Cocktails and Movies: Weekend Flicks to Pick

BY TIM BARLEY AND MIKE REYES

It’s the weekend! Grab some cocktails and go see some movies!

Able to prognosticate with wit and wisdom in a single blog post! Faster than a speeding thought! Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s this weekend’s Flicks to Pick!

It’s time for another glorious weekend of Flicks to Pick here at Cocktails and Movies Central. While we got it slightly wrong last weekend, we’re not sweating it. The process of prognostication around here is constantly being tweaked, and we’re finding new ways to use the data and forecasting tools at hand to make more accurate predictions for your perusal. We’re constantly rebuilding, making it faster, stronger, and better for all mankind. (And that’s just the office drink cart maintenance we’ve been undertaking!)

Formalities aside, it’s once again time to step inside the command center, and evaluate this weekend in movie going.

New releases for the weekend of  June 14th:

Cocktails and Movies Man Of SteelMan of Steel (rated PG-13) Distributor: Warner Bros, Director: Zach Snyder, Starring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, and Lawrence Fishburne

This little independent picture about a rural youth (Cavill) who grows up to be a newspaper reporter, with a hobby of defending “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” on the side has some buzz linked to it. All kidding aside, the Superman movie franchise has been lying dormant for seven years, and it’s about time Warner Bros. tried to revive the Man of Steel. With Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy closed and finished, it’s the perfect time to bring the Last Son of Krypton and let him truly soar. Zach Snyder’s even handed directorial skill seem to have returned for this outing, and everything about this movie has screamed “iconic”. We might have a future classic on our hands, much as Richard Donner did back in 1978, and the box office will be all the better for it.

This Is The End (rated R) Distributor: Sony, Directors: Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogan, Starring: James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Seth Rogan, and Craig Robinson.

What happens when you throw together the biggest names of modern stoner comedy andcocktails and movies this is the end lock them together in one house? Some might say you’d cause the end of the world, and in this case they’d be right. James Franco throws a party at his house and invites all of his friends to join in. Sure enough, as if someone had willed it through divine intervention (or a shared screenwriting credit), the end of the world comes and it comes hard. If you can’t handle that sort of innuendo, then chances are you’re going to want to stay away from this hysterical flick. If you giggled like we did when we wrote that, then you shouldn’t delay buying those tickets for after you’ve seen Man of Steel. Tim vouched for the flick himself in his glowing review, which you can find by clicking on the movie title.

Before we move on, here are the actuals from last weekend’s box office numbers. Our reviews are linked to the films we’ve already seen, as per usual:

Last weekend’s Top Ten at the Box Office :

1. The Purge: $34.1 mil

2. Fast and Furious 6: $19.6 mil

3. Now You See Me: $19.0 mil

4. The Internship:  $17.3 mil

5. Epic: $11.9 mil

6. Star Trek Into Darkness: $11.4 mil

7. After Earth: $10.7 mil

8. The Hangover Part III: $7.3 mil

9. Iron Man 3: $5.8 mil

10. The Great Gatsby: $4.2 mil

In the land of the Summer Blockbuster, the man with the most buzz is king. The Purge showed us that this adage is true, much as has been in the past for such low budget/high yield indie horror blockbusters such as The Blair Witch Project, 28 Days Later, Saw, and most recently Paranormal Activity. Also, as predicted last week, Fast and Furious 6 has slipped to the third slot in the daily box office during this past week, though expect both films to be taken down a peg. Last weekend’s releases were very weak tea compared to the hurt that’s coming this weekend, and everyone knows it.

Last weekend was an easy run for The Purge, but it’s a whole other ball game this weekend, as two major releases have showed up to the field, dressed to play. It’s time for the fun part, as we unveil this week’s Top Three picks:

1. Man of Steel

Did you really think this wasn’t going to show up in the top slot? Seriously, we want to know who amongst you thought that this was going to tank. Granted, Superman is still a shaky prospect after taking such long absences between installments. Not to mention, they’ve already got two (or three, depending on who you talk to about Returns) sequels they want to remove from the canon, on top of any other non-Batman DC hero’s film projects failing miserably. (Which is still a feat, considering how many other projects they’ve announced, attempted, and aborted in the course of the last decade or so.)

Still, the word is spreading and hope is on the rise. This Man of Steel is looking to bring honor back to the house of Kal-El, and if the tea leaves are correct, it’s going to do just that. The question has never been whether this was going to be big, the question has always been how big. Averaging Superman Returns’ $52.5 million opening and Batman Begins’ $48.7 million opening, we estimate a $50.6 million opening. However, that’s just two well known DC franchises rebooting with IMAX screenings being the only gravy on top of the potatoes. We’re in the 3D age, and we’ve also got Wal-Mart exclusive screenings before the midnight screenings; so this is not as cut and dry as a simple estimation.

We’re feeling quite bullish on this one, so put us down for an $85 million opening.

Estimated Take: $85 million

2. This Is The End

The Good News: This movie looks (and in the opinion of Tim, io9.com, and others) is actually really funny! The Bad News: Comedy needs A LOT of firepower and advanced buzz to be a box office event. This movie has moderate amounts of both, and while this could have been a big hit if it were released, say…last weekend, it’s bound to take a pounding this weekend.  No matter how you slice it, this looks like it’s going to be another one of those “Number 1 Comedy in America” situations.

Sony did make one smart move involving the releasing of this film though: they opened it on Wednesday, and took in an easy $7.8 million towards its total, and it looks like it’ll take in a nice bit of coin during Friday’s matinee cycle. Also, when glancing at the numbers for both Superbad (a $33 million opening weekend) and Pineapple Express (a $23 million opening weekend), this flick looks like it’ll average out to be a $28 million opening. It’ll gain some steam after this weekend, and remain a top 10 fixture for a couple weeks, but it’s not really a “Middle of Summer” flick. If anything, they should have aimed for an August release like their predecessors before them. The audience this movie’s going for will either be seeing Man of Steel or finally seeing The Purge this weekend. 

Estimated Take: $28 million

3. The Purge

Compared to its spiritual predecessor, The Strangers, The Purge is doing gangbusters with a healthy amount more than the latter film had raked in during the same 5 day period. (Which is interesting, considering The Strangers cost three times to make what The Purge did.) Much like The Strangers though, this is the type of film that doesn’t survive for long at the box office. It has a really good opening weekend, gains some moderate buzz and has a healthy second weekend, then begins to drop like a stone.

However, movies like these don’t need to have huge stretches of box office success. They’re moderate to low budget, so they can provide a nice infusion of press and return of investment for studios like Universal who need to take a breath between bids for tentpole glory. With this coming on the heels of the success of Fast and Furious 6, and right before the uncertain (trending towards unsuccessful) bid that R.I.P.D.will make on July 19th, they’ve earned themselves a pass on the next one.

Estimated Take: $14.5 million

And with that, your weekend’s “Flicks to Pick” have been selected! Consequences be damned, that’s what we feel will take place. Anybody agree/disagree with this weekend’s picks? Send us some competition in the Comments section below, or on Facebook or Twitter.

 We’ll see you again on Monday when we’ll present our coverage of the exact moment where Henry Cavill fully realizes just how much this weekend has changed his life. Also, we’ll have some advanced reviews of two of this Summer’s biggest ticket titles coming up in the next week. Which two? Well… to tell would be a sin, and we like it when you stop by and say, “Hi!” Until next time, may you treat your liquor like you treat your movies: know what you’re spending your money on, and do so responsibly.