Ah, the dog days of August. Traditionally the end of summer has been a dumping ground for the flicks that June forgot, but with a slate of weekend releases ranging from a quirky British comedy to an early Oscar contender, is it too much to hope that only one movie out in theaters will truly be “Superbad”?
Perhaps. But keep your trepidations to yourself when Samuel L. Jackson is in the room. (He’s been known to scream.) The highest-grossing star in the history of show business is out to raise his already-impressive total with “Resurrecting the Champ,” the story of a young reporter (Josh Hartnett) who encounters a homeless man that he thinks is a former boxing great. Legends fade, but glory is forever: With an 85 percent “fresh” rating on RottenTomatoes.com, many are calling “Resurrecting the Champ” Jackson’s ticket to Oscar immortality.
But if Jackson thinks he can surf the wave of good reviews to the top of the weekend box office, he’s gonna have to go through Jet Li and Jason Statham first. And that means “War.” It’d be easy enough to summarize what the movie is about, but look — it’s an action movie starring Jet Li and Jason Statham. We’d pay to watch these two actors rip apart a phone book. Call the babysitter: This East vs. West battle opens in 2,200 theaters.
Scarlett Johansson, incidentally, will not be available to watch your kids — despite what would seem to be the perfect training. The irresistible bombshell headlines “The Nanny Diaries,” a chick-lit adaptation co-starring Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney, Chris Evans and Alicia Keys (see “For Alicia Keys, Hollywood Stardom Beckons From The Pages Of ‘The Nanny Diaries’ “ ), about a young woman paid gobs of money to watch a troubled tyke. The indignity!
Maybe instead of stressing out, Johansson could just read the little brat a book? That wouldn’t only make things easier, it might also make Billy Crudup and Mandy Moore a little richer. The pair join forces this weekend in “Dedication,” director Justin Theroux’s tale of star-crossed love centering on a bristly children’s book author (Crudup) wooed by his determined illustrator (see “Mandy Moore: Intimidated By Billy Crudup, In Love With Green Tea — And Ready To Hit The Stage?” ). The film opens in limited release in 25 theaters.
Also opening in limited release are “September Dawn,” a fictional take on the Mountain Meadows Massacre with Terence Stamp and Jon Voight as crazy Mormons out for blood; Ethan Hawke’s newest directorial effort “The Hottest State”; “Mr. Bean’s Holiday,” Rowan Atkinson’s last foray into the bizarre world of his silent icon; and “Right at Your Door,” a realistically themed horror movie about a wife (Mary McCormack) locked out of her house by her husband after a cluster of dirty bombs go off in Los Angeles.
But all the films might wind up being summer-schooled by “Superbad,” coasting into its second week with nearly unparalleled positive buzz (see “Will Ferrell And Ben Stiller’s Next Flicks Could Be Next In A ‘Superbad’ Rude Awakening” ).
He’s the baddest motherf—– in cinema, but can Sam Jackson fend off a couple of high-schoolers, a British wimp and a nubile young nanny? We asked our experts.
The Predictions: She’s a powerfully strong presence in “Feast of Love,” but it was in Woody Allen’s “Melinda and Melinda” that Australian actress Radha Mitchell rocketed to fame, playing a woman caught between two alternating destinies — one comic, one tragic. Will her prediction this weekend spell laughs or tears?
What’s the #1 flick? How much will it rake in?
Josh Horowitz, MTV Movies editor: “Superbad” ($21 million)
“While I’m sure Jason Statham could take out Jonah Hill and Michael Cera in any kind of fight I can conjure up, I’m not so sure about his chances this weekend with ‘War.’ I underestimated ‘Superbad’ last time out, and I’m not going to make the same mistake twice. I’m looking for the word of mouth on this one to give it superbad legs in its second go-’round.”
Larry Carroll, MTV News writer: “Superbad” ($22 million)
“When it comes to the box office this week, I’m more inclined to think ‘Nanny Diaries,’ ‘War’ and ‘Mr. Bean’ are pretenders rather than contenders. Welcome to late August. With that in mind, I’m gonna let my winning chips ride on ‘Superbad,’ which I can see taking in $22 million during its second weekend — and that’s enough to buy a lot of Costco-size, beer-filled jugs of laundry detergent.”
Radha Mitchell, “Feast of Love” actress: “Superbad” ($20 million)
“I think ‘Superbad’ just because I have a feeling. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve heard [so much] about it. I want to see it. So that’s what I would imagine would win.”
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