By Kevin Crust
HollywoodNews.com: A soft May could turn into June gloom at the box-office if the pre-”Toy Story” (June 18) releases all fail to break out. Four new movies debut this week, but will all likely fall behind the ogre who looking to three-peat at number one.
GET HIM TO THE GREEK
A spinoff of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” from producer Judd Apatow and director Nicholas Stoller, the raunchy comedy features Russell Brand‘s naughty rock star character Aldous Snow being shepherded to L.A.’s famous open-air ampitheare by record company flunky Jonah Hill for a concert. Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs, Rose Byrne of “Damages” and “Mad Men’s” Elisabeth Moss co-star along with the usual array of Apatow stock company cameos. Stoller scripted.
Despite the high raunch factor, “Greek” is earning surprisingly good reviews. The sentiments of the Chicago duo of Roger Ebert of the Sun-Times and Michael Phillips of the rival Tribune are largely echoed in the words of A.O. Scott of the New York Times who writes that the signature “bawdy-sweet mixture”of Apatow films works here. Finding less to cheer about are Slate’s Dana Stevens, the Los Angeles Times’ Betsy Sharkey and Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, who dubs it a “buzz-kill.”
Apatow and company are hoping for some R-rated, “Hangover”-like magic, but will be thrilled with half of that film’s $45 million opening. Positive word-of-mouth might help nudge it past Kutcher and Heigl into the number two spot, but if the overall numbers are down and “Prince of Persia” and/or “Sex and the City 2″ minimize their second-week drops, things could get mighty crowded behind “Shrek 4.”
An action comedy starring Katherine Heigl as a newlywed who suspects that hubby Ashton Kutcher is an assassin and their new neighbors have been contracted to rub them out. “Legally Blonde’s” Robert Luketic directed. Tom Selleck and Catherine O’Hara offer support. The screenplay was written by Bob DeRosa and Ted Griffin, credited as T.M. Griffin
Lionsgate didn’t bother to preview their most expensive movie ever for critics, a fairly certain sign that they wouldn’t have liked it anyway. When the reviews do roll out this afternoon you can count all the unflattering references to “True Lies” and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.”
The negative buzz from not being screened could have an impact in the crowded marketplace with audiences opting for the more touted “Greek.” The Los Angeles Times quoted a Lionsgate exec as saying if “Killers” clears $20M this weekend, [...]