Out This Weekend: Sure, there are four or five heavy hitters currently in theaters everywhere that will continue to kick butt. But this coming weekend’s big opening, X-Men:First Class, will certainly take the No. 1 spot at the box. Talk about a comic book movie done right; directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) and starring an incredible cast headed up by Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy and many more, this period piece prequel to the hit trilogy of last decade looks like one heck of a movie. Yes, you could say that we are quite excited about this one, as you should be too. Nothing else opens wide this week, though four very worthwhile indie flicks will open in NYC and LA: Beautiful Boy; Beginners; Submarine; and Jean-Luc Godard’s Film Socialisme. Not bad. Be sure to check this section of next week’s column, where we plan to talk at length about how long and hard we’ve been anticipating J.J. Abrams’ new movie, Super 8 – a movie we predict will be The Movie of the Summer.
Tops at the Box: As expected, Todd Phillips’ new comedy, The Hangover II, took the No. 1 spot at the box office last weekend, bringing in just over $118 million in the U.S. over its first four days (Thursday opening). With already over $177 million in worldwide box office receipts you can chalk Phillips’ flick up as a winner, despite the endless amount of negative reviews the movie has already seen. Look, it stars Zach Galifianakis, Senor Chang and Andy Bernard and has featured cameos from ScreenTime fave Paul Giamatti, Jeffrey Tambor, Mike Tyson and more. If that’s not a comedy to someday pay $1 or less to see, then I don’t know what is. Really though, Phillips makes some pretty solid mid-brow humor, and I’m sure this is a movie that’s bringing some serous laffs from the right crowds despite the neggy reviews.
Also at the Box: Kung Fu Panda 2 had a solid opening weekend considering all the stiff competition from both The Hangover and the new Pirates flick, bringing in $53 million over its first four days (another Thursday opening) in the U.S., as well as an additional $57 million abroad. Look for this panda, which even credible reviewers are calling very good, to quietly bring in some big bucks over the next six or so weeks. Taking the No. 3 spot last weekend was the above mentioned fourth Pirates movie, which scored just under $40 million, upping its 10-day total to $153 million in the U.S. and $623 million worldwide. Dang. Me thinks we might have the worst-ever billion dollar movie on our hands (note: only seven movies have ever hit the billion dollar mark). Rounding out last weekend’s Top 5 were Paul Fieg’s hilarious Bridesmaids and Thor, earning $16.4 million and $9.3 million, respectively. Pretty awesome that the lowish budget Bridesmaids is well on its way to the $100 million mark after only three weeks. Also of note, Woody Allen’s new movie, Midnight in Paris, came in at No. 7, selling almost $2 million in tickets while only playing on 58 screens. Believe it or not, Allen’s top grossing film in U.S. markets ever is 1986′s excellent Hannah and Her Sisters, which brought in a super modest $40 million. Some industry types are predicting that, once Paris goes wide, it just might make a run at Hannah.
ScreenRant: To me, the thought of a 75-year-old man – who has already pretty much done it all – sitting in his study, writing jokes and screenplays, is a damn good thought. That’s right; this week we’re talk Woody Allen. Yeah, I know that a lot of people don’t like the man because of this or that (mostly the sex stuff with his step daughter). But, as I’ve said in this column before, I always do my best to separate the art from the artist. We only know what was printed in the papers, right? Who are we to judge a generous and hardworking genius like Woody Allen? So, needless to say, we at the Ze Cat offices are quite big fans of the man, and have been since we started liking movies. Sure he had a sour run there where Sweet and Lowdown was his only good movie in about 10 years, but, overall, his career is admirable. Consider this: the man penned some excellent and hilarious books/collections in the 1970s (books that largely inspired the neurotic and ironic humor trends of today); the man has been nominated for 21 Oscars, including 14 as a screenwriter, six as a director and one as an actor, yet refuses to attend the ceremony or acknowledge the awards; the little dude is a killer jazz musician who took his stage name from Woody Herman; and last but not least, the man guy is still trying to expand his craft at age 75. Here are our Top 10 Woody Allen films: 1. Annie Hall; 2. Hannah; 3. Match Point; 4. Sweet and Lowdown; 5. Manhattan; 6. Crimes and Misdemeanors; 7. Mighty Aphrodite; 8. Sleeper; 9. Bananas; 10. Interiors.
New to Home Video: Out this coming Tuesday, June 7: The Coen Brothers’ excellent Western True Grit will hit shelves on both DVD and Blu-ray, as will season three of AMC’s killer meth drama, “Breaking Bad.” Also out are Blu-ray first editions of The Man Who Would Be King and The Outlaw Josey Wales and season one of Showtime’s “The Big C,” starring the always great Laura Linney (who won a Best Actress Golden Globe for her performance) as the lead and a slew of solid supporting actors, such as Oliver Platt, Idris Elba, Cynthia Nixon and Gabourey Sidibe. So, not a whole lot of new, but some serious pound for the punch. If you’ve not yet seen the pilot for “The Big C,” it’s directed by Bill Condon (The Others, Kinsey, etc.), and totally worth 28 minutes of your boring night.
Check out last week’s edition of ScreenTime HERE.