Box Office Battlefield: Ender’s Game, Last Vegas, and Free Birds

Box Office Battlefield Ender's Game, Last Vegas, and Free Birds

The weekend warriors of November 1, 2013 includes Ender’s Game, Last Vegas, and Free Birds. Box Office 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, Bad Grandpa stormed the trenches to dethrone the three week champion, Gravity. With three new contenders, each with their own unique niche, entering the battlefield this weekend, it could be anyone’s game.

Can the controversial and most celebrated science fiction story of our time conquer all? Will the prune juice be bountiful to help the four aging icons snap these youngsters into shape? Or will a bunch of turkeys gobble up the box office ticket sales? Game over. This is the Box Office Battlefield:

Ender's Game Title Movie Logo

Ender’s Game (Rated PG-13) 114 min – (Directed by Gavin Hood) Starring Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Ben Kingsley, and Abigail Breslin

Synopsis: The International Military seek out a leader who can save the human race from an alien attack. Ender Wiggin, a brilliant young mind, is recruited and trained to lead his fellow soldiers into a battle that will determine the future of Earth. (Watch the trailer here)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 63% • Audience – 75%

If you’re looking for a very thought-provoking, enjoyable, yet less drama heavy film this weekend, Ender’s Game is what you seek. Based on the acclaimed sci-fi novel by the controversial Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game is a movie many felt was unfilmmable due to its content, themes, and big ideas. Years have passed and all I can say is that it works tremendously well. The special effects are incredible, and it wouldn’t hurt you to see it in 3D. Although I haven’t read the book, I would say the movie captures the themes of the story very well and Asa Butterfield does fantastically well as our Ender Wiggin. He has a great range of emotion for a young actor and you feel everything he endures. Sadly, there is very little tension built up to give the film any sort of immediacy and a lot of the characters are stock and lack depth. SEE A 3D MATINEE! 

Last Vegas Title Movie Logo

Last Vegas (Rated PG-13) 105 min – (Director: Jon Turteltaub) Starring Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline

Synopsis: Three sixty-something friends take a break from their day-to-day lives to throw a bachelor party in Las Vegas for their last remaining single pal. (Watch the trailer here)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 22% • Audience – 74%

Based on the rating alone, you know that Last Vegas is not going to be as farfetched or extreme as The Hangover despite what the movie has its characters go through. As a PG-13 Vegas comedy, there is hardly anything new to see here, but at least the four elder gentleman play their roles well. The cliches are bountiful and the themes very familiar. It’s like The Expendables for elder actors, but in a comedy. RENT IT! 

Free Birds 2013 Title Movie Logo

Free Birds (Rated PG) 91 min – (Directed by Jimmy Hayward) Starring the voices of Woody Harrelson, Owen Wilson, Dan Fogler, and Amy Poehler

Synopsis: Two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks must put aside their differences and team up to travel back in time to change the course of history – and get turkey off the holiday menu for good. (Watch the trailer here)

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 40% • Audience – 70%

If you can get past the fact that these turkeys look like their heads are made of felt and they have the know how to understand the concept of time and time travel, then that only makes up for some of the pain you will have to suffer through in this lousy animated shlock. Amusingly enough, the time travel aspect at least works a little better in this than in About Time. I did chuckle once, in a scene that reminded me of Fullmetal Alchemist with two turkeys trying to out-muscle each other. But there really are no jokes, more situational gags that sometimes work, but most of the time feel a bit forced. The animation looks like it could be a Saturday morning cartoon. And the 3D is not worth it. SKIP IT! 

What you need to see this weekend is Dallas Buyers Club. Opening in limited release, DBC tells the story of the battle against AIDS in the 1980s with Matthew McConaughey taking the lead in one of the most inspiring roles of the year. 12 Years a Slave also continues to widen its release and Diana portryated by Naomi Watts also opens in limited release this weekend, based on the late Princess Diana.

The audience for Bad Grandpa saw what they needed to see last weekend. The ticket sales will fizzle out with three new releases for all corners of the market. Ender’s Game is a highly celebrated, 3D, PG-13, adventure, sci-fi story with a kid as the lead alongside Harrison Ford. Is there anything else left to say? So as it stands, I believe the victor for this weekend shall be:

Winner: Ender’s Game

Movie synopses courtesy of and Tomatometer Scores from Rotten Tomatoes

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