We kick off our series of “Peacock presents” recommendations with 10 movies perfect for when it’s the kids’ time to choose what to watch on family night. You’ll find beloved Fresh throwbacks (1933’s Alice In Wonderland), delightful animal features, a documentary that the kiddos will love, and even a Wes Anderson flick. You’ll also discover a couple of Rotten flicks here, movies that may not have won critics over but which the RT staff love watching with their kids – or remember loving when we were little ones ourselves. So, hand your littlest the remote and settle in for a fun-for-all-the-family night with one of these titles, available now on Peacock.

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The Little Rascals (1994)

23%

Mischievous youngsters Spanky (Travis Tedford) and Buckwheat (Ross Elliot Bagley) lead an anti-girl organization, and they pick their buddy Alfalfa (Bug Hall) to represent them in an all-important soapbox car rally. When the boys then find their driver canoodling with schoolmate Darla (Brittany Ashton Holmes), they decide they must break up the couple. Unfortunately, while Spanky and his pals are busy meddling in Alfalfa’s affairs, their prized race car is nabbed by two young toughs.

Critics Consensus: No Critics Consensus as yet.


Spellbound (2002)

97%

Eight youthful competitors, sponsored by their hometown newspapers, travel with their families to Washington, D.C., to compete in the 1999 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Now in the national spotlight and under heavy pressure to perform from parents, teachers and their audience, the children struggle to advance toward the championship – and its accompanying scholarships and cash prizes – while approaching competitive spelling with the focus and intensity of Olympic athletes.

Critics Consensus: A suspenseful, gripping documentary that features an engaging cross section of American children.


Kicking & Screaming (2005)

41%

As a child, Phil Weston (Will Ferrell) was never able to live up to the demands of his overbearing father, Buck (Robert Duvall), who wanted Phil to be an athlete. Now a parent himself, Phil has inherited his father’s competitive nature, while his son, Sam (Dylan McLaughlin), has inherited Phil’s lack of athletic talent. Serving as Sam’s soccer coach, Phil hopes to turn his last-place team of losers into champions, so they can beat the rival team coached by Buck.

Critics Consensus: The script is mediocre and fails to give Ferrell a proper comedic showcase.


Beethoven (1992)

30%

When the family of George Newton (Charles Grodin) decides to adopt a cute St. Bernard puppy, the patriarch soon feels displaced by the dog. Before long, the adorable canine, dubbed Beethoven, has grown considerably, leading to household mishaps. While George’s wife and kids dote on Beethoven, it takes time for him to see the pooch’s finer qualities. However, Beethoven’s life with the Newton family is jeopardized when a scheming vet (Dean Jones) tries to nab the dog for a deadly experiment.

Critics Consensus: Fluffy and incorrigible, Beethoven is a good boy who deserves a better movie.


Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

93%

The year is 1965, and the residents of New Penzance, an island off the coast of New England, inhabit a community that seems untouched by some of the bad things going on in the rest of the world. Twelve-year-olds Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) have fallen in love and decide to run away. But a violent storm is approaching the island, forcing a group of quirky adults (Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray) to mobilize a search party and find the youths before calamity strikes.

Critics Consensus: Warm, whimsical, and poignant, the immaculately framed and beautifully acted Moonrise Kingdom presents writer/director Wes Anderson at his idiosyncratic best.


Mystery Men (1999)

61%

Champion City already has a superhero, the appropriately named Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear), but that doesn’t deter the city’s seven quirky amateur crime-fighters, who use the Captain’s capture at the hands of villain Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush) as motivation to prove themselves. The only problem is that their strange powers – silverware hurling, bowling, shovel skills, incompetent invisibility and deadly flatulence – aren’t doing them any favors.

Critics Consensus: Absurd characters and quirky gags are brought to life by a talented cast, providing this superhero spoof with lots of laughs.


Alice in Wonderland (1933)

67%

In this version of the Lewis Carroll classic, Alice (Charlotte Henry) discovers that an ordinary library mirror is actually a portal into another world. As she adjusts to her constantly changing size, thanks to some mysterious cookies, she follows a rabbit with a pocket watch, stumbles upon a deranged tea party and seeks advice from the shadowy Cheshire Cat (Richard Arlen). Later, Alice runs into Humpty Dumpty (W.C. Fields), whose unfortunate tumble sets even stranger events in motion.

Critics Consensus: No Critics Consensus as yet.


Nessie & Me (2016)

- -

A 9-year-old boy moves to a quiet lakeside village and befriends an elderly sailor who claims that a mythical creature named Nessie lives in their peaceful waters.

Critics Consensus: No Critics Consensus as yet.


Kindergarten Cop 2 (2016)

29%

A gruff FBI agent goes under cover as a kindergarten teacher. He’s there to recover stolen data, but first he’ll have to learn to survive in the politically correct world of elementary education.

Critics Consensus: No Critics Consensus as yet.


Dudley Do-Right (1999)

16%

Based on the cartoon, this live-action comedy follows the adventures of Dudley Do-Right (Brendan Fraser), an enthusiastic, if somewhat dim, Canadian Mountie. When Dudley’s childhood crush, Nell Fenwick (Sarah Jessica Parker), returns to their hometown in the mountains, he is eager to spend time with her, but his attempts at courting her are foiled by the villainous Snidely Whiplash (Alfred Molina), who is up to his usual schemes. Can Dudley win Nell’s heart and curtail Snidely’s wicked ways?

Critics Consensus: No Critics Consensus as yet.

Thumbnail: © Warner Brothers, © Focus Features, © Universal

Two promising new comedies target different age groups and look to close off a red hot March box office with strong opening weekend sales.

Paramount offers the Will Ferrell pic "Blades of Glory" while Disney goes after the kids with the animated flick "Meet the Robinsons." Together, the pictures should help the marketplace surge and allow the top ten to cross the $100M mark for the fifth consecutive frame. The box office has not seen this kind of streak since last summer. Smaller films entering the multiplexes include the action pic "The Lookout" from Miramax and Universal’s uplifting drama "Peaceful Warrior."

Comedy king Will Ferrell skates into theaters everywhere looking for another gold medal with his newest laugher "Blades of Glory." The PG-13 film finds the funnyman and Jon Heder playing rival figure skaters who must team up as a pair in order to compete again. Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, Jenna Fischer, and Craig T. Nelson co-star. "Blades" boasts the two main ingredients to a successful comedy hit – a bankable star and a unique concept. Add in the very funny commercials and trailers and Paramount is well-positioned to score its second number one hit of the year joining fellow star-driven comedy "Norbit." Both pics were produced by DreamWorks.

Ferrell left the competition in the dust last summer with "Talladega Nights" which bowed to a robust $47M on its way to a $148M final. "Blades" doesn’t have as big of a marketing push or the prime summer play period so its opening will not soar as high. But the former "Saturday Night Live" star will again prove that he is a reliable draw. The industry had some doubts in 2005 when both "Bewitched" and "Kicking and Screaming" failed to reach $65M. Ferrell’s 2004 hit "Anchorman" debuted to $28.4M and "Blades" should play out like that one, only bigger. Teens and young adults will be the driving force plus there is plenty of cross-gender appeal. Though the marketplace is crowded with many options, there aren’t too many direct threats. "Wild Hogs," the only major comedy, is getting old as is "300" which most high school and college students have already seen. Spinning into over 3,000 theaters, "Blades of Glory" should finish in first place and win about $37M over the weekend.


Ferrell and Heder in "Blades of Glory."

Disney uses its patented moves to go after the family audience with its latest animated offering "Meet the Robinsons." With most digital toons these days being of the PG variety, "Robinsons" carries a G rating which it hopes will help convince parents to buy tickets for even the youngest of their children. The story follows an orphan boy who befriends a kind family and features the voices of Angela Bassett, Tom Selleck, and Adam West. In the cartoon world, films sell best when they are comedies and feature popular comedians in central roles. "Robinsons" at least has the first factor working for it.

The marketing has been strong and trailers have been funny. But unlike the studio’s last film for kids, "Bridge to Terabithia," this time competition will be a force. "TMNT" and "The Last Mimzy" will only be in their second weekends and are set to steal away about $20M worth of business from the same target audience. Luckily, the weekend’s two other new films will attract different segments of the moviegoing crowd. "Meet the Robinsons" does not have the firepower to reach the heights of Pixar pics. Rather, it may bring out the same size audience as last fall’s "Open Season" which bowed to $23.2M from an ultrawide 3,833 locations. "Meet the Robinsons" bows in roughly 3,200 sites but could exploit its studio’s brand name to deliver a similar gross of about $23M.


Let’s "Meet the Robinsons."

Years after leaving the sitcom world of NBC’s "3rd Rock From the Sun," Joseph Gordon-Levitt anchors the heist thriller "The Lookout." The R-rated Miramax release comes from writer-turned-rookie-director Scott Frank and co-stars Jeff Daniels. Starpower is seriously lacking here and that will hurt its box office prospects. Reviews have been good, but the target audience of young adults have "Blades of Glory," "300," and "Shooter" to choose from and all of them offer more for the money. With only so much marketing and distribution strength behind it, the film will have a tough time just getting an invite to the top ten. "The Lookout" debuts in about 1,000 theaters on Friday and could collect about $4M over three days.


Jeff Daniels and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in "The Lookout."

In an unorthodox approach, Universal will be releasing the inspirational drama "Peaceful Warrior" in 615 theaters this weekend but most moviegoers will actually be getting free tickets through a promotion with Best Buy. The PG-13 film starring Nick Nolte was given a limited release last summer and grossed more than $1M from just over 40 theaters. Universal will report box office grosses that include regular paid sales plus full ticket prices for each free admission. With $15M worth of free tickets allocated for opening weekend, it will be unlikely that the paid portion will make up a sizable amount. Film fans who visit the promotional web site can get up to ten complimentary tickets each. However, the studio should get some extra buzz that it could benefit from when the DVD is released a few months down the road.


Nick Nolte and Scott Mechlowicz in "Peaceful Warrior."

The Ninja Turtles ruled the box office last weekend in "TMNT," but will face a formidable foe in Disney’s "Meet the Robinsons" which will play to the same audience. A 40% drop would give the animated actioner $14M for the frame and $43M after ten days. Warner Bros has also been raking in the dough with its stylish war epic 300 which has been holding up surprisingly well. Another 40% fall will put the R-rated battle pic at $12M boosting the cume to $180M after 24 days. Mark Wahlberg‘s "Shooter" could decline by 45% to $8M giving Paramount a ten-day total of $27M.

LAST YEAR: Smashing the March opening weekend record set four years earlier by its predecessor, "Ice Age: The Meltdown" shot straight to number one with a colossal $68M debut. The Fox juggernaut went on to gross $195.3M domestically and a towering $657M worldwide giving the "Ice Age" duo over $1 billion in global grosses. Dropping to second was "Inside Man" with $15.4M. Warner Bros. launched its urban drama "ATL" in third with $11.6M on its way to $21.2M. Rounding out the top five were "Failure to Launch" with $6.5M and "V for Vendetta" with $6.3M. The horror flick "Slither" creeped into eighth place with a $3.9M opening leading to a $7.8M final. Sony claimed the year’s most notorious flop with "Basic Instinct 2" which bowed to $3.2M on its way to a pathetic $5.9M before sweeping the Razzie Awards.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Comedy superstar Will Ferrell scored his first-ever number one opening in a lead role with the stronger-than-expected debut of his latest hit Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby which left all competitors in the dust at the North American box office.

Solid opening weekend results came from the animated comedy Barnyard: The Original Party Animals in second place and the horror film The Descent in fifth, but the Robin Williams thriller The Night Listener failed to find much of an audience in its debut. Overall, the marketplace was healthy and showed substantial improvement over the first weekend of August from the last two summers.

Sony crossed the finish line in first place for the industry-leading eighth time this year with the turbo-charged opening of Talladega Nights which grossed an estimated $47M over the Friday-to-Sunday period. Playing in a massive 3,803 theaters, the PG-13 film about a legendary NASCAR driver averaged a fantastic $12,359 per location. Will Ferrell has collected more than his share of second place trophies. The former Saturday Night Live star has opened at number two numerous times in recent years with films such as Kicking and Screaming, Bewitched, Anchorman, Elf, and Old School. Elf climbed into first place in its second weekend, and Ferrell has had supporting roles and cameos in number one openers from other stars. But Talladega Nights marks the first time he has anchored a top spot debut, and he did it decisively.

Reviews were generally positive for the racing comedy, which co-starred John C. Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Michael Clarke Duncan, and the weekend gross was roughly three times the take of its closest competition. Sony backed the $73M film with a lavish marketing campaign which involved promotional support from numerous corporate sponsors. Even veteran talk show host Larry King turned his daily chat session on opening night into a one-hour commercial for the film by interviewing Ferrell and Reilly in character as Ricky Bobby and his racing pal Cal Naughton Jr.

Talladega reached a broad audience with young males standing out slightly, as expected. Studio research indicated that 53% of the audience was male and that 52% was under 25. Aside from being Ferrell’s biggest opening weekend ever, the film also generated the third best bow ever in the month of August. Only 2001’s Rush Hour 2 and the following year’s Signs did better with debuts of $67.4M and $60.1M, respectively. Those two pics also launched on the first frame of the month which studios still look at as a good weekend for programming a high-profile summer film on. By this point, most of the season’s tentpole films have played out, but there is still enough summer playing time ahead to have long-term success.

Finishing far back in second place, but still enjoying an impressive debut, was Paramount’s animated comedy Barnyard with an estimated $16M. The PG-rated toon bowed in 3,311 locations and averaged a solid $4,844 per theater. The opening was better than The Ant Bully‘s $8.4M from last weekend, but did not reach the $22.2M debut of Monster House from two weeks ago. Barnyard was produced by Nickelodeon Movies for just over $50M and played mostly to kids and parents. Audience research showed that 75% of the crowd was made up of families with males and females represented evenly. With two other cartoons in the top ten, and with Pirates still pulling in every age group, the opening performance of Barnyard was commendable.

The year’s biggest blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest dropped 47% to an estimated $11M boosting its domestic treasure to a stunning $379.7M. That puts the Johnny Depp adventure sequel at number eight among all-time domestic blockbusters surpassing the $377M of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Pirates also managed to bump Mel Gibson‘s The Passion of the Christ off the all-time top ten list. Overseas, Disney scored another colossal gross taking in $57M from 47 markets to rule the international box office for the fifth straight frame. That sent the offshore cume soaring to $392M and the worldwide haul to $771.7M making it the top-grossing global hit of 2006 after just one month of release. Pirates could certainly be on its way to the one billion dollar mark with another installment in the franchise on deck for a May 2007 release.

Audiences rejected Miami Vice which tumbled a horrendous 62% in its second weekend to an estimated $9.7M. With $45.7M in ten days, the Universal action thriller is on course to end with $65-70M. That would give Vice a domestic gross of about half of its $135M production budget. Good news did, however, come from the U.K. where the cop pic debuted at number one this weekend.

Opening in fifth place was the new horror entry The Descent with an estimated $8.8M from 2,095 locations. The R-rated fright flick about a six-pack of young ladies trapped in an underground cave full of flesh-eating creatures averaged a solid $4,200 per venue. Reviews were unusually positive for the genre and distributor Lionsgate pitched The Descent in its advertising as being from the studio that brought audiences Saw and Hostel. But the opening was far short of the $18.3M and $19.6M that those low-budget hits opened to. Still, with a modest pricetag of its own, the cave exploration flick looks to make a few bucks theatrically and dig up a bigger audience when released on DVD.

Fox’s teen comedy John Tucker Must Die dropped 58% in its second weekend to an estimated $6.1M. With $28.6M in ten days, the revenge flick should find its way to the neighborhood of $40M. Sony’s animated scarefest Monster House followed close behind with an estimated $6M, off 49%, for a $57M cume. Competing toon The Ant Bully fell 54% in its sophomore session to an estimated $3.9M. Warner Bros. has collected just $18.2M in ten days and should conclude with an underwhelming $25-27M.

A pair of films tied for ninth place with an estimated $3.6M each. Universal’s comedy You, Me and Dupree declined 49% and upped its sum to $66.8M. Miramax’s new Robin Williams thriller The Night Listener bowed in 1,367 locations and averaged a weak $2,634 per site.

Opening with healthy but not spectacular results in platform release was the teen drama Quinceanera which grossed an estimated $97,000 from only eight sites for a $12,125 average. The R-rated tale of a Mexican-American girl’s impending coming-of-age party won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and was snapped up by Sony Classics. Quinceanera will expand beyond New York and Los Angeles in the weeks ahead.

Three comedies and a bedtime story dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. Fox’s hit fashion industry pic The Devil Wears Prada held up well once again in its sixth frame with an estimated $3.1M, off 35%, lifitng the cume to a stellar $112.7M. It was the Meryl Streep film’s fourth consecutive weekend with a drop of less than 40%. Produced for just $35M, Devil should find its way to a fabulous $120-125M making it one of the more profitable hits of the summer.

On the other hand, the Warner Bros. suspense thriller Lady in the Water has been falling by more than 60% each frame and took in an estimated $2.7M in its third scare. Down a steep 62%, the M. Night Shyamalan pic has grossed only $38.7M in 17 days and looks to drown with a mere $42-44M overall. The production budget was reportedly in the $75M range.

Sony’s Little Man fell 51% to an estimated $2.5M in its fourth outing and pushed its cume to $55.1M. The Wayans brothers pic cost $64M to produce and should end its domestic run with a respectable $58-60M. Fox’s super hero comedy flop My Super Ex-Girlfriend stumbled 73% in its third flight and grossed an estimated $1.1M. With $20.2M in the bank, look for a disappointing $22M finish.

In limited release, Fox Searchlight expanded its hit indie comedy Little Miss Sunshine from seven to 58 theaters in the top dozen markets and grossed an estimated $1.5M. That resulted in a muscular $25,169 average and a $2.2M total. The distributor will add 17 more cities on Friday and widen nationally the following weekend on the heels of strong word-of-mouth momentum.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $115.7M which was up 18% from last year when The Dukes of Hazzard debuted at number one with $30.7M; and up 23% from 2004 when Collateral opened in the top spot with $24.7M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Wolverine, Professor X, and the rest of their soul patrol will launch a full-scale attack on the North American box office this weekend as the gargantuan comic book film X-Men: The Last Stand invades the marketplace on Friday ready to dominate the long Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Rival studios have ceded the frame to the much anticipated Fox sequel as no other film will open in wide release. But with the religious thriller The Da Vinci Code coming off of a spectacular opening, and the animated hit Over the Hedge doing well with family audiences, it should be a very busy four-day weekend at the megaplexes as all types of moviegoers will have something worth spending money on.

The world’s favorite mutants embark on what could be their final mission in X-Men: The Last Stand which has its eyes set on breaking the opening weekend record for the Memorial Day frame. After directing the first two successful installments, Bryan Singer jumped ship to helm Superman Returns opening up the director’s chair on Stand for Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, Red Dragon). All the primary cast members have returned including Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, Rebecca Romijn, and Anna Paquin. Kelsey Grammer joins the cast playing Beast.

The X-Men franchise has grown in size throughout this decade. After the demise of the Batman franchise in 1997, the comic book genre seemed dead until the first X-Men arrived in July of 2000 with a powerful $54.5M bow firmly planting Marvel in the feature film business. Three years later, Fox plugged the sequel X2: X-Men United into the prominent first weekend of May slot and blasted off to the tune of $85.6M. Final domestic grosses reached $157.3M and $214.9M respectively and with video and television, the franchise lured in more and more converts. Unlike most of 2003’s other summer action sequels like Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, X2 was a second installment that was even more popular than the first making fans crave yet another film in the series.

X-Men remains one of the top comic properties around and speculation that this will be the final installment will make fans not want to miss out. Between the escalating actor salaries and the heavy dependence on expensive special effects, Fox and Marvel Entertainment probably couldn’t afford to bankroll an X-Men 4 even if they wanted to. With the Star Wars prequels having finished up and this franchise closing up shop soon, Fox is looking to squeeze every dime it can out of The Last Stand. Its next big super hero flick won’t take off until June 15 of next year when Fantastic Four 2 hits screens a cool six weeks after Sony’s Spider-Man 3. It’s no surprise then why Fox is rolling out its tentpole pic in almost every major market around the world this weekend.

For this weekend, X-Men has a secret weapon in its arsenal which should propel its numbers at the box office – teens. Studios have not done a good job over the last several weeks in exciting the most desirable of all age groups. MI3, Poseidon, and The Da Vinci Code all skewed older leaving high school students thinking these were their parents’ summer movies. Afterall, the average 16-year-old was only six when Tom Cruise first wowed audiences in Mission: Impossible. Finally with the mutant posse, Hollywood is delivering the goods for teens and young adults offering an action-packed adventure heavy on the type of special effects and action that people are eager to pay money for. No wait-for-the-DVD here. A strong turnout from this age group should be at the core of X-Men’s success this weekend.

Most folks who drove X2 past the double century mark three years ago are likely to return this time. That film had virtually no competition to deal with whereas Last Stand will face a pair of potent sophomores that could rake in over $70M combined over the four-day stretch. However, the new film has the added benefit of three years of ticket price increases, a holiday frame that should power Sunday and Monday numbers to exceptional heights, and a fan base that is likely to have grown even larger since the last film.

For nine long years, Steven Spielberg‘s dinosequel The Lost World has held the record for the biggest Memorial Day weekend opening ever with a colossal $92.7M over four days including Thursday night previews. The record for the largest overall weekend tally over the frame is held by 2004’s Shrek 2 which hauled in a stunning $95.6M over four days while in its second weekend. X-Men hopes to become the first film to open to nine digits over this long holiday span.

The month of May has been chock full of eye-popping four-day openings from effects-driven action films appealing to mass audiences looking to start their summer off with a bang. Four-day opening tallies in recent years include $158.4M for last year’s Star Wars Episode III, $134.3M for The Matrix Reloaded, $110.2M for Star Wars Episode II, and $85.8M for The Day After Tomorrow. The Last Stand may not have the same level of anticipation as some of those blockbusters, but it does have a loyal fan following that is ready to pounce on theaters this weekend. Fox is aiming to dominate the box office this weekend opening X-Men: The Last Stand in 3,688 theaters. The super hero extravaganza might fly off with around $108M over the four-day Friday-to-Monday holiday session setting a new industry record.

With only one major studio release invading theaters, a number of smaller distributors are using the holiday frame to launch limited release titles. Yash Raj Films enters most major markets on Friday with the Bollywood release Fanaa which stars one of India’s biggest box office draws Aamir Khan. Paramount’s new specialty division Paramount Vantage opened Al Gore‘s global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth in four theaters on Wednesday. The PG-rated film chronicles the former Vice President’s mission on educating the world on environmental issues that are threatening our civilization and will expand into more markets across the country in the weeks ahead.

Opening in solo houses in New York City are the Jewish road drama Shem and the Filipino thriller Cavite. HP Releasing’s Shem finds a young man traveling across Europe to find his great grandfather’s grave while Truly Indie’s Cavite is a no-budget kidnapping drama in which a man arrives in the Philippines and is forced to commit heinous deeds by a terrorist if he wants to see his family alive again. Both films open in Los Angeles later in June.

Last weekend, Ron Howard‘s The Da Vinci Code opened to explosive results grossing a staggering $77.1M in its first three days. Over the holiday frame, the conspiracy thriller will benefit from adults having extra time off, a four-day span, and the fact that the only new film entering theaters will play to a somewhat different audience. However, Code generated a frontloaded bow last weekend with Friday accounting for an extraordinarily high 39% of the three-day take and Saturday sales seeing a slight dip. Fans of the book certainly rushed out on the first day to see Tom Hanks play symbologist Robert Langdon so now the film must survive having already burned through its core crowd.

Studios routinely pick the weekend before the Memorial Day frame as a launching pad for their biggest blockbusters, but sophomore declines over the holiday can vary. In 2003, the much-hyped sci-fi sequel The Matrix Reloaded saw its four-day holiday gross tumble 50% from its three-day debut gross. The following year, Shrek 2 slipped just 12% while last year’s Star Wars Episode III dropped a more moderate 35%. Code does not play to a sci-fi crowd or to an audience of children so its numbers will be closely watched.

The Sony smash has performed admirably during the week grossing a fantastic $8.8M on Monday, helped in part by Canada’s Victoria Day holiday, and another $6.2M on Tuesday. Code looks to crack the magical $100M mark by the end of its first full week in theaters before heading right into a sophomore frame cushioned by a holiday. Since word-of-mouth is just average, The Da Vinci Code may see its four-day take drop by 40% to around $46M. That would allow the much-talked-about film’s 11-day cume to surge to $148M.

The animated comedy Over the Hedge got off to a solid start last weekend and should continue to be the leading choice for families with younger kids. A 20% drop to about $31M over four days would give Paramount $79M after 11 days. The studio’s spy sequel Mission: Impossible III looks to fall by around 35% to roughly $7M giving Tom Cruise a total of $114M. The disaster flick Poseidon could fall by the same amount to around $6M lifting the sum to $45M for Warner Bros.

LAST YEAR The Memorial Day weekend box office was on fire thanks to a selection of red hot hits helping the top four films alone gross more than $200M over four days. Star Wars Episode III remained at number one for the second weekend with a commanding $70M over the Friday-to-Monday span boosting its 12-day cume to an eye-popping $270.5M. DreamWorks went after younger kids with its animated hit Madagascar which bowed to a hefty $61M to take second place while the studio’s future parent Paramount was close behind in third with the Adam Sandler comedy The Longest Yard which opened to $58.6M. The two blockbusters, which both featured Chris Rock, went on to gross $193.2M and $158.1M, respectively. More funny flicks followed with New Line’s Monster-in-Law dropping to fourth with $12.8M over the long weekend and Universal’s Kicking and Screaming taking in $6.5M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

For those of us who loved "Anchorman" and semi-suffered through "Kicking & Screaming," "Bewitched," and "The Producers" while waiting for the Will Ferrell we know and love, well, here comes a movie (and the trailer) you’ll want to keep an eye out for. It’s "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby," and it hits theaters on August 4th.

"The film tells the story of NASCAR stock car racing sensation Ricky Bobby whose "win at all costs" approach has made him a national hero. He and his loyal racing partner, childhood friend Cal Naughton Jr., are a fearless duo — dubbed "Thunder" and "Lightning" by their fans for their ability to finish so many races in the #1 and #2 positions, with Cal always in second place. When a flamboyant French Formula One driver, Jean Girard, challenges the "Thunder" and "Lightning" for the supremacy of NASCAR, Ricky Bobby must face his own demons and fight Girard for the right to be known as racing’s top driver."

Written and directed by frequent Ferrell collaborator Adam McKay, "Talladega" also stars John C. Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen, Leslie Bibb, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Gary Cole.

Courtesy of their official site come the annual Razzie Awards Nominations … or as I like to call them: The Amazingly Obvious Fish in a Barrel Nominations in Which We Savage People We Don’t Like, Regardless of the Quality of Their Work. Oh, and it seems the Razzers have decided to branch out an include a "Most Tiresome" category, which I happen to find pretty ironic.

26th Annual Golden Raspberry (RAZZIE®) Award Nominations

WORST PICTURE

Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
Dirty Love
The Dukes of Hazzard
House of Wax
Son of the Mask

WORST ACTOR

Tom Cruise / War of the Worlds
Will Ferrell / Bewitched and Kicking & Screaming
Jamie Kennedy / Son of the Mask
The Rock / Doom
Rob Schneider / Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo

WORST ACTRESS
Jessica Alba / Fantastic Four and Into the Blue
Hilary Duff / Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and The Perfect Man
Jennifer Lopez / Monster in Law
Jenny McCarthy / Dirty Love
Tara Reid / Alone in the Dark

MOST TIRESOME TABLOID TARGETS
(New Category, Saluting the Celebs We’re ALL Sick & Tired Of!)
Tom Cruise & His Anti-Psychiatry Rant
Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Oprah Winfrey‘s Couch, The Eiffel Tower & “Tom’s Baby”
Paris Hilton and…Who-EVER!
Mr. & Mrs. Britney, Their Baby & Their Camcorder
The Simpsons: Ashlee, Jessica & Nick

WORST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Hayden Christensen / Star Wars III: No Sith, He’s Supposed to Be Darth Vader?!?!
Alan Cumming / Son of the Mask
Bob Hoskins / Son of the Mask
Eugene Levy / Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and The Man
Burt Reynolds / The Dukes of Hazzard and The Longest Yard

WORST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Carmen Electra / Dirty Love
Paris Hilton / House of Wax
Katie Holmes / Batman Begins
Ashlee Simpson / Undiscovered
Jessica Simpson / The Dukes of Hazzard

WORST SCREEN COUPLE

Will Ferrell & Nicole Kidman / Bewitched
Jamie Kennedy & ANYBODY Stuck Sharing the Screen with Him / Son of the Mask
Jenny McCarthy & ANYONE Dumb Enough to Befriend or Date Her / Dirty Love
Rob Schneider & His Diapers / Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
Jessica Simpson & Her “Daisy Dukes” / The Dukes of Hazzard

WORST REMAKE OR SEQUEL
Bewitched
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
The Dukes of Hazzard
House of Wax
Son of the Mask

WORST DIRECTOR
John Asher / Dirty Love
Uwe Boll / Alone in the Dark
Jay Chandrasekhar / The Dukes of Hazzard
Nora Ephron / Bewitched
Lawrence Guterman / Son of the Mask

WORST SCREENPLAY

Bewitched
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
Dirty Love
The Dukes of Hazzard Written
Son of the Mask

My apologies to the Razz Crew, but I think they could put a lot more effort into their nominations. And maybe learn to tell the difference between "bad performances" and "stuff we just feel like ranting about." (And perhaps stop nominating one person for multiple performances, because then it just becomes obvious that you’re gunning for someone. Example: They hated Ferrell in the witch comedy and the soccer flick, but they loved his work in "The Producers?" Phooey.)

Am I too harsh? Are the Razzies really cool and I’m just a crotchety old whiner? Quite possible.

This week’s wide releases share a theme of Escape. Escape from The Game, escape from the bottom of the Little League standings, escape from a futuristic Philip K. Dick-esque dystopian island, and escape from a family of murderous weirdos. Which of these films will escape the wrath of the critics?

Although he’s never (and I mean never) been a critics’ darling, give Michael Bay some credit: when he’s on, in films like "The Rock," he creates unabashed, gloriously exciting spectacles. And he’s filled his casts with interesting actors who have more than a little indie cred, from Billy Bob Thornton to Owen Wilson to Steve Buscemi, and now, Scarlett Johansson. "The Island," which also stars Ewan McGregor, tells the story of a futuristic utopian colony with a dark secret. But while some critics have lauded the film as Bay’s most thoughtful and intriguing, others say it’s just another big, loud summer flick. At 44 percent on the Tomatometer, this "Island" may not be worth a visit. Still, it’s his best-reviewed film in a decade, as 1996’s "The Rock" (which featured another notable island, Alcatraz) scored 61 percent.

Speaking of Mr. Thornton, he’s got a new flick of his own, although "new" isn’t the best way to describe "Bad News Bears." It’s a remake, and the source material has been cribbed with stunning regularity (see "Rebound" and "Kicking and Screaming" for this year’s examples). Critics say that while director Richard Linklater has maintained some of the cheerful crassness of the original, he hasn’t generated enough freshness to let it stand on its own. At 55 percent on the Tomatometer, these "Bears" are in a serious slump. The original, at 93 percent, is still the MVP.

Like "Blackboard Jungle" with rock ‘n’ roll and "The Harder They Come" for reggae, "Hustle & Flow" features an emerging musical form (crunk), and puts it into a dramatic sociopolitical context. To paraphrase Jay-Z, critics say you can’t knock this "Hustle." The writers say this tale of a pimp trying to escape the game by laying down rhymes over crunk beats is redemptive and powerful, and the gritty Memphis locations give new meaning to the term "The Dirty South." Star Terrence Howard, who was singled out for praise in such ensemble pieces as "Ray" and "Crash," makes a very compelling and morally complex hustler. Howard’s combined Tomatometer rating, currently at 50 percent, should be helped by this one, which is currently at 78 percent.

Rob Zombie rubs noses in a basic concept that many slasher films beat around: that murderous backwoods villains are much more compelling than the so-called heroes who fall into their clutches. His latest, "The Devil’s Rejects," tells the story of a family of psychopaths with bloodlust, and critics say it captures the elemental dread that made movies like "Deliverance" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" resonate. At 65 percent on the Tomatometer, Zombie’s movie is being called brutal, perverse, and brutally perversely fun. It also beats Mr. Zombie’s previous directorial effort, "House of 1,000 Corpses," with a rusty shovel, as "House" scored a scary 16 percent on the Tomatometer.

Other Recent Michael Bay-Directed Films:
——————————————————–
23% – Bad Boys II (2003)
25% – Pearl Harbor (2001)
42% – Armageddon (1998)
61% – The Rock (1996)
46% – Bad Boys (1995)

Other Recent Richard Linklater Films:
————————————————–
94% – Before Sunset (2004)
90% – School of Rock (2003)
78% – Waking Life (2001)
75% – Tape (2001)
58% – The Newton Boys (1998)

Despite some rock-solid competition, "Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith" grossed an impressive $70.8 million in its second weekend. Bolstered by a 4-day holiday frame, George Lucas‘ sixth and final space opera reigned supreme over a pair of wide-release newcomers — but the competition did pretty darn well, too. The DreamWorks animated comedy "Madagascar" drew the family ticket, grossing $61 million over the Memorial Day weekend (in over 4,100 theaters), while the Adam Sandler sports flick "The Longest Yard" was close behind with a tally of $60 million in just over 3,600 theaters.

Well behind in 4th place was "Monster-in-Law," which added $11m to its total grosses ($60m), and "Kicking & Screaming," which made $6.5m, bringing its total up to $44m. "Sith"s total domestic box office thus far is $271m, and its doing some serious business overseas as well. ($520m worldwide in less than two weeks!)

Next week sees the release of three newcomers: Warner Bros.’ "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," the Ron Howard / Russell Crowe sports drama "Cinderella Man," and Catherine Hardwicke‘s skateboarding docu-drama "Lords of Dogtown." For a closer look at the money charts, you can always stop by the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office Page.

Needless to say, "Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith" was the number one movie at the box office this weekend … and it absolutely demolished a few records in the process. "Sith" grossed just over $158 million in its first four days of release as it debuted on over 9,000 screens.

Weekend-wise, "Sith" scored $108 million between Friday and Sunday, which means that "Spider-Man" still holds the opening weekend record with its $114 million haul. But the sixth and final chapter of George Lucas‘ space saga snagged several box office records, including biggest single day, biggest midnight screening tally, biggest opening day, biggest two-, three- and four-day total, and fastest to $100 million (3 days, tied with "Spider-Man" and "The Matrix Reloaded"). It also broke the record for quickest to $150m, too. Worldwide the prequel has grossed just over $303 million!

As for the other films presently playing in the multiplexes, second place went to the romantic comedy "Monster-in-Law," which pulled in $14 million in its second weekend. The Will Ferrell family flick "Kicking & Screaming" grossed $10.5m for third place, and the top five were rounded out by "Crash" ($5.5m) and "Unleashed" ($3.8m). For a closer look at the box office tallies, feel free to stop by the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office Page.

Despite total box office numbers being down (once again), that didn’t stop the critically lambasted Jane Fonda/Jennifer Lopez comedy "Monster-in-Law" from grabbing the top spot with a better-than-expected haul of $24 million on 3,400 screens. Also debuting in fine financial form was the Will Ferrell sports comedy "Kicking & Screaming," which effortlessly earned second place with a tally of $20.8 million on approximately the same number of screens.

Knock $10 million off of #2 and you have the third place winner, Jet Li‘s "Unleashed," which made $10.5 million on just under 2,000 screens. Rounding out the top five were last weekend’s "Kingdom of Heaven," which grossed $9.6 million (to bring its grand total to $35 million), and "Crash," which continues to do quiet-yet-strong business on less than 1,900 screens. The racially charged Lions Gate drama made $7.2 million, bringing its total to just under $20 million.

The final flick to make its debut this weekend was the long-delayed FBI thriller "Mindhunters," which debuted in 10th place and was able to gross only $2 million on 1,000 screens. This coming Thursday sees the release of a quiet little arthouse flick that just may be able to make some solid coin. It’s called "Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith." As always you can dig deeper into the filmic finance by visiting the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office page!

"Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" will dominate headlines next week, but this week, it’s all about kicking and screaming in one form or another. First off, Jet Li does a lot of kicking and screaming, as well as punching, in the action drama "Unleashed," co-starring recent Oscar winner Morgan Freeman. Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda do their fair share of screaming and baring their claws at each other as potential in-laws in the comedy "Monster-in-Law." There’s also a lot of screaming in "Mindhunters," a thriller starring Val Kilmer, LL Cool J and Christian Slater. Last, but not least, there’s the soccer comedy where Will Ferrell and elementary school kids do a lot of "Kicking and Screaming." Let’s see which of these films critics will be kicking around and screaming at.

Will Ferrell has become a highly bankable star after the enormous success of the family comedy "Elf." He returns to the big screen, this week, targeting the same demographic with "Kicking and Screaming," a soccer comedy in which he plays a father who tries to coach his son’s little league soccer team to the championship. Oscar winner Robert Duvall co-stars as his competitive father who coaches an opposing team. "Elf" was not only a surprising box office hit, but it was also a surprisingly well-reviewed film, scoring an outstanding 84% on the Tomatometer. "Kicking and Screaming," unfortunately, isn’t able to achieve that level of adoration with critics. While it’s likable enough, they think it’s a formulaic family film with only intermittent laughs. As of this writing, it scores a mixed 44% on the Tomatometer, which just happens to be Ferrell’s average Tomatometer.

Fresh from the commercial success of "Shall We Dance," J-Lo (a.k.a. Jennifer Lopez) will do battle with Jane Fonda (a.k.a. J-Fo to certain critics) in "Monster-in-Law," a comedy about an ex-news anchor (Fonda) who tries to scare off her son’s fiancé (Lopez) by being the mother-in-law from hell. You’ll have to watch the film to see whether or not Fonda’s character is successful, but the film is doing quite well at scaring off the critics. Stale, silly, and stupid are just a few of the adjectives used by critics to describe the film. It scored a moldy 17% on the Tomatometer, significantly lower than Lopez’s average of 37%. She hasn’t had a Fresh movie since 1998’s "Out of Sight."

A group of fallen stars no longer able to open movies by themselves – Val Kilmer, LL Cool J, and Christian Slater – hopes that their combined drawing power can attract audiences to "Mindhunters." Directed by Renny Harlin, well known for mindless action films like "Cliffhanger," "Mindhunters" is about a group of eight endangered FBI profilers who must find the serial killer amongst themselves. Despite being promoted as a psychological thriller, critics say it didn’t take long for the mindless action movie typical of Harlin to rear its ugly head. It scored 34% on the Tomatometer. That’s 10% lower than Harlin’s average Tomatometer of 45%.

Critics have a better reaction to Jet Li’s newest actioner "Unleashed," co-starring Oscar winner Morgan Freeman, Bob Hoskins and Kerry Condon. Li plays a man who was raised in captivity and trained to be a killing machine by a ruthless mobster (Hoskins) since childhood. When a turf war between two rival mob families left him under the care of a kind family (Freeman and Condon), he slowly regains his humanity. Freeman and Hoskins add credibility and respect to the film, something sorely lacking in previous American productions headlined by Li. The result is Li’s best reviewed American film. In addition to the spectacularly choreographed and bone-crunching fight scenes, critics applaud the filmmakers’ effort to tell an interesting story, even if the emotional scenes are not entirely successful. "Unleashed" scores a marginally Fresh 61% on the Tomatometer. Jet Li’s previous five American productions have averaged only 37%.

Before "Star Wars" opens next week, check out "Unleashed" if you’re in the mood for an action film with a fascinating premise – it’s the only new wide release critics are not kicking around or screaming at.

"Officially" starting the Summer Movie Season with somewhat of a fizzle are a pair of wide release newcomers and a handful of hangers-on. Ridley Scott‘s "Kingdom of Heaven" took the #1 spot by a healthy margin, although total box office numbers continue to lag as compared to last year. "Heaven" grossed an estimated $20 million on 3,200 screens, which was more than enough to give it the top spot, despite hauling in less cash than anticipated. In second place …

… was Elisha Cuthbert‘s horror remake "House of Wax," which grossed about $12.2 million at 3,100 theaters. Dropping 57% from its opening weekend was Disney’s "The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy," which made $9.1m in its sophomore session. In fourth place was New Line’s race-relations drama "Crash," which pulled in a fairly impressive $9.1m on less than 1,900 screens. In fifth was the Nicole Kidman / Sean Penn political thriller "The Interpreter," which added another $7.5m to a box office total that presently stands at $54m total. Next Friday sees a quartet of releases that will try to make a quick killing before "Revenge of the Sith" overtakes the multiplexes: the Will Ferrell soccer comedy "Kicking & Screaming" and the J. Lo / Jane Fonda concoction "Monster-in-Law" open in wide release, while the crime thrillers "Mindhunters" and "Unleashed" open semi-wide. As always you can get a closer look at the box office numbers by visiting the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office Page!

According to Dark Horizons, Wesley Snipes has spoken on the "Blade: Trinity" messageboards about how he would be interested in doing sequels to "New Jack City" and the upcoming movie "7 Seconds." He also speaks about wanting to take on the lead role for the film adaptation of Marvel Comics’ "The Black Panther."

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