A Dark Knight For Day; Grown-Ups Avoids Groans - Week 8 | Toy Story 3 | Iron Man 2 | Shrek Forever After

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A Dark Knight For Day; Grown-Ups Avoids Groans - Week 8

Toy Story 3
Iron Man 2
Shrek Forever After
Grown Ups
Robin Hood
Knight and Day
There was a time when a Tom Cruise/Cameron Diaz film would've been a sure $50 million opening, like what Mr. and Mrs. Smith pulled off in 2005. In fact, it's probably pre-2005 in which Knight and Day should've opened.

After a steady diet of Mission: Impossibles, Vanilla Skies, Collaterals, and Last Samurais, a crazier, kookier Tom Cruise would've been just what the doctor ordered. Instead, after five years of already seeing Tom as crazy and kooky post-Oprah, it's just not the Tom Cruise most people want to see… unless he's buried under a ton of make-up and unrecognizable in Tropic Thunder. Then again, he could just be entering the "normal" phase of his career where not every film is an event but some are going to be bigger hits than others.

Knight and Day debuted with $27.4 million over the first five days, which while not great, was certainly better than if it had starred Bradley Cooper and Eva Longoria. The film has a chance to make it up to the $83 million Valkyrie made or maybe even the $101 million of Collateral, yet has about as good of a chance of being a Top Five film as Jonah Hex has of getting a sequel.

The amazing Adam Sandler streak continued as Grown-Ups grew a $40.5 million opening. It's not even that his films are so successful, it's the eerie consistency of it that astounds me. Outside of his dramatic turns and the infamous Little Nicky, each Sandler film since 1998 has opened right around the $35-$40 million range. I mean, exactly. The high is $47 million for The Longest Yard and the low is Bedtime Stories with $27 million, but the other nine films during this stretch fall right in there.

If one of his serious acting roles never earn him an Oscar nod (which isn't outside the realm of possibility), this guy is going to get one of those lifetime achievement awards even as most of us are shaking our heads going, "We're honoring Adam Sandler?!" Do you understand that there's never been another comedian who's been this successful in movies for this long ever? I mean, 12 years after 48 Hours Eddie Murphy was making Holy Man for Pete's sake. Phenomenal.

Of course, the "big" story of the week was the Toy Story. Clearly not a one-weekend fluke, TS3 dropped only 46% for another $59.3 million in their Lego bin making a batteries included $226.9 million ten-day total. Sequel-itis clearly did not affect this Pixar film and Shrek is going to be stuck staring at Woody's pull-string when he and Bullseye ride past them this week.

The Top Five If Today Was Labor Day:

#1. Iron Man 2 - $306.9 million
#2. Shrek 4 - $229.5 million
#3. Toy Story 3 - $226.9 million
#4. Karate Kid - $137.8 million
#5. Robin Hood - $103.3 million

This Week
I'm sorry, it's hard for me to write this right now. I can barely see. It got dark all of the sudden… Wait, what's that outside? Is that an a - gulp - Eclipse?!

Yes, the third installment in the gangbusters Twilight series phases just in time for the 4th of July Weekend. After New Moon blew past expectations to be almost a third bigger than the first film 6 months ago, there's no reason to think this film can't be even bigger as the mania has yet to fade. The tougher sell will be the fourth film since that's still 18 months away from coming out, yet everything is setting up perfectly for Team Jacob/Team Edward showdown at the box-office.

While I still am on the fence about whether I'm on Team Pensive or Team Angst, I guarantee you that Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn should be making a movie called Twilight Crashers. A movie about guys pretending to care about the franchise in order to pick up on girls? Ingenious… and sometimes I wonder why no one's paying me to come up with these ideas.

On the other side of the moon is The Last Airbender. While it's already having to battle the fact that all of its cartoon fans call the series Avatar, it's still having the uphill battle to get those that aren't fans interested in a movie that involves a six-legged flying bison. That, and convince those same uninitiated that the name M. Night Shyamalan isn't a bad thing on a marquee these days after back-to-back bummers with Lady In the Water and The Happening (and I guess, to a lesser extent The Village… which did "well" but left a lot of people unsatisfied).

For me, as a huge fan of the series, my main concern is the 103 minute running time. This movie's supposed to cover the main events in the first season of the show which was 20 episodes long at around 20 minutes in length. That means this movie can only cover about 5 episodes here. While not every ep is essential, most of the charm and character development happens throughout the season so if they blow by that just to get to the special effect showcases, Prince Zuko isn't going to be the only one throwing fireballs and M. Night. I'm hoping the flick is "slappa-pow" fantastic yet it could just as easily dissolve into CGI nonsense.

by Matt Neuenburg on 06/28/2010

Movies Mentioned in this Post: Grown Ups, Iron Man 2, Knight and Day, Robin Hood, Shrek Forever After, Toy Story 3
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