(Photo by Marvel Studios / Disney, 20th Century Fox, Miramax, TriStar)
For their bravery, wit, general badassery, and unbroken spirit in the face of enormous challenges (be they gender discrimination or acid-hissing aliens), we pay tribute to 87 Fearless Movie Women Who Inspire Us.
How did we arrive at our top 87? With the help of a fearless panel of women critics made up of some of the best writers in the industry, including a few on the Rotten Tomatoes staff. Starting with a long list of candidates, they whittled down the list to an initial set of 72 amazingly heroic characters and ordered them, crowning the most fearless woman movie hero in the process. Want to know more about the ladies who voted? We included their bios at the end! Then, in addition to their contributions, which make up the bulk of the list, we also added a handful of more recent entries chosen by the RT staff.
The final list (you can watch every movie in a special FandangoNOW collection) gives compelling insight into which heroes have resonated through the years, women whose big-screen impact remains even as the times change. We have the usual suspects along with plenty of surprises (Working Girl, your day has come!), and the only way to discover them all is reading on for the 87 fearless women movie heroes — and groups of heroes — who inspire us!
(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)
#1One of the appeals of science-fiction is the luxury to comment on modern issues and social mores, or even eschew them completely. Take a look at the diverse space crews in Star Trek, Sunshine, or Alien, where people are hired based on nothing but competence, and none have proven their competence under extreme pressure as well as Ellen Ripley. She’s tough, pragmatic, and cunning in Alien. Journey with Ripley into Aliens and we get to see her in a new light: mothering and nurturing with hints of deep empathy (Sigourney Weaver was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for this performance), which only makes the Xenomorph-stomping side of her even more badass.
(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)
#2And on the other side of the Sigourney spectrum, Weaver here plays Katharine, a particular kind of woman who’s nasty to the competition: other women. The object of her scorn is her secretary, Tess McGill (played by Melanie Griffith), who has her great ideas stolen by Katharine. The plucky Tess in turn pretends to be her boss’s colleague, and proceeds to shake things up in this corporate Cinderella story. Who doesn’t dream of one day suddenly arriving in a higher echelon of society? Of course, it’s what you do once you get there that’s important, and the glowing and tenacious Tess makes the most of it.
(Photo by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Marvel)
#3Hard-drinking, ass-kicking Valkyrie makes no apologies for her choices and draws solid boundaries. Sure, she’s flawed, but that’s what makes her successes so sweet. That she’s played by Tessa Thompson doubles the fun.
(Photo by Marvel/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
#4Letitia Wright proved that a sister doesn’t have to sit in the shadow of her sibling simply because he’s king. Her Shuri has the smarts and the sass to cut her own path, making her technical genius essential not only to the Kingdom of Wakanda, but also the Avengers’ recent efforts to take down the tyrant Thanos.
(Photo by Fox 2000 Pictures)
#5Don’t ask us to choose a favorite among Hidden Figures’ Space Race heroines: Taraji P. Henson as Katherine G. Johnson, Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughan, and Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson. The Oscar-nominated drama tells the story of a real-life team of female African-American mathematicians crucial to NASA’s early space program.
(Photo by )
(Photo by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Lucasfilm Ltd)
#7Daisy Ridley gave girls everywhere – and full-grown women, in truth – a fresh new hero to adore when she debuted in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Of humble origins, scrappy Rey overcomes her circumstances living as an orphan in a harsh environment to become an essential component in the Resistance. It helps, of course, that The Force is with her.
(Photo by Clay Enos/Warner Bros. Pictures)
#8Despite her superpowers and privileged background, Gal Gadot as Diana – princess of Themyscira and the Amazons, daughter of Queen Hippolyta and King of the Gods Zeus – retains her humility and a genuine care for humanity. She’s also the most rock solid member of DC’s boys club of Justice League superheroes.
(Photo by 20th Century Fox)
#9Come on…she’s Princess Leia. She leads the Rebel Alliance. She saves the galaxy again and again (with a little help from Luke, and Han, and Chewy). She eventually becomes a revered general, but from the very start – when she first confronts Darth Vader at the beginning of Episode IV – A New Hope – she shows a defiant, fiery nature that never dims. In her defining film role, Carrie Fisher brings impeccable comic timing to this cosmic princess.
(Photo by Roadside Attractions)
#10Before she was Katniss, Jennifer Lawrence was Ree, the role that made her a star and earned her the first of four Oscar nominations. A no-nonsense teenager, Ree dares to brave the dangers lurking within the Ozark Mountains to track down her drug-dealing father and protect her siblings and their home. With each quietly treacherous encounter, she shows depth and instincts beyond her years, and a willingness to fight for what matters.
(Photo by )
#11You can’t have any fear when you’re going up against Hannibal Lecter – or at least you can’t show it. He’ll sniff it out from a mile away. But what’s exciting about Jodie Foster’s Oscar-winning portrayal of the young FBI cadet is the way she works through her fear, harnessing that nervous energy alongside her powerful intellect and dogged determination. Clarice Starling is a hero for every little girl who thought she wasn’t good enough.
(Photo by Universal Pictures)
#12Julia Roberts won a best-actress Oscar for her charismatic portrayal of this larger-than-life, real-life figure. Erin Brockovich is repeatedly underestimated because of the flashy way she dresses and the brash way she carries herself. But as a single mom who becomes an unlikely environmental advocate, she’s a steely fighter. What she lacks in book smarts, she more than makes up for with heart. Steven Soderbergh’s film is an inspiring underdog story.
(Photo by 20th Century Fox)
#13Jane Craig is the toughest, sharpest, most prepared woman in the newsroom at all times, but she isn’t afraid to cry to let it all out when the pressure gets too great. Writer-director James L. Brooks created this feminist heroine, this workplace goddess, but Holly Hunter brilliantly brings her to life. She’s just so vibrant. Even when she’s sitting still (which isn’t often), you can feel her thinking. And while two men compete for her attention, no man could ever define her.
(Photo by MGM Studios)
#14It would be easy to underestimate Marge Gunderson. Sure, she’s in a position of power as the Brainerd, Minnesota, police chief. But with her folksy manner – and the fact that she’s so pregnant, she’s about to burst – she’s not exactly the most intimidating figure. But in the hands of the brilliant Frances McDormand, she’s consistently the smartest and most fearless person in the room, and she remains one of the Coen brothers’ most enduring characters. You betcha.
(Photo by Marvel/Walt Disney Studios)
#15Danai Gurira plays Okoye, the leader of the Dora Milaje who specializes in spear fighting and strategic wig flipping. Of late, Okoye has been seen keeping company with Avengers.
(Photo by Miramax Films)
#16Things Bridget Jones is prone to: accidents, fantasizing about sexy coworkers, worrying about her weight, and running mad into the snow wearing tiger-print underwear. All totally relatable things, so it’s no surprise she’s the highest-ranked romcom heroine on this list. It also doesn’t hurt that, at their best, Bridget’s movies are what romantic comedies aspire to: They’re fun, cute, and just when it feels like everything’s about to fall apart, there’s the exhilarating little twist at the end that leaves watchers feel like they’re floating on air.
(Photo by Paramount Pictures)
#17It’s true that Cher is a little oblivious to the world at large, but she’s just so earnest and she tries so hard. She discovers a passion for doing good after successfully matchmaking a pair of teachers, and after a series of difficult lessons learned, she makes an honest effort to escape her privileged bubble and become a better person. Like we all should.
(Photo by MGM Studios)
#18Thelma and Louise, best friends who stick by each other no matter what. And when their girls’ getaway weekend quickly turns from frivolous to frightening, they find even deeper levels of loyalty to each other. Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon have an effortless chemistry with each other, and Ridley Scott’s intimate and thrilling film never judges these women for the decisions they make — or for the lengths to which they’ll go in the name of freedom.
(Photo by Warner Brothers)
#19Enduring racism, misogyny, and emotional, physical, and sexual violence, Celie (Whoopi Goldberg in her film debut) transcends her traumatic life in the rural South, finding friends, strength, and her own voice.
(Photo by Sony Pictures Classics)
#20As a transgender waitress, Marina constantly endures cruelty and confusion from the ignorant people around her. When the one man who loves her for who she truly is dies unexpectedly, she finds herself in the midst of an even more emotional, personal fight. Transgender actress Daniela Vega initially was hired as a consultant on Sebastian Lelio’s film; instead, she became its star, and A Fantastic Woman deservedly won this year’s foreign-language Oscar.
(Photo by TriStar Pictures)
#21Sarah Connor makes many want to be a better mother – or at least get to the gym and work on our triceps. The once-timid waitress crafts herself into a force of nature, a fearsome and visceral manifestation of pure maternal instinct. Played most memorably by Linda Hamilton in the first two Terminator movies, Sarah may seem unhinged, but she’s got laser-like focus when it comes to protecting her son, John, from the many threats coming his way.
(Photo by Miramax Films)
#22The return of blaxploitation queen, Pam Grier! What’s not to love? Especially in Quentin Tarantino’s killer love letter to South Bay Los Angeles. As Jackie Brown, Grier exudes classic cool with a tough exterior.
(Photo by Richard Olley/Columbia Pictures)
#23Jessica Chastain has made a career of playing quick-witted characters with nerves of steel. Nowhere is this truer than in her starring role in Kathryn Bigelow’s thrilling depiction of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Maya is obsessively focused in her pursuit of the al Qaeda leader. She’s a confident woman who has to be extra prepared to survive in a man’s world. But when the mission is over and she finally allows some emotion to shine through, it’s cathartic for us all.
(Photo by Warner Brothers/ Everett Collection)
#24She’s the smartest kid in the class, regardless of the subject. The hardest worker, too. And she’s proud of those qualities, making her an excellent role model for girls out there with an interest in math and science. But Hermione isn’t all about the books. Over the eight Harry Potter films, in Emma Watson’s increasingly confident hands, Hermione reveals her resourcefulness, loyalty, and grace. She’s a great student but an even better friend.
(Photo by Columbia Pictures/ Everett Collection)
#25Howard Hawks’ celebrated screwball comedy benefited from a not-so-small change to the stage play it was based on: In the original The Front Page, Hildy Johnson was a male. But thanks to Rosalind Russell’s lively performance, as well as a few script changes she personally insisted upon, the character blossomed into an early icon of the independent working woman who’s not only just as effective at her job as her male counterparts, but also equally adept with a witty comeback.
(Photo by Walt Disney/ Everett Collection)
#26Elastigirl takes on all the trials of motherhood: She’s got hyper kids, a bored husband, and has to witness certain parts of her body unperkify. Elastigirl also just happens to be a superhero, with the fate of the world resting on her shoulders.
(Photo by Universal/courtesy Everett Collection)
#27Fans of the short-lived but beloved Fox sci-fi series Firefly were already familiar with Gina Torres‘ badassery as Zoe Washburne in Serenity. A veteran of the Unification War and second in command of the ship, Zoe is a strong and loyal ally who rarely pulls punches, whether she’s stating a controversial opinion or engaged in a literal fistfight. With her free spirit and deadly skills, it’s no wonder she became a fan favorite.
(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp./courtesy Everett Collection)
#28Dolly Parton is a national treasure, and 9 to 5 allows her to light up the screen with her sparkling, charismatic personality. But while Doralee may seem like a sweet Southern gal, she’s got a stiff backbone and a sharp tongue, and she isn’t afraid to use them when she’s crossed. When she finally stands up to her sexist bully of a boss alongside co-workers Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, it’s nothing short of a revolution – one that remains sadly relevant today.
(Photo by Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)
#29The story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League is one that deserves to be told, and it’s Geena Davis‘ Dottie Hinson who grounds this fictional account. She’s a talented local player who becomes the star of the Rockford Peaches, and it’s her quick thinking that brings publicity to the sport. When her decision to play in the World Series leads to a spectacular finish, she also demonstrates a very human vulnerability, making her a strong but relatable heroine.
(Photo by Focus Features/courtesy Everett Collection)
#30Jane Austen’s classic heroine Elizabeth Bennet jumps off the page in the 2005 film starring Keira Knightley, who gives audiences an intelligent, down-to-Earth, sometimes literally dirty, but uncompromisingly steadfast leading lady.
(Photo by Everett Collection)
#31Never underestimate a sorority girl. They are organized and they know how to get what the want. In the case of Elle Woods, she goes after her law school goals with a smile on her face, a spring in her step, and an impeccably coordinated wardrobe. Reese Witherspoon is impossibly adorable in the role, with a potent combination of smarts and heart to shut down the naysayers who are foolish enough to judge her simply by her looks.
(Photo by Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection)
#32Talk brashly and carry a big sword. As Tom Cruise’s character unravels a complex time travel sci-fi story, a constant in his fluctuating world is Rita Vrataski aka the killer Angel of Verdun. But Emily Blunt gives life to Rita beyond burgeoning love interest. She takes the lead and makes the movie just as much her’s.
(Photo by Marvel Studios)
#33When Nick Fury sent that mysterious intergalactic text message right before disappearing into dust at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, eager fans knew what was in store. As played by Brie Larson, Captain Marvel is one of the most powerful superheroes in the MCU — if not THE most powerful — and she’s in such high demand that she spends most of her time battling evil on other planets. She shows up when it counts, though, and she can rock a mowhawk like nobody’s business.
(Photo by Paramount /Courtesy Everett Collection)
#34Though hit hard by tragedy and seemingly insurmountable odds of surviving an alien invasion, mother and daughter duo Evelin and Regan Abbott prove their mettle in A Quiet Place.
(Photo by Paramount Pictures / Courtesy: Everett Collection)
(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp./courtesy Everett Collection)
#36Who can stand up to Hugh Jackman’s fierce Wolverine without flinching? His cloned daughter X-23. Dafne Keen imbued the preteen mutant, a.k.a. “Laura,” with a volatile mix of anger, despondency, obstinance, and hope – that we would very much like to see more of.
(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp./courtesy Everett Collection)
#37She’s Buffy. She slays vampires while juggling cheerleading and the SATs. But while Kristy Swanson gives the character a satricial bent, it’s the legendary TV adaptation that gives this character a lasting legacy. But the movie ain’t a bad place to start.
Once a cult hit web series and now a critically acclaimed TV series, Comedy Central’s Broad City is the perfect “sick day” binge. We won’t tell you what you should be doing while watching Abbi and Ilana’s totally raunchy, completely hilarious misadventures in New York City, but we will tell you how to find it and why it’s worth watching them clean toilets and score dime bags.
What’s the premise? Abbi (Abbi Jacobson) and Ilana (Ilana Glazer), two broke girls (who aren’t those two broke girls), awkwardly yet hilariously she-bone their way around Gotham City ISO of love, fun, work, money, lost cellphones, missed opportunities, pseudo-sophistication, and weed.
What’s it like? Imagine if the entire cast of Girls weren’t the daughters of well-connected famous folk but instead, were less privileged, more vulgar, and had way less ambition. Or take the fairy tale lifestyle fabulously depicted by Sex and the City 15 years ago and toss it in the gutter. Rather than Dior, de Montparnasse, and de la Renta, Abbi and Ilana rock the Sevigny look by stumbling out in something of an American Apparel and Urban Outfitters tornado of lycra and crop tops paired with Beacon’s Closet secondhand “finds.” And it’s all in the glorious name of feeling fly versus actually looking fabulous. “Gym, tan, laundry” may be the mantra for Jersey Shore, but “high, laid, and paid” is the Ilana and Abbi trifecta.
Where can I see it? Season one is included with an Amazon Prime membership or can be downloaded from iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, or Amazon Instant Video. You can also log into ComedyCentral.com with your cable provider and watch all ten episodes online, or check out the DVD, available as of this month.
How long will it take? With just 10 episodes at 22 minutes apiece, season one can be done in one blur of a day.
What do the critics think? Critics are definitely on board with Broad City. Season one is Certified Fresh at 95 percent on the Tomatometer, with Caroline Framke of AV Club writing, “Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobsen are worth watching. Trust me.” Karen Valby of Entertainment Weekly called Broad City a “deeply weird, weirdly sweet, and completely hilarious comedy,” while Lori Rackl of the Chicago Sun-Times said “This outgrowth of a cult-hit web series is a lighter, wackier and often funnier version of HBO’s Girls.”
Why should I watch this? While Ilanna and Abbi audaciously dive head-first into things few even dare to joke about, the show is what some might call “sneak attack feminism.” Their hilarious, frenetically spoken stream of consciousness covers everything from fears to fetishes and plays out like a show Jerry Seinfeld would say is about nothing — but the broads emphatically show is about everything. “If you watch one of our episodes, there’s not a big message,” Jacobson told The Wall Street Journal. “But if you watch all of them, I think they’re empowering to women.” Plus, they have upped the ante from first season guesties like Amy Poehler and Janeane Garofalo to Seth Rogen and Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s Susie Essman in season two. Also, two words: Hannibal Buress. Hannibal Buress. Hannibal Buress. (Okay, six words.) The comedian plays Ilanna’s super-patient and adorably loving friend-with-benefits-dentist-not-quite-boyfriend.
What’s my next step? If you’re obsessed with Broad City like most die-hard fans, then you’ll likely love Kroll Show, Inside Amy Schumer, Key & Peele, Drunk History, The Birthday Boys, and pretty much everything by executive producer Amy Poehler. For other funny New York City stories, check out HBO’s Girls, How to Make it in America, and The Life and Times of Tim.
Are you ready to go Broad? Tell us why!
There’s some good repeatable vocabulary that season two of Broad City offers viewers who are impatiently awaiting the January premiere on Comedy Central.
Sunday the Paley Center and New York Comedy Festival co-hosted the event “Id Isn’t Always Pretty: An Evening with Broad City, featuring the show’s creators/stars, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, along with their angel executive producer Amy Poehler, director Lucia Aniello, and season two guest star Seth Rogen, who moderated the event.
A likely favorite will be “tittichips” courtesy of the first season’s lovable dentist “f—buddy,” Lincoln. Played by comedian, Hannibal Buress, Lincoln is always down with his buddy’s sexual quirks so making a thing out of eating potato chip from Ilana’s breasts is naturally deserving of title.
Last season had many of us Googling the sexual position “Arc de Triomphe.” The nod to the Parisian landmark is where two women do “Oprah hands” while two men give them — you know what? Just Google it yourself. And speaking of power ladies, expect nothing less than Ilana sporting a white power-suit — not to be mixed up with the white-power suit.
Oprah and Gayle love and fashion aside, here’s what we learned about the girls — better known as broads so one doesn’t mix the HBO show with the Comedy Central one. (“We haven’t seriously discussed anything crossover yet,” said director Aniello. “We could totally do something [with] Girls, but we haven’t found the right time for that for this season.”)
Here’s what we learned about Broad City:
Familiar guest stars will be in season two.
Rogen plays Abbi’s love interest this season. The Goofy Giggler who shared a cute story about Buress’ fake-but-real-but-fake-but-real jealous streak is revealed.
“I ran into him and I told him I was going to be on the show and that part of our story line is romantic,” Rogen said, “and he was like, ‘Are you with Abbi or Ilana?’ and I was like, ‘Abbi.’ And he goes — there was, like, a moment — and he goes, ‘Even though it’s not real, I would have been jealous if you said Ilana.'”
Other familiar faces are Curb Your Enthusiasm star Susie Essman who plays Ilana’s equally bold mother. (“Don’t forget to wear a condom!” is apparently her typical parting words to people.) Also revealed is an appearance by Orange is the New Black‘s Kimiko Glenn.
There will be plenty of the real New York City.
Just as the Big Apple was the fifth character in Sex and the City, in Broad City, Gotham is that gritty, in-your-face character to remind viewers of what’s to love, hate, and fear about the city.
“Shooting in Chinatown was really hard, nearly impossible,” said Aniello. “We were dealing with a butcher who has a pig open and blood was literally squirting everywhere.”
Keeping it real isn’t always easy to direct.
“Doing walk-ups was nearly impossible because people like to walk into shots,” said Aniello.”You might see a lot of blurred faces this season.”
The casual gonzo approach to filming is what got them Poehler.
The Broads wrote Poehler a letter “full of disclaimers and lots of outs” asking her to guest star in their last episode. “They were filming just around the corner from my house,” Poehler said in authentic New York geographic laziness. “And I was like, ‘Oh, okay, this will take an hour and it’s around the corner from my house.’ That was the clincher.”
The Broads still use their UCB training.
Like Poehler, Glazer and Jacobson’s act was born out of their time with the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York. Those improv skills come in handy to keep scenes fresh and edgy.
“If a scene isn’t going well, we will step away and do some improv,” said Aniello. “We’ll leave the script in order to get back to that place we want. It’s that supportive improv way. A lot of the time I’m stepping back and just letting them be themselves and do their own thing.”
“When we’re digging into these characters, these exaggerations of ourselves, a lot of it is us just going off,” said Jacobson. “We’re careful though when we get specific on things, like relationship stuff. We try to always give it a couple of years distance.”
You can email IlanaWaxler@mindmyvagina.com
It is a real email address! When testing it (Hello! Who hasn’t dialed 867-5309?), we got the reply:
I am currently out of the office in Mexico with limited access to email. I will respond at my earliest convenience.
Corporate Morale Department
Deals, Deals, Deals NYC
Until then, make sure you’re caught up with season one, which is Certified Fresh at 95 percent.
In this week’s Ketchup, Katie Holmes won’t be returning to the “Batman” franchise, with Rachel McAdams the early favorite to replace her in “The Dark Knight,” and Dino De Laurentiis is enthused about an “Evil Dead” remake, among other things.
This Week’s Most Popular News:
Rachel McAdams to Snag Katie Holmes’ “Knight” Work?
Ask just about anyone who loved “Batman Begins” what they thought the flick’s “weak spot” was, and I bet you money they’d say “Well, Katie Holmes, obviously. Her character, partially, but mainly just her blank stare and entirely unconvincing performance. Why do you ask?”
De Laurentiises Bless “Evil Dead” Remake … and Want More “Hannibal”
Sam Raimi is a bona fide mogul now with his Ghost House Pictures studio producing horror movies while he’s off making “Spider-Man” movies. Back in the day, he needed Dino De Laurentiis’s help to make the third “Evil Dead” film, “Army of Darkness.” Now that Raimi plans to remake his original “Evil Dead” through Ghost House, De Laurentiis thinks it’s a great idea.
“300” Just Got Even Cooler — IMAX Cool!!
As we discussed earlier in the week, the countdown has begun to March 9th’s “300,” the epic, visually stunning retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae, as adapted from Frank Miller’s graphic novel. If you weren’t around for the conversation, or have somehow missed the assorted crazy-cool trailers, posters, and other assorted pre-release bits that have been making the rounds, here’s a simple recap…
Holmes Getting the “Knight” Off?
Fans of “Batman Begins” who thought Katie Holmes was the worst part of the movie — and there seem to be a lot of them — will be happy to read IGN Movies’ report, via LatinoReview.com, that Holmes’ role is being recast for the upcoming sequel, “The Dark Knight.”
Jordana Brewster is the New “Mrs. Smith”
Remember the news that director Doug Liman and screenwriter Simon Kinberg were planning to bring their “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” to television? OK, well, it seems like they have their Mrs. Smith locked up.
In Other News:
A quartet of poorly-titled films will hit the multiplexes on Friday hoping to grab some business opposite a string of acclaimed releases fresh from earning their Oscar nominations.
Leading the newcomers with the most theaters is the spoof comedy "Epic Movie" which goes head to head against the crime drama "Smokin’ Aces." Horror fans get the werewolf pic "Blood and Chocolate" while those who prefer non-violence get the Jennifer Garner drama "Catch and Release."
Fox tries to tap into the immature crowd with its new comedy "Epic Movie" which spoofs many of the big-budget action and fantasy blockbusters of recent years. The "Scary Movie" series has ushered in more spoof flicks and Fox even saw solid results a year ago with its "Date Movie" which lampooned popular romantic comedies. That film bowed to $19.1M and found its way to $48.5M. Fans may be getting a little sick of the same template over and over again so the opening may not be as big, but the genre still works especially with young teens looking for mindless entertainment after a long week of classes. Commercials and trailers do not look that funny, but given the weak marketplace and the success rate of comedies with specific concepts, "Epic" may take in all the cash it needs to hit the number one spot. Holdovers do not seem like they will break into double digit millions this weekend. With a wide release in 2,801 playdates, the PG-13 pic could amass around $14M.
The weekend’s solo R pic comes in the form of the mob thriller "Smokin’ Aces" from Universal. Jeremy Piven, Ben Affleck, Andy Garcia, and Alicia Keys star in this ensemble piece about a witness in protective custody being hunted down by a crime boss before he can testify. Young men are the target audience here in this Vegas-set flick that tries too hard to be cool. The NFL’s weekend off should make guys more available for ticketbuying which will help. The studio saw an underwhelming $6.4M three-day debut for another R-rated crime saga earlier this month – "Alpha Dog" – and will probably see many of the same customers this time around. An extra 1,000 theaters will ensure a bigger opening, but there is no A-list star or director in the film to truly attract a large crowd. A quick in and out of theaters should result. Opening in 2,204 locations, "Smokin’ Aces" might collect roughly $8M in its first hand.
Jennifer Garner plays a woman trying to rebuild her life after the death of her husband in the new drama "Catch and Release." Sony proudly offers the only major new pic for female moviegoers and hopes to stand out from the crowd by going after an audience few others are targeting. The PG-13 film will test the starpower of the former "Alias" star who last hit screens two years ago with the big-budget bomb "Elektra." Her comedy "13 Going on 30" which she anchored solo performed well with a $21.1M bow, but "Catch" lacks the same fun factor and will probably draw fewer males too. Plus the studio is going into the marketplace with less than half the theaters they gave to "13." A supporting role by Kevin Smith is not likely to help bring in many dudes. But with so few films playing specifically to young women, a decent average is likely. "Catch and Release" hits 1,622 theaters on Friday and could take in about $7M.
Werewolf terror hits the multiplexes in the form of "Blood and Chocolate," a new supernatural fright flick aiming for teens and young adults. The MGM release carries a PG-13 rating which could work well in getting in younger teens, but the film lacks the zing or interesting concept that fans need in order to pay top dollar at the local theater. Every recent horror film has underperformed at the box office and this one does not seem like the savior that can turn things around. Plus other new releases will be distracting the target audience too. Opening in roughly 1,500 theaters, "Blood and Chocolate" could debut to around $4M.
After racking up over $200M through its five-week stay in the top two slots, "Night at the Museum" should get bumped down a bit. The Ben Stiller film once again faces no new competition for the family audience so a slim decline should result. A 30% fall would give Fox about $8M for the weekend and a towering cume of $215M. Sony’s "Stomp the Yard" looks to fall harder so a 40% drop to around $7M could occur pushing the cume to $50M.
After scoring the most Oscar nominations of any film with eight, the big-budget musical "Dreamgirls" shot up to the number one spot on Tuesday after finishing in third last weekend and on Monday. Although it missed out on the top prize of a Best Picture nomination, the Jamie Foxx–Beyonce Knowles film is still getting media attention which is fueling the buzz and the studio has wasted no time in advertising the fact that no other film has more Academy Award nods. Still, the film is aging and many other awards contenders are expanding and trying to attract upscale moviegoers too. A small 20% slide to around $6M may occur giving "Dreamgirls" a solid $85M total.
LAST YEAR: Martin Lawrence topped the box office with his hit comedy sequel "Big Momma’s House 2" which bowed to a plump $27.7M. The Fox release went on to gross $70.2M. Debuting in second was the family film "Nanny McPhee" with $14.5M for Universal on its way to $47.1M. Sony’s "Underworld: Evolution" tumbled by 58% in its second weekend and placed third with $11.4M. The military drama "Annapolis" opened in fourth with a modest $7.7M before finishing with $17.1M for Buena Vista. The animated hit "Hoodwinked" rounded out the top five with $7.5M in its third caper.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Offer me a cast that includes Luke Wilson, Uma Thurman, Anna Faris, Wanda Sykes, Eddie Izzard, and Rainn Wilson … and that’s a comedy I want to see. Then throw legendary comedy director Ivan Reitman into the mix, make the thing a superhero comedy with a rom-com twist, and you get "My Super Ex-Girlfriend," the all-new trailer for which you can see right here.
(Sorry about the spotty MTV linkage. Firefox users might want to visit the Internet Explorer dark side for just a few minutes.)
"Breaking up is hard to do, but sometimes it can be downright dangerous. In the Ivan Reitman comedy My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Matt Saunders (Luke Wilson) thinks he’s finally found the perfect girlfriend, the beautiful Jenny Johnson (Uma Thurman) – who just so happens to be a superhero. When Jenny/G-Girl becomes overly possessive, Matt wants to call it quits – but how do you break up with a superhero? A scorned woman, Jenny/G-Girl unleashes on her ex the full fury of her super-powered wrath as she sets out on a no-holds-barred mission to bust up Matt’s budding romance with his co-worker Hannah (Anna Faris)."
It’s not hosted in an "official" capacity, so if you want to be the first kid on your block to check out the brand-new trailer for "Charlotte’s Web," you’ll have to do it at YouTube.com. (I’ll switch the link over to the official trailer site once Paramount wakes up and addresses the issue, kind of exactly like what happened yesterday with Fox and the "Simpsons" teaser.)
Based on the classic story by E.B.White (which was turned into 1973 animated feature that my generation still manages to adore), "Charlotte’s Web" is about a small pig, a sweet spider, a barnyard full of colorful critters, and (of course) a few bittersweet lessons about life.
The live-action version comes fully packed with big-name performers. Dakota Fanning will play an actual little girl, but everyone else (Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, Robert Redford, John Cleese, Steve Buscemi, Thomas Haden Church, Kathy Bates, etc.) will be providing animal voices. (Picture "Babe" mixed with an Oscar party.)
Variety brings some unexpected casting news by announcing that none other than Robert Redford will be providing some voice-work on the upcoming "Charlotte’s Web" adaptation. (He’ll be playing a horse named Ike!) Mr. Redford joins a cast already swollen with solid performers; Julia Roberts, John Cleese, Oprah Winfrey, Thomas Haden Church and Steve Buscemi (among others) are already on board. Based on the beloved E.B. White story, "Charlotte’s Web" is currently being directed by Gary Winick ("Tadpole," "13 Going on 30"), from an adapted screenplay by Karey Kirkpatrick ("Chicken Run," "The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy") and Susannah Grant ("28 Days," "Erin Brockovich"). Moviegoers can see the new "Web" spun in June of ’06.