This has to be one of the least inspiring weekends for new releases in a while. Granted, the stage is being hogged by the Oscars coming up on Sunday, but you’d think Hollywood would want to put its best foot forward on its biggest weekend. Throw in the fact that about 60 million people are going to get snow-blasted over the next few days, and this is shaping up to be a pretty bleak weekend at the box office.
When I first saw the trailer for Dark Skies, I could have sworn someone had dug up the treatment for Steven Spielberg’s un-produced Night Skies and decided to film it. Conceived as a pseudo-sequel to Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Night Skies would have focused on a family terrorized by a band of malicious aliens. That’s pretty much note for note what Dark Skies seems to be. Except without the benefit of Spielberg, John Sayles (who wrote the only draft of Night Skies ever produced) and Rick Baker (who spent $70,000 on a prototype alien for the film). Instead, we get director Scott Stewart, he of Legion and Priest “fame.” All of which makes me want to watch Close Encounters and a film that doesn’t even exist more than I want to watch Dark Skies.
You have to feel for Dwayne Johnson. He’s been trying to break through as an action star for over a decade now and just can’t seem to catch a break. Some thought The Rundown was going to do the trick, but as good as he was in it, the film just didn’t catch on, and Johnson spent the bulk of the 2000s doing either forgettable action films or even more forgettable comedies. But his role in Fast Five two years ago may have helped him turn the corner. He’s got a big 2013 ahead of him, with one film a month for the next four months, starting with Snitch coming out today. Honestly though, his odds of a hit look better with Fast and Furious 6 or G.I. Joe: Retaliation than with his new film. Early word has been mixed, and indicates the film is less about action and more about social issues. Not exactly what people want to smell the Rock cooking.
But all of this is just prologue to Oscar Night on Sunday, and what most see as the inevitable upset of Argo winning Best Picture. I’ll be posting my
wild guesses predictions tomorrow, and I’ll once again live blog the ceremony on Sunday evening. I just can’t wait to get to that big Seth MacFarlane/Kristin Chenoweth number that’s closing the show!