The Thanksgiving-holiday hangover always looms heavy at the box office, with movie distributors loathe to take out their big tentpoles on a weekend that’s typically one of the year’s slowest at the multiplexes.
And this weekend is no exception, with only one new film, Relativity’s martial-arts-themed Western, Warrior’s Way, opening wide, and an incumbent crop that includes Warner Bros.’ seventh Harry Potter film and Disney’s 3D-animated Tangled commanding most of the ticket sales.
Conversely, if you live in a big city and you like arthouse movies with awards aspirations, this is your weekend, with Black Swan, I Love You, Phillip Morris and All Good Things making premieres in a handful of Los Angeles and Manhattan theaters.
For its part, Warrior’s Way promises Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon-like fun, with the R-rated fantasy film starring Kate Bosworth and Dong-gon Jang (the “Tom Cruise of Korea,” according to one Relativity staffer) as a reluctant assassin.
Shot for $42 million – a mint for a small independently-produced film with a foreign star – Warrior’s Way probably won’t be a big hit at the box office, with the studio only expecting the film to take in around $5 million while playing at 1,622 theaters across the U.S.
According to NRG Tracking, which specializes in surveying moviegoer moods for the Hollywood studios, less than 38 percent of American public even knows Warrior’s Way is coming out this weekend.
Next weekend though is another story. Moviegoers seem hyped up for films coming soon, with nearly 90 percent of them aware that Fox’s Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is arriving, and about 40 percent stating that they’re definitely interested in seeing it.
Further down the road, Disney’s Tron: Legacy is scoring 75 percent “awareness” among regular filmgoers and 41 percent “intent-to-see” more than two weeks before it comes out, suggesting its premiere will be pretty big.
Jumping back to this weekend, arthouse-wise, Roadside Attractions will debut I Love You, Phillip Morris in six L.A./New York locations, with the R-rated comedy starring Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor as romantically-linked gay con men scoring a solid 78 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
People have curiously anticipated this film for a while, with the film’s European producer, filmmaker Luc Besson’s EuroCorp fighting it out in court with the picture’s original distributor, a process that delayed the film’s domestic release for the better part of the last year.
Same-sex themes also paint Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, an R-rated erotic thriller starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis as kissin’-when-they-ain’t-fightin’ rival ballerinas.
Distributed by Fox Searchlight, Black Swan’s reviews have been good, too, with Rotten Tomatoes currently scoring it at 84 percent “fresh.”
However, the film does have high-profile dissonance, with the L.A. Times’ influential Kenneth Turan unceremoniously calling it “high-art trash.”
Also debuting this weekend in two big-city theaters, Magnolia’s All Good Things is an R-rated thriller that stars Ryan Gossling as real-life Manhattan-society-bred wife killer Robert Durst. Kirsten Dunst stars as the not-so-fortunate Mrs., alongside a supporting cast that includes Frank Langella and Kriseten Wiig.
Reviews have been soft, with the New Yorker’s David Denby noting, “The movie never jells.”
So what will YOU be seeing in theaters this weekend? Let us know.