It’s a weekend of dichotomy, as we have Liam Neeson’s never-ending attempt to be the baddest ass alive going up against Disney’s never-ending quest to remake everything it’s ever done. It’s hard-R versus soft-PG, the irresistible force of Disney marketing against the immovable object of Neeson’s jawline. And it doesn’t take much to figure out who’s going to win that battle.
While I’m enjoying this angry old man phase of Neeson’s career, he’s really not giving us the chance to miss him. It’s only been two months since Taken 3, which was only four months after A Walk Among the Tombstones. It’s almost to the point where they could just keep re-releasing the same film every few months and we’d probably never know the difference. This time though it’s Run All Night, with Neeson having to keep his son alive through one undoubtedly action-packed, blood-filled evening. This will probably do well as a bit of counter-programming for people not looking for fairy godmothers and pixie dust, but I imagine it’s going to really find its legs on home video. Which, for a film with a modest $50 million budget, isn’t going to make anybody unhappy.
But the weekend is going to belong to the Mouse and Cinderella. Disney has been resurrecting its animated features as live-action films with financial if not artistic success. Alice in Wonderland was abysmal but took in a billion worldwide, while Maleficent had more going for it but did only $750 million. So with the glowing early notices for Cinderella, does that mean even less at the box office? Unlikely; this isn’t the story told from someone else’s perspective, it’s not some reimagining, it’s a lavish re-telling of part of the core fairy tale canon, in the hands of an actual director (and yes, I’m aware Tim Burton did Alice, but I’d argue he hasn’t been a real director for years now). Disney already has the wheels rolling on a live-action Dumbo — also to be directed by Burton — and it’s likely a matter of time before they do CGI versions of their live-action versions of their animated versions, then start the whole cycle all over again.
Hell, they could even throw Liam Neeson into the mix while they’re at it. He’s have time for it in the months between Taken sequels.