There's no Matt Damon in the fourth Bourne film, The Bourne Legacy (3,746 theatres), but that won't stop the Universal picture from earning somewhere over $40 million this weekend. Since The Dark Knight Rises earned $35 million last week, and will drop even further, it's pretty much a guarantee that Legacy will end up on top. Although there were a fair number of head-shaking moments in the action-heavy feature, I think the casting of Jeremy Renner was one choice that wasn't a miss. FJI critic Daniel Eagan, however, felt the plot is mainly smoke-and-mirrors and characterization was weak, explaining that the fourth film is "missing the layers and nuances of earlier episodes. Cross [Renner] isn't out to expose Outcome or avenge a loss, he's just a junkie after drugs." Younger males are the biggest supporters of the film, but they'll be choosing between this PG-13 film and R-rated The Campaign, meaning younger teens really have no choice.
Starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis as two bumbling political candidates, The Campaign (3,205 theatres) "has enough sheer silliness to score a modest hit," according to critic Kevin Lally. However, he felt that this "hit-or-miss affair that could have been so much more incisive and satisfying with a sharper, more focused screenplay." Undemanding fans in search of a laugh will probably cut the comedy some slack as it "leap[s] arbitrarily from one zany setup to another." Warner Bros. has modest expectations for the release, with a number in the mid-teens expected.
My vote for a sleeper hit, Hope Springs (2,361 theatres) is on track to either slowly build or flop. It debuted to just $2.3 million on Wednesday, half of last year's (admittedly very different) The Help, which also opened mid-week. Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones star as empty-nesters who seek the help of a psychologist (Steve Carell) to save their marriage and sex life. The "pitch-perfect chemistry" of the stars made critic Shirley Sealy a fan, and she predicts that "viewers who can relax and go with the shenanigans in this delightful and insightful movie may come away with a new understanding of what intimacy is all about."
Nitro Circus: The Movie also opened Wednesday in 800 theatres, though the distributor Arc Entertainment hasn't yet released figures from opening day. In this Jackass takeoff, participants have even a greater likelihood of being killed, according to critic David Guzman, but somehow "it takes itself too seriously to have the same joy that 'Jackass' has. You probably wouldn't think that'd be a problem in a movie that shows somebody riding a tricycle into a flaming loop-de-loop, but there you go." While this type of content attracts plenty of followers, low name recognition will likely hurt the stunt movie's box office, despite added grosses thanks to the 3D format.
The most notable specialty release this week is Spike Lee's Red Hook Summer (4 theatres), a "highly flawed" drama that's "downright embarrassing," according to Chris Barsanti.
On Monday we'll see if The Bourne Legacy lived up to its box-office expectations, if The Campaign managed to wrangle away young males from Legacy, and if Hope Springs built up some momentum after its so-so opening.