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Will bad reviews matter for this weekend’s box office? This weekend’s two big movies are “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” (the title sounds like it’s missing “side” but maybe Pink Floyd would object) and “Larry Crowne.” They have respectively, 36% and 37% ratings on–very bad reviews, the worst, really. Aside from Tony Scott having too much caffeine or sugar, the New York Times review is not very good. The rest are much worse.

Paramount is wisely just pushing “Transformers” as a product and will just try and make the most money it can over the five day holiday–from today through Monday. Internationally, “Transformers” will do great because it requires no language skills. In the U.S. I’m sure it will break some kind of record that no one cares about–best opening for a semi-coherent movie opening on a Wednesday in June but ending on a Monday in July.
“Larry Crowne” comes next. The affable Tom Hanks and the strident Julia Roberts are said to have no chemistry at all in what has been described by some as “embarrassing” or “like a Nickelodeon film.” But I do trust Tom Hanks. He co-wrote the film with Nia Vardalos, and directed it. It sounds like a straight PG movie, not even PG-13. But this weekend, with “Transformers” uninteresting to anyone over 20, “Larry Crowne” may overcome its saccharine provenance and bring in the adults who’d like to a movie in which nothing explodes.

On the other hand, the winner of the over 20 box office this weekend may be Woody Allen‘s “Midnight in Paris.” With $28.7 million already banked domestically, “Paris” is a big hit. It’s the only film from the first six months of 2011 with Oscar potential. And people love it. They just love it. They haven’t loved a Woody Allen film this much in 25 years. And it had great reviews, and great word of mouth. If “Larry Crowne” doesn’t make it, “Paris” will have been its downfall. And who could have anticipated that? No one. It’s not even in 3D!

Photo by Universal Pictures

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