“This Is the End” could be a big hit thanks to its smart release strategy. Released on June 12 -- a Wednesday -- and serving as counterprogramming to the blockbuster “Man of Steel,” the comedy could earn $30 million at the box office during its debut weekend.
The new meta-comedy is directed by Evan Goldberg (“Superbad”) and Seth Rogen and stars James Franco, Jonah Hill, Rogen, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson and Jay Baruchel. The actors play themselves attending a house party in Los Angeles when a series of apocalyptic events hit, causing panic and hilarity. In the marketing for “This Is the End,” a cameo by Emma Watson is highlighted and several other famous faces make their way into the film. Fans should expect to see Michael Cera, Mindy Kaling, Channing Tatum, Rihanna and the Backstreet Boys.
“This Is the End” is being better received by critics on Rotten Tomatoes than "Man of Steel," scoring a 79 percent fresh rating compared to 67 percent for the Superman pic. The overwhelmingly positive reviews describe the meta-comedy as hilarious with plenty of laughs and raunchy scenarios with barely any slowdown.
Time’s Mary Pols says in her favorable review, “It is intensely raunchy and silly and joyous and tapped right into my inner teenager in a glorious way.” Pols points out that having some familiarity with Judd Apatow and the cast would be helpful in getting the most out of “This Is the End.” She also says the final few minutes drag but Goldberg and Rogen are able to bounce back with some clever surprises.
The humor found in “This Is the End” comes from the characters creating personas that are extreme exaggerations of the public perceptions of the actors. Pols notes that Hill comes across as egotistical due to his Oscar nomination for “Moneyball” while the other characters have plenty of fun mocking one another and poking fun at their careers.
The Washington Post’s Ann Hornaday is not as kind to “This Is the End.” Hornaday describes the comedy as overlong and a “scattershot, tonally unfocused grab bag.” The comedy can drag out, with the revelry in excess being a bit too much, while the jabs at pop culture and celebrity fall short.
With positive critical response and a modest budget of $32 million, “This Is the End” could be a big hit for Sony, reports Variety. The movie will not beat “Man of Steel” at the box office but its five-day take, projected at around $30 million, would mean Sony earning a considerable profit while outgrossing the big-budget flop “After Earth.”
Much like “Now You See Me,” the comedy could outperform expectations becoming a surprise hit in the shadow of “Man of Steel.” “This Is the End” has the potential to earn $100 million domestically due to strong word-of-mouth and limited competition for its target audience. The trailer for "This Is the End" can be viewed below.