Superstars to Spend Weekend Battling Vicious Hangover

Welcome back to Movieline Attractions, your regular guide everything new, noteworthy and still hungover at the movies. This week, a couple of Hollywood titans square off against a batch of raunchy phenoms, Francis Ford Coppola gets lost in Argentina and Eddie Murphy simply gets lost. Bold predictions after the jump.

WHAT'S NEW: In the landscape of summer releases, The Taking of Pelham 123 was supposed to have been Sony's modest mid-June milepost, facing little competition on the way to a solid $35 million or so opening. Alas, no one at the studio could have known that they built their hopes directly over the volatile fault line better known as The Hangover. But Pelham's Denzel Washington/John Travolta foundation has the sturdiness to withstand all but the most violent temblors, though you'll see the damage: Even with Hangover dropping 40% from last week, it's still looking at close to $30 million of its own, which means another photo finish come Sunday night. I still like Pelham for the win, but just barely -- as in $30.3 million barely.

Also opening in limited release: Sam Rockwell's terrific solo turn in Moon; the disturbing industrial expose Food Inc.; the Elvis impersonator-in-love indie Unbeatable Harold; the skateboarding drama Street Dreams (L.A./S.F. only); the music doc Youssou N'Dour: I Bring What I Love (NYC only); Jean-Jacques Beineix's 186-minute director's cut of Betty Blue (also NYC only); and Bai Ling's family dramedy Dim Sum Funeral (L.A. only).

THE BIG LOSER: Last year's monolithic stinker Meet Dave notwithstanding, Hollywood never went broke overestimating the mid-career appeal of Eddie Murphy. As such, it's entirely possible his new film Imagine That doesn't deserve consideration as this weekend's likeliest underachiever -- especially not opposite two R-rated films and with Up and Night at the Museum 2 tapering off some in their third and fourth weeks respectively. Co-producer Nickelodeon Films also has relentlessly plugged the kid-friendly fantasia to its broadcast constituency for over a month, so really, Imagine's prospects can't be that bad. Still, though, it's the first family film of the season about which no one is palpably excited, and while Murphy will never poison the well for Paramount, with a probable $13.6 million opening here, he's not really doing much to fill it, either.


THE UNDERDOG: As long as Francis Ford Coppola finances and distributes his own films -- and as long as they're well-made, thought-provoking and risky, as this week's Tetro is -- then the great filmmaker qualifies as an underdog. Either way, on only two screens in New York and Los Angeles, look for a weekend-best per-theater average around $24,000.

FOR SHUT-INS: This week's crop of new DVD's include Clint Eastwood's fantastic valedictory lap as an actor, Gran Torino, the stinky Clive Owen/Naomi Watts thriller The International, the genre farce Fired Up!, the 40th anniversary edition of Woodstock, Sarah Jessica Parker's blink-and-you-missed-it folly Spinning Into Butter, and the all-star Weinstein dumperooni Crossing Over.


  • JudgeFudge says:

    I have a feeling that despite the heavy marketing push, with Imagine That Eddie Murphy will be continuting a journey that started almost seven years ago with The Adventure of Pluton Nash(Domestic gross:$5 million, production budget:$100 million) and continued last year with Meet Dave (domestic gross: $11 million, production budget: $60 million). This weekend, The Tripple Crown of Family-Fantasy Flops could belong to Eddie Murphy!

  • Juancho says:

    I see TP123 at $25-30 mil. I'm most interested in seeing how Up fares, this weekend will be the true test of its legs.

  • NoWireHangers says:

    Imagine That doesn't look that horrible. It doesn't look any worse than that movie The Rock made with that cute little girl in the tutu. I forget what it was called, but it made money right? I'm not really in that demographic. Clearly, that's the audience Imagine That wants, but it's no Disney film.
    The sad thing is that I'm more likely to assume this movie sucks because Eddie Murphy is in it. It's very sad because he's extremely talented but he's burned us a few too many times. Norbit: Never Forget.
    Don't you find it interesting that it's not possible to mention Eddie Murphy's name without Pluto Nash coming up. EddPLUTONASHie Murphy. For a movie no one saw, people seem to intimately know how much it sucked. I'm tempted to watch it. I think there's a dust covered VHS copy somewhere in this building.

  • JudgeFudge says:

    I've heard that Pluto Nash, for what its worth, isn't even that horrible. It's just the $100 million Summertime Family Fantasy Eddie Murphy Vehicle that no one really wanted to see for some reason.

  • Juancho says:

    That movie the Rock made was The Game Plan, which shockingly pulled in $90mil domestic. My then-girlfriend cracked up at the trailer and wanted to see it, and that's kind of a microcosm of the movie taste here in the fly-over states. (Even more soul-crushing, the director is the boyfriend of this girl, whom you might remember from the show Step by Step. I give up on dating.)
    I'm shocked Imagine That didn't come from Tollin/Robbins, everything from the subject matter to the casting right down to the poster looks like one of their films.

  • Cutting Makes You Sexy says:

    Alright. I'll say it. Imagine That looks cute. I'm happy for him. Really. I mean, it's been pathetic watching him crumble into tranny oblivion (not the tranny part, that was just awesome) and it's nice that this movie isn't as effing retarded looking.*
    I'm rooting for him. Really. I would like to see Beverly Hills Cop IV done right. Another Fucking 48 Hours? Yes. Done Right. Hell I even want to see Coming Again to America.
    I just want to see him succeed. I don't know why. Maybe because I love that song... you know... *My girl wants to party all the time, party all the time, party allllll the tyyiiiime...*
    ~Cough~ Excuse me.
    *Some of my best friends are retarded.

  • NoWireHangers says:

    I like "Party All the Time Too". Hell, Rick James wrote the damn song. It's no Don Johnson's "Heartbeat".

  • Michael A says:

    Seven years since Pluto Nash? Time for a reboot. Surely it's been Marcus Nispel's long-held dream to take the property and do it right.
    As for the film, I saw it. Laughed twice. So the two minor outbreaks of mirth came at $50m a pop. Still, it was better than The Game Plan.

  • Inhaler says:

    I feel John Travolta deserves a little commenter's love. He is rocking not only a goatee, but a gun as well.. in a subway train.
    Also I believe it was his request that his character at some point in the movie ardently fires back with, "bunghole."