Even though neither is something I have any desire to see, I have to give some credit to the two wide releases this week. They had the guts to step out in the shadow of Iron Man 3. It was a given the new Marvel was going to be big, but second-highest opening of all time big? I don’t think many saw that coming. What does that mean for The Great Gatsby and Tyler Perry Presents Peeples? Let’s put it this way: most are tracking Gatsby for a $40-45 million opening weekend. Iron Man 3 could drop 70% from its opening weekend and still beat that. What we’ve got here is classic counter-programming, the hope that people will be looking for something else besides the resident behemoth. The question is just how enticing a pair of alternatives the newcomers prove to be.
I’m deeply, profoundly disappointed that Tyler Perry is merely presenting and not possessing Tyler Perry Presents Peeples. The easiest running joke I have for this series is that apostrophe S of his, and he denies me. I’ll remember this, Perry. I’m also a little puzzled as to what it’s not The Peeples. As it stands, it sounds like Perry is introducing some kind of new toy line or something. This looks like an African-American riff on Meet the Parents, which is fine, I guess. It’s just too bad they couldn’t have gotten Nia Peeples and Mario van Peebles and given us Tyler Perry Presents Peeples vs. Peebles.
Baz Luhrmann is a vividly imaginative director who just doesn’t know when to stop. Moulin Rouge was edited within an inch of its life, a frenetic mess that ladled on everything but the kitchen sink in an effort to add drama to a love story whose ending Luhrmann gave away in the opening narration of the film. He’s a total style over substance guy for me, and if they style doesn’t work for you, there’s just not much left. Now he’s taking on the ultimate indictment of hollow opulence, The Great Gatsby, and I wonder if Luhrmann has it in him to see that point. Still, the presence of Leonardo DiCaprio and the cachet of the book will get people in the door. Whether they keep coming back depends on whether we get Romeo + Juliet or Australia.
Next week, everybody gets back out of the pool as Star Trek Into Darkness comes roaring in as the sole new release, and we finally find out that Benedict Cumberbatch is playing Khan like we all assumed he was a year ago.