Minions made ALL the money at the box office this weekend. How am I defining the phrase “ALL the money?” Apparently, it means $115 million in the U.S. and almost $300 million in the rest of the world. That’s a lot of money. All of it, in fact. The most impressive part about that debut is that the prequel involving these little unintelligible yellow… things (as Justin called them last week) opened way higher than either Despicable Me film. And both of those movies were huge hits! And there’s a third entry on the way!! And I’m screaming for literally no reason!!! At any rate, Minions joins mega-blockbusters Jurassic World and Furious 7, and the enormously profitable, modestly-budgeted Pitch Perfect 2 and Fifty Shades of Grey in Universal’s 2015 domination of the box office. It’s been impressive, especially when you consider the two colossal, early-year bombs that were Blackhat and Seventh Son. Although, I couldn’t really blame you for not considering them. There’s a pretty decent chance you’ve already completely forgotten about them or, better yet, never knew what they were in the first place. They were movies. Movies that didn’t make ANY of the money.
This week we’re moving on to two wide releases aimed at two different segments of the population, that both have as many reasons for excitement as they do red flags. And I’m talking major red flags here. But I’m just stalling now. Let’s get to it:
The Marvel Cinematic Universe brings Phase 2 to a close with Ant-Man, the studio’s 12th foray into its movie world that doubles as an excuse to turn its formerly profitable comics into currently profitable movies. Ant-Man tells the origin story of Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), the titular hero. The trailer teases a movie about Lang finding some kind of redemption for a misguided approach to life through helping his old pal Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). In order to achieve said redemption, he must learn how to properly operate his shiny new red suit, and then thwart an evil plan being orchestrated by some guy in an equally shiny, and new, yellow suit. So, it’s basically Iron Man, but really small. There’s even the contrasting serious/humorous tones the both endear you to that main character and make you think he’s kind of a jerk.
Speaking of the battle between serious and funny, the film was originally scheduled to be directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz,The World’s End). Now it’s being directed by Peyton Reed (Bring It On, The Break-Up, Yes Man). The public hasn’t been made explicitly aware of exactly why Wright stepped down/was replaced, with the old Hollywood standby “creative differences” serving as the official response from both Marvel and Wright. Which really means absolutely nothing because its the equivalent of a Hollywood couple citing “irreconcilable differences” for their inevitable divorce. At any rate, it’s a major bummer Wright stepped down (although he still receives a screenplay credit), not just because the trailer looks like something perfectly suited for his sensibilities, but because every Edgar Wright movie is something to greatly look forward to. And every Peyton Reed movie is something you probably won’t remember a week after you see it. Except for, hopefully, his remake of Iron Man hitting theaters in a few days.
Pete’s chances of seeing this in theaters: 4% – A small number, for a small movie.
Trainwreck is a romantic comedy written by and starring Amy Schumer, and directed by Judd Apatow. The basic idea looks to be a riff on the screwed up, promiscuous males that typically headline these sorts of romcoms. Schumer is obviously very much a female. It’s clever. From what I’ve seen of Schumer’s comedy (admittedly not a lot), that about sums her up. She’s interested in feminist issues, has an intelligence and point to what she’s doing, but laughing at her stuff amounts to a few chuckles here and there as opposed to side-splitting, tears-rolling-down-the-eyes laughter. Maybe I just don’t “get” her because I have a penis. Entirely possible.
Of course, when literally the only funny moment in your movie’s trailer comes from WWE superstar John Cena, you know you’ve failed (#trailerfail). Hashtag because I’m hip. Just like Trainwreck, with its Downton Abbey references, forward thinking feminist vibe, and featuring of Lebron James (who is nails-on-a-chalkboard unfunny here) thinks it is. Seriously though, how can a trailer littered with professional comedians induce just a single laugh? And it comes from a guy who’s famous for pretending to beat people up! The whole thing is just a complete trainwreck. And yes, I realize that’s an easy, unfunny joke, but it’s definitely funnier than anything in that abysmal fucking trailer.
And yet still, the film is directed by Apatow – a man I have an undying love and respect for as a filmmaker. All of his movies, on some level, exploit the comedy of immature adults being placed in situations that forced them to mature. That’s extremely relatable considering I still laugh whenever I hear the word “balls.” And that very obviously looks to be the case again here. His presence and the stellar reviews the film is getting (currently at 94% on RottenTomatoes) are the only reasons I’ll consider seeing this.
Pete’s chances of seeing this in theaters: 30% – Lebron James watches Downton Abbey? And so do his teammates? B-b-but…they’re black!