Thursday, July 12, 2012

In Theaters This Weekend: July 13, 2012


Well it's Friday the 13th tomorrow, and not a single true horror film releasing this weekend. Maybe it's just me, but I want to watch horror movies every Friday the 13th. I'm not superstitious or anything, but the day has always been synonymous with spooky activity. If it were me, I'd have a new horror film ready to go every time one of these rolls around. I'd go watch it. Or, at very least, Paramount (who owns "Friday the 13th") at least needs to get on having the film moonlight in theaters for the weekend. Who wouldn't go check that out? I'd love a nice trip to the theater for that.

Anyway, since none of that will actually be happening this weekend, we should probably take a look at the films we can expect. We're greeted with yet another animated feature this weekend, "Ice Age: Continental Drift", which is the fourth installment from the franchise and is actually the only film that will be releasing nationwide. Otherwise, I'll spend a little time on a few other films seemingly of note that start their roll-outs this weekend. The first is a thriller "Red Lights" (okay, I guess this is as close as I'm going to get to the film I want for Friday the 13th), which features a star-studded cast, and the other is the Greek drama, "Alps", which is directed by the same man that brought us "Dogtooth" last year.

Hit the jump for a full rundown on each film, as well as what we might be able to expect from the box office numbers as well.

The first and only big film releasing this weekend is "Ice Age: Continental Drift". As I stated above, this is the fourth film in the series and looks to add to its impressive worldwide box office totals already amassed. Each film has grown by nearly $200MM since the first was released ten years ago. While I'm not incredibly familiar with some of the middle installments (I might have seen one of them, but more likely than not, neither of them), the first film was enjoyable when I watched it. I enjoy the tones of the film(s), and I think that characters are funny and well-conceived. It doesn't hurt that over a decade and four different films the voice cast and central characters have all remained the same, too. So along with Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, and Denis Leary, this film will add the talents of Jennifer Lopez, Queen Latifah, Seann William Scott, Nick Frost, and Aziz Ansari. Other than Latifah whom I'm not a huge fan, I do like the rest of the cast and think they'll fit in just fine in this setting. The scope of the film also increases this time around, as the concepts for this film revolve around the breakup of Pangaea and the characters having to get back home, now with oceans between them. Amongst other things, animal pirates and giant sea creatures look to be some of the main antagonists of the film.

We've seen a few trailers for the film, and honestly there were multiple parts that garnered a few chuckles from my end. I think Leguizamo's character is funny and he does a great job with the voice and tone for him. Recently, you might recall the In Anticipation post with did for this film in conjunction with ODEON Cinemas, as they prepared for the UK release of the film. The post provides a great rundown of everything we've seen and are thinking on the film thus far.

Overall, I think this looks like a fine chapter from the franchise. The animation looks very crisp and bright, and as is the case with most animation due to technological advancements, the best from the series so far. Personally I'd really like to get caught up with the rest of this franchise before jumping into this film, but since it seems fairly certain to at least be a contender for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards this year, I probably will want to take this one in at some point. You're probably already aware of my hangups on animated films overall though, so I can pretty assuredly say that I won't be heading to the theater for this one this weekend. But I can see the quality and humor in it and if you have a family or just appreciate a good animated film, then I see no reason as to why you wouldn't want to check this one out. It should be a good, light-hearted time with plenty of entertainment for the whole family.

That's the only wide-release this weekend though, so the other two films I'll talk about probably won't be premiering anywhere near any of us this weekend. But they're both films of note, and since this starts their first release, we'll spend just a few minutes getting you acquainted with both titles. First, it's the horror/thriller "Red Lights". The film will only hit select theaters in about 20 different cities or so this weekend, so don't get too pumped for this one just yet. The film stars Cillian Murphy, Robert De Niro, Sigourney Weaver, and Elizabeth Olson. Off the bat, that seems like a great cast for a thriller to me. Each of these actors has done great work in the genre already, and you'd hope they could at least match that in this ensemble situation. The premise for this basically centers around a couple of psychologists who are in the business of debunking psychics. Their latest investigation leads them to recently-resurfaced psychic who was once world-renowned for his abilities. I like the idea here, and I think a film based around people disproving a lot of these hacks is a fun idea. I feel like I can see how this one will play out though, so I'm not sure where my interest levels are with it.

So far, it's received mixed reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, playing more to the negative end than anything. Many critics are complaining that the film is messy and chaotic. It looks like it's an ambitious project, and even though it lands a few scares and dramatic moments, overall it comes up short and never pulls itself together. I can think of plenty of times where I completely disagreed with critics in the past though, so that doesn't make me want to completely write this one off just yet. I still love the concept here, and again, the cast is fantastic. Since the film isn't receiving very high praises so far, it's safe to assume that this one won't ever make it to a theater near me, so this takes away most of my dilemma and will almost assuredly result in a Blu-Ray rental for me. Overall I'd say if you're interested in the premise and it comes to a theater near you, check it out. I'm sure it'll be interesting at the least. If not, I still think it should be worth a watch at some point, but if it's only via DVD or Blu-Ray, you're probably not missing out on a whole lot.

The other film I wanted to mention is "Alps". I remember reading about this film a while back and was instantly interested in it. The film centers around a group of people who start a business where they impersonate the recently deceased in order to help their clients through the grieving process. And if that doesn't say enough for you, here's a fun link on the film's site describing the "Rules of the Alps". Giorgos Lanthimos takes the directing seat here, and judging byhis previous efforts with "Dogtooth", I expect this film to be equally controversial. You can check out a trailer for the film on its site here, but don't base your opinions too much on what's shown there. The trailer is kind of all over the place, and I feel like you have to at least be familiar with how this director works and approaches his subjects and themes to have any interest in the film just from the trailer alone. It has received positive reviews so far, so much like "Dogtooth", this film will at least be critically acclaimed. Overall I expect the film to be fairly provocative and fascinating. Don't expect pure entertainment here, but I imagine themes will be portrayed here that should intrigue most film-goers. "Dogtooth" was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at last year's Academy Awards, so who knows, maybe another nomination will be in store for this film. If you have interest in these types of films though, keep an eye on this one. I wouldn't expect it to ever make its way to many American theaters, but it should be available on DVD or VOD sometime down the road.

As for the Box Office projections, really the only film this week that will play into the numbers is Ice Age. The others are being so minimally released that even if their per-theater numbers are strong, the overall totals will be very low. The Ice Age films have opened anywhere from $40MM to $65MM in the past, so I'd imagine this one will stay within those constraints as well. Even with strong drop percentages by "The Amazing Spider-Man", it still looks like Ice Age should take the top spot pretty easily. I feel like somewhere in the $55MM-$60MM feels right here, but we'll just have to see if fans and families still feel like showing up in such strong numbers for this franchise. I think they do, but I might be mistaken. Otherwise, we'll keep this pretty simple: Spider-Man did $65MM last weekend. With its positive reviews and feedback, I'd expect strong peripherals this weekend, probably to a 40% drop, amounting in a $35MM-$40MM take for week two. Those numbers feel good to me, and if I had to choose, I'd say there's a better chance of it coming-up short on those numbers than it surpassing them. It should be the clear #2 film this weekend though. "Ted" held on very well in its second weekend to a tune of $32MM. I expect more significant drops than last weekend, but a $16MM-$18MM weekend still seems reasonable. And again, there isn't much competition directly below it, so it should take the #3 spot with ease. After that there's a bit of a logjam between "Magic Mike", "Brave", and "Savages". "Savages" has the advantage of this only being its second weekend, but "Brave" is the much more palatable and widely-appealing film. And don't forget about "Magic Mike", which has received the most impressive critical reviews of any films in the entire bunch. My gut says "Brave" takes the #4 spot if for nothing other than its broad appeal, while "Magic Mike" edges out "Savages for the #5 spot. It should be close though.

But anyway, that's what we're looking at this weekend. Not much new on the docket, but still plenty of great films out there to be seen! Which will you be checking out this weekend?