Box Office Battlefield: ‘Insurgent’ vs. ‘The Gunman’

Box Office Battlefield 'Insurgent' vs. 'The Gunman'

The weekend warriors of March 20, 2015 includes Insurgent and The Gunman, as well as the limited release of It Follows. 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 and determine who will be victorious.

Last weekend, Cinderella completely destroyed the competition, obliterating any chances of hope others may have had to conquer the box office. And now this weekend, a sequel to a popular tweenage book series seeks to dethrone the Disney Princess. Does Sean Penn even have a chance to make a name for himself against the waves of Divergent fandom? Thank you for your candor. This is the Box Office Battlefield:

The Divergent Series Insurgent Movie Title Logo

The Divergent Series: Insurgent (Robert Schwentke) Rated PG-13 [119 min] – Beatrice Prior must confront her inner demons and continue her fight against a powerful alliance which threatens to tear her society apart with the help from others on her side. Starring Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Jai Courtney, Mekhi Phifer, Miles Teller, Octavia Spencer, Zoë Kravitz, and Ashley Judd

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 33% • Audience – 71%

What I’m saying:

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I went in to Insurgent with open arms, believing that they could work out all the kinks of Divergent because from what I’ve heard the first two books in the series are pretty good. So I thought, maybe, this would be like The Hunger Games? Boy was I wrong. Insurgent is an atrocious mess. I’m glad they got away from shooting close ups of the actors’ faces, but sweet cheese and rice do they need to work on the story.

Divergent had a serious problem convincing me of the world they built was conceivable, and Insurgent makes it much worse, all the while expanding upon logic gaps and poor character motivations. The faction society they have established does not make any lick of sense to begin with, but to add on more lore about Divergents and Factionless adds on to the confusion. Divergents have too many emotions while Factionlesses have none? What does that mean? The Factionless don’t seem to be roaming around like mindless zombies, especially with how much passion against the system they have.

And there are so many great actors in this movie that are just practically throwaway characters that could have been played by anyone and it wouldn’t have made any difference to the movie whatsoever. I don’t think the director, Robert Schwentke (R..I.P.D.), had any idea what to do with the material and just ran this through a copier of previous sci-fi, teen action adventure films. Insurgent is of the poorest quality on all levels. SKIP IT!

The Gunman 2015 Movie Title Logo

The Gunman (Pierre Morel) Rated R [115 min] – A sniper on a mercenary assassination team, kills the minister of mines of the Congo. Terrier’s successful kill shot forces him into hiding. Returning to the Congo years later, he becomes the target of a hit squad himself. Starring Sean Penn, Idris Elba, Jasmine Trinca, and Javier Bardem

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 13% • Audience – 38%

What they’re saying:

“The only redeeming feature about The Gunman is its exotic locations.” – Claudia Puig (USA Today)

“It’s a tasty cast, but the script does not do its job in crucial areas, letting the audience get way, way out ahead of the reveals.” – Michael Phillips (Chicago Tribune)

What I’m saying:

There were no screenings of The Gunman last night, so I was not able to see it. However, had I had the chance to, I wouldn’t have sought it out. There is nothing that appealed to me in the trailers and Sean Penn looks awfully tired for his age to be playing some rogue assassin. The cast is mighty juicy, but the story has been done to death with nothing to raise the bar for these types of films. SKIP IT!

Do You Believe Movie Title Logo

Do You Believe? (Jon Gunn) [Limited] Rated PG-13 [115 min] – When a pastor is shaken by the visible faith of a street-corner preacher, he is reminded that true belief always requires action. His response ignites a journey that impacts everyone it touches in ways that only God could orchestrate. Starring Mira Sorvino, Sean Astin, Alexa PenaVega, and Ted McGinley

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 13% • Audience – 71%

What they’re saying:

“But when all its threads are finally pulled into place, ‘Do You Believe?’ proves about as spiritually enlightening as a Kmart throw rug.” – Scott Foundas (Variety)

“As I see more ‘faith-based’ films targeting the evangelical Christian market, I recognise I need to adjust my critical expectations a tad. If it has a coherent three-act narrative, it’s already way ahead of the game.” – Jordan Hoffman (Guardian)

What I’m saying:

In the immortal words of Cher, “Do you believe in life after love? I can feel something inside me say, ‘I really don’t think you’re strong enough.'” This is a limited release and I did not have a chance to see it. But it looks really bad. SKIP IT!

Kumiko the Treasure Hunter Movie Title Logo

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (David Zellner) [Limited] Unrated [105 min] – A jaded Japanese woman discovers a hidden copy of Fargo (1996) on VHS, believing it to be a treasure map indicating the location of a large case of money. Starring Rinko Kikuchi, Nobuyuki Katsube, Shirley Venard, and David Zellner

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 87% • Audience – 71%

What they’re saying:

“The beauty of Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter comes from the Zellners treating a silly, whimsical premise with utmost seriousness.” – Scott Tobias (The Dissolve)

“Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter is a moody comic allegory about desperation, disconnection and dreams that uses Fargo, the Coen brothers classic, as a touchstone to examine modern life.” – Betsy Sharkey (LA Times)

What I’m saying:

Another limited release for this weekend. I’ve heard nothing but great things about Kumkio the Treasure Hunter coming out of Sundance, and I look forward to seeing it when it becomes available in my area. SEE IT!

As much as I would like to believe people should go see Cinderella again this weekend, it has low appeal for the male audiences of any age. No matter how good it is, it will still be held back by that fact. Insurgent, however, has action and is filled with mostly a male centric-cast against a female lead. There is a strong fandom here that will go out in droves this weekend, bringing along their friends. Insurgent is also in IMAX and IMAX 3D, to which I say is silly because at no point was it used in any creative way. But that always draws in extra cash. And I see no one really going out to see The Gunman. So as it stands, I believe the victor for this weekend will be:

Winner: Insurgent

You can follow me on the Twitters @TyRawrrnosaurus

Movie synopses courtesy of and Tomatometer Scores from Rotten Tomatoe

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