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.