It must be the end of the world, we think, since the likely winner of the weekend is yet another zombie movie — and not just any zombie movie, but a Paul W.S. Anderson and Russell Mulcahy zombie movie.
"Resident Evil: Extinction," the third in a trilogy of video game adaptations, makes its way to the big screen this Friday (see " 'Resident Evil: Extinction' Takes Milla Jovovich — And, Of Course, Zombies — To Vegas")
Not to sound like old fogeys, but it used to be that zombie classics like the ones made by George Romero were satires of life in America, digs at soulless, commercialistic, like-minded, bland people and the equally uniform culture that spawned them. Now zombie movies have become the very thing they once railed against: slick video game adaptations in which zombies represent nothing more than moving targets — the better to have Milla Jovovich fight against, of course. Alas, we think we're fighting a rising tide: Opening in 2002, the first "Resident Evil" made $17.7 million in its opening weekend, while the 2004 sequel, "Resident Evil: Apocalypse," scored $23 million during its first frame. Expect part three to come down somewhere in the middle.
One comedian for whom there is no middle ground, it seems, is the much-maligned (but equally celebrated!) Dane Cook. Ask anyone you know — and we asked half the office — and the response to his comedy is likely to be extreme love or hate. But however you feel about his work, there's one thing we can all agree on: The world can never have enough shots of Jessica Alba in her underwear. Thankfully, "Good Luck Chuck" gives us what we crave (see "Jessica Alba Bares Her Inner Klutz In 'Good Luck Chuck' — Thanks To MTV"). The comedy about a man who sleeps with women only to have them find true love with the very next man they date, "Chuck" opens in 2,612 theaters this weekend.
Hero or psychopath? That's the question audiences will be asking about two high-profile leading men, with the release of both "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" starring Brad Pitt (and Casey Affleck) and "Into the Wild" starring Emile Hirsch. "Into the Wild," in particular, will cause some serious debate, centering on the true story of Chris McCandless, a young man who grew disaffected with his life, packed up and hitchhiked to Alaska, where he died from starvation. "Jesse James," meanwhile, is being called one of the best pictures of the year. Both flicks open in limited release.
Also opening is "Sydney White," a modern take on Snow White and the Seven Dwarves starring Amanda Bynes and directed by "George Lucas in Love" helmer Joe Nussbaum. (And if you've never seen "George Lucas in Love," my goodness, look it up.) "The Jane Austen Book Club," a modern romance starring Hugh Dancy and Emily Blunt, also arrives Friday.
The Predictions: Will America fall under a zombie curse once again? Or will Dane Cook and Jessica Alba save us all? We asked our experts.
What's the #1 flick? How much will it rake in?
Josh Horowitz, MTV Movies editor: "Resident Evil: Extinction" ($16 million)
"As a man who feels no shame for owning Milla Jovovich's sole authorized album (OK, I feel some shame), who am I to pick against her this weekend? It's the third go-round for her pretty reliable 'Resident Evil' franchise. With the 2004 sequel pulling in $24 million in its opening weekend, things are looking pretty good in my opinion for another solid take. 'Good Luck Chuck' is the real wild card here. Dane Cook plus a pratfalling Jessica Alba add up to a big question mark for me."
Larry Carroll, MTV News writer: "Resident Evil: Extinction" ($19 million)
"I'm not thinking that 'Sydney White' is going to break any box-office records, and audiences will probably be screaming something that rhymes with 'Luck' and 'Chuck' when they show up to Dane Cook's film and realize it's a lot less Alba-centric than the ads would have you believe. Instead, I'm using my delicious brains to select the zombie threequel 'Resident Evil: Extinction,' which will hopefully recapture the magic of the original and steer clear from the overindulgence of its craptastic sequel. I'm going to predict a $19 million opening weekend, which would be more than enough to put Alice in Wonderland."
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