The Rock Could Conquer ‘The Kingdom,’ In Projection Booth

September 29, 2007 at 4:55 pm Leave a comment

They say the best things in life are free, but don’t tell that to several sentimental flicks opening this weekend, all of which will be clamoring for your hard-earned dollar at the multiplex. Love is all you need? Please. You’re gonna need a lot more than that if you expect your film to come out at #1.How about the Rock? There’s no denying that the artist currently known as Dwayne Johnson has the presence, but does he have the drawing power? “The Game Plan,” which stars the Rock as a football player who suddenly learns he has a daughter, is the actor’s sixth project as a leading man (see “The Rock Is On A Roll With 9-Year-Old ‘Game Plan’ Co-Star; ‘Don’t Knock’ Leotards, He Warns”). Only “The Scorpion King,” the prequel to the blockbuster “Mummy” franchise, opened north of $20 million. “Doom,” “Walking Tall” and “Gridiron Gang,” meanwhile, all opened at $15 million and below.

“The Game Plan,” though, has something all those other films lacked: a little girl from the Disney Channel (Madison Pettis), which will make it the highest-profile family film currently in wide release (it’s opening in 2,800 theaters). Beat that, Morgan Freeman.

His “Feast of Love,” an adult meditation on love in all its funny, silly, tragic forms, opens this weekend in 1,200 theaters. Problem is, it’s an adult meditation on love in all its funny, silly, tragic forms. The great Robert Benton (“Kramer vs. Kramer”) directs a cast that also includes Greg Kinnear and Radha Mitchell. Also this: It has gratuitous nudity.

Odds are you’re stuck between the Rock and a hard place, and they don’t come harder these days than the Middle East. Opening in 2,700 theaters, “The Kingdom” stars Oscar winners Jamie Foxx and Chris Cooper (and wife-of-an-Oscar-winner Jennifer Garner) as a team of agents sent to investigate the bombing of an American embassy. In a way, this film shows a lot of love too: the type of love you can have for your country, even when you don’t approve of its policies — love strong enough to make you speak up when you think it’s doing wrong. The type of love we used to call “tough.”

Also opening in extremely limited release is Wes Anderson’s “The Darjeeling Limited.”

The Predictions: We have nothing but love for our prognosticators, but what films this weekend will they show love for? Find out below.

What’s the #1 flick? How much will it rake in?

Josh Horowitz, MTV Movies editor: “The Game Plan” ($22 million)
“Who doesn’t love a flick pairing a ginormous action hero with a sassy, pint-size tyke? I’m guessing that’s a nearly direct quote from a Disney boardroom right before they green-lit a movie starring the Rock and some girl who is not a Fanning (that’s how I separate child actresses now: Fannings and not Fannings). I’m going with this family-friendly flick a smidgen over ‘The Kingdom.’ ”

Larry Carroll, MTV News writer: “The Game Plan” ($25 million)
“Please remember: Just because I’m predicting it doesn’t mean that I want it to happen. Two years ago, ‘The Pacifier’ was one of the most God-awful films I had ever sat through, and it opened to a stunning $30 million weekend. ‘The Game Plan’ is trying its best to be the exact same movie, will certainly appeal to the same crowd and couldn’t possibly be any worse. So I’m predicting a $25 million opening for the Rock — and talk of a sequel by Monday morning.”



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