TRANSCENDENCEDavid Koepp gave a great interview on the Carlito’s Way special edition, where he talked about how people are often beat up for what they did last. Right now, Johnny Depp is in a place where it feels like he’s being attacked for the last ten years or so of his career. Sure, the Pirates of the Caribbean films made money, but now that the actor can claim high salaries, every new role leads to accusations of him sleepwalking for the money.

And following The Lone Ranger, which bomb bomb bombed, it still feels like Depp hasn’t done enough penance. Is this because of how he and Tim Burton have run their partnership aground? Is it because he went from being a secret weapon who could be great in films like Donnie Brasco and Ed Wood, to someone who got huge paydays for films like The Tourist? Whatever. Studios still come to him with money, as he’s still one of the only movie stars out there.

Though it’s possible that he was gotten for a budget on Transcendence as he gets killed by the end of the film’s first act, and then is mostly a voice and a computer approximation. It’s possible he was shot out in two or three weeks. He was still paid handsomely for sure, and he will surely get the film open in America and outside of it, but right now it feels like the film will probably sneak a profit, even if audiences don’t go crazy for it. The film should do over $20 Million for the weekend, but it’s not going to make it to a hundred domestic (sixty-ish seems generous to me, but I could be wrong). Depp is likely to get it to $200 worldwide though.

The question is: what do critics want from Depp? Should he turn down huge paydays, and what sort of role would they like to see him in? Or is it that he’s just become too overexposed for his own good? There is no answer, but perhaps in a couple years he’ll give a performance that wins him an Oscar and will make people say that he deserved it simply because he kissed the right rings.

Heaven is For Real opened yesterday and it’s the sort of film that has been laser-targeted at the right audience. It’s another Christian movie, and perhaps big studios can get in on this if they play their cards right. The film opened to impressive numbers on Wednesday, perhaps it will get to $60 Million domestic. Perhaps.

A Haunted House 2 is also coming out this weekend as is the Disney documentary Bears. It’s possible that Transcendence will lose the top spot to Rio 2, but it’s also possible that Bears could clip Rio‘s wings.  So let’s predict:

  1. Transcendence - $24.5 Million
  2. Rio 2 - $23.9 Million
  3. Captain America 2-  $20.7 Million
  4. Heaven is for Real – $15.5 Million
  5. A Haunted House 2 – $13 Million

There is a very real possibility that Transcendence could totally tank. But we’ll see. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens overseas this weekend, so it’s worth keeping an eye on those numbers.

What are you going to watch this weekend?