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article image'Hercules' and 'Lucy' arrive but Hoffman will get the Oscar buzz

By Tim O'Brien     Jul 24, 2014 in Entertainment
UPDATE: Both "Lucy" and "Hercules" are beating projections as Friday wrapped. "Lucy" took in $17 million while "Hercules" grabbed an estimated $11 million.
The Wrap noted both films are above those early estimates and "Lucy" is looking for around $45 million and "Hercules," in the $30 million range.
"Hercules" is unleashed and with it comes the hopes of a weak box office. Simply put, that is the truth right now. But, Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" can provide a needed kick and jolt it needs.
Can it the key word. It can and may but it likely will not win the weekend unless it surprises.
"Hercules" will prove one thing and that is many movies are simply there to entertain. They are not made for award season. This is one of those films. Take it or leave it and make up your own mind, but sometimes a movie is just a movie. Johnson adds his hero to the long line of myths. With a PG-13 rating it is geared at the intended demographic. It also stars Joseph Fiennes, Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Rebecka Ferguson and John Hurt.
The other film in over 3,000 theaters is "Lucy." No, this is not "I Love Lucy" or anything close. It is "Lucy," someone who takes another myth (besides "Hercules") and explodes it on the big screen. That myth is that humans only use 10 percent of their brains. While that is a nice premise and trivia item, that 10 percent item can throw it all off. "Lucy," however, should win the weekend. "Hercules" does fall into the "been there, done that" territory for sure. "Lucy" is a bit different and that alone will help.
It stars Scarlett Johansson (that will help, too) and Morgan Freeman and it's from Luc Besson. Besson brought us "The Fifth Element" and "La Femme Nikita," but that may not matter here. It has Johannsson.
Weekend
1. "Hercules" - 3,500 theaters
2. "Lucy" - 3,172 theater
3. "And So It Goes" 1,800 theaters
4. "The Fluffy Movie"- 432 theaters
5. "Magic in the Moonlight" - 17 theaters
There are plenty of choices hitting the theaters now as well and the money will be spread around. But, after a record years in 2012 and 2013, the box office blues continue. Even with potential hits coming out it may be too little, too late — at least for the summer.
What the box office really needs is a surprise hit - a sleeper. A couple films that grab the audience and doesn't let go. It needs a break-out smash that sends people to the theater for other films, too.
"And So It Goes" is another release of note. It stars Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton and is another movie where a kid gets dropped at their door. Oh, it has an original "Jersey Boy" in it with "Frankie Valli.
"The Fluffy Movie" stars Gabriel "Fluffy" Iglesias. He is "Fluffy" and this is his tour. One that will be the per screen average tracking film is "Magic in the Moonlight" because it is Woody Allen's latest.
But, it is "Happy Christmas" that may be more buzz-worthy. Written by Joe Swanberg, "Happy Christmas" thrives on the drama and characters. It also has what Hollywood likes and that it has characters they like — a film director and a writer. It stars Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Mark Webber and Lena Dunham. It is rated R.
Lastly, and perhaps Oscar-buzz will commence is Philip Seymour Hoffman in "A Most Wanted Man." Besides Hoffman, the film stars Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe and Robin Wright. Taken from a John le Carré novel, the suspense and intrigue will be the air, and likely around Hoffman's performance. Emotions will win the day for him.
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