Thursday, July 5, 2012

In Theaters This Weekend: July 6, 2012


Do we call this weekend 4th of July Weekend, or was it the last? Judging by last weekend's box office numbers, we probably need to go with that one; but either way, this weekend looks to hold a strong variety of films for whatever your viewing tastes.

The big player this weekend is going to be "The Amazing Spider-Man". It's been about two months since our last big comic book movie ("The Avengers"), and I think summer audiences are ready for another one. Oliver Stone's latest film, "Savages", also rolls out this weekend. This film, centered around drug trafficking in both the United States and Mexico, adds a gritty, dramatic thriller to the mix. And if you're about 14-years old and neither of these selections seem right for you, there's always "Katy Perry: Part of Me", which follows the same documentary/concert styles that Justin Bieber succeeded with just over a year ago.

Hit the jump for a full rundown on each film, as well as some predictions for this weekend's box office (though, with last week being so uncharacteristic, it makes me even less confident in this week's guesstimates).


We'll start with "The Amazing Spider-Man", as it will surely win the box office this weekend. The film is directed by Marc Webb ("500 Days of Summer"), and stars Andrew Garfield in the title role. The film also brings together a solid supporting cast, with names like Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, and Sally Field. Since this is a reboot on the franchise, Sony has decided to focus a little more on the backstory of Peter Parker, and the aspects of his life that led to this transformation. In my opinion, this is a great idea. That was one thing I always wanted more of from the previous trilogy: history. Maybe I'm in the minority, but I feel like even though all of us are familiar with Spider-Man, unless you read the comics, we really don't know his background. As popular as the character is, to me, it doesn't seem like it's as commonly known as someone like Superman or Iron Man. So for me, being a fan of the genre and character, but not really knowing much outside of what I got from the previous films, I'm glad we'll get a wider look into this universe. And maybe even more notably - a formidable, identifiable villain! Yes, I'd heard of the Green Goblin before, but I knew nothing about him. He was a fine foe, but The Lizard, that's who I want to see Spidey fighting!

Currently, "The Amazing Spider-Man" is sitting at a strong 78% on Rotten Tomatoes. This is promising for the film, but pretty in-line with what we saw from the previous films. I didn't really even need strong ratings to know that I'd be checking this one out this weekend, but it does put me more at ease. I've loved all of the imagery I've seen from this film - the colors especially are so vibrant and beautiful - and I think the casting is spot-on (at least without having seen the film yet). Again, though I've never read the comics, Garfield looks like a more typical Spider-Man than Tobey Maguire was. I don't think he did a bad job, I just never thought he was a perfect fit for the role.

For those of you taking a long weekend around July 4, Sony actually released Spider-Man this past Tuesday to try and maximize its holiday box office dollars (and the fact that I questioned whether or not this weekend or the previous classified as the "holiday weekend"). At any rate, you may have already seen the film by this point. Still though, many people, much like myself, probably won't have the time to get to the movie theater until this weekend. As once we get to the weekend, this will be a must-see for me. I'm ready to get back into some big-budget, effects-driven blockbusters!

The other "real" movie releasing this weekend is "Savages". As I stated above, this one is directed by Oliver Stone ("Platoon", "Wall Street"), and features an impressive cast of Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Salma Hayek, Benicio Del Toro, Emile Hirsch, John Travolta, and Demián Bichir. Stone is known for bringing together great ensemble casts for his films, and if nothing else, he appears to have accomplished that again here. If anything, I'm just worried that the inclusion of Taylor Kitsch will be the film's kiss of death. Though I do like Kitsch, this will already be his third starring role of the year, and the previous two films did not work out so well - "John Carter" and "Battleship". Both are probably considered the biggest disappointments of the year so far, and even though all of us here thought both movies deserved a much better rap than they've received, there's no changing the public opinion of the films now. In all actuality, this latest film isn't similar in many ways to the previous films, and sine Kitsch is playing a completely different type of character here, I don't expect he will be the cause of any problems for the film.

As for the actual content of the film, this will be a very niche film, even if it does return positive reviews. The themes in the movie all revolve around drugs, money, sex, murder, revenge, etc. It looks like it will be a very gritty film, and definitely not one that is for everyone. I like the look of the film, and the colors are very over-saturated - it feels like the saturation levels have been turned up so high that the picture is about to explode. Maybe that's not an apt explanation for what I'm seeing, but nonetheless, I'm digging the look quite a bit.

Stone had a fantastic streak in the late-1980's and into the early 1990's with his films being critically praised. Since then, while still few real duds ("Alexander" aside), his films typically sit in the mid-50's to mid-60's on the Rotten Tomatoes scale. I start with that fact because there are not yet any review in for this film, so I'm just looking into Stone's past to see what we might expect. And I note the less-than-impressive current streak he's on only because I think that, unlike in years past, you won't have many people showing up just because it's an Oliver Stone film; I'm not sure that has as much power as it once did. Though if you're excited to see Stone try to get back to some of the grittiness that he started his career with, this could be an enticing selection for you.

I honestly don't expect this will amount in a theater visit for me this weekend, but I wouldn't be against it at all if it did work out. I'll definitely want to check this out at some point, but it might not be until it's Blu-Ray release that I do so. If you have interest in these types of subjects though, I think this will be a thrilling and entertaining experience.

The other film that's opening wide this weekend is "Katy Perry: Part of Me". This documentary of sorts chronicles Perry's early life and what led her to the super-stardom she's achieved today. From the trailers and TV spots I've seen for the film, it looks like it will incorporate a lot of in-concert footage to help keep the pacing and interest-levels up. While there have probably been a handful of other musicians and celebrities that have done this type of thing before, I look back to last February's "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" as to the reason for the existence of this film. Bieber-mania was probably at a higher level last year than what Perry's status is this year, but really, what do I know? His film opened with about $30MM and went on to gross nearly $100MM worldwide. And though those still aren't mind-blowing numbers, it is the third highest-grossing documentary film of all-time. Perry's latest film will try to copy that success this summer.

There are no reviews in for the film yet, but I expect middling numbers, and numbers that won't really mean much - either you want to go see this movie or you don't; ratings and reviews probably won't change anything. As you can probably imagine, even though I don't have anything against Katy Perry (in fact, I find her quite attractive, so the idea of looking at her on a movie screen for an hour and a half doesn't seem like the worst thing in the world), but I definitely will not be checking this one out this weekend or probably ever. She's a fine pop star, and I don't mean this in a negative way, but I have little interest in her personal life. I expect fans will show up in droves for a little while though, and should lead to numbers similar to Bieber's in the long run.

And speaking of box office numbers, let's go ahead and take a stab at where these films might end up this weekend. As I stated above, "The Amazing Spider-Man" opened a few days ago, and I think even "Katy Perry: Part of Me" starts its theater run today, officially. But both of those facts aside, we're only going to look into the actual three-day weekend numbers here. Spider-Man shouldn't have any troubles taking the top spot this weekend, exact figures aside. There's little holdover competition from last weekend (at least that will directly eat into this film's audience), and it's easily the strongest film releasing this weekend. Comic book movies generally open pretty strong, but the fever-pitch buzz doesn't seem to be surrounding this film like it did the previous three, so I don't feel like they offer much comparison. An even $75MM seems like a decent starting point, and I doubt it will do anything less than that. Probably not a whole lot more either, but it seems more likely to exceed this number than come up short. I don't think either of the other new releases will be in the top three this weekend, as they're so specific to their audiences. I imagine Katy Perry's film will probably come out ahead of "Savages", but it should be fairly close. Maybe $15MM-$18MM for Part of Me, and $9MM-$12MM for "Savages"? I know those aren't strong, but I just don't see where the huge audiences are coming from for these films. After their stronger-than-expected showing last weekend, I think "Ted" and "Magic Mike" will safely slide into the two and three spots this weekend, with Pixar's "Brave" still in the mix as well. I can't imagine anything else will be much of a player this weekend though.

But that's what we're looking at. A few good selections out there to choose from. Which films will you be checking out this weekend?