The first week of May kicks off with a little something for everyone. Whether or not they experience Fast Five success remains to be seen…
Jumping the Broom is the first of two comedies opening wide this week. About two families from opposite sides of economic status coming together for a wedding, the film is facing several daunting prospects this weekend. For one thing, films about African-Americans generally require “Tyler Perry” to appear somewhere in its title to be even a meager success. The film is being hurt as well by very little buzz, a lackluster marketing campaign, and a relatively low number of opening screens (1,900). The mixed reactions from critics are also not helping; some enjoyed its talented cast and initial charms, others are calling it unoriginal Cornbread Theater. The presence of Angela Bassett could keep it from being a complete bomb, but $5-10 million is as good as it’s going to end up with.
Something Borrowed is the second romantic comedy foisted on us, centering on the romantic entanglements between Kate Hudson, Ginnifer Goodwin, John Krasinski and Colin Egglesfield. Goodwin and Krasinski are the only things about this film getting any love from reviews. The rest of it has been called predictable, trite, and insultingly stupid by the vast majority of critics. Such poor reviews might not deter its target audience, since they haven’t gotten a genuine romantic comedy since Just Go With It. But it’s also possible that the strong word of a certain superhero film’s romantic elements will turn dates away from it, ending the weekend with $8-13 million.
But the BIG release this weekend is the Norse-themed superhero epic Thor. The story of a mighty warrior banished from his homeworld to learn how to be a true hero is only the first of several films from Marvel we’ll be seeing on the big screen this summer. I’ve written before on how new superhero films make me break out in hives, yet critics are trying awfully hard to make me revoke my self-imposed ban. Most of the reviews praise Kenneth Branagh’s crisp, witty direction and Chris Hemsworth’s charismatic performance. In terms of box office, the only question is whether or not it will manage to beat Fast Five’s opening. While it has some disadvantages (odd fantasy premise, unknown star, etc.), it does have a few things going for it (3D tickets, even stronger reviews, etc.). I’m predicting it’ll fall just short of last weekend’s victor, but will end up with a high $80-85 million anyway.
In limited release, Mel Gibson attempts his comeback in The Beaver, about a depressed businessman who decides to don a beaver puppet to communicate with the outside world. Our own Joey Magidson praised the script from Kyle Killen, and critics are mostly positive as well. Many of them are raising some complaints about Jodie Foster’s uneven direction, but nearly all of them embrace Mel Gibson’s emotionally raw, committed performance. Could he be a Best Actor Academy Award nominee? Frankly, he’s a bit of a long shot. The early release date, fresh memories of his psychotic phone messages from last year, and serious competition from later releases will make his journey to Oscar an uphill one. But it’s certainly not impossible…
But if we’re talking about Oscar contenders, Hobo with a Shotgun is seriously poised to take it all! Starring Rutger Hauer as a, erm, hobo with a shotgun, the film aims to be a throwback to the sleazy grindhouse films of the 70’s and 80’s. From looking at the critics, director Jason Eisener has succeeded, with reviews calling its relentless action and gleefully amoral, violent kick bizarrely entertaining. It should be noted, though, that a small but significant minority of critics despised it, so it’s obviously not for everyone.
Tell us what you’re going to see here on The Awards Circuit!