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Weekend Movies: Cap and JT Attempt to Dethrone Harry Potter

With ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2′ crushing every opening weekend box office record last week, it’s going to be tough for either of our two major new releases to knock the boy wizard off his pedestal. Does a second-string Marvel superhero or a carbon copy of a six-month-old sex-buddies romantic comedy have the power to dethrone Harry and his friends?

Receiving the widest release this weekend is ‘Captain America: The First Avenger‘, Marvel’s final superhero origin film prior to next summer’s huge release of ‘The Avengers’. Like I said in my review earlier today, ‘Captain America’ just might be the best of any of Marvel’s big screen comic book adaptations. It definitely exceeds the others in handling the character’s origin. Instead of featuring a weak third-act villain, ‘Captain America’ seamlessly blends the superhero’s backstory with a solid, full-fledged plot.

I’ve been surprised by the lack of buzz around ‘Captain America’. Sure, even I didn’t think it would compare to ‘Thor‘ or ‘Iron Man‘, but I was thoroughly surprised by how well the action flick turned out. Once positive word-of-mouth spreads, ‘Captain America’ ought to draw in and win-over even the naysayers.

The nationwide underdog release of the week is ‘Friends with Benefits‘, starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. Much like January’s ‘No Strings Attached‘, the romantic comedy follows two best friends as they give casual sex a shot. Of course, true emotions begin to develop and things get complicated. What sets ‘Friends with Benefits’ apart from ‘No Strings Attached’ is the tone and comedy.

While I personally thought that ‘No Strings Attached’ was far better than it appeared, ‘Friends with Benefits’ is the stronger of the two. It plays more like an R-rated comedy, and strong laughs are a constant. Just be warned: ‘Friends with Benefits’ is the much more vulgar, crude and graphic of the two. Some scenes resemble soft-core non-nudity porn more than a romantic comedy.

Opening in limited release this week is ‘Another Earth‘, winner of the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize and Special Jury Prize at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. In the indie drama, a second planet just like Earth is found in space. As it draws nearer and first contact is made, it is discovered that “Earth 2″ is a mirror version of our world. Everyone who exists on our Earth also exists on Earth 2.

The sobering drama follows a girl trying to escape her past by traveling to Earth 2, only to get even more caught up in the things that damn her. ‘Another Earth’ isn’t without its faults, but it’s definitely a worthy candidate this weekend for those who enjoy intimate indie dramas.

Another indie film opening this week is ‘A Little Help‘, a comedy starring Jenna Fischer as a single mom who gets tangled up in a web of lies while trying to provide for her teenage son. The consensus from early reviews tend to agree that ‘A Little Help’ proves that Fischer can carry a film on her own, although the film itself is mostly dreadful and too long.

30 comments

  1. John

    “Does a second-string Marvel superhero or a carbon copy of a six-month-old sex-buddies romantic comedy have the power to dethrone Harry and his friends?”

    Second string???

    • Onslaught

      I think it’s fair to say. Captain America isn’t among the likes of Spider-Man, Batman, X-Men, Superman, etc. Hell, even Iron Man is a second-stringer, although the movie’s popularity may catapult the character to first string status.

      I also think CA will dethrone HP this weekend. Harry Potter will drop very hard, especially because so much demand was burned off last weekend, but that’s ok. It’s going to crush previous HPs in terms of gross.

    • Luke Hickman
      Author

      Oh, yeah. He’s definitely second string. Look at the fact that he is just now barely getting his own movie. The freaking Hulk got two movies before Cap’n got one. Definitely second string.

        • For which you can apparently get a “Director’s Cut” on Blu-ray now from the director himself, transferred from his personal VHS copy, stretched from 4:3 to 16:9, and pressed onto a BD-R from his home PC. You will receive this as a “bonus feature” with the purchase of his audio commentary for the movie, which comes pressed on a separate audio-only BD-R with no video.

          True story.

          • John

            He also had a serial in 1944. Two TV movies in 1979 as well.

            Also considering Captain America has been around in comic book from since 1940′s The Golden Age of comics as its called. Im not sure using the term second string is really accurate and I am not even a comic book fanboy.

          • Regardless of how long the character has been around, he’s definitely not in the top tier of Marvel characters with Spider-Man, Hulk, or the X-Men. He’s a second-stringer in that regard.

            Green Lantern has also been around since 1940, yet he’s certainly a second-stringer behind DC’s top roster of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

          • EM

            Alan Scott, the Green Lantern who debuted in 1940, is third-string at best. Hal Jordan, who debuted in 1959 and is the main character of the recent Green Lantern movie, is definitely more prominent than Scott and more aptly fits second-string status.

        • Luke Hickman
          Author

          If you’ve bothered to check out any of his earlier movies, you’d never want to watch another one again. They are TERRIBLE!!! Haven’t seen the old serial though.

  2. Jane Morgan

    Captain America looks poised to underperform, which tends to happen when superheroes suffer from Dumb-Costume Syndrome.

    Weekend Forecast:

    $62M – Captain America
    $48M – Harry Potter 7.2
    $23M – Friends With Benefits
    $12M – Transformers 3
    $11M – Horrible Bosses

  3. Daniel Young

    Just saw the movie with wife and hands down the best superhero movie made to date. Beats Batman, all 3 Spiderman’s, all the Superman movies, Hulk and X-Men franchises, etc.

    One of the best movies I have ever seen… Wife loved it as well and has never liked any hero movies. Second-String? Learn some history and read about Cap in the 1940′s and his reappearance in the 1960′s. Remember my Dad talking about the serials from the ’40s.. He would have loved this film and it’s patriotic feel (Korean War Vet that went 1935-2009). As a former Veteran(US Army 1980-1999) nice to see good films like this. Our World War II Veterans deserve all the attention and love…

    Looking forward to seeing Avenger movie after this film. Marvel waited until they had the right technology to make this film. Go see it you will love it!

    • Luke Hickman
      Author

      While I loved it too, I’m not sure I’m ready to place it above the Batmans – but I’m glad to see someone else passionately defending it along with me!

      I know that Cap was one of the first major superheroes to earn some love, but he had his day. He’s not as common-knowledge now as he was in the days of our parents. For this reason I call him second string.

      And I’m definitely with you on the patriotic note. Cap should have opened on July 4 – not “the movie that shall not be mentioned.” It was great to see classic pro-America propaganda on the big screen. It’s been absent for quite a while. Go America!

      • It’s so far away from Nolan’s ‘Batman’ movies it’s crazy ridiculous.

        BTW, just about every summer action movie that comes out (especially the superhero movies)is pro-America. ‘T3′ was the machoest pro-America phooey we’ve had all year.

        I can’t understand the joy for this movie. It’s way down on the list for my when we’re talking superhero movies. Some parts were fun, others downright dull.

        • Aaron, you’re starting to sound like me when discussing X-Men: First Class. I just don’t understand what people saw in that movie. It bored the hell out of me.

        • Jane Morgan

          Confirmed!

          Peck and Zyber are communists!

          Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

          • Jane Morgan

            Josh, the only nihilist film I can think of is ‘The Big Lebowski.’ Does that film accurately represent your people?

            As a budding anarchist, I harbor much love for ‘Fight Club,’ ‘V For Vendetta,’ and ‘The Dark Knight.’

            Are there any other classics of anarchist cinema that I should be loving?

            Aaron, I’m the same way. Whenever I watch “Seven Samurai,’ I always root for the Japanese.

  4. Wow, I had never expected to read positive notes about “Captain America” (over here, in Europe, no one knows him – save for nerds, geeks and freaks). So far, no trailers or hype. I sure hope it gets released.

    I’m all pumped up to see it now. I value Luke Hickman’s opinion (the man loves “Hook”).

    Chris Evans was HILARIOUS in “Scott Pilgrim”. The best ex, in my book.

      • Too bad it’s only “pretty mediocre”. You excel at writing excellent reviews on either ‘good movies’ or ‘awful movies’, but a review of a mediocre movie is bound to be boring.

        My fingers are crossed for another vitriolic review by Aaron Peck :) (please do Breaking Dawn)

  5. TJ Kats

    Have to lean towards Aaron on this one. Over all I enjoyed the movie but it was nothing special and probably the worst of the Avenger lead ups.

  6. Well Jane was almost right on the nose with those forecasts, I really didnt think Captain America would take down probably the most anticipated movie of the year after one week, hell even Transformers 3 lasted two weeks on top, gotta say I’m disappointed that Harry couldnt hang at the top longer, finally saw HP7.2 today and have to say its the best movie I’ve seen all year so far, of course I’m a fan of the books as well and its going to take something special to dethrone it as my top pick this year

    • Jane Morgan

      Chaz, look worldwide. ‘Captain America’ got spanked.

      This weekend, ‘Harry Potter 7.2′ earned:

      $48M in America.
      $121M in foreign markets.

      For a worldwide total of $169M.

      ‘Transformers 3′ came in second, worldwide, at $74M.

      ‘Captain America’ only made $3M in foreign markets, which means it opened in 3rd place, with a weak-ass $69M.

      Two weekends old, HP 7.2 has already made $835M.

      ‘Harry Potter 7.2′ is on track to surpass ‘Pirates 4,’ to become the #1 movie of 2011, and to take it’s place as the 3rd highest grossing movie of all time.

      • Sorry guess I should have specified America box office only, either way I was surprised that the final Potter didnt stay on top in the states for more than one week

        Yes over seas its gonna be raking in quite a bit more for a while yet, Captain America isnt going to do that hot overseas because its all pro America about an American Soldier, blah blah blah, I dont think other countries are going to be all into that ;)

        • Well, I’m all hyped up to see “Captain America” now, after Luke Hickman’s glowing review. So this blog at least generated one viewer :)

      • Jane, if it isn’t green and doesn’t have George Washington’s mug emblazoned on it, we don’t count it. All that foreign money is just funny money anyway. ;)

        • Jane Morgan

          Aaron, I bet there are at least ten movies you own and love, that only got greenlit because of their potential to suck cash in foreign markets.

          In fact, none of us would even be talking about ‘Prometheus’ right now if the last four alien movies hadn’t made most of their profit oversees.