Pain and Gain

It’s the end of April, which means that the summer season starts next week with Iron Man 3 (which is really good). Until then, we get a Michael Bay movie starring Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson, which would normally be a big summer event, but since this is Bay’s small art film, it’s being released with the hope of having little competition and a quick payday.

After directing three massively successful Transformers movies (and with a fourth on the way), Bay wanted a palate cleanser, a return to the R-rated immoral hijinks that defined his Bad Boys films and The Rock. Since those are arguably his best films, it’s not surprising that this film is being met with some more positive reviews (at least positive for Michael Bay), but Bay is someone who often gets a soft pass because his movies are so big and so successful that it’s often easier to shrug him off than take him down.

But Bay’s also gone through several stages in his career and public persona. Of late (after the commercials) he gets the joke, he knows what he’s known for. But there’s little sense of what’s going on in his head, except maybe immoral fantasies. More than any other working mainstream director, Bay has never had anything to say, other than maybe “tits.” Still, he’s a fascinating figure in cinema, and more than anyone else, perhaps ordained to lead the Transformers movies.

The Big Wedding is also due out, and it points out the paucity of romantic comedies this year. Perhaps — because there are no rising female stars — it’s going out of fashion. One cannot imagine Megan Fox or Mia Wasikowska playing a role meant for Katherine Heigl.

Anyway, numbers:

  1. Pain and Gain - $22 Million
  2. Oblivion – $18 Million
  3. 42 – $13.5 Million
  4. The Big Wedding - $10 Million
  5. The Croods - $6.7 Million

Pain could go lower, but then so could The Big Wedding.

What are you watching this weekend?