If you’re looking for gritty realism at the weekend box office, look much further than Sony’s The Tourist.
Johnny Depp plays Frank, a broken-hearted American -- yep, believe it, someone just up and left Johnny Depp – who travels to Italy to try to get over it. There, he runs into Angelina Jolie, a ravishing Interpol secret agent, who makes him her pawn … before, you know, developing feelings for the intensely handsome sad sack.
Despite this dynamic duo, critics are harshing all over The Tourist before it even arrives in 2,756 movie theaters spread across the U.S. and Canada Friday. The PG-13-rated film is scoring a terrible 23 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes as of mid-day Thursday.
“This zero-chemistry pairing of Angelina Jolie and Depp stands as an object lesson in the perils of succumbing to the siren call of big-time Hollywood filmmaking for a foreign director with one arthouse hit behind him,” sniped The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy, taking aim specifically at German filmmaker Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (The Lives of Others).
Projected to take in around $25 million at North American multiplexes this weekend – not that great for a big, star-driven studio picture costing over $100 million to make at least that much to market worldwide – The Tourist is expected to finish second at the box office this weekend.
The big winner?
That will be Fox, which has managed to revive a Chronicles of Narnia franchise that had hit the rocks after only two films at Disney two years ago by redirecting its marketing back to the core Christian and family audiences.
Predicted to gross more than $40 million domestically this weekend, Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is set to open in more than 3,500 theaters, most of them offering the film in 3D.
Is it worth an expensive 3D ticket? Sure, if you’re a kid … or you’re bringing one to the movie theater. According to Roger Ebert, “This is a rip-snorting adventure fantasy for families, especially younger members who are not insistent of continuity.”
One thing’s for sure, it won’t be exactly like the Narnia you’re used to, with director Adam Adamson – who oversaw the first two pictures – giving up the chair to veteran director Michael Apted.
Apted has some big credits on his resume, dating all the way back to Coal Miner’s Daughter and Gorillas in the Mist, but he hasn’t directed a movie since 2007’s Amazing Grace. That doesn't seem to be a great recipe for crafting a culturally relevant, up-to-date movie for the youthful cinema audience, but who knows….
As for big-people movies with awards hopes, the art-house onslaught continues this weekend, with Paramount debuting the Christian Bale/Mark Wahlberg boxing movie The Fighter in four big-city theaters. It’s about the true-life, Rocky-esque tory of “Irish” Mickey Ward (a role that could conceivably win Wahlberg an Oscar).
See you at the movies this weekend! And check back Monday as we recap the box office results and see how our predictions did.
Daniel’s Crystal Ball Says…
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Love and Other Drugs
Who do you think should win the box office?