Last weekend's #1 movie is about to flatten Will Smith's passion project at the box-office. Smith conceived of the post-apocalyptic story about a warrior 1,000 years in the future who crash-lands on an abandoned earth and must send his son, played by Smith's real-life kid Jaden, on a perilous mission. "After Earth" was directed and co-written by M. Night Shyamalan, but despite its star power, its projected $38 million opening isn't likely to beat "Fast 6."
Despite the Smiths' huge box-office draw, "After Earth" is the latest in a string of films from "The Sixth Sense" director Shyamalan to be savaged by critics. Like "The Last Airbender," "Devil," "The Happening," "Lady in the Water" and "The Village," "After Earth" is "rotten" on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer.
"'After Earth' tells the story of an inexperienced boy trying desperately to please his father while making one mistake after another, and as such, it becomes an uncomfortable metaphor for itself," wrote Alonso Duralde of TheWrap.com.
"If 'Fast & Furious 6' does hold onto the checkered flag two weeks in a row, it will have accomplished something no other film in the franchise has been able to pull off," Exhibitor Relations senior box-office analyst Jeff Bock told MTV News. "The only thing that might slow down 'Fast and Furious 6' is its amazing start out of the gate. Traditionally, fans of this series bolt out opening weekend, yet sort of abandon the film the second weekend, where the series averages a drop of around 60 percent. If 'Fast 6' is able to curtail that drop a bit - at say 54 percent - it might finish with $45 million this weekend. And while 'After Earth' and 'Now You See Me' aren't necessarily the strongest contenders, they will be going directly after the same younger audiences."
"Now You See Me" is the only other major release in theaters this weekend. Even with an ensemble cast that includes Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman, "Now You See Me" has also received mostly poor reviews. The movie was helmed by "Clash of the Titans" remake and "The Incredible Hulk" director Louis Leterrier. It looks likely to collect about $19 million during its opening weekend, according to box-office analysts.
"The Hangover III" is on course to be the weakest in the series, after underwhelming in its debut last weekend. The final installment in writer/director Todd Phillips' comedy trilogy had made just $69.4 million over its first seven days, a major disappointment for Warner Bros. in light of the $148.9 million 2011's "The Hangover Part II" had collected in the same period.