By Sarah Sluis
It's not even May yet, but this weekend should bring the first summer-size blockbuster hit, Fast Five, which will saturate the market with 3,643 theatres. Pundits are predicting the film could haul in up to $70 million, tens of millions more than anything that's hit the box office this year. What's more, despite being both the fourth sequel and a car chase action movie, critics are singing their praises, giving it an overall 78% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. FJI critic Daniel Eagan singled out the movie's "delirious action sequences" and concluded that it "condenses everything good about the series into a state-of-the-art thrill ride."
Many high schoolers are just weeks away from their own proms, so what better way to prepare than to catch Disney's Prom (2,730 theatres)? In fairness, the scrubbed-clean Disney version of Prom (no lose-your-virginity pacts la American Pie) will probably attract an audience more tween than teen. According to critic Kirk Honeycutt, the movie has "a cheerful good nature and a solid cast of youngsters," and will probably please the intended audience, but not adults. Disney estimates the movie will open just under $10 million.
Five years after Hoodwinked, the Red Riding Hood redux film Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil will hit 2,505 theatres, 72% of them 3D. Hayden Panettiere voices the lead role, taking over for Anne Hathaway. Critic Frank Lovece acknowledges that the first film was a hit according to independent animation standards, but he's not so kind to the sequel, faulting the "primordial" CG animation and "hackneyed pop-culture references," which date back to the last couple of decades. Like Prom, this animated sequel should debut under $10 million, a relic of when the Weinstein Co. lost its momentum.
Finally, the horror-comedy spoof Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (862 theatres) will target itself toward horror buffs. Based on a comic book, the movie centers on a detective that specializes in the undead (zombies, vampires, etc.). His business card reads "No pulse? No problem."
Those that like a splash more blood can check out director Takashi Miike's 13 Assassins (3 theatres). Technically a samurai pic (jidaigeki), Miike's latest effort "bathe[s the genre] in a steady downpour of blood, mud and filth," according to critic Maitland McDonagh.
After receiving a warm reception on the festival circuit, Werner Herzog's documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams will start its release with 5 theatres. Shot in "terrific" 3D, critic Doris Toumarkine enjoyed his footage of the Chauvet Caves, and found Herzog's "enthusiasm and awe...contagious."
On Monday, we'll see if Fast Five can get up to that 70 MPH box-office figure, if tweens show an iota of their High School Musical devotion for Prom, and if Hoodwinked Too! is able to steal some thunder from Rio.