The new releases this week got a whole lot more controversial all of a sudden, and from the one film you wouldn’t think would cause such a ruckus.
1. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (Sony/Screen Gems, 3,104 Theaters, 106 Theaters, Rated R for sequences of violence throughout, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time-36% Fresh [11 Reviews]): I’m wary of any film that says it’s the “Final Chapter,” especially a horror film. Been down that road before (Looking at you Mr. Kruger, Mr. Voorhees) and they always squeeze a bit more out of the franchise.
This is the sixth installment of the series, amazing when you consider that this is a video game adaptation and those never work. Milla Jovovich has been making these films since 2002, but looks like she can make them for another 14 years.
So, what are the chances of another film? Well, this film was released in Japan and other countries just before Christmas and has made $35 million of its $40 million budget back already. And it will be released in China in February. If it makes only $50 million here and China, it will be a hit and you bet they’d be looking for another sequel.
2. A Dog’s Purpose (Universal, 3,058 Theaters, 120 Minutes, Rated PG for thematic elements and some peril, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time-33% Fresh [43 Reviews]): Hoo boy, where to begin.
By now, you probably have seen the ads for this film, especially if you have kids. It had a lot going for it, it’s directed by Oscar-nominated director Lasse Hallström. It is produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment. And while, if you were like me, you might be turned of by its mawkish sentimentality and corniness, you knew several dog lovers in your circle of friends who would be there opening weekend, cash in hand.
The only way this film could not have made money is if a video came out looking like of one of the animals being abused. And that’s just what happened. The film only cost $22 million to make, so the profit line is not that high, but is it low enough to counter the numerous calls for boycotts?
3. Gold (Opening Wide, The Weinstein Company, 2,166 Theaters, 121 Minutes, Rated R for language throughout and some sexuality/nudity, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time-33% Fresh [63 Reviews]): This film opens in wide release after opening in select cities on December 30th of last year. Surely this is to generate Oscar buzz. By the looks of that Tomatometer, they might have been a bit too optimistic there.
The film is based on the Bre-X scandal from the late 1990s. Matthew McConaughey plays a down on his luck risk taker who seems to have all his gambles pay off at once when he finds gold in a mine on property he bought in Indonesia. However, things are not what they seem and his rise to fortune turns out to be short lived.
The film looks like The Wolf of Wall Street with a little American Hustle mixed in, with McConaughey aping Christian Bale’s “weight gain and fake baldness” from the latter as an approach to their characters. Fun fact: Christian Bale was attached to the film early in development.
Next week, new releases will feature another installment of a horror franchise and an interstellar romance of sorts.