You can tell school is fully back in session and the NFL is roaring back to life, because there’s only one wide release this weekend. And it’s not exactly something that would have sent other films scrambling for alternate dates. I don’t know whether Universal picked this date for Riddick first and no one joined in, or if they saw the hole and figured the film could use a weekend to itself, but either way, the studio is all but guaranteed to win the weekend. It’s a smart move likely to give a boost to a star who seems to have trouble catching on when he’s not driving cars really fast.
Not that David Twohy isn’t doing his damnedest in that regard. He’s been determined to make his Riddick character into a franchise ever since Pitch Black pleasantly surprised back in 2000. But it took four years to get The Chronicles of Riddick off the ground, and that didn’t exactly set the world on fire, even if it did catch on a bit once it hit DVD (and even if it is the best Warhammer 40K movie ever made). Then, apart from a couple of video games, the character disappeared for nearly a decade, returning with the much more simply titled Riddick. I’m guessing if a fourth film happens, it’ll be called The Riddick Chronicles, followed by Riddick’s Chronicle and then maybe just Chronicle. Oh, wait, that one’s taken already.
Anyway, it’s not that the first two films didn’t have their pleasures, but a third entry seemed rather unlikely. I imagine the continuing success of the Fast and Furious films helped somewhat, but Riddick had to have already been in the planning stages before Fast 6 did all its huge business earlier this year. So between Twohy, Diesel and Universal, there were enough people with enough pull who want to be in the Riddick business. Which may not be a bad one to be in: Riddick only cost around $38 million, nearly a third of what its predecessor did. Even a modest opening would be a success, and it’s not like the field is crowded with event pictures over the next few weeks. Diesel’s hot right now, so this might have a chance to make just enough money to bring us that fourth Riddick film in six or seven years.
And that’s about 200 more words than I ever thought I’d spend talking about this franchise. That’s another benefit of having the weekend all to yourself, Vin.