Think of this week as a sorbet to cleanse the palate between the last four weeks of spring blockbusters and the big, big movies coming our way throughout June and July. Sequels! Remakes! Romance! Explosions! That’s all ahead. This week it’s all about comedy. And all three have the same theme: a straight-laced character or characters meet a free spirit who turns their lives upside down. Sometimes literally, especially when Marmaduke is involved.
Three movies are opening on Friday, none likely to get in the way of last week’s “Prince of Persia” and “Sex and the City 2” or next week’s “Toy Story 3.” For the kids, we have “Marmaduke” is based on the one-panel comic strip that has had the same joke every day since the Eisenhower administration: this dog is really big! The most hopeful indicators for this movie from the people behind the Garfield films are the voice talent: Owen Wilson as the title pooch and the always-reliable Emma Stone, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kiefer Sutherland, Steve Coogan, George Lopez, and Sam Elliott as his animal pals. Human characters are played by three of my favorites, too: Judy Greer, William H. Macy and “Pushing Daises'” Lee Pace.
“The Killers” stars Katherine Heigel and Ashton Kutcher in an action comedy about a woman who finds out that her husband is a spy in a rather inconvenient manner. In a surprise move, the movie’s studio has decided not to show “The Killers” to critics in time for reviews. They said,
We want to capitalize on the revolution in social media by letting audiences and critics define this film concurrently. In today’s socially connected marketplace, we all have the ability to share feedback instantly around the world. In keeping with this spirit, Lionsgate and the filmmakers want to give the opportunity to moviegoing audiences and critics alike to see “Killers” simultaneously, and share their thoughts in the medium of their choosing. We felt that this sense of immediacy could be a real asset in the marketing of “Killers.”
Translation: We’re hoping a lot of people are willing to buy tickets before the word gets out that it is a stinker.
According to Christy Lemire of AP, “cold openings are “a tactic studios normally use when there’s a guaranteed niche audience, such as for horror movies or ones based on video games – the logic being that fans of the genre will show up, regardless of reviews. But “Killers” is a mainstream romantic comedy with two A-list stars and a production budget of about $70 million.” She notes, too, that refusal to screen for critics does not always mean bad reviews.
Bad reviews don’t always mean bad ticket sales, either. But I’m predicting both for this one.
Fans of the raunchy comedy “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” will remember Russell Brand’s breakthrough role as bad boy rock star Aldous Snow. In this film, that character literally takes center stage when a shy recording studio executive (Jonah Hill) is assigned to make sure Snow makes it to an important concert performance. It looks outrageous, offensive, and pretty funny.
I’ll be reviewing all three, so stay tuned.