Box Office Preview: ‘Ender’s Game’ faces off against ‘Last Vegas’

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If you’re in need to save the planet or head to a place stranger than space, then the studios have just what you’re looking for.

The long awaited sci-fi film “Ender’s Game” hits theaters today and is expected to make a run at the box office crown. The film stars Asa Butterfield in the title role as the child soldier tasked with saving the human race from an alien invasion. The film co-stars another space veteran, Harrison Ford.

If you’re tired of those pesky kids and their spaceships and what not, “Last Vegas” features a lot of fun from the AARP contingent. Starring Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline as four old friends who hit Vegas to celebrate the upcoming nuptuals of Michael Douglas.

For kids who don’t want to watch aliens blown up or jokes about Cialis, there’s “Free Birds.” Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson star as two turkeys who plot to change Thanksgiving menus to something a bit more turkey friendly. Yes, they go back in time and no, I don’t know how it affects the cranberry space-time continuum.

In limited release, you’ll find Matthew McConaughey as AIDS pioneer Ron Woodroof in “Dallas Buyers Club” and “About Time”, a romantic comedy about time travel (sorry no turkeys) and of course, love. “About Time” stars Domhnall Gleeson (Anna Karenina) and Rachel McAdams.

  

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Can “Monsters University” take the “Heat?”

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Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy will attempt to have a monstrous first week, unless a certain President has his way.

“The Heat”, a buddy film starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy will ride the beat this week in hoping to take down last week’s champ “Monsters University” that pulled in $82 mil in its debut. Bullock and McCarthy star as alpha female cops who have to take down a drug lord without shooting each other first.

Speaking of shots fired, you’ll get a lot of that in White House Down. Nothing defines government gridlock like a missile going through the house of Congress, but that’s just what happens as Jamie Foxx stars as the President with only good luck and a beefy Channing Tatum standing between him and a terrorist field day. The film was directed by Roland Emmerich, so expect a lot of things to get shot at and blown up…loudly.

If you’d like things a bit quieter, you do have options…

I’m So Excited – Director Pedro Almodovar is back with a comedy about flight attendants singing and dancing when a flight suffers a mechanical malfunction. Starring Antonio de la Torre, Hugo Silva, and Miguel Angel Silvestre.

Laurence Anyways – A French film about an author who is engaged, right after he turns 35 tells his fiance that he wants a sex change. I don’t know how good it is, but it’s 3 hours. You were warned. Stars Natahalie Baye, Melvil Poupaud, and Suzanne Clement.

A Band Called Death – Before Punk existed, there was a band called Death. The film chronicles their struggle against social, racial, and creative forces to finally have it’s voices heard. Music historians or fans of punk should not miss this. Stars David Hackney, Dannis Hackney, and Bobby Hackney.

  

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Will “After Earth” have a Furious opening?

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What should’ve been a much ballyhooed science fiction film could be a reason why there’s no “Take your son to work” day.

The $150 million dollar sci-fi epic “After Earth” hits theaters this weekend, but the big story may be about how nepotism may cripple this film out of the gate. Starring Will Smith as a military general who attempts to connect with his son when they crash land on a post-apocalyptic Earth, the film has been skewered by critics. A weak screenplay (written by director M. Night Shyamalan) based on a story by Will Smith, coupled with the bad performance of Smith’s son Jaden has drawn the ire of critics.

Although “After Earth” doesn’t have any big ticket competition debuting this week, the holdovers from last week will attempt to make this a soft opening for the Fresh Prince and son. Last week’s trio of blockbuster sequels “Fast & Furious 6”, “The Hangover III”, and “Star Trek: Into Darkness” should have a say in how far “After Earth” goes. And then, there’s magic…

“Now You See Me” features the story of what happens when a group of magicians rob banks to give to the poor or at least people who don’t ask for rabbits. Performing the slight-of-hand is Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman.

If battling aliens, father-son duos, race cars and prestidigitation aren’t your thing, you have options:

The Kings of Summer – If you miss “Stand By Me”, get ready for this coming of age film about three friends who decide to spend their summer building a house in the woods. It stars Nick Robins, Gabriel Basso, and Nick Offerman (“Parks and Recreation”)

The East – A beautiful P.I goes undercover to take down a criminal group who are taking out major corporations. Wait, that’s a bad thing? Stars Brit Maring (“Sound of My Voice”), Alexander Skarsgard (“True Blood”), and Ellen Page (“Juno”)

Shadow Dancer – Continues the undercover theme as a member of the IRA who has to choose between spying on her family or going to prison for her part in a bombing. Stars Andrea Risenborough, Aidan Gillen, Clive Owen, Gillian Anderson (“X-Files”)

  

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“Star Trek” takes on “Iron Man 3” and “Gatsby”

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“Iron Man 3” proved that “Gatsby” wasn’t great enough to take it from the top spot, but this week he faces a very angry Vulcan.

“Star Trek: Into Darkness” takes fans once again where no fans have boldly gone before. The sequel of the reboot brings Captain Kirk (Chris Pine), Spoke (Zachary Quinto) and company back as they hunt down the superman known as Khan. Can Iron Man fight off a Starship captain and a Gatsby that still managed to pull in $50 million in it’s debut?

If you’re not into Spaceships, guys in 1920s fashions or metal-clad superheroes, there are still options for you in theaters.

Black Rock – Three women hang out on a deserted island and end up fighting for their lives. Stars Katie Aselton (The League), Lake Bell (Children’s Hospital), and kate Bosworth.

Stories We Tell – A family of Storytellers are featured in this documentary.

Frances Ha – Greta Gerwig is a dancer who doesn’t really dances. That’s right, more awkward moments and awkward characters from the Queen of Mumblecore, if you’re into that sort of thing.

  

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Is “Gatsby” great enough to take down Iron Man?

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It’s a showdown of two guys who are no stranger to posing in really nice suits.

Warner Bros. “The Great Gatsby” is seeking to show industry execs that it has a special superpower, knocking down reigning #1 box office champ “Iron Man 3”. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey McGuire, the period piece epic is seen as the ultimate counterprogramming to the superhero sequel. Set in the 1920s, “The Great Gatsby” follows Midwest writer (Tobey McGuire) as he gets sucked into the rollercoaster lifestyle of his millionaire partyboy neighbor, Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio).

“Iron Man 3” pulled in $174 million last week and destroyed all of its competition. It remains to be seen if “Gatsby” can cause a changing of the guard with an audience that is likely to skew heavily female.

So you don’t want guys who can fly or decadent millionaires with a jazz soundtrack? No problem, there are athletes, laughs and even a natural disaster to keep your attention.

Peeples – Craig Robinson is out of “The Office” and headlining this comedy about a man who crashes his girlfriend’s snooty family reunion to ask for her hand in marriage. Kerry Washington stars as the girlfriend and David Alan Grier as the patriarch. Also stars melvin Van Peeples and S. Epatha Merkerson.

Venus and Serena – There’s a reason we’re still relevant in international tennis: Venus and Serena Williams. They’ve dominated for over a decade and provided inspiration and scorn from fans and detractors. In this documentary, see how the sisters fought career and life-threatening disease with the heart of a champion.

Aftershock – What happens when you mix a horror film with an earthquake? A group of people who happened to be in an underground club in Chile finds out the hard way. Stars Eli Roth and Selena Gomez.

  

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