How do studios tweak their release schedules around a potential juggernaut?
They counter program by reaching out with film fare least competitive to the tentpole opening that weekend in the market place.
Or else they stay away from the date altogether.
The box office-strong, Memorial Day Weekend is an annual case in point.
Two years ago MEN IN BLACK returned and pretty well had the holiday weekend to itself.
Last Memorial weekend the battlefield pitted FAST & FURIOUS 6 against THE HANGOVER III and the second week of STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS.
So how is 2014 faring?
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST is the 500 pound gorilla in theaters this weekend. Early estimates project 20th Century Fox’s superhero adventure to open north of $100 million for the four day holiday period.
So what was Warner Brothers thinking?
They must have figured that counter programming a chick flick with testosterone crossover potential may be just the ticket.
After all, as bad Adam Sandler’s comedies have been in recent years, they at least drew positive opening weekends when it came to ticket sales.
Ok, so they didn’t garner any award nominations, at least they were watchable.
Well, Warner Brothers must have felt that this third time teaming would again be the charm as they unleash BLENDED against the WOLVERINE.
And it may just work!
Deciding for me to attend the screening of BLENDED was—well—painful.
Had I not learned my lesson with Sandler’s bottom of the barrel past movies like JACK & JILL, GROWN UPS, THAT’S MY BOY, LITTLE NICKY and I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK & LARRY?
How much cinematic punishment could I take?
Well, guess what? Even while being fully predictable BLENDED turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Kinda reminded me of a movie years ago called YOURS, MINE & OURS.
The story has Sandler on a disastrous blind date with Drew Barrymore—at Hooters.
They’re both single parents.
She’s divorced with two boys.
(Sandler’s observation: “I naturally assumed your husband shot himself.”)
He’s widowed with three daughters.
And now, through a sequence of circumstances, they both sign up separately for a great family getaway—to Africa. You can imagine the rest. Mismatched and thrown together among mating hippos, on safari and serenaded in South African Tom Jones style by Terry Crews. You get the picture.
Will mutual hate and disgust eventually turn to love and a blended family future? I’ll leave those mind twisters to your imagination.
Suffice it to say there’s enough adult spice to the script to make this nearly two hour long, PG-13 rated comedy entertaining.
Will it clobber X-MEN?
Of course not, but it should definitely stand its own ground at the holiday weekend box office.
BLENDED, also featuring Kevin Nealon, Joel McHale, Shaquille O’Neal and funny Terry Crews, scores a C+ ( which is pretty much like an A for an Adam Sandler movie!)
(Reviewed at Cinemark, Merriam)
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