Pixar and Disney continue their perfect box office track record with the debut of their 13th release Brave in 3-D featuring the voices of Kelly Macdonald as Merida as well as Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters and Robbie Coltrane. With $66.7 million this weekend “Brave” gives Pixar its 13th consecutive number one debut as it remains one of the most consistent and enduring movie brands in box office history. Set against the historic backdrop of the Scottish highlands, the PG-rated film is Pixar’s first foray into fairy tale territory and certainly is reminiscent of “The Hunger Games” with its female protagonist wielding a bow and arrow. The Pixar films have been wildly successful earning $7.2 billion theatrical dollars worldwide since the first “Toy Story” film opened with $29.1 million way back in 1995. The film earned $13.5 million this weekend internationally for a global total of $80.2 million. Fun fact: Every Pixar film has debuted at number one at the box office.
In second place with $20.2 million and a tiny third weekend drop of 41% is Paramount Pictures PG-rated Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (read the review) from Dreamworks Animation which held onto first place for its first two weekends. The film had new family competition in the form of the first place movie, but no matter as the 3-D family favorite is already a certified worldwide hit having more than $300 million in the bank and around $135 million in total North American dollars as it headed into this, its third weekend. The film features the voices of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock and Jada Pinkett-Smith and will have around $157 million in North America by Sunday night.
Casting historical figures as action heroes has become an increasingly common theme as Fox brings Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter to theaters this weekend with a $16.5 million debut. The R-rated action fantasy stars Benjamin Walker as Lincoln as we have never seen him before in the role of a badass vampire killer hell bent on preventing the bloodsuckers from taking over The United States. Timur Bekmambetov, directs in his singular visual style so evident in 2008’s action crime thriller “Wanted” starring Angelina Jolie and the vampire-themed films “Night Watch” and “Day Watch” released in 2004 and 2006.
Fox's sci-fi horror film Prometheus from acclaimed director Ridley Scott has been a certified R-rated sci-fi hit since its release on June 8. With an impressive ensemble cast featuring Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace and Charlize Theron, a third weekend gross of $10 million pushes it beyond the $100 million mark in North America and past $260 million worldwide by the end of the weekend.
Universal’s “Snow White and the Huntsman” continues to be a major factor in the marketplace as solid word-of-mouth allowed it to hold at number five with $8.012 million. Now in its fourth weekend, this updated fairy tale features Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth and is now up to an impressive $137 million in North America. This leaves both
Warner Bros. PG-13 musical “Rock of Ages” featuring Tom Cruise is close behind at number six with $8 million in its second weekend of release. A 45% drop shows solid word-of-mouth has allowed the film to remain a contender and now has nearly $30 million in North America.
Steve Carell and Keira Knightly make their debut this weekend in 1,618 theaters in the quirky R-rated dark comedy Seeking a Friend for the End of the World from Focus Features. With an asteroid hurtling toward Earth, Carell ventures off along with his neighbor (Knightly to reunite with his high school sweetheart and the film chronicles their misadventures as the impending doom approaches. Lorene Scafaria who wrote the screenplay for 2008’s “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” makes her directorial debut for the film that earned just $3.875 million yhis weekend.
This will be the second “down” weekend vs. the comparable frame a year ago when Pixar’s’ “Cars 2” led the weekend with $66.1 million and “Bad Teacher” opened with $31.6 million.
Weekend Box Office (Estimates)
Top Movies for Weekend of June 22, 2012
Movie Weekend Gross Total to Date
1 Brave (PG) $66.7M $66.7M
2 Madagascar 3 (PG) $20.0M $157.4M
3 Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (R) $16.5M $16.5M
4 Prometheus (R) $10.0M $108.5M
5 Snow White and the Huntsman (PG13) $8.0M $137.055M
Follow Paul on Twitter @PDergarabedian
The magical R-rating is both a gift and a curse to Adam Sandler's signature brand of lowbrow humor. In That's My Boy the comedian returns to the dim-witted roots that made him a star in early outings like Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore (complete with high-pitched mushmouth accent) but with a ramped up "ew" factor. Unrestrained Sandler piles on as many expletives and gross-out scenarios as a two-hour movie can hold — and it works out quite well. With costar Samberg nailing the disgusted straight man role Sandler's penchant for acting like a fool is enhanced by the sick stylings of director Sean Anders (Sex Drive) and only occasionally teetering into truly offensive territory. Laughs aren't guaranteed but the movie provokes (which is a big step up from Jack and Jill).
Back in the '80s Donny had a secret relationship with his teacher Ms. McGarricle that resulted in a son Han Solo (he's a middle schooler what do you expect?). The torrid affair put McGarricle in jail Donny into celebrity tabloid spotlight and Han Solo in the hands of a tween father. Thirty years later everyone's screwed up: Donny (Adam Sandler) is a drunk on the brink of jail time for tax evasion McGarricle's still in jail and Han Solo (Andy Samberg) now "Todd " is a successful number-cruncher with severe social issues. On the weekend of Todd's wedding Donny reenters his life hoping to bring revive their relationship and reunite him with his mother — that is on camera so Donny can make $50 000 from a gossip TV show and stay out of the slammer. Posing as Todd's long-lost best friend Donny stirs up trouble becoming buddies with Todd's friends and family and acting like a imbecile.
The wedding setup is overdone but always prime for comedy: plenty for a numbskull to screw up logical progression (there's a wedding at the end!) and a bachelor party scene to squeeze in the most disgusting bits and have them make sense. That's My Boy makes the most of its conventions — including what we all know and expect from a Sandler comedy — by continually one-upping itself. After a night of heavy drinking at the local strip club/omelette bar that results in do-it-yourself ear piercing and robbing a convenience store with Vanilla Ice Todd returns home to expel the night's worth of drinking all over his fiancee's wedding dress. Then he makes love to the dress. Then his fiancee (Leighton Meester) wakes up to find the dress. Then it goes even further than one would care to imagine. Grossed out yet? Amazingly lower-than-low brow material is handled with clever timing and great delivery. It's just that the foundation is bodily fluids.
That's My Boy falters when it throws in gags that serve zero purpose to the story. Strange racist humor a mentally retarded bar patron played by Nick Swardson (a Sandler mainstay) random allusions to Todd Bridges' drug habits — barrel-scraping one-offs that have nothing to do with the movie. At two hours the movie needs slimming and the fat is apparent. Thankfully the main ensemble goes to great lengths to make the hard R comedy click with Sandler and Samberg playing well off each other (although Samberg doesn't have the making of a leading man after this movie) and SNL alums like Will Forte Rachel Dratch and Ana Gasteyer driving by to bring the funny. Even Vanilla Ice's extended cameo fits the anything-goes tone playing a version of himself that befriended Donny in his celebrity days. Now he works at an ice skating rink.
After a few lame ducks That's My Boy is a return to form for Sandler. It wavers in quality but it has energy and color. A cash-in this is not and for any Sandler fan with a stomach for hardcore bathroom humor it's a must-see.
Widening the thematic scope without sacrificing too much of the claustrophobia that made the original 1979 Alien universally spooky Prometheus takes the trophy for this summer's most adult-oriented blockbuster entertainment. The movie will leave your mouth agape for its entire runtime first with its majestic exploration of an alien planet and conjectures on the origins of the human race second with its gross-out body horror that leaves no spilled gut to the imagination. Thin characters feel more like pawns in Scott's sci-fi prequel but stunning visuals shocking turns and grand questions more than make up for the shallow ensemble. "Epic" comes in many forms. Prometheus sports all of them.
Based on their discovery of a series of cave drawings all sharing a similar painted design Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) are recruited by Weyland to head a mission to another planet one they believe holds the answers to the creation of life on Earth. Along for the journey are Vickers (Charlize Theron) the ruthless Weyland proxy Janek (Idris Elba) a blue collar captain a slew of faceless scientists and David (Michael Fassbender) HAL 9000-esque resident android who awakens the crew of spaceship Prometheus when they arrive to their destination. Immediately upon descent there's a discovery: a giant mound that's anything but natural. The crew immediately prepares to scope out the scene zipping up high-tech spacesuits jumping in futuristic humvees and heading out to the site. What they discover are the awe-inspiring creations of another race. What they bring back to the ship is what they realize may kill their own.
The first half of Prometheus could be easily mistaken for Steven Spielberg's Alien a sense of wonder glowing from every frame not too unlike Close Encounters. Scott takes full advantage of his fictional settings and imbues them with a reality that makes them even more tantalizing. He shoots the vistas of space and the alien planet like National Geographic porn and savors the interior moments on board the Prometheus full of hologram maps sleeping pods and do-it-yourself surgery modules with the same attention. Prometheus is beautiful shot in immersive 3D that never dampers Dariusz Wolski's sharp photography. Scott's direction seems less interested in the run-or-die scenario set up in the latter half of the film but the film maintains tension and mood from beginning to end. It all just gets a bit…bloodier.
Jon Spaihts' and Damon Lindelof's script doesn't do the performers any favors shuffling them to and fro between the ship and the alien construction without much room for development. Reveals are shoehorned in without much setup (one involving Theron's Vickers that's shockingly mishandled) but for the most part the ensemble is ready to chomp into the script's bigger picture conceits. Rapace is a physical performer capable of pulling off a grisly scene involving an alien some sharp objects and a painful procedure (sure to be the scene of the blockbuster season. Among the rest of the crew Fassbender's David stands out as the film's revelatory performance delivering a digestible ambiguity to his mechanical man that playfully toys with expectations from his first entrance. The creature effects in Prometheus will wow you but even Fassbender's smallest gesture can send the mind spinning. The power of his smile packs more of a punch than any facehugger.
Much like Lindelof's Lost Prometheus aims to explore the idea of asking questions and seeking answers and on Scott's scale it's a tremendous unexpected ride. A few ideas introduced to spur action fall to the way side in the logic department but with a clear mission and end point Prometheus works as a sweeping sci-fi that doesn't require choppy editing or endless explosions to keep us on the edge of our seats. Prometheus isn't too far off from the Alien xenomorphs: born from existing DNA of another creature the movie breaks out as its own beast. And it's wilder than ever.
I can't believe it. Last night's finale was so amazing. I can't wait to find out who Amanda's mother is and I can't believe that the fake Amanda is totally pregnant with Jack's baby! Oh, we're not talking about the Revenge finale? Well, it was still amazing. I know that we've seen boys with guitars win the past like 90 years, but that Phillip Phillips really deserved it. I voted for him! Oh, we're not talking about the American Idol finale? Then why the hell are we even here? Were there even any other finales last night?
Oh, that's the last episode of Don't Trust the Beast in Department 23 that we're going to see until the fall? God, sorry. That's the last episode of Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23 we're going to see until fall? It seemed just a few short weeks ago that we were watching it on Hulu before it was on the air. Now, here we are, at the end of our relationship. Gotta say, I don't trust her, but I'm sure gonna miss her.
The B's last showing didn't really seem like a finale, just another episode of the funny, wacky, quirky-not-like-stupid-Ally-McBeal-quirky-but-quirky-like-dark-like-teen-pregnancy-jokes-quirky sitcom. June, the erstwhile roommate of namesake "the B word that shall not be spoken" Chloe, finally feels like she's a cool kid because she has been welcomed into Chloe's inner circle. That is until she boozes so much that she ends up in the hospital getting her stomach pumped. Who hasn't been there before, right, sister? Right? Right?! Oh, whatever. Then while drinking sake bombs at a Benihana ripoff, we find out that Chloe is famous in Japan as "Shitagi Nashi" the "tall slut with no panties."
Of course Chloe, the second coming of Parker Posey's Party Girl, has a anime comic book that shows her as a tall slut with no panties who goes to parties and basically takes over the world with her insanity. Chloe pretends like she's too cool to know about it, but she really keeps each issue below the floorboards in plastic wrap. June, while still trying to hang out with Chloe even though she can't drink (and Chloe foisting her off on a number of different friends) meets the guy who draws the Tall Slut No Panties comic who falls a bit in love with her and draws a Strong Bowling Girl Talks A Lot comic based on June. Chloe is pissed. Man, this all sounds so boring when I just tell you. There are jokes. Jokes that are funny. The whole episode is funny. How do I make this funny? A tap routine? How about a tap routine?!
[Does tap routine]
Pant, pant, jazzhands. So, funny? No. It's hard to type a tap routine too. In the end Chloe and June become friends and it's all happy and wonderful again. I know I'm evil, but I like their relationship best when Chloe is still a little mean to June. They're much better as adversaries than friends. Or better yet allies against a common evil. Maybe that's what season two needs, an evil landlord who they are fighting against together. Free suggestion for you, series creator Nahnatchka Khan. (Psst. Call my agent before you start writing Season 2. I work cheap.)
This is still not funny, is it? Well, let me tell you about the B story (no, not the "b***h" story, this is what they call the other story in a sitcom, but I guess these are all B stories, right?) where James Van Der Beek (who I once performed with in a regional production of Anything Goes and there was a tap number) goes on Dancing with the Stars and he gets mad at his gayssistant Luther for not picking the biggest dressing room. That room goes to Dean Cain. James goes to Cain's room to confront him and says, "Hello, Dean, how have you been?"
Dean circles around him, curious but alert, checking James up and down, noticing how fit he looks in his tight T-shirt. "I'm doing well. Just hanging out here in my dressing room." He puts his hands in his pockets, his hand nudging the package that is protruding from his dark jeans. "You're certainly looking good, Dawson," Dean says.
"Um, thanks," James replies. "You're looking good too. Maybe a little beefier than your Superman days."
"I know, I've really been hitting the gym hard. Feel," he says, taking a step closer to James so his body is just inches away and his flexed bicep right in front of his face. "Go on. Feel."
"Oh, no. I...I...I...couldn't," James says getting flustered and trying to back away but his feet are planted still.
"Don't be a p***y. Touch it." James grabs hold and it takes both of his hands to wrap around the solid melon shaped muscle of Dean's arm. He's at once jealous and aroused. He doesn't know this feeling that's overcoming him, but it's like a smooth lightning running through his body when he realizes that he's been holding onto Dean's arm for far longer than is comfortable. He looks up at Dean and their eyes lock, not as competitors, but as something else. As something that is both rough and tender at the same time. And Dean grabs James by the small of his back and clutches him close, planting a firm kiss on his mouth. James initially falls back, not wanting to be subsumed by this strange feeling that is coming over him in another man's dressing room, but he gives in, pushing his mouth on Dean's just as hard, their stubble chafing on each other as their masculine embrace intensifies. Dean grabs him from behind the buttocks and thrusts his crotch into James, rubbing their bulges together before Dean lifts James up and places him on the couch with a rough gesture that says, "I am going to take you right here backstage at Dancing with the Stars." Haha. Sorry. That didn't happen. Whoo! Sorry to get all 50 Shades of Gay on you right there. I got a little carried away there. Anyway there was something with Dean Cain and James and Luther and a dressing room and James loves Luther by the end (no, not like that) and everyone is happy. So, that's it. The finale. Did you laugh yet? Come on? Do I have to do another tap routine? Should I take off my panties? What?! Oh, screw you. Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan More: This B***h Is Gonna Be Your New Best Friend ABC's Apartment 23 Brings The B***hy Back Why I Love TV's New Crop of B***hes
At some point in the early years of the 21st century a bunch of Hollywood executives must have gotten together and decided that animated films should be made for all audiences. The goal was perhaps to make movies that are simultaneously accessible to the older and younger sets with colorful imagery that one expects from children’s films and two levels of humor: one that’s quite literal and harmless and another that’s somewhat subversive. The criteria has resulted in cross-generational hits like Wall-E and Madagascar and though it’s nice to be able to take my nephew to the movies and be as entertained by cartoon characters as he is I can’t help but wonder what happened to unabashedly innocent animated classics like A Goofy Movie and The Land Before Time?
Disney’s Winnie The Pooh is the answer to the Shrek’s and Hoodwinked!’s of the world: a short sweet simple and lighthearted tale of friendship that doesn’t need pop-culture references or snarky dialogue to put a smile on your face. Directors Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall found some fresh ways to deliver adorable animation while keeping the carefree spirit of A.A. Milne’s source material in tact. Their story isn’t the most original; the first part of the film finds Pooh Piglet Tigger and Owl searching for Eeyore’s tail (a common plot point in the books and past Pooh films) and hits all the predictable notes but the second half mixes things up a bit as the crew searches for a missing Christopher Robin whom they believe has been kidnapped by a forest creature known as the “Backson” (it’s really just the result of the illiterate Owl or is it?).
The beauty of hand-drawn animation all but forgotten until recently is what makes Winnie the Pooh so incredibly magnetic. There’s an inexplicable crispness to the colors and characters that CG just can’t duplicate. It’s a more personal practice for the filmmakers and should provide a refreshing experience for audiences who have become jaded with the pristine presentation of computerized imagery. The film is bookended by brief live-action shots from inside Robin’s room an interesting dynamic that plays up the simplicity of youth ties it to these beloved characters and brings you right back to memories of your own childhood.
With a just-over-an-hour run time Winnie the Pooh is short enough to hold the attention of children but won’t bore the parents who will love the film mainly for nostalgic musings. Still it’s the young’uns who will most enjoy this breezy bright and enchanting film that proves old-school characters can appeal to new moviegoers.
If a major motion picture studio gave you $50 million to make the movie of your choice what would it be like? If you’re producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner and writers Simon Pegg and Nick Frost it’d be a loving lampoon of geek culture and an homage to the films of the Spielberg/Lucas revolution but nostalgia is both an advantage and disadvantage in director Greg Mottola’s Paul.
Pegg and Frost star as a pair of nerds from across the pond who fulfill lifelong dreams when they fly to San Diego for the annual Mecca of nerdom Comic-Con. The doofy duo extend their trip to tour America’s extraterrestrial hot spots including Area 51 where they pick up an unexpected alien hitchhiker on the run from the proverbial men in black. Across the country they go getting into trouble picking up more passengers and building bromantic bonds as the little green man Paul inches closer to his escape from planet Earth and the shadowy government official who has been exploiting his knowledge of the universe since he crash landed in Wyoming over 60 years ago.
Fan-favorite filmmakers since 2004’s Shaun of the Dead Pegg and Frost have been making geek chic for years now and continue to create identifiable roles for themselves while finding humorous ways to write their like-minded friends into their movies. Their collection of wacky characters is charming if incredibly derivative but for better or worse they are the heart and soul of the film. Jason Bateman Kristen Wiig Bill Hader and Jo Lo Truglio turn in fun performances but I expected a bit more from the Jane Lynch David Koechner and Sigourney Weaver cameos. Still Seth Rogen’s vocal performance as Paul adds significant layers to an already adorable alien and enlivens the adequately rendered CG character.
The comedy is surprisingly sweet and doesn’t bite like Mottola’s Superbad though there are enough religious jabs and signs of anti-establishment fervor to call it mildly subversive. Lack of laughs isn’t the issue here; lack of originality is. Mottola is too dependent on pop-culture references and inside jokes pertaining to E.T. Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind so much so that the film ultimately becomes a parody of itself as its storyline mirrors that of Steven Spielberg’s massive 1982 blockbuster (in this world the movie mogul actually consults the incarcerated alien for inspiration for his beloved family film). While these nods are all amusing they’re not enough to carry the film and Mottola/Frost/Pegg offer little else. At its worst Paul will give you a reason to revisit those classic sci-fi staples and remember the good old days. At best it provides a few mindless chuckles and gives you good reason to give the geek next to you a great big hug.