Move Along, Folks, Nothing to See Here
Welcome back to Movieline Attractions, your one-stop guide everything new, noteworthy and/or not-so-earth-shattering at the movies. This week brings us an awkward collection of studio also-rans overshadowing a fairly busy, competitive bundle of limited releases and Oscar fare; sort it all out with us after the jump.
WHAT'S NEW: It's cooling off outside, the leaves are changing, and baseball pennant races are at their height. So why does it feel like late August again all of the sudden? Blame Hollywood, whose three major offerings this week boast all the stale, fallow appeal of gas station crumb cake: Take Surrogates for starters, featuring Bruce Willis as a cop investigating the murders of the titular robots in a world where people have machines doing their communicating for them. Give Touchstone credit for a stylish, provocative marketing blitz (Jennifer's Body could have used ridden even half of this to a top-three gross last week), but that's right about where the imagination seems to stop. Plus the film faces unexpected competition from Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, which is holding its own on the word-of-mouth front and could cross over to an older audience in week two. I still think Surrogates can lock up first place at $21.5 million, but it'll be close.
MGM is finally getting around to opening a film this year, introducing a remake of the 1980 semi-classic Fame to a new generation for whom stardom is more accessible than ever. Alas, they've softened the original's rough, salty edges all the way down to a PG rating, and its seeming lack of conceptual ambition -- which director Alan Parker brought plenty of to his original -- has turned off more than a few critics. That said, the studio has squeezed its campaign through a candy-colored prism of pretty much every talent show on TV, and it's tracking better than expected -- probably well enough to pull in $15 million and a toehold in the top three.
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