Welcome back to the Weekend Warrior, your weekly guide to the new movies hitting theaters this weekend, as well as other cool events and things to check out....but mostly movies.
Can Guy Ritchie's King Arthur or Amy Schumer's Snatched Avoid the 2nd Weekend of May Jinx?
It’s the second weekend of May, which is notoriously bad for any movie trying to open against the blockbuster summer opener in its second weekend. In this case, it’s two very different movies as well as a couple smaller ones. Oh, also it’s Mother’s Day weekend, which could help the movies geared towards women, especially moms, as well as the family films on Sunday.
After reinventing Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr., and attempting to do the same with The Man from U.N.C.L.E., British filmmaker Guy Ritchie tackles KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD (Warner Bros.) with Charlie Hunnam taking on the role of Arthur in his younger days before becoming king. The stylish action-epic also stars Jude Law as its primary bad guy, the current king of Camelot.
It’s hard to tell whether Hunnam has transitioned well into movies following his starring role on FX’s Sons of Anarchy. He did star in Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 movie Pacific Rim, which did quite well (and may have done just as well as whomever was driving the Jaeger robots), but he’s also in James Gray’s adventure drama The Lost City of Z, currently in theaters. Law, on the other hand, has already established himself as a movie star, his biggest hit being the aforementioned Sherlock Holmes, and it sequel. Recently, Law has also gotten attention for starring in HBO’s The Young Pope, which has kept him in the spotlight.
King Arthur is looking to bring in the same audience as last year’s The Legend of Tarzan, which ended up doing far better than many expected, opening with $38.5 million and grossing $126 million domestically and double that overseas. Much of that is to the name-brand value of Tarzan, which made it much easier to market to moviegoers, similar to Godzilla, which did equally well the year before. One could presume that King Arthur may have the same effect, except that in 2004, Joel Schumacher and Disney, coming off the blockbuster hit Pirates of the Caribbean, made a King Arthur movie with director Antoine Fuqua and Clive Owen that bombed with just $52 million after an awful $15 million opening.
A few weeks back, Warner Bros. did a special preview event of the movie, which sold out across the country, which hopefully shows demand, and interest for the movie. Although the movie probably won’t hold that much interest to kids, the PG-13 rating will open the movie up to a wider i.e. younger audience, possibly older teen boys in particular.
We can’t ignore the fact that Warner Bros. has had a lot of bombs on this second weekend of May including Poseidon, Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, the Wachowski’s Speed Racer and 2015’s Hot Pursuit (more on that one below). Yet they still release movies on this weekend for the best, which has led to at least one enormous hit in Baz Lurhmann’s The Great Gatsby. The Brad Pitt historic epic Troy also didn’t do too badly released this weekend, although with George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road, they wisely waited one extra weekend to let Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron run its course.
Unfortunately, the American reviews have started to come in for King Arthur and they're pretty dismal--worse than those for The Legend of Tarzan! In this case, it may counter any positive word-of-mouth from those preview screenings and keep people from checking it out.
On the other hand, there’s a good chance King Arthur won’t be hit as hard by the second weekend of May curse, since older guys will probably looking for something else to see after the box office smash of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. We can see the movie grossing somewhere around $25 million, maybe slightly more due to the interest generated from previews.
Next up is the R-rated comedy SNATCHED (20th Century Fox), starring Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn as a woman and her mother who are kidnapped while vacationing in South America. This is Schumer’s first film since 2015’s Trainwreck with director Judd Apatow, which was a huge hit, grossing $110 million domestically. Directed by Jonathan Levin (The Night Before), the movie pairs the two in an action-comedy adventure which will hopefully appeal to women, and especially mothers who will want to be taken out by their families for some entertainment on Mother’s Day Sunday.
While Schumer hasn’t been in enough movies to have a track record, Goldie Hawn hasn’t appeared in a movie since 2002’s The Banger Sisters with Susan Sarandon, which grossed an underwhelming $30 million. Her last hit was 20 years ago, The First Wives Club with Bette Midler, Diane Keaton and Sarah Jessica Parker, and even her bigger movies in the ‘80s didn’t gross that much money. In that sense, Hawn’s biggest hit to date was in 1980 with Private Benjamin, so essentially, the 35 and older women will be the ones who may see the movie for Hawn...which is great since that will likely be the age of the mothers of the Millennials who may see it for Schumer.
It seems like Snatched could be one of those movies that women go to see in groups even before Mother’s Day on Sunday, but we also have to remember the action-comedy Hot Pursuit, starring Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara, which bombed opening this exact same weekend in 2015. It opened with $13.9 million and grossed $34.5 million domestic.
Reviews for Snatched aren't in at the time of this writing, but we don't expect them to be much better than King Arthur. Snatched should still do decently, probably getting a nice bump on Mother’s Day Sunday, although it’s likely to stay on the low side of the $20 millions because it probably won’t have anything to interest guys whatsoever.
BH Tilt’s Low Riders and Amazon Studios’ The Wall were supposed to open wide this weekend, but they’ve rethought their release plans, so you can read about both of them below. It's a no-brainer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 to win its second weekend at the box office.
BOX OFFICE PREDICTIONS:
(NOTE: Check back on Thursday night for any updates to these predictions due to changing theater counts, etc.)
Updated 5.11 This will be an update in pieces as actual theater counts come in. The first major one is that Doug Liman's The Wall will be opening in 541 theaters, which is fairly wide (or at least wider than Lowriders), and that should be enough for it to break into the Top 10 with the negative reviews for King Arthur possibly causing males to look for other options. That said, I don't think the reviews will affect King Arthur that much since there are people who want to see it, and if anything, it will be hit worse on its second weekend against Alien: Covenant, so I'm only dropping it .3 million from my earlier prediction.
1. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (Marvel Studios/Disney) -- $65.9 million -55%
2. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (Warner Bros.) -- $25.8 million N/A (down .3 million)
3. Snatched (20th Century Fox) -- $20.5 million N/A
4. The Fate of the Furious (Universal) -- $4.3 million -50%
5. The Boss Baby (DreamWorks Animation) -- $3.9 million -35%
6. Beauty and the Beast (Disney) -- $3.4 million -33%
7. How to Be a Latin Lover (Pantelion/Lionsgate) -- $2.8 million -46% (up .1 million)
8. The Wall (Amazon/Roadside Attractions) -- $2.2 million N/A (added to Top 10)
9. The Circle (STX Entertainment) -- $1.8 million -55% (down .1 million)
10. Baahubali 2: The Conclusion -- $1.4 million -57% (Unless it loses most or all of its theaters)
or Gifted (Fox Searchlight) -- $1.3 million -35%
-- Lowriders (BH Tilt) -- $1 million N/A
THIS WEEK’S PICKS:
A little unconventional, but we’re going with three picks this week: two comedies (sort of) and a horror-thriller...
FOLK HERO AND FUNNY GUY (Gravitas Ventures)
Cast: Wyatt Russell, Alex Karpovsky, Meredith Hagner, Melanie Lynskey, Hannah Simone, Michael Ian Black, David Cross.
Writer/Director: Jeff Grace (debut)
Genre: Comedy, Music, Drama.
Plot: After breaking up with his fiancé, stand-up comic Paul (Alex Karpovsky) is down in the dumps, so his childhood friend Jason Black (Wyatt Russell), now a famous singer/songwriter, invites Paul to accompany him on a small tour across the country in hopes of cheering him up. On their first stop, they see another folk singer Bryn (Meredeith Hagner) who Jason invites to join them, creating a potential love triangle between the three acts.
One of my favorite films from last year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which also was the closing night at this year’s Oxford Film Festival is the directorial debut by Jeff Grace, and it’s such a fun and funny movie about a long-time friendship that’s put to the test through a road trip.
It’s such a simple premise, but Grace’s character development, and the actors he cast really elevates what could have been a rather drab indie by most standards into something truly special.
I’ve slowly become a fan of Karpovsky’s delivery as an actor, and he’s well-suited to play a struggling stand-up comic, presumably based on Grace himself, but Wyatt Russell brings such a great spirituality to his singer/songwriter character and relative newcomer (as far as acting) Meredith Hagner is also a great find to play Bryn, the folk singer they meet and bring on the road with them.
I really enjoy how the movie never really goes where you’re expecting, because you expect Bryn to immediately fall for Jason, due to their mutual love for singing. There’s clear chemistry between she and Paul as well. He’s just too neurotic to let things happen organically, and it creates an awkward triangle as they go on the road together. As it turns out, Jason only set-up the tour to try to reconnect with an ex-girlfriend along the way--played by Melanie Lynskie, so who can blame him?--but the movie always comes down to the friendship between the two guys and how they’ve changed since childhood.
This is really a wonderful film that I can’t recommend highly enough, because it’s just such a light and fun movie that really shows Grace to be a great young filmmaking talent to watch out for. Please check out my interview when you get a chance. (Hopefully it will post on Thursday.) The movie is getting a small release into four cities and will be available On Demand, as well.
THE WEDDING PLAN (Roadside Attractions)
Cast: Noa Koler, Dafi Alferon, Oded Leopold, Oz Zehavi, Ronny Merhavi, Irit Sheleg.
Writer/Director: Rama Burshtein (Fill the Void)
Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama
Plot: After her fiancé breaks off their engagement a month in advance, 32-year-old Michal (Noa Koler) is somewhat desperate to get married, so she keeps the wedding date and venue and starts looking for a new groom with the help of her friends and a couple matchmakers.
From Israel comes the second film by Rama Burshtein, whose Fill the Void was an amazing portrait of a young Hassidic Jewish girl’s journey to being married off after her older sister dies, leaving her fiancé without a bride. The Wedding Plan is a much more joyous, and even sometimes funny, film about an older woman, played by the amazing Noa Koler, whose fiancé breaks off their engagement forcing her to look for her new groom. Yeah, sort of similar premise but with a twist.
There’s a lot to like about this lighter movie from Burshtein, but her leading actress Noa Koer is an amazing find, like Israel’s Renée Zellweger or Reese Witherspoon, and yes, the movie definitely has a Bridget Jones quality to it as you watch this woman trying to find love, and turning to God to deliver her a groom.
It’s a really pleasant and joyous film, and a great movie to take Mom to on Mother’s Day, if you live in New York. It only opens there on Friday, but then expands to other cities on May 19.
HOUNDS OF LOVE (Gunpowder and Sky)
Cast: Emma Booth, Ashleigh Cummings, Stephen Curry, Susan Porter, Damian de Monternas
Writer/Director: Ben Young (debut)
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Plot: In Perth, Australia, during the mid-eighties, 17-year-old Vicky Maloney (Ashleigh Cummings) sneaks out of her house to go to a party. When a nice couple in a car offers her a ride, she accepts, not realizing that the couple, John and Evelyn White (Stephen Curry, Emma Booth), are a pair of disturbed serial killers who torture and kill their female victims.
If you’re looking for a film to see this weekend that’s very disturbing and jarring, but isn’t the typical “torture porn” that’s become all too common in the horror genre in recent years, then you’ll want to check out Aussie filmmaker Ben Young’s directorial debut.
It features an amazing trio of actors in what comes across a little like a darker kidnapping film like Room, but it’s handled much more brutally, without actually showing the worst of what’s happening to Vicki.
This is a movie where it’s best to not know too much going into it, and it isn’t one I’d recommend for everyone. Unlike the above two films, it’s about as far from a “feel good” film as you might see all year, but it is masterfully directed and acted and therefore, should be seen for the amazing talent on display. If you want to see the first movie of a director who people will definitely be talking about in the future, then check out Hounds of Love, when it opens in select cities and On Demand this weekend.
OTHER LIMITED RELEASES:
Narratives -- Dramas, Comedies and Genre:
There are quite a few worthwhile movies this week, and I also liked Doug Liman’s psychological thriller The Wall (Amazon Studios/Roadside Attractions), starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson as a soldier trapped behind a wall after the end of the Iraq War with a sniper talking to him via his earpiece wanting to know more about him, but also playing head games. The movie, written by Dwain Worrell, also stars John Cena, and it will probably open a few hundred theaters this weekend, and possibly will go wide later. If you like Ryan Reynolds’ Buried, or other high concept thrillers like Phone Booth, this is worth checking out. This was supposed to be wide at one point, but not knowing an actual theater count, it's hard to tell how it might do.
LRM Interview with Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Coming Soon!)
Ricardo de Montreuil’s action drama Lowriders (BH Tilt) is set against East LA’s car culture, following Danny (Gabriel Chavarria), a street artist caught between the lowrider world of his father (Demian Bichir), brother (Theo Rossi) and his own adrenaline-filled outlet. The movie also stars Eva Longoria and Tony Revolori, which is produced by Jason Blum and Brian Grazer. Originally, this was going to get a wide release, but now it’s going to be in a few hundred theaters across the country.
Cate Blanchett stars, and actually plays 13 distinct role,s in German filmmaker Julian Rosefeldt’s Manifesto (FilmRise), a true art film where each of Blanchett’s characters recites some art manifesto as the film is pieced together with a running narrative throughline. Having played at Sundance and Tribeca, Manifesto opens at New York’s Film Forum on Wednesday (tonight!) for two weeks and then in other cities to follow.
Bette Gordon’s psychological thriller The Drowning (Paladin), based on the novel by Pat Barker, stars Josh Lucas as a psychologist haunted by the testimony of a young boy sent to jail for murder, but when the boy is released, he becomes obsessed with reinvestigating the case. Also starring Julia Stiles, Avan Jogia and Tracie Thoms, it opens on Wednesday (tonight!!) at the IFC Center in New York with QnAs with Bette and her producers tonight and tomorrow night.
Diane Lane stars in Eleanor Coppola’s directorial debut Paris Can Wait (Sony Classics), playing Anne, the wife of a Hollywood producer (Alec Baldwin), who goes on a road trip through France with her husband’s French business partner (Arnaud Viard), which ends up taking side trips as he tries to woo her with food and wine. It opens in New York and LA on Friday.
The Scottish comedy Whisky Galore! (Arrow Films) from director Gillies MacKinnon is a remake of the 1949 comedy where Scottish islanders try to plunder whiskey from a stranded ship. It stars Eddie Izzard, Gregor Fisher, and it will open in L.A. at the Laemmle Music Hall and New York at the Cinema Village.
Star Trek and Shaun of the Dead’s Simon Pegg and Kate Beckinsale star in the comedy Absolutely Anything (Atlas Movies), directed by Monty Python’s Terry Jones and features the voices of his Monty Python as a group of eccentric aliens who gives powers to a human (Pegg) to do anything he wants with them. It opens in select cities.
Written by Jeffrey Riddick (Final Destination) and directed by Phillip Guzman, Dead Awake (FilmRise) stars Jocelin Donahue as social worker Kate Bowman, who gets thrown into the world of the supernatural while investigating a series of deaths resulting from “sleep paralysis.” As Kate and her friends are haunted, they need to fight to stay awake to keep the entity from being unleashed. It opens in select cities and On Demand Friday.
World class runner Alexi Pappas writes, and co-directs, Tracktown (Orion/Samuel Goldwyn Films) with Jeremy Telcher, also starring in it as Plumb Marigold, a distance runner preparing for the Olympic Trials who takes a day off due to an injury, and goes into a bakery where a boy behind the counter catches her eye. Many of Pappas’ co-stars are other Olympic athletes. It opens in select cities and On Demand.
Opening in L.A. (at the Laemmle Music Hall), Toronto and New Orleans is Bas Devos’ Berlinale prize-winning Violet (Ryan Bruce Levey Film Distribution), a coming-of-age story about 15-year-old Jesse, whose best friend is attacked at the mall, though Jesse doesn’t engage or do anything to the assailants, leaving him wondering if he should have.
Opening at the IFC Center and streaming on Netflix Friday is Daniel DiMauro, Dylan Bank and Morgan Pehme’s Get Me Roger Stone about the political consultant, and longtime Trump advisor Roger Stone, who had been called before the Watergate grand jury decades earlier. The doc covers the last 50 years of politics and how controversy is created by manipulating the media.
German actress Maria Schrader’s doc Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe (First Run Features), Austria’s official entry for the Oscars foreign language category, which tells the story of Jewish writer Stefan Zweig who was exiled from 1936 to 1942, but whose writing influenced the likes of Wes Anderson in making The Grand Budapest Hotel. It opens at New York’s Lincoln Plaza on Friday and in L.A. on June 16.
This weekend we also have Raz Degan’s The Last Shaman (Abramorama), which takes a look at a young man named James Freeman who suffered from depression, which drove him to the Amazon jungle where he learned about the healing properties of the tribal plant Ayahuasca. It opens Friday at the Landmark Sunshine in New York, then expands to L.A. and upstate New York on May 19 and then more cities.
From Bollywood comes Akshay Roy’s rom-com Meri Pyaari Bindu (Yash Rai Films) starring Ayushmann Khurrana, as successful writer Abhimanyu Roy, who returns to his roots in Kolkata to write a love story that’s taken three years to write with his writers block coming in the form of Parineeti Chopra’s live wire Bindu. It opens in select cities Friday.
Festivals, Series and Repertory:
Following last week’s rerelease of Andrei Tarkovsky’s’s Stalker, it’s followed up with a restoration of his earlier 1972 science fiction film Solaris (Janus), which was later remade by Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney, about mysterious transmissions coming from a space station and the man sent to investigate. This will also open at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and then both movies will play in L.A. at the Landmark Nuart Theater on May 19.
If you’re in New York and a fan of FX’s Feud, you might want to see the original thriller What Ever Happened to Baby Jane at the Film Forum, playing twice today on the 40th Anniversary of Joan Crawford’s death, once at 2:15 pm and once at 7pm, with special guests commemorating the actress.
Not movie-related, but the 2nd season of Aziz Ansari’s Master of None will be premiering on Friday, as well, in case there’s nothing in theaters that interests you.
That’s it for this week, but join us again next Wednesday right here on LRM Online for a look at new movies including Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant (20th Century Fox), the family movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (also 20th Century Fox) and Everything, Everything (Warner Bros.)
Tell us what you think in the comments below, and don't forget to share this post on your Facebook wall and with your Twitter followers by using the buttons at the top of this page.
(Text copyright Edward Douglas 2017. The Weekend Warrior logo designed by and copyright Tim Nardelli 2017.)