2010's Clash of the Titans became synonymous with bad 3D. The war-fantasy's sequel, Wrath of the Titans (3,545 theatres), will also release in 3D and IMAX, but this time around, "Strong 3D effects help make this worth seeing," according to FJI critic Daniel Eagan. He has generally positive things to say about the sequel, noting that "streamlined screenplay, tight editing and focused directing" help make the movie a good ride. However, even through Clash of the Titans earned half a billion dollars, Americans didn't like the movie: It has a 5/10 rating on IMDB and a 48% viewer approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, both lower than what one would expect. Everyone's expecting Wrath to be an international hit, but audiences at home may be less forgiving. A number shy of $40 million is expected for the action fantasy epic. The Hunger Games would have to drop more than 70% in order to come under $40 million, so it will likely retain its spot at the top of the box office.
One of two Snow White movies releasing this year, Mirror Mirror (3,603 theatres) is a family-friendly, PG-rated comedy. Unfortunately, the filmmakers' ideas are "so devoid of wit, fantasy and cinematic magic, [they] don’t even rise to a perfunctory sitcom level of entertainment," according to our David Noh, who detested the "sloppiness" of the direction. Former Pretty Woman Julia Roberts plays the evil, less-fair queen, but she lacks the "high style or comic technique to be truly fun." Despite these problems, family audiences could give this movie around $20 million this weekend--though its future may be more tepid.
After churning up outrage over Bully's R-rating, the Weinstein Co. will release the anti-bullying doc in five theatres as "unrated." AMC has announced it will let under-17s see the movie with a permission slip, which led the Parents Television Council to warn that this will undermine the whole rating system. It's true that this decision circumvents the MPAA, but I also feel there are so few films that fall in the category of Bully, it's unlikely this type of decision will happen more than once every several years. The doc "triumphs in driving home the problem and the attendant suffering," according to FJI critic Doris Toumarkine. Given how bullying has become such a hot topic, it's a worthy watch for parents, educators, and school-age kids.
Yet another hot-topic doc, The Island President, opened on Wednesday. The film profiles Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed's attempts to influence international policy on global warming. Nasheed has since been deposed, a threat to the country's democracy.
Two indies will expand this week. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen will move into 483 theatres. Mumblecore spawn Jeff Who Lives at Home will expand into 513 theatres. Both films are expected to earn in the $1 million range.
On Monday, we'll see how The Hunger Games fared, if audiences gave the Titans sequel a second chance, and if Mirror Mirror brought in Julia Roberts-loving mothers and their children.