The Feel-Good Weekend of the Year!
Welcome back to Movieline Attractions, your regular guide to everything new, noteworthy and/or left for dead at the movies. This week a pair of horror epics duel for box-office supremacy, Ang Lee ducks back a few decades, and Andy Griffith blows everyone away. Literally. Sort of. It's all after the jump.
WHAT'S NEW: Let's just make this quick today; beyond the idea that the Weinstein Company could have consecutive No. 1 weekends between Inglourious Basterds and Halloween II, there's not a whole lot of overthinking to do about the latter film and its primary competition The Final Destination. Which isn't to say either film is terrible or even bad; neither studio would screen them for reviewers, of course, but Rob Zombie is clearly working on a level above, say, Nispel the Rebootian, and Final Destination got a whole think piece last weekend in the NY Times, so who knows? In any case, they're both being targeted right between the eyes of 18- to 25-year-old males, which is always good for $20-$22 million. I do like Final Destination to come out on top based on the 3-D bump alone, but it's a coin toss. And don't count out Basterds as a dark horse to repeat; a 50-percent drop would put it at $19 million, perhaps just enough to climb back to No. 1 if the tossed-off late-summer horror fare can't sustain word-of-mouth the way Tarantino did last week.
Ang Lee's not-so-terrible Taking Woodstock is on about 1,400 screens; the timing works, the older audience is there, and Focus is on a roll, which might be good for about $5.2 million. And except for Play the Game (aka The Andy Griffith Blowjob Movie), that's about it for anything remotely in wide-release: New York gets exclusives on the Anna Wintour/Vogue documentary The September Issue, the baffling "comedy" Mystery Team, the disturbing Patton Oswalt showcase Big Fan, and acclaimed auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda's family drama Still Walking. Meanwhile, L.A. catches up with World's Greatest Dad, the IRA drama Five Minutes in Heaven, and Germany's Oscar-nominated terror-gang epic The Baader Meinhof Complex.
THE BIG LOSER: The Two-Minute Verdicted trailer for The Open Road may be as close as you ever get to seeing it, which seems like a bit of a waste: Justin Timberlake stars as the son of a baseball legend (Jeff Bridges) who hits the highway with both his girlfriend and his estranged pop. Is the movie that bad? The film's Web site reveals a rather paltry 14-city engagement, including L.A. and Portland... Texas? Well-played, Anchor Bay. Or maybe it's a play on Paramount's cutting-edge, "mid-America" marketing technique, in which case, as you were.
THE UNDERDOG: We Live in Public is another New York exclusive (L.A. opening: Sept. 24) that won this year's Grand Jury Prize for docs at Sundance, was invited as the closing-night selection of the prestigious New Directors/New Films fest, and has evolved into a self-distributed meta-powerhouse about Internet pioneer Josh Harris and his crazy-making experiments in how people share their lives online. It's fascinating, fast-moving, terrifying and tragicomic stuff; I'll have more about it on the site later today, but if ever anything was an underdog, this borderline-DIY enterprise would be it. See it if and when you can.
FOR SHUT-INS: A busy week in new DVD's includes the Julia Roberts/Clive Owen caper Duplicity, the underachieving coming-of-age comedy Adventureland, the soccer allegory Rudo y Cursi, the pulpy, pugilistic Channing Tatum flick Fighting, the Amy Adams/Emily Blunt crime-scene dramedy Sunshine Cleaning, and the first seasons of Lie to Me and the late-'80s yuppie benchmark thirtysomething.