I was getting rather downtrodden on summer blockbusters this year, to the point where I was being told I was simply “burned out” on blockbusters. Well lo and behold, somebody makes one with two-brain cells and an understanding of how to move a camera and edit a sequence and I’m all smiles once again! The details are here, and some other cool monkey stuf is here, but ultimately it comes down to this– how well can a big ole ape movie do when nobody was expecting much from it, but it’s suddenly taking critics by storm? Will this turned around buzz equate to a bigger opening, or simply longer legs? Dropping this puppy at the tail of summer may have been a brilliant move from Fox as they get to play clean up with a reenergizing film. We’ll see. I’m thinking this chimp can bust past the opening of Cowboys & Aliens without breaking a sweat. A real win, as the film reportedly cost less than a bone (~$93m) and Franco is far from a sure-thing draw.
The much hated Burton reboot that hit theaters 10 years ago actually did pretty stunning numbers, so despite being the silliest classic franchise on the block, maybe there is a latent love for the apes among audiences. Without Burton’s name and bearing little of the traditional iconography this will never makes that much money ($68.5m), but the connection is clear, the buzz is good and the weekend is open. A million bucks in midnight tickets isn’t showing huge rabidity, but… in what universe would that have been a thing?
On the flipside of the coin is a body-switching movie that seems to have no problem owning the triteness of the concept in the marketing. The Change Up is wisely relying on the dynamic of Bateman and Reynolds to sell itself, a dynamic that saves an otherwise shoddy flick. People aren’t extraordinarily hungry for good comedy after a summer full of it, but everybody likes to laugh. This could be the comedy that shows up to the party after everyone is starting to wind down and pass out, or it may arrive just in time with another big box of liquor and pussy jokes to spark a second wind. Hard to call.
The Smurfs should do depressingly well again this weekend, with Cowboys and Captain falling as expected to round out the top five. Let’s see…
We’ll meet up Monday morning.
Come back Sunday to wonder what the fuck I was thinking with me.