This weekend sees the release of a new horror movie, a movie featuring the antics of various funny primates, and Disney’s new movie Monkey Kingdom.
Come on, you knew I wasn’t going to miss a chance at a cheap shot at Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, right? And if I happen to hurt Kevin James’ feelings, well, he can just go cry over the $146 million the first film inexplicably made. That said, that came out six years ago, so this doesn’t exactly feel like striking while the iron is hot. Making those Grown Ups movies couldn’t have taken up that much of his time. Everything about this film just screams, “Same jokes as the first film, different location.” Which will probably be enough to satisfy those who enjoyed the first film and who want a nice big air-conditioned room in which to eat their overpriced popcorn.
Disney keeps up with their tradition of releasing a nature film on or around Earth Day with Monkey Kingdom. I made the mistake at first of thinking this was a new martial arts film full of Chinese mythology, which, let’s be honest, I’d probably be a little more excited about. These Disneynature films haven’t exactly been financial home runs for the Mouse — the first one, 2009’s Earth, is the most successful at only $32 million — but these have always been more about the prestige and the veneer of environmental consideration they create than making a fortune at the box office. And hey, the casts work pretty cheap, so they likely turn a decent profit.
So it looks like this weekend by default goes to Unfriended. Deep breath now, and sing along if you know the words: horror films open well and make money because they’re usually cheap. No reason to believe otherwise here. It’s not going to come close to Furious 7, which is over a billion in worldwide gross and showing no signs of slowing down until a certain angry robot throws down with the Avengers — but it doesn’t have to in order to be successful. And its twist on the found footage format, with the entire film taking place on computer screens, might just be different enough to pull curious horror fans in for a look-see.
Honestly though, I don’t feel myself at all compelled to get out to any of these. If I want to see computer screens and funny monkeys, I can just hang around my apartment with my desktop and a mirror.