It used to be the end of March meant we still had about two months before the real blockbusters started rolling out. Of course, that was back when the summer movie season started on Memorial Day weekend, before it began creeping further and further back into spring. Last year’s biggest hit, The Avengers, opened on April 11th, a full-on summer movie three days after Easter. The calendar doesn’t mean anything anymore, as studios try to stake out clear territory where their tent poles can rule the roost unopposed for a few weeks. It’s likely we’ll see a time when February is as good time to release a blockbuster as Fourth of July weekend. The Oscar bait will still cling to fall and winter though; memories are still far too short. Not that anybody is going to confuse this week’s releases with Oscar bait.
First up, there’s Stephenie Meyer’s attempt to do to science fiction what she did to horror: turn it into sappy, unconvincing teen romance that somehow inexplicably appeals to adult women as well. The Host might as well be Twilight with Aliens. There’s angst, moodiness, and what looks like another triangle. The main difference is that Saoirse Ronan is about a thousand times the actress Kristen Stewart is, so she might actually manage to make this watchable. My real sympathies go to Andrew Niccol. The guy wrote and directed Gattaca and got an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for The Truman Show. Now he’s adapting Meyer. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
Next, Tyler Perry’s back with yet another exercise in creative narcissism, Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor. It’s nice to seem him branching out from simple possessive nouns into more complicated use of punctuation, although the poor guy who has to slap that up on a marquee can’t be too happy about it. TPT: COAMC is yet another one of Perry’s plays making the leap to the big screen, this time featuring noted thespian Kim Kardashian. And that’s really the most hilarious possible thing to say about this film. But if you don’t like this one, don’t worry. Perry only has two more coming out this year. One of them has to stick, right?
So G.I. Joe: Retaliation takes the top spot pretty much be seeming to suck the least. This has to set some kind of record for most films with colons in the title to be released on the same day. Delayed nearly a year from its original release date last June, leaving sponsors hanging in the lurch, the film was given the 3D treatment and reportedly an extra dose of Channing Tatum, all in hopes people would forget just how miserable the first film was. The new film looks like it takes itself a lot less seriously, but I just don’t have much excitement for it. My G.I. Joe was the doll-sized toy with the fatigues and the beard, not the little guys with the code names. I love me some Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis, but hell, I still haven’t seen A Good Day to Die Hard, and I have a free pass for it. I doubt this is going to get me into a seat.
And there are your choices. Retreads across the board. Not that next week is much more original. But at least those films are coming from a much stronger pedigree.