1. After Earth (Sony/Columbia, 3,401 Theaters, 100 Minutes, Rated PG): So, I wonder if the producers of this film are sweating it out just a bit. I’m sure that thought that this film, about a military man and his son who return to Earth after an global apocalypse, wouldn’t be affected by being released just six weeks after Oblivion, a film about a military man who returns to Earth after an global apocalypse, because, hey, who doesn’t like post-apocalyptic films anyway?
Well, American audiences might not like them as much anymore. Oblivion, while opening at #1, dropped quite severely from then on, and it looks like the film might have trouble making its budget back domestically. (it’s overseas grosses were quite good, as Tom Cruise’s movies usually are, so might end up making a profit). Could audiences be done with thinking about the end of the world? That will make for a tough summer movie season, because the world will end in theaters several times in the next few months.
One mitigating factor that this could do worse than Oblivion is M. Night Shyamalan, a director who has gone from “I gotta see his film!” to “God, you couldn’t drag me in to see his films” in record time. Although Shyamalan is only directing the film (he did a rewrite of the film but that’s it), so it shouldn’t be as bad as The Last Airbender or The Happening. And this one has Will Smith in it, a star who usually does pretty well at the box office.
2. Now You See Me (Lionsgate/Summit, 2,925 Theaters, 116 Minutes, Rated PG-13): If there is one movie I am rooting for the summer film season, it’s this one. This might come as a surprise to you who have read my stuff before, who might have thought it would be one of the comic book films or possibly even The World’s End.
No, this one gets my vote. It’s got a fun concept (basically, it’s Ocean’s 11 with magicians). It’s got a great cast (See that poster over there? Five people on it have Oscar nominations. Three of those five have multiple nods. Two of those three have won an Oscar and one of those two have one more than one Academy Award).
But its a really busy summer. There are a lot of films competing for your theater-going dollar. A film like this can get lost in the shuffle. I am really hoping it doesn’t.