Your Weekend at the Movies Wondering How Much More Money America Is About to Give to Shrek

05/21/2010 9:05 AM |

Oh, Donald...

  • Oh, Donald…

Because we’re digging further into the summer movie season, this weekend at the movies is going to be all about money, from Shrek-size riches to Forte-size niches.

MacGruber: Ignore your petty dislike of movies made from Saturday Night Live sketches, because you probably haven’t suffered through that many bad ones anyway (I do not know a single person, for example, who saw It’s Pat, which never played in more than a few hundred theaters) (although: A Night at the Roxbury is absolutely terrible, and I say that as a huge Will Ferrell fan). The point of MacGruber is that someone gave Will Forte ten million dollars to cowrite and star in a feature motion picture, even after The Brothers Solomon grossed $900,000 on a ten million dollar budget (you didn’t see that one either, but it was ok! Especially if you really, really like Will Forte). If it takes a revival of SNL movies to get Forte writing and starring in extremely silly comedies, I’ll take it, and I’ll take movies based on the Falconer, Tim Calhoun, Hamilton, the Closet Organizer, and the sex offender character he did twice while you’re at it. Will Forte is a strange little man, and I can’t wait to see how he fills in MacGruber’s inevitably twisted backstory and interpersonal relationships. Also, please see this movie four times so it can outgross Shrek.

Shrek Forever After: As DreamWorks continues to make incrementally better and more idiosyncratic animated features like Bee Movie, Kung Fu Panda, and How to Train Your Dragon, the faux-snarky sentimental showboating they pioneered with Shrek and ran into the ground with loads of Shrekquels loses more and more currency—creatively speaking, I mean. I’m assuming Shrek Forever After will still make at least as much as the first Shrek movie, though maybe not way more. If it’s possible to look at the $320 million audiences spent on Shrek the Third as a mild form of buyer’s remorse following the $440 million spent on Shrek 2 (which itself should be read as a reflection of the satisfaction with the $260 million they spent on the first one back in 2001, where that gross would guarantee a top-five finish at the end of the year), then it seems conceivable that the series-worst Shrek the Third, combined with the general inability to make a fourth installment work creatively or financially, could lead to a Shrek Forever After gross as low as, I don’t know, $275 million. Which is to say, still massive. And I’m probably wrong, because even Shrek the Third managed a $120 million opening weekend. If Shrek 4-Eva manages that, $300 million should be within reach again. I’m talking a lot about box-office gross because that is by far the most interesting element of this creatively bankrupt series, which lazily wastes the talents of Cameron Diaz, Mike Myers, and Eddie Murphy just as efficiently as their weakest live-action offerings.

Holy Rollers and Solitary Man: Sometimes it seems like indie theaters should be offering two-for-one specials, such as when two different under-promoted Jesse Eisenberg movies come out on the same weekend. He stars in Holy Rollers as a Hasidic drug mule, which sounds appropriately like a Woody Allen New Yorker piece for a Lil’ Woody Allen. He only offers support in Solitary Man, one of the ten or twenty indie movies Michael Douglas apparently filmed in the past few years, and the rest of the cast includes Susan Sarandon, veteran Douglas sidekick Danny DeVito, and Jenna Fischer, so I actually want to see this one more, even though it offers less Eisenberg for the buck.