Toronto Film Fest 2016: Opening Nights–Curse or Blessing

The films that have usually opened the Toronto Film Fest have been sharply uneven, both artistically and commercially.  Some have been critically dismissed; others have had a rocky time using the perch to successfully launch their theatrical release.

Last year’s opening night film, Demolition, a weak film starring Naomi Watts and Jake Gyllenhaal, divided reviewers and failed to attract crowds when it hit theaters, weeks later.

The previous two openers, The Judge, in 2014, and The Fifth Estate, in 2013, were critically-panned and box office flops.

You have to go back to Looper, in 2012, to find a film that went on to have a solid commercial reception.

This year’s opening night, Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven, a remake of the 1960 classic, is a mid-range, solidly made film, but it is uninspired and does not offer the same pleasures (and fun) as the 1960 picture, starring Yul Brynner.

Director Fuqua and Denzel Washington have teamed to great success in the past with Training Day, which earned the star his first Best Actor Oscar (after winning Supporting Actor Oscar) and The Equalizer, which was a commercial hit.

The Sony release is one of the most anticipated films of the fall, but it remains to be seen whether it will find large and appreciative audience.