Monday, February 2, 2009

Push and the other February 6 theatrical releases

Last August, I devoted a post to the upcoming movie Push. It's hard to believe it, but nearly six months have passed, and we are almost to Push's release date on February 6. Now, this Push is not to be confused with recent Sundance hit Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire. That is very, very different. This is the sci-fi action thriller starring Chris Evans and Dakota Fanning, the screenplay of which I happened to read about two and a half years ago. The movie which has prompted many ignorant accusations of being a Heroes copycat (to summarize my refutation of these accusations, 1. Heroes is a blatant ripoff of other things which are likely not original themselves, 2. I read the script before Heroes premiered, and though I wish I could say I'm the last person on the list of people to send scripts to, I'm not even on the list, so the screenplay must have been around long before then, and 3. It's plenty different from Heroes anyway). I hope to see Push this weekend, though the lack of large movie theaters in my area may make it difficult. Also, convincing my sensible friends to see a sci-fi action thriller that is premiering in early February may be difficult, unless the reviews turn out to be favorable. But I probably won't read the reviews, for fear that they would taint my experience. I've never seen a movie for which I have read the original screenplay. It's kind of exciting. So whatever the obstacles are that stand in my way, I will find some way to get to this movie.

What is Push up against this weekend? There are four other movies opening on February 6 that I have found notable. First is Coraline, a creepy whimsical stop-motion animated movie by the director who brought you The Nightmare Before Christmas, based on a book by Neil Gaiman. It tells the story of a girl named Coraline who finds her way into an alternate version of her life that at first seems wonderful, but turns into a nightmare. The title character is voiced by none other than Dakota Fanning. I wonder if she is making the publicity rounds right now and, if so, which movie she is promoting. It is some coincidence that she is starring in two movies released the same weekend. I wonder how much crossover there is between the audiences for Push and Coraline. I would guess not very much (bad sci-fi action = teenage boys; imaginative stop-motion with girl lead = everyone but teenage boys?), though personally I would be happy to see both, so there appears to be some crossover.

Ensemble romantic comedy He's Just Not That Into You also opens this Friday, and I would definitely guess that the studios aren't worried about this movie stealing the Push audience. Of course, I'd be willing to see it as well if it got good reviews, and I'd probably have an easier time convincing my girl friends to come with me. He's Just Not That Into You appears to be a chick flick along the lines of Love Actually, in that it has multiple interconnecting romantic plots. Nine actors receive top billing: Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Connelly, Ginnifer Goodwin, Ben Affleck, Bradley Cooper, Justin Long, and Kevin Connelly. This movie will get most of the female and date-going audience.

Fanboys, which opens only in limited release, is a movie about a group of friends who go to steal a copy of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace from Skywalker Ranch for a friend who is dying and probably won't make it to the movie's long-awaited theatrical release. It notably stars Kristen Bell, and a number of other famous faces make an appearance. I guess Fanboys is a movie about fanboys, whereas Push is a movie for fanboys. Seeing as Fanboys is just in limited release, though, it won't be in the same playing field as these other films.

Lastly, we have Pink Panther 2, the inexplicable sequel to the abysmal Pink Panther movie starring Steve Martin that came out in 2006. To be fair, I did not see the 2006 film, but I heard nothing but terrible things about it, and I am disheartened that this movie will probably beat Push at the box office (I have no idea what the analysts are predicting, I'm just guessing). I suppose that Push may turn out to be no better a movie than Pink Panther 2 (oh please, let it be better), but on principle, I support sci-fi, even stupid sci-fi, over stupid comedies.

Well, that's what's in store for this weekend. There are also holdovers, of course, including this past weekend's champ Taken, starring Liam Neeson, and what will be the fourth weekend of Paul Blart: Mall Cop which has also been doing inexplicably well at the box office (really, even the studio doesn't know what to think). I'm pulling for Push. I can't imagine it winning the weekend--it hasn't been getting much promotion, as I haven't actually seen a TV ad for it yet--but I hope it will at least do respectably. I have put some emotional stake in this movie's success, as ill-advised as that may be, and I'm rooting for it. I'll certainly be there to see how it turns out.

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