One can stretch himself to ridiculous lengths, one can turn invisible. One has superhuman strength and endurance, while one can manipulate fire. Their powers combined, the Fantastic Four are a near-unstoppable force. But can the Marvel-ous quartet do something no other movie hero has done this year -- make a big-budget sequel that's actually better than the original?
Depends who you ask.
Met with ambivalence if not downright scorn by critics and comic book fans, the first "Fantastic Four" nevertheless opened to $56 million two years ago July. That's bad news for "Nancy Drew," "Ocean's Thirteen," "Knocked Up" and the other weekend competitors squaring off against "Rise of the Silver Surfer." As the Thing might say, "It's clobberin' time!"
But sequels are all about villains, and we'd be remiss if we didn't mention that "Fantastic Four" actually has one of the coolest: the Silver Surfer, a.k.a. Norrin Radd, immortal wielder of the Power Cosmic, Sentinel of the Spaceways and Herald of Galactus. He's so cool, frankly, that we're already looking past this "Fantastic Four" installment to the inevitable Surfer spinoff, which has more or less already been announced.
Another film with multiple sequels already announced is "Nancy Drew," which opens this weekend opposite "Rise of the Silver Surfer." Celebrity scion Emma Roberts (that's Julia's niece) brings the star power, but it's the character herself that's the most famous. Whatever. Wake us up for the "Encyclopedia Brown" movie.
But does "Nancy Drew" have the cache to take down Dr. Doom? Our experts weigh in.
The Predictions: Nobody was tortured in the retrieval of these numbers ... our celebrity guest, Darren Lynn Bousman, is not only an expert on old saws -- sorry for the shameful pun -- but at actually making them better and, get this, more profitable than the originals as well. So while it's not surprising that the "Saw IV" director picked the "Fantastic Four" sequel, it is somewhat surprising how little he thinks it'll make. The brains behind Jigsaw have put together the pieces and predicted a paltry $30 opening. How does he stake up with our other experts?
What's the #1 flick? How much will it rake in?
Josh Horowitz, MTV Movies editor: "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" ($60 million)
"The summer-blockbuster brigade continues. Are we really only in mid-June?!? Wow. Well, the winner of the weekend is pretty much a sure bet. Fox has been hyping this silver flying dude of few words for a long while now. Anything short of a top finish will be a disappointment. But how much? Always the dilemma. The first Fantastic Four was generally considered a disappointment by comic fans but it did pull in the family audience. So look for this one to do the same. And families mean big money. How's about $60 million?"
Larry Carroll, MTV News writer: "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" ($54 million)
"There's no question that the winner will be 'Fantastic Four,' even if it is a sequel that nobody was asking for. The Surfer will bring in plenty of silver, and even bad Marvel movies open big. So, if 'Ghost Rider' can open with $52 million, and the original, barely watchable 'F4' got $56, I'm going to split it down the middle and say that this one will make $54 million its opening weekend. Hopefully that will be enough to pay for a decent-looking Galactus in the Silver Surfer spinoff flick."
Darren Lynn Bousman, "Saw IV" director: "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" ($30 million)
"Absolutely 'Fantastic Four.' I wasn't a big fan of the first one, I'm not gonna lie. But everyone loves Silver Surfer, and the trailers actually look all right. I haven't read any reviews of it yet, but I'm a huge Michael Chiklis fan. If he's in it, it's gonna be OK. Also, it's PG-13, so it's gonna have more of an audience than some of the other films. The first one did well, but it didn't live up to what it could have been. So I'm gonna say $30 million."
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