http://chud.com/nextraimages/pettygotlucky.jpgDoes anyone know the pros and cons of cities built on Rock and Roll? It seems there hasn’t been a lot of forward movement on this. Was it not environmentally sound?

IT’S TOO BAD JESSE JAMES WON’T LIVE… THEN AGAIN, WHO DOES?

Blade Runner hit two screens last weekend, and as one would guess one was in Los Angeles, and the other in New York (and at the Zeigfeld, no less). If you look at BO Mojo, it’s apparent that it was the number one film in the country during the weekdays (if you go by the per screen) and the number two per screen film for the weekend (lagging behind only George Clooney and his Michael Clayton). What this means is that the flyover states may yet have a chance to see the film in the theaters. Perhaps the second weekend will tell that tale. But regardless, the DVD sales for this title should be much, much more than the film made in its previous theatrical incarnations (including this one).

Ridley Scott is also one of the producers on another film that is likely to go as wide as it will ever go this week, that being The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Russ wrote about this here, and it’s one of the saddest things going this weekend. It’s also squaring up against Michael Clayton, which is hitting closer to 2400 screens (Jesse James’ expansion is closer to 400) and both are the spawn of Warner Brothers. And as I said last week, when any studio tries to put two films on the market at the same time, they’re treating one like a sacrificial lamb kabob.

Too bad. I think part of this may simply be the need to get James out wide enough while there’s still some heat and screens available. The per screens have not been great, and waiting until Saw IV’s 10/26 will do them no favors (which only has two wide releases, versus this week’s five and next week’s six). With so many October weekends clusterfucked, it also looks like dumping grounds. Then again, I thought this fall season would shake out a front runner, and Jeremy’s word is that Live Free or Elizabeth Hard (first to make that joke? Possibly!) is not that picture. So the game plan (not The Rock’s Game Plan, mind you) for Jesse is to hit the bigger multiplexes and larger cities, and leave it at that. Be gone by November. But since New York and L.A. and Chicago haven’t set it on fire, then now’s the time to let go and call it a day. Those in the boonies, I’m sorry. But also, this can be nothing new at this point. It’s the trade-off for that much cheaper housing.

If you read Shawn Levy’s assessment here you can see how this also puts critics up against the wall with a film. And the sort of scenario he describes about trying to squeeze a near-three hour movie into an already packed fall schedule likely just happened across the country. And as those critics may have had their weeks planned, and were looking not only at Clayton, Elizabeth’s Big Score, and Rendition, instead they might have to twist their plans to accommodate 160 minutes of a film that they’ve been given 24 notice to watch, is akin to turning the film into Jennifer Jason Leigh at the end of Last Exit to Brooklyn. There’s few things that set anticipations lower, or knives sharper than an inconvenienced critic.

Warner Brothers has issued a death sentence. Russ knew it, Shawn knew it. I know it. And with that, even the end of the year lists may be shot. Yes, it will be on tons of top ten lists (and I’d bet a good chunk of the Chud writers), but it probably won’t have a lot of top ten pull because those can become political. I could be wrong, but the tide is not that high on it, the opinions too mixed for this to become a cause to champion. Getting to sixth place on the NYFCC list is too little too late.

So back to Blade Runner. Let’s make things happy. It was a film that didn’t exactly perform to expectation. Let me say what I always say, what keeps me going with this thing we call the business, where so many great films never touch the business of Wild Hogs or Shrek the Third. Some of you may see Jesse and like it (for me it’s the best film of the year), some may not, but… But there is always hope, and there is always film.

I GOT A PREDICTION THAT’S BETTER THAN THAT, NOTHING IS BETTER THAN THIS… IS IT?

Well, like I said, it’s a busy weekend. There was good word about We Own the Night, directed by James Gray, but this strikes me as a dumping. But there’s enough there to warrant a viewing, so get on it. I could have dedicated an entire column to the uselessness of Tyler Perry and his diminishing returns, but Tyler Perry’s Why Did I get Married is likely the winner of the new releases, in that it’s likely to do over ten million. Michael Clayton, though, had a good limited run, and should also do well. So what takes the weekend? Tyler Perry, in a very weak weekend. Janet Jackson should take it to Lincoln Hawk style to the Chopping Mall. A good eight is a success for Elizabeth, all things, but it’s a smash and grab.

So my weekend guestimates go like this:

1. Tyler Perry’s Trapped in the Closet - $15 Million
2. Michael Clayton - $13.6 Million
3. The Game Plan -$10.2 Million
4. We Own the Night – $9.9 Million
5. Elizabeth: The Elizabethaning (shout out to Micah’s new baby!) – $8.3 Million

And then on Sunday we hear from Ghostface Killer (feat. Ad. Ackbar) and his new hit single “It’s a WRAP!”