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THE MIDWEEK MARQUEE: Gloomy Box Office Forecast For ‘Knight And Day’

With movies like Sex and the City 2, Killers and Prince of Persia dropping like flies, this summer has already seen more than its share of surprising box office disappointments. If Knight and Day, starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz also fails to deliver, however; it won’t come as any surprise since it’s been tracking poorly for the last few weeks. With a budget upwards of $100 million, Fox has a lot to lose, especially after the double bombs of The A-Team and Marmaduke and the studio is hoping to get a leg up on the competition by releasing it a couple of days earlier than Adam Sandler‘s latest comedy Grown Ups, which opens Friday. The movie has been inundated with loads of negative buzz, which has become the norm for a Cruise vehicle since the PR nose dive that followed his 2006 appearance on Oprah and subsequent Scientology fueled rantings against the use of antidepressants. The actor’s image has never fully recovered and it seems Fox isn’t feeling all too optimistic about its chances of turning the tidal wave of bad press.

Fox Distribution President Bruce Snyder, acknowledged the studio’s apprehensions, when he told the the LA Times that the studio is pinning its hopes that word of mouth will help the box office:

This is not as easy a sell as a sequel or a movie based on an existing property. We feel our best tool is to get word of mouth out on it.

THE BUZZ: So-so. The good word of mouth that Fox is hoping will catapult Knight and Day to a victorious opening weekend seems unlikely given the critics’ responses to the action/adventure comedy. How enjoyable the movie is, seems to be directly related to whether you believe in the stars affection for each other.

Entertainment Weekly‘s Lisa Schwarzbaum thought the movie’s downfall was the obvious lack of chemistry between stars Cruise and Diaz. She writes:

In this oddly uninvolving caper, the size of skulls makes its own statement: The producers assume that audience interest in movie stars is bigger than audience interest in characters. The conclusion is overdetermined, since Roy and June are such flimsy constructions. Unfortunately, sustained cranial study also leads to the awareness that Cruise and Diaz share little besides visual square footage.

On the other hand, the Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert, was charmed by the performances, but thought the story was weakened by the filmmakers attempt to compete in the crowded summer blockbuster landscape. He says:

Have summer audiences been so hammered down by special effects that they require noise and fragmented visuals to hold their interest? Is it still possible to delight in a story unfolding with charm and wit? How many machine guns do you need in a romantic comedy? If you have charismatic stars like Cruise and Diaz and an A-List director, do you have to hedge your bets? The movie is entertaining, but could have been better. The director is James Mangold, whose previous two films were Walk the Line an 3:10 to Yuma I have a hunch there was an early draft of Patrick O’Neill‘s script that was more in the Cary Grant rom-com tradition and then somebody decided the effects had to be jacked up.

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