Between Rock of Ages and That’s My Boy, we’ve got a weekend of films that seem to use nostalgia as their main draw. “Hey remember when Adam Sandler would swear?” “Hey remember hair metal?” Then again, those of us who remember may not want to go back.

The modern movie musical is such a rare bird that it’s hard to pin down why some are successful and others belly flop. If Rock of Ages underperforms, it could be said that it’s because of a lack of interest in 80′s pop music. Yet Mamma Mia! was a tremendous success, and that was all ABBA. Mamma had Meryl Streep, Rock has Tom Cruise. Could it do Nine numbers? Unlikely – that was a botched Oscar picture. With the rather terrible Adam Shankman at the helm, they’re probably hoping it does Hairspray business, which is somewhere over $100 Million.

The good thing for the film is that the opening weekend will not have the same multiplier as other event films because the target demographic isn’t going to be the audience that comes right away. Like Mamma, they hope to play for a while, and as it could be considered the adult contemporary alternative, it’s possible they could be in theaters through August.

That’s My Boy is something of a risk for Adam Sandler, in that he hasn’t made a non-PG-13 comedy in ages, or ever if co-starring roles in films like Bulletproof don’t count.  But Sandler’s company is a machine, and he’s surely got another film lined up after Grown Ups 2. The real risk here is that Andy Samberg just left SNL, and he needs to prove that he’s an audience draw in a mainstream film.

These are almost counter-programming in the summer season, and they may play long because of that. But as such they’ll likely be trumped by Madagascar 3.

Circus. Afro. Numbers:

  1. Madagascar 3 – $31.5 Million
  2. Rock of Ages – $27.9 Million
  3. That’s My Boy – $26 Million
  4. Prometheus – $21 Million
  5. Snow White and the Huntsman – $11 Million

That’s My Boy could surprise, simply because Sandler could reconnect with some audience members with this more “return to his roots” sort of film, though he’s also losing some of his core with the R-rating. Rock could slide either direction, though it’s hurt by the reviews that have skewed negative.

What are you going to see this weekend?