For the second straight weekend, Kung Fu Panda 3 was the highest-grossing film at the box office. Featuring the voice talents of Jack Black, Bryan Cranston, and Angelina Jolie, Kung Fu Panda 3 brought in $21,242,181 (down 48.5% from the previous week). The Coen brothers’ latest picture, Hail! Caesar, performed as expected, bringing in roughly half its budget with $11,355,225. Now in its eighth week in theatres, Star Wars: The Force Awakens refuses to drop out of the top five, bringing in another $6,973,316 (down 37.3%). Trailing just behind Star Wars, The Revenant came in fourth place with $6,939,795 (down 45.7%). The Choice placed fifth with $6,050,443.
Here is a look at some films that open on February 12, 2016.
Deadpool (R) 108 mins. — Yes, Hollywood is oversaturated with comic book movies. And yes, movie studios bleed notable I.P.s dry for bankable characters. Even with said factors working in this film’s favour, it is still remarkable that a Ryan Reynold’s Deadpool movie exists.
2009’s X-men Origins: Wolverine introduced moviegoers to “a version” of the Deadpool character (also played by Ryan Reynolds). While X-Men Origins: Wolverine did well at the box office, fans considered the movie a disaster. The film is a smorgasbord of cock-ups, the most egregious being neutering Deadpool’s most effective weapon: his personality. Deadpool is affectionately referred to as the Merc with the Mouth — in the comic book world he is a smart-ass mercenary that fires off insults as quickly as machine gun rounds. Somehow, the people behind the film made the unfathomable decision to LITERALLY graft Deadpool’s mouth shut. WTF?!?!
Reynolds wanted to do right by the character and turned the development of a proper Deadpool movie into his personal crusade. Between Reynolds using all his clout (at this point, he’s no Hollywood A-lister) and the infamous test-footage leak, the production ramped back up, leading to today’s release.
The film looks to be a fairly accurate representation of the character. Fans of Deadpool know exactly what they’re in for, however, those expecting another X-Men spin-off must be forewarned. In case the film’s R-rating doesn’t set off alarms, know that Deadpool contains low-brow humour and graphic violence (envision The Flash crossed with Blade, but written by Kevin Smith…oh wait). If comedy and violence happen to be your jam, the film should keep you entertained, just leave the kids at home.
Where to Invade Next (R) 119 mins. — Michael Moore has always been a divisive filmmaker — he revels in getting under his critic’s skin. His latest film, Where to Invade Next, is not going to convince Moore’s haters to jump onboard the bandwagon, however, those who appreciate the director’s work will find a great deal to enjoy.
This is without a doubt Moore’s most flat-out entertaining film in a decade. Where to Invade Next is lighter than most of Moore’s past work, and while the movie often explores dour subject matter, it’s done in a cheeky manner that’s laugh out loud funny. This film doesn’t even try to pretend that it’s objective, which is the trade-off for a documentary that derives most of its humor from its contempt for America’s political system.
Zoolander 2 (PG-13) 102 mins. — As someone deeply immersed in pop culture, I often feel like the last man on earth who has never seen Zoolander. Nothing about Zoolander 2’s promos and trailers have made me reconsider my intolerant stance. Fans of the original can expect a lot more of Zoolander’s brand of fashion industry satire, as well as a plethora of celebrity cameos.
Many people that I respect in the entertainment industry (actors, directors, writers) absolutely adore Zoolander, so I understand that the francise has its merits, however, short of this one pulling in Jurassic World type box office numbers, I’m taking another pass.
The Bottom Line — Audiences have several decent movie options to choose from when they arrive at multiplexes this weekend — comedy fans in particular have some decision making to do. Zoolander 2 arrives in theatres 15 years after the original and it will compete in a neck and neck race with How to be Single for second place at the weekend box office. I watched Where to Invade Next at TIFF and can’t recommend the film enough. Moore’s latest documentary is clever, funny, and will serve as a great topic of debate for those on both sides of the film’s ideological divide.
Most comic book movies hit so many of the same tired beats that Deadpool will serve as a brief change of pace. Super powered people can be the catalyst for all kinds of stories that can fit into numerous genres: why not superhero rom-coms, political thrillers, or horror movie? Hopefully, studios will start offering audiences different types of superhero movies before the genre grows stale, if they don’t, at least we’ll have Deadpool.