With highly anticipated films “Django Unchained” and “Les Miserables” not hitting screens until Christmas Day (oh, and how could we forget you Billy Crystal, there’s also “Parental Guidance”), this weekend’s titles—Tom Cruise as the rouge bad-ass “Jack Reacher” and Judd Apatow kinda returning to his “Knocked Up” characters with “This Is 40,” starring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann—were kind of the warm up.
Though neither film was going to compete against “The Hobbit,” which once more is at number 1 with a $31 million plus weekend, neither film made a lot of noise. “Reacher” came in second with a dismal $17.5 million weekend followed by “This Is 40″ in third with $12 million.
So let’s see if Apatow’s “family” or Cruise’s brawn won the week.
Judd Apatow – “This Is 40″
Judd Apatow has done everything from being the guest editor of a Vanity Fair issue to doing every interview imaginable to get the word out about his latest film. And though many feel his semi-personal films (remember “Funny People”?) are egotistical projects that his fan really don’t want to see, the hope was with the built-in characters from “Knocked Up” that “This Is 40″ would be more appealing. This will probably take a few weeks to see if that theory holds water. This is likely a film that most won’t check out until they’ve seen the heavy-hitting titles. But if you end up checking into Apatow’s world, you should enjoy Leslie Mann. Apatow’s wife once more plays the over-possessive Debbie, and is a tour-de-force in a character that most women her age in Hollywood get the opportunity to play. Good think she knows the director.
Tom Cruise – “Jack Reacher”
Taking on the beloved literary character for his latest role, Tom Cruise did his usual break-neck global promotion for the film this week. But back here in the States critics were mixed about Cruise as Reacher, and with the Newtown school killing still fresh on everyone’s minds, it was going to be a tough sell for most to go to the movies to see Cruise dismantle everyone in sight. The Los Angeles Times even asked if Cruise was big enough to carry the “Reacher” franchise?
Who would ever had imagined that ten years ago?
And the winner is…
We here at WWTW agree that Apatow needs to put a little hold on his personal films (a more manageable running time for his films would be nice too), and we’ve certainly entered an interesting chapter in Cruise’s career, but we have to give the win to Apatow for this one reason – “Anchorman 2″! Yes, the trades announced this week that Ron Burgundy and his mates will be returning late next year. Now that’s an Apatow project we can’t wait for.