Remember that five minutes last fall when it seemed like Eddie Murphy was going to have his long-awaited comeback? The Rolling Stone cover story, the Oscar-hosting gig, the big-budget movie with box-office king Ben Stiller? It was all coming together, so much so that Paramount moved the release of the Murphy comedy "A Thousand Words" to March 23 -- the idea being that the release would take advantage of Murphy's post-Oscars victory lap.

What's that thing about the best laid schemes of mice and men? Yeah, that: Murphy didn't host the Oscars, "Tower Heist" surprisingly underwhelmed at the box office (despite being really kinda good), and "A Thousand Words" had its release moved to Friday, where it will hit theaters with nary a whimper. Fitting, since the film is about a sleazy shark (Murphy) who -- in a "Liar Liar"-like twist -- winds up with one-thousand words remaining before he dies.

"Words" will hit a modest 1,500 screens this weekend -- by comparison, "John Carter" is out on 3,500, while even "Silent House" screens on over 2,000 -- and box-office prognosticators predict that it will gross less than $10 million. That would be a poor figure, but still better than Murphy's last two family films, "Imagine That" and "Meet Dave," both of which opened with similarly bottomed-out $5 million.

(In fact, Paramount initially pushed "A Thousand Words" to March 23, 2012 because of those films. "Words" was made in 2008 and has been moved around the calendar since then.)

Regardless of what happens with the financial returns for the film, however, Murphy is hopeful that audiences just have fun.

"Ultimately, just that they have a pleasant evening of laughter," Murphy said during a junket interview recently, "and then afterwards, on the way out, they say, 'You know that is true, you should watch what you say.' That's as deep as we want to go. Just have a good time."

[via LAT]
CATEGORIES Movies