By Sarah Sluis
Coming into the weekend, the policing team of Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan in Cop Out (3,150 theatres) has the best chance of finishing highest. Seemingly made with the idea that 'Sure! everybody loves a buddy cop comedy!,' this is a "completely disposable picture" according to our critic Ethan Alter, who felt that everyone from the actors to the studio was phoning it in. As for those who see the movie, "it's a two-hour time-waster that barely lingers in the memory." Ouch. For director Kevin Smith, making his first commercial picture that he did not also write, the poor reviews must sting--with only a high opening weekend as an antidote.
By comparison, The Crazies (2,476 theatres) has garnered mainly positive reviews, currently tracking 71% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes to Cop Out's 17%. FJI critic Maitland McDonagh was thrilled to see this remake of the 1973 George Romero film soar above the so-so remakes of horror movies Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Amityville Horror. She credits excellent acting as a major source of suspense: "...escalating tension hinges on the fact that the line between abnormal behavior triggered by extreme stress and the warning signs of infection is blurred and constantly shifting." The subject matter doesn't hurt either. Small-town Iowans start going crazy after a government plane crash dumps a bioweapon into the town's water, an anxiety shared by our phthalate-fearing, toxins-causing-autism society.
Among holdovers, Shutter Island could make $20 million in its second weekend, which could be a tough number for Cop Out to match. The Ghost Writer, which debuted strong last weekend, will expand from four to 43 theatres in twelve cities. Sony Picture Classics' Oscar-nominated The Last Station will go from 116 to 359 theatres. Its Best Foreign Language film nominee A Prophet (Un Prophete) will also make its premiere. Our critic Alter makes the interesting observation that the drama depicting racially charged French prisons "probably won't seem as novel over here as it was in its homeland," where it won several high-profile awards. Americans are just too inured to the prison genre, spending an "inordinate amount of time following the exploits of people doing time."
On Monday, results will be in for Cop Out, we'll see if The Crazies was able to pick up audiences from strong word-of-mouth, and if Shutter Island was able to hold on to a second week at number one.