Three more movies enter the box office race this weekend. One is a sequel to a comic book, one's a remake of a classic, and one has Eddie Murphy desperately trying to hold on to his star power with the dullest, most uninteresting title for a Summer film.
Here are the details, along with the trailers and synopsis of each film. Clicking on the poster will take you to the film's official website.
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (PG-13)
After an ancient truce existing between humankind and the invisible realm of the fantastic is broken, hell on Earth is ready to erupt. A ruthless leader who treads the world above and the one below defies his bloodline and awakens an unstoppable army of creatures. Now, it's up to the planet's toughest, roughest superhero to battle the merciless dictator and his marauders. He may be red. He may be horned. He may be misunderstood. But when you need the job done right, it's time to call in Hellboy.
Along with his expanding team in the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense---pyrokinetic girlfriend Liz, aquatic empath Abe and protoplasmic mystic Johann---the BPRD will travel between the surface strata and the unseen magical one, where creatures of fantasy become corporeal. And Hellboy, a creature of two worlds who's accepted by neither, must choose between the life he knows and an unknown destiny that beckons him.
Judge's Decision: Sure, rottentomatoes rates it at 87%, but how much of that is over-inflated by hype and carefully-planned marketing? Will this be just another summer popcorn flick, or is there anything of actual worth in it? My guess is that it will be the former and not the latter. Guillermo del Toro's vision is all over this one, but most of the big, scary characters look like rejects from his earlier work. (Oh look, a creature with lots of eyes in his wings, what else ya got, Benny?) The first Hellboy made a little over $23 million back in April of 2004. Not necessarily the greatest numbers, but I guess enough to warrant a sequel so long as its got a lot of hype to work the fanboys into a frenzy beforehand. Still, Ron Perlman's a pretty cool guy and I'm happy to see him become an action star again. My prediction is that the Hellboy sequel will bring in around $30 million, easily taking the top spot this weekend and bumping last week's winner, Hancock down to 4th or 5th place.
Journey to the Center of the Earth (PG)
During a scientific expedition in Iceland, visionary scientist Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser), his nephew Sean (Josh Hutcherson) and their beautiful local guide, Hannah (Anita Briem), are unexpectedly trapped in a cave from which their only escape is to go deeper and deeper into the depths of the Earth. Traveling through never-before-seen worlds, the trio comes face-to-face with surreal and unimaginable creatures--including man-eating plants, giant flying piranha, glow birds and terrifying dinosaurs from days past. The adventurers soon realize that as volcanic activity increases around them, they must find a way back to the Earth's surface before it is too late.
Judge's Decision: This one is all about the 3D bells and whistles and this is the first live-action film to be shot in digital 3D, using the "D-Cinema" projection process. This new process doesnt require the theater to have two projectors to display the 3D image. (see the Wikipedia page for more info on this technology)
However, just because you shoot something in 3D doesn't mean it's any good, and to attempt to tread in the footsteps of Jules Verne is to tread on thin ice. In the end, this is all about gimmicks: Lots of action, lots of CGI and lots of gratuitous "throw-stuff-at-the-camera-to-freak-audiences-out" shots. My guess is that this film will probably bring in under $20 million for its opening bow and come in second place.
Meet Dave (PG)
A massive fireball from space hits New York's Central Park and an ordinary man emerges unscathed. The man turns out to be a spaceship operated by 100 human-looking aliens who are one-quarter inch tall and seeking a way to save their planet; complications ensue when their captain falls in love with an Earth woman who's always picked losers for previous romances.
Judge's Decision: Yes, he was nominated for an Oscar at one time, but as the saying goes, "you're only as good as your last project," and unless he's playing an animated jackass, Eddie Murphy's days as a top box office draw are over. This film looks uninteresting, uninspired and full of stupid, family-friendly slapstick comedy one comes to expect from Murphy the past decade or so. My guess is that most people will choose not to meet Dave and this film will come in third in the box office with a take of about $15 million.