Spring Breakers (2013)

Spring Breakers

Release Date: March 22, 2013 (initial wide release). Director: Harmony Korine. Stars: James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez. Runtime: 94 min.

It’s a movie that gets so much better after you think about it quite a bit.

Brit (Ashley Benson), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Cotty (Rachel Korine) and Faith (Selena Gomez) are four friends anxious to let loose during spring break, but they lack sufficient funds to go on vacation. They hold up a restaurant for some quick cash, and they travel to St. Petersburg, Florida, in pursuit of a good time. They then find themselves in jail (for partying too hard, not robbing the restaurant) and are soon bailed out by a rapper, drug and arms dealer, Alien (James Franco), who introduces them into a criminal world that is both influential and intriguing for a group of girls who are still figuring out their path in life.

This is difficult to place into one basket, as it’s sometimes funny,  strange, violent, and rather brilliant. I think. It’s also a movie that isn’t afraid to make a statement. This examines the moral codes and the social strata of today’s youth through its four primary characters.

It expresses that today’s female youth aren’t difficult to manipulate and influence if you can give them something more exciting than their everyday routine. It’s also a reality check for the youth of today because those who go on spring break and party hard must realize that the vacation is a week, and they’ll have to get back to reality sooner than later. They shouldn’t immerse themselves into a path that is completely irrational. It also explores the consequences of these crazy decisions, in a rather intelligent fashion. Though, this is merely my own interpretation (among many other interpretations) of what  Korine is trying to say. The feature gets the point across fairly well, and it certainly isn’t as mindless as party brand TV show Jersey Shore or the moronic Project X (even though teen partying is the only similarity).

The character of Faith really contrasts the abnormal behaviour of the other girls, as she is more reserved and not as vulnerable to crazy corruption such as this. The character represents the better choices of youth, and Mr. Korine writes her in rather brilliantly, and his style is easy to love (even though casual, mainstream moviegoers may find it way too different and weird).

The film is very bright and highly-stylized. The cinematography opts for style by going with usual montage-esque filmmaking, and a few of the sequences feel like entertaining filler for the runtime. There are entertaining sequences, compelling sequences and compelling-but-strange sequences. Some of the oddest-yet-compelling scenes are the most memorable of the film. There’s a lot of tits and ass bouncing around throughout the feature, and some sequences are repetitive (one Girls Gone Wild-esque scene, in particular, gets shown two or three times). There are a few Britney Spears-related sequences where one is compelling and funny in a strange way (where Franco sings a bit of “Everytime” at his piano, and the girls dance around with assault rifles, and then it becomes background noise to a violent montage), and the other, to the song “Hit Me Baby One More Time” (if memory serves me correctly) is strange but rather fascinating.

They’re singing along and then Brit and Candy are telling Cotty (who was the getaway driver) and Faith (who stayed home) exactly how the restaurant robbery went down. They robbed the store with a hammer and a squirt gun, and they’re discussing how they got all up in the people’s faces saying, “Give me all your money, mother fucker!” Their behaviour seems completely irrational and it could really make an audience member uncomfortable, but it is oddly compelling, and no matter how hard anyone might try, it is impossible to look away. It also shows that these two specific girls were slightly off their rockers before they even meet Alien, and him giving them real guns doesn’t help their seemingly psychopathic behaviour in the slightest…

Some of Korine’s other creative choices also aren’t stellar. During a scene when Alien is getting prepared for a critical occasion, there’s a line of dialogue repeated over and over as background noise, and it isn’t very interesting (it almost gets tedious, almost). Also, sometimes when a new scene starts, the sound of a gun cocks and it gets old after the third time, so it’s incredibly pleasing that it happens about ten freaking times…

James Franco is the funniest part of the film as an insane, creepy, grill-wearing, violent, tatted-up gangster called Alien. He’s crazy but he’s probably cool enough to hang out with E.T. His charms draw the girls deeper into his insane world, and into his delusions (this guy calls his bed his space ship). His character only seems to be influencing the girls a little, because they’re (Brit and Candy, in particular) take plenty of insane liberties of their own. Franco has a blast playing Alien, and his performance is really one of the best parts of the film, even though he is a little crazy. When his character’s behaviour is challenged by the craziest of the spring breakers, we must question who the hell is influencing who, here… This is part of what makes Korine’s writing so brilliant at times. There isn’t a ton of comedy, and some of the biggest laughs come when Alien is, in fact, acting cuckoo, making funny gangster faces, or during the bizarre yet compelling Britney Spears sequence where he’s at the piano.

The bikini gals are also good performers (mostly just Benson, Hudgens and Gomez), and their performances are probably their finest hours, even though their previous roles in films have hardly been memorable. Selena Gomez has the smallest amount of screen time, and she’s really the representation of innocence in youth. Rachel Korine is the weakest of the bunch, and it seems this is a breakout role for her, and she might start to get typecast as the slut because she is not afraid to get fully nude. Former Disney star Vanessa Hudgens and the Pretty Little Liars star Ashley Benson, do enough R-rated actions in this film to allow them not to be typecast again. Though, that might be their goal and they might be trying to lose that innocent girl image, and if that’s the case, they achieve it with neon bikinis on. Their violent and abnormal roles represent an insane, irrational, curious party girl. I hope these roles turn out to be good career choices for all the girls, even if it prevents Hudgens or Benson (maybe even Gomez, even though her role compared to theirs is as innocent as a pony) from appearing on the Disney channel ever again.

Spring Breakers is a well-written, controversial, ultra-stylized, bright film that will divide audiences, especially the mainstream viewers who aren’t used Korine’s tendency to insert a ton of style, and are expecting something along the lines of Project X. Thankfully, the only similarity to Project X is teenage partying.

It’s a film that has a near must-see status because it’s fascinating and you can stand on either side of the spectrum, you might hate it or love it. You may hate it at first, but if you think about it a lot more, you might end up loving it. One thing is certain: It’s a thought-provoking, un-for-fucking-gettable experience.

Score75/100

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The Croods (2013)

The Croods

 

The Croods
Release Date: March 22, 2013
Director: Kirk De Micco, Chris Sanders
Stars (voices): Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds
Runtime: 98 min
Tagline: The Journey Begins

Meet the Croods, the world’s first family who live strictly in routine thanks to a strict father, Grug (voiced by Nicolas Cage). There’s also the eldest daughter, Eep (Emma Stone), who has a very curious mind, much to her father’s dismay. Ugga (Catherine Keener) is Grug’s wife, Gran (Cloris Leachman) is Ugga’s mother, Thunk (Clarke Duke) is the eldest son, and Sandy (Randy Thom) is the speedy little baby.

Whenever the coast is clear, the family runs out of the cave and hunt for whatever food they can find. The family is usually okay with this, though the eldest daughter, Eep (Emma Stone), has a more curious mind and wants to explore the world.

One night, she spots a light glooming outside of her cave and she follows it, where she meets a slightly more advanced human, Guy (Ryan Reynolds) and his adorable sloth buddy, Belt, who holds his pants up. Belt has a love for being theatrical at any suspenseful moment, as when they come around, he just loves to say “Da-da-daaaaaaaa!”

When Grug comes to find her the next morning, the family is on the way back to the cave when their world begins to collapse around them. Their cave is destroyed, and they must travel across a spectacular landscape and a new world, and with the help of Guy and Belt, discover their only hope of survival might just be a large mountain in the distance. Since Grug has been one of the only reasons the family has survived so well (believing that curiosity, new things and just about everything else equals death), his and Guy’s beliefs collide when he realizes he isn’t the only one who’s able to protect them.

The Croods is an incredibly simplistic journey. The message is also rather straight-forward, that sometimes letting your children have a life of their own is good for them. The film isn’t too imaginative either, with the journey consisting of a fast-paced trip where they discover the wonder of fire, shoes, jokes and, of course, a whole new world and strange new creatures none of these neanderthals have encountered before. Grug has the hardest time adapting, as the new world seems to be much for him to handle. Where the movie lacks in sheer imagination, it makes up for it with the fast-paced plot, heart, charm and beauty. It’s also cool to see that the family dynamics back in this time aren’t too different from what they are today. Though, you shouldn’t educate yourself from an amusing movie like this.

The norm for animated films these days are to appeal on some level to adults, as well as kids. Just look at Wreck-It Ralph, a film that was filled with video game easter eggs that actually made it more enjoyable for adults. The Croods is really more for the kids to enjoy, with childish humour like an adorable sloth, the family biting each other, or them not being able to extinguish a fire. I still did think it was hilarious, but I’m eighteen, and it might not make all people over 30 years of age find a ton of hilarity in this.

The real appeal for adults, if any, is that it’s made relatable for fathers, especially. Grug is a strict father who is most worried about Eep, and he just doesn’t want to see her grow up and not need him anymore. It is made relatable for fathers because some are afraid of losing their little girl and it might be be stressful for many to see them leave the nest, or in Grug’s case, the cave. Now, I’m not near a father yet, so I’m not speaking from personal experience — but it seems that is the emotional appeal of this feature, and it makes the characters easier to care about. One other way it is made appealing for fathers is that there’s a running gag at roll call where Grug is almost always disappointed when Gran shows up. It is really funny and it is made appealing for fathers because, really, how rarely does one find a person who loves their in-laws?

The fast-paced plot is exciting and there is hardly a dull moment. It’s an adequete plot, but it isn’t top-tier. The only things that really have room for improvement is the plot, the voicework and the imagination. The voicework is good at best, with most of the voice actors being funny and The Cage only sometimes bringing some craziness to Grug. The voicework is good during, but none of it notable or extremely memorable. It’s one of the weaker aspects of the film, sure, but the film has strong aspects in its amount of heart, childish hilarity, and charm and great replay value.

While those aspects are all fine and dandy, the real notable part is the gorgeous animation (oh, and the adorable belt). The creature animation is fantastic and everything just looks stunning, with vibrant colours and amazing palaeolithic landscape. This also has some of the most beautiful water you ever will see in animation, and you’ll just want to swim in it.

83/100

March 29 Box Office Predictions: ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’, ‘The Host’, Tyler Perry’s ‘Temptation’

This weekend, we’re seeing three new big releases: G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Host and Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor.

The initial buzz on the new G.I. Joe is that it’s a lot better than the first (on Rotten Tomatoes, 34% of critics liked it; while the second is just clinging onto a fresh status, standing at 60%). The release date was postponed from June 2012 to now, so they could add in more of the now very popular Channing Tatum, but it kind of ruined any sort of anticipation many people had. The filmmakers decided to take out the comedic Marlon Wayans and they added in a few action stars: Bruce Willis and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The Rock helped the Fast and the Furious franchise by making Fast Five the highest-grossing out of all of them. Film adaptations based on Hasbro games can be critical and box office bombs (Battleship, that earned $65.4 million total, and $25.4 in opening weekend) and the Transformers franchise is a box office titan. Films similar to this open to $40.9 million on average. The Rock has an average opening of $26.2 million, Channing Tatum’s average opening is $21.4 million (a $31.26 average opening for four films in 2012 alone; $38.88 if you exclude Haywire), and Bruce Willis has an average opening of $14.3 million. G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra grossed $54.7 million at 4, 007 theaters, and this won’t be able to gross quite as much (unfortunately). Even though this has the appeal of more action stars than last, this is only opening at 3500 theaters this weekend, and Easter weekend is a hard weekend to open on.This might will come close to $50 million, but I’m not convinced that it’ll crack it. My prediction for this is $48 million.

Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (a.k.a. Temptation or Marriage Counselor, for short) seems like more of Perry’s same melodramatic material, but he does have a fanbase for his signature and sometimes adequate melodramas, and his comedies, as well. It’s hard to predict this one because three of his films (Why Did I Get Married Too?, Madea’s Big Happy Family and Meet the Browns) opened between $20 and $30 million on Easter weekend in the past years. However, both his non-Madea flicks last year (Good Deeds and Alex Cross) weren’t able to live up to box office expectations. Perry has an average opening weekend of $23.15, but I don’t think it will hit $20 million. My prediction for this is $17.5 million.

The Host is yet another film trying to capitalize on young adult adaptations post-Twilight, but this time, the book is actually written by Twilight authour Stephenie Meyer. This is a sci-fi thriller, and it seems that it’s a self vs. self conflict where the main character, Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan), is fighting back against the thing that’s taken over the vast majority of the world, and proving that love could conquer all in a dangerous new world. Too bad there’s going to be a sort-of romance (surprise, surprise, surprise!), as is in a lot of Meyer’s books. I’m conflicted about this because I don’t like Meyer’s work, but I really enjoy the work of Andrew Niccol (he wrote The Truman Show and the mediocre In Time). If anyone can make a shitty book into a good movie, it’s Mr. Niccol. However, when he’s directing, his movies don’t generally do superbly (In Time grossed $12.05 in its opening). The Host is nowhere near as popular as the Twilight saga was when it was made into the movie franchise, so this won’t be a box office titan at all. And it isn’t obvious yet if the Meyer name will attract Twilight fans, but we will find that out after the weekend. Regarding previous 2013 young adult adaptations so far, Warm Bodies and the box office bomb, Beautiful Creatures, I think this is more likely to be a sleeper hit than a bomb. Niccol’s movies open to $12.22 on average, and Ronan opens to $5.5 million on average. I think this would open to a little less than I Am Number Four‘s $19.4 million. I don’t think this will bomb, or go less than $14 million for that matter. My prediction is $16.5 million.

Here’s how I see the top 10
1. G.I. Joe: Retaliation: $48, 000, 000
2. The Croods: $27, 500, 000
3. Olympus Has Fallen: $19, 000, 000
4. Tyler Perry’s Temptation: $17, 500, 000
5. The Host: $16, 500, 000
6. Oz The Great and Powerful: $12, 100, 000
7. The Call: $4, 500, 000
8. Spring Breakers: $4, 300, 000
9. Admission: $2, 900, 000
10. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone: $1, 750, 000

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013)

Incredible Burt WonderstoneThe Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Release Date: March 15, 2013

Director: Don Scardino

Stars: Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, Olivia Wilde

Runtime: 100 min

Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) was that one kid who always got picked on growing up. Then he received the Rance Holloway (Alan Arkin) magic kit for his birthday and… well, nothing changed with the bullying aspect. Though, he gained inspiration and a lifelong friend out of it, the person who will be soon be known as Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi). Burt wants to become a magician and that’s just what he does.

Skip ahead to when they’ve been a headlining act in Vegas for ten years. A new street performer, Steve Gray (Jim Carrey), comes on the scene and, in retrospect, makes Burt and Anton’s show feel extremely stale, especially because they’ve been doing the same old shit for the past ten years. The only thing that sometimes changes is the pretty assistant that helps them. In order to become popular again, Burt and Anton must learn to settle their differences and Burt must discover again what made him fall in love with magic in the first place.

The plot is really all about learning to adjust and be a more flexible person, something that Burt really needs to learn. It’s successful on that meaningful level. The audience can feel for the characters because all of us would like to see Burt and Anton be successful again and settle their differences, but the point of this isn’t to be meaningful. At all. It’s essentially a buddy comedy of meeting half-way, and Burt and Anton’s climb back to the top.

There aren’t too many characters, and they’re all developed in a mostly general way. Burt is just a selfish sex-fiendish magician who should learn to become more selfless, Anton is Burt’s magic partner who puts up with his nonsense, Jane (Olivia Wilde) is a former assistant of Burt and Anton who’s an aspiring magician herself; Rance is a magic veteran who Burt finds a friend in; Doug (James Gandolfini) is the traditional Las Vegas self-centered hotel owner; and Steve Gray is the ridiculous Criss Angel-esque street performer, who even has a show called Brain Rapist.

Everyone is good in their roles but, as expected, Jim Carrey is the real scene-stealer. He gets some of the biggest laughs, and does some of the nastiest gags. He’s playing a bit of a loony bird, and that’s what he does best. This just goes to show that Carrey can be much better than Carell when they’re in the same film, and I’d pick Bruce Almighty over Evan Almighty almost any day.

The movie is just a really silly way to show how far these actors would go for a laugh. They do cool magic tricks, silly stunts, hit-and-miss gags (most hit), and dress up in funky costumes and wigs. It’s somewhat quotable, too, but the hilarious stunts are the most memorable. Even when the film isn’t that funny, the movie tries, and that’s easy to respect. The only part that is easy to hate is really the beginning, because of two extremely annoying kids – Mason Cook (though, he might still be hated because the only other flick he’d be most associated with is Spy Kids: All the Time in the World) and Luke Vanek – thankfully, the characters grow up fairly quickly, and they’re the thing I would just like to forget completely.

Alas, a fair amount of the material won’t stick in people’s memories. Most could remember the best laughs come December, but the rest of the feature will feel a lot like a disappearing act from one’s memory.

In a nutshell: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone isn’t as magical as it might seem to promise, but it’s fairly satisfying and it offers a funny experience with a great premise and a silly story. It knows it’s silly, so it embraces it and takes it for a ride. While a fair deal of it isn’t extremely memorable, the solid performers make me want to give a recommendation. There’s nothing incredible that makes it worth the watch in theaters, but I’d recommend at least giving it a chance when it comes out on home media.

73/100

Admission (2013)

AdmissionAdmission

Release Date: March 22, 2013

Director: Paul Weitz

Stars: Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Nat Wolff

Runtime: 117 min

Tagline: Let someone in

Portia (Tina Fey) is an admissions officer at Princeton University, who swears she just isn’t a sadist who drives on saying no. She seems to be afraid of commitment and she’s a very reserved person. This year, after so many years, Princeton is now number two. In the country or worldwide, you might ask? Who knows, the screenwriter never bothers to tell us.

Anyway, she and this other admissions officer named Corinne (Gloria Reuben) go head to head for the Dean of Admissions job, but when she meets John Pressman (Paul Rudd) and a kid named Jeremiah (Nat Wolff), she must question where her priorities stand. Pressman tells Portia that Jeremiah just might be her son she gave up for adoption years ago.

Admission is a little flick all about relationships, self-sacrifice, and finding middle ground and learning it’s not all about you. The plot isn’t that good, first of all. It’s really safe and probably the most generic plot of the year thus far. It’s also rather pointless with little fairly well-formed plot points here and there. Mark (Michael Sheen), Portia’s boyfriend of ten years leaves her for another woman. Then he just keeps showing up at random moments and it really starts to get tedious. He doesn’t seem to offer much to the plot, but at least it gives Portia an excuse to use when she’s acting all moody, when she’s really being affected by finding her son. She fights for him to get into Princeton and she really seems to believe in him because he seems like some sort of prodigy with great SAT scores without taking any SAT prep classes. She also has some kind-of relationship with Paul Rudd’s character, and Rudd’s character has an adopted son who is sick and tired of travelling all over the place. Portia also has unresolved issues with her mother, Susannah (Lily Tomlin). It all seems like a lot could be going on, but at the same time, it feels like nothing is happening.

Some people who have given up a child for adoption could relate to Portia’s situation and understand that she wants to do anything for Jerimah, not being there his whole life. That’s one of the real-life emotions brought in, but that’s about it. Also, this is a bit of a commentary on how competitive schools are these days. One has to be extremely impressive to get in, and there isn’t any secret formula to getting into Princeton. In the scene where the officers are going through the best candidates, it allows for something fairly original. When they are reading the candidate, the candidate shows up in the corner, and if they get accepted, they stay put, but if they get denied, they just fall through a trapdoor. It’s a little funny. Though, this is only a tiny commentary, as the bigger plot points cloud any potential it had to prosper.

I must admit that this film’s biggest crime is that it isn’t that funny. There are chuckles throughout – like Lily Tomlin wielding a rifle – sure, but I must deny that the film has memorable laugh-out-loud moments or even any big charm. This is extremely generic and a very, very forgettable affair. When trying to even remember the funniest moments a few hours later, you might have to scratch your head for a good minute before you come up with anything. It’s fairly romantic, but it might have just worked better as a drama with some solid moments of comedy. The completely unrewarding third act forgets to make the audience laugh for a good ten minutes, as everyone’s too busy being upset and feeling sorry for themselves.

Everyone’s okay in their roles, at least. Paul Rudd is his usual self in yet another generic comedy. Tina Fey, though, has still yet to make a big splash in the movie world. Mean Girls was great, sure, but when you think of that movie, you think of Lindsay Lohan, “Raise your hand if you’ve ever been victimized by Regina George,” and “Karen, you just can’t go around asking people why they’re white,” etc.; not the writer and supporting star, Tina Fey. Though, I hope she could eventually capitalize on the big screen. She still is a huge star on the small screen, because whenever someone may say: SNL female veteran, hilarious Golden Globe host, or 30 Rock, Tina Fey is often one of the first names to come to mind. Though, she’s just okay in this, and has a few funny lines.

In a nutshell: Admission tries to have a good amount of heart. Though, it usually ends up being generic, not charming enough, sometimes bland, safe, and kind-of unrewarding in the end. It just goes along and eventually gets to the end, but a lot later than you wish it to. It isn’t easy to recommend, but if you still feel the need to see it, skip it in theaters and, like the list so many Princeton applicants get put on, waitlist it.

56/100

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)

A Series of Unfortunate EventsLemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

Release Date: December 17, 2004

Director: Brad Silberling

Stars: Jim Carrey, Jude Law, Meryl Streep

Runtime: 108 min

Tagline: On December 17, Christmas cheer takes a holiday

Violet (Emily Browning), Klaus (Liam Aiken), and Sunny Baudelaire (Kara Hoffman and Shelby Hoffman) are three intelligent young children who receive terrible news that their parents have died in a fire and have left them an enormous fortune not to be used until the eldest child is of age. When they are sent to live with Count Olaf, a greedy distant relative, they soon learn he is trying to steal their fortune for himself.

Because of the seriously insane Olaf, they meet colourful relatives along the way after he does some… questionable acts. He tries to kill the children, first of all. You read that right. He checks the train schedule, parks his car on the tracks, and locks the kids in the car, leaving them for death. He doesn’t stop there. This sadistic and fairly obnoxious “actor” would do just about anything to gain the family fortune. He’s strange and creepy, but Carrey gives a great performance.

The acts Olaf goes through are sometimes much too mature for young children, and a lot of it is extremely dark. Especially for a family film. The third act is by far the strangest of the feature and frankly, it made me very uncomfortable. It’s necessary for the story, sure, but it’s just too strange for words. Though, the actions these characters often do make this a memorable feature. There are some great emotional moments, and even though the third act seriously creeped me out, it ends on a great and emotional note.

This film is based on Lemony Snicket’s thirteen-book series entitled A Series of Unfortunate Events. I know what you might be thinking: One movie based on thirteen books?! It really isn’t as crowded as it may sound. It flows well and the production design is fantastic and it’s a nice film to look at, because the cinematography is notably great. I did care for the three central characters on some level because they just lost their parents and I really wouldn’t want to see their fortune lost and have them be miserable until they’re eighteen years of age. Since their parents did die, many could relate to them, and the audience, can at least comprehend their sorrow. Though, most of us couldn’t say a psychopath actor tried to steal our fortune by trying to kill us and dressing up in weird costumes. If one is to take any morals from this story, they would be: 1) Just give the kids a damn chance and listen to them, because they could sometimes really help; 2) Some actors are just bat shit crazy, and 3) If you correct someone, they might get really pissed off and you won’t ever be seen again.

Meryl Streep is great as an irrational phobic; and Billy Connolly is fantastic as Uncle Monty, an eccentric herpetologist. Though, Jim Carrey is the real highlight of this. He has some hilarious jokes that may be sure to make you laugh out loud, and his impression of a dinosaur is worth the DVD price alone.

This film is really refreshing to me, mostly because it is just so self-aware. In a few moments of suspense, the narrator, Jude Law impersonating Lemony Snicket, makes his typewriter jam, so we are left with a twenty-second cliffhanger as he tries to fix his typewriter. It’s really humorous, and I love films like that. He also warns the audience that this will be an unpleasant story with suspicious fires and carnivorous leeches, not a dancing elf, but that movie probably has plenty of seating in theater two. So, like he warns you and I am about to warn you, this film isn’t for extremely young children, so just listen to the narrator and go see the little lame happy elves. Everyone else, stay, it’s a pretty unique, strange family feature.

72/100

March 22-24 Box Office Predictions: ‘The Croods’, ‘Olympus Has Fallen’, ‘Admission’, ‘Spring Breakers’

The new releases

Admission

   Admission

The Croods

The Croods

Olympus Has Fallen

Olympus Has Fallen

 

Spring Breakers

Spring Breakers

The box office is getting some of its edge back with some solid earnings as of late (if you don’t count that Burt Wonderstone bomb). This weekend we’re seeing four new releases: the new Tina Fey/Paul Rudd comedy, Admission; the animated prehistoric flick, DreamWorks’ The Croods; a terrorist attack action/thriller, Olympus Has Fallen; and a sexy crime drama, Spring Breakers.

The Croods will be one of the movies to stop Oz from three-peating this weekend. It looks really great and adventurous and that cute-monkey primate thing from the trailers is what makes me want to spend $14 on this, and it does not look half-bad. The plot follows the very first prehistoric family as they go on a road trip to an uncharted and a fantastical world. So, it’s a road trip comedy set in prehistoric times? That’s a fine premise. The DreamWorks studio has previously given us audiences solid animated features such as the Shrek franchise, How to Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda. Generally, the animation studio’s films are usually of quality. The voice cast for this film is also rather good: Nicolas Cage sounds like himself, Emma Stone is lending her sultry voice to the feature, and Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Cloris Leachman and Clark Duke also lend their voices. I think this will be the second highest opening of the weekend of the year so far (above Identity Thief‘s $34.5 million, but behind Oz‘s $79.1 million). The animation does look beautiful, and this will do well at the box office because it is just the third feature of the year that is being targeted at family audiences,  and only the second animated feature after Escape from Planet Earth. I also think it will perform well because it’s set in prehistoric times, and we’ll probably see types of dinosaurs and other cool creatures, so this might satisfy dinosaur lovers before Jurassic Park 3D comes out April 5. Films similar to this open to an average $49.4 million, but I think this will come a few million shy of that number, but what do I know… I’m just a guy trying to predict the box office. Realistically, I think this will open between Rio‘s $39.2 or Shrek‘s $42.3 million to Kung Fu Panda 2‘s $47.6 million. DreamWorks’ last project was Rise of the Guardians which bombed by opening to $23.7 million, but I can’t see this bombing, at least I hope it won’t… My prediction for this is a solid $45 million.

Olympus Has Fallen might also earn more many than Oz this weekend, but the battle for second place will between this and that. The action films this year have been bombs (The Last Stand, Parker), but this won’t follow suit, thankfully. It won’t mostly because it looks really good and there’s been a lack of a good terrorist attack flick for a while now, the last great one was Live Free or Die Hard. The plot follows a disgraced former Presidential guard Mike Banning who finds himself trapped inside the White House in the wake of a terrorist attack; using his inside knowledge, Banning works with national security to rescue the President from his kidnappers. It sounds incredibly action-packed and loads of fun, and with Training Day director Antoine Fuqua at the helm, this could be an impressive movie. The fine cast, the director, and the plot and action sequences will attract audiences. It also helps that FilmDistrict launched one big marketing campaign for this, and this project has been its main focus. Because of this focus, Dead Man Down was neglected in a way, so this is a gamble I sincerely hope pays off for the distributor, and I think it will. Antoine Fuqua’s filmography has an average opening of $13.7 million; Butler, an average opening of $18.62; Aaron Eckhart, an average opening of $23 million (which this will make close to that number); Morgan Freeman, an average opening of $26.8. Finally, similar films to this open at an average of $23 million, though I think this will earn a little less than A Good Day to Die Hard‘s $24.8 million. My prediction for this is $23.5 million.

Admission looks like a charming little Tina Fey/Paul Rudd comedy, but the trailer only produces a few laughs. The IMDb plot is: A Princeton admissions officer who is up for a major promotion, takes a professional risk after she meets a college-bound alternative school kid who just might be the son she gave up years ago in a secret adoption. It looks like a solid yet forgettable film, fairly feel-good, but it doesn’t look particularly hilarious. I’ll see the movie, but I only wish Fey had a hand in writing, because she is very funny (see: Mean Girls and TV’s 30 Rock). Similar movies earn an average of $13.3 on opening weekend, but I think this will come closer to The Switch‘s $8.4, and possibly better than Our Idiot Brother‘s $7 million. The director, Paul Weitz’s, biggest titles are About A Boy and American Pie, the former opened to $8.5, and the latter opened to $18.7 million. In Fey’s first movie role since 2010’s Megamind (2010’s Date Night for live-action) this might be lucky to get half of her $20.6 average opening weekend. Paul Rudd has an average opening of $13.9, but I’m convinced for whatever reason this won’t make it to double digits, but if it does, the highest I think it’ll go would have to be one of his early films, Clueless‘s $10.6 million opening. My psychic powers are tingling and they’re telling me this will only earn $8.5 million this weekend.

Spring Breakers earned a seriously excellent $263, 002 at just three theaters last weekend (a $87, 667 per theater average, the 23rd all-time best), so it’s no surprise that the studio took advantage and decided to expand to 1104 theaters. Writer/director Harmony Korine seems that he’ll bring his art-house style to the feature (he directed and wrote Gummo, and wrote Kids) and make it unique for mainstream audiences, and he’s also casting his wife, Rachel Korine, the least well-known of the bikini babes. The other babes include former-Disney stars Selena Gomez (TV’s Wizards of Waverly Place, Monte Carlo) and Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical), and also TV’s Pretty Little Liars star Ashley Benson. The plot follows four college girls who land in jail after robbing a restaurant in order to fund their spring break vacation, and they find themselves bailed out by a drug and arms dealer who wants them to do some dirty work. The only thing better than these gals in bikinis would be them in nothing at all. James Franco looks like he’s in an awesome role, and it looks like he’ll immerse himself in it, more than he apparently did for his character in Oz The Great and Powerful (which I still have to see). My prediction is $6.5 million for its wide opening. You may think I’m going too high with my prediction, but since it earned $87, 667 at just three theaters, I think it will do fairly well at 1104 theaters.

Here’s how I see the top 10:

TitlePrediction/ Possible percentage drop

1. The Croods: $45, 000, 000
2. Olympus Has Fallen: $23, 500, 000
3. Oz The Great and Powerful: $22, 000, 000/-46.6%
4. The Call: $10, 000, 000-41.6%
5. Admission: $8, 500, 000
6. Spring Breakers: $6, 500, 000
7. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone: $5, 500, 000/-46.0%
8. Jack the Giant Slayer: $4, 000, 000/-36.6%
9. Identity Thief: $3, 000, 000/32.1%
10. Snitch: $2, 300, 000/34.3 %

There you have it, what do you think of my predictions? What will you see this weekend? Was the article too long (LOL)? Leave me some comments below!