Disney’s surprisingly resurgent “The Lion King 3D,” has been dominating the box office for weeks. More than doubling expectations (especially here in New York), the ageless animated film from the Mouse’s hay day has sent some serious shockwaves through the industry. This week the movie will return for what has now become an extended engagement ahead of their Blu-Ray debut on Tuesday. Joining them at the Cineplex will be a trio of new wide releases, but given the power of Simba and his friends, they may just be pretenders to the throne.
Leading the charge is Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is going to back to his indie roots with “50/50.” Levitt and “Knocked Up’s” Seth Rogen star as two friends who must depend on humor and each other, when one is diagnosed with cancer.
Both actors have been making the publicity rounds here in NYC, but the question won’t be if are aware of the movie, it is will audiences respond to it? Well, in Summit Entertainment’s case, when your main bread and butter franchise is “Twilight,” it gives you creative ability to finance award-bait like this and “The Beaver.” Granted, while “Beaver” underperformed, that had more to do with Mel Gibson backlash than anything else…still don’t be surprised if his name pops up again during award season.
Regarding “50/50” though, this is dangerously close to “Funny People” territory which the public wasn’t quick to embrace (and also starred Rogen). The difference here is in the marketing as “Funny People” was sold as more of a comedy and this one was not. Either way Levitt has some serious indie credibility following the successful “500 Days of Summer” and he will draw a crowd; just how big though remains to be seen.
On the other hand there is no confusion with “Dream House.” Audiences know what they are going to get with this horror film. Here, Daniel Craig plays an author who moves his family to a small New England town, only to find their new dream house was the site of a brutal murder and the killer is still at large.
It doesn’t matter if you live in a big city like New York or a small town; horror films sell. It’s really that simple, but again like “50/50” the degree will vary. Keep in mind Watts broke through with the horror classic “The Ring” and she returns to that genre here alongside some of the same behind the scenes folks.
The tricky part is that horror films are a fickle genre, they either light the box office on fire or fail to scare up profits, which is incidentally also the way Craig films have tend to be as of late (minus of course his Bond films). It’s also worth noting that Craig has since married co-star Rachael Weisz which helps enhance the movie’s buzz.
The other major entry is “What’s Your Number?,” a comedy in which Anna Faris plays a woman who dives through her dating history believing she’s already met the man of her dreams and broke up with him.
Faris has tried for years to breakthrough as something other than the “satire/comedy” girl, but keeps being pulled back into that genre. “Number” on paper doesn’t look much different than most of the films on her resumes and probably won’t do that much box office damage, despite an impressive array of supporting comedic talent.
With all of those factors taken into account, it looks more and more likely Disney’s “Lion” will remain king until next week when George Clooney and Hugh Jackman enter the fray.
What’s your take New York? Are you going to make one pilgrimage to Pride Rock? Or do any of the new releases interest you? Hit the comments and let us know.
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