The Super Bowl weekend isn't as big of a movie dead zone as it used to be. Not only is there a picture targeted at female teenagers, the usual counter-programming for the football weekend, but there are also two movies aimed at adult males, though business will likely be best for those on Friday and Saturday.
Warm Bodies (3,009 theatres) follows the path tread by Twilight: a creature that should be in a horror film (vampire, zombie) is actually kind, and ends up falling in love with a teen girl. But this iteration is not just a romance, but also incorporates elements of apocalypse movies, horror/action films, and comedies. "If Twilight were funnier, had a more proactive heroine and an uglier hero, it might be Warm Bodies," I sum up in my review. While marketing a zombie movie that combines so many genres might have been a challenge, it appears that Summit has done a good job explaining the film and revving up interest. The Nicholas Hoult-led picture should approach the $20 million mark, a great start, especially with Valentine's Day coming up in a couple of weeks.
Sylvester Stallone "plays to his base" in a "gratifying return to the action genre," Bullet to the Head (2,404 theatres). With Sunday returns likely to be dampened by the Super Bowl, a finish in the $8-10 million range is expected. Critic Daniel Eagan predicts fans will be happy, but younger viewers may find themselves alienated as Stallone delivers on the action checklist with an "efficiency that borders on the impersonal."
Competing for the adult male audience, Stand Up Guys (659 theatres) stars Oscar winners Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin. The mobster comedy offers "an entertaining yet sobering portrayal of not-so-wise guys who do not go gently into a no-good night. THR's Duane Byrge predicts it "should play well with older audiences with a feel for the actors and this flavor of humor." Without a lot of support and with another film angling for the same demographic, Stand Up Guys may only round up a few million.
There will also be some new Oscar-nominated films to check out. The Gatekeepers (2 theatres) an Oscar-nominated documentary that features interviews with former leaders of Israel's secret service, Shin Bet, offers a "complicated cocktail of a film sure to send audience members out of the theatre with heads abuzz and arguments a-popping," reports FJI's Chris Barsanti. All of the Oscar-nominated shorts will play at New York City's IFC Center, including the Animated Short Films 2013, Documentary Shorts 2013, and Live Action Shorts 2013. Queue up for a marathon viewing session!
Former New York City mayor Ed Koch just passed away, and the documentary Koch (2 theatres) offers an opportunity to remember and reflect on the leader. This "comprehensive" doc is no hagiography. "Made with the former mayor's cooperation," reports THR's John DeFore, it still gives "ample screen time to those with harsh things to say about him" Sounds like as fair a shake as a politician can get.
On Monday, we'll find out which films scored the most points with fans over the weekend (and either celebrate or commiserate on the outcome of the Ravens vs. the 49ers).