I’m guessing the whole 2012 party-at-the-box-office thing comes to a screeching halt this weekend.
Not that people will just outright stop going to movies. It just seems doubtful that any records will be broken, along the lines of last week’s four $20 million debuts.
Why? Look at the offerings:
* “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” is a sequel to a five-year-old comic book film that was pretty awful in the first place. And star Nicolas Cage hasn’t anchored a hit since 2007. The teen crowd will turn out — wow, look, a flaming head in 3-D — but that’s about it.
* “This Means War” just looks too stupid to most folks. Personally I found the heightened stupidity a gas, but I think the high concept will actually keep people out of theaters rather than bringing them in. As far as star power, the excellent Tom Hardy has none yet, Chris Pine is still that guy from “Star Trek” and Reese Witherspoon has been striking out lately. As far as I can tell, the only people who will go see this movie are Chelsea Handler fans.
* “The Secret of Arrietty” is Japanese animation, which appeals to a limited market, even though it is an adaptation of the English language “The Borrowers” and very nicely done. Smart parents will take their small children to see it. But that’s about it.
It won’t be a disastrous weekend — I’m guessing both “The Vow” and “Safe House” continue to do decent business — but I’ll be surprised if anybody’s breaking out champagne. More likely they’ll be nursing a few beers. Or some wounds.