Forgive me for the rather brief weekend preview. Finals week has descended upon me and I’ve got two important ones coming up. But I do not forget my commitment to you, dear readers! So without further adieu…
Timed for Earth Day is Disney’s nature documentary African Cats in semi-wide release. Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, the film follows the struggles of a pride of lions and a mother cheetah in the savanna. Could this be the next March of the Penguins? Probably not, but families who aren’t interested in Tyler Perry dramedies might find this a viable alternative. I’m guessing it’ll gross a relatively successful $3-4 million in its opening weekend.
Speaking of Tyler Perry, he opens his newest film Madea’s Big Happy Family this week, continuing to cater to a demographic that Hollywood pathologically refuses to acknowledge while his critics continue the increasingly difficult task of acting surprised when he makes a ton of money doing so. Make no mistake, I’m not expecting it to be any good; in fairness to the haters I don’t care for the Madea character either. But if this thing makes a good $15-20 million this weekend, can we please stop with the shock over Perry’s consistent “undeserved” success?
Robert Pattinson sandwiches himself between two Academy Award-winners in Francis Lawrence’s adaptation of Sara Gruen’s bestselling novel Water for Elephants, a romantic drama set in a traveling circus. Oddly, this is opening on more screens than any other new film this weekend, and I have no idea how excited people are for this movie. Are there a lot of die-hard fans of the book, or just a lot of confused pre-teen girls who thought they were going to see Edward Cullen Goes to the Circus? Either way, I’m sensing a $10-15 million opening.
In limited release, Morgan Spurlock attempts to make a comeback from the disappointment of his last feature with the new documentary The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, examining the pervasiveness of product placement on our culture by funding a film using nothing but corporate advertising. So far the reviews have been calling it his best work yet, describing the film as frequently hilarious and insightful in its view of the war between art and commerce. Despite this, I’m still not convinced that it’ll be a big contender for Best Documentary Feature. The Oscars have an infrequent relationship with satirical docs, even acclaimed ones, and its early release date plus competition from some upcoming heavy-hitters may make it a no-show. Still, it’s certainly possible that we’ll see Spurlock on the red carpet come February 2012…
Also hitting select theaters this weekend is Incendies, which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards. The story centers on two siblings who go on a journey to uncover the mystery of their mother’s life. Most critics have been very enthusiastic, some outright ecstatic in their reviews of this one. I remember Roger Ebert pegging this film as the favorite to win the Oscar – I guess now we’ll see for ourselves whether or not it was robbed.
I am not expecting these box office predictions to be very accurate since I had to submit this one much earlier than I’m comfortable with. Therefore, if they are correct, I’m going to quit my job at AC and pursue a career as a psychic!