April 23, 2014

This Week in Movies by Pete Hammond

HollywoodNews.com: The week in movies has been dominated by all the geek news coming out of Comic Con which just wrapped yesterday in San Diego. So it’s entirely appropriate that the number one movie of the weekend would be a 100% pure , good old fashioned Marvel comic book creation, Captain America making its big screen debut with a better-than-expected $65.8 million estimate knocking the final Harry Potter movie off its number one perch after just a week at the top. Captain America: The First Avenger stars Chris Evans as the World War 2 superhero Steve Rogers aka Capt. America. It was important to get this flick as well as Thor, another early summer comic book success this season out there to establish screen identities for these comic book icons in advance of the really big event for summer 2012: The Avengers in which we will have a mash-up of Iron Man, The Hulk, Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Col Nick Fury in addition to Thor and Capt. America. So just when you think we have had ENOUGH of this comic book stuff the studios will continue to cater to fanboys and dish it out in all its 3D splendor. It may be hard to believe but summer was once a time for a large diversity of movies before it became a weekly showcase for one big bloated comic book franchise after another. Oh well adults will just have to wait until October when the studios start crowding every movie aimed at people 25 and above into a two month window for Oscar consideration. Still as we seem to be saying every week it is amazing that Woody Allen and his cerebral comedy for grown ups, Midnight In Paris somehow manages to stay in the top ten even with just 621 theatres compared to 2000+ for every other film on the top boxoffice list.

Nevertheless Captain America is an exceedingly well-made and entertaining movie of its ilk and audiences liked what they saw, giving it an A- Cinemascore rating to go with its impressive Critics Rotten Tomatoes fresh score of 74%.

The week’s other new opening , Friends With Benefits, may have had a real feeling of déjà vu. The plot about a couple , Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, who decide to keep it pure and have a ‘sex only’ relationship sounds a lot like January’s No Strings Attached in which Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman decided to do the same thing. In fact at one time THAT movie was also called Friends With Benefits (apparently until lawyers got involved). It’s always interesting that Hollywood screenwriters just coincidentally get the exact same ideas at the exact same time, isn’t it? At any rate critics liked this one almost as much as Captain America giving it a 71% fresh rating while audiences showered it with a B+ Cinemascore rating and an estimated $18.5 million haul at the box office, about a million less than No Strings Attached attracted with the same concept in the less crowded early 2011 corridor. Coming in at number 3 it gave star Timberlake two movies in the top ten with number 9’s Bad Teacher creeping toward $100 million after gathering $94 million in just a month of playtime.

Now don’t feel too bad for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II which despite falling a steep 72%, has still grossed $274 milliion domestically for a total of over a half a billion worldwide in just 12 days. It is easily on course to being the first one billion grosser in the Harry Potter series.

Photo by Paramount Pictures

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About Pete Hammond

Pete Hammond is a writer, producer, movie critic and film expert whose commentary on the entertainment industry has appeared in numerous publications and on air interviews including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, New York Magazine, OK Magazine, NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw, Evening News With Brian Williams on MSNBC, the CBC, BBC, Bravo, E!, AMC, Canada AM and the KTLA Morning Show.

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