As expected, Grown Ups 2 won its fight with Pacific Rim last weekend, despite the fervent wishes of multiple people I know who were actively rooting for it to bomb. Which is something I’ve never understood. I can see hoping a film does well. You like the people involved in it, you want to see more of that type of film, it makes sense to want it to be successful. But wishing ill on a movie you don’t like? Just seems like a waste of energy. Better you try to get people to see the things you think are worth it than stabbing your little box office voodoo doll hoping to curse it. Because these days, you’re going to end up disappointed more often than not.
Fortunately, it looks like audiences got the message and are not going to turn out for R.I.P.D. The trailers for this have to have been the worst-received I’ve seen in a while, and advance tracking doesn’t even have it breaking $20 million for the weekend. If you’re going to do a watered-down Men In Black without Will Smith, you’ve got to do better than Ryan Reynolds, who’s still flailing around in search of his big hit. This is certainly not going to be it. Meanwhile, Jeff Bridges seems to have drifted into the Robert DeNiro “I’ve Got an Oscar, How Big Is the Check?” phase of his career. He looks for all the world like he wandered in off the set of True Grit, which only makes me want to watch that instead of this.
Turbo lived up to its name by getting a head start and opening on Wednesday. This is just the kind of safe, inoffensive, celebrity-laden animated film that DreamWorks had seemed to be getting away from, but it’s also a reliable money-maker for them, especially when all the other big animated family films have run their course. Despicable Me 2 could still eat into this film’s audience, but for the most part, the kids who were going to see that will have seen it by now, and will be looking for something new to make their parents drag them to. So maybe Ryan Reynolds won’t have that bad a weekend after all.
I expect The Conjuring is going to win the weekend. It’s a horror film, which tend to always bring out pretty good Friday and Saturday crowds, and the trailers have a pretty good spooky vibe to them that surely played well to the target audience. Plus there really isn’t anything else out there for anyone looking for a good scare, so it’s got the market cornered. With a budget of only $20 million, it’s almost certain to make its money back by Monday, which is probably all they were looking to do. Nobody ever went broke angling a low-budget horror movie for a big weekend.
But to my surprise, it’s Red 2 I’m most looking forward to seeing. I didn’t see the original until I picked up through Redbox a few months ago, and was completely shocked by how much fun it was. Self-mocking Bruce Willis is better than serious Bruce Willis these days, and this is a role that actually takes into account the fact that he’s no spring chicken anymore. The trailers have hit just the right balance of mirth and mayhem, and the film is positioned in just the right time of summer, when all the bombast has come and gone and something a little smaller and cleverer can take hold. All it has to be is entertaining and it can do some business, safe from the competition of May and June and July 4th.
Provided nobody is out there rooting against it. Then all bets are off.