Adults and children alike will have great options this weekend. Prometheus and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted are tracking at 74% and 74% positive, respectively, on Rotten Tomatoes. This is popcorn fare that will leave you feeling satisfied.
A companion/prequel to the Alien franchise, Prometheus (3,394 theatres) provides tantalizing clues connecting the film to the world of Ellen Ripley while leaving a lot up to the audience's speculation. Scary and thought-provoking, the "dazzling" sci-fi film "delivers all the visual spectacle and visceral shocks that fans of the original could want," according to critic Kevin Lally. Though R-rated movies can have a tough time at the box office, the Ridley Scott-directed feature will be in the clear if it opens above $40 million. With its tantalizing combination of ancient artifacts and alien encounters, (along with a current audience approval rating of 87%), I predict Prometheus will play well through the heat of the summer.
In Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (4,258 theatres), the zoo animals join a circus in their quest to return to their zoo in New York City. Critic Doris Toumarkine offers a familiar adjective in her endorsement of the animated feature, which she dubs "jaw-droppingly dazzling." She predicts the "deluxe 3D journey" will satisfy both kids and their parents. Although the last sequel experienced a slight drop-off in returns, the third should open somewhere above $50 million.
This is a big week for high-profile specialty pictures, but most have mixed (or outright bad) reviews. Robert Pattinson stars as a young man who ensnares wealthy French women for his benefit in the period picture Bel Ami (15 theatres). The presence of the Twilight star will certainly draw a crowd of dedicated fans, but critic David Noh thought his casting was a "major misstep." Noh also decries the "derivative, white-bread rom-com" Lola Versus (4 theatres). Greta Gerwig stars as a dumped woman starting fresh, but the NYC-centric feature misses an opportunity to do something new in favor of "been there-done that." A mom brings her kids to see their hippie grandma in Peace, Love & Misunderstanding (28 theatres). A lovely cast that includes Jane Fonda and Catherine Keener does nothing to fix the "banality" of the feature, which employs some time-worn plotting. The only positive review in the bunch? Safety Not Guaranteed (9 theatres), a time-travel comedy that offers a "quirkily offbeat, consistently funny love story," according to critic Michael Sauter.
On Monday, we'll see if audiences turned out for Prometheus and if families decided to come back for more Madagascar in its third outing. With both films releasing in 3D, this will be yet another test to see if audiences think it's worth shelling out for 3D glasses.