After a break last week, The Bottom Line returns with a triple whammy: three new major releases hit the screens today, rather than Friday, to capitalize on the holiday box office. These films have the advantage of a five-day “weekend” box office take, and their debut weekends often look better (albeit unfairly) when compared to the three-day weekend box office of most other films. However, they are up against the juggernaut: Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), which debuted with an astonishing $100 million last week (or so Paramount Studios claims; read about the controversy here). That film is likely to win the box office for a second week, and it’s likely that the dreaded second-weekend slide will be blunted for this film by the increase in moviegoers over the Independence Day weekend. Which of today’s new releases do you think will take second place?
Deliver Us From Evil – (R), 118 min. – The latest film from Scott Derrickson (the director of the excellent horror films The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Sinister) chronicles the battles waged by an NYPD police officer, Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana), and priest (Edgar Ramirez) against the supernatural and demonic possessions plaguing their city. It’s based on the book Beware the Night, Sarchie’s memoirs as a sixteen-year NYPD veteran. The film looks promising given the subject material and the creative team behind it (but, then again, I’m a fan of horror). If it’s successful, Bana may see a career-bump just as Ethan Hawke did following Sinister and The Purge last year. Here’s hoping it delivers genuine scares. The film currently has twice as many negative reviews as positive ones; but, as we know, the critics aren’t always right, are they?
Earth to Echo – (PG), 89 min. – From a first-time director and screenwriter comes Earth to Echo, a family-friendly film about three boys and a girl who come to the aid of a stranded extraterrestrial. The film has drawn comparisons (fair or unfair) to E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial and Super 8. It doesn’t seem to have much buzz, but it’s been marketed fairly aggressively and it may do surprisingly well this “weekend” at the box office due to its wholesome family appeal. There currently aren’t many other options in that genre (save for How to Train Your Dragon 2); everyone who wanted to see Maleficent has already seen it. It also happens to be the best-reviewed new release this week, although that isn’t saying much as the film is currently rotten at 55%.
Tammy – (R), 96 min. – After discovering her husband’s infidelity and losing her job, Tammy (Melissa McCarthy) hits the road with her Grandma Pearl (Susan Sarandon) on a wild ride full of mishaps in this R-rated comedy. This is McCarthy’s third star vehicle following her breakout success in Bridesmaids, and while The Heat and Identity Thief were audience and box office darlings, they were less beloved by critics. Will this film continue that streak? It would be nice for it to break the mold; McCarthy’s husband (and lover in Bridesmaids), Ben Falcone, directs this time around in a script that he and McCarthy wrote together. They already have another joint project lined up for pre-production, and if this film fails to succeed at the box office then that project could become jeopardized. I’m crossing my fingers, though the signs don’t look good; the film has a lousy 25% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Bottom Line is this: Take advantage of the holiday weekend and the great weather (sorry, east coast); spend time with your family. If that includes a trip to the movies, then great! If it doesn’t, then that’s great too! You can always catch one of these films next week.
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