Last week was bad. I mean, really bad. Of the three wide releases, Sinister 2 came out on top…in third place…with only $10.5 million. The number is significantly less than what Sinister opened with, confirming that no one actually wanted a sequel. Hitman: Agent 47 took the four spot with $8.3 million, meaning the attempted reboot of the video game franchise is an undoubted failure. The only original new release, and the only one that I gave a chance at actually finding a niche audience, American Ultra, ended up tanking the worst, earning only $5.45 million and a six spot. Despite the terrible receipts, the filmmakers still want a sequel in which Kristen Stewart is the main badass. This will most certainly never happen. Straight Outta Compton maintained the number one spot with another $26 milion, and will likely hold that spot for another week. This weekend may end up being worse than the last. At least last weekend had a variety of garbage. This week offers fewer options and no relief from the late August blues.
No Escape – (R) 103 min. – It’s been a while since we’ve seen Owen Wilson make a really good movie with him in the lead role. You’ll have to go back to the 2011 Woody Allen flick Midnight in Paris if you want to see that. With any luck, Zoolander 2 may actually end up being funny, and it’ll be nice to see Wilson in a good movie again. In the meantime, Wilson has decided to star in a xenophobic thriller about foreigners killing white people. No Escape is the story of a family recently relocated to “Asia” (the only description given by the trailer) who probably should have done more research about the societal unrest of the area before going. Soon enough, the locals are staging a coup and murdering all foreigners without question. The movie is presumably about the families attempt to escape the war zone, despite the title telling us that there is no escape. If they do in fact escape, the title should be changed to something like Close Call or Sorry, We Lied About the “No” Escape Thing. Right now, No Escape is at 42% on Rotten Tomatoes. Not a putrid rating, but it definitely doesn’t make up for what looks to be a generic movie.
We Are Your Friends – (R) 96 min. – Zac Efron has more misses than hits in his career, and I think a lot of that has to do with the jobs he takes/the scripts that are written for him. He got a lot of love for Neighbors, but for the most part his resume is full of sappy romances and cliche teen comedies. We Are Your Friends looks like yet another instance of Efron trying to make his name as a serious actor but having to do so by taking crummy jobs. Efron plays Cole Carter, an aspiring DJ that refuses to settle for a safe office job and instead chases his dream. His friends stick by him at first, but eventually it would seem they get nervous about the unsteady occupation and try to get him to move on with them. But this is clearly meant to be a movie that inspires young people to keep at their (usually unobtainable) goals and eventually you WILL make it, and also get to sleep with Emily Ratajkowski, apparently. I notice that this movie is rated R, and I’m not sure it needs to be. When your target audience is “young people in general”, you should try to make it PG-13 so you can reach that wider audience. This movie doesn’t look bad, but it doesn’t look fresh either. It’s the kind of movie that a 23-year-old that sees three movies a year will say is their “favorite movie of all time” because they can relate to it and inspires them. Good for them. For those of us that have seen more than 50 movies in our lives, We Are Your Friends just looks typical.
The Bottom Line – I don’t think either of these movies will make a splash at the box office. No Escape will bring in maybe $10 million from Donald Trump supporters, and We Are Your Friends could mingle at about $8-9 million. There hasn’t been much in the way of advertisements for the latter, so I’m curious if people are even aware of it. The quality of movies since last week looks to have improved slightly, but you’re still better off saving the ticket price and going out to dinner with your friends. It’ll be more fun.