Okay, let’s get the biggies out of the way first.
Make no mistake, “Fast & Furious 6” — I love these titles — is going to be huge. I actually think the latest Vin Diesel-starrer could hit the $100 million mark from Friday through Sunday; if it does not, it will easily hit that mark over the four-day holiday weekend. I have to hand it to Justin Lin and all involved in this series for knowing their audience, and finding new ways to liven up the series. I haven’t loved any of the “Fast” films, but they’re nothing if not fun.
The same can’t be said about “The Hangover” series. Every installment has been worse, culminating in the disastrous “Hangover Part III,” a movie that I think will disappoint even the biggest Wolfpack fans. I would expect it to open with $40-50 million, but this will not have strong word-of-mouth, and should be the lowest grosser of the series.
I almost didn’t notice that the animated “Epic,” which I feel like I saw a trailer for several years ago, opens this weekend, as well, and that’s a nifty bit of counter-programming. It seems to have the kid market all to itself until “Monsters University” on June 21.
Far more unique than those behemoths are three films that played at TIFF 2012 (I missed all three) and are set to open in Buffalo today: The Dennis Quaid-Zac Efron-starring “At Any Price” and “The Reluctant Fundamentalist.” The most interesting thing about “Price” is its director, Rahmin Bahrani, the director of several strong features (“Goodbye Solo,” “Chop Shop,” and “Man Push Cart”), and the great short “Plastic Bag,” memorably narrated by Werner Herzog. I recall “At Any Price” had one of the more off-putting TIFF program descriptions, ever, something about the competitive world of agriculture. Hmm.
“Fundamentalist” is Mira Nair’s first film since the god-awful “Amelia,” and with this pedigree — based on the best-selling book, and with a diverse supporting cast that includes Om Puri and Keifer Sutherland — it is certainly interesting on paper, even if TIFF reviews were mixed.Critics were kinder to Francois Ozon’s “In the House,” which also opens in the Queen City. The latest from the director of “Swimming Pool” stars Kristin Scott Thomas and Emmanuelle Seigner, both of whom can currently be seen in the Cannes world premieres “Only God Forgives” and “Venus in Fur,” respectively.
Speaking of Cannes, Sunday is awards day … So expect some Twitter madness.
One last note: In 24 hours, it was first reported that the North Park Theatre on Hertel would close, but the latest update is … it will stay open. Consider this, then, a happy ending to very sad news. It is the most beautiful, ornate moviehouse in Buffalo, a place that is the closest approximation to the theaters my parents told me about. I had noticed it seeming a bit under-populated during my last few visits, but the public outcry over that initial news could give it new life. Nice!
Photo courtesy of IFC Films