It’s a weekend for damn dirty apes (plus a mediocre horror film and an indie expansion, just for good measure).
Let’s bitch it out…
A week after the official reboot of our latest Spider-Man, the Apes from the revamped Planet of the Apes prequels return to wreak havoc on humanity. Consistency is the name of the game here as the three prequel films have garnered fantastic reviews and enthusiastic audience responses. The question is whether the marketplace can expand to accommodate two gargantuan crowd pleasers?
July 14, 2017
War for the Planet of the Apes (Wide)
- Cast: Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings), Woody Harrelson (Now You See Me)
- Official Synopsis: Caesar (Serkis) and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel (Harrelson). After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the Colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both their species and the future of the planet.
- Good for fans of: Dark reboots, Vietnam allegories, extinction events
- Is it worth your time? Absolutely. Full caveat: I’m a big fan of this franchise, which has managed to maintain its high standard and (somehow) improve on its special effects with each successive outing. The rotating cast of humans is less substantial than it is for other blockbusters because the focus is always on the apes and their struggle for autonomy. With plans for more films, here’s hoping that the goodwill created by the first two films continues with War.
- Opening Gross: $75 million / Final Gross: $210 million
- Cast: Alec Baldwin (Saturday Night Live), Demi Moore (Charlie’s Angels 2: Full Throttle)
- Official Synopsis: A novelist (Baldwin) blinded in a car crash which killed his wife rediscovers his passion for both life and writing when he embarks on an affair with the neglected wife (Moore) of an indicted businessman.
- Good for fans of: Bland rom-dramas, actors phoning it in
- Is it worth your time? Ugh – what is this?! No. This looks like it was made a few years ago and is now quietly and unceremoniously being dumped into theatres. Hard pass.
- Gross: $4 million / Final Gross: $12 million
Wish Upon (Wide)
- Cast: Joey King (The Conjuring), Ryan Philippe (I Know What You Did Last Summer)
- Official Synopsis: A teenage girl (King) discovers a box that carries magic powers and a deadly price for using them.
- Good for fans of: Djinns, not-so-great FX, teen jump scares
- Is it worth your time? What’s your tolerance for camp? Reviews suggest that this is a pretty silly entry into teen horror, though with a void of product in the marketplace, fans may still be willing to part with their hard earned cash in exchange for a few gruesome deaths.
- Gross: $6 million / Final Gross: $15 million
The Big Sick (Expansion)
- Cast: Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley), Zoe Kazan (Fracture)
- Official Synopsis: Pakistan-born aspiring comedian Kumail (Nanjiani) connects with grad student Emily (Kazan) after one of his standup sets. However, what they thought would be just a one-night stand blossoms into the real thing, which complicates the life that is expected of Kumail by his traditional Muslim parents. When Emily is beset with a mystery illness, it forces Kumail to navigate the medical crisis with her parents, Beth and Terry (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) who he’s never met, while dealing with the emotional tug-of-war between his family and his heart.
- Good for fans of: Smart, off-kilter rom com, diversity, well-written films
- Is it worth your time? Yes. Every summer there’s at least one indie-ish film that comes out of nowhere (usually the festival circuit) to offer up something different from the big budget, action spectacles that usually dominate. The Big Sick is that film for 2017: a well reviewed, smartly written, can-do little film that people are falling over themselves recommending. It won’t go wide, but it should become available in smaller markets starting this weekend.
- Gross: $7 million / Final Gross: $35 million
That’s it for this week. Lady MacBeth (not a Shakespeare adaptation) is also out there somewhere in limited release and apparently is worth a look. Next week: Christopher Nolan delivers the WWII story of Dunkirk, Luc Besson births an Avatar-esque world with Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and the ladies of Girl Trip attempt to best their blander Rough Night counterparts.