Box Office Battlefield: 12 Years a Slave, Carrie, Escape Plan, and The Fifth Estate

Box Office Battlefield 12 Years a Slave, Carrie, Escape Plan, and The Fifth Estate

The weekend warriors of October 18, 2013 includes Carrie, Escape Plan, and The Fifth Estate as well as a limited release for 12 Years a Slave. Battlefield is a recurring rundown of all the movie releases for the weekend. Every week, movie studios select candidates to enter the glorious battlefield for your hard earned dollars. Box Office Battlefield is here to help you decide which movie(s) will take priority over the others.

Last weekend, Gravity pulled its weight and earned the top spot in the battlefield again. Four rated R films release this weekend that puts a slight edge on each and every one of them. Parents, it looks like you’ll have to sit through Cloudy 2 just a few more times before Frozen comes out in November.

Will a horror remake frighten audiences away? Can Rocky and The Terminator still get buts in seats without their ragtag group of mercenaries? Is a story about WikiLeaks interesting to anyone? Or can a small release of an incredible film chip away at the big contenders? Get to the choppa! This is the Box Office Battlefield:

Carrie 2013 Title Movie Logo

Carrie (2013) (Rated R) 100 min – (Directed by Kimberly Peirce) Starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Gabriella Wilde, and Portia Doubleday

Synopsis: A reimagining of the classic horror tale about Carrie White, a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother, who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 48% • Audience – 73%

The horror remake business is a tough sell. The original Carrie is a cult classic in the minds of many horror geeks. Sure it may not be as violent or disturbing as your bigger horror movies out there, but it’s not often you find such an interesting character piece in the horror genre. This reimagining of Carrie is passable, but is “passable” good enough? For a horror remake it’s better than mucking it up. And maybe that’s all you’re looking for. We can give filmmakers credit for bringing her tale to the 21st Century with cyberbullying and how cruel teens are these days. Add in decent performances by Moretz and Moore and you’ve got yourself an OK time. It won’t move mountains, but it’s the only horror release we’ve got this month. MATINEE IT!  (Watch the trailer here)

The Fifth Estate Title Movie Logo

The Fifth Estate (Rated R) 128 min – (Directed by Bill Condon) Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Brühl, Carice van Houten, and Alicia Vikander

Synopsis: A dramatic thriller based on real events that reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power that turned an Internet upstart into the 21st century’s most fiercely debated organization.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 36% • Audience – 47%

The story of WikiLeaks was best left told by the creators of South Park. Although Benedict Cumberbatch and company perform admirably, director Bill Condon fails at to make two hours unworthy of the cost of admission. Condon, who has been stuck int he Twilight Saga universe for the past three years or so, has taken a recent, highly controversial event and serves it as cold as Kristen Stewart’s dead eyes. There are reflections of David Fincher’s The Social Network, but the director can’t navigate the convoluted screenplay into a well developed story to captivated or build enough tension to care about the moral issues at stake. SKIP IT! (Watch the Trailer here)

Escape Plan Title Movie Logo

Escape Plan (Rated R) 116 min – Director: Mikael Håfström Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, Faran Tahir, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Sam Neill

Synopsis: When a structural-security authority finds himself set up and incarcerated in the world’s most secret and secure prison, he has to use his skills to escape with help from the inside.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 46% • Audience – 73%

There have been a lot of failed movies this year with highly interesting concepts and I’m excited to say that Escape Plan gets to join the party. Stallone and Schwarzenegger work well together, but the script is so dry that it’s hard to have any fun with what they have to work with. Escape Plan has all the makings for an enjoyable time at the movies, it’s just really hard to when the movie gives you nothing to root for other than the escape which is inevitable. Much like Law Abiding Citizen, there is a lot of investment into guessing how Stallone will bust out of prison, but Escape Plan doesn’t bring any more to the story than that. There is no interesting theme; the characters are very generic, especially the warden and the head guard (Vinnie Jones); and the action is subpar. The worst offense this movie offers is a very rushed ending that will make your head spin. RENT IT! (Watch the trailer here)

12 Years a Slave Title Movie Logo

12 Years a Slave (Rated R) [Limited Release] 133 min – (Directed by Steve McQueen) Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael Fassbender, Adepero Oduye, Benedict Cumberbatch, pAUL Giamatti, Paul Dano, Michael K. Williams, and Brad Pitt

Synopsis: In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 97% • Audience – 92%

Steve McQueen is not a filmmaker interested in your physical or mental well-being as a member of the audience. If you have sat through Hunger or Shame you know coming into 12 Years a Slave will be a whirlwind of highly visceral imagery that will ask a lot out of you. The storytelling is enthralling , the dialogue almost Shakespearean at times, the cinematography gorgeous, and performances phenomenal. This has Oscar written all over it with potential to be the best film of the year for some people. The best part about watching this movie is the fact that the screenwriter, John Ridley, is most notable for his screenplays for Undercover Brother, Red Tails, and The Wanda Sykes Show. SEE IT! (Watch the trailer here)

If you are lucky enough to live in New York or Los Angeles, Kill Your Darlings with Michael C. Hall (Dexter), Dane DeHaan (Chronicle), and Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) opens up this weekend in limited release as well.

With the release of four new movies this weekend, although all R-rated, Gravity has a good chance to be dethroned. Carrie definitely has the strongest case to win. Chloë is a great performer and audiences of all ages have seen that in her previous work. It is also the lone horror movie of the month of October, which will have many fans of the genre out in waves. But if it were PG-13 it would also get more butts in seats. Escape Plan is not getting enough credible buzz to capture the attention of moviegoers outside the niche genre and The Fifth Estate was a dead man walking to begin with. Gravity is still the only PG-13, positively praised, 3D movie of the weekend. So as it stands, I believe the victor for this weekend shall be:

Winner: Gravity

Movie synopses courtesy of and Tomatometer Scores from Rotten Tomatoes

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