By Sarah Sluis
With its irreverent, evocative title, Cowboys & Aliens (3,750 theatres) will attempt to lasso the top spot with an opening weekend around $40 million. In a movie both "highly derivative and refreshingly original," according to critic Rex Roberts, "the filmmakers...gleefully beg, borrow and steal from classic westerns and sci-fi adventures in every scene, roping together so many clichs and tropes you'll have a hard time discerning John Ford from George Lucas." Starring Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig, the movie is showing strong interest among adult males, with females over 25 showing the second-highest interest. So many sci-fi/western films have fallen flat (Jonah Hex, Wild Wild West), but Cowboys & Aliens appears to finally get the genre mash-up right.
"Could it be? A summer comedy with actual sincerity, intelligence and heart?" According to critic Kevin Lally, Crazy, Stupid, Love (3,020 theatres) is the rare "ensemble movie where the pieces fit together in gratifying ways." The multigenerational cast should drive audiences young and old to the theatre, where the film will settle somewhere slightly under or well over the $20 million mark. Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon represent the 40 to 50-something crowd, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone cover young professionals in their 20s and 30s, and Analeigh Tipton and Jonah Bobo bring in the cute hopefulness of young love to the teen set--and Crazy, Stupid, Love is rated PG-13.
Family audiences will have yet another option with The Smurfs (3,395 theatres). The unoriginal plot is just a "cynical extension" of the "popular television series, cartoons and assorted products," according to critic Marsha McCreadie. Currently, the movie has just a 21% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes--no sign of success. Four movies in the top ten (Cars 2, Winnie the Pooh, Zookeeper, Harry Potter) are rated G or PG, giving the PG-rated blue pipsqueak movie lots of competition. Despite the abundance of kid-themed product, the live action/CG hybrid could still open at $20-30 million.
Attack the Block (8 theatres) could alternatively be titled Street Gangs & Aliens. The horror movie is "brisk, witty and crackling good fun, the kind of movie genre buffs live to discover and share with their friends before it's officially dubbed a 'cult classic,'" according to critic Maitland McDonagh. Uday Hussein gets his chance at film immortality in The Devil's Double (5 theatres), a "factually murky but riveting tale of a power-crazed Iraq regime," as described by Lally. He also approves of The Guard, a "a sly cop-buddy film set in picturesque Connemara in the west of Ireland" that features Brendan Gleeson in his best role in some time. Finally, Miranda July has her follow-up to Me and You and Everyone You Know with The Future (1 theatre), a slow, slightly surreal film that keeps the audience "dancing perilously close to the edge of terminal whimsy only to be yanked back by moments of stunning emotional truth," according to critic Ethan Alter.
On Monday, we'll see if audiences fell for a romantic comedy, animated blue dwarves or irresistible fusion of western and sci-fi genres.