In the trailer for this weekend’s Nicolas Cage thriller Knowing, viewers witness a deadly plane crash, a massive subway collision and a host of ominous scenes that would suggest that the end of the world is upon us.
Short of a global financial meltdown (oh, wait, we’re really having that) is that the kind of frightening fare moviegoers already freaked out about their real lives want to see?
Summit Entertainment’s Knowing is actually tracking well for a little movie with a dark storyline. In fact, according to some industry sources, the film could end the weekend at No. 1 with a $20 million three-day total, beating Julia Roberts’ comeback vehicle Duplicity and the Jason Segel, Paul Rudd bromance I Love You, Man—a feat that will be helped by Summit’s decision to open Knowing in more than 3,000 theatres.
In fact, box-office experts don’t think Knowing‘s natural-disaster storyline will hurt its performance at the multiplex. “It would be more problematic if we were coming off of a natural disaster,” says Paul Dergarabedian box-office analyst for Media by Numbers’ parent company Hollywood.com. Instead, he thinks the movie could have the same sort of escapist appeal as the kidnapping thriller, Taken, one of the year’s biggest hits. “Escapism can take many forms as long as it doesn’t hit too close to home,” he says, noting that a movie about mortgages probably wouldn’t do very well right now.
Box Office Mojo founder Brandon grey also thinks the movie could be cathartic, noting that the heyday for disaster movies was in the financially-troubled 1970s. Both Dergarabedian and grey, though, think that the best determinant of the movie’s performance will be the quality of the film itself. “Just because times are tough doesn’t mean people want movies that lack conflict or extreme drama or life-threatening situations,” grey says. “[A film like Knowing] could succeed today if it has an exciting premise.”
The director, Alex Proyas, meanwhile, told us at Knowing‘s New York premiere that the film is both inspired by its time and offers a hopeful message. “The film is about the hope that we pass down to our children, the next generation, which I think is a really pertinent issue now,” Proyas says. “I think a lot of people are worried that there won’t be a next generation.”
Want to feel that hopeful vibe? Click on the trailer embedded below.
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