Opening in New Haven – Weekend of March 21, 2014

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Divergent: Neil Burger’s (Limitless, The Illusionist) adaptation of the popular young adult sci-fi series. Reviews are so-so (42% on RT, 49% on MC) but a massive opening weekend in the 50-70M range should assure a very profitable new series for Summit/Lionsgate.  Are they the only studio that understands how to produce and market this genre?

Personal interest factor: 5

Muppets Most Wanted: Sequel to 2011’s relaunch of the property.  Director James Bobin returns along with franchise newcomers Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell and Tina Fey. There’s a slightly higher chance of me eventually checking this one out thanks to the absence of Jason Segel, but even my kids have zero interest.  I’m curious to see how it performs.

Personal interest factor: 1

On My Way (Elle S’En Va): Catherine Deneuve stars as a former beauty queen who embarks on an unexpected road trip.  Seems like a happier, French version of Broken Flowers.

Personal interest factor:  4

In terms of classic fare: The Criterion is showing Christine (1983) Friday and Saturday evening and The Godfather Part II (1974) Saturday and Sunday morning.

7 responses »

  1. The Divergent audience, from my first-hand observations, seems to consist almost exclusively of 13-year-old girls. All signs are that it hit big last night, but will start fading very fast today, and be more or less over by next weekend. It just doesn’t appear that the movie appeals to anyone who isn’t a die-hard fan of the books. I’ll be a little surprised if it gets to $50 million on the weekend. The sequels seem like an iffy bet to me.

    Muppets Most Wanted is a curious case, because even though I didn’t like the first one, I was under the impression that lots of people did. So it’s surprising that this one hit with a thud – usually sequels only underperform when the first wasn’t well-liked or if it’s been too long between installments. The timing seems right, though, so maybe my opinion of the first film is more widely held than I thought.

  2. My take on the Muppets is that the first one succeeded because it was largely a nostalgia trip for those adults who grew up with them in the 1970s/80s. Once that was satisifed (and there was no great desire from kids today for the Muppets) it’s not surprising the sequel did less well.

  3. Good analysis, Marco. I completely agree.

    There was some sort of unnamed ugliness that went down on the first Muppets film, as well. Segel was distancing himself from the franchise and ruling out any involvement with a sequel upon release, which was unusual. I don’t want to say that his lack of participation torpedoed this installment, but a lack of returning cast members probably didn’t help either.

    Anyway, with a 15M opening (around half of the 2011 film’s opening weekend) it’s safe to say that The Muppets are heading back into retirement.

  4. Even with a hefty drop next weekend, I think a Divergent sequel is pretty much assured. Although they spent way too much on this first installment.

  5. Read in the Times that the two Divergent sequels are green lit, one each for the next two years. It did 56 million for the weekend. And this: “About 59 percent of the overall audience was female. Ticket buyers gave “Divergent” an A score in exit polls.” So a decent amount of the audience is male, even if its boyfriend or fathers, and they liked what they saw.

  6. Scanning various film blogs/websites there seems to be a bit of negativity around the rash of films based on YA novels. But generally I think it’s a positive development as from what I can see when compared with the standard of films offered to teenagers over the years (e.g. the zillion Porky’s ripoffs in the early to mid 1980s).

    To use the Hunger Games for example, they also have quite sophisticated political viewpoints (whether you disagree with them or not) so it’s quite an interesting development I think.

  7. That’s an interesting point. I think it’s certainly a positive to have something vying for teen dollars that aims a little higher than a superhero or found footage horror film.

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