So April wound up being a little more lackluster (at least in boxoffice form) than it originally appeared on paper, right? Now the summer movie season has finally arrived with Fast Five blowing all expectations out of the water, with an opening weekend more than doubling Rio. Shall we venture forth and see what else lies afoot?
Two big pieces of counter-programming swing our way this weekend. First there’s another chick-flick rearing its ugly head in the form of Luke Greenfield’s Something Borrowed, an adaptation of a novel by Emily Giffin. Then there’s another “little” film by the name of Thor. Kenneth Branagh brings the mythical Norse God to the big screen and soon enough you’ll find out just how spectacular it really is. The only other thing opening is something called Jumping the Broom giving us no less than three wedding-themed films this month. Must be something in the air? Not that I would know, I got married last October.
Another weekend, another wedding flick, but not just any when it comes to Bridesmaids. Kristen Wiig heads an all-star comedic cast of feminine proportions with Maya Rudolph, Ellie Kemper, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy and Wendi McLendon-Covey as her backups. Wiig co-wrote the screenplay and Paul Feig takes the reigns as director with Judd Apatow producing. Should give the requisite smackdown to both of the other so-called rom/coms this month and show them just how much chick flicks don’t have to suck. On the flip side comes the horrid looking 3-D horror/action flick Priest, based on the graphic novel series by Min-Woo Hyung. The trailer makes this look like what the Blade series would have been had Paul W.S. Anderson had anything to do with it. Not even Paul Bettany, Karl Urban, or Maggie Q can squeeze any interest out of this one. Don’t be surprised if it isn’t screened for press.
Only one major opening here, and it’s probably in all other films’ best interests. When something with the title Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is sailing into theaters, you best steer clear. Can’t really blame anything on this one, I’d never open a movie against it either. Johnny Depp returns as our beloved Jack Sparrow with pretty much an entire new cast. Something that wrings even more truth out of a quip from Modern Family when Claire and Phil the Dunphy proclaim their love for sequels and how eventually you get a whole new cast. Well, apparently new director Rob Marshall (Best Picture winner Chicago) thought this wasn’t a bad idea and it looks like only Depp and Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa are back bringing along the new additions of Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane, Gemma Ward, Judi Dench and Keith Richards on their search for the Fountain of Youth. So far this looks more in tune with the original and not anywhere near the over-blown bombast of the third but we’ll just have to see. Also, there’s Midnight in Paris, a new Woody Allen flick getting a limited release with an all-star cast getting paid to vacation in Paris including Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Marion Cotillard, Adrien Brody, Alison Pill, Kathy Bates and Thor’s own Loki, Tom Hiddleston.
The big Memorial Day weekend sees yet another case of something for everyone as two huge sequels come beckoning. For the kiddie set there’s the return of Po in Kung Fu Panda 2. Originally titled Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom (a longer title for sure but still hilarious all at the same time), all of the advertising makes this look like a worthy successor to the original and I can only hope so. The original was hilarious and charming while staying tried and true to its kung fu film roots. Here’s hoping new director Jennifer Yuh knows a thing or two about bringing the funny while staging some spectacular action set pieces.
Finally, there’s the one most will have been waiting for; the sequel that was greenlit before the first film was even released. The Hangover Part II takes the sequel title high road and heads the Wolfpack for a debaucherous night in Bangkok. If there’s anywhere else these guys can land themselves that can best Las Vegas and Bangkok the stakes have been raised if they ever think of continuing on to a third outing. At least this thing wasn’t rushed out last year. Two years in the making seems reasonable enough to come up with hopefully at least a few fresh ideas? Even if there’s been a tiny bit of production issues mainly involving everything from an axed Mel Gibson cameo, reshoots, and a disgruntled audience taken aback by its hilarious trailer premiere that got itself pulled after complaints that it was inappropriately attached to Source Code.
Well that’s it for May. While there’s not a whole ton of openings that could be considered a good thing for all the films involved. Plenty of good stuff too. Only two rotten-looking apples in the bunch of which most probably won’t see anyway (cough Something Borrowed/Jumping the Broom cough). So you shouldn’t have to scratch your head too much in deciding what to spend your hard-earned cash on, right? I suspect box office receipts are about to go through the roof if Fast Five’s opening weekend is any indicator, as all of May looks better than that one film. So sit down and buckle up, it’s going to be a fun month!
Photos courtesy Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures