Mark Wahlberg once mentioned that he joined the cast of The Happening mostly because he wasn’t a cop or a criminal, yet again. It took the box office this weekend, an ode to boredom. The man is funny, but there’s no denying his statement. Even when he was a superhero, he was a cop.

So, it’s no wonder that when he finally ends up in another feature film, he’s playing a criminal. Maybe it’s being typecast, or maybe he just doesn’t have the range, but regardless of Wahlberg’s talents, Contraband is about as routine as “thrillers” of its genre can get without someone saying, “we got company”.

Although a somewhat creative pun in the trailer reminds us Wahlberg can draw a laugh here and there, there’s no accounting for an awful script. I suppose the studio ran out of ideas…for remakes. Or sequels. Honestly, just grab a book like the rest of the studios. At least literature suffers from less extreme shifts in creative amplitudes. Why start the year off with what I initially believed to be an indie film, until I saw a billboard for it?

Also, I don’t quite understand what today’s viewers’ obsession is with three dimensions. Anyone could tell them we walk about viewing everything in that dimension anyhow. Perhaps it was extended Avatar and the upcoming re-release of Titanic in 3D, both courtesy of James Cameron that shot forward the idea that re-releases can actually function in today’s theatres.

Even smash-hit Finding Nemo is being re-released into theatres, also in 3D. Tagline on IMDb is, “From the Creators of Monsters, INC.” They might as well have said, Finding Nemo, from the creators of Finding Nemo. That was one hell of a meeting for the person that thought of releasing movies people have already paid for. A head rolled and he was promoted. Still, it doesn’t make the process any less redundant, and is fueled purely by nostalgia.

So, honestly, 3D isn’t needed for some films to be financially successful again. Everyone knows what they’re going to get when Titanic hits theatres again, and it may explain why Beauty and the Beast didn’t quite do as well as some may have hoped.

Now, Joyful Noise was never going to do well. Ever. In fact, the film has ended up with an IMDb rating less than The Devil Inside, which is equally horrifying in a remarkable number of ways it didn’t intend as Joyful Noise is humorous. Queen Latifah just doesn’t have it in her to produce money for the studios. Neither film did well, and neither deserved to, while Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol contrariwise steeps at a respectable pace and likewise with good reason.

George Lucas, who probably had little actual involvement in the completed story of Red Tails, will still manage to draw audiences with pure name-power. After those awful Star Wars prequels (Episode III being adequate, I suppose), it’s amazing that audiences can be so forgiving because of nostalgia from the original trilogy, and trust in his ability to craft a story.

So, it’s remarkable that his name still has any pull at all, but I don’t doubt that it does. He’s…George Lucas, for goodness sakes. His film WILL take the box office, there’s just no doubting it. Even Kate Beckinsale reluctantly donning the leather outfit again for her third installment in the Underworld series, which managed to make the same film three times already, won’t be enough.

Her unfortunate involvement in Contraband won’t exactly have audiences clogging up the ticket-windows at their local theatre for Underworld: Awakenings’ release next week, either. Unless she gets naked again; that might work.

TW

 

Title

 

Weekend Gross

 

 

 

Total Gross

 

Week

1

 

Contraband  

$24,100,000

 

 

 

 

$24,100,000

 

1

2

 

Beauty and the Beast (3D)  

$18,490,000

 

 

 

 

$18,490,000

 

1

3

 

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol  

$11,500,000

 

 

 

 

$186,747,000

 

5

4

 

Joyful Noise  

$11,345,000

 

 

 

 

$11,345,000

 

1

5

 

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows  

$8,410,000

 

 

 

 

$170,010,000

 

5

6

 

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)  

$8,300,000

 

 

 

 

$87,981,000

 

4

7

 

The Devil Inside  

$7,900,000

 

 

 

 

$46,247,000

 

2

8

 

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked  

$5,800,000

 

 

 

 

$118,781,000

 

5

9

 

War Horse  

$5,607,000

 

 

 

 

$65,779,000

 

4

10

 

The Iron Lady  

$5,386,000

 

 

 

 

$5,974,000

 

3