Entertainment behind the scenes
Angelina Jolie’s new action assassin movie “Wanted” opens this weekend against the gentle-natured Disney-Pixar animation “Wall-E“ – two movies aimed at different audiences in a classic case of Hollywood studio “counterprogramming.” The different mix of movies is unlike last week when in an unusual move, two studios opened comedies against one another: “Get Smart” and “The Love Guru.”
“Get Smart” won the weekend box office sweepstakes with a roughly $40 million haul that beat expectations while “Love Guru,” disappointed with a paltry $14 million. In the case of “Wanted,” which is aimed at young adults, and “Wall-E,” a family film, both are expected to perform well and continue what has been a robust summer box office in the United States and Canada.
Box office watchers tell the Hollywood Reporter that “Wall-E” could blow past the $47 million opening weekend of the 2007 Disney-Pixar animation film “Ratatouille” and easily earn $50 million or more in domestic ticket sales. “Wanted” is seen hitting the mid-to-high $30 million range, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Part of the equation is simple math, G-rated “Wall-E” opens in more than 3,900 theaters, while R-rated “Wanted” is in just under 3,200 theaters.
Critics like both “Wall-E,” which is about a robot who cleans up Earth’s ravaged environment, and “Wanted,” which is based on a graphic novel series about a secret fraternity of assassins. “Like Charlie Chaplin’s best silents — a clear influence — ‘Wall-E’ is pure visual magic,” critic Rafer Guzman wrote in Newsday. “Before ‘Wanted’ reaches the end of its wild course, the violence that’s been nothing but oppressive becomes genuinely if perversely impressive …,” Joe Morgenstern wrote in the Wall Street Journal.