So just as predicted those weird little Minions made a big impact at the box office, bringing in just under $116 million. Do you remember a time not that long ago when a film breaking $100 million opening weekend was a big deal? Now it seems like a new movie does it every week and it’s got nothing to do with quality. Well, I have a feeling that the new releases this week won’t hit the $100 million mark, even though one of those films is a Marvel movie.
Ant-Man – (PG-13) 117 min – Marvel isn’t shy about taking risks. We know this because they made a movie out of Guardians of the Galaxy, a team of characters that only real die-hard comic fans knew. Against all odds, and thanks to an incredible trailer that reminded the world how amazing the song “Hooked On A Feeling” is, Guardians was a smash hit and is considered one of the best films in the MCU. Can Ant-Man find the same underdog success? Unlike Guardians, the trailers for Ant-Man have been underwhelming and haven’t generated nearly as much interest. Paul Rudd may be charming, but he’s no Chris Pratt. Now, if Ant-Man were still directed by the man that brought it to Marvel in the first place, Edgar Wright, things may be different. Wright’s remarkable ability to tell stories through visuals would have been a joy to see in the MCU. Instead, he left and the movie has been made by Peyton Reed. Who is Peyton Reed? Exactly. This could be a fun movie, but I think this will be Marvel’s first dud.
Trainwreck – (R) 125 min – Judd Apatow is a bit of a polarizing figure. His early career work, from Freaks and Geeks through Knocked Up has been revered as being unflinchingly honest, funny, and full of heart. But honestly, Apatow’s newer efforts have been slipping. Funny People was a misfire, and This is 40 is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. Apatow has become a little too infatuated with the idea of being brutally realistic, and in the process has forgotten how to be fun(ny). Trainwreck looks like it could be a return to form for Apatow, thanks mostly to the presence of the wickedly funny Amy Schumer who stars in and wrote Trainwreck. Even the commercials which heavily feature scenes of athlete Lebron James are funny – a positive sign since athletes in movies are almost always terrible. I hesitate slightly at the 125 minute runtime, because Apatow has a tendency to drag his films out unnecessarily. But nothing can be as bad as This is 40….at least that’s what I hope.
The Bottom Line – For once I think you can’t really go wrong with either new release this week. Ant-Man may look silly and the name might not appeal to you, but it’s Paul Rudd and it’s Marvel, so it’ll be a good time. Trainwreck is incredibly promising and should be good for getting lots of emotions stirring. But most importantly, see anything to get those annoying Minions out of the number 1 spot.
BONUS THOUGHTS – I will be away next week so there won’t be any Bottom Line (from me, at least), so let me just give you a quick rundown of what to expect: A) Pixels is a fun concept that would work well in any hands…except for Adam Sandler’s. He’s terrible, and this premise is wasted on him and his gang. B) Paper Towns looks like typical young adult teenage angst fare. C) Southpaw looks terrific and Jake Gyllenhaal may get an Oscar nomination for it. Go see it if it’s in a theater near you.