Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
Guardians of the Galaxy cruised to the top of the box office last week, bashing several records in its wake, including the highest August opening of all time. But what's harder than getting to the top is staying there. The film's second weekend faces some stiff competition from a big group of new releases, including the Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, the Daniel Radcliffe rom-com What If, the Helen Mirren-starring Disney family movie The Hundred-Foot Journey, the dance flick Step Up All In, and the tornado-laden Into the Storm. Can Marvel's misfits withstand the onslaught and reclaim box office gold once again? We analyze each films chances of winning the weekend.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
Guardians of the Galaxy's fiercest competition comes by way of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which is likely to be the second biggest moneymaker in August. It's a strong contender, and the turtles might have the muscle (and the ninja skills) to knock Guardians off of its pedestal.
Previous Films in the FranchiseTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: $25 million Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze: $20 million Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: $12 million TMNT: $24 million
The Past Five Michael Bay FilmsTransformers: Age of Extinction: $100 million Transformers: Dark of the Moon: $97 million Transformers: Rise of the Fallen: $108 million Transformers: $70 million
The opening weekends for the previous four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films have topped out at about $25 million, which on its own wouldn't be enough to topple Guardians of the Galaxy. But the film's attachment to producer Michael Bay, who is a proven money maker in Hollywood, will likely give this latest reboot a significant boost. The film's marketing has been smart to smatter the Transformers director's name all over the promotional material for the film. The hype for this film is huge and the Guardians might not survive this fight.
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
INTO THE STORM
The effects-driven disaster film is facing some stiff competition, but disaster films in the past have been able to carve out a nice chunk of box-office cash. Into the Storm is also looking to capitalize on the last legs of the found footage trend. Could Into the Storm rain on Guardians of the Galaxy's parade?
Notable Natural Disaster FilmsThe Impossible: $3 million2012: $65 millionThe Day After Tomorrow: $69 millionTwister: $41 million
The Past Five Found Footage FilmsEarth to Echo: $8 millionA Haunted House 2: $9 millionDevil's Due: $8 millionParanormal Activity: The Marked ones: $18 millionA Haunted House: $18 million
Sadly, Into the Storm likely doesn't have the momentum to reach the top of the charts this weekend. The public's interest in found footage films is slowing in earnest, and Into the Storm doesn't have the same hype surrounding it as the best in the genre. The film's negative reception from critics certainly won't help matters either.
CBS Films/Entertainment One
Can Daniel Radcliffe make it in Hollywood without Harry Potter? It's been a question surrounding the actor ever since the massive franchise came to an end in 2011. Radcliffe has boatloads of charm, but all of the likeability in the world doesn't equal movie tickets sold.
The Past Five Romantic ComediesAbout Last Night: $26 millionThink Like a Man Too: $29 millionThe Other Woman: $25 millionBlended: $14 millionAnd So It Goes: $5 million
The Past Five Daniel Radcliffe FilmsKill Your Darlings: $53,000The Woman in Black: $20 millionHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: $169 millionHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1: $125 millionHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: $78 million
What If is an indie export from Britain, and the film isn't opening up in nearly enough theaters to give Guardians of the Galaxy any reasonable competition, but even if the film was widely distributed, the romantic comedy genre isn't a strong enough contender to compete with the superheroes wizzing around in Marvel's latest smash hit. Daniel Radcliffe was a massive box office draw in the Harry Potter franchise, but the actor still hasn't proved himself a moneymaker out of his wizard robes.
Walt Disney Studios
THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY
This delightful comedy-drama featuring two competing restaurants stationed right across the street from each other is going after a completely different market than Guardians of the Galaxy, but is this slice of feel good counter programing good enough to contend with not one but two comic book films?
Notable Feel Good ComediesChef: $2 millionAdmission: $6 millionThe Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: $6 millionThe Help: $26 million
The Past Five Helen Mirren FilmsRed 2: $18 millionMonsters University: $82 millionHitchcock: $287,000The Debt: $10 nillionArthur: $12 nillion
The Hundred-Foot Journey looks like a great film to take your mom to in the crush of CGI adventures clogging the theaters, but we highly doubt it will come anywhere close to Guardians of the Galaxy. Helen Mirren isn't as big of a draw as you might expect, and similar films in the same vein have only enjoyed moderate success.
Summit Entertainment via Everett Collection
STEP-UP: ALL IN
The improbably long-running dance movie franchise has somehow reached its fifth entry, but will it reach the top of the box office by weekends end?
Previous Films in the FranchiseStep Up: $21 millionStep Up 2 the Streets: $19 millionStep Up 3-D: $16 millionStep Revolution: $12 millionThe Step Up franchise certainly has its work cut out for it. The series' box office totals have been steadily declining with each release, with the last one only managing to secure $12 million in its opening weekend. There's no possible way the newest Step Up film will top Guardians. In fact, with how crowded this weekend is, Step Up might get lost in the shuffle entirely.
Man of Steel, the Zack Snyder-directed reimagining of Superman, certainly didn't encounter kryptonite at the box office. But we'd venture to say that many of the people who helped propel it to a $116 million weekend haul left the theater scratching their heads. Was that dragon creature upon which Russell Crowe's Jor-El rode over Krypton from the same genus as the flying beasts in Avatar? Why did Harry Lennix and Chris Meloni's military men have more screentime than Laurence Fishburne's Perry White? Is everyone else as disappointed as I am that Michael Shannon didn't scream "Kneel before Zod"? So many questions. Here are eight which we feel we can more or less answer. But beware! Major SPOILERS ahead.
1. Is Man of Steel pretty much just the story of Jesus?Unbelievably, even more so than Superman Returns. Sure, the 2006 picture had Brandon Routh's Son of Krypton endure a kryptonite scourging that would have fit if the movie had been called The Passion of Kal-El. But Man of Steel goes further. It makes it very clear that Superman is 33 years old when he first chooses to don the cape and become a symbol of hope for humanity. His arms are outstretched, crucifix-style, when floating through space. He turns himself in, preparing to sacrifice himself to "save" humankind. And you could sub in God as easily as Jor-El when Kevin Costner's Jonathan Kent talks about the "other father" who sent Clark to Earth.
2. Has it ever been established before that one Kryptonian can kill another Kryptonian just by snapping his neck? And wait, I thought Superman had a code never to kill? In any of the main DC Comics universes, Superman has never killed a sentient being. However, in the 1988 comic Superman #22, with art by John Byrne, Superman does kill a General Zod from a "pocket universe" using Gold Kryptonite. The experience does leave him shattered, and he begins to question whether he himself is a dangerous being — moral uncertainty that Henry Cavill's self-righteous Zod-killing Superman in Man of Steel does not seem to possess. Moreover, it hasn't ever been established that a Kryptonian fighting a Kryptonian while on Earth could kill the other just by breaking his neck. You would need Kryptonite to do that or a molecular chamber like in Superman II — where it isn't clear if Zod and his companions actually are killed when they're rendered human. If just snapping Zod's neck could kill him, it makes sense Superman would kill him before he could kill those huddled people with his X-ray vision. But why didn't he kill Zod before the general destroyed much of Metropolis?
3. Have Kryptonians ever had difficulty adapting to Earth's atmosphere in previous Superman storytelling? Not really. This seems to be an invention of screenwriters Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer to make them seem less godlike. Zod and Faora can still fly and repel bullets, but they need to wear breathing masks so as not to be overwhelmed by the low-density atmosphere of Earth.
4. What does Zod’s symbol stand for? As we learn during his incarcerated conversation with reporter Lois Lane, Clark Kent's "S" is actually a Kryptonian symbol that signifies the idea of hope. On the chest of the nefarious General Zod, there lives another symbol (albeit a slightly S-like one in its own right). But if Clark's is hope, then what is Zod’s swirly insignia meant to stand for?
5. Where's Jimmy Olsen? And who the hell is this Steve a**hole? Although we might better remember bumbling photographer Jimmy Olsen from small screen Superman, Daily Planet reporter Steve Lombard (portrayed here by Michael Kelly) is also a character from DC Comics history, first appearing in a 1973 issue.
6. Krypton is a planet with rhino dragons and embryoceans, but people can still give birth vaginally?Essentially, the Kryptonian appears to be built exactly like the standard Earth human, right down to the reproductive organs. Sure, they generally create offspring via some weird kind of undersea embryo system, but there’s at least the option of the old fashioned way.
7. Who Did Superman Vote For?Man Of Steel takes place in the present day, making an adult American citizen Clark Kent eligible to vote in 2012. So who did he vote for? As a bona fide proud Kansan, we might assume he has Red State leanings. Then again, his "S" does stand for "hope," and that is Barack Obama's go-to branding device.
8. Is Jonathan Kent's death exactly the same as that of Helen Hunt's father at the beginning of Twister? Yes.
Answer: With a razor.
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt | Follow Hollywood.com on Twitter @Hollywood_com
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In this week’s Drive, not one but two big names from the land of TV have juicy roles: Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston and Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks (the latter also appears in Friday’s I Don't Know How She Does It). They’re hardly the first TV mainstays to find time for movies; likewise, they won’t be the first to boost their overall profile in so doing.
Take a trip down memory lane with highlights of a few actors who, in the midst of TV stardom, found time for movies—and benefited.
Hit Show: Friends
Concurrent Movies of Note: Office Space, Rock Star, The Good Girl, Bruce Almighty, Along Came Polly
The most obvious example of an actor’s TV stardom affording movie opportunities galore, Aniston was almost as ubiquitous on the big screen during Friends’ 10-year run as she was on the small screen. Her first movie during that time, 1996’s She’s the One, bombed, but by the time her hit series came to an end, in 2004, she’d used movies to bolster her acting cred (The Good Girl), geek appeal (Office Space) and box office power (Bruce Almighty, Along Came Polly).
Hit Show: The Sopranos
Concurrent Movies of Note: 8MM, The Mexican, The Man Who Wasn't There, The Last Castle, Surviving Christmas, All the King's Men
The man who will forever be known as Tony Soprano didn’t find the kind of success in film that he enjoyed – er, resented – on the beloved HBO show, but it wasn’t due to inactivity: During The Sopranos’ eight years on TV, Gandolfini starred in eight feature films, even though most sailed under the radar, which was perhaps intentional (except for Surviving Christmas). We can only hope we’ll someday see him reprise his Sopranos role – on the big screen.
Hit Show: Grey's Anatomy
Concurrent Movies of Note: Knocked Up, 27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth
Seemingly overnight, Heigl went from being something of an also-ran as Dr. Izzie Stevens on ABC’s medical drama Grey’s Anatomy to the possible “next Julia Roberts.” It all started with Knocked Up – even though she would ultimately denounce director Judd Apatow’s treatment of her character – which begat the hit rom-com 27 Dresses, which begat the even bigger hit rom-com The Ugly Truth. It’s basically been downhill ever since for Heigl, however, as 2010’s Killers and Life As We Know It were both panned by critics and somewhat ignored by moviegoers.
Hit Show: That '70s Show
Concurrent Movies of Note: Dude, Where's My Car?, Just Married, The Butterfly Effect, Guess Who, A Lot Like Love
It’s been quite a ride for Kutcher’s career, and in a way it’s come full circle – as he’s now back on the tube (Two and a Half Men), where he started. But for a while during That ‘70s Show’s run, he was parlaying his surge to stardom into movie roles, and it could be argued that the series ultimately ended because each of the main cast members became too big for the small screen (it’s certainly inarguable that Mila Kunis is the biggest alum right now!).
Hit Show: Party of Five
Concurrent Movies of Note: The Craft, Scream (first three movies), Wild Things
For a while there in the ‘90s, Fox’s Party of Five was all the rage, and its lead actress, Neve Campbell, capitalized the most. She became a(n) (oc)cult icon for her role in The Craft, a full-fledged household name thanks to the Scream franchise, and a Mr. Skin hall-of-famer following a scene in Wild Things (which hurt her career as much as it helped Denise Richards’). Ironically – or maybe unironically – Campbell’s movie career has pretty much consisted of one misfire after another, including this year’s Scream 4, precisely since the end of Party.
Hit Show: Mad About You
Concurrent Movies of Note: Twister, As Good As It Gets
Mad About You served as a launching pad for what would become a successful movie career for Helen Hunt, and although it has since tapered off considerably – likely of her own volition – Hunt at one point threatened to become the biggest actress in the biz, all thanks to Paul Reiser’s hit sitcom. In the end, she starred in a then-groundbreaking special-effects movie that is now a ride at Universal Studios (Twister) and one of the biggest rom-coms of the ‘90s (As Good As It Gets), the latter of which won her an Oscar.
Hit Show: Alias
Concurrent Movies of Note: Pearl Harbor, Daredevil, 13 Going on 30, Elektra
Like the other Jennifer on this list, Garner’s show really shot her to superstardom. Alias displayed so many of Garner’s, ahem, assets and so many different molds she could be tidily squeezed into, it was only a matter of time before the big screen beckoned her full-time attention. But prior to her departure from the J.J. Abrams-created action series, Garner made quite a splash in movies, first with smaller roles in big movies (Pearl Harbor, Catch Me If You Can), then, ultimately, two movies all to herself that would ultimately make (13 Going on 30) and not quite break but temporarily hurt (Elektra) her movie career.
Hit Show: ER
Concurrent Movies of Note: From Dusk Till Dawn, One Fine Day, Batman & Robin, Out of Sight
It’s easy to forget, but George Clooney became “George Clooney” because of ER, and while he didn’t become a Serious Movie Actor until he left the hit series, it afforded him quite a wide variety of big-screen roles – including the dream role in what turned out to be probably the most disastrous Batman movie ever. All will likely agree that Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight was the cinematic high point for Clooney during his days as Dr. Doug Ross (and the high point of J. Lo’s career, period).
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Hit Show: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Concurrent Movies of Note: I Know What You Did Last Summer, Simply Irresistible, Cruel Intentions, Scooby-Doo
Her movies weren’t always works of art (or, OK, even decent), but with the help of her title role on the beloved Buffy, Gellar was in the late ‘90s the go-to actress for young, angsty female roles in mainstream movies (i.e., I Know What You Did Last Summer and Cruel Intentions). And Scooby-Doo at least made her a good amount of money. Hopefully.
Almost Everyone on Saturday Night Live
It is well-known that Saturday Night Live is largely a stepping for its cast members on their way to bigger and better things (read: movie stardom); at this point, it’s almost a rite of passage to launch a successful movie career shortly before exiting the sketch-comedy show. Current cast member Kristen Wiig is an anomaly in that she has an absolute blockbuster movie under her belt (this summer’s Bridesmaids), yet she has not confirmed that she will be departing SNL to capitalize on the momentum. The formula is well-documented, though: Everyone from Eddie Murphy (48 Hrs. and Trading Places while on SNL) to David Spade (Tommy Boy) and many in between and since have released a big movie during their “residence” and left because of said big movie soon thereafter.