U can fool most of the people most of the time with their comedy offerings. But with The Wedding Date opening to what looks to be an $11 million weekend – strong Saturday night, but no Sunday, even if pandering to young women – they have shown they can’t fool all of the people all of the time.
I haven’t seen the picture, but I would expect that it might be around the same quality of The Guru, 2003’s January romantic comedy dud… that was terrible, but almost likeable, but unsellable. To give Universal its due – though I have watched almost no network TV in the last two weeks, so I am kinda blind here – I get the feeling that they did not go overboard on P&A for this romantic comedy starring an actress famous for playing a single girl who lives with a gay man and can’t seem to find true love here play a girl who hires a beard for a wedding because she can’t find true love. In other words, it’s easier to sell Ben Stiller and a ferret than a TV actress who is playing the same character she always seems to play.
Debra Messing in a female spin on The Man Who Loved Women… that could be a home run. Grace Buys A Date… no.
Of course, the bigger story, which is going so long now that the Energizer Bunny is envious, is another thriller/horror film opening in the 20s with no cast, no franchise, and no evidence of quality. Boogeyman joins Hide & Seek, White Noise, The Grudge, The Forgotten, Resident Evil: Apocalypse… and Saw came close. (Note that four of the six titles are from Sony... perhaps the wheel greasers that made it possible for Universal and Lions Gate.) Can The Ring Two become just the third January-April opening film in history to start with more than $50 million? It’s looking more than a little possible.
In Oscar box office news, the Million Dollar Baby juggernaut slowed a little on Friday, though it is still the chart topper amongst the five nominees. And Sideways continues to do nicely, but not phenomenally, putting more and more irrelevant room between itself and Finding Neverland. And as expected, The Aviator passed Ray on Thursday to become the high grosser in the Best Picture group.
It looks like M$B is going to need one intense surge of energy in the next week if it is to eek out the win against the now neck-and-neck Aviator.