The Devil Inside

(Photo by Paramount Insurge/courtesy Everett Collection)

The Worst Horror Movies of All Time

We’re scraping the bottom of the cauldron for this one, freaky folks. Here lies a group of wretched movies with the lowest Tomatometers of all time – with a minimum of 20 reviews – now rising and shambling into our guide to the worst horror movies ever made.

No movie listed here achieved higher than 9% on the Tomatometer. As you might expect, the list features an inordinate number are remakes, the biggest offenders including The Fog, Jacob’s Ladder, Flatliners, and Martyrs. Same goes for sequels, as Jason, Jaws, the living dead, and an American werewolf make their appearances. And then there’s movies that will never even get a sniff of a chance for a sequel, like Sandra Bullock’s Premonition, the Daniel Craig clunker Dream House, or the eerily and aptly-titled The Disappointments Room.

Nothing but trouble coming up on in the worst, lowest-rated horror movies of all time!

#49

Martyrs (2015)
9%

#49
Adjusted Score: 10195%
Critics Consensus: Martyrs flays off everything that gave the original its icy horrific beauty, leaving us an empty, pointless remake.
Synopsis: With help from a friend (Bailey Noble), a tormented woman (Troian Bellisario) tracks down the family that imprisoned and tortured... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Goetz, Michael Goetz

#48

Species II (1998)
9%

#48
Adjusted Score: 9199%
Critics Consensus: Clumsily exploitative and sloppily assembled, Species II fails to clear the rather low bar set by its less-than-stellar predecessor.
Synopsis: Having just returned from a mission to Mars, Commander Ross (Justin Lazard) isn't exactly himself. He's slowly becoming a terrifying... [More]
Directed By: Peter Medak

#47
#47
Adjusted Score: 13234%
Critics Consensus: More likely to induce boredom than quicken the pulse, Brahms: The Boy II is chiefly scary for the way it undermines the effectiveness of its above-average predecessor.
Synopsis: Terror strikes when a boy discovers a doll that appears to be eerily human.... [More]
Directed By: William Brent Bell

#46

See No Evil (2006)
9%

#46
Adjusted Score: 9715%
Critics Consensus: See No Evil is packed with cliches from countless other teen slasher films, making for a predictable, scare-free waste of time.
Synopsis: A reclusive maniac (Kane) terrorizes a group of young petty criminals who have arrived to clean up a rotting hotel... [More]
Directed By: Gregory Dark

#45

Shutter (2008)
9%

#45
Adjusted Score: 10959%
Critics Consensus: Being a remake of a Thai horror film instead of Japanese doesn't prevent Shutter from being another lame Asian horror remake.
Synopsis: Photographer Ben (Joshua Jackson) and his new bride, Jane (Rachael Taylor), turn their honeymoon into a working vacation when he... [More]
Directed By: Masayuki Ochiai

#44

Captivity (2007)
9%

#44
Adjusted Score: 10732%
Critics Consensus: Lacking scares or psychological insight, Captivity is a distasteful entry in the 'torture porn' subgenre.
Synopsis: Jennifer, a model, is on top of the world. Her highly sought-after image adorns magazine covers and billboards. When she... [More]
Directed By: Roland Joffé

#43
#43
Adjusted Score: 11766%
Critics Consensus: This teen horror movie brings nothing new to an already exhausted genre. And it's bad. Really bad.
Synopsis: At Alpine University, one senior student will be awarded the prestigious Hitchcock Award for best thesis film, virtually guaranteeing the... [More]
Directed By: John Ottman

#42
#42
Adjusted Score: 11431%
Critics Consensus: When a Stranger Calls ranks among the more misguided remakes in horror history, offering little more than a rote, largely fright-free update to the original.
Synopsis: Far away from the site of a gruesome murder, a teenager named Jill Johnson (Camilla Belle) arrives at a luxurious... [More]
Directed By: Simon West

#41

Darkness Falls (2003)
9%

#41
Adjusted Score: 13144%
Critics Consensus: A derivative movie where the scares are few and things don't make much sense.
Synopsis: In Maine, the residents of Darkness Falls are all aware of the legend of Matilda Dixon, an old woman who... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Liebesman

#40
Adjusted Score: 11682%
Critics Consensus: Jason terrorizes a ship and nearly sinks the franchise in a clunky sequel that feels like self-parody without the charm.
Synopsis: Mass murderer Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder) is resurrected from the bottom of Crystal Lake. After he kills a passing boat's... [More]
Directed By: Rob Hedden

#39

The Order (2003)
8%

#39
Adjusted Score: 9356%
Critics Consensus: A religious thriller that's more lethargic and silly than thrilling.
Synopsis: For centuries, a secret Order has existed within the Church. Following a series of unexplained murders, a renegade priest (Heath... [More]
Directed By: Brian Helgeland

#38

Slender Man (2018)
8%

#38
Adjusted Score: 11140%
Critics Consensus: Slender Man might be thin, but he's positively robust compared to the flimsy assortment of scares generated by the would-be chiller that bears his name.
Synopsis: Small-town best friends Hallie, Chloe, Wren and Katie go online to try and conjure up the Slender Man -- a... [More]
Directed By: Sylvain White

#37

Lost Souls (2000)
8%

#37
Adjusted Score: 10032%
Critics Consensus: Though Kaminski's film is visually stylish, Lost Souls is just another derivative entry in the Apocalypse genre, with lackluster direction, unengaging characters, and no scares.
Synopsis: A modern thriller in which faith battles reason, Ryder plays a young woman who becomes aware of a conspiracy to... [More]
Directed By: Janusz Kaminski

#36
Adjusted Score: 15092%
Critics Consensus: Fantasy Island tries to show audiences the dark side of wish fulfillment, but mainly serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of exhuming long-dead franchises.
Synopsis: The enigmatic Mr. Roarke makes the secret dreams of his guests come true at a luxurious tropical resort. But when... [More]
Directed By: Jeff Wadlow

#35

Rings (2017)
8%

#35
Adjusted Score: 15028%
Critics Consensus: Rings may offer ardent fans of the franchise a few threadbare thrills, but for everyone else, it may feel like an endless loop of muddled mythology and rehashed plot points.
Synopsis: A young woman (Matilda Lutz) becomes worried about her boyfriend (Alex Roe) when he explores a dark subculture surrounding a... [More]
Directed By: F. Javier Gutiérrez

#34

The Reaping (2007)
8%

#34
Adjusted Score: 13412%
Critics Consensus: It may feature such accomplished actors as Hilary Swank and Stephen Rea, but The Reaping also boasts the apropos tagline "What hath God wrought?" It's schlocky, spiritually shallow, and scare-free.
Synopsis: Katherine Morrissey (Hilary Swank), a former Christian missionary, lost her faith after the tragic deaths of her family. Now she... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Hopkins

#33

Premonition (2007)
8%

#33
Adjusted Score: 13799%
Critics Consensus: Overdosing on flashbacks, and more portentous than profound, the overly obtuse Premonition weakly echoes such twisty classics as Memento, The Sixth Sense, and Groundhog Day.
Synopsis: Linda Hanson (Sandra Bullock) has an idyllic life, until one day she receives word that her husband (Julian McMahon) has... [More]
Directed By: Mennan Yapo

#32
Adjusted Score: 7234%
Critics Consensus: Markedly inferior to its cult classic predecessor in every way, An American Werewolf in Paris is felled by the silver bullets of clumsy storytelling and chintzy special effects.
Synopsis: A group of carousing American tourists is taking in the cultural landmarks of Paris when a chance encounter results in... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Waller

#31

The Forsaken (2001)
7%

#31
Adjusted Score: 8512%
Critics Consensus: It's all been done before, and done better.
Synopsis: Driving cross-country to deliver a vintage Mercedes, Sean (Kerr Smith) does the one thing he wasn't suppose to do --... [More]
Directed By: J.S. Cardone

#30
Adjusted Score: 9686%
Critics Consensus: Boring, predictable, and bereft of thrills or chills, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer is exactly the kind of rehash that gives horror sequels a bad name.
Synopsis: A year after killing vengeful hit-and-run victim Ben Wills (Muse Watson), who gutted her friends with an iron hook, college... [More]
Directed By: Danny Cannon

#29

Prom Night (2008)
7%

#29
Adjusted Score: 9004%
Critics Consensus: A dim and predictable remake of an already dull slasher film, this Prom Night fails to be memorable.
Synopsis: When a deranged high-school teacher kills the family of the girl, Donna, that he loves, in a disturbed attempt to... [More]
Directed By: Nelson McCormick

#28

White Noise (2005)
7%

#28
Adjusted Score: 12704%
Critics Consensus: While there are some built-in scares, the movie is muddled and unsatisfying.
Synopsis: Architect Jonathan Rivers (Michael Keaton) is happily married to author Anna (Chandra West), but tragedy strikes when she is killed... [More]
Directed By: Geoffrey Sax

#27

Dream House (2011)
6%

#27
Adjusted Score: 7791%
Critics Consensus: Dream House is punishingly slow, stuffy, and way too obvious to be scary.
Synopsis: Publisher Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) quits a lucrative job in New York to relocate his wife, Libby (Rachel Weisz), and... [More]
Directed By: Jim Sheridan

#26

Ouija (2014)
6%

#26
Adjusted Score: 8182%
Critics Consensus: Slowly, steadily, although no one seems to be moving it in that direction, the Ouija planchette points to NO.
Synopsis: Following the sudden death of her best friend, Debbie, Laine finds an antique Ouija board in Debbie's room and tries... [More]
Directed By: Stiles White

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 8285%
Critics Consensus: The Devil Inside is a cheap, choppy unscary mess, featuring one of the worst endings in recent memory.
Synopsis: Twenty years after Maria Rossi (Suzan Crowley) murdered three people, her daughter, Isabella (Fernanda Andrade), seeks the truth about that... [More]
Directed By: William Brent Bell

#24

Troll 2 (1992)
5%

#24
Adjusted Score: 4826%
Critics Consensus: Oh my god.
Synopsis: When young Joshua (Michael Stephenson) learns that he will be going on vacation with his family to a small town... [More]
Directed By: Drago Floyd

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 12552%
Critics Consensus: There's nothing good in Nothing But Trouble, a grotesque comedy that is more likely to make audiences ill than make them laugh.
Synopsis: While attempting to seduce gorgeous lawyer Diane Lightson (Demi Moore), wealthy gadabout Chris Thorne (Chevy Chase) agrees to drive her... [More]
Directed By: Dan Aykroyd

#22

Jacob's Ladder (2019)
4%

#22
Adjusted Score: 4510%
Critics Consensus: A needless remake that quickly loses sight of the themes that elevated the original, this is a Jacob's Ladder that leads straight to nowhere.
Synopsis: After losing his brother in combat, Jacob Singer returns home from Afghanistan -- only to be pulled into a mind-twisting... [More]
Directed By: David M. Rosenthal

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 4129%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Teenagers discover a terrible secret when they break into the home of a mortician (Dennis Quaid) whose wife died two... [More]
Directed By: Martin Guigui

#20

Mary (2019)
4%

#20
Adjusted Score: 3773%
Critics Consensus: Misguided from stem to stern, Mary wastes the talents of an outstanding cast -- and makes a soggy mess of its supernatural horror story.
Synopsis: A family sailing in isolated waters discovers the ship they bought holds terrifying secrets.... [More]
Directed By: Michael Goi

#19

6 Souls (2010)
4%

#19
Adjusted Score: 3254%
Critics Consensus: The most mind-bending aspect of 6 Souls is Julianne Moore's participation, the overqualified star wasted on a goofy horror premise that generates more guffaws than scares.
Synopsis: Dr. Cara Harding (Julianne Moore) is a dedicated psychiatrist skeptical about the nature of certain afflictions, especially Multiple Personality Disorder.... [More]

#18

Soul Survivors (2001)
4%

#18
Adjusted Score: 5153%
Critics Consensus: Soul Survivors' stock characters and utter lack of suspense gives viewers little reason to attempt deciphering the confusing plot.
Synopsis: Sometimes living or dying comes down to a matter of choice. It took Annabel (Eliza Dushku) and Matt (Wes Bentley)... [More]
Directed By: Steve Carpenter

#17

Darkness (2002)
4%

#17
Adjusted Score: 4274%
Critics Consensus: Yet another predictable variation on the hoary old haunted-house movie, Darkness is an illogical, portentous mess.
Synopsis: Paul (Stephan Enquist) and his older sister, Regina (Anna Paquin), unpack and settle into their new country home with their... [More]
Directed By: Jaume Balagueró

#16

The Fog (2005)
4%

#16
Adjusted Score: 6127%
Critics Consensus: The Fog is a so-so remake of a so-so movie, lacking scares, suspense or originality.
Synopsis: The prosperous town of Antonio Bay, Ore., is born in blood, as the town's founders get their money by murdering... [More]
Directed By: Rupert Wainwright

#15

Flatliners (2017)
4%

#15
Adjusted Score: 8046%
Critics Consensus: Flatliners falls flat as a horror movie and fails to improve upon its source material, rendering this reboot dead on arrival.
Synopsis: Five medical students embark on a daring and dangerous experiment to gain insight into the mystery of what lies beyond... [More]
Directed By: Niels Arden Oplev

#14

Godsend (2004)
4%

#14
Adjusted Score: 8746%
Critics Consensus: A murky thriller with few chills, Godsend features ludicrous dialogue, by-the-numbers plotting, and an excess of cheap shocks.
Synopsis: After Paul Duncan (Greg Kinnear) and his wife, Jessie (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos), lose their young son, Adam (Cameron Bright), in an... [More]
Directed By: Nick Hamm

#13

The Darkness (2016)
3%

#13
Adjusted Score: 3262%
Critics Consensus: The Darkness clumsily relies on an assortment of genre tropes, leaving only the decidedly non-frightening ghost of superior horror films in its wake.
Synopsis: Peter Taylor (Kevin Bacon), his wife Bronny and their two children return to Los Angeles after a fun-filled vacation to... [More]
Directed By: Greg McLean

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 4395%
Critics Consensus: A grungy, disjointed, mostly brainless mess of a film, House of the Dead is nonetheless loaded with unintentional laughs.
Synopsis: Simon (Tyron Leitso) and Greg (Will Sanderson) meet a group of friends and set out to attend a rave on... [More]
Directed By: Uwe Boll

#11

The Apparition (2012)
3%

#11
Adjusted Score: 4919%
Critics Consensus: The Apparition fails to offer anything original, isn't particularly scary, and offers so little in the way of dramatic momentum that it's more likely to put you to sleep than thrill you.
Synopsis: Plagued by frightening occurrences in their home, Kelly (Ashley Greene) and Ben (Sebastian Stan) learn that a university's parapsychology experiment... [More]
Directed By: Todd Lincoln

#10

FeardotCom (2002)
3%

#10
Adjusted Score: 4827%
Critics Consensus: As frustrating as a 404 error, Fear Dot Com is a stylish, incoherent, and often nasty mess with few scares.
Synopsis: When four bodies are discovered among the industrial decay and urban grime of New York City, brash young detective Mike... [More]
Directed By: William Malone

#9

Bless the Child (2000)
3%

#9
Adjusted Score: 5918%
Critics Consensus: Bless the Child squanders its talented cast on a plot that's more likely to inspire unintentional laughs than shivers.
Synopsis: When Maggie's sister Jenna saddles her with an autistic newborn named Cody she touches Maggie's heart and becomes the daughter... [More]
Directed By: Chuck Russell

#8
Adjusted Score: 2838%
Critics Consensus: The Haunting of Molly Hartley is a rather lifeless horror endeavor, with a pedestrian plot and few scares.
Synopsis: After surviving a brutal attack by her insane mother, teenage Molly (Haley Bennett) is eager to get a fresh start... [More]
Directed By: Mickey Liddell

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 5497%
Critics Consensus: Inept on almost every level, Alone in the Dark may not work as a thriller, but it's good for some head-slapping, incredulous laughter.
Synopsis: When the investigations of supernatural detective Edward Carnby (Christian Slater) lead him to uncover a long-lost tribe called the Abskani,... [More]
Directed By: Uwe Boll

#6
Adjusted Score: 789%
Critics Consensus: Zero brains.
Synopsis: A boy (Michael Kenworthy) and his friends free something evil from a canister fallen off an Army truck.... [More]
Directed By: Ken Wiederhorn

#5

Homecoming (2009)
0%

#5
Adjusted Score: 20%
Critics Consensus: A lazy collection of obsession thriller clichés, Homecoming will leave viewers wishing they'd opted for a lopsided football game and some awkward dancing instead.
Synopsis: A jealous woman (Mischa Barton) plots revenge after her former beau (Matt Long) returns to their hometown with a pretty... [More]
Directed By: Morgan J. Freeman

#4
Adjusted Score: 728%
Critics Consensus: The Disappointments Room lives down to its title with a thrill-free thriller that presumably left its stars filled with regret - and threatens to do the same for audiences.
Synopsis: Dana (Kate Beckinsale), her husband David and their 5-year-old son Lucas start a new life after moving from the hustle... [More]
Directed By: D.J. Caruso

#3

Cabin Fever (2016)
0%

#3
Adjusted Score: 929%
Critics Consensus: No need for a quarantine -- enthusiasm for this inert remake is not contagious.
Synopsis: Fresh out of college, five friends (Nadine Crocker, Matthew Daddario, Samuel Davis) face the horrors of a flesh-eating virus while... [More]
Directed By: Travis Z

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 2745%
Critics Consensus: Illogical, tension-free, and filled with cut-rate special effects, Jaws: The Revenge is a sorry chapter in a once-proud franchise.
Synopsis: The family of widow Ellen Brody (Lorraine Gary) has long been plagued by shark attacks, and this unfortunate association continues... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Sargent

#1

One Missed Call (2008)
0%

#1
Adjusted Score: 2623%
Critics Consensus: One of the weakest entries in the J-horror remake sweepstakes, One Missed Call is undone by bland performances and shopworn shocks.
Synopsis: When Beth Raymond (Shannyn Sossamon) witnesses the deaths of two friends, she knows there is more at work than just... [More]
Directed By: Éric Valette

Attacking theaters on the same May 18 date as the original ogre toon from six years ago, "Shrek the Third" stomps into the marketplace this weekend ready to seize the box office crown.

No other studio dared to challenge this mid-May event film which has much of the scene all to itself. Add in the third weekend of "Spider-Man 3" and multiplexes will surely be active with ticket sales ready to surge from last weekend’s levels.

Mike Myers
, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and Antonio Banderas all return to lend their voices to "Third" and are joined by old and new faces like John Cleese, Julie Andrews, Eric Idle, Rupert Everett, and Justin Timberlake. In the new PG-rated film, the not-so-jolly green giant embarks on a quest to find himself a replacement to become the heir to the throne of Far Far Away and finds all sorts of comedic misadventures along the way.

The first two "Shrek" pics also opened on the weekend before the lucrative Memorial Day holiday frame and went on to show terrific legs. "Shrek 2" bowed on a Wednesday and grossed a whopping $108M over its three-day period on its way to becoming the number three domestic blockbuster of all-time with $436.7M. It was so well-loved and interest in a new chapter began almost immediately with moviegoers of all ages. With its blend of colorful and zany antics for kids plus sophisticated humor for adults, the franchise has been able to stomp on all its animated competitors to become king of the toons. In fact the next biggest openings in history for animated films are claimed by "The Incredibles," "Finding Nemo," and "Ice Age: The Meltdown" which all launched in the $68-71M range.

In the much-talked-about ‘Battle of the Threes’ this month, each tentpole is trying to outdo the previous one and is slipping itself into theaters a couple of hours earlier each time. "Spider-Man 3" launched like most blockbusters do with Thursday night midnight shows, but "Shrek the Third" is offering its night-before showtimess at 10pm while next week "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" will take it one step further on the plank by starting its first showings at 8pm on Thursday evening. Though uncommon, the practice has been seen before. Night-before showtimes for previous summer tentpoles included 10pm for 2003’s "The Matrix Reloaded," 10pm for 1997’s "The Lost World," and even 6pm for 1996’s "Independence Day" which practically gave it a whole new opening day.

With 4,122 theaters this weekend, "Shrek" should be able to dominate the marketplace with ease especially since the only real threat, "Spider-Man 3," is fading fast and summer movie fans are looking for something else to eat popcorn in front of. Competition should actually be less for "Third" than for its predecessor. The second chapter faced $53.8M from the rest of the top ten on its debut frame. This weekend, even with higher ticket prices, that figure will be hard to reach since most of the top ten will consist of feeble grosses. That gives "Third" a nice environment to enter, even if trailers and commercials are not as funny this time around.

Reviews have been weaker than last time and repeat business over the long-term should not be as strong for Paramount which hardly has its name anywhere on the new product. Its subsidiary DreamWorks still has its brand name everywhere on the film. Regardless, the marketing has been as powerful as ever with McDonalds coming on board as a promotional partner after years of being in bed with Disney exclusively. Comedies do so well at the box office and business should come from the family audience as well as from teens and young adults looking for fun weekend entertainment. Hoping to set a new benchmark for animated openings, "Shrek the Third" could haul in about $115M from Thursday night through Sunday.


Will the "Third" time charm?

Peter Parker busted onto the scene with a record-shattering opening weekend two weeks ago, but gravity has kicked in since. The second weekend drop of 62% showed that the film absorbed much of its potential upfront and that repeat business isn’t really a factor. This week, Monday sales were only $3.6M (down 65% from last Monday) while Tuesday stood at $3.5M (off 57%). With "Shrek" stepping in to steal away all the attention, "Spider-Man 3" is sure to suffer another large decline. Some multiplexes will open up those fifth and sixth Spidey screens and turn them into ogre auditoriums. Still, as the studio knew a year ago when tentpole release dates were set, a silver medal is guaranteed this weekend. "Spider-Man 3" may fall by more than 50% to about $27M and boost its 17-day cume to an impressive $280M.

Sophomores "28 Weeks Later" and "Georgia Rule" will get bumped down a notch this weekend. Like for all horror sequels, a second weekend drop of less than 50% would be shocking for the Fox zombie pic. A 55% tumble for "Weeks" would put it at $5M pushing the ten-day tally to a modest $18M. Universal’s multi-generational dramedy is playing to older women who do not exactly rush out on opening weekend so a smaller decline will result. "Georgia Rule" could dip by 40% to around $4M giving the Jane Fonda flop only $13M in ten days.

LAST YEAR: Sony shot to the top of the charts with the global launch of "The Da Vinci Code" which seized control of the number one spot with a massive $77.1M bow. The Tom Hanks smash went on to gross $217.5M domestically and a colossal $753M worldwide. Paramount debuted its DreamWorks toon "Over the Hedge" in the runnerup spot with $38.5M and went on to collect $155M from North America and $330M globally. Rounding out the top five were "Mission: Impossible III" with $11.3M, "Poseidon" with $9.2M, and "RV" with $5M. Lionsgate offered horror audiences "See No Evil" and was met with $4.6M on its way to a weak $15M total.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

For the fourth consecutive weekend, four or more new wide releases will cram into multiplexes trying to get at their piece of a dwindling box office pie.

Nicolas Cage targets his second trip to the top spot this year with the action film "Next," rival actioner "The Condemned" counters with Stone Cold Steve Austin in the lead, horror fans get yet another creepy tale with "The Invisible," and Jamie Kennedy goes for some laughs with "Kickin’ It Old Skool."

Mostly garbage titles were programmed into this weekend’s menu since any studio with a decent film would not risk getting crushed on the second weekend by the webslinger sequel. Including these newest films, the first four months of 2007 boasts 64 wide releases hitting the marketplace, up slightly from last year’s 60 but up sharply from the 42 over the same period in 2005. With a mass quantity of weak April films, look for the North American box office to plunge to its lowest point of the year this weekend during what is essentially the calm before Sandman’s storm hits next Thursday night at midnight.

Following his Marvel Comics hit "Ghost Rider," Nicolas Cage once again plays the action hero card with the sci-fi thriller "Next." The PG-13 film finds the Oscar winner playing a man with the ability to see into the future who is called in to foil a terrorist plot before it happens. Directed by Lee Tamahori ("Die Another Day," "Along Came A Spider"), "Next" has the advantage of having the most screens and the most starpower of any new release this weekend. Plus with current films rotting away quickly (9 of the 16 holdovers in the Top 20 last weekend plunged by more than 55%), competition will not be too fierce. Paramount has been giving "Next" a decent amount of marketing, that is for a film being dumped into the final weekend of a month starting with the letter A. In almost any other time of year this would get clobbered, but given the current alternatives it will make for the only reasonable choice for many moviegoers. Hence, a number one opening by default and quite possibly the weakest one of the year. Crashing into over 2,500 theaters, "Next" could reach the top with around $13M.


Cage and Biel required an escort when exiting the "Next" premiere.

"The Condemned" offers a reality show idea not likely to be on any network’s fall schedule. In the weekend’s sole R-rated film, death row inmates duke it out to the death in order to avoid being executed, all while television cameras capture every brutal moment. World Wrestling Entertainment head Vince McMahon produces behind the scenes while former superstar grappler Steve Austin stars in front of the camera. Other WWE stars who headlined recent feature films include Kane in last May’s "See No Evil" ($4.6M debut) and John Cena in last fall’s "The Marine" ($7.1M bow). Both films averaged less than $4,000 on their opening weekends. Young men will make up the only audience segment for the new Lionsgate title and "Next" will provide some direct action competition. Still some hardcore wrestling fans will turn up to theaters since a movie ticket will be cheaper than ordering a pay-per-view event. But overall, prospects seem bleak. "The Condemned" will attack 2,310 theaters and may end up with $6M.


Steve Austin and some unfortunate soul in "The Condemned."

As if moviegoers don’t have enough scary films to choose from, Buena Vista offers up one more with the supernatural thriller "The Invisible." The PG-13 film follows a high school student whose spirit wanders after a brutal accident. Fright flicks have been flopping left and right recently and there is no reason to believe that this one will turn things around. The marketing volume has been stuck on low as this remake of a Swedish pic is more of a spring cleaning film tossed into the marketplace hoping to be forgotten soon. With no starpower, there will be almost nothing driving in traffic. "The Invisible" will appear in over 2,000 theaters this Friday, but might only collect roughly $5M.


One of them is "The Invisible."

Jamie Kennedy headlines the new comedy "Kickin’ It Old Skool" playing a 1980s breakdancer that falls into a coma and awakens two decades later to a much different world. Yari Film Group is targeting teenagers with this PG-13 pic which essentially offers the same laughs as the comedian’s 2003 film "Malibu’s Most Wanted." That modest hit bowed in late April to $12.6M from 2,503 theaters on its way to a $34.4M domestic final. "Skool" does not have a big studio marketing push behind it but it may grab the attention of some young dudes killing time before Peter Parker busts into theaters. DVD is where most people will find this one. Breaking into 1,600 theaters, "Kickin’ It Old Skool" could find itself with around $5M over three days.


Jamie Kennedy and Webster kick it "Old Skool."

Among holdovers, two-time champ "Disturbia" will find it difficult to hold onto its crown given the arrival of Nicolas Cage. But Paramount won’t care as it should still claim the number one film for the fifth consecutive weekend. A 40% decline would give the Shia LaBeouf pic about $8M for the frame and a healthy $51M after 17 days. The Anthony HopkinsRyan Gosling thriller "Fracture" has been well-received and competition is not too fierce so a 40% drop could be in order as well. That would leave New Line with $6.5M and a ten-day tally of $21M.

LAST YEAR: Three new flicks topped the charts led by the family comedy "RV" starring Robin Williams which opened at number one with $16.4M. The Sony hit enjoyed stellar legs and went on to collect $71.3M. Universal followed in second with the 9/11 thriller "United 93" which debuted in half as many theaters with $11.5M. The critically acclaimed pic went on to gross $31.5M. Buena Vista’s gymnastics film "Stick It" bowed in third with $10.8M on its way to $26.9M. Rounding out the top five were "Silent Hill" with $9.3M and "Scary Movie 4" with $7.8M. Also opening was the spelling drama "Akeelah and the Bee" with a weak $6M leading to a $18.8M final for Lionsgate and its promotional partner Starbucks.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week at the movies, we’ve got the return of Jigsaw ("Saw III," starring Tobin Bell), a tale of rebellion in apartheid-era South Africa ("Catch a Fire," starring Derek Luke and Tim Robbins), and a story of family dysfunction in the 1970s ("Running with Scissors," starring Annette Bening, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Alec Baldwin). What do the critics have to say?

The sheer awfulness of South Africa’s apartheid system has been grist for Hollywood’s mill in recent years, but Phillip Noyce’s "Catch a Fire" may be one of the subgenre’s strongest entries to date. "Fire" tells the true story of Patrick Chamusso (Derek Luke), a dedicated family man falsely accused of terrorism who in turn becomes a radical rebel fighter against the apartheid government. Critics say the film works as both a political thriller and as a potent history lesson, and it features a particularly strong performance from Luke. At 77 percent on the Tomatometer, you may want to "Catch" this one. (Check out RT editor Jen Yamato’s review from the Toronto Film Fest here.)


"If you are the big tree/ We are the small axe/ Ready to cut you down (well sharp)/ To cut you down."

Augusten Burroughs’ memoir "Running with Scissors" struck a nerve as a bizarre depiction of dysfunctional families and a culture of therapy among the privileged. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear the movie adaptation will do the same. The film is a coming-of-age story about a young man whose unstable mother sends him to live with her therapist’s family, at which point his life only gets weirder. The critics say the film features some sharp performances — particularly by Annette Bening — but also note the film is too awash with mannered eccentricity and cartoonish caricatures rather than fully developed characters. At 33 percent on the Tomatometer, this one’s "Running" on fumes.


"Listen doc, let me start off by saying I hate your socks."

They say the first cut is the deepest. And if the fact that it hasn’t been screened for critics is any indication, it appears that in the case of "Saw III," the blade’s gotten pretty dull. So kids, it’s time to bust out the old crystal balls and play Guess the Tomatometer!


This guy is especially mad because he’ll be late to the office Halloween party.

Also in theaters this week in limited release: "Cocaine Cowboys," a documentary about drug smuggling in Miami in the late 1970s and early 1980s, is at 100 percent; "Exit: The Right to Die," a documentary about assisted suicide, is at 86 percent; "Shut Up & Sing," a rockumentary about the Dixie Chicks, is at 83 percent; "Babel," Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s globetrotting film about despair and interconnectivity, starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, is at 72 percent; "The Wild Blue Yonder: A Science Fiction Fantasy," Werner Herzog‘s latest epic journey, is at 70 percent; "The Bridge," a doc about suicides on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, is at 63 percent; "Climates," an atmospheric Turkish import about the decline of a relationship, is at 46 percent; and "Death of a President," the incendiary mockumentary about a plot against George W. Bush, bombed with the critics, as it’s at 33 percent.


"Babel": "Though the mountains divide/ And the oceans are wide/ It’s a small world after all."

Recent Slasher Movies:
—————————-
18% — Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)
57% — Feast (2006)
35% — Calvaire (2006)
20% — Mad Cowgirl (2006)
6% — See No Evil (2006)

Recent Derek Luke Movies:
———————————-
58% — Glory Road (2006)
82% — Friday Night Lights (2004)
65% — Spartan (2004)
83% — Pieces of April (2003)
22% — Biker Boyz (2003)

Recent Annette Bening Movies:
————————————–
33% — Mrs. Harris (2005)
76% — Being Julia (2004)
79% — Open Range (2003)
45% — What Planet Are You From? (2000)
89% — American Beauty (1999)

The studios have been hiding movies from those pesky scribes all year long, but this time they’ve outdone themselves. This week, three movies won’t be screened before getting tossed into the theaters: Neil LaBute‘s remake of "The Wicker Man," starring Nicolas Cage; "Crank," another high-octane actioner starring Jason Statham; and Mike Judge‘s "Idiocracy," a "Futurama"-esque comedy starring Luke Wilson.

What’s odd about this batch of unscreened films is that two of them are directed by established helmers. They include the generally blameless Judge, the man behind such beloved creations as "Beavis and Butthead" and "Office Space," and LaBute, whose filmography is a bit darker ("In the Company of Men," "Your Friends and Neighbors") but has never been uninteresting. Even stranger, "Idiocracy" is opening in limited release, but is bypassing the normal release pattern by playing outside of New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area.


No, these aren’t the sad movie critics waiting in vain to see "The Wicker Man"….

So we’re going to play that increasingly popular party game: Guess the Tomatometer! (If the studios continue to stop screening movies beforehand, GTT may replace the NFL and Nascar as one of the most popular games in America.) But we’ll make it easier for you with some super unscientific calculations. The average Tomatometer of the movies not screened for critics is just under 15 percent; Basically, we’ve taken the average Tomatometer of unscreened films plus the average Tomatometer of the key participants’ films divided by two. By factoring in the combined Tomatometers of LaBute, and stars Cage and Ellen Burstyn, we’re guessing "The Wicker Man" will wind up around 42 percent. Utilizing Judge’s and Wilson‘s Tomatometers, "Idiocracy" may wind up in the area of 38 percent. And since the directors of "Crank" are relative newcomers, we’ll use Statham, Amy Smart, and Dwight Yoakam to guesstimate that "Crank" will end up around 32 percent. Feel free to knock as many points off as you feel is necessary.


…and no, this is not a metaphor for what the studios think those mean ol’ critics will do to the opening weekend grosses.

Films Not Screened For Critics In 2006 (Best To Worst Tomatometer Score):
————————————————
69% — Snakes on a Plane
28% — Silent Hill
27% — Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion
23% — Phat Girlz
16% — Grandma’s Boy
15% — Underworld: Evolution
11% — The Benchwarmers
10% — Ultraviolet
10% — When a Stranger Calls
7% — Date Movie
7% — Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector
6% — Material Girls
6% — See No Evil
5% — Doogal
5% — BloodRayne
5% — Stay Alive
0% — Zoom

This week at the movies, we’ve got Oliver Stone paying tribute to the heroes of 9/11 ("World Trade Center," starring Nicolas Cage); two youngsters trying to start a dance dance revolution ("Step Up," starring Jenna Dewan and Channing Tatum); a school for young superheroes ("Zoom," starring Tim Allen and Courteney Cox); and an evil website ("Pulse," starring Kristen Bell). What do the critics have to say?

Oliver Stone has never been the subtlest of directors, nor has he shied away from controversy or conspiracy-mongering. So it’s something of a surprise to critics that with his latest, "World Trade Center," he has tackled a subject (the 9/11 attacks) rife with talk of dark machinations and created a straightforward, apolitical tale of heroism. Based on a true story, "World Trade Center" stars Nicolas Cage and Michael Pena as a pair of Port Authority police officers who became trapped in the ruins of the World Trade Center while attempting to rescue others. Critics say the narrow human focus is one of the strengths of the film, along with its stunning visuals and an old-fashioned sense of resilience and heroism. At 70 percent on the Tomatometer, "World Trade Center" may be a cut below Paul Greengrass‘ 9/11 film "United 93" (90 percent), but it’s a worthy examination of a day that will live in infamy. It’s also Stone’s best-reviewed film since "Nixon."


Nicolas Cage as real-life officer John McLoughlin in "World Trade Center"

"Step Up" tells the story of a hip-hop dancer from the wrong side of the tracks (Channing Tatum) and a privileged ballerina (Jenna Dewan) who overcome their differences to make beautiful music together on the dance floor. Sound familiar? It should, if you’ve seen "Saturday Night Fever," "Save the Last Dance," or "Dirty Dancing." Perhaps the Bee Gees presciently spoke for the critics of "Step Up" when they sang, "You should be dancing," for the scribes say the film is at its best in its electrifying dance sequences, but dramatically flat otherwise. At 21 percent on the Tomatometer, the critics are putting this baby in a corner.


"Step Up": Do fries come with that shake?

The studios apparently believe "Pulse" is pretty lifeless, and that "Zoom" is full of cinematic gloom. What else could explain the fact that the Kristen Bell J-horror remake and the Tim Allen superhero comedy, respectively, were not screened for critics? It’s time to bust out those crystal balls and guess those Tomatometers, people.


"Sometimes when we touch/ the horror’s just too much"

Also in theaters this week, in limited release: "Half Nelson," starring Ryan Gosling as a troubled inner city teacher, is at a whopping 95 percent on the Tomatometer; the Czech surrealist horror film "Lunacy" is at 80 percent; "House of Sand," a visually remarkable Brazilian epic, is at 80 percent; "Conversations With Other Women," a tale of a romantic reunion starring Helena Bonham Carter and Aaron Eckhart, is at 70 percent; "The Trouble With Men and Women," a low-budget Brit relationship drama, is at 50 percent; "Poster Boy," a drama about the gay son of a senator, is at 43 percent; and "The Ordeal," a dark Belgian horror import, is at 43 percent.

Recent Oliver Stone Movies:
———————————–
16% — Alexander (2004)
50% — Comandante (2003)
48% — Any Given Sunday (1999)
51% — U-Turn (1997)
74% — Nixon (1995)

Recent Nicolas Cage Movies:
————————————
61% — Lord of War (2005)
59% — The Weather Man (2005)
42% — National Treasure (2004)
82% — Matchstick Men (2003)
90% — Adaptation (2002)

Films Not Screened For Critics In 2006 (Best To Worst Tomatometer Score):
————————————————
28% — Silent Hill
27% — Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion
24% — Phat Girlz
16% — Grandma’s Boy
15% — Underworld: Evolution
11% — The Benchwarmers
10% — Ultraviolet
10% — When a Stranger Calls
7% — Date Movie
7% — Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector
6% — See No Evil
5% — Doogal
5% — BloodRayne
5% — Stay Alive

The second flick to spring from WWE Films (after the woeful "See No Evil") is "The Marine" which stars wrestler John Cena as an unkillable former soldier who must rescue his hot wife from a bunch of scummy criminals.

Click right here for the trailer, which is jam-packed with goofy dialogue, numerous explosions, and Robert Patrick having a good time as an ultra-evil jerkface villain.

The annoyingly PG-13-rated "The Marine" storms into theaters on October 13th.

Nosy moviegoers just couldn’t stay away from a high-profile lovers quarrel as the anti-romantic comedy The Break-Up starring Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston surprised the industry this weekend by opening at number one, shoving the comic book juggernaut X-Men: The Last Stand into second place in only its second weekend.

The mutant sequel was widely expected to remain atop the North American charts. The only other new face in the top ten was the global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth which expanded and jumped into the number nine slot while still in limited release. Overall, the box office remained healthy with the top four choices gobbling up most of the business.

Jen and Vince attracted millions of fans to theaters with The Break-Up which debuted with an estimated $38.1M over the weekend beating all expectations. Universal launched the date movie in 3,070 locations and averaged a stellar $12,395 giving the studio its best opening yet this year. It was also the third biggest debut ever for a romantic comedy trailing the $43.1M of Hitch and the $39.9M of 50 First Dates which both premiered just days before Valentine’s Day. Women fueled the business for Break-Up. Studio research showed that a whopping 67% of the audience was female while the crowd was evenly split between those over and under the age of 30. Vaughn and Aniston play a couple that breaks up, but still decides to live in the same condo together.

Produced for $52M, The Break-Up sparked lots of media attention over the past year because of Aniston’s split from ex-husband Brad Pitt and her new relationship with Vaughn. Curiosity seemed to attract the former Friends star’s core audience of young women while men were far less interested. Universal’s marketing pushed the starpower and the lack of any other new wide releases kept the attention on Break-Up. Plus, the marketplace has not offered any star-driven films aimed at women in several weeks. Critics, however, gave little support with many panning the film finding it lacking in both romance and comedy. Aniston scored the second biggest opening of her career after 2003’s Bruce Almighty ($68M) while Vaughn enjoyed his third largest after 1997’s The Lost World ($72.1M) and last summer’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith ($50.3M). The Break-Up, however, marks new career highs for each actor in a leading role.

After a record-breaking Memorial Day weekend opener, X-Men: The Last Stand crumbled in its second weekend plunging 67% to second place with an estimated $34.4M. After ten days of release, the mutant sequel has hauled in a staggering $175.7M domestically. Most industry watchers had expected the super hero pic to remain at number one this weekend, but a stronger-than-expected opening by Break-Up coupled with a larger-than-expected decline for X-Men led to a second place finish. Given that loyal fans all rushed to the theaters on the debut frame and the added holiday boost, a steep drop was widely anticipated, but a drop of two-thirds was especially high. Subsequent weeks should stabilize a bit, but based on its trajectory, the third X-Men film looks to be headed to a domestic tally of $230-240M which would still make it the biggest hit of the trilogy.

Holding steady in third place once again this weekend was the animated film Over the Hedge which slipped only 24% to an estimated $20.6M in its third outing. After 17 days, Paramount has collected an impressive $112.4M with the DreamWorks production. After three weeks of having the family market virtually to itself, Hedge will face some stiff competiton next weekend when Disney and Pixar race into theaters with Cars.

Losing a reasonable 43% of its audience in its third weekend, The Da Vinci Code ranked fourth with an estimated $19.3M. That pushed the 17-day total to a stunning $172.7M making the religious thriller the year’s third biggest domestic hit behind Fox’s Ice Age and X-Men sequels. Overseas, Da Vinci continues to lead the box office for the third straight weekend delivering sizzling results. The Ron Howard-directed smash grossed an estimated $51M, down 44% from last weekend, boosting the international tally to a towering $409M. With a sensational $582M in global grosses (70% of which is from outside North America), The Da Vinci Code will shatter the $600M mark by the end of the week.

The top four films ruled the weekend accounting for 88% of all money spent on the top ten films. All other players in the marketplace grossed under $5M each.

Dropping only 33% and finishing fifth for the frame was the spy sequel Mission: Impossible III with an estimated $4.7M which pushed Paramount’s domestic cume to $122.7M. For the fourth consecutive weekend, the ocean liner disaster film Poseidon followed right behind Tom Cruise’s actioner and dropped 40% to an estimated $3.4M. Warner Bros. has taken in just $51.7M thus far.

For the first time in five years, the month of May ended without any of its releases hitting the $200M mark. But while none of this year’s early summer contenders has come close to last year’s Star Wars Episode III which had amazingly smashed through the $300M mark at this point, collectively the hits have managed to measure up to 2005. The aggregate gross of the top five May films this year is $635M which is up 2% from this same point a year ago. Instead of flocking to one giant megahit, moviegoers have been spreading the same amount of money across a collection of popular films.

Sony’s hit kidpic RV continued to hold up well slipping only 21% in its sixth weekend to an estimated $3.3M. The Robin Williams film has taken in $61.8M to date. Lionsgate witnessed a surprisingly strong hold for its horror entry See No Evil which dipped 26% and grossed an estimated $2M. Total stands at $12.4M.

Proving that it is more than just a blue-state hit, Al Gore‘s global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth expanded into major markets and hit the top ten grossing an estimated $1.3M from only 77 theaters. The Paramount Vantage release averaged a stunning $17,299 over the weekend and raised its cume to $1.9M after bowing last week in just four theaters in New York and Los Angeles. This Friday, Truth widens to the Top 25 markets with about 150 total theaters before going national on June 16 in 450-600 locations.

The PG-rated film has quickly nabbed the title of must-see summer doc this year and hopes to follow in the footsteps of last year’s March of the Penguins and 2004’s Fahrenheit 9/11 as non-fiction films that crossed over to become pop culture events. Those films rank as the top-grossing documentaries ever with $77.4M and $119.2M, respectively. This weekend, the former Vice President’s environmental pic became the first film of the year to enter the top ten while playing in fewer than 200 theaters.

Rounding out the top ten was Lindsay Lohan‘s comedy Just My Luck with an estimated $825,000, down a steep 58%, for a cume to date of $15.6M.

Break-Up and Inconvenient Truth bumped two spring films out of the top ten. Universal’s controversial 9/11 thriller United 93 dropped 43% to an estimated $464,000 after spending five weeks in the top ten. The $15M film has grossed $30.6M to date and should collect a bit more before ending its theatrical run. Fox’s animated sequel Ice Age: The Meltdown has spent eight of its ten weekends in the top ten and is now headed for the finish line grossing over $191M to date. The PG-rated hit remains the top-grossing film of 2006 thus far and has unearthed more than $625M worldwide.

Opening this weekend in limited release was the Lionsgate sports drama Peaceful Warrior which took in an estimated $77,000 from ten sites for a solid $7,700 average. Also debuting, but with weaker results, was the Korean action film Typhoon with an estimated $48,000 from 24 theaters. The Paramount Vantage release attacked nine markets and averaged a dull $2,009.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $127.9M which was up 2% from last year when Madagascar climbed into the number one spot with $28.1M; but down 30% from 2004 when Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban opened in the top slot with a June record $93.7M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Magneto and his fellow mutants attracted a record-breaking audience to theaters across North America as the super hero sequel X-Men: The Last Stand became a juggernaut at the box office opening at number one over the busy Memorial Day holiday weekend.

No other studio dared to debut a competing film in wide release so last week’s top movies The Da Vinci Code and Over the Hedge placed second and third with muscular numbers of their own. Playing to different audience segments, the three hits joined forces to sell nearly $200M worth of tickets over the long Friday-to-Monday span making it the second largest Memorial Day weekend ever trailing 2004’s record frame by a slim margin.

Blasting past expectations, the third X-Men film dominated the scene grossing an estimated $120.1M over the long weekend from an ultrawide 3,690 venues. The Fox sequel averaged a jaw-dropping $32,554 over four days and set a new record for Memorial Day weekend beating two previous giants. Steven Spielberg‘s The Lost World held the opening record for this holiday with $92.7M over four days (including Thursday night previews) in 1997 while Shrek 2 held the record for the biggest overall gross for the frame when it brought in $95.6M while in its second weekend in 2004. Last Stand’s gross, which included roughly $5.9M from the first midnight shows on Thursday night, easily crushed both figures to claim the new record. However, based on ticket price increases over the years, Lost World still sold more tickets over its holiday bow. Utilizing the industry’s average ticket prices for today and 1997, the dinosequel sold about 20 million tickets compared to roughly 19 million for the new mutant pic.

During the Friday-to-Sunday portion of the holiday weekend, the new X-Men pic grossed a stunning $103.1M making it the fourth largest bow in history after three other May smashes – Spider-Man ($114.8M in 2002), Star Wars Episode III ($108.4M in 2005), and Shrek 2 ($108M in 2004). According to Fox, Friday opened with $45.5M which ranks as the second largest opening day in history (after the $50M Thursday debut for Episode III) and the biggest Friday gross ever. Saturday saw sales slump a troubling 29% to $32.1M while Sunday experienced a reasonable 20% drop to $25.5M. Monday is estimated to bring in about $17M. The three-day average soared to an amazing $27,947. Super hero sequels typically draw immense numbers on the first day due to fan hysteria so a Saturday drop was expected. But, the decline was extraordinarily large and could indicate that fans are not liking the new film as much as the first two.


2002’s "Spider-Man"

The latest X-Men tale flexed more muscle than industry watchers had predicted opening above the highest of expectations. As Tom Cruise learned recently, many fans can often lose interest in a franchise by its third installment. But Wolverine and pals kept getting mightier beating the $85.6M debut of 2003’s X2: X-Men United and the $54.5M of 2000’s X-Men. Those films went on to reach $214.9M and $157.3M, respectively. Given its gargantuan start, The Last Stand stands an excellent chance of becoming the highest-grossing pic in the trilogy joining rare hits like The Return of the King and Austin Powers in Goldmember which were also tops in their franchises.

Fox and Marvel Entertainment managed to reteam the major players from the previous X-Men films to star in the third installment. Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and Rebecca Romijn all were back once again and were joined by two new players. Kelsey Grammer appeared on screen as the blue mutant Beast while behind the scenes, Brett Ratner took over the director’s chair from Bryan Singer who was hired to helm Superman Returns which opens in a month. The production cost for The Last Stand was $165M. Overseas, the mutant sequel launched in almost all markets and grossed an estimated $80M giving Fox a $200M global debut. Unlike most action films, the X-Men films have actually grossed more domestically than internationally with the first two installments both collecting 53% of their global grosses from North America.

The road ahead is not too bumpy for The Last Stand. Large drops are expected, of course. However, next weekend will see only one new film enter wide release – The Break-Up starring Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston. In fact, studios have filled the June weeks between X-Men and Superman with a string of comedies so as to not compete against the comic book titans. June 9 will have the animated comedy Cars open, Jack Black‘s Nacho Libre launches on June 16, and Adam Sandler‘s Click debuts on June 23. Fox is hoping the lack of action and sci-fi competition will help X-Men: The Last Stand hold up in the weeks ahead to surpass the studio’s other hit sequel, Ice Age: The Meltdown, to become the year’s top-grossing film.

After a mammoth opening weekend of its own, Sony’s The Da Vinci Code slipped to second place in its sophomore frame but still managed to sell an estimated $43M in tickets over four days boosting its stellar 11-day cume to $145.5M. Over the Friday-to-Sunday portion however, the Ron Howard blockbuster tumbled a disturbing 56% indicating that the religious thriller may not last too long. Last year, Star Wars Episode III, which also launched on the weekend before the Memorial Day holiday frame, dropped 49% in its sophomore session while 2004’s Shrek 2 dipped 33%.


Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou in "The Da Vinci Code"

Still, Da Vinci continues to be a major force in the industry here and abroad where it hauled in an additional $92M this weekend. That boosted the international total to $320M giving the Tom Hanks film a jaw-dropping worldwide tally of $465M in less than two weeks. Overseas, the holds have been better even though Code has had to battle X-Men in most major markets. France was down 30%, Japan slipped just 19%, Germany was off only 18%, and Holland was actually up 9%, according to studio data. Domestically, the $125M production should find its way past the $200M mark while globally, it may shoot past the $700M milestone.


"Over the Hedge"

Kidpic Over the Hedge enjoyed a terrific second weekend raking in an estimated $35.3M from families with extra time off for the holiday. The three-day portion witnessed a decline of only 30% for Paramount which is good news since the animated film did not open as powerfully as other recent digital toons. After 11 days, Hedge has collected a solid $84.4M. By comparison, 2004’s Shark Tale grossed $87.4M in its first ten days on its way to $160.8M while last year’s Chicken Little took in $80.4M in its first ten days leading to a $135.4M final. Hedge, which will have no real competition to deal with until the June 9 release of Cars from Disney and Pixar, could be on a course to reach the neighborhood of $150M from North America.

A pair of underperforming action flicks from early May rounded out the top five. Paramount’s Tom Cruise vehicle Mission: Impossible III dropped to an estimated $8.6M to boost its cume to $115.8M. Warner Bros. followed with the disaster film Poseidon which took in an estimated $7M in its third voyage to put its total at just $46.6M to date.

Sony saw its four-day gross for the family comedy RV rise 6% compared to last weekend’s three-day take. The Robin Williams hit laughed up an estimated $5.3M pushing the sum to $57.2M. Seventh place went to the Lionsgate horror entry See No Evil which grossed an estimated $3.2M giving the fright pic a modest $9.2M in 11 days.

The Lindsay Lohan flop Just My Luck collected an estimated $2.3M in eighth place giving Fox only $13.9M to date. Universal took in an estimated $1.1M with its 9/11 thriller United 93 lifting the cume to $29.9M. The spookfest An American Haunting rounded out the top ten with an estimated $937,000. The total for the Freestyle Releasing title is a mere $14.9M.


Al Gore in "An Inconvenient Truth"

Setting the limited release box office on fire was the global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth which opened in only four theaters but grossed a hefty $366,000, according to estimates. That gave the Al Gore pic a stunning average of $91,447 per location over four days. Distributed by Paramount Vantage, the new incarnation of Paramount Classics, Truth collected $282,000 over the Friday-to-Sunday portion averaging a scorching $70,585. Total since Wednesday stands at $489,000. Opening this weekend on multiple screens at a pair of theaters in both New York and Los Angeles, Truth will add about 60 more playdates on Friday and expand throughout June hoping to become the dominant doc of the summer.

The spelling bee drama Akeelah and the Bee dropped out of the top ten after a decent four-week run. In its fifth frame, the Lionsgate release grossed an estimated $830,000 over four days to boost its cume to $17M. The distributor teamed up with Starbucks to finance and promote Akeelah which did not perform especially well. However, the PG-rated film had low expectations to begin with so it is difficult to tell whether the involvement of the coffee giant had any real impact.

The top ten films over the four-day span grossed an estimated $226.8M which was up 1% from last year when Star Wars Episode III remained at number one with $70M over the holiday; but off 4% from 2004 when Shrek 2 stayed in the top spot with a then-record $95.6M in four days.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Despite worldwide protests and bad reviews, the heavily-hyped conspiracy thriller "The Da Vinci Code" attracted legions of fans into theaters this weekend generating the second largest global opening in box office history. The North American marketplace was on fire helped also by a solid launch for the animated film "Over the Hedge." The two new releases combined for an eye-popping $114M in ticket sales over the weekend driving the box office to a new high for the year finally giving the film industry a feeling that the summer movie season has arrived. With "Code" and "Hedge" playing well to different audiences, most holdovers suffered steep declines.

Sony faced numerous obstacles bringing "The Da Vinci Code" to the big screen but after all was said and done, the studio successfully launched its summer tentpole pic and captured an estimated $77M from North America beating out most expectations. Attacking 3,735 theaters, the PG-13 film averaged a scorching $20,616 per location. "Code" is the much-anticipated film adaptation of the best-selling book by Dan Brown which has become a pop culture phenomenon since its publication. Many religious groups have encouraged people to not see the film, but the publicity may instead have just sparked more curiosity, especially from those who have not read the book. It carried a $125M pricetag.

Domestically, "Code" generated the thirteenth biggest Friday-to-Sunday opening ever and the second best bow for a non-franchise film after "The Passion of the Christ" which debuted to $83.8M following a Wednesday launch in February 2004. "Code" also marked new career-high openings for Hanks and director Ron Howard surpassing the $57.4M of "Toy Story 2" and the $55.1M of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," respectively. In fact, Howard’s last film "Cinderella Man" grossed less in its entire run than "Code" did in its first weekend punching up $61.6M last summer.

Worldwide, "The Da Vinci Code" was launched with one of the most aggressive distribution strategies ever planned invading over 12,000 theaters overseas. As a result, the film tallied a staggering $147M internationally putting its worldwide opening at a jaw-dropping $224M. That marked the second largest worldwide launch in history after the $253M of "Star Wars Episode III" this same weekend one year ago. With more appeal outside of North America than the Jedi flick, "Code"’s overseas opening inched past "Episode III" to set a new international debut weekend record.

Controversy surrounded the film during its development, shooting, and pre-release stages which in turn led to endless media coverage and speculation over whether or not moviegoers would stay away. "Code" made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday, just ahead of its day-and-date global release, and was met by mostly harsh reviews from the world’s top movie critics. Since "Da Vinci" skews to a mature adult audience which pays attention to critics, it seemed that the opening could take a hit from the bad buzz. Instead, the Hanks flick opened on the high end of the most optimistic expectations.

The road ahead will not be easy. The Memorial Day holiday weekend will certainly help give "Da Vinci" a solid second weekend. However, with so many fans of the book rushing theaters immediately to see the film, it may have already burned through much of its total audience. "Code" dipped 6% on Saturday from its opening Friday which is not too surprising given the upfront demand and media hysteria. But it does not necessarily indicate that the fan base is growing. Word-of-mouth will now be the main factor affecting future sales. The Yahoo Movies average grade from over 13,000 users is a not-so-impressive B-. Nevertheless, after "Mission: Impossible III" and "Poseidon" underwhelmed at the box office giving the summer season a sluggish start, "The Da Vinci Code" kicked things into high gear this weekend with true blockbuster numbers grossing more than the openings of both of those films combined.

Opening in second place with solid results was Paramount’s release of the DreamWorks animated film "Over the Hedge" which collected an estimated $37.2M. Playing in a whopping 4,059 theaters, the PG-rated pic averaged a strong $9,172 per venue. An all-star cast featuring Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, Steve Carell, Nick Nolte, Wanda Sykes, and William Shatner provided voices to the story of a group of animals who venture into the zany world of suburban backyards. The opening weekend did not match up to those of other recent computer animated talking animal flicks like "Shark Tale" ($47.6M), "Madagascar" ($47.2M), or "Chicken Little" ($40M). However, with the long Memorial Day holiday weekend coming up, "Hedge" looks to continue gathering up grosses with kids and parents getting extra time off from school and work. Only four animated films have ever bowed in more than 4,000 theaters and all have been from the DreamWorks camp, which is now part of the Paramount stable.

After two weeks at number one, Tom Cruise’s "Mission: Impossible III" dropped down to third with an estimated $11M in its third weekend. Down a hefty 56%, the Paramount spy sequel crossed the $100M mark over the weekend with its cume climbing to $103.2M after 17 days. "MI3" is only the second such blockbuster film of 2006 following "Ice Age: The Meltdown," however Hollywood’s other Tom will be joining the ranks by the end of the week. For box office titan Cruise, the latest Ethan Hunt film marks the actor’s fourteenth $100M+ domestic grosser. "MI3" also represents the studio’s first film to join the century club since Cruise’s last film "War of the Worlds" from last summer. Overseas, "Mission III" has upped its total to $163M pushing the global gross to $266M and counting.

In its second weekend, "Poseidon" became a sinking ship film in more than one way. The ocean liner disaster pic sank a troubling 59% to an estimated $9.2M putting its ten-day catch at just $36.8M. That’s a rough start for a film with a production cost reported to be a hefty $160M or more. At its current pace, "Poseidon" looks to reach $55-60M domestically making it director Wolfgang Petersen‘s lowest grossing film in fifteen years.

With a big new toon in the marketplace, the Robin Williams hit "RV" finally saw a sizable decline dropping 49% to an estimated $5.1M in its fourth frame. Sony’s family comedy has grossed a solid $50.4M to date.

Wrestling superstar Kane anchored the new horror film "See No Evil" and was met with a mild sixth place opening with an estimated $4.4M. Playing in only 1,257 locations, the R-rated scarefest averaged a mediocre $3,461 per site.

The Lindsay Lohan flop "Just My Luck" grossed an estimated $3.4M in its second weekend dropping 41%. With only $10.5M in ten days, the Fox release should stumble to an unlucky final of just $16-18M. The horror flick "An American Haunting" followed with an estimated $1.7M, off 53%, for a total of $13.6M.

Universal’s 9/11 pic "United 93" fell 59% to an estimated $1.4M pushing its cume to $28.3M. Rounding out the top ten was the Lionsgate release "Akeelah and the Bee" with an estimated $1M, off 58%, for a $15.7M total.

Three films dropped out of the top ten this weekend. The year’s highest-grossing film "Ice Age: The Meltdown" took a hit from the arrival of a rival digital toon and tumbled 71% to an estimated $915,000. Budgeted at $80M, the Fox smash has grossed $189.2M to date and is heading for a final gross of a little more than $190M. The first "Ice Age" banked $176.4M in 2002.

Buena Vista’s gymnastics pic "Stick It" grossed an estimated $927,000 plunging 71% in its fourth frame. With $23.8M to date, the teen flick should finish with a better-than-expected $25M. New Line’s endangered owl film "Hoot" collapsed 85% in its third weekend and collected an estimated $350,000. Cume sits at a puny $7.3M and it will be a struggle to hit $8M.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $151.4M which was off only 3% from last year when "Star Wars Episode III" opened at number one with a colossal $108.4M; and down 7% from 2004 when "Shrek 2" debuted in the top spot with a massive $108M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week, a bunch of furry critters and a mean-looking wrestler playing a homicidal maniac (redundant?) compete with the seemingly unstoppable juggernaut that is "The Da Vinci Code" for your box office dollars. What do the critics have to say about these contenders?

After all the secrecy and anticipation, it’s a mystery no more. The big screen adaptation of Dan Brown’s novel "The Da Vinci Code" is a major disappointment, with only 16% of the nation’s critics recommending the movie as of this writing. One of the problems, critics say, is that the movie is too slavishly faithful to the book, making it a poorly paced, dull, and only occasionally thrilling experience. As to the star-studded cast, only Ian McKellen stands out as the character Sir Leigh Teabing; the others are described either as wooden, one-dimensional, or both. Will the poor reviews affect the movie’s box office prospects? Unlikely, but it may make a few fence-sitters wait for it on DVD.

Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, William Shatner, and even Avril Lavigne lend their voices for DreamWorks’ latest CGI feature "Over the Hedge." Poking fun at us two-legged creatures and our eccentricities, the movie centers on RJ the raccoon, voiced by Willis, as he cons some woodland animals, led by a turtle (Shandling), into helping him steal food from humans living on the other side of a hedge. While not on the level of, say, "The Incredibles" or "Shrek," "Over the Hedge" is successful on its own terms. Critics say that while it’s unexceptional, it’s a fun movie with some solid laughs. The movie now stands at 65% on the Tomatometer.

Critics ought to be thankful. "See No Evil" joins the growing list of movies not screened for them this year. We all know how those turn out. The movie stars World Wrestling Entertainment wrestler Kane as a crazed murderer terrorizing a group of teens (who else?) serving community service in a hotel. Try not to think too hard about that premise.

Other Recent Novel Adaptations:
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75% — Nanny McPhee (2006)
35% — Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)
76% — The Chronicles of Narnia: The Witch, The Lion, and The Wardobe (2005)
76% — Zathura (2005)
85% — Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Will North American moviegoers pay heed this weekend to negative reviews coming out of Cannes? That is the question on the minds of Sony brass, and industry watchers in general, on the eve of the much-anticipated global launch of "The Da Vinci Code." The mega-hyped conspiracy thriller will not be the only new entry hitting theaters, though. DreamWorks goes after the family audience with its latest computer animated comedy "Over the Hedge" which debuts ultrawide while Lionsgate offers a more subdued opening for its new horror film "See No Evil." After a weaker-than-expected start to the summer movie season, Hollywood is hoping for its highest-grossing weekend of the year to help kick things into gear.

Tom Hanks and director Ron Howard reteam over a decade after "Apollo 13" for the controversial new film "The Da Vinci Code," the big-screen adaptation of the best-selling novel by Dan Brown. The PG-13 film assembles a top-notch cast from both France and the United Kingdom including Audrey Tautou, Jean Reno, and Ian McKellen. An unprecedented global roll-out into a reported 11,000-plus screens overseas will ensure that the film generates one of the largest worldwide opening weekend grosses in history, no matter who is denouncing it. Much has been written about the subject matter of the book and the opposition that it sparked from Christian leaders around the world. Now, the issue shifts to the effects these feelings will have on the box office performance.

Sony’s marketing team has been carefully planning every step of the campaign leaving nothing to chance. Its decision to withhold the standard early screenings for members of the press can be attributed to one of two reasons. Either they knew reviews would be bad so show it at the last moment, or they wanted to heighten anticipation and funnel it all right into the opening weekend. Or maybe it was a combination of the two. Regardless, the first wave of reviews hit this week following the screenings at the Cannes Film Festival and the majority of critics have been disappointed with some completely trashing the Mona Lisa pic. This should certainly have an impact on the grosses since as an adult-skewing film, "Code"’s customers are likely to listen to what reviewers have to say. Fans of the book and those caught up in the hoopla may not be affected much, but those on the fringes who have had a bit of curiosity may now wait until word-of-mouth kicks in. For so many big films in the past, critics and ordinary movie fans have been on two completely different pages.

The starpower of Hanks is the anchor for "Da Vinci" and fellow Oscar winner Howard provides an added level of prestige to the picture. But the opposition to the film’s subject matter will play an important part of the opening weekend. Many religious groups have been urging people not to see the film. Some will stay away, but the media hype is only making others more curious to see what the fuss is all about. With the big premiere in France, there has been endless press coverage putting the spotlight on the film so awareness is very high. To Sony’s credit, the hype that it created has been better managed than what Paramount experienced with "Mission: Impossible III" a couple of weeks ago. Americans don’t seem to be sick of Hanks the way they were with Cruise who became overexposed.

Competition will be somewhat of a factor as "MI3" and "Poseidon," while both performing below expectations, will still be pulling in mature adult audiences this weekend and will combine for about $25M or so in ticket sales. "Da Vinci" does not have clear sailing. However, its audience is well-defined, energized, and looking at this as an event picture. Sony is hoping to tap into the curiosity factor and pull in those who have read the book in addition to those who have not who are more drawn in by the starpower and hype. Whether teens care to show up in large numbers this weekend, or wait a week and get their McKellen fix when he dons his Magneto helmet, could determine how high "Da Vinci" goes. Solving its mystery in 3,735 theaters in North America on Friday, "The Da Vinci Code" might open in the area of $60M this weekend.

Crashing into theaters with zero controversy is the DreamWorks animated adventure "Over the Hedge" which will play to a family audience. The PG-rated film tells the story of a group of animals from the wilderness who cross into a foreign land — the backyards of suburbia. Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, Steve Carell, William Shatner, Wanda Sykes, and Nick Nolte all lend their voices to the colorful pack of characters. The studio has been a driving force in the world of computer animation and has had hits outside of its "Shrek" franchise with 2004’s "Shark Tale" and last May’s "Madagascar" which both opened to three-day tallies of close to $48M a piece.

Both ogre pics bowed on the weekend before the long Memorial Day frame so they can generate two blockbuster weekends to get things going. Last year, with "Star Wars Episode III" claiming the coveted spot already, the studio launched "Madagascar" during the holiday frame. This time, DreamWorks has reclaimed its favorite spot on the calendar and with parents not likely to want to take their young ones to see religious conspiracies, sinking ships, or gun-wielding spies, "Over the Hedge" will have smooth sailing with its target audience.

But all will not be easy at the box office. For one thing, audiences have been bombarded by animated films with cute animals over the past six months. "Chicken Little," "Hoodwinked," "Doogal," "Curious George," "The Wild," and of course the mammothly successful "Ice Age" sequel have been hitting up families with options and not all lived happily ever after. Also, "Hedge" lacks a major comic voice as an anchor to the picture. Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Ray Romano, and even Will Smith have been instrumental in drawing crowds to their toons. In "Hedge," Carell steals the show with his zany antics, but the supporting role does not allow the whole marketing campaign to be built around it. Plus, the tame storyline is good for young children, but is not hip enough to lure in large numbers of teens which is what you need to really see the grosses swell.

Like with all of its big animated films, DreamWorks has backed "Over the Hedge" with a ton of marketing dollars to make it into a must-see for families. The lack of direct competition in the marketplace will be a crucial factor and with vacation time coming up, parents should be out looking for things to do with their kids over the next two weeks. And with some groups encouraging those who can’t resist "Da Vinci" to buy tickets for "Hedge" before walking into the Hanks pic’s auditorium, there could be some bonus bucks to pick up too. Busting into over 3,800 theaters, "Over the Hedge" might capture around $38M this weekend.

Pro wrestler Kane jumps from the squared circle to the big screen in the new horror film "See No Evil" opening in moderate national release this Friday. The R-rated film hopes to draw in the millions of fans of World Wrestling Entertainment with the type of pic most enjoy watching. In "Evil," Kane (or Glen Jacobs as his driver’s license says) plays a psycho killer who terrorizes a group of teen punks. Sure, not the most original idea for the genre. But distributor Lionsgate has a solid track record marketing successful fright flicks with plenty of gore. Older teens and young adults will make up the primary audience and a male skew is likely. "Da Vinci" will be cutting into all audiences so competition will be tough even though there are no formidable horror titles out there now.

The marketplace has endured a long line of horror flicks this year and many recent ones have not worked out well indicating fans could be getting picky. Since the plot has nothing new to offer, "Evil" must sell itself on the untested starpower of Kane as there are no other commercial hooks here. Hardcore wrestling fans might make it out, but the real audience should find this one on DVD around back-to-school season. Opening in over 1,000 theaters, "See No Evil" might debut to around $4M.

The arrival of "The Da Vinci Code" should make the marketplace’s two leading films nervous. Both "Mission: Impossible III" and "Poseidon" are playing to adult audiences looking for action and thrills and with the media spotlight fully pointed at Hanks and his buddies this week, direct competition will be intense. "MI3" has become the first film to top the charts over the first two weekends of May since 2003’s "X2: X-Men United." With Da Vinci attacking, Tom Cruise can retire to his stay-at-home dad duties now as his latest spy sequel looks to tumble by 45% to about $13.5M. That would give Paramount $106M in 17 days for their expensive summer entry.

The chance to see a mighty ocean liner capsize just wasn’t enough to lure in many movie fans last weekend for "Poseidon." Word-of-mouth is nothing more than average and the Ron Howard thriller will hit the sinking ship flick where it hurts this weekend. A 50% drop would leave the disaster film with roughly $11M for the frame and a disappointing $39M in ten days for the $160M Warner Bros. release.

LAST YEAR: George Lucas unleashed his final Jedi flick with "Star Wars Episode III" which dominated the box office debuting to a colossal $108.4M over three days and a towering $158.4M over the Thursday-to-Sunday opening period. Fox scored the second largest Friday-to-Sunday bow in history trailing the $114.8M of 2002’s "Spider-Man" which launched on a Friday. "Episode III" went on to gross $380.3M domestically and $849M worldwide becoming the top-grossing film of the year in North America and the second biggest global hit of 2005 after the last "Harry Potter" pic. Afraid of the Force, all other studios took a vacation by not opening anything against the Darth Vader film. Second place went to the chick flick comedy hit "Monster-in-Law" which grossed $14.4M in its second weekend while third place was taken by the Will Ferrell comedy "Kicking and Screaming" with $10.7M. Future Oscar champ "Crash" enjoyed the lowest decline in the top ten slipping 21% to $5.5M and the Jet Li actioner "Unleashed" rounded out the top five with $4.1M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, BoxOfficeGuru.com

A recent press release from the WWE, announcing that they’re about to begin production on their third film, doesn’t seem all that strange on the surface — unless you realize that "WWE" stands for World Wrestling Entertainment. (Yep, they make their own movies now.)

WWE press release: "World Wrestling Entertainment® (WWE) has begun pre-production on its third film, ‘The Condemned,’ which will be distributed theatrically by Lionsgate, it was announced today by Joel Simon, President, WWE Films, and Peter Block, Lionsgate’s President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions.

The film will star WWE’s Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vinnie Jones (‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,’ ‘X-Men: The Last Stand‘) and will be directed by Scott Wiper, who also wrote the screenplay from an original script by Rob and Andrew Hedden. ‘The Condemned‘ will commence principal photography on May 15, 2006, on location on the Gold Coast, Australia and at the Warner Roadshow Studios in Australia. Block will oversee the production for Lionsgate, along with Jason Constantine, Vice President, Acquisitions and John Sacchi, Vice President, Production.

The production follows WWE’s two previous feature productions, ‘See No Evil,’ the horror thriller starring WWE Superstar Kane, which will be released by Lionsgate nationwide on May 19; and ‘The Marine,’ which will be released by 20th Century Fox on September 8. ‘The Condemned‘ is produced by Simon and executive produced by Vince McMahon, Chairman, World Wrestling Entertainment and Michael Lake. Jed Blaugrund is co-executive producer and Ross Emery (‘The Cave‘) will serve as the director of photography.

"I am passionate about our WWE Films division and am thrilled to announce ‘The Condemned‘ as the third feature film on our slate," said McMahon. "Joel and his team are going into production on an action-packed, adrenaline pumping, psychological thrill ride."

"We’re delighted be filming in Australia once again," said Simon. "We always find a wealth of very talented people over there, as well as some extraordinary locations. The settings will add to the look and feel of this high-octane action thriller."

Block added, "Stone Cold Steve Austin, Vinnie Jones and the rest of the cast will blow audiences away. This film has a great story, extreme action and hard core heart. We very much look forward to working with the WWE for the second time to bring the film to moviegoers."

An adrenalin-charged action thriller, ‘The Condemned’ tells the story of Joe Conrad (Stone Cold Steve Austin), who is awaiting the death penalty in a corrupt Central American prison. He is "purchased" by a wealthy television producer and taken to a desolate island where he must fight to the death against nine other condemned killers from all corners of the world, with freedom going to the sole survivor."

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