Well, Hansel and Gretel may have won the weekend, but it did so by posting the lowest gross for a #1 film since mid-December of last year. And that was by Skyfall in its fifth week of release. The witch killing duo couldn’t even break $20 million, and the other new releases didn’t fare much better. With the Super Bowl taking its annual bite out of the weekend, I doubt we’re going to see much improvement. The holdovers will try to hang on, and the new films will try to muddle through as best they can. Honestly though, despite a couple of interesting titles, I don’t think anything is going to set the box office on fire.
But that won’t be through a lack of Sylvester Stallone trying. When it comes to 80s action icons, I’ve always been a Schwarzenegger guy. Neither one of them is what you’d call a great actor, but Arnold always seemed more aware of that fact. There was a wide-eyed enthusiasm to his films, while Stallone always came across way too earnest, especially given some of the films he was in. And it’s hard to argue that Stallone is the one who’s aged more gracefully. Be that as it may, there’s nothing that really has me excited about Bullet to the Head. Seeing Walter Hill as the director may raise an eyebrow, but that’s mostly for this being the film he chose to direct after being idle for over a decade. I just hope this doesn’t open better than The Last Stand, because I’d hate to see what looks like a soulless action dirge out-perform Schwarzenegger’s much more fun film.
I could have sworn Stand Up Guys had come and gone already, but here it is sliding out onto a little over 650 screens. You’d think Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin could get a bigger opening, especially with Arkin suddenly becoming a sort of Academy darling of late. I imagine they’re trying to go the indie route with this, content to be a big fish in a relatively smaller pond as opposed to wrestling with the whales with wide release. From the trailer, this looks like a pretty slight film that tries to milk everything it can from its three extremely charismatic leads, and taken at that level, will probably be an enjoyable little film. I’m just not sure I want to rush out and find one of the 650 screens showing it.
It’s Warm Bodies that would be my choice for the weekend, though. First of all, it’s a zombie film that’s actually doing something different with the genre beyond, “Hey, look, they run now!” Other films have toyed with the idea of zombies retaining some kind of rudimentary, instinctive memory of their past lives, but none have taken it to the lengths Warm Bodies seems to be taking it. Add in a very female-friendly premise for what’s usually a pretty masculine genre, and this stands a good chance of doing well. It’s a date movie guys won’t mind getting dragged to, and who knows? It might manage to carry over to Valentine’s Day if it can sustain the humor it showed in its trailers. And it would be nice for Shaun of the Dead to have some company on the zombie comedy shelf.
But I don’t feel supremely motivated to rush out for any of these. I’ll likely spend Saturday provisioning up for the big game, and Sunday eating and drinking all of it before half time and wondering what the hell I just did to myself.