Box Office, Awards, Festivals and More


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.

This year's South by SouthWet (SXSW) Film Festival wrapped up this past weekend, marred by a horrifying drunk driving accident earlier in the week, but continuing for a few days beyond that as the music part of the festival kicked off.

For whatever reason, this didn't seem like a year with any sort of real breakout film like last year's Short Term 12, but I also didn't see nearly as many movies at the festival as I would have liked and missed a number of movies I definitely wanted to see like David Gordon Green's Joe and Space Station 76, starring Patrick Wilson and Liv Tyler. Of course, it would have been nice to have seen some of this year's award winners as well, but I only caught one of those.

While I'm not going to do the normal "Best of the Fest" list because I'm not sure I saw enough movies I really loved to do one, I basically will write a little something about every movie I saw either before or during SXSW and what I thought of them. Many of them already have distribution and will be released over the next few months but a few of them are still looking. Just to make things a little more fun, we'll go from the best movie we saw to the worst, though really, we didn't see that many bad movies either.

March, the month with no nationally-recognized holidays except maybe St. Patrick's Day—which may not even count--continues with two very different movies, each trying to find polar opposite audiences while also trying to get business away from the strong returning movies that opened over the past few weeks.

This week's movies are the DreamWorks movie based on EA Games' Need for Speed (DreamWorks), starring Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Imogen Poots, rapper Kid Cudi and Michael Keaton, and the latest from Tyler Perry, Tyler Perry's The Single Moms Club (Lionsgate).

This week's "CHOSEN ONE" is Beth B's documentary Exposed about the New York City burlesque scene that's exploded in popularity in recent years.

Tonight we were lucky enough to catch a sneak peek at a startling new art exhibit in the SOHO district of New York City titled "Fountains of the Deep: Visions of Noah and the Flood," curated by none other than director Darren Aronofsky. The Black Swan helmer is releasing his own vision of the Biblical hero Noah, starring Russell Crowe, but this exhibit has only a tenuous connection to the film itself, serving as more of an installation exploring our collective imagination of the story.

The pieces ranged from highly abstract to illustrative, with a large number of the artists culled from the comic book world: Jim Lee, Jim Woodring, James Jean, Peter Kuper, Jock. Even '90s fan fav Rob Liefeld contributed a piece that looks more suited to the cover of the premiere issue of "Noah's Action Rangers" than the MOMA.

Normally, the overused cliché is that March enters like a lamb and leaves like a lion—or at least I think that's how the saying goes—but that isn't the case this year as we're getting two fairly big studio releases right out of the gate, which will try to keep moviegoers coming back to theaters after a few slower weeks where it took Liam Neeson and the story of Jesus to tear them away from The LEGO Movie.

Almost seven years to the date that Zack Snyder blew people away with what could be done when adapting a graphic novel to the screen with Frank Miller's 300, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures are finally going back to that well with 300: Rise of an Empire (Legendary/WB), a combination prequel and sequel to that blockbuster hit which opened with $71 million on its way to $454 million worldwide.

After having one of their first true bombs with last summer's Turbo, DreamWorks Animation returns with the delayed CG version of the ‘50s and ‘60s cartoon Mr. Peabody & Sherman (DreamWorks Animation/Fox), this one directed by The Lion King's Rob Minkoff as they try to revive a classic cartoon character for modern families.

This week's "CHOSEN ONE" is the latest from Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel (Fox Searchlight), starring Ralph Fiennes, Willem Dafoe, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Tilda Swinton and lots more.

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