To be fair, there are some solid options opening in theaters this week: new releases, expanded releases, limited releases... there's a little something for everyone. "2012" was an easy weekend winner to predict last week, though there wasn't a whole lot for director Roland Emmerich in the way of competition. There's more to consider this week, but it doesn't matter. The box office winner was decided long ago, months even.
"New Moon," the second entry in the "Twilight" series, opens on more than 4,000 screens on Friday, to the delight of Twilighters everywhere. A strong performance isn't in doubt, though it will be interesting to see just how gangbusters the numbers really are. Remember: "Twilight" opened less than a year ago. It performed very well, but it wasn't the record-breaking success that the current phenomenon would suggest it could have been. With all of this time to percolate in the public eye, it'll be interesting to see how the weekend numbers pan out.
The biggest competition "New Moon" faces is probably "Planet 51," a family-friendly CGI animated feature. A U.S. astronaut discovers an alien world where the indigenous population lives a lifestyle that mirrors that of the 1950s. There's some decent buzz and a great voice cast, which includes Dwayne Johnson, Jessica Biel, Justin Long, Seann William Scott, Gary Oldman and John Cleese.
Those looking for something a bit more serious -- but not quite as serious as "Precious" (which opens wider) -- can try John Lee Hancock's "The Blind Side." Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw star as a married couple who take in a homeless black teen, pushing him reach his full potential in life. It's a feel-good story that's completely devoid of aliens and vampires in a week otherwise filled with them.
There are some bombs dropping on the limited release front too. No one ever thought there would be a "Bad Lieutenant" sequel, and yet "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans" arrives this week with wild card director Werner Herzog at the helm. Expect elevated levels of crazy in this one, especially with Nicolas Cage and Val Kilmer filling prominent roles.
There's also the abridged import of director John Woo's "Red Cliff," released in China as two films. Also in the realm of eye candy -- though quite different from Woo's period war epic -- is Pedro Almodovar's latest, "Broken Embraces," starring Penelope Cruz. Plus there are expanding releases for "Precious" and "Fantastic Mr. Fox." In short, there's a lot to choose from if vampire romances are not your thing.