Batman has defeated Bane, Joker, Two-Face and Scarecrow. But can the Caped Crusader triumph over Colin Farrell?
That's the question at the box office this weekend when "Total Recall" will do battle with two-time champion "The Dark Knight Rises." The third and final entry in Christopher Nolan's Gotham City trilogy crossed the $300 million mark domestically this week but faces new competition from "Total Recall," a remake that sees Farrell stepping into a role made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger. It will be close, but Bruce Wayne will likely win the day, according to box office experts.
"The reboot no one asked for meets the actor no one really cares for," Exhibitor Relations Box Office analyst Jeff Bock told MTV News. "That can't go well, can it? Nope. It's extremely doubtful that 'Total Recall' will pull down the top spot this weekend, as it will have to take down the juggernaut that is 'TDKR.' Even in its third weekend, 'TDKR' should be able to pull off $30-plus million, which will probably be more than 'Total Recall.' If Sony's reboot does indeed open in the low 20s, as expected, we are talking about the second-coming of 'Battleship' here. For a film that cost $200-plus million to produce, this is just unacceptable."
Keith Simanton, managing editor for IMDB.com, agreed. "I think 'Recall' makes $28 million, and Colin Farrell wonders why he isn't an action star."
Last August, the Irish-born actor (who first rose to prominence in America with films like "Minority Report") headlined another remake of an '80s property, "Fright Night," which opened with just $18 million. "Fright Night" at least enjoyed mostly positive reviews. At press time, "Total Recall" had a "rotten" score of just 30 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, which aggregates film reviews from critics. A mind-bending sci-fi flick based on a Philip K. Dick story (just like "Minority Report"), "Total Recall" was directed by Len Wiseman, the guy behind the "Underworld" movies.
"Whether 'Total Recall' wins the weekend will depend mostly on how many people rush out to see it on Friday and how well it holds up Saturday, since 'TDKR' will overtake it on Saturday even if it loses on Friday," said Edward Douglas, who writes Weekend Warrior for ComingSoon.net. "'Total Recall' is good for at least the $20 millions of the 'Underworld' movies, but should get a nice push from it being summer and there only being one major action movie in theaters."
Kevin Polowy, executive editor for MTV's Next Movie, predicted at least $25 million for "Total Recall" and perhaps as high as $30 million.
All box office prognosticators seem to agree that "Recall" will be "erased from memory," as Polowy put it, during its second weekend. Until a few weeks ago, "The Bourne Legacy" was scheduled to open the same weekend as "Total Recall" before Universal decided to push the fourth entry in that franchise back a week. "'Bourne' is likely where guys, who feel that they have earned a date night out after watching floor gymnastics, will put their cash," Simanton said.
"'Total Recall' may out-and-out bomb like 'The Watch' did last weekend, leading to the possibility that it doesn't even top 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days' this weekend," Bock said. "If that happens, it will surely strip 'Battleship' as summer's biggest misfire."
Ah, yes, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid." It's not all superheroes, remakes and sequels at the multiplexes. The children's franchise based on the popular book series returns to theaters. "Parents and kids will generally go to see this one, even if they don't exactly rush out," Douglas noted. "August has never been great for kids' movies since many are away on vacation or at camp before school starts up. I can see this one doing its business a bit slower than the previous two movies."
"Look for 'Dog Days' — the 'Return of the King' of the trilogy, if you will — to rack up between $15 and $20 million," Polowy predicted.
In limited release, Sony Pictures Classic will debut the dramedy "Celeste & Jesse Forever," starring Rashida Jones ("Parks and Recreation") and Andy Samberg. Earlier this summer, "That's My Boy" (which teamed Samberg with fellow "SNL" veteran Adam Sandler) was a box-office bomb. This should go a long way to restoring his cred with critics, if not his cash value. "It's a good move for Samberg," Polowy said. "It shows moviegoers and the industry that he has range and dramatic chops."
Speaking of comedy, "The Babymakers" (directed by Jay Chandrasekhar of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe) will be new in theaters, as well. Critics have been savage. "'The Babymakers' doesn't stand a chance," Bock said. "Let's move on to 'Super Troopers 2' already!"
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