This Weekend In Theaters - March 21, 2014

Published: Mar 19, 2014 15:08pm EDT
By Bob Phelan, Movie Critic for Konsume Entertainment

Please Note: This article was updated Mar 19, 2014 @ 03:08pm EDT


Last weekend didn't bring any good news to studios releasing new films as 'Mr. Peabody and Sherman' in its third week and '300: Rise of an Empire' in its second week topped the box office. The best the new crop had to show for itself was 'Need For Speed' which brought in $18 million which isn't going to cut it with a budget of $66 million. Even Tyler Perry couldn't work his usual magic with his latest 'The Single Moms Club' marking a career low opening weekend with just $8 million. TV show turned Kickstarter movie 'Veronica Mars' fared decently bringing in $2 million on less than 300 screens. The problem is now that the people that helped bring it into existence have seen it, will anyone else? Bad Words made $100,000 on six screens. That'll increase as it expands this weekend.

This coming weekend we have a chance at seeing our first non-animated bloackbuster of the year with 'Divergent'. Looking to be the next big young adult literary franchise brought to the big screen a la 'The Hunger Games' and the 'Twilight' series it stars two talented young actors who look like rising stars with Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller. They've already worked quite well together and shown good chemistry in the indie coming of age drama 'The Spectacular Now'. Woodley in particular has shown off her acting prowess with her performance in 'The Descendants' to go along with 'The Spectacular Now'. 'Divergent' is another dystopian sci-fi set up where an outcast in a government controlled society must find a way to survive and live a normal life. The books are apparently pretty popular and I have no doubt that the opening weekend will be big but I think it depends on the script and how well its received before we can be sure it'll be a big success and another blockbuster franchise.

Another pretty big release that seems to be flying a bit under the radar is 'Muppets Most Wanted', the sequel to 2011's 'The Muppets'. This should be successful counter programming to the 'Divergent' crowd with parents taking their youngsters to see this while the older kids go off on their own. Jason Segel and Amy Adams from the original Muppet film reboot are out and Ricky Gervais and Tina Fey are in. Maybe a slight drop off there but the real stars are of course the muppets themselves and all the guest stars that'll pop up as usual. The plot in this one includes an evil Kermit look-alike that ends up switching places with him. The last movie was a good time at the movies if it wasn't as great as anticipated and I expect more of the same here. I'll be keeping my expectations in check when I inevitably end up taking my daughter to see it.

The rest of the releases are fairly minor as nobody wants to compete with the one-two punch at the top of the dockett. For the Christian movie goers we have 'God's Not Dead' about a boy who has to defend his religion in high school philosphy class. These types of movies are so rarely well made even if you do agree with the message so I'd say pass on that. 

On the complete opposite side of the spectrum is 'Nymphomaniac Part 1' a film about a sex addict who gets taken in by an older gentleman after being found beaten in an alley. She tells him her story as he nurses her back to health. Directed by controversial film maker Lars Von Trier it has been getting pretty good reviews. I thought his last film ('Melancholia') was pretty great and the one before that ('Antichrist') was interestingly disturbing. If you're interested in dark disturbing stories this could be one to check out. And along the same lines is 'Cheap Thrills' which got alot of buzz from the genre film festivals last year. Two friends with money troubles meet a rich couple at a bar that pay them money to do increasingly horrible things. 

Best Bet: I think its best to wait and see how 'Divergent' is received before paying money to see that. Instead go have some light hearted fun and enjoy 'Muppets Most Wanted', kids or not. Its a safe choice and probably the right one.


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Bob Phelan
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