‘Deadpool’ has had three amazing weeks at the top of the box office, but Disney is poised to put a stop to that with its latest animated feature. The big question is whether the other two new wide releases can also outperform the quipping masked hero.
Although Pixar returned to greatness this year with ‘Inside Out’, Disney Animation Studios is currently on a streak of producing more interesting family films than its once-great partner studio. In theaters this weekend, ‘Zootopia‘ keeps the upward momentum. From the collective directors and writers of ‘Tangled’, ‘Bolt’, ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ and ‘Big Hero 6’ comes a hilarious cop-drama set in a human-less world of evolved animals. The film follows a tiny and energetic bunny attempting to crack an impossible case alongside a cunning con artist fox. Following a police procedural formula, an unexpected and relevant moral becomes evident halfway through the story that raises ‘Zootopia’ to heights not usually found in such films. Get ready for the next Disney movie that you’ll enjoy watching over and over again just as much as your kids will. The voice cast includes Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Bonnie Hunt, Tommy Chong, J.K. Simmons, Octavia Spencer, Alan Tudyk and Shakira. Debuting on 3,800 screens, ‘Zootopia’ is expected to open north of $70 million.
Kicking off on 3,500 screens is the low-budget (and low-quality) sequel ‘London Has Fallen‘. Although ‘Olympus Has Fallen‘ director Antoine Fuqua did not return for the follow-up, the entire surviving cast did – for better or worse. Gerard Butler once again plays the John McClane knock-off Secret Service agent who’s tasked with protecting his best friend, the President of the United States (Aaron Eckhart). When the British Prime Minister unexpectedly dies, many of the world’s most significant leaders travel to London to pay their respects at the funeral. Despite their best efforts, all of the visiting nations’ heads are simultaneously assassinated in coordinated attacks across London – with the exception of POTUS. Through firefights, aerial attacks, car crashes, missiles, chopper crashes and fistfights, America will continue to patriotically survive and annihilate every terrorist who stands in its way. Unfortunately, the campiness, over-the-top action and mouthy leading character aren’t what they used to be. This rushed, noticeably low-budget sequel lacks the fun that made the first movie worth watching at least once.
The creators of ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love.’ and last year’s ‘Focus’ have returned with… a wartime drama? Tina Fey leads ‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot‘ as a Podunk journalist attempting to get relevant by moving to war-ravaged Afghanistan and breaking stories from the dangerous front lines. Martin Freeman, Margot Robbie, Alfred Molina and Billy Bob Thornton co-star. This sounds like an equally unlikely and unlikeable version of ‘Eat Pray Love’, so I’ll stick with ‘Three Kings’ if I want some comedic wartime drama, foreign affairs politics and journalism mixed into one movie.
After yet another brutal run on the festival circuit, Terrence Malick is back in theaters with his latest meandering drama, ‘Knight of Cups‘. Christian Bale stars in this allegory as a self-centered film writer who takes a break from his life to find his own version of happiness. The story that ensues leads him through seven different relationships. The large cast co-stars Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Brian Dennehy, Antonio Banderas, Freida Pinto, Wes Bentley, Teresa Palmer, Imogen Poots and Cherry Jones. If it’s as jumbled and disconnected as it’s said to be, good luck staying awake.