LOLZ at the BO
Welcome back to Movieline Attractions, your regular guide to everything new, noteworthy and relentlessly upbeat at the movies. At least it feels relentlessly upbeat this week, with three new comedies going up against the summer's biggest laffer to date, a nifty stop-motion import, and a great American classic finally reaching DVD. Survey the scene with me after the jump.
WHAT'S NEW: Overall it's a slowish week, with no studio wanting to sacrifice anything but the lightest advance counterprogramming to next Wednesday's Transformers coming-out party. Hence The Proposal and Year One, each with their respective audiences who will nudge the films into the weekend's Top 5 -- but not necessarily to No. 1. The Sandra Bullock/Ryan Reynolds romantic comedy offers an interesting subplot to the weekend's main story (i.e. whether or not The Hangover can sustain a third week on top), testing viewers' interest in a world where these stars can actually open a summer hit. I think they can; Disney has their backs on the marketing front, a lot more so than Sony has gone to bat for Jack Black and Michael Cera's flat-looking historical comedy Year One.
Still, there's The Hangover, which will lose folks to both new films but still hold tight around $20 million. Up should earn another $18-$19 million itself. But look for women to push Proposal to first place at $22.8 million, and for Hangover-ed out guys with nothing better to do to lift Year One to about $18.9 million. Close calls all around. And Woody Allen's less-than-stellar NYC comeback Whatever Works might have some money-siphoning implications, affecting the studios' takes in limited release in New York and Los Angeles. Close calls all around.
Also opening: The Brooklyn mob drama The Narrows; the overfishing-crisis documentary The End of the Line; the nasty Nazi-zombie flick Dead Snow (NY only), the Lyme disease doc Under Our Skin (also NY only); and the middle-aged father/daughter drama Irene in Time (L.A. only).
THE BIG LOSER: Short of piling on top of Eddie Murphy, whose Imagine That has averaged exactly $419.17 per screen since opening last Friday, don't expect any significant box-office wreckage off the coast Monday morning.
THE UNDERDOG: Israeli author Etgar Keret has seen his work adapted to the screen dozens of time (American viewers are probably most familiar with Wristcutters: A Love Story), but $9.99 marks his first and perhaps last entry into the realm of stop-motion puppetry. It's a bracing antidote to Up if that's your thing, threaded with suicide, sex, remorse, obsession, drunken guardian angels, recession-era dread and generational torment, all contained in a single apartment building with an Australian voice cast led by Geoffrey Rush and Anthony LaPaglia. It's also bitterly funny and quite moving, particularly the treatment of his beloved boy-and-his-piggy-bank story "Breaking the Pig," which Pixar couldn't exceed in a thousand years if it tried. It's well worth a look.
FOR SHUT-INS: This week's new DVD selection is dominated by four Friday the 13th films (including the recent reboot and three '80s-era titles), but save your real welcome for Ice-T's masterpiece Tommy and the Cool Mule. Madea Goes to Jail runs a close second behind that, with Hilary Duff's drama What Goes Up, The Cell 2, and the vanity sailing doc Morning Light all bringing up the rear.