In Theaters This Weekend: May 25, 2012

In theaters this weekend we're greeted with two wide-releases and one other film touching down in a couple of theaters. The two big ones are "Men in Black III" and "Chernobyl Diaries". The first is Will Smith's latest sci-fi blockbuster installment, and the second is a horror/thriller from the same guy that gave us "Paranormal Activity".

Also, if you happen to be in the right area, Wes Anderson's latest, "Moonrise Kingdom", opens in four theaters this weekend before it starts its larger roll-out.

First, we'll start with "Men in Black III". The film stars Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, and Josh Brolin and this time takes place (at least part of the time) in the 1960's. Smith's character has to go back in time to stop an alien from killing his partner (Jones in the present time, Brolin in the 60's). My interest in this film has slowly waned over the passing weeks and months. As we all kind of agreed upon on the last CinemaCast, it's a fun franchise, but at this point, more than anything, we just feel like we need to see it and finish off the trilogy. I've heard that the scope of this film is bigger than in previous installments, and the MIB universe offers nice expansion as well - both things I really look forward to seeing. Reviews have been slightly mixed on the film so far, but as of this morning, amid 45+ reviews, it's sitting strong at 67% on Rotten Tomatoes. Expect very similar tones as from the first two films, just with probably more aliens and upped special effects this time around. I think between the two films being released nationwide this weekend, this will for sure be my go-to choice. And since we have a nice three-day Memorial weekend, it should give me ample time to get this one in.  

The other film opening across the country this weekend is the horror/thriller, "Chernobyl Diaries". While I don't claim to be any type of horror film expert, when it comes to these types of films, I generally know what I like. The premise here is interesting - revolving a horror film around Chernobyl is a brilliant idea - I just think I would have had some different ideas for the premise than the prototypical-looking scenarios we're presented with here. That being said, Oren Peli is the mind behind this film (Producer/Writer this time around), and I haven't really been unhappy with any of the "Paranormal Activity" films. If nothing else, they offered great tension and atmosphere. And while those things will be important in this type of film too, "monster" movies are a completely different...well, monster. Maybe he'll be able to pull this one off too, but I don't get the vibes from this one that I have from the Paranormal films. As of right now, there's an gag order for critics on the film, which usually isn't a good thing. We'll probably see reviews start pouring in tomorrow, but I don't expect them to be positive. Peli is taking a great location and event and will probably be able to create great atmosphere for the film, but ultimately, I'm not really seeing anything here that I need to go see. Kind of looks like a standard kill-the-teens-off-one-by-one-and-also-don't-forget-to-use-excessive-shaky-cam premise. "Paranormal Activity" was fun, and I went to the theater anticipating and excited for every jump the film gave me. I don't think I'd be nearly as involved with this film. Suffice it to say, I'll definitely be waiting for some feedback on this one before I cough up my eight bucks. If it impresses some people, I might check it out. Right now, no plans for the weekend though.

Those are the two wide-releases and probably the only two new films most of us will get this weekend, but since this is "Moonrise Kingdom's" official release date, I should probably talk about this one too. Basically, the film is set in the 1960's (maybe they'll run into the MIB!) and centers around two young kids who fall in love and run away together. The ensuing plot follows the members of their small town banding together in search for the children. This is a perfect premise for Anderson, as I can already feel exactly how all of these characters will interact with each other. Last weekend, the film closed out the Cannes Film Festival with amazing success. Though nothing at all unexpected for a Wes Anderson film, it's currently sitting at an impressive 98% among 40+ reviews on Rotten Tomatoes right now. That will probably drop a little over the coming weeks, but people really love his movies. They're meticulously directed and always witty and smart; the tones are very refreshing for such high-profile work as this. This one won't be opening near me this weekend, so unfortunately I wait. But once it makes its way over here, I'll surely be checking it out. It's not going to be your standard summer fare though, so don't expect to be blown away or really absorb any of the standard aspects that generally come with summer movies; while humorous, the films are rather dry (in an ironic sort of way). Expect to leave the theater with a happy smile on your face knowing you just took in a beautiful piece of cinema.

As far as box office projections go, it seems safe to say that "Men in Black III" will win the weekend, ousting "The Avengers" for the first time in a month. The film is getting decent reviews for a film of this nature, and it's a sequel to a favored franchise. Though last weekend was pretty down overall, with the 3-day weekend upon us, I think we can look for totals north of $70MM. I'm hesitant to project anything too high right now, because other than "The Avengers", everything else has under-performed lately. $60MM still seems like a hard bottom though, maybe with this one even getting up to the $80MM range. While that's not very defined at all, the box office seems too unstable right now to project anything more. "The Avengers" can still probably take second place though if it holds regular drop percentages. Last weekend it did $55MM, so something in the $30MM range seems reasonable. That's a little higher than you'd normally go with, but this film has out-produced every single weekend so far; no reason to think it will stop now. The other wide release is "Chernobyl Diaries". I'm not exactly sure what comparative horror/thriller movies like these generally do, but it should still draw a decent teen crowd this weekend if nothing else. Maybe $15MM? I can't imagine really much more than that, probably even coming in with a little less. But that seems like a decent middle area. "Battleship" should make an appearance up there somewhere as well, but definitely in the $12MM-$15MM range as well. After that, nothing else will break the $10MM mark.

Anyway, that's what we're looking at this weekend. It's probably between the first two for most of us, so between them, which will you be taking in? As I mentioned previously, we have a long weekend, so really there's time for both. I'm hoping to make a couple stops at the theater this weekend, but I think if I do it'll be for previous releases like "Dark Shadows" or something. I feel like I probably need to get that one in before it's booted from theaters. And don't forget, "The Avengers" is still around too!

Which films do you plan on checking out this weekend?