Weekend Forecast: Will The Lion King 3D Rule the Box Office Jungle Again?
In this installment of Weekend Forecast, three new and (mostly) intriguing offerings vie at the box office: the Ryan Gosling showcase Drive, Sarah Jessica Parker's I Don't Know How She Does It, and Rod Lurie's remake of Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs. But will any of them be a match for the proven global box-office dazzle of Disney's The Lion King 3D?
• The Lion King 3D: Disney's 1994 megahit about an African lion cub who grows into his rightful place as king of the jungle is only coming back to theaters for a limited two-week engagement, but it's poised to clean up during its reign for a few reasons. A) It's a great film that a new generation of parents will want to share with their young kids - far more serene and emotionally affecting than the fast-paced, gross-out animated fare children get these days - and B) It's in 3-D! The added cost of tickets for the refurbished animated musical should help put The Lion King 3D at the top of the charts given the much more targeted competition. FORECAST: $14 million
• Drive: The R-rated Ryan Gosling-starrer has built steady buzz since debuting at the Cannes Film Festival, where it vied for the Palme d'Or and won Nicolas Winding Refn the directing prize. But sublime as it is, Drive balances precariously on the line between art film and action thriller, and the marketing campaign has struggled to preach outside of the choir. Still: Who can resist the Gosling? FORECAST: $11 million
• I Don't Know How She Does It: This working mom/modern woman chick flick is scripted by the writer of The Devil Wears Prada and 27 Dresses and stars Sarah Jessica Parker as a harried working woman trying (and failing) to juggle it all, which means women will certainly travel en masse on girls nights out to this unsatisfying PG-13 comedy. Poor reviews may steer romance fans away, but don't underestimate the power of Carrie Bradshaw (yes, that is how every woman sees SJP) to lure ladies to the box office with her siren call of modern lady problems combined with plucky self-doubt. FORECAST: $10 million
• Straw Dogs: Rod Lurie's remake of the 1971 Sam Peckinpah classic updates its setting to the American South but has a decidedly anti-small town vibe. Middle America and non-cineastes not familiar with the original may see this as just another generic revenge-thriller and wave it off as just another Screen Gems genre exercise. FORECAST: $8 million
Auteur Gus Van Sant opens his latest film, Restless (with Mia Wasikowska as a terminally ill teenager in love with Henry Hopper, Dennis's son), while Run Lola Run director Tom Tykwer returns to Germany with the MFM ménage à trois tale 3. Elsewhere, there's the back-to-school-for-grown-ups comedy Stay Cool, the Sundance-award-winning Norwegian import Happy, Happy, the French charmer My Afternoons with Margueritte and The Weird World of Blowfly -- a doc about the flamboyant titular R&B singer.
Care to take your pick and/or call your shot?