There are a couple films coming out this weekend, with The Bank Job getting Devin’s endorsement, and 10,000 B.C. getting the gas-face from Russ. College Road Trip, starring Martin Lawrence and Raven probably isn’t going for the critic’s screening route, and stands a good chance of opening big. But, realistically, there’s only one thing to watch this weekend, and you know what I’m going to say. It’s The Wire‘s Season finale. But if you ain’t up on the wire at this point, you’re just missing out. Enjoy the DVD’s.
What’s in a release date? Is it the stylish clothes they wear, the flowers in their hair? Who fucking cares.
Yet studios and filmmakers are often superstitious about when titles come out. when you talk about filmmakers, you’ve got George Lucas and Stephen Sommers rocking the same release dates for their (in some cases would-be) Summer tentpoles, and others have decided to go around the same time.
But, more obviously, a studio will release a certain film around a certain time. Disney had a great success with 2003’s Bringing Down the House, and so you’ve had The Pacifier, and Wild Hogs come out around that time, while this year we get College Road Trip, which sets up the same sort of generic family entertainment with a taste of ethnocentricity. Whilst Warner Brothers hit it out of the park last year with 300, and so this year they have a period action film that has a trailer that suggests similar excitements. Is it the same thing? Not at all, and advanced word is terrible. Horrible. But it’ll open. God damn it.
Warner Brothers claimed the first week in December with Ocean’s 11, and they’ve been running it ever since, while New line took the second week after LOTR. February has been a perennial Mathew McCaunahey month. Why? The truth is in William Goldman, but the truth is also more complicated than that.
All box office stuff is bet-hedging from a production standpoint. If something worked once, why chance the release date as well? That way you can say that you were hoping for similar on a similar return, and if the returns are diminished, then you’ve got something to blame. Almost everything done is because it worked before, but also because that way you (or in this case, the executive in charge) can say “well it worked the last time. And, with that, Warner Brothers has an opening weekend for a hunk of junk. And if it doesn’t work, they can say “Well we opened it, and that worked the last time.”
PREDICTIONS WILL MAKE YOU DO RIGHT, PREDICTION WILL MAKE YOU DO WRONG
So this weekend should be huge for films no one cares about, but we’re still in the post-Oscar months, and if you’re town hasn’t got There Will be Blood, or The Diving Bell and the Butterfly yet, you’re probably living in a bad pace to be a movie-lover who doesn’t have netflix.
Realistically, there’s been two worthwhile movies this year: Rambo and Cloverfield. That is to say, if you have a genre bent or – that is to say – if you’re reading this. That the earlier months have been crap is not all that surprising, though disappointing. 10,000 B.C. should show strong this weekend, but so should Martin Lawrence’s paycheck. B.C. generated some heat, but everyone I’ve talked to says it’s crap, so the Friday drop-off will be palpable, even if it takes the weekend. Road Trip will also be a draw, and if it’s anything like its predecessors, should be very profitable for Disney. But not an sensation, just well played. It’s a weak but profitable weekend for all. Except New Line, who’ll take a 50% plus hit on a non-starter. Which is fair coming from an amateur league as it did. The Bank Job is a genre entry from Lionsgate, and could do okay at best, but is a small thing, a small thing.
1. 10,000 B.C (and a bitch ain’t one) - $23.7 Million
2. College Road Trip – $20.2 Million
3. Semi-Pro - $7.2 Million
4. The Bank Job - 5.8 Million
5. Vantage Point - 5.7 Million
If Spiderwick laps any of the latter two, I would not be surprised. But I’m never surprised, I had a Doctor remove that part of my brain for a freak experiment whilst in college. I’m unflappable. Except for that flap where my surprise-o-meter used to be. Sometimes I massage it and I get the feeling of confusion and joy. It’s a good and a bad.