Every week, movie studios select candidates to enter the glorious cinematic battlefield for your hard-earned dollars. The weekend warriors of October 30, 2015 includes Burnt, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, and Our Brand is Crisis. Box Office Battlefield is here to help you decide which movie(s) will take precedence over the others while also taking a look at which will come out on top.
Last weekend, The Martian capitalized on one of the busiest slated schedules of the year with five new wide releases vying for your attention, all of which largely under performed with The Last Witch Hunter, debuting fourth at the box office, making out the best with only $10.8 million. Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension scavanged a meager $8.07 million landing sixth. Steve Jobs expanded to over 2,400 theaters after its successful limited run and only raked in $7.10 million. Rock the Kasbah and Jem and the Holograms both opened with some of the worst first weekend domestic hauls for movies in over 2,000 theaters. Rock the Kasbah placed 13th and grossed $1.47 million while Jem and the Holograms took in $1.37 million placing 15th.
With three new releases this weekend, two of which have Oscar potential while the other has the advantage of being a comedic horror just in time for Halloween, there’s a good chance the reigning champ could be dethroned. Can Bradley Cooper bat those blue eyes for top dollar? Will Sandra Bullock avoid a box office crisis? Or will a bunch scouts use their resources to to upset all expectations. Should you see ’em, skip ’em, or rent ’em?
This is the Box Office Battlefield:
Burnt (John Wells) Rated R [101 min] – Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) is a Chef who destroyed his career with drugs and diva behavior. He cleans up and returns to London, determined to redeem himself by spearheading a top restaurant that can gain three Michelin stars. Starring Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Brühl, and Riccardo Scamarcio [Watch the Trailer]
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 29% • Audience – 57%
While Burnt offers a tremendous cast who all perform exceptionally well, the film makes little effort to develop an understanding in its characters’ motivations to work with or support Bradley Cooper’s Adam Jones. Though he is admittedly one of the greatest chefs to live in this world, and a certain level of respect is expected, I’m not convinced there is proof to believe why anyone would want to put themselves through the Hell’s Kitchen-like atmosphere for a man who has been absent from the industry for the past three years. I think that Burnt has a ton of potential, filled with unique characters who aren’t given enough to do, and a plot that that has all the ripe ingredients to be cinematically delicious. However, everything in Burnt is very surface level and there’s no rhyme or reason for us to care about Jone’s mission to redeem himself and earn his third Michelin star. There is more heart and better food porn in Chef. RENT IT!
Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (Christopher Landon) Rated R [93 min] – Three scouts, on the eve of their last camp-out, discover the true meaning of friendship when they attempt to save their town from a zombie outbreak. Starring Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Joey Morgan, and Sarah Dumont [Watch the Trailer]
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 32% • Audience – 61%
I really believed that Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse had the potential to be greater than what the end product delivered. An infusion of both Superbad and Zombieland, two movies I highly enjoy, Scouts Guide is pretty average on all levels. The characters are your typical tripod: the outlandish and outspoken hothead, the socially awkward outcast, and the aloof kid next door who doesn’t know his potential. All the actors do well and fit their roles comfortably, but it’s all familiar. The set pieces are fresh, but the results are predictable. And although the premise is wildly different than most zombie movies, more often than not the film treads down paths we’ve seen a thousand times over. WATCH IT ON NETFLIX!
Our Brand Is Crisis (David Gordon Green) Rated R [107 min] – An American woman, well-versed in political campaigns, is sent to the war-torn lands of South America to help install a new leader but is threatened to be thwarted by a long-term rival. Starring Sandra Bullock, Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Mackie, and Joaquim de Almeida [Watch the Trailer]
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 33% • Audience – 47%
“The film becomes a Sandra Bullock vehicle, and while it’s buoyed by her typical comic aplomb, it loses sight of the bigger picture.” – Scott Tobias (NPR)
“[A] chaotic, scrappy, deeply cynical look at political puppet masters.” – Jordan Hoffman (Mashable)
Sandra Bullock joints have never captured my attention. I think she’s a fine actress who can fulfill most roles that are asked of her with grace and finesse. According to critics, the film doesn’t seem to takeoff despite it’s solid cast and general appeal surrounding its original documentary source material. The marketing spews out every beat, leaving little to the imagination. The biggest red flag that keeps me from getting on board with Our Brand is that I can’t seem to find an angle as to why Bullock’s character cares enough to back this government official’s campaign.RENT IT!
Freaks of Nature (Robbie Pickering) [Limited] Rated R [Time N/A] – In the town of Dillford, humans, vampires and zombies were all living in peace – until the alien apocalypse arrived. Now three teenagers-one human, one vampire, and one zombie-have to team up to figure out how to get rid of the visitors.Starring Nicholas Braun, Mackenzie Davis, Josh Fadem, and Denis Leary [Watch the Red Band Trailer]
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – XX% • Audience – 78%
“Doesn’t offer connective tissue, bellylaughs, and scares. It’s just a shapeless creation that didn’t survive the production process, rendering a promising premise forgettable.” – Brian Orndorf (Blu-ray.com)
“There’s a whole lot of arid downtime in between the ostensibly colorful set pieces, and on the whole the movie seems like it was edited with a blender.” – Scott Weinberg (Nerdist)
Originally titled Kitchen Sink, I had hopes that this concept would prove to be a lot of fun and smarter than your average bear. Sadly, after watching the trailer I can’t say that Freaks of Nature looks anything beyond a terrible B-horror movie. The initial title says it all. It’s got everything jam packed into a little feature that has weak legs to stand on. There’s very little draw and looks like a jumbled mess. WAIT FOR IT ON NETLIX!
Love (Gaspar Noé) [Limited] [Rating N/A] [135 min] – Murphy is an American living in Paris who enters a highly sexually and emotionally charged relationship with the unstable Electra. Unaware of the effect it will have on their relationship, they invite their pretty neighbor into their bed. Starring Aomi Muyock, Karl Glusman, Klara Kristin, and Juan Saavedra
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 52% • Audience – 49%
“Noé clearly wants to chart his own path, but as his movie chronicles that desire rather than realizing it, Noé mainly succeeds at broadcasting his intentions. That’s an achievement in its own right, if not enough to make for a satisfying movie.” – Eric Kohn (IndieWIRE)
“It may be hardcore XXX but “Love” is Noe at his most softhearted following the brutality of “Irreversible” and his most straightforward, following the mindfuckery of “Enter the Void” so it may even leave his fans feeling underwhelmed.” – Jessica Kiang (The Playlist)
Gaspar Noé’s films have always been controversially polarizing, i.e. Irréversible and Enter the Void. I don’t expect anything less with Love. The marketing is very tight lipped on the story, but the word buzzing about the film regarding the sex is the talk of the town. That’s not really a selling point for me, but from what other critics are saying, you’re going to either be on board or not. It’s a gamble that I’m willing to take because I have an interest in Noé’s filmography. The plot seems simple enough, and if he can tell a compelling story then all the power to this film. RENT IT!
Despite the slew of many new films lately, everything has been very lackluster. There are so many options that it’s hard to believe that The Martian continues to dominate over its competition. And it might happen again this weekend.
Burnt offers Bradley Cooper, but after the horrendous showing for Aloha the mega star and Oscar nominee may not be the biggest draw box office wise without some kind of mainstream hook like Guardians of the Galaxy or Jennifer Lawrence by his side. The cast is superb, but a grab bag of talent that many average Joe/Jane movie goers may not be too familiar with. And the negative reviews are not building a case for Burnt either.
Our Brand is Crisis has a more known, reputable cast; it has an Avenger. But I think the subject matter and the boring marketing campaign will turn folks away.
Although it may be Halloween weekend, and Scouts Guide seems like the best choice for the weekend, the movie is pretty silly and also Rated R, limiting the audience count to a select few who will more than likely be at costume parties rather than holed up in a movie theater.
The Martian is still going strong, and it’s positive word of mouth continues to drive in crowds. So as it stands, I believe the victor for this weekend will be:
Winner: The Martian
What will you be watching this weekend? What did you think of the current releases? Tell us in the comment section below.
Movie synopses courtesy of IMDb.com and Tomatometer Scores from Rotten Tomatoes