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The Reviews Are In And They Are...Not Too Shabby

The Express is in full takeover mode now. Every day I drive to work and see Express posters lining the walls. The commercials have officially taken over my television. And my Google News Alert for "ernie davis express" is now the bane of my existence.

The film comes out tomorrow and I'll be checking it out at 7:30pm and my review is forthcoming. But in the meantime I thought it might be good to see how the reviews are looking from around the country as they trickle in. While many movies are either critic-proof or look so bad that it wouldn't make a difference, The Express is one of those films where critics are going to have a major impact on the box office. The difference between "it changed my life" and "just another sports movie" could be the difference between a $18M opening weekend and a $10M one.

Over at RottenTomatoes
the film has a robust 72% going. That's down from the mid-80's it was in earlier this week but still very good so far. Metacritic isn't so kind, giving the film a score of 57 (mixed or average reviews) so far. As for what these reviews are saying?

Thanks to a rock-solid performance by Dennis Quaid, nice historical touches and energetic direction by Gary Fleder, the tried-and-true formula is given a welcome shot of adrenaline.
- The Hollywood Reporter

Has Dennis Quaid really never played a college football coach before? With his handsome, craggy face and likable intensity, he was born for the job, and he's the main attraction in The Express.
-Entertainment Weekly

Based on a Davis biography, Gary Fleder's account is a noble attempt at humanizing the myth, but it succumbs to the worst sorts of sports-movie clichés.
- Village Voice

In the past few years, we have seen lots of football films, and this is by far the best. I might even be so bold to say that this is the greatest football movie of all time - Austin Kinney, Sin Magazine

Hey, if Sin Magazine is in, I'm in.


So how much money is The Express going to make? It's tough to say. First, the film has some solid competition from Body of Lies, Quarantine (which stars Dexter's Jennife Carpenter and is therefore worth checking out) and City of Ember. That doesn't include the holdover from that movie about the taking dog (I dare not speak it's name). Box Office Guru has the film slated to finish in 3rd place overall at $15M. Meanwhile, ComingSoon's Weekend Warrior is less optimistic at 11.3M. FantasyMoguls notes that football movies usually open in the mid-teens and The Express should top out at $14.1M.

Based on the solid but not spectacular reviews, the incessant promotion and the lack of sports-related movie competition in the box office, I say we're looking at a $13.8M opening weekend. Doesn't sound great but given the amount of new films out and the time of the year, that's not too shabby. This is a movie that's gonna make a mint on DVD, so don't cry for the filmmakers.

Alright, impromptu contest. WHAT WILL THE EXPRESS MAKE THIS WEEKEND? Make your guess below and include at least one decimal. The winner will get...um...let's see...a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate! Put that in your pipe and smoke it. If you don't have a pipe, just mull it over then. And then go see The Express this weekend. Or don't, if your prediction is really low.