Weekend Outlook: 'Get Smart' vs. 'The Love Guru'
Get Smart poster
By Lee Tistaert     Published June 18, 2008
Carell is coming off the success of Horton Hears a Who in voice work, which opened to $45 million earlier this year. Hitting $40 million would be the big goal for Warner Bros. this weekend for Get Smart.
Steve Carell is looking to get a big opening this weekend with Get Smart, while Mike Myers could hit or flop with The Love Guru. Myers struck huge with the Austin Powers franchise, and Love Guru looks like a retread of that slapstick series. This is not an Austin Powers movie, but when audiences see Myers as a crazy and bearded and extremely physically flexible love guru who resembles the character of Goldmember, that is kind of the vibe Paramount is going for here. However, it is facing off with Warner Bros.' heavily marketed action/comedy.

Get Smart has been advertising in theaters since Order of the Phoenix debuted in summer of 2007, and the latest trailer has been consistently playing well at theaters. Evan Almighty opened last June over the same weekend to $31 million with terrible pre-release buzz and awkward trailer reactions, but the saturated marketing worked and the movie grossed $100 million. And Get Smart's trailers have been playing a lot better than Evan Almighty's trailers.

Get Smart looks like a light and generic spy action comedy for families, which could push the appeal beyond Evan Almighty, which was simply a comedy. Whether the movie can hit $40 million this weekend is a question, but it is possible. There are factors that may not do a whole lot for the movie. The casting of Alan Arkin will probably be meaningless in terms of marketing, and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has only co-starred in one other comedy, Be Cool, and the casting of Anne Hathaway isn't exactly a Princess Diaries role. You've also got the guy from Borat, who the studio suits also put in Meet the Spartans earlier this year. Get Smart is really resting on the shoulders of Carell as an offbeat hero, and audiences like him. The marketing has been consistent, the circuits having been saturated with ads. Carell is coming off the success of Horton Hears a Who in voice work, which opened to $45 million earlier this year. Hitting $40 million would be the big goal for WB this weekend. Get Smart looks to open with at least $35 million, with the peak looking to be around $45 million.

The Love Guru looks like a cheap opportunity for Mike Myers to mug for the camera once again as a new cartoonish character, but you could've said the same thing about Will Ferrell in Anchorman (and its trailers also played awkwardly with some audiences as well), and Anchorman opened to a solid $28 million. When Myers hit with Wayne's World back in 1992 with an $18 million opening (and $122 million total), he didn't have a comedy track record yet.

The Love Guru has similar marketing tactics as the Austin Powers movies. It has Jessica Alba in the Elizabeth Hurley/Heather Graham/Beyonce Knowles roles, and Alba has been in two other high profile movies surrounding an ensemble, being Fantastic Four, both movies of which opened to $54 and $56 million respectively. Love Guru also has Justin Timberblake coming off voice work from Shrek 3 alongside Myers, and Shrek 3 grossed $300 million domestically. Myers has a huge track record in the last ten years with comedies, but without Austin or Shrek as the title character, box office prospects are questionable.

The Love Guru's latest trailer makes the movie look ridiculously silly, and I was even able to let the first trailer slide when most people hated it. Audience reactions have been all over the map this year. At Semi Pro, the first trailer played awkwardly. At Iron Man, the new trailer got a lot of laughs. At Don't Mess with the Zohan with the same trailer, it barely got a peep.

I could dismiss The Love Guru as a bomb because of how bad it looks (and the reviews are atrocious), but I also think of comedies like Meet the Spartans which had no stars and looked even worse and hit with kids. Even if some audiences are cringing during The Love Guru's ads, that doesn't mean everyone is. The humor looks strictly designed for kids much like Spartans, but Myers' star-power far succeeds anyone in that movie's cast.

Even when Goldmember was coming out after Austin Powers 2 grossed $205 million domestically, there were nay-sayers who expected it to flop because of how awful it looked. Audience reactions for Love Guru's trailers have been similarly all over the map in terms of liking and hating. Even though the ads might remind people of the spirit of Austin Powers, it might be important that the same actual characters be revived in order for the movie to be a big hit. It has also been six years since Goldmember came out and grossed $213 million, a gap in time that is a little lengthy. This is almost like Rush Hour 3, coming out six years after the sequel hit huge. Except, again, there is no built-in series for The Love Guru.

If kids do end up being the primary audience for The Love Guru, it is opening on the right date. Kids are getting out of school for summer, but again, they also have Get Smart to choose from. But Guru's over the top silliness could still attract a good mount of the 15 and under crowd. With a summer opening, $25 - 30 million seems like a reasonable weekend sum.
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