Well, unsurprisingly Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides took home the box office booty this weekend with an impressive $90.1 million dollars. However, it doesn’t really end up a winner in comparison to other films in the Top Ten. First, the last installment of the series, At World’s End, raked in $113 million in its first weekend, and while that may not seem like a lot, if inflation was accounted for, that would be around $130 million today. So, the series is losing popularity in that regard, possibly because the reviews for this film were less than stellar (37% on RT). Bridesmaids, the second place finisher only brought in $21 million this weekend, which while not a stellar number, was only a 20% drop from its opening weekend, which is impressive for a comedy of its caliber. Fast Five finished in third with $10.6 million, continuing its strong run. If you recall, Fast Five opened last month with around $86 million in its first weekend, which while $4 million lower than On Stranger Tides, wasn’t in 3D and sold more total tickets.
Anyway, all that was to say that while $90 million is a hefty chunk of change, in a lot of ways it was a disappointment. Here’s what we got on tap this week:
The Hangover Part II
Starring: Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha
Director: Todd Phillips
Synopsis from IMDB: Right after the bachelor party in Las Vegas, Phil, Stu, Alan, and Doug jet to Thailand for Stu’s wedding. Stu’s plan for a subdued pre-wedding brunch, however, goes seriously awry.
Chris’ Take: Pac mentioned in his Most Anticipated Summer Movies article that he and I were having a debate about whether or not this would be any good. Obviously, neither of us have seen it and it was all speculation, but our point of contention came from a Cracked.com article that compared the trailer for the first film and the trailer seen above. The article points out that they are almost exactly the same trailer, the jokes are just tweaked ever so slightly. While it is always good to have some sort of familiarity in a sequel, I really hope that the jokes don’t seem tired, and that having The Wolfpack back together feels like a fresh experience. Since you may notice that it didn’t make my Most Anticipated Summer Movies, my guess is that it will be the former.
Kung Fu Panda 2
Starring: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie
Director: Jennifer Yuh
Synopsis from IMDB: Po joins forces with a group of new kung-fu masters to take on an old enemy with a deadly new weapon.
Chris’ Take: I was not that impressed with the first Kung Fu Panda. It did have great animation, but the jokes seemed stale and relied too heavily on sight gags rather than a witty script. From watching the trailer for this film, I kind of get the same impression. A lot of people liked the first one, so if you did, this might be a good comedy alternative to the vulgarity in The Hangover Part II. Between Hangover and Kung Fu Panda 2, I am sure that Pirates will sink pretty significantly this weekend at the box office.
The Tree of Life
Starring: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain, Fiona Shaw
Director: Terrence Malick
Synopsis from IMDB: The story centers around a family with three boys in the 1950s. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence.
Chris’ Take: The Tree of Life just won the coveted Palme d’Or Award (top prize) at the Cannes Film Festival, but people’s enjoyment of this film will probably have to do with expectations. From what I’ve read, if you’re expecting a linear story, you will be disappointed, because Malick apparently took a very nebulous approach to this film, relying heavily on abstract visuals to convey the emotions in the dialogue. Obviously, critics seem to love this movie (89% on RT), and it was #3 on my Summer’s Most Anticipated List, but again, I would put out the disclaimer that this probably won’t be a movie that is going to provide a thrill a minute. Instead, it will probably be a film you have to appreciate as a whole when it is finished.
We Are the Night
Starring: Karoline Herfurth, Nina Hoss, Jennifer Ulrich
Director: Dennis Gansel
Synopsis from RT: Dennis Gansel, responsible for the hit The Wave, explores nighttime in Berlin to find a sect of seductive lady vampires that hide out in the city’s alternative clubs and enjoy the luxury and pleasures their attained immortality provides them. A stylized vision of female vampirism, closer to films like The Hunger or the TV series True Blood than to Twilight, We Are the Night differs from other films present this year in Sitges because it gives the myth an image of sensuality, charisma and attraction, playing especially on fascination for the night. A fascination that Gansel uses almost paroxysmally to exploit the German capital’s nighttime atmospheres.
Chris’ Take: I watched the trailer for The Wave, mentioned in the synopsis above and thought it looked pretty ambitious. Now, it looks like the director is trying to take that gritty style and convert it into the increasingly popular and annoying vampire genre. While the visual style certainly has flair, it doesn’t look like it will amount to much. Reviews on IMDB are lukewarm, and the one on RT is negative. This film is probably a Netflix viewing, but I won’t put it on there. However, I immediately added The Wave.