150 Essential Comedy Movies To Watch Now

What makes a comedy a classic? Something that floats on the changing tides of time and taste, remaining relevant – and hilarious? It probably takes more than a football to the groin or a juiced-up fart on the audio track. (Though we’re not not saying those can sometimes be the pinnacle of professional-grade jokes.) We don’t have the answer, but with our Essential list assembling 150 of the best comedies ever made, we’re getting closer to laugh-out-loud enlightenment than humanly thought possible. We’re melting minds, splitting sides, and slapping knees here.

To that end, we’ve included all forms of the comedy movie. From slapstick (Dumb & Dumber, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World) to silent (The General, Modern Times). Rom-coms (Moonstruck, Annie Hall) to screwball (It Happened One Night, Bringing Up Baby). Parody (Airplane!, Scary Movie) to postmodern (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Galaxy Quest). These 150 movies will take you to college (Animal House), past some fan favorites (Step Brothers, Super Troopers), and all around the globe (Kung Fu Hustle, Amelie).

There’s no minimum review count for this list. We opened it up to movies of yesteryear, which typically don’t get as many reviews as their modern comedy rivals. Many of these inducted films have high Tomatometer scores and are Certified Fresh, but the Tomatometer was not our only guide. Some comedies that stand the test of time did not necessarily pass the critical test on release, and we’re honoring those here. These are not the best-reviewed comedy films ever released, but they are the essential comedies, movies that broke the Laugh-O-Meter – we’ll totally trademark that soon, so dibs – shaped the genre, molded generations, and which audiences return to time and again, to lift the spirits.

And with our most recent updates, we’ve added the latest and greatest in new funny movies (Booksmart, Blockers, Game Night), and some more comedy classics that have definitely earned their place in the pantheon of guffaws (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Harold & Maude).

Ready to whip out your funny bone and bash it violently on the nearest flat surface? Then you’re ready for our list of the best comedy movies ever: Rotten Tomatoes’ 150 Essential Comedies! Alex Vo

#150

Hot Rod (2007)
39%

#150
Adjusted Score: 42919%
Critics Consensus: Hot Rod has brazen silliness and a few humorous set pieces on its side, but it's far too inconsistent to satisfy all but the least demanding slapstick lovers.
Synopsis: For Rod Kimball (Andy Samberg), performing stunts is a way of life, even though he is rather accident-prone. Poor Rod... [More]
Directed By: Akiva Schaffer

#149

Game Night (2018)
85%

#149
Adjusted Score: 99829%
Critics Consensus: With a talented cast turned loose on a loaded premise -- and a sharp script loaded with dark comedy and unexpected twists -- Game Night might be more fun than the real thing.
Synopsis: Max and Annie's weekly game night gets kicked up a notch when Max's brother Brooks arranges a murder mystery party... [More]

#148
#148
Adjusted Score: 54356%
Critics Consensus: First Wives Club is headlined by a trio of comedic dynamos, but the script lets them down with tepid plotting and a fatal lack of satirical bite.
Synopsis: Despondent over the marriage of her ex-husband to a younger woman, a middle-aged divorcée plunges to her death from her... [More]
Directed By: Hugh Wilson

#147

Scary Movie (2000)
52%

#147
Adjusted Score: 54974%
Critics Consensus: Critics say Scary Movie overloads on crudity and grossness to get its laughs.
Synopsis: Defying the very notion of good taste, Scary Movie out-parodies the pop culture parodies with a no-holds barred assault on... [More]
Directed By: Keenen Ivory Wayans

#146

Blockers (2018)
84%

#146
Adjusted Score: 96880%
Critics Consensus: Blockers puts a gender-swapped spin on the teen sex comedy -- one elevated by strong performances, a smartly funny script, and a surprisingly enlightened perspective.
Synopsis: Julie, Kayla and Sam are three high school seniors who make a pact to lose their virginity on prom night.... [More]
Directed By: Kay Cannon

#145

The Bank Dick (1940)
100%

#145
Adjusted Score: 102174%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Egbert Sousé (W.C. Fields) becomes an unexpected hero when a bank robber falls over a bench he's occupying. Now considered... [More]
Directed By: Edward F. Cline

#144

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
72%

#144
Adjusted Score: 74960%
Critics Consensus: On paper, Mrs. Doubtfire might seem excessively broad or sentimental, but Robin Williams shines so brightly in the title role that the end result is difficult to resist.
Synopsis: Troubled that he has little access to his children, divorced Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) hatches an elaborate plan. With help... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#143

Pitch Perfect (2012)
81%

#143
Adjusted Score: 86520%
Critics Consensus: Pitch Perfect's plot is formulaic, but the performances are excellent and the musical numbers are toe-tapping as well.
Synopsis: College student Beca (Anna Kendrick) knows she does not want to be part of a clique, but that's exactly where... [More]
Directed By: Jason Moore

#142

Four Lions (2009)
83%

#142
Adjusted Score: 87274%
Critics Consensus: Its premise suggests brazenly tasteless humor, but Four Lions is actually a smart, pitch-black comedy that carries the unmistakable ring of truth.
Synopsis: A group of young Muslim men living in Sheffield decide to wage jihad, and they hatch an inept plan to... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Morris

#141

Safety Last (1923)
97%

#141
Adjusted Score: 103243%
Critics Consensus: Persuasive enough to give audiences acrophobia when they aren't laughing at Harold Lloyd's antics, Safety Last! is a marvel of visual effects and slapstick comedy.
Synopsis: A boy (Harold Lloyd) moves to New York City to make enough money to support his loving girlfriend (Mildred Davis),... [More]

#140

Big (1988)
97%

#140
Adjusted Score: 102192%
Critics Consensus: Refreshingly sweet and undeniably funny, Big is a showcase for Tom Hanks, who dives into his role and infuses it with charm and surprising poignancy.
Synopsis: After a wish turns 12-year-old Josh Baskin (David Moscow) into a 30-year-old man (Tom Hanks), he heads to New York... [More]
Directed By: Penny Marshall

#139
#139
Adjusted Score: 39444%
Critics Consensus: Wet Hot American Summer's incredibly talented cast is too often outmatched by a deeply silly script that misses its targets at least as often as it skewers them.
Synopsis: Set on the last day of camp, in the hot summer of 1981, "Wet Hot American Summer" follows a group... [More]
Directed By: David Wain

#138

Barbershop (2002)
82%

#138
Adjusted Score: 85954%
Critics Consensus: Besides bringing on the laughs, Barbershop displays a big heart and demonstrates the value of community.
Synopsis: A smart comedy about a day in the life of a barbershop on the south side of Chicago. Calvin (Ice... [More]
Directed By: Tim Story

#137
#137
Adjusted Score: 95707%
Critics Consensus: Featuring an excellent ensemble cast, a precise feel for the 1970s, and a killer soundtrack, Dazed and Confused is a funny, affectionate, and clear-eyed look at high school life.
Synopsis: This coming-of-age film follows the mayhem of group of rowdy teenagers in Austin, Texas, celebrating the last day of high... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater

#136
#136
Adjusted Score: 51613%
Critics Consensus: Jim Carrey's twitchy antics and gross-out humor are on full, bombastic display in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, which is great news for fans of his particular brand of comedy but likely unsatisfying for anyone else.
Synopsis: When the dolphin mascot of Miami's NFL team is abducted, Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey), a zany private investigator who specializes... [More]
Directed By: Tom Shadyac

#135

Idiocracy (2006)
71%

#135
Adjusted Score: 72538%
Critics Consensus: Frustratingly uneven yet enjoyable overall, Idiocracy skewers society's devolution with an amiably goofy yet deceptively barbed wit.
Synopsis: In 2005, average in every way private Joe Bowers (Luke Wilson) is selected to take part in a secret military... [More]
Directed By: Mike Judge

#134
#134
Adjusted Score: 84022%
Critics Consensus: Team America will either offend you or leave you in stitches. It'll probably do both.
Synopsis: When North Korean ruler Kim Jong-il (Trey Parker) orchestrates a global terrorist plot, it's up to the heavily armed marionettes... [More]
Directed By: Trey Parker, Matt Stone

#133
#133
Adjusted Score: 86791%
Critics Consensus: A trite but refreshing and comical spin on nature of love.
Synopsis: Jessica (Jennifer Westfeldt) is at the end of her emotional rope. She happens upon an intriguing personal ad, whose only... [More]

#132

Trainwreck (2015)
84%

#132
Adjusted Score: 95301%
Critics Consensus: Trainwreck drags commitment out of all but the most rom-com-phobic filmgoers with sharp humor, relatable characters, and hilarious work from Amy Schumer.
Synopsis: Ever since her father drilled into her head that monogamy isn't realistic, magazine writer Amy (Amy Schumer) has made promiscuity... [More]
Directed By: Judd Apatow

#131
#131
Adjusted Score: 89184%
Critics Consensus: Pee-Wee's Big Adventure brings Paul Reubens' famous character to the big screen intact, along with enough inspired silliness to dazzle children of all ages.
Synopsis: Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens), an eccentric child-like man, loves his red bicycle and will not sell it to his envious... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#130

Tommy Boy (1995)
41%

#130
Adjusted Score: 42384%
Critics Consensus: Though it benefits from the comic charms of its two leads, Tommy Boy too often feels like a familiar sketch stretched thin.
Synopsis: After his beloved father (Brian Dennehy) dies, dimwitted Tommy Callahan (Chris Farley) inherits a near-bankrupt automobile parts factory in Sandusky,... [More]
Directed By: Peter Segal

#129

Life (1999)
51%

#129
Adjusted Score: 51857%
Critics Consensus: Entertaining if not over-the-top humor from a solid comic duo provides plenty of laughs.
Synopsis: During Prohibition, loudmouth Harlem grifter Ray (Eddie Murphy) and the no-nonsense Claude (Martin Lawrence) team up on a bootlegging mission... [More]
Directed By: Ted Demme

#128

Zoolander (2001)
64%

#128
Adjusted Score: 69430%
Critics Consensus: A wacky satire on the fashion industry, Zoolander is one of those deliberately dumb comedies that can deliver genuine laughs.
Synopsis: Propelled to the top of the fashion world by a photogenic gaze he calls "Blue Steel," dimwitted male model Derek... [More]
Directed By: Ben Stiller

#127

Super Troopers (2001)
36%

#127
Adjusted Score: 37563%
Critics Consensus: A more-miss -than-hit affair, Super Troopers will most likely appeal to those looking for something silly.
Synopsis: Always looking for action, five over-enthusiastic but under-stimulated Vermont State Troopers raise hell on the highway, keeping motorists anxiously looking... [More]
Directed By: Jay Chandrasekhar

#126

Happy Gilmore (1996)
61%

#126
Adjusted Score: 63805%
Critics Consensus: Those who enjoy Adam Sandler's schtick will find plenty to love in this gleefully juvenile take on professional golf; those who don't, however, will find it unfunny and forgettable.
Synopsis: All Happy Gilmore (Adam Sandler) has ever wanted is to be a professional hockey player. But he soon discovers he... [More]
Directed By: Dennis Dugan

#125

21 Jump Street (2012)
85%

#125
Adjusted Score: 94085%
Critics Consensus: A smart, affectionate satire of '80s nostalgia and teen movie tropes, 21 Jump Street offers rowdy mainstream comedy with a surprisingly satisfying bite.
Synopsis: When cops Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) join the secret Jump Street unit, they use their youthful appearances... [More]

#124
Adjusted Score: 84979%
Critics Consensus: Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter are just charming, goofy, and silly enough to make this fluffy time-travel Adventure work.
Synopsis: Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) are high school buddies starting a band. However, they are about to fail... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Herek

#123

Broadcast News (1987)
98%

#123
Adjusted Score: 101709%
Critics Consensus: Blockbuster dramatist James L. Brooks delivers with Broadcast News, fully entertaining with deft, deep characterization.
Synopsis: Intelligent satire of American television news. A highly strung news producer finds herself strangely attracted to a vapid anchorman even... [More]
Directed By: James L. Brooks

#122

Lost in America (1985)
95%

#122
Adjusted Score: 94790%
Critics Consensus: A satire of the American fantasy of leaving it all behind, Lost in America features some of Albert Brooks' best, most consistent writing and cultural jabs.
Synopsis: After being snubbed at his advertising job, Los Angeles yuppie David Howard (Albert Brooks) convinces his wife, Linda (Julie Hagerty),... [More]
Directed By: Albert Brooks

#121

In the Loop (2009)
94%

#121
Adjusted Score: 100010%
Critics Consensus: In the Loop is an uncommonly funny political satire that blends Dr. Strangelove with Spinal Tap for the Iraq war era.
Synopsis: During an interview, British Cabinet Minister Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) delivers an off-the-cuff remark that war in the Middle East... [More]
Directed By: Armando Iannucci

#120
#120
Adjusted Score: 112981%
Critics Consensus: With a terrific cast and a surfeit of visual razzle dazzle, Crazy Rich Asians takes a satisfying step forward for screen representation while deftly drawing inspiration from the classic -- and still effective -- rom-com formula.
Synopsis: Rachel Chu is happy to accompany her longtime boyfriend, Nick, to his best friend's wedding in Singapore. She's also surprised... [More]
Directed By: Jon M. Chu

#119

Shaolin Soccer (2001)
90%

#119
Adjusted Score: 93271%
Critics Consensus: The plot is utterly ridiculous, and the soccer in the movie is unlike any ever played anywhere on Earth, but watching Shaolin Soccer, you will probably find it impossible to care.
Synopsis: All his life, an ordinary young man (Stephen Chow) has been treated like dirt. Still, he's never given up believing... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Chow, Lik-Chi Lee

#118

Top Five (2014)
86%

#118
Adjusted Score: 92975%
Critics Consensus: As smart, funny, and trenchant as writer-director-star Chris Rock's best standup work, Top Five is a career highlight for its creator -- and one of the comedy standouts of 2014.
Synopsis: Though he began in stand-up comedy, Andre Allen (Chris Rock) hit the big-time as the star of a trilogy of... [More]
Directed By: Chris Rock

#117

Road to Morocco (1942)
85%

#117
Adjusted Score: 84733%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Starving vagabond Jeff (Bing Crosby) sells best friend Orville (Bob Hope) into slavery in a Moroccan marketplace to buy food.... [More]
Directed By: David Butler

#116

Up in Smoke (1978)
47%

#116
Adjusted Score: 48226%
Critics Consensus: Oft-quoted but undeniably flawed, Up In Smoke is a seminal piece of stoner cinema thanks to the likability of its two counterculture icons.
Synopsis: An unemployed pot-smoking slacker and amateur drummer, Anthony Stoner (Tommy Chong) ditches his strict parents and hits the road, eventually... [More]
Directed By: Lou Adler

#115
#115
Adjusted Score: 93082%
Critics Consensus: Steve Carell's first star turn scores big with a tender treatment of its titular underdog, using raunchy but realistically funny comedy to connect with adult audiences.
Synopsis: Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) is an amiable single guy who works at a big-box store. Living alone, 40-year-old Andy spends... [More]
Directed By: Judd Apatow

#114
#114
Adjusted Score: 105118%
Critics Consensus: Typically stylish but deceptively thoughtful, The Grand Budapest Hotel finds Wes Anderson once again using ornate visual environments to explore deeply emotional ideas.
Synopsis: In the 1930s, the Grand Budapest Hotel is a popular European ski resort, presided over by concierge Gustave H. (Ralph... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#113

In Bruges (2008)
84%

#113
Adjusted Score: 91501%
Critics Consensus: Featuring witty dialogue and deft performances, In Bruges is an effective mix of dark comedy and crime thriller elements.
Synopsis: After a particularly difficult job, hit men Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) head to Belgium to hide out... [More]
Directed By: Martin McDonagh

#112

American Pie (1999)
61%

#112
Adjusted Score: 65417%
Critics Consensus: So embarrassing it's believable, American Pie succeeds in bringing back the teen movie genre.
Synopsis: A riotous and raunchy exploration of the most eagerly anticipated -- and most humiliating -- rite of adulthood, known as... [More]
Directed By: Paul Weitz

#111
#111
Adjusted Score: 100712%
Critics Consensus: Almodovar weaves together a magnificent tapestry of femininity with an affectionate wink to classics of theater and cinema in this poignant story of love, loss and compassion.
Synopsis: A Greek saying states that only women who have washed their eyes with tears can see clearly. This saying does... [More]
Directed By: Pedro Almodóvar

#110
#110
Adjusted Score: 87672%
Critics Consensus: With Burn After Reading, the Coen Brothers have crafted another clever comedy/thriller with an outlandish plot and memorable characters.
Synopsis: When a disc containing memoirs of a former CIA analyst (John Malkovich) falls into the hands of Linda Litzke (Frances... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#109

Legally Blonde (2001)
70%

#109
Adjusted Score: 75843%
Critics Consensus: Though the material is predictable and formulaic, Reese Witherspoon's funny, nuanced performance makes this movie better than it would have been otherwise.
Synopsis: Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) has it all. She wants nothing more than to be Mrs. Warner Huntington III. But there... [More]
Directed By: Robert Luketic

#108

Pride (2014)
92%

#108
Adjusted Score: 98391%
Critics Consensus: Earnest without being didactic and uplifting without stooping to sentimentality, Pride is a joyous crowd-pleaser that genuinely works.
Synopsis: Realizing that they share common foes in Margaret Thatcher, the police and the conservative press, London-based gays and lesbians lend... [More]
Directed By: Matthew Warchus

#107
Adjusted Score: 74328%
Critics Consensus: It's long, frantic, and stuffed to the gills with comic actors and set pieces -- and that's exactly its charm.
Synopsis: The story begins during a massive traffic jam, caused by reckless driver Smiler Grogan (Jimmy Durante), who, before kicking the... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kramer

#106

Beetlejuice (1988)
85%

#106
Adjusted Score: 88918%
Critics Consensus: Brilliantly bizarre and overflowing with ideas, Beetlejuice offers some of Michael Keaton's most deliciously manic work - and creepy, funny fun for the whole family.
Synopsis: After Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam Maitland (Alec Baldwin) die in a car accident, they find themselves stuck haunting their... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#105

House Party (1990)
93%

#105
Adjusted Score: 94411%
Critics Consensus: House Party is a light, entertaining teen comedy with an infectious energy.
Synopsis: Play's parents are out of town, and he's planning the house party to end all house parties. His best friend,... [More]
Directed By: Reginald Hudlin

#104

The Birdcage (1996)
82%

#104
Adjusted Score: 83876%
Critics Consensus: Mike Nichols wrangles agreeably amusing performances from Robin Williams and Nathan Lane in this fun, if not quite essential, remake of the French comedy La Cage aux Folles.
Synopsis: In this remake of the classic French farce "La Cage aux Folles," engaged couple Val Goldman (Dan Futterman) and Barbara... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#103

City Slickers (1991)
90%

#103
Adjusted Score: 92589%
Critics Consensus: With a supremely talented cast and just enough midlife drama to add weight to its wildly silly overtones, City Slickers uses universal themes to earn big laughs.
Synopsis: Every year, three friends take a vacation away from their wives. This year, henpecked Phil (Daniel Stern), newly married Ed... [More]
Directed By: Ron Underwood

#102

Stripes (1981)
88%

#102
Adjusted Score: 89574%
Critics Consensus: A raucous military comedy that features Bill Murray and his merry cohorts approaching the peak of their talents.
Synopsis: Hard-luck cabbie John Winger (Bill Murray) -- directionless after being fired from his job and dumped by his girlfriend --... [More]
Directed By: Ivan Reitman

#101
Adjusted Score: 91919%
Critics Consensus: A zany horror spoof that plays up and then plays into the best of Universal horror cliches.
Synopsis: In the first of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello's horror vehicles for Universal Pictures, the inimitable comic duo star as... [More]
Directed By: Charles Barton

#100

Clue (1985)
68%

#100
Adjusted Score: 69093%
Critics Consensus: A robust ensemble of game actors elevate Clue above its schematic source material, but this farce's reliance on novelty over organic wit makes its entertainment value a roll of the dice.
Synopsis: Based on the popular board game, this comedy begins at a dinner party hosted by Mr. Boddy, where he admits... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Lynn

#99

Spy (2015)
95%

#99
Adjusted Score: 105885%
Critics Consensus: Simultaneously broad and progressive, Spy offers further proof that Melissa McCarthy and writer-director Paul Feig bring out the best in one another -- and delivers scores of belly laughs along the way.
Synopsis: Despite having solid field training, CIA analyst Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) has spent her entire career as a desk jockey,... [More]
Directed By: Paul Feig

#98
#98
Adjusted Score: 90068%
Critics Consensus: A richly textured romantic comedy, I Like It Like That draws on a smart script and spirited performances to tell a refreshingly original story.
Synopsis: Chino (Jon Seda) isn't the best husband to Lisette (Lauren Vélez). His job as a bicycle messenger can barely support... [More]
Directed By: Darnell Martin

#97
#97
Adjusted Score: 85440%
Critics Consensus: Though there was controversy over the choice of casting, Zellweger's Bridget Jones is a sympathetic, likable, funny character, giving this romantic comedy a lot of charm.
Synopsis: At the start of the New Year, 32-year-old Bridget (Renée Zellweger) decides it's time to take control of her life... [More]
Directed By: Sharon Maguire

#96
#96
Adjusted Score: 98402%
Critics Consensus: Black's exuberant, gleeful performance turns School of Rock into a hilarious, rocking good time.
Synopsis: Overly enthusiastic guitarist Dewey Finn (Jack Black) gets thrown out of his bar band and finds himself in desperate need... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater

#95

Moonstruck (1987)
93%

#95
Adjusted Score: 97101%
Critics Consensus: Led by energetic performances from Nicolas Cage and Cher, Moonstruck is an exuberantly funny tribute to love and one of the decade's most appealing comedies.
Synopsis: No sooner does Italian-American widow Loretta (Cher) accept a marriage proposal from her doltish boyfriend, Johnny (Danny Aiello), than she... [More]
Directed By: Norman Jewison

#94

The In-Laws (1979)
88%

#94
Adjusted Score: 87114%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Mild-mannered dentist Sheldon Kornpett (Alan Arkin) is uncomfortable with his daughter's marriage after meeting her future father-in-law, Vincent Ricardo (Peter... [More]
Directed By: Arthur Hiller

#93

The Ladykillers (1955)
100%

#93
Adjusted Score: 102580%
Critics Consensus: The Ladykillers is a macabre slow-burn with quirky performances of even quirkier characters.
Synopsis: Mrs. Wilberforce (Katie Johnson) likes to report suspicious behavior to the police. Unaware of her reputation, the dapper thief Professor... [More]
Directed By: Alexander Mackendrick

#92
#92
Adjusted Score: 86482%
Critics Consensus: Sentimental and light, but still thoroughly charming, A League of Their Own is buoyed by solid performances from a wonderful cast.
Synopsis: As America's stock of athletic young men is depleted during World War II, a professional all-female baseball league springs up... [More]
Directed By: Penny Marshall

#91
#91
Adjusted Score: 89021%
Critics Consensus: A buoyant, clever update of the conman flick Bedtime Story, with plenty of comedic jousting resulting from a winning chemistry between Michael Caine and Steve Martin.
Synopsis: Con artist Lawrence Jamieson (Michael Caine) is a longtime resident of a luxurious coastal resort, where he enjoys the fruits... [More]
Directed By: Frank Oz

#90
#90
Adjusted Score: 90838%
Critics Consensus: A well-calibrated blend of manic comedy and poignant drama, Good Morning, Vietnam offers a captivating look at a wide range of Robin Williams' cinematic gifts.
Synopsis: Radio funny man Adrian Cronauer (Robin Williams) is sent to Vietnam to bring a little comedy back into the lives... [More]
Directed By: Barry Levinson

#89

M*A*S*H (1970)
84%

#89
Adjusted Score: 88482%
Critics Consensus: Bold, timely, subversive, and above all funny, M*A*S*H remains a high point in Robert Altman's distinguished filmography.
Synopsis: Based on the novel by Richard Hooker, "M*A*S*H" follows a group of Mobile Army Surgical Hospital officers at they perform... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#88
#88
Adjusted Score: 97083%
Critics Consensus: Rob Reiner's touching, funny film set a new standard for romantic comedies, and he was ably abetted by the sharp interplay between Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan.
Synopsis: In 1977, college graduates Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) share a contentious car ride from Chicago... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#87
Adjusted Score: 78777%
Critics Consensus: The likable leads and subversion of racial stereotypes elevate Harold and Kumar above the typical stoner comedy.
Synopsis: Nerdy accountant Harold (John Cho) and his irrepressible friend, Kumar (Kal Penn), get stoned watching television and find themselves utterly... [More]
Directed By: Danny Leiner

#86
#86
Adjusted Score: 77968%
Critics Consensus: A charming, quirky, and often funny comedy.
Synopsis: In small-town Preston, Idaho, awkward teen Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder) has trouble fitting in. After his grandmother is injured in... [More]
Directed By: Jared Hess

#85

Arthur (1981)
89%

#85
Adjusted Score: 88694%
Critics Consensus: Dudley Moore brings a boozy charm to Arthur, a coming of age tale for a wayward millionaire that deploys energetic cast chemistry and spiffy humor to jovial effect.
Synopsis: Wealthy New York City playboy Arthur Bach (Dudley Moore) is perpetually drunk and completely rudderless. Dutifully supported by his sharp-tongued... [More]
Directed By: Steve Gordon

#84

Tootsie (1982)
90%

#84
Adjusted Score: 93700%
Critics Consensus: Tootsie doesn't squander its high-concept comedy premise with fine dialogue and sympathetic treatment of the characters.
Synopsis: New York actor Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is a talented perfectionist who is so hard on himself and others that... [More]
Directed By: Sydney Pollack

#83

Best in Show (2000)
93%

#83
Adjusted Score: 96971%
Critics Consensus: A fine example of writer-director-star Christopher Guest's gift for improv comedy, Best in Show boasts an appealingly quirky premise and a brilliantly talented cast.
Synopsis: The tension is palpable, the excitement is mounting and the heady scent of competition is in the air as hundreds... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Guest

#82
Adjusted Score: 95516%
Critics Consensus: While its premise is ripe for comedy -- and it certainly delivers its fair share of laughs -- Priscilla is also a surprisingly tender and thoughtful road movie with some outstanding performances.
Synopsis: When drag queen Anthony (Hugo Weaving) agrees to take his act on the road, he invites fellow cross-dresser Adam (Guy... [More]
Directed By: Stephan Elliott

#81

Mean Girls (2004)
84%

#81
Adjusted Score: 91708%
Critics Consensus: Elevated by a brilliant screenplay and outstanding ensemble cast, Mean Girls finds fresh, female-fronted humor in the high school experience.
Synopsis: Teenage Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) was educated in Africa by her scientist parents. When her family moves to the suburbs... [More]
Directed By: Mark Waters

#80

Spaceballs (1987)
56%

#80
Adjusted Score: 57924%
Critics Consensus: There's fine spoofery and amusing characters in Spaceballs, though it's a far cry from Mel Brooks' peak era.
Synopsis: In a distant galaxy, planet Spaceball has depleted its air supply, leaving its citizens reliant on a product called "Perri-Air."... [More]
Directed By: Mel Brooks

#79

Sister Act (1992)
74%

#79
Adjusted Score: 75623%
Critics Consensus: Looking for a sweet musical comedy about a witness to a crime hiding out from killers in a convent? There's nun better than Sister Act.
Synopsis: When lively lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier (Whoopi Goldberg) sees her mobster beau, Vince LaRocca (Harvey Keitel), commit murder, she... [More]
Directed By: Emile Ardolino

#78

Step Brothers (2008)
55%

#78
Adjusted Score: 62548%
Critics Consensus: Step Brothers indulges in a cheerfully relentless immaturity that will quickly turn off viewers unamused by Ferrell and Reilly -- and delight those who find their antics hilarious.
Synopsis: Brennan Huff (Will Ferrell) and Dale Doback (John C. Reilly) have one thing in common: they are both lazy, unemployed... [More]
Directed By: Adam McKay

#77

UHF (1989)
61%

#77
Adjusted Score: 61089%
Critics Consensus: UHF is bizarre, freewheeling, and spotty, though its anarchic spirit cannot be denied.
Synopsis: After losing yet another job, George (Weird Al Yankovic) wonders if there is any career that can handle his outrageous... [More]
Directed By: Jay Levey

#76
Adjusted Score: 96576%
Critics Consensus: Blessed by a brilliantly befuddled star turn from Chevy Chase, National Lampoon's Vacation is one of the more consistent -- and thoroughly quotable -- screwball comedies of the 1980s.
Synopsis: Accompanied by their children (Dana Barron, Anthony Michael Hall), Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) and his wife, Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo), are... [More]
Directed By: Harold Ramis

#75

Galaxy Quest (1999)
90%

#75
Adjusted Score: 94316%
Critics Consensus: Intelligent and humorous satire with an excellent cast -- no previous Trekkie knowledge needed to enjoy this one.
Synopsis: The stars of a 1970s sci-fi show - now scraping a living through re-runs and sci-fi conventions - are beamed... [More]
Directed By: Dean Parisot

#74

Harold and Maude (1971)
86%

#74
Adjusted Score: 89691%
Critics Consensus: Hal Ashby's comedy is too dark and twisted for some, and occasionally oversteps its bounds, but there's no denying the film's warm humor and big heart.
Synopsis: Cult classic pairs Cort as a dead-pan disillusioned 20-year-old obsessed with suicide and a loveable Gordon as a fun-loving 80-year-old... [More]
Directed By: Hal Ashby

#73

Meet the Parents (2000)
84%

#73
Adjusted Score: 89346%
Critics Consensus: Despite sometimes sitcom-like execution, Meet the Parents is a hilarious look at familial relationships that works mostly because the chemistry between its two leads is so effective.
Synopsis: Everything that can possibly go wrong for groom-to-be Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) does. The problems begin with Greg's disastrous first... [More]
Directed By: Jay Roach

#72

Girls Trip (2017)
92%

#72
Adjusted Score: 104228%
Critics Consensus: Girls Trip is the rare R-rated comedy that pushes boundaries to truly comedic effect -- and anchors its laughs in compelling characters brought to life by a brilliantly assembled cast.
Synopsis: Best friends Ryan, Sasha, Lisa and Dina are in for the adventure of a lifetime when they travel to New... [More]
Directed By: Malcolm D. Lee

#71

Being There (1979)
95%

#71
Adjusted Score: 99894%
Critics Consensus: Smart, sophisticated, and refreshingly subtle, Being There soars behind sensitive direction from Hal Ashby and a stellar Peter Sellers performance.
Synopsis: Simple-minded Chance (Peter Sellers), a gardener who has resided in the Washington, D.C., townhouse of his wealthy employer for his... [More]
Directed By: Hal Ashby

#70

Wayne's World (1992)
79%

#70
Adjusted Score: 87327%
Critics Consensus: An oddball comedy that revels in its silliness and memorable catch phrases, Wayne's World is also fondly regarded because of its endearing characters.
Synopsis: A big screen spin-off of the "Saturday Night Live" skit. Rob Lowe plays a producer that wants to take the... [More]
Directed By: Penelope Spheeris

#69
Adjusted Score: 81338%
Critics Consensus: While Fast Times at Ridgemont High features Sean Penn's legendary performance, the film endures because it accurately captured the small details of school, work, and teenage life.
Synopsis: Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is a pretty, but inexperienced, teen interested in dating. Given advice by her uninhibited friend,... [More]
Directed By: Amy Heckerling

#68
#68
Adjusted Score: 85466%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Writer and notorious marriage detractor Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) falls for girl-next-door Elaine Harper (Priscilla Lane), and they tie the... [More]
Directed By: Frank Capra

#67

Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
90%

#67
Adjusted Score: 98130%
Critics Consensus: Kung Fu Hustle blends special effects, martial arts, and the Looney Toons to hilarious effect.
Synopsis: When the hapless Sing (Stephen Chow) and his dim-witted pal, Bone (Feng Xiaogang), try to scam the residents of Pig... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Chow

#66

Booksmart (2019)
96%

#66
Adjusted Score: 120207%
Critics Consensus: Fast-paced, funny, and fresh, Booksmart does the seemingly impossible by adding a smart new spin to the coming-of-age comedy.
Synopsis: Academic overachievers Amy and Molly thought keeping their noses to the grindstone gave them a leg up on their high... [More]
Directed By: Olivia Wilde

#65

Heathers (1989)
93%

#65
Adjusted Score: 96068%
Critics Consensus: Dark, cynical, and subversive, Heathers gently applies a chainsaw to the conventions of the high school movie -- changing the game for teen comedies to follow.
Synopsis: Veronica (Winona Ryder) is part of the most popular clique at her high school, but she disapproves of the other... [More]
Directed By: Michael Lehmann

#64

Playtime (1967)
98%

#64
Adjusted Score: 103721%
Critics Consensus: A remarkable achievement, Playtime's packs every scene with sight gags and characters that both celebrates and satirizes the urbanization of modern life.
Synopsis: Clumsy Monsieur Hulot (Jacques Tati) finds himself perplexed by the intimidating complexity of a gadget-filled Paris. He attempts to meet... [More]
Directed By: Jacques Tati

#63
#63
Adjusted Score: 86487%
Critics Consensus: The buddy cop movie continues its evolution unabated with this Eddie Murphy vehicle that's fast, furious, and funny.
Synopsis: After his childhood buddy is murdered while visiting Detroit, rebellious cop Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) follows the leads to Beverly... [More]
Directed By: Martin Brest

#62

Office Space (1999)
80%

#62
Adjusted Score: 84063%
Critics Consensus: Mike Judge lampoons the office grind with its inspired mix of sharp dialogue and witty one-liners.
Synopsis: Corporate drone Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) hates his soul-killing job at software company Initech. While undergoing hypnotherapy, Peter is left... [More]
Directed By: Mike Judge

#61
Adjusted Score: 99386%
Critics Consensus: While frothy to a fault, Four Weddings and a Funeral features irresistibly breezy humor, and winsome performances from Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell.
Synopsis: Lovable Englishman Charles (Hugh Grant) and his group of friends seem to be unlucky in love. When Charles meets a... [More]
Directed By: Mike Newell

#60

The Graduate (1967)
87%

#60
Adjusted Score: 94740%
Critics Consensus: The music, the performances, the precision in capturing the post-college malaise -- The Graduate's coming-of-age story is indeed one for the ages.
Synopsis: Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) has just finished college and, back at his parents' house, he's trying to avoid the one... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#59
#59
Adjusted Score: 88040%
Critics Consensus: Matthew Broderick charms in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, a light and irrepressibly fun movie about being young and having fun.
Synopsis: Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) has an uncanny skill at cutting classes and getting away with it. Intending to make one... [More]
Directed By: John Hughes

#58
Adjusted Score: 87056%
Critics Consensus: There's Something About Mary proves that unrelentingly, unabashedly peurile humor doesn't necessarily come at the expense of a film's heart.
Synopsis: Ted's (Ben Stiller) dream prom date with Mary (Cameron Diaz) never happens due to an embarrassing injury at her home.... [More]

#57
Adjusted Score: 99785%
Critics Consensus: Part satire, part shockumentary,Borat gets high-fives almost all-around for being offensive in the funniest possible way. Jagshemash!
Synopsis: Outrageous situations occur when Borat, a popular reporter (Sacha Baron Cohen) from Kazakhstan, comes to the United States to film... [More]
Directed By: Larry Charles

#56

Sherlock, Jr. (1924)
92%

#56
Adjusted Score: 95527%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A kindly movie projectionist (Buster Keaton) longs to be a detective. When his fiancée (Kathryn McGuire) is robbed by a... [More]
Directed By: Buster Keaton

#55

Friday (1995)
76%

#55
Adjusted Score: 76231%
Critics Consensus: What Friday might lack in taut construction or directorial flair, it more than makes up with its vibrant (albeit consistently crass) humor and the charming, energetic performances of its leads.
Synopsis: It's Friday and Craig Jones (Ice Cube) has just gotten fired for stealing cardboard boxes. To make matters worse, rent... [More]
Directed By: F. Gary Gray

#54

Superbad (2007)
87%

#54
Adjusted Score: 96296%
Critics Consensus: Deftly balancing vulgarity and sincerity while placing its protagonists in excessive situations, Superbad is an authentic take on friendship and the overarching awkwardness of the high school experience.
Synopsis: High school seniors Seth and Evan have high hopes for a graduation party. The co-dependent teens plan to score booze... [More]
Directed By: Greg Mottola

#53

Hot Fuzz (2007)
91%

#53
Adjusted Score: 99995%
Critics Consensus: The brilliant minds behind Shaun of the Dead successfully take a shot at the buddy cop genre with Hot Fuzz. The result is a bitingly satiric and hugely entertaining parody.
Synopsis: As a former London constable, Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) finds if difficult to adapt to his new assignment in the... [More]
Directed By: Edgar Wright

#52

The Hangover (2009)
79%

#52
Adjusted Score: 88382%
Critics Consensus: With a clever script and hilarious interplay among the cast, The Hangover nails just the right tone of raunchy humor, and the non-stop laughs overshadow any flaw.
Synopsis: Two days before his wedding, Doug (Justin Bartha) and three friends (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis) drive to Las... [More]
Directed By: Todd Phillips

#51

Elf (2003)
85%

#51
Adjusted Score: 91234%
Critics Consensus: A movie full of Yuletide cheer, Elf is a spirited, good-natured family comedy, and it benefits greatly from Will Ferrell's funny and charming performance as one of Santa's biggest helpers.
Synopsis: Buddy (Will Ferrell) was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler and raised to adulthood among Santa's elves.... [More]
Directed By: Jon Favreau

#50
Adjusted Score: 96670%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to the impeccable chemistry between Steve Martin and John Candy, as well as a deft mix of humor and heart, Planes, Trains and Automobiles is a hilarious, heartfelt holiday classic.
Synopsis: Easily excitable Neal Page (Steve Martin) is somewhat of a control freak. Trying to get home to Chicago to spend... [More]
Directed By: John Hughes

#49
#49
Adjusted Score: 99476%
Critics Consensus: Smartly written, smoothly directed, and solidly cast, A Fish Called Wanda offers a classic example of a brainy comedy with widespread appeal.
Synopsis: British gangster George Thomason (Tom Georgeson) and his hapless aide, Ken Pile (Michael Palin), draft a pair of arrogant Americans,... [More]

#48
Adjusted Score: 74345%
Critics Consensus: Filled with inspired silliness and quotable lines, Anchorman isn't the most consistent comedy in the world, but Will Ferrell's buffoonish central performance helps keep this portrait of a clueless newsman from going off the rails.
Synopsis: Hotshot television anchorman Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) welcomes upstart reporter Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) into the male-dominated world of 1970s... [More]
Directed By: Adam McKay

#47

Ghostbusters (1984)
97%

#47
Adjusted Score: 102330%
Critics Consensus: An infectiously fun blend of special effects and comedy, with Bill Murray's hilarious deadpan performance leading a cast of great comic turns.
Synopsis: After the members of a team of scientists (Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray) lose their cushy positions at a... [More]
Directed By: Ivan Reitman

#46
Adjusted Score: 75794%
Critics Consensus: A light and goofy comedy which provides laughs, largely due to performances and screenwriting by Myers.
Synopsis: A world-class playboy and part-time special agent, Powers is defrosted after 30 years in a cryogenic freeze to match wits... [More]
Directed By: Jay Roach

#45

Dumb & Dumber (1994)
67%

#45
Adjusted Score: 69890%
Critics Consensus: A relentlessly stupid comedy elevated by its main actors: Jim Carrey goes bonkers and Jeff Daniels carries himself admirably in an against-type performance.
Synopsis: Imbecilic best friends Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) stumble across a suitcase full of money left... [More]

#44

The Odd Couple (1968)
97%

#44
Adjusted Score: 100946%
Critics Consensus: Enlivening Neil Simon's crackerjack script with their harmonious rapport, Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau are a perfect pairing as The Odd Couple.
Synopsis: When fussy Felix (Jack Lemmon) becomes suicidal over his impending divorce, he accepts an offer to move in with his... [More]
Directed By: Gene Saks

#43

The Producers (1968)
90%

#43
Adjusted Score: 98131%
Critics Consensus: A hilarious satire of the business side of Hollywood, The Producers is one of Mel Brooks' finest, as well as funniest films, featuring standout performances by Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel.
Synopsis: Down and out producer Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel), who was once the toast of Broadway, trades sexual favors with old... [More]
Directed By: Mel Brooks

#42

Clerks (1994)
90%

#42
Adjusted Score: 92414%
Critics Consensus: With its quirky characters and clever, quotable dialogue, Clerks is the ultimate clarion call for slackers everywhere to unite and, uh, do something we guess?
Synopsis: Dante (Brian O'Halloran) is called in to cover a shift at his New Jersey convenience store on his day off.... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith

#41
#41
Adjusted Score: 103725%
Critics Consensus: Smarter, fresher, and funnier than a modern vampire movie has any right to be, What We Do in the Shadows is bloody good fun.
Synopsis: Vampire housemates (Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh) try to cope with the complexities of modern life and show a... [More]

#40

The Lady Eve (1941)
100%

#40
Adjusted Score: 105989%
Critics Consensus: A career highlight for Preston Sturges, The Lady Eve benefits from Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda's sparkling chemistry -- and a script that inspired countless battle-of-the-sexes comedies.
Synopsis: It's no accident when wealthy Charles (Henry Fonda) falls for Jean (Barbara Stanwyck). Jean is a con artist with her... [More]
Directed By: Preston Sturges

#39

What's Up, Doc? (1972)
89%

#39
Adjusted Score: 92250%
Critics Consensus: Barbra Streisand was never more likable than in this energetic, often hilarious screwball farce from director Peter Bogdanovich.
Synopsis: Two researchers have come to San Francisco to compete for a research grant in music. The man seems a bit... [More]
Directed By: Peter Bogdanovich

#38
#38
Adjusted Score: 110132%
Critics Consensus: Watermelons may go out of season, but in A Night at the Opera, the Marx Brothers' daffy laughs are never anything less than uproariously fresh.
Synopsis: The Marx Brothers run amuck in the world of opera when Otis B. Driftwood (Groucho Marx) meets aspiring singer Ricardo... [More]
Directed By: Sam Wood

#37

Adam's Rib (1949)
96%

#37
Adjusted Score: 99956%
Critics Consensus: Matched by Garson Kanin's witty, sophisticated screenplay, George Cukor, Spencer Tracy, and Katherine Hepburn are all in top form in the classic comedy Adam's Rib.
Synopsis: A courtroom rivalry finds its way into the household when prosecuting lawyer Adam Bonner (Spencer Tracy) faces off against his... [More]
Directed By: George Cukor

#36

Sullivan's Travels (1941)
100%

#36
Adjusted Score: 103931%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Successful movie director John L. Sullivan (Joel McCrea), convinced he won't be able to film his ambitious masterpiece until he... [More]
Directed By: Preston Sturges

#35

Caddyshack (1980)
72%

#35
Adjusted Score: 76591%
Critics Consensus: Though unabashedly crude and juvenile, Caddyshack nevertheless scores with its classic slapstick, unforgettable characters, and endlessly quotable dialogue.
Synopsis: Danny Noonan (Michael O'Keefe), a teen down on his luck, works as a caddy at the snob-infested Bushwood Country Club... [More]
Directed By: Harold Ramis

#34
#34
Adjusted Score: 96349%
Critics Consensus: Charlie Chaplin demonstrates that his comedic voice is undiminished by dialogue in this rousing satire of tyranny, which may be more distinguished by its uplifting humanism than its gags.
Synopsis: After dedicated service in the Great War, a Jewish barber (Charles Chaplin) spends years in an army hospital recovering from... [More]
Directed By: Charles Chaplin

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 112633%
Critics Consensus: Offering a wonderfully witty script, spotless direction from George Cukor, and typically excellent lead performances, The Philadelphia Story is an unqualified classic.
Synopsis: This classic romantic comedy focuses on Tracy Lord (Katharine Hepburn), a Philadelphia socialite who has split from her husband, C.K.... [More]
Directed By: George Cukor

#32

Raising Arizona (1987)
90%

#32
Adjusted Score: 94408%
Critics Consensus: A terrifically original, eccentric screwball comedy, Raising Arizona may not be the Coens' most disciplined movie, but it's one of their most purely entertaining.
Synopsis: An ex-con and an ex-cop meet, marry and long for a child of their own. When it is discovered that... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#31

Clueless (1995)
81%

#31
Adjusted Score: 88148%
Critics Consensus: A funny and clever reshaping of Emma, Clueless offers a soft satire that pokes as much fun at teen films as it does at the Beverly Hills glitterati.
Synopsis: Shallow, rich and socially successful Cher (Alicia Silverstone) is at the top of her Beverly Hills high school's pecking scale.... [More]
Directed By: Amy Heckerling

#30

Annie Hall (1977)
97%

#30
Adjusted Score: 105100%
Critics Consensus: Filled with poignant performances and devastating humor, Annie Hall represents a quantum leap for Woody Allen and remains an American classic.
Synopsis: Comedian Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) examines the rise and fall of his relationship with struggling nightclub singer Annie Hall (Diane... [More]
Directed By: Woody Allen

#29

His Girl Friday (1940)
99%

#29
Adjusted Score: 111501%
Critics Consensus: Anchored by stellar performances from Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, His Girl Friday is possibly the definitive screwball romantic comedy.
Synopsis: When hard-charging New York newspaper editor Walter Burns discovers that his ex-wife, investigative reporter Hildy Johnson, has gotten engaged to... [More]
Directed By: Howard Hawks

#28

Withnail and I (1987)
92%

#28
Adjusted Score: 91700%
Critics Consensus: Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann prove irresistibly hilarious as two misanthropic slackers in Withnail and I, a biting examination of artists living on the fringes of prosperity and good taste.
Synopsis: Two out-of-work actors -- the anxious, luckless Marwood (Paul McGann) and his acerbic, alcoholic friend, Withnail (Richard E. Grant) --... [More]
Directed By: Bruce Robinson

#27

Trading Places (1983)
88%

#27
Adjusted Score: 89021%
Critics Consensus: Featuring deft interplay between Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd, Trading Places is an immensely appealing social satire.
Synopsis: Upper-crust executive Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) and down-and-out hustler Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) are the subjects of a... [More]
Directed By: John Landis

#26

Bridesmaids (2011)
89%

#26
Adjusted Score: 101367%
Critics Consensus: A marriage of genuine characters, gross out gags, and pathos, Bridesmaids is a female-driven comedy that refuses to be boxed in as Kristen Wiig emerges as a real star.
Synopsis: Annie (Kristen Wiig) is a single woman whose own life is a mess, but when she learns that her lifelong... [More]
Directed By: Paul Feig

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 100871%
Critics Consensus: Made with obvious affection for the original, Young Frankenstein is a riotously silly spoof featuring a fantastic performance by Gene Wilder.
Synopsis: Respected medical lecturer Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) learns that he has inherited his infamous grandfather's estate in Transylvania. Arriving... [More]
Directed By: Mel Brooks

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 99846%
Critics Consensus: Shaun of the Dead cleverly balances scares and witty satire, making for a bloody good zombie movie with loads of wit.
Synopsis: Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a 30-something loser with a dull, easy existence. When he's not working at the electronics store,... [More]
Directed By: Edgar Wright

#23

The Naked Gun (1988)
86%

#23
Adjusted Score: 88512%
Critics Consensus: The Naked Gun is loaded chock full of gags that are goofy, unapologetically crass, and ultimately hilarious.
Synopsis: Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen), a rather clueless police detective, tries to foil a plot to turn innocent people into assassins... [More]
Directed By: David Zucker

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 80579%
Critics Consensus: Too over the top for its own good, but ultimately rescued by the cast's charm, director John Landis' grace, and several soul-stirring musical numbers.
Synopsis: After his release from prison, Jake (John Belushi) reunites with his brother, Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) -- collectively known as the... [More]
Directed By: John Landis

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 75354%
Critics Consensus: Eddie Murphy was in full control at this point, starkly evident in Coming to America's John Landis' coasting direction.
Synopsis: Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) is the prince of a wealthy African country and wants for nothing, except a wife who... [More]
Directed By: John Landis

#20

Life of Brian (1979)
96%

#20
Adjusted Score: 100369%
Critics Consensus: One of the more cutting-edge films of the 1970s, this religious farce from the classic comedy troupe is as poignant as it is funny and satirical.
Synopsis: Brian Cohen (Graham Chapman) is an average young Jewish man, but through a series of ridiculous events, he gains a... [More]
Directed By: Terry Jones

#19

The Jerk (1979)
83%

#19
Adjusted Score: 85988%
Critics Consensus: Crude, crass, and oh so quotable, The Jerk is nothing short of an all-out comedic showcase for Steve Martin.
Synopsis: Navin (Steve Martin) believes he was born a poor black child in Mississippi. He is, however, actually white. Upon figuring... [More]
Directed By: Carl Reiner

#18

The General (1926)
92%

#18
Adjusted Score: 96518%
Critics Consensus: Brilliantly filmed and fueled with classic physical comedy, The General captures Buster Keaton at his timeless best.
Synopsis: One of the most revered comedies of the silent era, this film finds hapless Southern railroad engineer Johnny Gray (Buster... [More]

#17

The Thin Man (1934)
98%

#17
Adjusted Score: 104711%
Critics Consensus: Featuring an involving mystery and sparkling repartee between William Powell and Myrna Loy, The Thin Man is an endlessly charming romp.
Synopsis: The recently divorced Clyde Wynant discovers that his new girlfriend has stolen $50,000 and is carrying on with other men.... [More]
Directed By: W. S. Van Dyke

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 99497%
Critics Consensus: Smartly directed, brilliantly acted, and packed with endlessly quotable moments, This Is Spinal Tap is an all-time comedy classic.
Synopsis: "This Is Spinal Tap" shines a light on the self-contained universe of a metal band struggling to get back on... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#15
Adjusted Score: 95091%
Critics Consensus: The talents of director John Landis and Saturday Night Live's irrepressible John Belushi conspired to create a rambunctious, subversive college comedy that continues to resonate.
Synopsis: When they arrive at college, socially inept freshmen Larry (Thomas Hulce) and Kent (Stephen Furst) attempt to pledge the snooty... [More]
Directed By: John Landis

#14

Blazing Saddles (1974)
89%

#14
Adjusted Score: 93856%
Critics Consensus: Daring, provocative, and laugh-out-loud funny, Blazing Saddles is a gleefully vulgar spoof of Westerns that marks a high point in Mel Brooks' storied career.
Synopsis: In this satirical take on Westerns, crafty railroad worker Bart (Cleavon Little) becomes the first black sheriff of Rock Ridge,... [More]
Directed By: Mel Brooks

#13

Bringing Up Baby (1938)
94%

#13
Adjusted Score: 103039%
Critics Consensus: With Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant at their effervescent best, Bringing Up Baby is a seamlessly assembled comedy with enduring appeal.
Synopsis: Harried paleontologist David Huxley (Cary Grant) has to make a good impression on society matron Mrs. Random (May Robson), who... [More]
Directed By: Howard Hawks

#12

Modern Times (1936)
98%

#12
Adjusted Score: 117105%
Critics Consensus: A slapstick skewering of industrialized America, Modern Times is as politically incisive as it is laugh-out-loud hilarious.
Synopsis: This comedic masterpiece finds the iconic Little Tramp (Charlie Chaplin) employed at a state-of-the-art factory where the inescapable machinery completely... [More]
Directed By: Charlie Chaplin

#11

The Apartment (1960)
93%

#11
Adjusted Score: 104818%
Critics Consensus: Director Billy Wilder's customary cynicism is leavened here by tender humor, romance, and genuine pathos.
Synopsis: Insurance worker C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) lends his Upper West Side apartment to company bosses to use for extramarital affairs.... [More]
Directed By: Billy Wilder

#10

Groundhog Day (1993)
97%

#10
Adjusted Score: 103043%
Critics Consensus: Smart, sweet, and inventive, Groundhog Day highlights Murray's dramatic gifts while still leaving plenty of room for laughs.
Synopsis: Phil (Bill Murray), a weatherman, is out to cover the annual emergence of the groundhog from its hole. He gets... [More]
Directed By: Harold Ramis

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 102891%
Critics Consensus: A delightfully postmodern fairy tale, The Princess Bride is a deft, intelligent mix of swashbuckling, romance, and comedy that takes an age-old damsel-in-distress story and makes it fresh.
Synopsis: A fairy tale adventure about a beautiful young woman and her one true love. He must find her after a... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#8
Adjusted Score: 105894%
Critics Consensus: Stanley Kubrick's brilliant Cold War satire remains as funny and razor-sharp today as it was in 1964.
Synopsis: A film about what could happen if the wrong person pushed the wrong button -- and it played the situation... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

#7

Duck Soup (1933)
91%

#7
Adjusted Score: 98245%
Critics Consensus: Fueled by inspired silliness and blessed with some of the Marx brothers' most brilliant work, Duck Soup is one of its -- or any -- era's finest comedies.
Synopsis: When the tiny nation of Freedonia goes bankrupt, its wealthy benefactor, Mrs. Teasdale (Margaret Dumont), insists that the wacky Rufus... [More]
Directed By: Leo McCarey

#6

The Big Lebowski (1998)
83%

#6
Adjusted Score: 88640%
Critics Consensus: Typically stunning visuals and sharp dialogue from the Coen Brothers, brought to life with strong performances from Goodman and Bridges.
Synopsis: Jeff Bridges plays Jeff Lebowski who insists on being called "the Dude," a laid-back, easygoing burnout who happens to have... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 117986%
Critics Consensus: Capturing its stars and director at their finest, It Happened One Night remains unsurpassed by the countless romantic comedies it has inspired.
Synopsis: In Frank Capra's acclaimed romantic comedy, spoiled heiress Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert) impetuously marries the scheming King Westley, leading her... [More]
Directed By: Frank Capra

#4

Some Like It Hot (1959)
94%

#4
Adjusted Score: 100564%
Critics Consensus: Some Like It Hot: A spry, quick-witted farce that never drags.
Synopsis: After witnessing a Mafia murder, slick saxophone player Joe (Tony Curtis) and his long-suffering buddy, Jerry (Jack Lemmon), improvise a... [More]
Directed By: Billy Wilder

#3
Adjusted Score: 104096%
Critics Consensus: A cult classic as gut-bustingly hilarious as it is blithely ridiculous, Monty Python and the Holy Grail has lost none of its exceedingly silly charm.
Synopsis: A comedic send-up of the grim circumstances of the Middle Ages as told through the story of King Arthur and... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones

#2

Airplane! (1980)
97%

#2
Adjusted Score: 102747%
Critics Consensus: Though unabashedly juvenile and silly, Airplane! is nevertheless an uproarious spoof comedy full of quotable lines and slapstick gags that endure to this day.
Synopsis: This spoof comedy takes shots at the slew of disaster movies that were released in the 70s. When the passengers... [More]

#1

City Lights (1931)
97%

#1
Adjusted Score: 103490%
Critics Consensus: One of the best underdog romance movies ever, with an ending that will light up any heart.
Synopsis: A hapless but resilient tramp (Charlie Chaplin) falls in love with a blind flower girl (Virginia Cherrill) on the tough... [More]
Directed By: Charles Chaplin

WALL-E

(Photo by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection. Thumbnail image: 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved. Courtesy: Everett Collection.; Warner Brothers/courtesy Everett Collection; MGM.)

50 Essential Movies For Kids

Looking to enrich your kid’s viewing habits? Or if you’re under 13 yourself, love movies, and you want to watch some of the best ever made, take it from us when we list 50 Essential Movies For Kids!

These are not just great children’s movies, but movies that play well for the curious and growing mind. While all these movies are classics and can be seen at any age, some have stronger themes than others that would play better during upper years. So, we separated the movies in suggested age categories:

Ages 1-5: Kids may not actively recall everything from this age, but a good baseline is fundamental in developing a healthy appetite for movies. Here we feature colorful classics (The Wizard of Oz), fun adventures (Chicken Run), and tales as old as time (Beauty and the Beast).

Ages 6-9: As more time is devoted to school and outside life, movies become more of an escape, and their power to transport starts to become apparent. Don’t miss out on epic quests (Star Wars), wish fulfillment (Home Alone), and dazzling fantasies (Spirited Away).

Ages 10-12: The magic window, the time in life when movies can move and change tweens, and stick for the rest of time. A good era for the classic portrayals of youth (The 400 Blows), face-melting action (Raiders of the Lost Ark), and romance (Romeo & Juliet).

Whether you’re a parent looking for a moral, entertaining movie night with your kids, or you’re a young student of movies making the leap on your own, check out these 50 Essential Movies For Kids! Alex Vo


Ages 1-5

#50
#50
Adjusted Score: 103083%
Critics Consensus: Enchanting, sweepingly romantic, and featuring plenty of wonderful musical numbers, Beauty and the Beast is one of Disney's most elegant animated offerings.
Synopsis: An arrogant young prince (Robby Benson) and his castle's servants fall under the spell of a wicked enchantress, who turns... [More]
Directed By: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise

#49

Chicken Run (2000)
97%

#49
Adjusted Score: 103373%
Critics Consensus: Chicken Run has all the charm of Nick Park's Wallace & Gromit, and something for everybody. The voice acting is fabulous, the slapstick is brilliant, and the action sequences are spectacular.
Synopsis: This engaging stop-motion, claymation adventure tells the story of an American rooster who falls in love with a gorgeous hen... [More]
Directed By: Peter Lord, Nick Park

#48

Frozen (2013)
90%

#48
Adjusted Score: 99651%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully animated, smartly written, and stocked with singalong songs, Frozen adds another worthy entry to the Disney canon.
Synopsis: When their kingdom becomes trapped in perpetual winter, fearless Anna (Kristen Bell) joins forces with mountaineer Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and... [More]
Directed By: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee

#47
#47
Adjusted Score: 98498%
Critics Consensus: Kiki's Delivery Service is a heartwarming, gorgeously-rendered tale of a young witch discovering her place in the world.
Synopsis: In this anime feature, 13-year-old Kiki moves to a seaside town with her talking cat, Jiji, to spend a year... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

#46
#46
Adjusted Score: 98769%
Critics Consensus: Alfonso Cuarón adapts Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel with a keen sense of magic realism, vividly recreating the world of childhood as seen through the characters.
Synopsis: When young Sara (Liesel Matthews) is sent to a boarding school by her well-meaning World War I-bound father (Liam Cunningham),... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Cuarón

#45

The Muppet Movie (1979)
88%

#45
Adjusted Score: 91843%
Critics Consensus: The Muppet Movie, the big-screen debut of Jim Henson's plush creations, is smart, lighthearted, and fun for all ages.
Synopsis: After Kermit the Frog decides to pursue a movie career, he starts his cross-country trip from Florida to California. Along... [More]
Directed By: James Frawley

#44
#44
Adjusted Score: 95686%
Critics Consensus: My Neighbor Totoro is a heartwarming, sentimental masterpiece that captures the simple grace of childhood.
Synopsis: This acclaimed animated tale by director Hayao Miyazaki follows schoolgirl Satsuke and her younger sister, Mei, as they settle into... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

#43

The Red Balloon (1956)
96%

#43
Adjusted Score: 97109%
Critics Consensus: The Red Balloon invests the simplest of narratives with spectacular visual inventiveness, making for a singularly wondrous portrait of innocence.
Synopsis: A red balloon with a life of its own follows a boy around Paris.... [More]
Directed By: Albert Lamorisse

#42
Adjusted Score: 99473%
Critics Consensus: With its involving story and characters, vibrant art, and memorable songs, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs set the animation standard for decades to come.
Synopsis: The Grimm fairy tale gets a Technicolor treatment in Disney's first animated feature. Jealous of Snow White's beauty, the wicked... [More]
Directed By: David Hand

#41

Toy Story (1995)
100%

#41
Adjusted Score: 106383%
Critics Consensus: Entertaining as it is innovative, Toy Story reinvigorated animation while heralding the arrival of Pixar as a family-friendly force to be reckoned with.
Synopsis: Woody (Tom Hanks), a good-hearted cowboy doll who belongs to a young boy named Andy (John Morris), sees his position... [More]
Directed By: John Lasseter

#40

WALL-E (2008)
95%

#40
Adjusted Score: 106229%
Critics Consensus: Wall-E's stellar visuals testify once again to Pixar's ingenuity, while its charming star will captivate younger viewers -- and its timely story offers thought-provoking subtext.
Synopsis: WALL-E, short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class, is the last robot left on Earth. He spends his days tidying... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Stanton

#39

The Wizard of Oz (1939)
98%

#39
Adjusted Score: 114846%
Critics Consensus: An absolute masterpiece whose groundbreaking visuals and deft storytelling are still every bit as resonant, The Wizard of Oz is a must-see film for young and old.
Synopsis: When a tornado rips through Kansas, Dorothy (Judy Garland) and her dog, Toto, are whisked away in their house to... [More]
Directed By: Victor Fleming


Ages 6-9

#38

Babe (1995)
97%

#38
Adjusted Score: 101383%
Critics Consensus: The rare family-friendly feature with a heart as big as its special effects budget, Babe offers timeless entertainment for viewers of all ages.
Synopsis: Gentle farmer Arthur Hoggett (James Cromwell) wins a piglet named Babe (Christine Cavanaugh) at a county fair. Narrowly escaping his... [More]
Directed By: Chris Noonan

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 102837%
Critics Consensus: Inventive, funny, and breathlessly constructed, Back to the Future is a rousing time-travel adventure with an unforgettable spirit.
Synopsis: In this 1980s sci-fi classic, small-town California teen Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) is thrown back into the '50s when... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#36

Coco (2017)
97%

#36
Adjusted Score: 124613%
Critics Consensus: Coco's rich visual pleasures are matched by a thoughtful narrative that takes a family-friendly -- and deeply affecting -- approach to questions of culture, family, life, and death.
Synopsis: Despite his family's generations-old ban on music, young Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol Ernesto de... [More]
Directed By: Lee Unkrich

#35
Adjusted Score: 109619%
Critics Consensus: Playing as both an exciting sci-fi adventure and a remarkable portrait of childhood, Steven Spielberg's touching tale of a homesick alien remains a piece of movie magic for young and old.
Synopsis: After a gentle alien becomes stranded on Earth, the being is discovered and befriended by a young boy named Elliott... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#34

Elf (2003)
85%

#34
Adjusted Score: 91234%
Critics Consensus: A movie full of Yuletide cheer, Elf is a spirited, good-natured family comedy, and it benefits greatly from Will Ferrell's funny and charming performance as one of Santa's biggest helpers.
Synopsis: Buddy (Will Ferrell) was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler and raised to adulthood among Santa's elves.... [More]
Directed By: Jon Favreau

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 102653%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Mr. Fox is a delightfully funny feast for the eyes with multi-generational appeal -- and it shows Wes Anderson has a knack for animation.
Synopsis: After 12 years of bucolic bliss, Mr. Fox (George Clooney) breaks a promise to his wife (Meryl Streep) and raids... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#32

The Goonies (1985)
76%

#32
Adjusted Score: 79618%
Critics Consensus: The Goonies is an energetic, sometimes noisy mix of Spielbergian sentiment and funhouse tricks that will appeal to kids and nostalgic adults alike.
Synopsis: When two brothers find out they might lose their house they are desperate to find a way to keep their... [More]
Directed By: Richard Donner

#31
Adjusted Score: 89185%
Critics Consensus: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone adapts its source material faithfully while condensing the novel's overstuffed narrative into an involving -- and often downright exciting -- big-screen magical caper.
Synopsis: Adaptation of the first of J.K. Rowling's popular children's novels about Harry Potter, a boy who learns on his eleventh... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#30

Home Alone (1990)
67%

#30
Adjusted Score: 71071%
Critics Consensus: Home Alone uneven but frequently funny premise stretched unreasonably thin is buoyed by Macaulay Culkin's cute performance and strong supporting stars.
Synopsis: When bratty 8-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) acts out the night before a family trip to Paris, his mother (Catherine... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 106583%
Critics Consensus: Boasting dazzling animation, a script with surprising dramatic depth, and thrilling 3-D sequences, How to Train Your Dragon soars.
Synopsis: Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is a Norse teenager from the island of Berk, where fighting dragons is a way of life.... [More]

#28

Inside Out (2015)
98%

#28
Adjusted Score: 114461%
Critics Consensus: Inventive, gorgeously animated, and powerfully moving, Inside Out is another outstanding addition to the Pixar library of modern animated classics.
Synopsis: Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) is a happy, hockey-loving 11-year-old Midwestern girl, but her world turns upside-down when she and her parents... [More]
Directed By: Pete Docter

#27

The Karate Kid (1984)
89%

#27
Adjusted Score: 90665%
Critics Consensus: Utterly predictable and wholly of its time, but warm, sincere, and difficult to resist, due in large part to Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio's relaxed chemistry.
Synopsis: Daniel (Ralph Macchio) moves to Southern California with his mother, Lucille (Randee Heller), but quickly finds himself the target of... [More]
Directed By: John G. Avildsen

#26

The Iron Giant (1999)
96%

#26
Adjusted Score: 101168%
Critics Consensus: The endearing Iron Giant tackles ambitious topics and complex human relationships with a steady hand and beautifully animated direction from Brad Bird.
Synopsis: In this animated adaptation of Ted Hughes' Cold War fable, a giant alien robot (Vin Diesel) crash-lands near the small... [More]
Directed By: Brad Bird

#25

The LEGO Movie (2014)
96%

#25
Adjusted Score: 106289%
Critics Consensus: Boasting beautiful animation, a charming voice cast, laugh-a-minute gags, and a surprisingly thoughtful story, The Lego Movie is colorful fun for all ages.
Synopsis: Emmet (Chris Pratt), an ordinary LEGO figurine who always follows the rules, is mistakenly identified as the Special -- an... [More]

#24

Little Manhattan (2005)
77%

#24
Adjusted Score: 77498%
Critics Consensus: Little Manhattan is a sweet story of young love that provides an enlightening if pragmatic view on love and courtship.
Synopsis: Gabe (Josh Hutcherson), a sixth grader, is partnered with Rosemary (Charlie Ray) in his karate class. Though he's known her... [More]
Directed By: Mark Levin

#23

Matilda (1996)
91%

#23
Adjusted Score: 90550%
Critics Consensus: Danny DeVito-directed version of Matilda is odd, charming, and while the movie diverges from Roald Dahl, it nonetheless captures the book's spirit.
Synopsis: This film adaptation of a Roald Dahl work tells the story of Matilda Wormwood (Mara Wilson), a gifted girl forced... [More]
Directed By: Danny DeVito

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 84737%
Critics Consensus: A magical journey about the power of a young boy's imagination to save a dying fantasy land, The NeverEnding Story remains a much-loved kids adventure.
Synopsis: On his way to school, Bastian (Barret Oliver) ducks into a bookstore to avoid bullies. Sneaking away with a book... [More]
Directed By: Wolfgang Petersen

#21

Paddington 2 (2017)
99%

#21
Adjusted Score: 114244%
Critics Consensus: Paddington 2 honors its star's rich legacy with a sweet-natured sequel whose adorable visuals are matched by a story perfectly balanced between heartwarming family fare and purely enjoyable all-ages adventure.
Synopsis: Settled in with the Brown family, Paddington the bear is a popular member of the community who spreads joy and... [More]
Directed By: Paul King

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 102891%
Critics Consensus: A delightfully postmodern fairy tale, The Princess Bride is a deft, intelligent mix of swashbuckling, romance, and comedy that takes an age-old damsel-in-distress story and makes it fresh.
Synopsis: A fairy tale adventure about a beautiful young woman and her one true love. He must find her after a... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#19

The Sandlot (1993)
64%

#19
Adjusted Score: 68518%
Critics Consensus: It may be shamelessly derivative and overly nostalgic, but The Sandlot is nevertheless a genuinely sweet and funny coming-of-age adventure.
Synopsis: When Scottie Smalls (Thomas Guiry) moves to a new neighborhood, he manages to make friends with a group of kids... [More]
Directed By: David Mickey Evans

#18

Spirited Away (2001)
97%

#18
Adjusted Score: 103728%
Critics Consensus: Spirited Away is a dazzling, enchanting, and gorgeously drawn fairy tale that will leave viewers a little more curious and fascinated by the world around them.
Synopsis: 10-year-old Chihiro (Daveigh Chase) moves with her parents to a new home in the Japanese countryside. After taking a wrong... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki, Kirk Wise

#17

Spy Kids (2001)
93%

#17
Adjusted Score: 96878%
Critics Consensus: A kinetic and fun movie that's sure to thrill children of all ages.
Synopsis: Two young kids become spies in attempt to save their parents, who are ex-spies, from an evil mastermind. Armed with... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

#16
Adjusted Score: 106495%
Critics Consensus: A legendarily expansive and ambitious start to the sci-fi saga, George Lucas opened our eyes to the possibilities of blockbuster filmmaking and things have never been the same.
Synopsis: The Imperial Forces -- under orders from cruel Darth Vader (David Prowse) -- hold Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) hostage, in... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#15
Adjusted Score: 95272%
Critics Consensus: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is strange yet comforting, full of narrative detours that don't always work but express the film's uniqueness.
Synopsis: The last of five coveted "golden tickets" falls into the hands of a sweet but very poor boy. He and... [More]
Directed By: Mel Stuart


Ages 10-12

#14

The 400 Blows (1959)
99%

#14
Adjusted Score: 104357%
Critics Consensus: A seminal French New Wave film that offers an honest, sympathetic, and wholly heartbreaking observation of adolescence without trite nostalgia.
Synopsis: For young Parisian boy Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud), life is one difficult situation after another. Surrounded by inconsiderate adults, including... [More]
Directed By: François Truffaut

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 90881%
Critics Consensus: A warm, family-friendly underdog story, featuring terrific supporting performances from Keke Palmer, Laurence Fishburne, and Angela Bassett.
Synopsis: Akeelah, an 11-year-old girl living in South Los Angeles, discovers she has a talent for spelling, which she hopes will... [More]
Directed By: Doug Atchison

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 99228%
Critics Consensus: Louis Malle's autobiographical tale of a childhood spent in a WWII boarding school is a beautifully realized portrait of friendship and youth.
Synopsis: In 1943, Julien (Gaspard Manesse) is a student at a French boarding school. When three new students arrive, including Jean... [More]
Directed By: Louis Malle

#11

Hugo (2011)
93%

#11
Adjusted Score: 101591%
Critics Consensus: Hugo is an extravagant, elegant fantasy with an innocence lacking in many modern kids' movies, and one that emanates an unabashed love for the magic of cinema.
Synopsis: Orphaned and alone except for an uncle, Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) lives in the walls of a train station in... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 77968%
Critics Consensus: A charming, quirky, and often funny comedy.
Synopsis: In small-town Preston, Idaho, awkward teen Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder) has trouble fitting in. After his grandmother is injured in... [More]
Directed By: Jared Hess

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 89184%
Critics Consensus: Pee-Wee's Big Adventure brings Paul Reubens' famous character to the big screen intact, along with enough inspired silliness to dazzle children of all ages.
Synopsis: Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens), an eccentric child-like man, loves his red bicycle and will not sell it to his envious... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#8

Queen of Katwe (2016)
94%

#8
Adjusted Score: 105042%
Critics Consensus: Queen of Katwe is a feel-good movie of uncommon smarts and passion, and outstanding performances by Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyelowo help to elevate the film past its cliches.
Synopsis: Living in the slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle for 10-year-old Phiona (Madina Nalwanga) and her... [More]
Directed By: Mira Nair

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 101845%
Critics Consensus: Featuring bravura set pieces, sly humor, and white-knuckle action, Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the most consummately entertaining adventure pictures of all time.
Synopsis: Dr. Indiana Jones, a renowned archeologist and expert in the occult, is hired by the U.S. Government to find the... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#6

Romeo and Juliet (1968)
95%

#6
Adjusted Score: 97819%
Critics Consensus: The solid leads and arresting visuals make a case for Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet as the definitive cinematic adaptation of the play.
Synopsis: In the Italian city of Verona, the Montague and the Capulet families are perpetually feuding. When Romeo (Leonard Whiting), a... [More]
Directed By: Franco Zeffirelli

#5

Rudy (1993)
78%

#5
Adjusted Score: 81302%
Critics Consensus: Though undeniably sentimental and predictable, Rudy succeeds with an uplifting spirit and determination.
Synopsis: Rudy Ruettiger (Sean Astin) wants to play football at the University of Notre Dame, but has neither the money for... [More]
Directed By: David Anspaugh

#4
Adjusted Score: 121540%
Critics Consensus: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse matches bold storytelling with striking animation for a purely enjoyable adventure with heart, humor, and plenty of superhero action.
Synopsis: Bitten by a radioactive spider in the subway, Brooklyn teenager Miles Morales suddenly develops mysterious powers that transform him into... [More]

#3

Time Bandits (1981)
90%

#3
Adjusted Score: 93359%
Critics Consensus: Time Bandits is a remarkable time-travel fantasy from Terry Gilliam, who utilizes fantastic set design and homemade special effects to create a vivid, original universe.
Synopsis: Young history buff Kevin (Craig Warnock) can scarcely believe it when six dwarfs emerge from his closet one night. Former... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#2

West Side Story (1961)
92%

#2
Adjusted Score: 104361%
Critics Consensus: Buoyed by Robert Wise's dazzling direction, Leonard Bernstein's score, and Stephen Sondheim's lyrics, West Side Story remains perhaps the most iconic of all the Shakespeare adaptations to visit the big screen.
Synopsis: A musical in which a modern day Romeo and Juliet are involved in New York street gangs. On the harsh... [More]

#1

The Witches (1990)
93%

#1
Adjusted Score: 95659%
Critics Consensus: With a deliciously wicked performance from Angelica Huston and imaginative puppetry by Jim Henson's creature shop, Nicolas Roeg's dark and witty movie captures the spirit of Roald Dahl's writing like few other adaptations.
Synopsis: While staying at a hotel in England with his grandmother, Helga (Mai Zetterling), young Luke (Jasen Fisher) inadvertently spies on... [More]
Directed By: Nicolas Roeg

(Photo by Universal / courtesy Everett Collection)

20 Movies To Watch If You Loved The Breakfast Club

If you’re looking for more movies like The Breakfast Club, you’ve come to the right place, princess. Or criminal. Or basket case. Or whoever you identify with from John Hughes’ timeless high school classic of disaffected youth. If you’re new to school, Hughes was the outsider king of ’80s cinema. The other movies of the era he was involved with — Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty in Pink, and Some Kind of Wonderful — are nearly equal in stature to Breakfast Club.

A lot of high school movies are about partying, and there’s certainly some of those necessary classics in this guide (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Dazed and Confused), but Breakfast Club is beloved for synthesizing the emotional and mental states of those further down the social ladder. A lot of these stories are told from male perspectives, like in broad comedies Weird Science or Better Off Dead, the fight-ready My Bodyguard or Lucas, the sincerely devastating Dead Poets Society, and the bring-on-the-’90s Pump Up the Volume.

Of course, much of the appeal of John Hughes movies is that they aren’t just boys clubs. Thanks to his groundbreaking works, high school cinema opened up for female-centric stories, including the black comedy satire Heathers and the frothy Clueless, which would lead the way into the new century for Mean Girls and The Edge of Seventeen.

The 21st century got its high school outsider poster boy with Napoleon Dynamite in 2004. As the internet became ubiquitous and we became more connected and young people more empathetic (we hope), high school movies evolved into ground zero for a new class of protagonists we wouldn’t have seen even in prior years. For proof, see Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, or the LGBTQ-focused Booksmart and Love, Simon. The movies of John Hughes, who sought to save the hearts and souls of the young before they were sacrificed to society and class hierarchy, helped make these movies possible.

What would you recommend to someone who loved The Breakfast Club? Alex Vo

#20

Weird Science (1985)
56%

#20
Adjusted Score: 57275%
Critics Consensus: Hardly in the same league as John Hughes' other teen movies, the resolutely goofy Weird Science nonetheless gets some laughs via its ridiculous premise and enjoyable performances.
Synopsis: Teen misfits Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) design their ideal woman on a computer, and a freak... [More]
Directed By: John Hughes

#19

Lucas (1986)
73%

#19
Adjusted Score: 73391%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Lucas (Corey Haim) is an unusually bright teenager whose nerdy looks and meek demeanor make him a favorite target for... [More]
Directed By: David Seltzer

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 77968%
Critics Consensus: A charming, quirky, and often funny comedy.
Synopsis: In small-town Preston, Idaho, awkward teen Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder) has trouble fitting in. After his grandmother is injured in... [More]
Directed By: Jared Hess

#17

Better Off Dead (1985)
77%

#17
Adjusted Score: 76030%
Critics Consensus: Better Off Dead is an anarchic mix of black humor and surreal comedy, anchored by John Cusack's winsome, charming performance.
Synopsis: Lane Meyer (John Cusack) is a teen with a peculiar family and a bizarre fixation with his girlfriend, Beth (Amanda... [More]
Directed By: Savage Steve Holland

#16
Adjusted Score: 81338%
Critics Consensus: While Fast Times at Ridgemont High features Sean Penn's legendary performance, the film endures because it accurately captured the small details of school, work, and teenage life.
Synopsis: Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is a pretty, but inexperienced, teen interested in dating. Given advice by her uninhibited friend,... [More]
Directed By: Amy Heckerling

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 83076%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In Arizona, an introverted and insightful teenager, Mark Hunter (Christian Slater), finds an outlet for his viewpoints through a shortwave... [More]
Directed By: Allan Moyle

#14

Clueless (1995)
81%

#14
Adjusted Score: 88148%
Critics Consensus: A funny and clever reshaping of Emma, Clueless offers a soft satire that pokes as much fun at teen films as it does at the Beverly Hills glitterati.
Synopsis: Shallow, rich and socially successful Cher (Alicia Silverstone) is at the top of her Beverly Hills high school's pecking scale.... [More]
Directed By: Amy Heckerling

#13

Pretty in Pink (1986)
73%

#13
Adjusted Score: 78072%
Critics Consensus: Molly Ringwald gives an outstanding performance in this sweet, intelligent teen comedy that takes an ancient premise and injects it with insight and wit.
Synopsis: Andie (Molly Ringwald) is an outcast at her Chicago high school, hanging out either with her older boss (Annie Potts),... [More]
Directed By: Howard Deutch

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 88040%
Critics Consensus: Matthew Broderick charms in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, a light and irrepressibly fun movie about being young and having fun.
Synopsis: Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) has an uncanny skill at cutting classes and getting away with it. Intending to make one... [More]
Directed By: John Hughes

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 76196%
Critics Consensus: Some Kind of Wonderful is above-average '80s teen fare for people who need as much John Hughes in their lives as possible.
Synopsis: Keith Nelson (Eric Stoltz), an artsy high school outcast, tries to land a date with popular girl Amanda Jones (Lea... [More]
Directed By: Howard Deutch

#10
Adjusted Score: 89730%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully scripted and perfectly cast, Me & Earl & the Dying Girl is a coming-of-age movie with uncommon charm and insight.
Synopsis: An awkward high-school senior (Thomas Mann) and a gravely ill classmate (Olivia Cooke) surprise themselves by becoming inseparable friends.... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

#9

My Bodyguard (1980)
81%

#9
Adjusted Score: 83084%
Critics Consensus: T. Bill debuts as an affectionate director, keenly aware of growing pains.
Synopsis: Clifford Peache (Chris Makepeace) is a sensitive, well-to-do teen who becomes the target of bully Melvin Moody (Matt Dillon) after... [More]
Directed By: Tony Bill

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 87539%
Critics Consensus: Affecting performances from the young cast and a genuinely inspirational turn from Robin Williams grant Peter Weir's prep school drama top honors.
Synopsis: A new English teacher, John Keating (Robin Williams), is introduced to an all-boys preparatory school that is known for its... [More]
Directed By: Peter Weir

#7

Mean Girls (2004)
84%

#7
Adjusted Score: 91708%
Critics Consensus: Elevated by a brilliant screenplay and outstanding ensemble cast, Mean Girls finds fresh, female-fronted humor in the high school experience.
Synopsis: Teenage Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) was educated in Africa by her scientist parents. When her family moves to the suburbs... [More]
Directed By: Mark Waters

#6

Sixteen Candles (1984)
81%

#6
Adjusted Score: 83581%
Critics Consensus: Significantly more mature than the teen raunch comedies that defined the era, Sixteen Candles is shot with compassion and clear respect for its characters and their hang-ups.
Synopsis: With the occasion all but overshadowed by her sister's upcoming wedding, angst-ridden Samantha (Molly Ringwald) faces her 16th birthday with... [More]
Directed By: John Hughes

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 95707%
Critics Consensus: Featuring an excellent ensemble cast, a precise feel for the 1970s, and a killer soundtrack, Dazed and Confused is a funny, affectionate, and clear-eyed look at high school life.
Synopsis: This coming-of-age film follows the mayhem of group of rowdy teenagers in Austin, Texas, celebrating the last day of high... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater

#4

Love, Simon (2018)
92%

#4
Adjusted Score: 105540%
Critics Consensus: Love, Simon hits its coming-of-age beats more deftly than many entries in this well-traveled genre -- and represents an overdue, if not entirely successful, milestone of inclusion.
Synopsis: Everyone deserves a great love story, but for 17-year-old Simon Spier, it's a little more complicated. He hasn't told his... [More]
Directed By: Greg Berlanti

#3

Heathers (1989)
93%

#3
Adjusted Score: 96068%
Critics Consensus: Dark, cynical, and subversive, Heathers gently applies a chainsaw to the conventions of the high school movie -- changing the game for teen comedies to follow.
Synopsis: Veronica (Winona Ryder) is part of the most popular clique at her high school, but she disapproves of the other... [More]
Directed By: Michael Lehmann

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 107815%
Critics Consensus: The Edge of Seventeen's sharp script -- and Hailee Steinfeld's outstanding lead performance -- make this more than just another coming-of-age dramedy.
Synopsis: Everyone knows that growing up is hard, and life is no easier for high school junior Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld), who... [More]
Directed By: Kelly Fremon Craig

#1

Booksmart (2019)
96%

#1
Adjusted Score: 120207%
Critics Consensus: Fast-paced, funny, and fresh, Booksmart does the seemingly impossible by adding a smart new spin to the coming-of-age comedy.
Synopsis: Academic overachievers Amy and Molly thought keeping their noses to the grindstone gave them a leg up on their high... [More]
Directed By: Olivia Wilde

Why did they make God’s Not Dead 2? The divine hand of the free market christened the original God’s Not Dead with a $60 million box office tally, and against its $2 million budget, that makes it one of the most profitable movies ever in these United States. So, sweet Jesus, of course they would make a sequel! And that inspires this week’s gallery: the 24 most profitable low-budget (under $5 million) movies ever (in America)!

One’s a deadly MI6 agent. The other’s a football hooligan with a mod Lloyd Christmas haircut. Together, they’re The Brothers Grimsby, opening Friday and inspiring this week’s 24 Frames gallery: the best and worst movie brothers!

The stars of Napoleon Dynamite reunited Thursday at Comic-Con International for a preview of Fox’s upcoming animated series based on the hit 2004 comedy.

Producer Mike Scully (The Simpsons) led a discussion that featured returning cast members Jon Heder (Napoleon), Tina Majorino (Deb), Efren Ramirez (Pedro), Jon Gries (Uncle Rico), Sandy Martin (Grandma), Diedrich Bader (Rex) and Aaron Ruell (Kip).

Following introductions, Scully tried desperately to play a voicemail from the movie’s co-director Jared Hess, and after several failed attempts handed his phone to a presumed tech-savvy Heder. Scully eventually resorted to summarizing the message from Hess, a producer on the series, who had sent his blessings while he is filming in Europe.

The discussion began with questions about how the series developed, and why the producers and network settled on the animated route. Scully explained that, following the success of Napoleon Dynamite, Fox had asked for a sequel. Hess, who wrote and directed the film with his wife Jerusha, had expressed interest in venturing into animation, keeping in line with his vision of doing something completely different with the property.

“A lot of movies can’t make the transition into animation,” Scully said. “Schindler’s List would be one. But Napoleon Dynamite… the characters were so unique, and the voices were so special and the world was so much fun, we really thought it could make the leap [that] we started working on it.”

Majorino confessed the transition to animation voice work initially made her uneasy. “The reason why I was so nervous is because you’re going to do things with people like Diedrich who had done it before,” she said. “It’s really exciting to try new things that you haven’t done before, but I wanted to get it right and be true to Deb. It was just a little nerve-wracking.”

A confessed Shakespearian actor, Ramirez discussed how he arrived at his take on Pedro, saying he “combined Buster Keaton and my ex-girlfriend’s dog together.” He also said that he had double-booked Napoleon Dynamite with another, larger unnamed feature. Having a passion for the material, Ramirez said he turned down the other job.

Heder talked about his relationship with Jared Hess led to their involvement with the film. Heder said he had never really acted and was studying animation when he and Hess made Peluca, the short film on which Napoleon Dynamite is based. “We shot that little short, and it blew up in the college world, and then Jared said, ‘Hey, let’s make a feature,'” Heder said.

Once the cast ceased their praise of the movie and the animated series, Scully premiered some never-before-seen clips and teasers that drew virtually nonstop laughter from the audience.

He then announced that Napoleon Dynamite will feature a host of guest stars, including Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords), Amy Poehler (Saturday Night Live) and Sam Rockwell (Moon). After the panel, Scully divulged to CBR News that the series will introduce romantic interests for Napoleon and Kip, and that there will be an episode that pits the two against each other for the affections of a girl.

Napoleon Dynamite premieres in January on Fox.

The original version of this story ran here.

[rtimage]siteImageId=10244861[/rtimage]

Written by Brian J. Dagget for Comic Book Resources.

For more stories, head over to the CBR Comic-Con 2011 page.

Effortlessly proving that Hollywood has officially run out of new ideas … production is about to get underway on that "Revenge of the Nerds" remake we’ve been hearing about. Can a remake of "Private School" be far behind?

From Variety: "On Oct. 9, filming begins in Atlanta on "Revenge of the Nerds," a reimagining of the 1984 cult comedy being produced by McG and his Wonderland Sound & Vision partner David Manpearl.

Christopher Marquette ("Fanboys," "The Girl Next Door") and Kristin Cavallari (formerly of the MTV series "Laguna Beach") have been cast in the film. Marquette will play the leader of the nerds, and Cavallari a sorority girl alongside Katie Cassidy (the forthcoming "Dallas"). Also newly cast in the pic are Dan Byrd ("The Hills Have Eyes") and Efren Ramirez ("Napoleon Dynamite").

Kyle Newman
directs the pic."

Thoughts?

Ashton Kutcher fans get two chances to see (or hear) their favorite star this weekend as the Hollywood prankster takes on reigning box office champ "Jackass: Number Two" by voicing a mule deer in the animated comedy "Open Season" and going up against Kevin Costner in the action drama "The Guardian."

Also opening nationally is the Billy Bob ThorntonJon Heder comedy "School For Scoundrels" while some potential Oscar contenders debut in the arthouses.

Hollywood’s umpteenth computer-animated feature film of the year hits multiplexes on Friday in the form of "Open Season." The PG-rated pic features the voices of Martin Lawrence and Kutcher and finds a domesticated grizzly bear being dropped into the wilderness right before the start of hunting season. Young kids usually eat up these fish-out-of-water comedy toons and this Sony release should play to the same family audience. The target demographic has had an endless line of movies this year featuring talking animals getting into wacky situations, but since the current marketplace is lacking any major offering for children, "Open Season" should score as the first animated hit of the new school year. The studio is saturating the market with screens giving the film the fourth widest bow ever for a non-DreamWorks toon, and the second widest in Sony history for any film after 2004’s webslinger sequel. With no competition and solid funnyman starpower behind the mics, a strong number one bow could result. "Open Season" makes its way into 3,833 theaters and may debut with around $24M this weekend.


Ashton Kutcher, in his other film, "Open Season."

For those who would rather see the "Punk’d" star’s face, Buena Vista sets sail with its Coast Guard thriller "The Guardian" which finds Kutcher playing a young and cocky swimming champ who butts heads with his unorthodox teacher played by Kevin Costner. Directed by Andrew Davis ("The Fugitive," "Collateral Damage"), the PG-13 film has broad appeal with each star pulling in his respective generation. Cross-gender appeal is also present with the military-like storyline doing the job for males and the hunky actors attracting the ladies. Disney offered successful sneak previews two weeks ago to get some word-of-mouth spreading before the official debut. The studio will try to lure in the same audience that spent a solid $22.1M on the John TravoltaJoaquin Phoenix firefighter drama "Ladder 49" two autumns ago. Launching in over 3,000 theaters, "The Guardian" might debut with about $18M.


Kevin Costner to the rescue in "The Guardian."

Following his commercial success with the male-driven comedy hits "Road Trip," "Old School," and "Starsky & Hutch," Todd Phillips returns to theaters with "School for Scoundrels" which finds Billy Bob Thornton squaring off against "Napoleon Dynamite"’s Jon Heder for the affection of a young gal. MGM’s PG-13 film about an awkward young misfit who enlists the help of an expert on getting the ladies should aim for an audience of teens and young adults, plus fans of the "Bad Santa" star’s rogue ways. Starpower is not very high here. Films anchored by the former Mr. Jolie usually don’t explode on opening weekend as evidenced by the recent debuts of "The Bad News Bears" ($11.4M), "The Ice Harvest" ($3.7M), and "The Alamo" ($9.1M). Competition for young males will be tough, but if "School" can connect with teen girls as a funny romantic comedy, then it has a chance of doing some respectable numbers. Opening in over 3,000 theaters, "School for Scoundrels" might debut with about $12M.


Thornton, Heder, and that Real World chick again in "School For Scoundrels."

Some high profile indies pop into limited release this weekend. Fox Searchlight launched its Idi Amin pic "The Last King of Scotland" in four theaters on Wednesday in New York and Los Angeles and has already been receiving early Oscar buzz for Forest Whitaker‘s portrayal of the Ugandan dictator. Coincidentally, a year ago this same weekend, "Capote" debuted and fueled its own Best Actor buzz which sustained itself throughout awards season leading to a trophy for Philip Seymour Hoffman. Reviews for "Scotland" have been good and for Whitaker, have been electric.


Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland."

Miramax gets its Oscar campaign going, but for the Best Actress prize, with its Helen Mirren film "The Queen" which opens in New York City on Saturday after it officially opens the New York Film Festival on Friday evening. Mirren has already taken home the top actress prize at the Venice Film Festival for her role as Queen Elizabeth II in the dark days after the death of Princess Diana. The PG-13 film is directed by Stephen Frears ("Mrs. Henderson Presents," "Dangerous Liaisons") and has ranked number two at the U.K. box office for the last two weeks.

First Look Studios takes audiences back to Queens in 1986 with its coming-of-age drama "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints" which stars Robert Downey Jr., Chazz Palminteri, Shia LaBeouf, Dianne Wiest, Channing Tatum, and Rosario Dawson. The R-rated film won awards for Best Director and Best Ensemble at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and bows in New York and Los Angeles on Friday.

Last weekend, "Jackass: Number Two" flexed its muscles at the box office with a better-than-expected $29M launch. The Paramount film’s predecessor dropped 44% in its second weekend in the fall of 2002, but the sequel may drop harder. A 50% decline would still give the Johnny Knoxville flick about $15M for the weekend and a strong ten-day cume of $51M.

Jet Li‘s "Fearless" also drew upon a built-in audience of young men last weekend setting itself up for a sizable sophomore drop. The Focus title might also lose half of its business and take in roughly $5M. That would give the martial arts saga $18M after ten days. Sony’s "Gridiron Gang" held up well last weekend despite tough competition. Another 35% fall could be in order giving The Rock a $6M frame and a $34M total after 17 days.

LAST YEAR: For the second straight weekend, Jodie Foster‘s airline thriller "Flightplan" topped the box office with $14.8M dropping only 40% from its bow. Opening in second place was the sci-fi actioner "Serenity" which grossed $10.1M on its way to $25.4M for Universal. Warner Bros. followed close behind with $10M for its animated comedy "Corpse Bride." The revenge thriller "A History of Violence" expanded nationally and placed fourth with $8.1M and a solid $6,047 average which was the best in the whole Top 20. Opening in fifth was the Jessica-Alba-in-a-bikini pic "Into the Blue" with only $7.1M leading to a weak $18.5M final for Sony. Disney debuted its historical golf drama "The Greatest Game Ever Played" to the tune of $3.7M. A $15.3M final gross resulted.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week at the movies, we’ve got jive talking woodland creatures ("Open Season," with Martin Lawrence and Ashton Kutcher). We’ve got a school for Coast Guard rescue swimmers ("The Guardian," starring Kevin Coster and Kutcher again). And we’ve got a school…for scoundrels ("School for Scoundrels," starring Billy Bob Thornton and Jon Heder). Which of these flicks will get a passing grade from critics?

"Open Season," Sony Pictures Animation’s first picture, features the voices of Martin Lawrence and Ashton Kutcher as a grizzly bear and a deer, respectively, who must team up after getting stranded in the woods at the start of hunting season. Critics say that despite some impressive visuals and funny sequences, "Open Season" does little to distinguish itself from the recent glut of CG kiddie films. At 43 percent on the Tomatometer, you should turn, turn, turn away from this middling "Season."


Martin Bear: "Say it, Ashton. Say I was funny on Martin!"
Ashton Deer: "I’m Ashton Kutcher! I was on That 70’s Show!"

Kevin Costner makes a hopeful return to the action genre in "The Guardian," in which he plays a veteran U.S. Coast Guard officer who must mentor a cocky young upstart played by Ashton Kutcher. The film features intense training sequences, dramatic rescue scenes, and the requisite love story. Sound familiar? Critics seem to think so, calling it a cliched mix of "An Officer and a Gentleman" and "Top Gun," with a predictable storyline. At 40 percent on the Tomatometer, "The Guardian" needs rescuing.


"Oh, man… Finally, a funny ‘Waterworld‘ joke!"

Director Todd Phillips brings us his latest comedy "School for Scoundrels," about a nerdy meter maid (Jon Heder) who takes confidence building classes from a smarmy instructor (Billy Bob Thornton). When the student gains the confidence to ask out his longtime crush, he discovers he must compete with the teacher for her affections. Most critics are in agreement that the real scoundrels are the screenwriters who couldn’t devise a script worthy of the considerable acting talent involved. At 21 percent on the Tomatometer, "School for Scoundrels" receives a failing grade.


Jon Heder’s got to worry about more than just talons these days.

Also opening this week in limited release: "The Queen," a speculative drama about the reaction of Britain’s royal family after the death of Princess Di starring Helen Mirren, is at 95 percent on the Tomatometer; "The Last King of Scotland," which features an electrifying performance from Forrest Whitaker as the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, is at 86 percent; "Be With Me," a three part meditation on love, hope, and destiny, is at 80 percent; "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints," a coming-of-age story starring Robert Downey Jr., is at 77 percent; and "loudQUIETloud: A Film About the Pixies," which chronicles the triumphant reunion tour of the influential cult band, is at 60 percent.

Recent Ashton Kutcher Movies:
—————————————-
80% — Bobby (2006)
39% — A Lot Like Love (2005)
44% — Guess Who (2005)
33% — The Butterfly Effect (2004)
19% — Just Married (2003)

Recent Billy Bob Thornton Movies:
——————————————
46% — The Ice Harvest (2005)
46% — The Bad News Bears (2005)
79% — Chrystal (2004)
82% — Friday Night Lights (2004)
30% — The Alamo (2004)

Recent Kevin Costner Movies:
————————————–
18% — Rumor Has It… (2005)
73% — The Upside of Anger (2004)
79% — Open Range (2003)
8% — Dragonfly (2002)
13% — 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001)

Recent Jon Heder Movies:
———————————-
73% — Monster House (2006)
11% — The Benchwarmers (2006)
56% — Just Like Heaven (2005)
71% — Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

After welcoming in four new wide releases per week for seven straight weekends, the North American box office slows it down a bit on Friday with only one saturation release and a pair of moderate national bows.

Sony courts the teen horror crowd with its supernatural thriller "The Covenant." Meanwhile, Focus targets mature adults with the crime thriller "Hollywoodland" and The Weinstein Co. goes after the action audience with the martial arts pic "The Protector." With a slate of Labor Day weekend pics coming off of their lukewarm holiday performances, the overall marketplace is sure to be sluggish and could slump to its lowest point of the year.

Four prep school dudes learn of their ancestral powers and stir up some evil in the new teen chiller "The Covenant." Sort of a "Lost Boys" for today’s youth, the PG-13 film will target the horror audience as well as the back-to-school date crowd. Renny Harlin, who has seen highs with "Die Hard 2" and lows with "Cutthroat Island," directs. "Covenant" should play primarily to teens and young adults and Sony has a strong track record when it comes to attracting that crowd with these kinds of films. Last fall, the studio scored a big hit with "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" which bowed this very weekend with $30.1M, but saw more modest results with "The Fog" which opened in October with $11.8M. Each one still hit the top of the charts. The marketing push on "Covenant" has not been too fierce so a debut closer to "Fog’s" is likely. Competition for teens is not very strong at the moment so many should pick this for their weekend moviegoing choice. Attacking 2,681 theaters, "The Covenant" could scare up around $11M in ticket sales this weekend.


More teen-horror hijinks in "The Covenant"

Academy Award winner Adrien Brody plays a not-so-super sleuth in the 1950s who investigates the suicide death of Superman actor George Reeves in the new crime thriller "Hollywoodland." The R-rated Focus release also stars Diane Lane, Ben Affleck, and Bob Hoskins. After last year’s dominance at the Oscars by numerous indie flicks, "Hollywoodland" tries to get the awards season started early by getting a headstart over some of the fall’s other promising non-studio films. The casting of the "Gigli" star as the Man of Steel, however, might diminish its chances a bit as many industry voters won’t be able to help but snicker when the daredevil himself comes on screen. Mature adults will be the target audience and women might outnumber the guys by a small margin. The film’s subject matter will certainly be intriguing for film industry folks, but it will be a tougher sell to mainstream moviegoers. "Hollywoodland" will have to reach its audience in a hurry as parent company Universal will target the exact same crowd with its ensemble-driven period crime mystery "The Black Dahlia" a week later. Debuting in moderate national release in 1,548 theaters, "Hollywoodland" might capture about $8M this weekend.


Adrien Brody gets rough while investigating the death of tv’s Superman

The "Quentin Tarantino Presents" marketing technique is back once again with the Thai martial arts pic "The Protector" starring Tony Jaa. The R-rated film from The Weinstein Co. finds the acrobatic action star seeking revenge on those who wronged his people. Jaa’s "Ong Bak" made a moderate splash at the North American box office last year when it opened to $1.3M from 387 theaters for a mild $3,449 average on its way to a $4.6M domestic take. A year and a half later, more American action fans know of Jaa, though he’s still far from a sizable draw. Two years ago, the Weinsteins saw stellar results when using the "Pulp Fiction" director’s
name in the marketing of Jet Li‘s "Hero" which ended up topping the box office for two straight weeks on its way to a $53.6M gross. Lionsgate also used the QT tactic to drive in business for its horror pic "Hostel" last January which also bowed in the top spot. "Protector" will appeal mostly to young men who love martial arts and crossover to other groups is unlikely. The second weekend of "Crank" will draw upon many of the same folks so competition will be tough. Fighting its way into around 1,400 theaters, "The Protector" might kick up about $6M this weekend.


Tony Jaa, doing his own stunts, in "The Protector"

More independent films open in New York on Friday hoping to expand further around the country in coming weeks. Polychrome Pictures debuts the Asian American pic "Red Doors" in a pair of Manhattan locations. The dysfunctional family pic won the top prize at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Film Philos goes into one solo house with the coffee cart vendor drama "Man Push Cart" which world premiered at Sundance last winter.

"Invincible‘s" undefeated season should come to an end this weekend as the Disney sports drama enters its third outing. A 40% decline would see the Mark Wahlberg pic gross around $7M pushing the 17-day cume to $47M. After a second place bow over the weekend, the Lionsgate actioner "Crank" pumped itself up to the top spot on Tuesday with solid midweek business. Jason Statham saw his "Transporter 2" fall 55% a year ago when it came off of its Labor Day debut. "Crank" could see a slightly smaller drop. A 50% tumble would give the poison pic roughly $5M for the sophomore frame and a ten-day sum of $20M.

Nicolas Cage‘s "The Wicker Man" did not make too much of a dent at the box office last weekend. A 45% drop to around $5M seems likely giving Warner Bros. only $19M in ten days. Indie sensation "Little Miss Sunshine" should step back a bit after a strong Labor Day frame and could slide 30% to $5M as well. That would lift the cume for the year’s most recommended film to $42M making it the fifth biggest hit in company history for Fox Searchlight after "Sideways" ($71.5M), "The Full Monty" ($45.9M), "28 Days Later" ($45.1M), and "Napoleon Dynamite" ($44.5M). In another week, it will vault to number two for the Fox subsidiary.

LAST YEAR: Sony scored a huge surprise winner with the suspense thriller "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" which bowed bigger than expected with a hefty $30.1M grossing more than the next five films combined. The fright flick went on to scare up a sturdy $75.1M. Comedy sensation "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" followed in second with $7.7M in its fourth date while "Transporter 2" fell from first to third with $7.4M. The political drama "The Constant Gardener" and the airline thriller "Red Eye" rounded out the top five with $4.7M and $4.5M, respectively. Samuel L. Jackson debuted poorly in sixth with his action-comedy "The Man" which took in a weak $4.1M on its way to just $8.3M for New Line.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

The summer movie season comes to an official end with the Labor Day holiday weekend unleashing three new releases plus the national expansion of a fourth.

Lionsgate offers the action crowd "Crank," Warner Bros. provides the suspense thriller "The Wicker Man," Sony takes a shot with the basketball drama "Crossover," and Yari Film Group goes nationwide with its period thriller "The Illusionist." Each is hoping that current champ "Invincible" will fumble the ball. The summer-ending frame is often a time when moviegoers catch up on hit films they haven’t seen yet so notable holdovers could see their four-day grosses grow beyond their three-day takes from last weekend. Overall, the marketplace remains overcrowded with too many films fighting to get a slice of the box office pie.

British action star Jason Statham attacks the U.S. for the second Labor Day weekend in a row with his latest pic "Crank." Co-starring Amy Smart, the Lionsgate release sees the actor playing a poisoned hitman who must keep his adrenaline up in order to stay alive. Unlike his PG-13 "Transporter" flicks, "Crank" carries a more restrictive R rating which could narrow its target audience. It’s been a tough summer for R-rated action films with movies like "Snakes on a Plane" and "Miami Vice" both underperforming. But if there’s any distributor who can successfully target young adult males with these types of films with intriguing concepts, it’s the "Saw" studio.


Jason Statham showing off his dramatic range

"Snakes" was the only pure action film in the top ten last weekend so competition for "Crank" may not be too fierce. Statham has seen his starpower grow in the last couple of years and that might benefit his latest pic too. Still, the marquees are jam packed with choices this weekend so it will be tough to fight off other films and convince moviegoers that their time and money should be best spent here. A year ago this weekend, "Transporter 2" opened at number one with a four-day tally of $20.1M. However, that Fox pic was a sequel, had a less restrictive rating, and bowed in 900 more theaters. Given "Crank’s" debut in about 2,400 locations, it could end up with around $13M over the long Friday-to-Monday period.

With his twin towers drama still in the top ten, Nicolas Cage hits the big screen for the second time in a month with the psychological thriller "The Wicker Man." The PG-13 film stars the Oscar-winning actor as a cop investigating a cult while looking for a missing girl. Labor Day weekend has been a good time for creepy thrillers, especially for ones that appeal to high school and college students like the "Jeepers Creepers" pics. "Wicker Man’s" rating will help its cause, but whether it can excite teens will determine how big it can become. With a half-dozen production companies, six producers, and seven executive producers all involved, it’s hard to say if this is really director Neil LaBute‘s film. Warner Bros. has given "Wicker" a decent marketing push, but it has not become a must-see thriller. A marketplace flooded with pictures will provide plenty of competition for adults and this one will have to work extra hard to stand out in the crowd. Ending a disappointing summer for the studio, "The Wicker Man" bows in over 2,500 theaters and could scare up around $12M over the four-day period.


Nicolas Cage and Ellen Burstyn in "The Wicker Man"

Sony goes after the urban youth audience with its new basketball drama "Crossover" which finds two young streetballers competing in the world of underground hoops. The PG-13 film is getting a moderate release in 1,023 theaters which will limit its potential, however a solid per-theater average could result. Compared to reigning box office champ "Invincible," this new sports drama will attract a much more ethnic audience and should play primarily to teens and young adults. "Idlewild" will provide some competition for African American moviegoers, however the OutKast pic is playing to an older audience. With Anthony Mackie, Wesley Jonathan, and Wayne Brady heading up the cast, "Crossover" does not offer up much starpower. But it could be a short-term choice for the back-to-school crowd in urban markets. Over the Friday-to-Monday holiday span, "Crossover" might shoot up about $5M.


The first rule of underground streetball is…

After two weeks of strong results in limited release, the period mystery "The Illusionist" expands wide from 144 theaters to approximately 1,000 sites across North America. One of the summer’s best-reviewed films, the Edward NortonPaul Giamatti drama opened in 51 theaters with a powerful $18,195 average and widened on its second frame scoring a still-potent $12,745 average. Glowing praise from critics and solid word-of-mouth could help sell "The Illusionist" to moviegoers who would not ordinarily buy tickets to a film with these stars. Competition will be tough, though. For only the second time all year, ten films surpassed $5M last weekend and most are looking to remain relevant over the holiday session. "The Illusionist" could capture the same amount over four days this weekend pushing its cume to about $9M.


Those illusionists get all the chicks

More new movies enter into limited release on Friday. IFC Films unveils the documentary "This Film is Not Yet Rated" in exclusive engagements in New York and Los Angeles. The unrated film (it was given an NC-17, but is going out with no official rating) explores the mystery behind the movie ratings system as determined by the Motion Picture Association of America. Writer/director Ed Burns returns to theaters as a private investigator searching for a missing woman in "Looking for Kitty." The R-rated drama is being released in one solo New York house by ThinkFilm.

Last weekend, Mark Wahlberg‘s football drama "Invincible" scored a number one opening and was the only film to attract more than $10M in ticket sales over the frame. Word of mouth has been good and the Disney release would like nothing more than to land another win over the holiday session. The four-day gross might see only a small drop from last weekend’s three-day bow. A decline to about $15M would give "Invincible" a total of $38M after 11 days.

Labor Day weekend has historically been a great time for hot late-summer indie films to reach out to broader audiences and "Little Miss Sunshine" hopes to be the latest one to capitalize on its buzz. Four-day increases over the previous three-day weekends in recent years have included 17% for "March of the Penguins" last year, 35% for "Garden State" in 2004, 80% for "Napoleon Dynamite" that same year, and a whopping 104% for "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" in 2002. That PG-rated blockbuster added about 300 theaters over the holiday frame while the R-rated "Sunshine" will only increase its current count of 1,430 by a hundred or so. The Fox Searchlight hit could charm about $9.5M from ticket buyers over the long weekend and boost its cume to $36M.

LAST YEAR Jason Statham ruled the Labor Day weekend box office with the number one opening of his action sequel "Transporter 2" which grossed $20.1M over four days. The Fox hit went on to collect $43.1M. The comedy sensation "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" slipped to second place with $16.5M over four days displaying another great hold in its third frame. Debuting in third with $11M was the thriller "The Constant Gardener" from Focus which went on to gross $33.6M and become a major awards contender. Rounding out the top five were the DreamWorks suspense flick "Red Eye" with $9.4M and Miramax’s adventure pic "The Brothers Grimm" with $9M. Two new films opened with weak results outside of the top ten. Miramax’s "Underclassman" bowed to $3.1M on its way to $5.7M while Warner Bros. took in just $1.2M for "A Sound of Thunder" leading to only a $1.9M final.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week at the movies, we’ve got wrestlers ("Nacho Libre"), Tokyo drifters ("The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift"), time-delayed lovers ("The Lake House"), and lasagna-loving felines ("Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties"). What do the critics have to say?

I’m sure I speak for much of humanity when I say that each time I see Jack Black in a wrestling outfit on the posters for "Nacho Libre," I chuckle to myself. Heartily. The critics, who’ve actually seen the movie, have been a little less charitable. Black stars as a man who becomes a wrestler to raise money for orphans who live in the monastery where he grew up. While some critics say the film has its share of laughs, others say the sophomore effort of Jared ("Napoleon Dynamite") Hess is the very definition of sophomoric. At 49 percent on the Tomatometer, this "Nacho" is only sort of tasty. And it’s nowhere near "Dynamite" (71 percent).


"Nacho Libre:" Let’s get ready to rumble!

In the third installment of the "Fast and the Furious" franchise, a new collection of thrill seekers head to Japan to engage in "drifting," that exciting brand of motorsport that values oversteering. Let’s be honest: Nobody is going to this one for anything but action, nifty driving, and other assorted cheap thrills (this ain’t "Two-Lane Blacktop"). And even utilizing those limited criteria, "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" only attains a modest amount of success. The critics say that while the driving sequences are reasonably cool, the characters are about as well-crafted as a pinewood-derby cart that ends up in a ditch. It’s currently at 41 percent on the Tomatometer, trailing the original "F&F" (at 50 percent).


"Tokyo Drift": Faster and furious to an even greater degree

There are a lot of reasons relationships don’t work out. Sometimes couples live too far apart, or have vastly different schedules. But what about a couple communicating across a two-year time difference — can this relationship be saved? Unfortunately for "The Lake House," starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, the answer appears to be no. The critics say the film’s premise (it’s a remake of the 2002 Korean film "Il Mare") is not necessarily a bad idea, but the execution is off; the film is neither effective as a romance or as a metaphysical puzzle. At 32 percent on the Tomatometer, this "House" looks like a fixer-upper. And how does it compare with "Speed," the last Reeves/Bullock collabo? Do you even need to ask?


"I should probably tell you that I’m taking the bus because I had my driver’s license revoked."

The scribes’ response to "Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties" has prompted Critical Consensus to paraphrase from Charles Dickens‘ "A Tale of Two Cities": "[The critics] looked at [Garfield] sideways with a stronger concentration of keenness, closeness, and dislike, than was comportable with its wearer’s assumption of indifference." The operative words here are "indifference" and "dislike," as critics say "Garfield" wastes a talented voice cast (Bill Murray, Bob Hoskins, Tim Curry) in a dull, relatively laugh-free plot. At 17 percent on the Tomatometer, the scribes have one thing to say: Bad "Kitties!" (By the way, the original was at 13 percent.)


"Garfield:" Let’s get ready to rumble… again!

Also this week, in limited release: "Wordplay," a doc about New York Times crossword puzzle editor Will Shortz, is at 89 percent; G.W. Pabst‘s silent classic "Pandora’s Box," starring the staggeringly beautiful Louise Brooks, is at 83 percent; the gritty Brazilian love triangle "Lower City" is at 57 percent; the gay cult-fave comic strip adaptation "The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green" is at 33 percent; and Kevin Bacon‘s second directorial effort, "Loverboy," is at 14 percent.

Movies with the Words "Fast" and "Furious" in their titles:
———————————————————————–
38% — 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
50% — The Fast and the Furious (2001)
N/A — The Fast and the Furious (1954)

Recent Jack Black Movies:
———————————
84% — King Kong (2005)
6% — Envy (2004)
35% — Shark Tale (2004)
90% — School of Rock (2003)
49% — Orange County (2002)

Reunion fever hits the multiplexes this weekend as four new releases debut bringing together a lot of familiar faces.

Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock reunite in the romantic drama The Lake House which will play to adult women, while Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties reassembles the cast of the first film in a new British adventure aimed at families. Another sequel taking a successful formula and transplanting it into another country is the action pic The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift which hopes to entice young guys. But the one new film which could flex the most muscle is Jack Black‘s wrestling comedy Nacho Libre which also will be attacking younger boys. With six films reaching double-digit millions last weekend, and four new potent entries opening on Friday, the marketplace will certainly be crowded.

Fresh from his battle with the eighth wonder of the world, Jack Black returns to his bread and butter with the new Paramount comedy Nacho Libre. The PG-rated film is directed by Jared Hess, who helmed the 2004 sleeper hit Napoleon Dynamite, and sees Black playing a cook who moonlights as a masked grappler south of the border. Shooting directly for immature adolescents, Nacho is purely a marketing-driven film for summer kids. Rather than spend its time and money opening the door for hundreds of critics to pan the pic early on, Paramount has instead chosen to put all its force behind its advertising campaign and is so confident in the excitement it has been building, it is launching the film early on Thursday night with 10pm showtimes at select theaters across the country. Since the movie skews younger, the earlier time should make it more accessible than the standard midnight shows.

Black certainly can shine in the comedy genre as evidenced by his 2003 hit School of Rock which opened at number one with $19.6M on its way to a robust $81.3M. Plus with Viacom sibling Nickelodeon adding its promotional muscle, and school children starting their summer vacations and looking for mindless entertainment to rot their brains, Nacho could be the hot item on the menu. Older boys may be distracted by the Fast and the Furious sequel this weekend which could put a limit on how high Nacho can fly. Plus the Disney/Pixar hit Cars is only in its second weekend so competition for kids will be fierce. Body slamming its foes in over 2,800 theaters, Nacho Libre might pin down about $24M over the weekend.

Universal kicks in the nitrous oxide for a third time in its street racing actioner The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Ditching all the major stars of the first two installments (sort of), this PG-13 entry takes the tough-guy-likes-to-race-and-be-cool formula and moves the setting to Japan where an American must learn the local style of racing in order to score some street cred. Paul Walker who starred in the original 2001 surprise blockbuster and the very successful 2003 follow-up 2 Fast 2 Furious is nowhere to be found. Instead, the lead role is taken by Lucas Black (Friday Night Lights, Jarhead) while the rapper-turned-actor slot filled previously by Ja Rule and Ludacris now gets passed on to Bow Wow (Like Mike, Roll Bounce). With little starpower, concept will have to sell here.

Since Drift is the third dip into the same well, and with the recognizable stars from before not starring again, some fans of the previous films will wait for this one on a "tricked out" DVD. Young guys are the core audience here and with schools letting out for the summer, many will give Drift a chance hoping it will be a summer thrill ride. Acting and writing score pretty low in this one, but the target audience is not likely to care too much since there is an abundance of hot cars and hot babes. But Nacho Libre could put a dent in the grosses since it will be stealing away many of the same young males this weekend. Tokyo Drift is not likely to reach the openings of the first two Furious pics which bowed to $40.1M and $50.5M, respectively. Speeding into 3,027 locations, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift may cross the finish line with around $21M.

Twelve years and one week after they crashed into theaters in Speed, Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock reteam but this time in a romantic drama starring in The Lake House. A remake of the Korean film Il Mare, the PG-rated film tells the story of a man and woman, two years apart in time, who communicate with each other through the mailbox of a lake house and fall in love. Sci-fi and romance don’t snuggle up too often, so this Warner Bros. release prides itself on a story that has a unique twist to it. But it’s really the starpower that will drive sales for The Lake House. These actors look good together and mature adults will be sold. In some ways, Lake House resembles the Al Pacino-Robert De Niro actioner Heat in that moviegoers will be drawn in by two leads who hardly share any actual screen time together. But that shouldn’t matter to Speed freaks everywhere who would love to see Reeves and Bullock back together again without a looney Dennis Hopper trying to blow them up.

Adult women will overwhelmingly make up the audience here. Lake House should play to the same crowd that came out for two other star-driven films aimed at older women in the first half of the summer of 2002. The Richard GereDiane Lane drama Unfaithful opened to $14.1M and a $5,383 average in May while Bullock’s Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood debuted to $16.2M and a $6,449 average a month later. Many of the same folks will hit theaters this weekend. Competition will come from The Break-Up which also has been skewing heavily female although Cars will be a factor as well since it has been pulling in moms with small children. Given the ages of the stars, Lake House should also do well with twentysomething single women too. Opening in 2,645 theaters, The Lake House could open with about $17M this weekend.

Breckin Meyer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and the vocal chords of Bill Murray reunite for the family comedy Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties. The PG-rated film is the sequel to Fox’s Garfield: The Movie which was a solid hit two years ago when it opened to $21.7M on its way to $75.4M domestically and nearly $200M worldwide. With strong international sales, and further success on video and television, the studio decided that a sequel could bring in more profits. This new tale finds everyone’s favorite fat cat going to England where he is mistaken for a local feline who is royalty. The studio has had a tough problem finding the right release date. Garfield was originally scheduled to open next Friday, one week ahead of Superman Returns, but was moved up one week and now must face the sophomore frame of Cars which is already doing brisk biz with the exact same audience.

While the first film was successful, it did not become the type of pop culture smash that had fans demanding more. Fox’s best bet might be with families that already came out to see the Pixar toon. Long-term success may also be tough since kids of all ages will have interest in seeing the Man of Steel. The studio’s marketing push has been commendable and there is somewhat of a built-in fan base the film will tap into. But it may find itself on the same path as the Scooby Doo sequel which went on to gross 45% less than its predecessor. Opening in over 2,900 theaters, Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties might debut with around $14M this weekend.

Opening in a pair of New York sites is the IFC Films release Wordplay, a documentary that looks at The New York Times crossword puzzles and the celebs that just can’t get enough of them. The PG-rated film played at the Sundance and Tribeca film festivals earlier this year and features commentary from such crossword fans as Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, and Jon Stewart. The former commander-in-chief even snagged the coveted "and" credit.

With all the new drivers on the highway, Cars will try to stay ahead of the pack and hold onto pole position in its second lap. The Disney/Pixar film’s $60.1M bow was slightly below what the industry was expecting given the track record of the pair’s previous computer animated movies. However, their digital toons usually have good legs and with more kids getting out of school this week, a solid sophomore performance should result. The Incredibles dropped only 29% in its second weekend in November 2004 while Finding Nemo slipped 34% in June 2003.

Cars has been holding up well mid-week as its target audience has become more available. Although it opened behind the $68M launch of Ice Age: The Meltdown this past spring, the stronger weekday business should allow Cars to match or exceed the $81.9M gross that the prehistoric sequel collected in its first seven days. Garfield will take away some of the family audience and Nacho Libre should distract many young boys so competition will be fierce. A 45% drop for Cars would give the toon about $33M for the frame keeping it in the number one spot. That would give Disney a robust $115M in ten days.

Keanu and Sandra will steal away the attention of women from Vince and Jennifer this weekend. The Break-Up will face direct competition from The Lake House for its core audience of adult females so another sizable drop could be in the works. A 40% fall would give Universal a weekend tally of around $12M pushing the 17-day cume to a still-impressive $94M.

Fox grabbed $16M and change last weekend with each of its films X-Men: The Last Stand and The Omen. The mutant saga could see sales get sliced in half while the horror remake, because of its mid-week launch, might suffer a slightly smaller decline. This weekend could find Omen taking in roughly $9M for a $50M total and X-Men grossing about $8M boosting its cume to $216M making it the top-grossing installment of the franchise.

LAST YEAR: Super hero power hit the box office with the top spot debut of Batman Begins which relaunched a profitable franchise for Warner Bros. with its $48.7M opening weekend. Bowing on Wednesday, the Caped Crusader grossed a solid $72.9M over five days and went on to display good legs reaching $205.3M domestically and over $370M worldwide. The rest of the top films all got bumped down a notch by the Dark Knight. Fox’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith placed second with $26M in its sophomore frame while DreamWorks followed with Madagascar which took in $10.7M in its fourth adventure. Fox reappeared in the number four slot with $10M for Star Wars Episode III and Paramount rounded out the top five with The Longest Yard which scored $8.2M. The only other new wide release to challenge Batman was the chick flick The Perfect Man starring Hilary Duff and Heather Locklear. The Universal title opened to just $5.3M on its way to $16.5M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com