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David Poland

By David Poland

Whose Weekend Is It Anyway?

Zorro 2 & Saw 2 both involve sharp instruments. Prime involves Uma Thurman, a young penis, and Meryl Streep as a Jewish mother in a wig. And The Weather Man is… well… cloudy.
Whaddya think?

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60 Responses to “Whose Weekend Is It Anyway?”

  1. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    This is one of those weekends where it would suck to be a box office analyst. These movies seem like they should have pretty easy to achieve amounts but will most likely not.
    I still think Saw II can get to about $23mil. Zorro… I dunno. I don’t know what the advertising is like over there, but all I know is a lot of people can’t really remember the original that good. I say maybe $14mil. Prime $10mil on stars alone. That trailer should go down in history as the second worst of all time. After What Lies Beneath, of course. The behemoth of bad trailers.
    And, The Weather Man… er, another Nic Cage underperformer.

  2. Stella's Boy says:

    Zorro is terrible. Prime and Weather Man look OK, but not like anything you need to make time to see. Saw is fucking awful and I’m sure the second is even worse. I’ll be seeing Capote and Nine Lives this weekend. Saw Good Night, And Good Luck this morning. Fantastic flick. And spare me the political attacks folks. Yes, McCarthy is an easy target. But so what. He deserves it. (SPOILER ALERT)
    And to me the bookends with Murrow speaking in 1958 really contains the points Clooney is trying to make. Television has the potential to educate and provoke thought and ideas, but if people aren’t careful, it’ll become just wires and a box. Strathairn is superb. Always been a big fan of his.

  3. jeffmcm says:

    Have you seen Zorro and know it to be terrible?
    I wonder how many screens prime is on. It will not make more than $3-5 million over the weekend. I think that, quality aside, Saw II will make it up to $30.

  4. Bodhizefa says:

    I’m in agreeance with jeffmcm. Despite the fact that Saw II is opening in “only” 2,949 theatres, it’s a very short film. It’s got the same running time as a lot of kid flicks, and that extra showtime per screen is going to see it’s cume rise for the opening weekend. I’m guessing somewhere in the $28-31 million range and with good legs, too. Everyone in the high school and college scene is talking about it, and my dad’s girlfriend even asked me when it was showing at my theatre. She doesn’t watch movies often theatrically, so for someone like her to be hyped up about this film speaks volumes about their marketing campaign. As an aside, I just got home from viewing the film myself and it’s not bad. It’s certainly better than the first and doesn’t have atrocious acting (I’m sorry, Mr. Elwes, but dramatic actor you are NOT) this go round. The story is decent, the acting is actually above average (Donnie Wahlberg is a fantastic cop and most of the actors in the locked room are well done if brief), and the twists are a lot less predictable this time, which in turn makes it more enjoyable. Those who liked the first one (and there are lots of people out there who did) will really enjoy this one. And I anticipate that many who didn’t like the first one will at least be entertained this time.
    Zorro, on the other hand, is a bit of a mess. First off, it’s got a two-and-a-half hour running time (with trailers included). Also, it’s a family film with the annoying kid to go along galavanting with his parents. Some of the stunts are decent, but it’s long in the tooth for the most part. I’ll guess $16 million just because it’s on a lot of screens, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did less. And I also won’t be surprised if it tanks after the first weekend.
    I’ll be seeing Weatherman tomorrow at the first matinee. I don’t really care how much it makes (I didn’t get it in my Fall/Winter fantasy box office game — and yes, I’m that geeky), but I do hope it’s a funny film. My friend, who watched it tonight, said it was hilarious and poignant, so I’m looking forward to it for sure.

  5. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    egads, I just read that Prime is showing on something like 1600 screens! Now i’m thinking somewhere around $7mil. Although, that trailer is REALLY awful. Shockingly awful. I wouldn’t be surprised if it did less. But even the really awful looking films are getting $7mil+ openings so who knows…

  6. TuckPendleton says:

    Zorro. Ugh. I’ll cop to liking the first one, but man, once I saw the trailer for II when the kid pumps his fist and says “Yes!” (or whatever) I knew I’d be staying far, far away. I’d like to see the Weatherman because I like Conrad’s writing, but not sure if I can swing the better half on that. Might just have to settle for Suspira on DVD…

  7. MattM says:

    I think there’s no question that Saw 2 wins the weekend with ease, as it’s got the Halloween horror market pretty much all to itself, and there are a lot of people who liked the first one (which was surprisingly leggy for a horror flick).
    Zorro seems like it would have made much more sense as a late August release when it could have been sold as a “summer fun flick” rather than Halloween weekend. It does have the general lack of a straight action flick with any family appeal in the market going for it.
    Maybe had there been one or the other of Prime or Weatherman in the market this weekend, one might have broken out, but the two seem like they’re both somewhat misguided attempts at counterprogramming.
    Interestingly, the NYT reviews just give a (negative) squib to Saw 2, while giving Prime the front page review.

  8. Krazy Eyes says:

    SAW was so completely horrible I can only imagine that it’s success will only hurt the prospects of the sequel. I know a ton more people who saw the first film and *hated* it rather than will admit to liking it.
    The trailers for the sequel don’t make it appear any better than the first and I’m certainly not going to be burnt twice.
    ZORRO II looks even worse though so I would still have to give the weekend to SAW II.

  9. EDouglas says:

    Saw II all the way! The slump is over! 🙂
    I liked Saw II and The Weatherman, hated Prime and didn’t bother to see Legend of Zorro (even though I love the character from the old Disney movies).
    Oh, and I also hated Saw and I’m always very vocal about it…Saw II is much better in many ways, but I’m not surprised NYT would trash it. Not their kind of film.

  10. Stella's Boy says:

    Yes jeff I saw Zorro last weekend. I liked the first, but the second is terrible.

  11. PetalumaFilms says:

    THE WEATHERMAN didn’t appeal to me much at first but I’m actually kind of looking forward to it now. The trailers have won me over. Plus, I’ve become a big fan of MY NAME IS EARL and it makes me miss the old RAISING ARIZONA style “zany” Nic Cage. Here’s hoping for subdued zany.

  12. Crow T Robot says:

    I guess I’ll check out The Weather Man (can’t get that Iggy Pop song outta my head). Though I still can’t figure out Gore Verbinksi as a director. Is he an unlikely auteur or just another journeyman?

  13. Lota says:

    Whose weekend is it?
    Jerry Reinsdorf’s of course. Who the f*ck cares about movies this weekend…they all look like they suck anyway.
    Cranky Brooklyn Jerry can finally have a good night’s sleep. You (eventually)can’t lose with an accountant from Brooklyn! way to go Sox!

  14. Scooba Steve says:

    Gotsta be “Rent” right?

  15. Stella's Boy says:

    Rent seems like a very good possibility to me. Have they for sure screened it already?

  16. Krazy Eyes says:

    I would have guessed AEON FLUX but then he kinda ruins that idea by mentioning it near the end of his piece. Unless he’s being super-crafty and put that in there just to throw everyone off the scent.
    Good lord though . . . AEON FLUX looks horrible.
    I was really looking forward to ICE HARVEST until I saw the trailer. It was one of my all-time favorite novels but that trailer just made it all look so incredibly unfunny. Coen Bros. should have adapted it.

  17. MattM says:

    The more I think about it, the more I think DP was probably referring to “Rumor Has It…,” which I know he mentioned earlier was screening this week, and certainly has “massive trainwreck potential” written ALL OVER it.

  18. jeffmcm says:

    Rumor Has It has a premise too awful to be true. It seems like what would have happened to the Graduate sequel that Buck Henry was pitching in The Player if it went through ten years of development.
    That said, I still hope Rent is DP’s bad movie of the day.

  19. Scooba Steve says:

    Nice one. When Rob Reiner makes a baddie, it’s usually atrociously bad. The Jennifer Aniston opening of the trailer (“let’s have sex now!”) is really cynical.

  20. Goulet says:

    I’m not a horror fan, but I had a bloody good time with SAW II. Don’t expect anything more than cheap thrills, but them cheap thrills are damn effective.

  21. BluStealer says:

    Saw 2 wwill be the big winner. Halloween, decent movie. Got a lot going for it.
    Prime will bomb. Just my guess.

  22. Mark Ziegler says:

    The Weather Man is getting terrible reviews. For what thats worth.

  23. Stella's Boy says:

    The Weather Man is the only new movie with a fresh rating at rottentomatoes.

  24. Angelus21 says:

    The Weather Man had no story. It was boring. Really a waste of some great actors.

  25. lazarus says:

    For some reason I’m getting the feeling the film DP saw was The Libertine. Someone in the comments of the last Blog entry saw it the night before and said it was awful. So it may have been the same screening.
    Rent doesn’t seem like it could be “bad” enough to get this kind of write up from DP. Especially as he thought Phantom Of The Opera was an Oscar shoo-in.
    Rumor Has It will at worst be unfunny, right? I’m just getting vibes about The Libertine being a gigantic frightening mess that Depp at his best will still be unable to salvage.

  26. Count Mackuuv says:

    Saw II may be the worst movie of the year. It’s a terribly directed (looks like a bargain basement 80s TV show) 90 minutes of sadism trying to pass itself off as “clever.” The mainstreaming of exploitation cinema just feeds a cynical industry: Legitimized porn for the masses. But who gets off on this shit?

  27. YourBlueRoom says:

    I just hope that DP wasn’t talking about “Syriana.” that trailer looks SO good. I am so wanting to see it more then any other film lately. the book is really quite good. It’d be nice if DP would show up here and shoot down some of these possibilities…HINT HINT!!!

  28. Josh says:

    Fat George Clooney? I don’t think thats bringing in the masses.
    Saw 2 is exactly what it is. A graphic, violent horror movie. Like all sequels it takes it a step further.

  29. YourBlueRoom says:

    Hit or not, just watch the trailer for “Syriana” and tell me it doesn’t look like a great cast and a kick ass story. the more I think about it, the more I think that I bet he is talking about “Rumor Has It.” I saw the traielr a couple of weeks ago and it really does look bad. Is Kevin Costner even trying anymore? really!

  30. Josh says:

    I’ve learned a little in my short life. Don’t be seduced by trailers. They can make anything look great.

  31. YourBlueRoom says:

    That is becoming a truism, but I can tell you the source material, Bob Baer’s book, is pretty riveting stuff. Even though the director has yet to direct a halfway decent flick, I think there is enough good talent beind the film (the cast, SS, and Clooney producing, too) to pull it through. Still, it looks great and I am a major Clooney fan. Fat or not, he’s my only man crush, so there you have it!

  32. Josh says:

    Who I am to step on your man crush????
    Crush away.

  33. Sanchez says:

    I got zero interest in Weather.
    Zero in Prime.
    Some on Zorro but I’ll wait til video season.
    And will see Saw 2 because I like them horror flicks.

  34. JckNapier2 says:

    I can’t speak for the final cut, but I saw Rumor Has It at a test screening literally back in December, 04. Although a year worth of tinkering seems to speak otherwise, I thought it was a perfectly pleasant, low key romantic dramedy. Nice actors having fun with fun characters (Costner is terrific), and as is usually the case, Mark Ruffallo brought a level of low-key realism to the proceedings. The only complaint I had against the film was that the film seemed to hold Costner’s character to a different set of moral standards than the women in his life. But that’s common of many and most adult female-targeted romantic movies. Oh the irony that the kid-targeted Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants demands that both boys and girls take equal responsibility for sexual mistakes and romantic mess ups. I haven’t a clue what they’ve done to the film since December, but the cut I saw was fun, pleasant, and with a solid moral at the end (not spoiling it, but it differs from most romantic comedies these days). I’m hoping they didn’t screw it up too much.
    Scott Mendelson

  35. YourBlueRoom says:

    Amazingly enough, I was in a social thing tonight where there were a couple of younger women and some friends of mine and myself, and someone brought up a Clooney film and the girls informed us that they didn’t think he was very hot and EVERY one of us guys were like “what???” Clooney might have more man cushes going on him then possibly any other Hollywood star. and he’s a damn good actor and director, too.

  36. Wrecktum says:

    Maybe Poland was talking about Chicken Little? It’s screening this week.
    Naw…can’t be. It’s not that bad. Actually pretty good.
    My guess is Just Friends. Poland mentions it at the end of his column, and most of the movies he cited were comedies.
    Just Friends looks like the worst film on earth.

  37. Scooba Steve says:

    Clooney, like Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt, is one of those fellas you can consistently expect the unexpected from. Both actors disregard conventional movie star wisdom to chase projects that click outside the mainstream.
    People who love the cinema love people who love the cinema.

  38. Bodhizefa says:

    Weather Man was a very good and enjoyable watch. Yes, it’s a depressing film. Yes, it’s slow. Yes, there’s not much plot other than a guy going through a mid-life crisis (of sorts). But damned if it isn’t riveting to watch. Cage hits some great comic beats and Verbinski is really starting to enthrall me. What’s great is that there were quite a few people who came to my theatre to watch the film who left early and demanded their money back because of the repeated use of the F-bomb (Cage’s character uses it at an almost turret-like level). Everytime something goes wrong for the guy, the word comes out in some form or fashion. I started laughing my tail off about halfway through (and many in the theatre started staring at me, lol). Ebert’s review pegged this one on the donkey butt. Great flick. Too bad a lot of critics aren’t giving it a chance because it has high production values (and yes, I really do think that is the case).

  39. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Well, he said he wasn’t going to give any hints so I doubt it’s any of the ones he mentioned.
    Could easily be Rent. Or The Libertine. Or Get Rich Or Die Tryin’.
    All of those have the potential to be good, or really really bad.
    But I’m gonna say ‘Tideland’ by Terry Gilliam for no real reason other than I’ve heard really bad things about it. There is a picture of The Brother’s Grimm on the main page is there not? (but he said no clues, so…)
    Yeah, i dunno.

  40. JBM... says:

    I’m crossing my fingers it’s Zathura. Kids’ film or not, it looks pretty bad.

  41. EDouglas says:

    David might have been talking about “Libertine” but it couldn’t have been the same screening…he’s in L.A. and I’m in N.Y.
    BTW, easy win for Saw II this weekend. My theatre sources seem to think it will do $9-10 million for yesterday while Zorro will do around $6 million…a nice change from the last few weeks for sure. Hopefully, that kind of business will carry through November.

  42. EDouglas says:

    And Zathura is a lot of fun…reminds me of the family films Spielberg used to produce in the ’80s before he got all serious.

  43. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Zathura looked much better when I was 10 and it was in the form Jumanji.

  44. EDouglas says:

    A quick amendment: Done a bit more research and Saw II may have a guaranteed 10 million opening day. I hear there were tons of sold-out midnight shows. WE could be seeing another Exorcism type opening.

  45. Stella's Boy says:

    $12.3 million for Saw II and $5.5 million for Zorro.

  46. MattM says:

    Also 2.2 for Prime (which is higher than I was expecting) and 1.4 for Weather Man (lower than I was expecting)–serious “ouch” of the weekend goes to Doom, which is looking like it could show a 70% week to week drop.

  47. HenryHill says:

    Nicolas Cage is having a great year. The Weather Man is a rather startling movie in its complex examination of fathers & sons, the inability to take control, and how the weather can affect your worldview.
    The movie also contains some the best laughs from a non-gross-out comedy in years. A prime example of an “adult” movie made for mature audiences. Critics should be applauding Paramount Pictures for releasing such a smart movie. The Weather Man is the kind of small-scale character study that studios use to release in the 1970s. Wouldn’t it be nice if studios started making smart movies for adults again? That’s not likely going to happen if critics keep bitching about indie-spiritied movies like this getting the studio treatment.
    BTW I think Poland’s secret movie is Rent. He already set it up that he didn’t think the music or trailer was very appealing to him. Poland sometimes falls victim to the critic’s curse of pretending to have an open mind but already forming opinions about a movie before seeing frame one. Anyone remember how Poland was laying the groundwork for not being impressed with Sin City? Poland, being the Tony Scott fanboy, kept saying he thought Domino was going to be the movie Sin City wanted to be. (Anyone notice how Poland didn’t give Domino a full-on review in The Hot Button?)

  48. LesterFreed says:

    Rent does like terrible. I’d rather see it on stage than done on film.

  49. Josh says:

    Weather Man. You say its depressing and sad but fun? If that isn’t an oxymoronic statement, I don’t know what is. Who wants to sit and watch depressing and sad? In a theatre paying 20 bucks?

  50. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Meryl Streep is Box Office Poison, thus “Prime” is tanking. Last year’s remake of “The Manchurian Candidate” would have gotten to $100M domestic had she not been in it.
    “The Weather Man” has been on the shelf for almost a year and is appropriately being dumped.
    “Zathura” looks like a trainwreck. Print ads for today’s sneak preview resort to name-checking (“From The Director Of ‘Elf’ “). When is Hollywood gonna learn that you do NOT sell a new release by name-checking previous hits?
    Oh, well. With the upmarket stuff out there I won’t have to put up with Harry Potter 4 until after Thanksgiving.

  51. Terence D says:

    You’re really going to blame Streep for Manchurian not doing 100 mill? Talk about going out a limb.

  52. jeffmcm says:

    Chucky in Jersey, I still think your opinion on ‘name checking’ is incredibly absurd. Every weekend you post about it. It’s the bread and butter of movie marketers. I liked Elf. I am vastly more likely to see a movie made by the same person. So are lots of people.

  53. BluStealer says:

    I’d check out Zathura more now that I know who’s directing it.

  54. Bodhizefa says:

    Weather Man. You say its depressing and sad but fun? If that isn’t an oxymoronic statement, I don’t know what is. Who wants to sit and watch depressing and sad? In a theatre paying 20 bucks?

    Sorry I wasn’t clearer. I wrote my entry after coming in from a 16 hour all-nighter 😉
    It’s a depressing and sadly toned film, but done in a way that it manages a humorous effect (i.e. fun for the viewer, not the characters). Then again, I was the only one consistently laughing in the theatre, so perhaps it’s not so funny to everyone 🙂

  55. jeffmcm says:

    There are also a lot of people here who can’t contain confusing thoughts in their heads, even with a full night’s sleep.

  56. Josh says:

    Not a good box office year for Nic Cage. This means we’re getting another Con Air type soon.

  57. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Josh, he has Ghost Rider out next year. So, there ya go. Con Air quota filled.
    Meryl Streep is box office poison to anybody who has seen one of her movies from before 1995.
    And, seriously, that name checking thing is silly. If I wasn’t an internet using movie geek and didn’t know who made the latest CGI movie but then they said “from the makers of Toy Story, The Incredibles and Monsters Inc” I’d definitely be way more interested than if they said “from the makers of Shrek” (and even worse) “and Shrek 2”

  58. jeffmcm says:

    What happened to Meryl Streep in 1995?

  59. EDouglas says:

    Do the Chicken Little commercials say ‘from the makers of Toy Story’? Seriously? I guess it sounded better than the “Lucky bastards who got to distribute Toy Story”

  60. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    No, no they don’t. I was just saying that if I saw an ad for a new CGI movie (and didn’t know anything about it) that said “From the makers of Toy Story, etc” I would be much more interested than if they said “from the makers of Shrek and Shark Tale”

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