Weekend Openings (April 1-3)


Good morning, readers.  It’s time for another preview of the new releases.  After April Fools’ fatigue and a terrible bout of the flu, I’m ready for some decent films this weekend.

 The good news is that there are several new releases this year catering to a variety of tastes.  Of all of them, the one poised to win the box office at around $20 million is most likely Hop, the animated Easter adventure from Alvin and the Chipmunks director Tim Hill.  Russell Brand lends his voice to the Easter Bunny’s son who journeys to Hollywood to become a drummer for a rock ‘n’ roll band, but unexpectedly gets hit by James Marsden’s car and…and I’m definitely not the intended audience for this film.  Critics have predictably trashed it, but what else did they expect from the guy who thought Alvin putting poo in his mouth would be “funny?”

On the opposite end of the spectrum is supernatural horror flick Insidious, from James Wan of Saw fame.  Normally I stay as far away from his films as possible, but this looks very compelling to me.  Call me a fool, but it looks like he’s learned his lesson from the laughable Dead Silence and has made a genuinely spooky homage to classic “haunted house” films.  However, I don’t see this being a huge financial success due to competition for its target demographic (young men) and low visibility.  I’m predicting something under $10 million by Sunday.

I’d be willing to bet that the majority of you reading this are most excited this week to see Duncan Jones’ sci-fi thriller Source Code.  Jake Gyllenhaal is an Army Captain who must relive the last eight minutes of a now-deceased man’s life in order to find the bomber of a doomed commuter train.  I know there are a lot of fans of Moon who are hoping that Jones doesn’t hit a sophomore slump, and though I wasn’t as enamored with that film as others are, I’m happy to report that the high concept sci-fi thriller has been getting mostly good reviews.  Critics praise the sense of pace and interesting execution of a somewhat far-fetched premise.  The major factor working against the film here – financially speaking – is Gyllenhaal; he has never successfully opened a film on his own.  Still, reviews and word-of-mouth should propel this somewhere in the $15-$19 million range.
Why Ellen?  Why?
Oscar completionists will be happy to know that In a Better World, this year’s winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, is now available to us.  I can’t imagine it being more compelling than its fellow nominee Dogtooth, but the reviews have been great and Susanne Bier is a major talent.

By far the strangest release this week – if not the whole year – is the French horror-comedy Rubber.  Stay with me on this: an inanimate tire suddenly gains a mind of its own and, after discovering it also has telekinetic powers, goes on a killing spree across a border town.  Reviews have predictably been mixed, and I’m sure you’ve already made up your mind on whether to avoid this one at all costs or see it opening day.

Far less unique is the superhero comedy Super, trying to make us all forget about the countless other films purporting to explore the idea of Superheroes In The Real World.  Unfavorable comparisons to Kick-Ass have appeared in several reviews, and it’ll probably die a quick death in limited release.

Preying on the fears of parents everywhere is Trust from David Schwimmer (yes, that David Schwimmer) about a teenage girl seduced by an online predator.  Not able to turn to Chris Hansen for help, Clive Owen and Catherine Keener take matters into their own hands.  Reviews have been positive overall, with many critics admiring Schwimmer’s sensitive handling of a difficult subject.

There’s also the thriller Wrecked, starring Adrien Brody as severely injured man who wakes up from a car accident with no memory of how he got there.  Reviews haven’t been all that great, and the only widely praised element of it appears to be Brody’s performance.

Tell us what you plan to see right here on The Awards Circuit!