Weekend Openings (April 20-22)

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*Gasp* could it be?!  The Hunger Games may be knocked off #1 this weekend?  Hey, it had to happen sometime, and while the likely champ is a far cry from Gary Ross’ high concepty teen sci-fi thrilliness, Lost in Space and Dear John didn’t scream usurper when they were on the horizon, either…

Yes, it’s that time again when a film aimed at African-American audiences makes a lot of money and brings with it the usual amount of veiled white condescension and theater demographic number-crunching from media analysts still trying to figure out the existence of this thing called “black people” going to the movies.  Plus, there’s also the usual lamenting from me at the kind of films that talented actors like Taraji P. Henson and Michael Ealy have to accept because they’re the only significant roles offered to them.  But maybe Think Like a Man is worthy of their talents?  It looks like a lazy, stereotypical rom-com (and some critics seem to agree after having seen it), but the film made headlines recently when it became one of Hollywood’s highest-scoring films among test audiences.  There’s also the fact that Tim Story – the man behind the delightful Barbershop – directed this fiction adaptation of Steve Harvey’s relationship advice book about four men who find out about their mates reading the book and deciding to turn the tables.  Regardless of whether or not Think Like a Man will exceed my own expectations, anticipation is rather high for it, leading me to believe it will gather anywhere between $23-28 million this weekend.

Oh, Nicholas Sparks.  Back again with another adaptation of your creaky Wonder Bread soap opera novels, I see.  A pretty U.S. Marine searches for a pretty woman in a photograph that he believed was his “good luck charm” during his third tour of duty in Iraq and ends up taking a job at her family business.  Gee, I wonder if they fall in love before Tragedy Strikes?  Sparks is as reliable as a Big Mac; when you order one you always know what you’re getting.  Personally, I’m rather interested in seeing if Taylor Schilling’s Razzie-worthy performance in Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 was the film’s fault or if she just isn’t that good as an actress.  I’m betting enough moviegoers will find out to boost its opening take to $20-25 million.

Finally, Disneynature’s new documentary Chimpanzee opens just in time for Earth Day, which our own Joey Magidson called charming but slight.  About a young chimp’s struggle to survive with the unlikely help of an elder, this does not look to reverse the downward slope of Disneynature’s popularity and will probably end up on the $5-10 million spectrum.

In limited release is the critically acclaimed documentary Marley, about the legendary musician and his artistic, political and cultural impact, mon.  Joey also very much liked the film, finding it an enlightening look at the man, though he had an issues with the film’s length.  With such glowing reviews it’s possible that we’re looking at a possible contender for Best Documentary, though no music-centered film has won the award since In the Shadow of the Stars over twenty years ago.

Also in limited release is another entry in the angsty teen vampire genre from Mary Harron of American Psycho.  Sarah Bolger (man, has it really been almost ten years since In America?) stars as a boarding school student who suspects that a new student tearing apart a close friendship of hers is a vampire.  Unfortunately, critics are slamming Harron’s generic, gauzy execution of the story.

Those not getting enough charming nature documentaries can also check out To the Artic in about 50 IMAX locations.  Reviews have been comparable to Chimpanzee.

Anyone planning on seeing these films?  Let us know!