Every week, movie studios select candidates to enter the glorious battlefield for your hard-earned dollars. The weekend warriors of June 19, 2015 includes Inside Out and Dope, as well as three limited releases. Box Office Battlefield is here to help you decide which movie(s) will take priority over the others and determine who will be victorious. Should you see ’em, skip ’em, or rent ’em? Find out below!
Last weekend, Jurassic World completely obliterated the competition, breaking records and taking names. Grossing $208 million domestically and totaling $524.4 million worldwide, Jurassic World is the first movie to ever cross the $500 million mark in an opening weekend. Universal even beat Marvel Studio’s The Avengers record of highest grossing domestic opening weekend by $1.4 million. Jurassic World earned can also claim the highest single day grosses for Saturday and Sunday; it broke the national per theater average with $49 thousand; and it’s the greatest PG-13 opening weekend ever. Suffice it to say Universal is very happy.
This weekend however, Jurassic World is up against some tough competition: Pixar. Having no release last year, a feat which has not been seen since 2005, and with little offerings to younger demographics in theaters recently, the latest animated feature from the studio powerhouse may bring about the second extinction of the dinosaurs. I’M IN A GLASS CASE OF EMOTIONS! This is the Box Office Battlefield:
Inside Out (Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen) Rated PG [94 min] – After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness – conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.Starring Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan, Lewis Black, and Phyllis Smith [Watch the trailer]
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 98% • Audience – 93%
Although my expectations may have been far too high going in, I found Inside Out to be very, very sweet and incredibly well-developed. Compared to the Pixar’s latest, Inside Out definitely feels like a return to form for the once unstoppable animation studio. The story is more straightforward than I imagined, but its mechanics and world building are impeccably thought out, making the journey worth every second. Inventively hilarious and playfully smart, Inside Out is a touching coming-of-age story that stands up to Pixar’s finest. SEE THIS FILM! (Since this is an animated film the 3D works just fine.)
Dope (Rick Famuyiwa) Rated R [103 min] – Life changes for Malcolm, a geek who’s surviving life in a tough neighborhood, after a chance invitation to an underground party leads him and his friends into a Los Angeles adventure. Starring Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemons, and Kimberly Elise
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 88% • Audience – 83%
I didn’t quite know what to think about Dope going in. Coming out of Sundance, the film received critical acclaim, but it has a very different indie sheen compared to most from the festival. But after seeing Dope this week I can confidently agree with all the hype. Despite having beat-for-beat similarities to 2004’s comedic adventure through the world of porn, The Girl Next Door, Dope is far more calculating and smarter than your average bear. Dope offers a very surreal look at racial politics and socio-economic classes in the most cleverest of ways and delivers a tripod of characters worth rooting for. For a fresh young actor, Shameik Moore, puts in one hell of a performance – both sincere and confident – as the lead character of Malcolm. The only real problem I had with the film is its unique structure that made Dope seem a lot loner than it actually is. SEE THIS FILM!
Infinitely Polar Bear (Maya Forbes) [Limited] Rated R [90 min] – A manic-depressive mess of a father tries to win back his wife by attempting to take full responsibility of their two young, spirited daughters, who don’t make the overwhelming task any easier. Starring Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Imogene Wolodarsky, and Ashley Aufderheide
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 82% • Audience – 81%
“Mark Ruffalo is yet again a revelation in Infinitely Polar Bear, and he’s not the only one. This is a first feature by Maya Forbes, yet many of its accomplishments put far more experienced filmmakers in the shade.” – Joe Morgenstern (Wall Street Journal)
“Though the film is choppily told and its episodic rhythm never gathers momentum, it contains well-observed moments and astute performances by Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana.” – Sheri Linden (LA Times)
Mark Ruffalo always dominates in these dramatic, indie roles. The man is a force majeure when it comes to switching from genre to genre. His newest feature, Infinitely Polar Bear looks very honest and mostly sad. Another Sundance pick from 2014, from what I understand this movie is an emotional journey thanks to Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana. MATINEE IT!
Manglehorn (David Gordon Green) [Limited] Rated PG-13 [97 min] – Left heartbroken by the woman he loved and lost many years ago, Manglehorn, an eccentric small-town locksmith, tries to start his life over again with the help of a new friend. Starring Al Pacino, Holly Hunter, Harmony Korine, and Chris Messina
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 38% • Audience – 35%
“A movie so listlessly written and constructed that it nearly redefines tedium.” – Sam Fragoso (Film School Rejects)
“But while Pacino is, as ever, a compelling presence, David Gordon Green’s latest is simultaneously overwrought and curiously slight.” – Keith Phipps (The Dissolve)
David Gordon Green is a unique director. He can hit you over the head with films like Your Highness and Pineapple Express, but can also transplant you in some very intimate character driven stories such as Joe and Prince Avalanche. Manglehorn is a terrible title and it feels like James L. Brooks’ As Good as it Gets. I’m not a big fan of Green’s indie storytelling too much, the concepts are there, but I’ve never thought they were told fairly well. And critics do not seem very fond of the picture either. WAIT FOR IT ON NETFLIX!
The Overnight (Patrick Brice) [Limited] Rated R [79 min] – Alex, Emily, and their son, RJ, are new to Los Angeles. A chance meeting at the park introduces them to the mysterious Kurt, Charlotte, and Max. A family “playdate” becomes increasingly interesting as the night goes on. Starring Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman, and Judith Godrèche
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 83% • Audience – 69%
“Brice manages admirably to make his comedy at once daring and earnest, outlandish and relatable, obscene and sweet.” – Ella Taylor (NPR)
“The Overnight is the movie equivalent of fuzzy handcuffs: a tame and unimaginative attempt at spicing up the overly familiar scenario of a married couple trying to get their groove back.” – Inkoo Kang (The Wrap)
It may be a bit odd to see Taylor Schilling outside the confines of Litchfield Penitentiary, but with Adam Scott by her side I welcome this comedy with open arms. Again, yet another Sundance selection from this year, The Overnight has this comedic tone about it that invites my curiosity. Just from the trailer, I am anxious to see what kind of madness there is to behold based on the situational teases it presents. MATINEE IT!
Yes, Jurassic World absolutely dominated over this past week, but reviews have been quite mixed. I foresee a decent fallout, but there will be those stragglers who waited to see if the fourthquel would be any good. I’m sure there will be many clamoring for a second round viewing because it is entertaining to some extent, but its main challenger this weekend, Inside Out, brings a hard sell. For one it’s from Pixar; second, Inside Out draws in children, so their parents must take them which means more butts in seats; third, the reviews are practically unanimous in its favor; and lastly, the studio always proves to create stories for all ages. Dope is in somewhere close to 1,000 less theaters than Inside Out and does not cater to broad audiences. And Spy, Insidious: Chapter 3, and San Andreas stand no real chance based on their poor performances. It’ll be a close one this weekend folks. So as it stands, I believe the victor for this weekend will be: