In theaters this weekend we have two wide-releases and one independent film opening in select theaters around the county. The big one, of course, is "Prometheus". The film is directed Ridley Scott, and is the semi-prequel to one of his first films, "Alien". Everything we've seen so far has looked good, and even back in January, this was listed as one of the most anticipated films of the coming year for all of us here at this site. The other wide-release in an animated feature, "Madagascar 3". I'm not really familiar with this franchise, other than that each film, I believe, features the same animals trying to get back to their homes. The voice cast seems to be serviceable, and I'd imagine this will be a welcome addition for many parents out there this weekend.
The other film that I'll talk about a little is the independent comedy starring Greta Gerwig, "Lola Versus". This one only hits in a couple of cities this weekend, but will slowly expand after that.
Check out a full breakdown on each film after the break, as well as which of these three you should see, and what we can expect from the weekend Box Office.
First, I'm happy to start discussions with the film "Prometheus". As I said earlier, this is Ridley Scott's latest film. It brings him back to his sci-fi roots and opens up his Alien universe again. The cast is fantastic, as is usually the case with a Ridley Scott film: Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, and Patrick Wilson. It takes place in the future and involves as group of scientists/explorers that follow a series of pictographs into space, searching for the origins of mankind. But all hell ensues thereafter as they make contact with an ancient alien race with the capabilities of wiping out the entire planet.
If you've seen the trailers for this film, then you're probably looking forward to the classic tones and imagery of a Ridley Scott film just as I am. Only time will tell if this film lives up to such classics as "Alien" and "Blade Runner", but nonetheless, it's exciting to get getting a film like this from Scott again. Also, I do want to interject on this topic real quick to say that it's almost unfortunate that this film will have to live in the shadow of those previous films. No matter what movie it is, it doesn't seem fair to hold it to the quality of two of the best films from that genre of all time. I'm sure that people will generally enjoy the film, but no matter what, for the rest of days, it will never be mentioned without someone saying "yeah, but it wasn't as good as 'Alien'". That's too bad, but I guess the curse of coming from one of the greatest sci-fi directors ever.
So far, the reviews have been solid, but not overpowering. Currently it's sitting at a 75% on Rotten Tomatoes after 80 reviews. Like I said, that's strong, but for a film that's been anticipated to such epic levels, you might hope for something a little better. I'm holing off on reading an full reviews until after I see it, but from quick snippets, it looks like everything I'm seeing is that people mostly enjoyed it while acknowledging that it wasn't perfect, or people were getting too hyped for it and it didn't live up to the pressure they put on it. Either way, expect to see a film with a vast scope, great technical attention to detail, amazing effects, and probably plenty of thrills. Outside of that, we'll see how it plays out. I have been anticipating this film very much, but I also don't expect it to be the greatest movie ever or anything. I'm going to enjoy it and not worry about much else than that with my first viewing. I do believe this is a must-see though. I'll be checking it out the first chance I get Friday afternoon, and I think you should try to do the same. I'm not going to say this is one of the best movies of the year - we haven't seen it yet, that's silly - but I do think this is among a small handful of films that I put a Must-See Opening Weekend stamp on for 2012.
After "Prometheus", in my opinion, we have considerable drop-off. "Madagascar 3" will probably make some money this weekend, but it's not looking like anything I have any interest in. It has a voice cast that includes such actors as Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Jada Pinkett Smith. That's solid, but I've seen better. As for the content of the film, I realize this is meant for a slightly younger crowd, but I just don't see any appeal in this movie. You'd expect that by the time we're on the third film, a big reason these are still happening is for the money, but you can at least try to put some effort into the jokes. I've seen this trailer, and I don't think I even cracked a smile once (while I can think of plenty of animated sequels that have impressed and entertained me). There are a lot of decent animated films coming out this year; I don't think this is one of them. If you have young kids, I can see this being appealing though. You know this will be easy for them to digest, and now that films like "The Pirates! Band of Misfits" and "The Lorax" are both phasing their ways out of theaters, there aren't a lot of true options for the young'ens. In my opinion though, be a good parent and take your five-year old child to see "Prometheus". Twenty years down the road they'll thank you. But you'll also have to deal with them being 25 years old and devoting the majority of their time writing about movies on a website, unaware or uncaring of anything else going on in the outside world. 'Win some, you lose some though.
All of that being said, the film does still have a stronger-than-expected 76% rating on Rotten Tomatoes right now, so that has to say something (I know you don't interpret reviews like this at all, but I look at these rankings and can't help but envision that critics are saying that "Madagascar 3" is just a slightly better movie than "Prometheus". I know they're not, but that's what it looks like). I'm sure, as is the case with most animated films these days, the animation will look very nice though, and visually you won't be disappointed. I'm always tough on animated films as it is, so who knows if this will have more to offer than I expect. I can understand the audience for this film, but I know for sure that I'm not among them. If by chance this film gets nominated for Best Animated Feature at this year's Academy Awards, I'll give this a watch; otherwise, I'll probably never see it.
The last film that we'll spend just a little time on is the independent comedy, "Lola Versus". It stars Greta Gerwig as a woman approaching her 30's who gets dumped just weeks before her wedding day. She spends some time thereafter going on a series of adventures and rediscovering herself. I generally like Gerwig, but this film isn't doing anything for me. I really enjoy the independent romantic comedy/drama as long as it's done well, but I don't think this film will fall into that category. Interestingly enough, I just added the film "Breaking Upwards" to my instant queue on Netflix and have been trying to get interested enough to give it a watch. Anyway, looking up information on "Lola Versus", I'm seeing that the screenplay was written by the same person for both films, Daryl Wein. That doesn't always say much, but now I feel like I have more interest in checking out Upwards than I did before (check out something of probably a similar tone without paying anything extra than I'm already paying). This new film, however, looks like it's more of message about personal strength for women though, rather than a story about men and women and relationships. I get an "Eat, Pray, Love" feel here (even the poster kind of resembles the film now that I look at it), and I didn't have any interest in that film either. 98% of us won't have a chance to see this one this weekend anyway, so it hardly matters, but I guess we can keep an eye on it and see how it progresses over the coming month or so. If you're an independent woman or you're looking for a film to go to with your group of girlfriends, I suppose this wouldn't be the worst film you could see. I don't think men will be able to get much out of this one though. And again, just go see "Prometheus" and don't worry about it.
As for the Box Office projections, I'm really struggling to figure out what I think "Prometheus" has the potential to do this weekend. It's going to be one of the bigger films of the summer, but how much do general audiences love this movie? I don't think it's a leap to assume that "Prometheus" will come out on top this weekend, but I'm not sure to what extent. The last two weekend winners have put up just about $55MM each. I tend to believe that this film will be a little stronger than that, but maybe not much. I'm going to say $60MM-$65MM for the weekend. I'm hoping it can put up more, but I don't feel comfortable projecting any more than that. "Madagascar 3" should be a solid player this weekend too (as I said, not many other options for the kids; and since school is out now, parents will be taking their kids to the theaters). Is $45MM too much? Too little? There's a small part of me that thinks the young audiences could really show up this weekend and this film could leap ahead of even "Prometheus". The last film in this franchise opened with $63MM in November, while the first film opened with $47 in May. While it still just seems like too much, I'm guessing if it holds comparables, it will probably land somewhere in the middle of those numbers. I'm going to say $55MM, but that seems like way too much. We'll see though. Otherwise, "Snow White and the Huntsman", "Men in Black 3", and "The Avengers" will round out the top five, probably in that descending order.
So what do you guys think? Which film(s) will you be checking out this weekend? What are your hype levels for "Prometheus"?