Aunt May, who’s suffered the loss of a husband across multiple dimensions (including Tobey-Earth and Garfield-Land), arrives in full to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Spider-Man: Homecoming. Under the guise of Marisa Tomei, this Aunt May trucks on like usual, raising young Petey Parker into the NYC-saving hero he needs to be, inspiring this week’s gallery of 24 more best (and worst!) aunts from movies and TV!

This weekend Tyler Perry ruled the charts once again as fans flocked to North American multiplexes for his latest film I Can Do Bad All By Myself which gave the filmmaker his fifth number one hit of the last five years – the most for any director. Opening to solid results in second place was the animated sci-fi actioner 9. But after a string of violent R-rated films in recent weeks, audiences stayed away from two competing thrillers which foolishly opened on the same day – the college slasher pic Sorority Row and the Antarctica-set murder mystery Whiteout. Both flops debuted outside the top five with averages of under $2,000. Overall, the box office dipped from a year ago with the Top 20 sliding 7% from the same weekend in 2008.

Scoring the seventh highest September opening ever, I Can Do Bad All By Myself easily landed in first place this weekend grossing an estimated $24M more than doubling its closest competitor. The PG-13 film averaged a sensational $10,656 from 2,255 locations. It was Perry’s widest bow to date slightly edging out the 2,000-2,200 theaters his films usually are released in by Lionsgate.


The Atlanta-based media mogul once again proved how reliable he is at the box office with his eighth film in the last five years and fifth number one opener overall. That’s more top spot bows than any other director during the last half-decade and more across this entire decade than directors such as Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Michael Bay, Brett Ratner, and Steven Soderbergh who have had four a piece including numerous expensive tentpoles. Perry’s previous number ones include Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Madea’s Family Reunion, Why Did I Get Married?, and Madea Goes to Jail. All distributed by Lionsgate and none costing too much to produce, his previous seven films have grossed a combined $369.8M averaging $52.8M each.

Myself stars the Oscar-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson as a selfish woman who learns to open up after taking custody of three children. Like many of Perry’s films, it was adapted from his play and connected with his core audience of African American women and couples. It was his third best opening ever after the two Madea flicks and proved that his fan base still has a healthy appetite for his unique brand of entertainment. Though in a supporting role, the Madea character was a key part of the marketing materials given its strong drawing power. The early fall release also followed a summer movie season that saw hardly any major Hollywood films with a significant number of black actors so pent-up demand helped.


Winning over sci-fi fans was the stylish animated film 9 which opened to an estimated $10.9M over the weekend and $15.3M in the five days since its Wednesday launch. Produced by Tim Burton, the Focus release averaged a healthy $6,536 from only 1,661 locations over the Friday-to-Sunday period. The PG-13 tale of survivors in a post-apocalyptic world opened midweek on 9/9/09 in a gimmick to spark interest with audiences. Fox used a similar technique three years ago when it launched the remake of the devilish thriller The Omen which had a rare Tuesday release on 6/6/06.

Quentin Tarantino scored the second $100M blockbuster of his career this weekend with The Weinstein Co./Universal’s Inglourious Basterds which dropped 44% to an estimated $6.5M boosting the domestic cume to $104.3M. The war drama will surpass the $107.9M of the director’s 1994 hit Pulp Fiction by the end of the week, although it is not likely to end up selling more tickets. For Brad Pitt, it was his ninth career blockbuster to reach nine digits. Fox’s stalker comedy All About Steve fell 48% to an estimated $5.8M in its second weekend giving the Sandra Bullock pic $21.8M in ten days. A $35M final seems likely.


Falling 56% to an estimated $5.5M in its third weekend was the 3D horror pic The Final Destination which has now taken in $58.3M in 17 days. The latest installment in the horror franchise is now the top-grossing film in the series having surpassed the $54.1M of 2006’s Final Destination 3. The first chapter with its $53.3M gross in 2000 still is tops in admissions having sold about 10 million tickets compared to under 8 million sold by the new 3D flick which benefits from higher prices. But overseas, the new Destination has been faring well taking in an estimated $17.3M this weekend from 28 territories to lift the international tally to $55.3M and the global gross to $113.6M.

Moviegoers were unimpressed by the weekend’s two new thrillers which opened in sixth and seventh with similar results. Summit’s horror entry Sorority Row bowed to an estimated $5.3M from 2,665 locations for a weak $1,977 average. The R-rated slasher flick made a play for the under-25 set but young adults held onto their dollars. Warner Bros. countered with Kate Beckinsale’s murder thriller Whiteout which opened with an estimated $5.1M from 2,745 sites (the most of any new film this weekend) for a dismal $1,858 average. Reviews were horrendous.


Hollywood programmed two competing scary movies against each other a few weeks ago when The Final Destination debuted opposite Halloween II. But each was a brand-name horror sequel so audiences came out and spent a combined $43.8M on the opening weekend. Sorority Row and Whiteout were both new and untested entities and faced stiffer competition resulting in a disastrous $10.4M in combined ticket sales. But audiences have not seen the last in this wave of fright films. Still to come this fall are Jennifer’s Body on Friday, Pandorum a week later plus Zombieland, Night of the Demons, The Stepfather, and Saw VI throughout the Halloween month. Some may get slaughtered at the box office.

Sony followed with two hits that could not be more different. The cat food-eating aliens of District 9 dropped 49% to an estimated $3.6M while Meryl Streep’s gourmet cuisine in Julie & Julia cooked up an estimated $3.3M, off 38%. Totals are $108.5M and $85.4M, respectively. Rounding out the top ten was the Gerard Butler actioner Gamer with an estimated $3.1M crumbling 66% from its opening. With $16.1M in ten days, a final take of $20-22M seems likely for Lionsgate.


The top ten films grossed an estimated $73.1M which was down 11% from last year when Burn After Reading opened in the top spot with $19.1M; but up 23% from 2007 when The Brave One debuted at number one with $13.5M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, Box Office

This week at the movies, we’ve got post-apocalyptic conflict (9, with voice work by Elijah Wood and Jennifer Connelly ); Antarctic intrigue (Whiteout, starring Kate Beckinsale and Gabriel Macht ); campus killings (Sorority Row, starring Briana Evigan and Rumer Willis ), and an unconventional family (I Can Do Bad All By Myself, starring Taraji P. Henson and Tyler Perry). What do the critics have to say?



Visual splendor does not necessarily a movie make. The critics say 9 looks unlike anything you’ve seen before, but the story’s mired in cliché. The film follows 9 (voiced by Elijah Wood), who’s an anthropomorphic hodgepodge of mechanics and cloth. Occupying a vast apocalyptic wasteland ruled by machines, 9 and his numerically-monikered compatriots team up to save the world from robot-kind. The pundits say Shane Acker is a brilliant cinematic stylist, and his CGI creation is dazzling and detailed. Unfortunately, others say 9‘s story doesn’t match the power of its images; it’s relatively generic stuff, and the characters aren’t very well-developed.



Whiteout has an intriguing premise: it’s a murder mystery set in the desolate, unforgiving climes of Antarctica. Unfortunately, the intrigue stops there; critics say Whiteout is nearly barren of thrills. Kate Beckinsale stars as a federal agent who must investigate a murder at the South Pole, and discovers there are even more sinister goings-on buried deep in the snow. The pundits say Whiteout is bogged down by red herrings and other whodunit conventions. Worse, there’s little energy to the performances or the filmmaking. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down some of the best movies set in Antarctica.)


Sorority Row

Sorority Row advertises itself as a cross between Mean Girls and Scream — which, going by the critics who’ve seen it (it was barely screened) is a bit of an exaggeration. That being said, some say this slasher flick is a little funnier and scarier than it looks. This quasi-remake of The House on Sorority Row finds a group of sorority girls who unintentionally kill a fellow sister – and find that the past comes back to haunt them. The pundits say Sorority Row is pretty generic, but it’s executed with a little more flair than average.


I Can Do Bad All By Myself

We’ll need some time to determine if Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself lives up to its title, since the movie wasn’t screened for critics prior to release. Noted scene-stealer Taraji P. Henson stars as a hard-living nightclub singer who finds herself caring for her troubled nieces and nephews – and perhaps learning something in the process. Kids, guess that Tomatometer!

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Crude, a documentary about the “Amazon Chernobyl,” a cause célèbre among environmentalists, is at 89 percent.

  • No Impact Man, a doc about the trials of a family that attempts to eliminate its impact on the environment, is at 85 percent.

  • Walt and El Grupo, a doc about Walt Disney‘s fruitful 1941 tour of South America, is at 80 percent.

  • The Other Man, starring Liam Neeson and Antonio Banderas in the tale of a man who sets out to find the man his wife had an affair with, is at 23 percent.

  • Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, starring Michael Douglas and Amber Tamblyn in a thriller about a prosecutor who’s under investigation for evidence tampering, is at zero percent.

  • Finally, props to Splitter for coming the cloeset to Guessing Gamer‘s 22 percent Tomatometer.

    In This Week’s Ketchup, an exuberant reviewer praises an early screening of "300," "Jaws" may have a direct-to-video fifth entry, and "Iron Man" already seems to merit a trilogy.

    Also, the "Pirates of the Caribbean" writer is fixing to pen a fourth, and Daniel Radcliffe seems to favor a grim fate for "Harry Potter." Read on.

    This Week’s Most Popular News:

    Early (and Exuberant) Reaction to "300"
    One of AICN’s regular "scoopers" was able to squeeze his way into an early screening of Zack Snyder’s "300" — and it seems like the high-octane, mega-testosteroned action epic blew the kid’s mind in a big way.

    This Can’t Be the Plot Synopsis for "Jaws 5," Can It?

    I’ll advise you to take this whole story with a few grains of salt, but let’s just dive right in: There just might be a direct-to-video "Jaws" sequel on the way — and if it’s boasting the same plot divulged over at, then we may be in for a flick on par with "Jaws: The Revenge."

    "Iron Man" Will be a Trilogy
    Not all that surprising, really, but cool nonetheless: Jon Favreau’s upcoming "Iron Man" movie is intended to be the first flick in a series of three. Sounds good to me!

    "Pirates of the Caribbean" Writer to "Try" to Pen a 3rd Sequel

    With "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" only a few short months away, fans have started speculating about the possibility of a fourth "Pirates" adventure. Well, here’s what screenwriter Terry Rossio has to say about that.

    Does Daniel Radcliffe Have a Death Wish for "Harry Potter"?

    Do anything long enough and it’ll probably get a little tiresome — even if that something is playing the world’s most popular underage wizard.

    Apparently, somebody finds scenes like this exciting.

    In Other News:

    • Shawn Levy ("Night at the Museum") will direct the big-screen adaptation of John Grogan’s bestseller "Marley & Me," with filming to start in April.
    • Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer have acquired film rights to Mark Bowden‘s Atlantic Monthly article "Jihadists in Paradise," about the rise of the Philippine Islamic terrorist group Abu Sayyaf.
    • ThinkFilm has acquired North American distribution rights to "The Last Confederate: The True Story of Robert Adams," a true account of Confederate Captain Robert Adams and his love of a northern woman during the Civil War. Julian Adams, a descendent of Capt. Adams directed, produced and co-stars in the film.
    • William H. Macy and Meg Ryan will team up for "The Deal," an adaptation of Peter Lefcourt’s comedic novel about Hollywood.
    • Finally, next to receive the music biopic treatment is Milli Vanilli, the notorious lip synching pop duo of the late 80s/early 90s. Jeff Nathanson will write the script for Universal Pictures, and reportedly will portray the duo in a sympathetic light.


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