The Betting Table: Summer Edition - This Week: 28 Weeks Later

May 11, 2007

Welcome to The Betting Table, a look at the weekend's theatrical fare and a place where you can place your bets on what will swim and what will sink.

28 Weeks Later - the sequel to 2003's surprise hit, 28 Days Later, a zombie horror movie with an apocalyptic look and lots of flesh munching (so essentially it's Children of Men crossed with Dawn of the Dead).

28 Weeks LaterTHE GOOD NEWS:
28 Days Later has a huge following that extended well past its successful run in theaters and is considered one of the best zombie flicks of all time, though many declare :it's not a zombie film!" The original's opening weekend gross took a bite out of the competing opening of Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (thanks freaky zombies!) and, atop of the hit remake of Dawn of the Dead (and Shaun of the Dead the following year), made the long term prospects of the zombie movie genre go from iffy to solid. And it made a star out of Cillian Murphy, who went on to star in Batman Begins. Audiences clearly get the concept for this follow-up, which creators Danny Boyle and Alex Garland are producing. One of the few summer horror outings and the first of the summer spook fests out of the box. It offers great counter-programming to the second week of Spider-Man 3.

A sequel to a movie that came out four years ago? Is the fan base for this flick gonna turn out for it or (more likely) wait for the DVD release? Like the sequel to The Blair Witch Project, the original creators are credited as producers but had no involvement with the film (and we all loved how Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 turned out, right?). No one from the first film is in this (though, in all fairness, they all died). Robert Carlyle is a solid actor who has no luck in picking good projects (after Trainspotting and The Full Monty launched his career, he did Ravenous, a pro-vegetarian horror western flop). His name won't help the film open and his considerable skills as an actor may not go beyond running and screaming for this horror exercise. Was anyone really excited by the much heralded trailer (which was unveiled in front of the execrable Hills Have Eyes 2)? Doesn't this look like more of the same? Does this even have a chance of opening against week two of the biggest opener of all time?

Variety loved 28 Weeks Later and all this low budget effort has to clear is $50 million domestically to see a profit (overseas it's already playing in packed theaters).

If it's great (e.g. better than 28 Days Numero Uno), it could open $21 million, a big splash against Spider-Man 3, and top off around $60 million. If it stinks, it still could muster $14 million over the weekend, before it sputters out at around $40 million (less than the first one made, but again, considering how much this one cost, Fox Atomic looks like it finally has a real moneymaker on its hands).

Please don't actually place bets with money, just discuss what this weekend's box office may do!

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By the way, 28 Days Later didn't contain any "flesh munching". They weren't zombies. They were infected with a disease that drove them into a homicidal rage, which means they killed anyone they saw. But they didn't eat them. In fact, the plague ended when all the Infected starved to death.

Kelly Parks on May 14, 2007


"Flesh munching" is just a term, a metaphor even... I know they're not "officially" zombies, but for classification purposes in Hollywood, they're living dead which = zombies. And zombies feed on flesh, whether that means just killing by biting in the neck, or actually eating...

Alex Billington on May 16, 2007


Don't defend it. It's just plain wrong. They are not living dead. They are not zombies. They weren't supernatural in any way. 28 Days Later was pure sci-fi -- no fantasy elements. It is not a zombie movie. Just because people who don't know any better call it a zombie movie doesn't make it acceptable. And yes, to state the incredibly obvious, zombies feed on flesh. They don't bite you on the neck -- they take a chunk out of your neck and go back for more.

Kelly Parks on May 17, 2007

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