Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Flickers: New Moon, The Wolfman, Transylmania

The Twilight Saga: New Moon
, which only a court order could make me go see, had the tweens, teens, and their put-upon adult chaperones out in droves last night for the midnight screening at AMC Veterans in Tampa.

I had to wind my way through the crowds before and after the screening of the weepy, overwrought Everybody's Fine, yet another exhibit in the decline of Robert DeNiro's once great film career.

The young-vampires-in-love sequel is racking up all kinds of dismal reviews, including one from Roger Ebert. "Sitting through this experience is like driving a pickup in low gear though a sullen sea of Brylcreem," Ebert wrote.

New Moon scored a 30% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 46 (out of 100) on Metacritic. Stephanie Zacharek, writing in Salon, calls the movie "a cheap, shoddy piece of work, one that banks on moviegoers' anticipation without even bothering to craft a satisfying experience for them. Its pandering is an insult."

And yet and yet (I write, at the very moment that my 10-year-old daughter is seeing it with her friend, who purchased tickets way in advance) ... the film has beaten Harry Potter's record, in terms of midnight-movie sales. More than $26.27 million worth of midnight-show tickets were sold last night, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, earlier this year, picked up $22.2 million in midnight showings.

More good news for a bad movie: The weekend take for New Moon has the potential to exceed $100 million, which would put it in second place behind one of the other worst movies of the year, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (see my review here). Last year's first Twilight had an opening-weekend take of $69.6 million. That film was re-released last night, and racked up $1.3 million.

Speaking of vampires and werewolves, a couple of forthcoming flicks look to be a lot more fun than New Moon.

The Wolfman, inspired by the 1941 Universal horror classic of the same name and starring Benicio Del Toro in the title role, is slated for release in February, after being postponed from this month. Joe Johnston (Jurassic Park III, October Sky, Jumanji) directed and the cast includes Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving, and Geraldine Chaplin. Wolfman trailers: #1 & #2.

The horror-comedy spoof Transylmania, starring a cast of mostly unknowns and directed by sibling filmmakers David and Scott Hillenbrand (Survival Island), opens Dec. 4. Looks like low-places comedy and lots of guilty laughs. More info and the trailer here.

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