self-loathing, the film is arduous to sit through and did only 90 Million at the box office. It was a misfire, fiscally and artistically, and a painful one in that as it reunited the brothers with Jim Carrey, which basically used up that go-to for both of them (when a director and actor successfully pair, it gives them at least one get out of jail free card: See also: A Good Year). Both parties should have held out until they needed it (like Carrey needs now). Then in 2001 they did the live-action sections of Osmosis Jones, but no one really holds that movie against them, so next up was 01’s Shallow Hal, which did $70 million. This may be their most successful post-Mary outing (Mary did $176 stateside) in that it was toplined by Jack Black and Gwyneth Paltrow, who may be an academy award winning actress, but not exactly a draw. The film seemed to play, but while it was no failure, the heat was off the boys, who couldn’t seem to find the balance between the grotesque and the real. More to the point, the boys had successfully turned off any following they were going to have.
Two years later and in 2003 Stuck on You was dumped by Fox into a busy Christmas season, opening a week before Return of the King, and two weeks before Fox’s 100 Million-plus smash Cheaper by the Dozen (generally if a release date doesn’t have a lot of breathing room from another company title, one of those films is getting fucked. See also: Warner Brothers putting Blood Diamonds and Unaccompanied Minors out on the same day). By ‘05 they were working with Jimmy Fallon. It could not get much lower. Likely the boys signed a lengthy contract at Fox to keep them going and the latter two pictures were stillborn partly because they were regarded as contractual obligations.
And so now the brothers return. And this is it, the stakes are high, because they’re cashing in their Ben Stiller chips. They’ve got a new studio behind them this time, which may make a difference, but at this point the film will likely get over based on Ben Stiller’s track record. The film will likely get to near (if not over) 100 Million, and hopefully the boys have figured this one out. Though it may be a horrible remake by abandoning everything that makes the original great, laughter goes a long way towards forgiveness.
With the October release date, though, it shows that even with what appears to be a sure thing, everyone’s taking the easy weekend victory, and the shorter play. Five years ago, this would have been a summer release.
THAT’S WHY I’M LEAVIN’, I’M PREDICTING LIKE SUNDAY MORNING
The Heartbreak Kid should make for a good date movie and it should also play with a crowd. If that’s the case, it should get in the 20’s, and again, likely to get to the magic nine. The Seeker: The fuck is this piece of shit also opens this week. The obvious parallel is Eragon, which truly is one of the worst films of the last couple of years. Feel the Noise should possibly also do some business, but may not crack the top five. The only thing that might keep it out is Resident Evil, which will be doing somewhere in the $4-5 range.
The Game Plan should hold slightly better than The Kingdom, which lost some momentum by not opening bigger, but has been doing better weekday business. But the weekend should bring the families back.
So, on the one’s and two’s, here we go:
1. The Heartbreak Kid – $25.2 Million
2. The Game Plan - $13.4 Million
3. The Seeker - $12.7 Million
4. The Kingdom – $11.2 Million
5. Feel the Noise – $4.8 Million
And Sunday we will find out more about love.