Weekend Movies: Biding Time Until ‘The Avengers’

Although I enjoyed two of the major movies opening this week, I’ve got to be honest that next weekend’s release of ‘The Avengers’ is causing so much anticipation that (almost) nothing could get me excited for what’s hitting the big screen today.

The widest release this weekend is the Aardman Animation kids’ flick ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits‘. A group of goofy pirates set out to win the “Pirate of the Year” award. Being an Aardman title and featuring a voice cast consisting of Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, David Tennant, Jeremy Piven, Anton Yelchin and Brendan Gleeson, ‘The Pirates!’ should be 88 minutes of stop-motion goodness.

I wish that the ads for ‘The Five-Year Engagement‘ would say more than, “From the makers of ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall‘ and the producer of ‘Bridesmaids‘,” but would also include, “From the writers of ‘The Muppets‘,” somewhere in there. Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller re-team to show how they’re maturing with the new film. The R-rated romantic dramedy picks up right where your average rom-com would end, by showing the long and difficult road from dating to marriage. The depth of the screenplay should leave fans of Segel and Stoller quite surprised. While it gets fairly serious, know that the cast (Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt and Alison Brie) keep things continually hilarious.

I’ve become the type of guy who doesn’t watch trailers anymore, so I know little about this weekend’s third widest opener, ‘Safe‘. Starring Jason Statham, I figure that it’s safe to assume that ‘Safe’ is a mindless action flick. Upon researching the plot, it sounds like it’s is a rip-off of Bruce Willis’ ‘Mercury Rising’: a kid knows something and the movie’s central character must save the kid and the information from getting out. The only difference is that ‘Safe’ is presumably filled with serious ass-whoopings.

It sure doesn’t seem like theater programmers have much faith in Relativity Media’s ‘The Raven‘. The film is only opening on 2,000 screens. This murder mystery plays with history by moving Edgar Allan Poe from author to subject in one of his stories. John Cusack plays Poe, and ‘V for Vendetta‘ director James McTeigue makes him out to be a lot cooler than anyone would suspect of the poet. If you like period piece murder mysteries, ‘The Raven’ is pretty enjoyable. It plays with history and keeps you guessing until the end.

The look on Jack Black’s face alone makes me want absolutely nothing to do with ‘Bernie‘, Richard Linklater’s newest comedy. In it, Black plays a mortician who kills an old widow (Shirley MacLaine), steals her money and finds a way to make people think she’s still alive so that nobody suspects the murder. Is it odd that the movie is titled ‘Bernie’ and its plot is strikingly similar to that of ‘Weekend at Bernie’s’?

Finally, Fox Searchlight’s ‘Sound of My Voice‘ is getting a very limited release this weekend. In it, Brit Marling plays the leader of an odd cult that pulls in two journalists for a story. Hopefully, things get crazy.


  1. Somehow, I find it quite baffling that “The Avengers” (an American movie with a mostly American cast based on multiple American franchises) opens NINE days ahead of the American premiere in Belgium. What’s going on?

    • EM

      Judging from the IMDb, the film is opening in numerous countries April 25–27. So, I doubt it’s something like, “They reimagined Thor as an ancient Flemish god” or “Stark’s HQ is in Brussels” or “the World War II vet is now Captain Antwerp” or “Hawkeye is accompanied by a small white dog named Milou”…

    • JM

      The top 20 movies of 2011 made 70% of their box office overseas.

      We’re in a new era where blockbusters are designed from the script level to be worldwide tween-friendly, and the US is less important than China.

      Studios will launch movies in whatever order of countries their marketing department feels they can execute best.

      ‘Battleship’ has made $150M overseas, and doesn’t hit the US until May 18.

    • JM

      If ‘The Avengers’ is a 5-Star film, and ‘Transformers 3’ is a 1-Star film…

      We multiply by five, round to the nearest…

      ‘The Avengers’ will gross $1.7 billion domestic, $3.8 billion overseas.

      That’s 2x what ‘Avatar’ made worldwide.

      ‘The Avengers’ will indeed become the new dictionary definition of “killing it.”

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