Batman, ABBA and... Lou Reed? Summer's Biggest Weekend is Upon Us
Welcome to another edition of Defamer Attractions, your weekly cheat sheet to everything new and noteworthy at the movies. This is a fairly easy installment for us, as will happen when the most anticipated superhero movie of, like, ever is threatening to run off with the biggest opening weekend, like, ever. As such, knowing that at least half of you are browsing this from a lawn chair in some long, twisting multiplex queue, let's skip the formalities: This weekend features one blockbuster, a melodic bit of counterprogramming, a primate-centric flop-in-the-making and a concert film for the manic depressive in you. As usual, our opinions are our own, but they are burnished to a soft, infallible glow. Off we go!
WHAT'S NEW: Look, what more can we say about The Dark Knight? It's terrifically well-made, it's tracking hotter than train on fire and even Terry Gilliam backslid his way into publicizing it. All that matters anymore are the numbers: Warners is unloading this thing on more than 9,000 screens worldwide, including 4,366 in the US. That's a record, reports Variety, though word on the street is that its 152-minute running time and multiplex competition will keep it from breaking Spider-Man 3's record $151 million opening last year. We're not so sure; $145 million isn't out of the question, especially with IMAX screenings sold out literally everywhere and overflow heading into neighboring theaters.
Universal, meanwhile, has exactly the thing for the Batman-o-phobic moviegoer in Mamma Mia!, the Meryl Streep-starring adaptation of the hit ABBA stage musical. We'd rather chew off our tongues than sit through this, but that doesn't mean it couldn't turn around a nice $32 million or so as pretty much the only escape from DK fever. Also opening: Not much, really, with the all-access doc A Very British Gangster and the Kilmer/Dorff prison drama Felon bringing up the art-house rear.
THE BIG LOSER: With Meet Dave presumably a top-10 goner, Fox faces its second consecutive hurdle this week with Space Chimps. This isn't necessarily a "loser," though, looking at roughly $9 million from the families too young for the decidedly dark Knight en route to its DVD/cable future. Call us optimists, but everyone might pretty much get what they want this weekend.
THE UNDERDOG: We recommend Lou Reed's Berlin with a slight reservation: We haven't seen it. But! We did attend the concerts at which Julian Schnabel filmed Reed's live revival of his 1973 masterpiece — a feel-bad epic of drugs, domestic abuse and suicide that makes The Dark Knight look like Batman and Robin. We can vouch for the cinematic quality of the music itself, brought storming from the dead by producer Bob Ezrin and accompanied by vocalist Antony and original, astounding session guitarist Steve Wagner. It took Reed years to reclaim this form (if he did at all; it's debatable), and to catch it through Schnabel's lens, itself at the top of its craft... Well, that doesn't even seem fair.
FOR SHUT-INS: This week's new DVD's include the crackling, commendable Jason Statham heist flick The Bank Job; the Oscar-short-lister Brazilian coming-of-ager The Year My Parents Went on Vacation; the B-thriller Asylum ("From the director of Final Destination 2"!); and for you Emmy-season latecomers, the first season of Holly Hunter's TNT drama Saving Grace.
So, how's the line for Dark Knight? Are are you Team ABBA this weekend? Maybe catching up a bit on your Statham canon? We can't say we blame you. Tell us any best-kept secrets we might have missed!