1. Man of Steel (Warner Brothers, 4,207 Theaters, 143 Minutes, Rated PG-13): I can’t begin to tell you the amount of turmoil this film has caused in me. See, I love Superman. I loved the character even before I started collecting comics. What I like most about the character is his inherent goodness. Superman has the power to rule the earth, but he uses that power to protect it instead.
When Jeff Robinov started talking about this film being dark and gritty, warning bells flew up. Because the Superman I liked would not work in the dark and grim world Robinov was advertising. And the first few ads for the film made it seem like this was a new and different Superman in line with Warners’ dark and grim plan.
But more recent ads show a Superman with the qualities that I grew up loving in the character. So, in other words, I am confused. They could change just about everything about the character (with a valid reason for the change) as long as they keep the character’s willingness to serve the people of Earth, his decency and his honorable nature. I hope that is still there and if anything, amplified.
2. This is the End (Opened Wednesday, Sony/Columbia, 3,055 Theaters,107 Minutes, Rated R): The most famous instance of cinematic counter programming in movie history was when Honey, I Shrunk the Kids opened on the same day as this highly anticipated Batman in June of 1989. Both films made quite a bit of money, because the former was a kid friendly film you can take your younger child to while your older child was seeing what could be the scarier latter film. Also, HISTK had inventive enough effects that people who were sold out of a screening of Batman, they wouldn’t mind seeing HISTK instead.
This film might not be as good counter programming. I believe the demographic for this film fits 100% inside the demographic for Man of Steel. I don’t believe that there will be many who would rather see this film instead of MoS. So it will have to scrounge for what ever tickets it can get, and hopefully pull in word of mouth sales later on.
Which is a shame, because the concept is goofy enough that I would pick it as my “If I can only see one film…” choice just about any other week. It deals with James Franco, Seth Rogen and just about every other actor they worked with (with Rihanna and Emma Watson added for good measure) playing themselves stuck in the hellish Earth that underwent a Rapture of sorts. They are left behind because they are not good enough to get into Heaven, and must try to survive in a post-Apocalyptic world. And things don’t go well when things start to go bad.
The film has a budget of only $32 million and by opening on Wednesday has a $7,815,952 dollar head start on making their money back. I just think the film might have been far more successful if it open on a weekend that they didn’t have to fight Superman for ticket sales.