Box Office, Awards, Festivals and More


This is it. The end of the sometimes dour winter/spring movie season and the last weekend of April where many movies go to die. This weekend isn't looking that bad even if we're getting a lot of the same kind of throwaway movies we normally get on this weekend with one of them standing a chance of breaking out and possibly even beating the unstoppable Captain America: The Winter Soldier before we start getting a slew of big money summer movies.

First up, we have Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann starring in the female-centric comedy The Other Woman (20th Century Fox), which looks to update the premise of The First Wives' Club for younger modern women who may appreciate the premise of women getting revenge on a cheating husband or boyfriend.

On Wednesday night, April 16, the 13th Annual Tribeca Film Festival anointed a new venue with its Opening Night Gala of One9 and Erik Parker's Nas documentary Time is Illmatic, premiering at New York's legendary Beacon Theatre, followed by a performance by Nas, running though his entire debut album "Illmatic."

The film's premiere started over a half hour late but by the time it began, the Beacon was packed with Nas collaborators and peers, film and music press from every major outlet as well as a few hundred fans lucky enough to get their hands on the elusive tickets.

Spring has come to New York City but even with the nicer weather that comes with it, any serious moviegoer will be spending much of their free time inside to watch the line-up of movies playing at the 13th Annual Tribeca Film Festival, which runs this year from Wednesday, April 16 through Sunday, April 27.

For the second year in a row, Tribeca is kicking off the festivities with a music-based doc, this time showcasing rapper Nas, whose debut album "Illmatic" dropped twenty years ago. Nas and other artists reflect on the impact of that debut album in multimedia artist One9's Time is Illmatic, which will premiere at New York's legendary Beacon Theater followed by Nas performing the album in its entirety.

Merrily we roll along through the month that's just holding us back from the summer movie season and the movies that everyone really wants to see. But never fear, we only have a few more weeks to go and maybe there's a couple buried treasures in this week's offerings… and maybe I could say that with a straight face if I didn't already know that this is the weekend that Marlon Wayans is releasing his sequel to A Haunted House. Never mind.

Not only that but it's also Easter weekend, a little late this year, which means movie houses should get a nice bump in business on Good Friday, a day on which movie theaters tend to be as crowded as a normal Saturday. Since Easter Sunday tends to be slower, that will make all of the movies a bit more frontloaded than usual. Regardless of the options, there are three movies that stand a good chance at making somewhere in the mid-teens or maybe even as high as $20 million or more, although at least two of them are likely to be avoiding reviews.

This week's "CHOSEN ONE" is John Turturro's New York-based comedy Fading Gigolo, co-starring Woody Allen, Vanessa Paradis, Sofia Vergara and Sharon Stone.

By now, it's all that anyone is talking about when it comes to superhero movies and that's the seemingly inevitable box office battle between Zack Snyder's Batman vs. Superman and Marvel Studios' Captain America 3 on May 6, 2016.

Looking at it from a practical standpoint, I'm here to tell you why this match-up not only won't happen but it can NEVER happen, and once Marvel and Warner Bros. stop playing this odd game of chicken, wiser heads will prevail and they'll figure out what anyone who thinks about it even for a second already knows - that it's a bad idea.

After all, we're talking about two movies that have generally been well-received by comic book fans. Sure, many had problems with some of the decisions made in Man of Steel by Zack Snyder and company, but I know just as many people who loved the movie, making it their favorite movie of last summer. Captain America: The Winter Soldier just opened huge and is getting rave reviews from critics and moviegoers alike, so clearly the next movie is going to be even bigger. Comparisons are already being made between the two movies as well.

We're sort of in a weird limbo right now where some people feel the summer movie season has already started thanks to the success of Captain America: The Winter Soldier this past weekend, but others realize that having a blockbuster hit in April is a rarity and normally this month, studios are just hoping to scrape together any business for movies they don't know what else to do with. (This is especially the case towards the end of April.) Three movies are opening on Friday trying to take some business away from Marvel Studios' record-setting sequel with another animated family film, a horror movie and a sports drama featuring a popular actor from yesteryear.

This week's "CHOSEN ONE" is Jonathan Teplitzky's The Railway Man (The Weinstein Company), starring Colin Firth, Jeremy Irvine, Nicole Kidman and Stellan Skarsgard.

Before we get to this week's preview and predictions, the astute of you who have been around for a while may be realize that on April 1, 2003, the Weekend Warrior column made its debut. The column's changed a little bit over the years, and who knows? Maybe it will change again soon, but I just want to quickly thank everyone who has stuck around for 11 years of my rambling and give an anniversary shout-out and thanks to Mirko Parlevliet, the site's editor-in-chief, who has diligently edited every single one of these columns even when they got ridiculously long.

As far as what most of you came here for, there should be absolutely no question this weekend figuring out what will be #1 because Marvel Studios are using the first weekend of April to release their ninth movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Marvel Studios/Disney), bringing Chris Evans back as Steve Rogers, joined by Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow and Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury, both from previous Marvel hits, and joined by the likes of Anthony Mackie as The Falcon, Sebastian Stan, Robert Redford and more.

This week's "CHOSEN ONE" is Richard Shepard's Dom Hemingway (Fox Searchlight), starring Jude Law, Richard E. Grant and Demian Bichir.

CinemaCon 2014 is officially over, and hopefully by now, you've already read some of our reports on the various studio presentations. The only question remaining after all the free booze and food has been consumed is which studio and/or movie took advantage of the rapt audience of exhibitors to reap rewards from bringing their movies to CinemaCon and which ones just dropped the ball? For the most part, the summer blockbuster tentpoles already had gained a great deal of interest, though there doesn't seem to be nearly as much of them this year, which could allow room for other movies to sneak in and make money. The summer's best bet seems to be comedy and there are a lot of R-rated choices that could very well break out ala Ted or The Hangover in past years.

Anyway, read on for our final thoughts on this year's theater exhibitors' convention, its high and low points.

They say that time flies when you're having fun, so is anyone having fun yet? March has been quite a month and it's coming to a quick end with three very different movies with varying degrees of interest and two of them likely shooting for some of the same audience

This weekend's big(gish) movie is Darren Aronofsky's take on the biblical epic Noah (Paramount), starring Russell Crowe, Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins and Ray Winstone, a film that's gotten a lot of attention, partially due to the controversy of Aronofsky taking on a biblical story in an untraditional way and partially due to the confusion of people not knowing what the movie is, but still wanting to see it.

Also opening this weekend is David Ayer's DEA thriller Sabotage (Open Road), starring Arnold Schwarzeneger, and a look at Civil Rights leader Cesar Chavez (Pantelion Films/Lionsgate), as played by Michael Peña. Plus Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel (Fox Searchlight) and Jason Bateman's Bad Words (Focus Features) will expand nationwide.

This week's "CHOSEN ONE" is the behind-the-scenes documentary about the rock band The National, Mistaken for Strangers (Starz Digital Media), directed by frontman Matt Berninger's younger brother Tom.

As March continues to be the winter/spring month where studios seem to favor releasing some of their bigger potential tentpoles, partially thanks to previous hits like The Hunger Games and the original 300. This week, we have the start of a potential franchise based on a series of popular Young Adult novels and the sequel to Disney's revival of Jim Henson's popular Muppets, both of them trying to take advantage of many schools being on spring break in hopes they'll do decent business.

The big release of the weekend would be Divergent (Summit), the first movie in a potential series based on Veronica Roth's bestselling young adult series of novels which is looking to be the "next Twilight"… oh, wait… no.. now every movie based on a young adult novel would rather be the "next Hunger Games."

Undaunted by taking on a possible new franchise juggernaut, Disney have decided that March spring break is the best time to release the sequel Muppets Most Wanted (Walt Disney), which bring back Kermit, Miss Piggy and all the favorites, joined by humans Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais and Ty Burrell, for a European adventure involving an amphibian criminal mastermind named Constantine who looks a lot like Kermit.

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