Netflix and Amazon Prime added a bunch of fun titles this week, including a handful of Star Trek movies, a hilarious sendup of Star Trek movies, Stanley Kubrick’s classic Stephen King adaptation, and a whole lot more. Read on for details:


New on Netflix

 

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) 82%

Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and the crew of the Enterprise return to Earth from a self-imposed exile on Vulcan, only to find a new threat awaiting them. In order to save the planet, they must travel back in time to the 20th century and bring back a pod of humpback whales. Yeah, this is the one with the whales.

Available now on: Netflix


Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) 82%

The final film to feature the original crew of the USS Enterprise finds the crew in the midst of a conspiracy when a Klingon ship is attacked en route to a peace negotiation.

Available now on: Netflix


Star Trek Generations (1994) 47%

Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) and the cast of Stark Trek: The Next Generation make their feature film debut here, in a story that finds the new crew teaming up with Captain Kirk (William Shatner) to stop a mad scientist seeking immortality.

Available now on: Netflix


Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) 54%

Picard and pals uncover a conspiracy to exploit a planet for its age-defying atmosphere and set about trying to stop the nefarious plan in this third film featuring the TNG crew.

Available now on: Netflix


Amadeus (1984) 93%

Tom Hulce plays the titular virtuoso in Milos Forman’s Certified Fresh Best Picture winner, in which a haunted, aging Salieri (F. Murray Abraham) recalls the life and death of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart from his cell in an insane asylum.

Available now on: Netflix


Three Kings (1999) 94%

George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and Ice Cube star in David O. Russell’s Certified Fresh war satire about a trio of Gulf War soldiers who embark on a gold heist and end up witnessing the repercussions of the war firsthand.

Available now on: Netflix


The Shining (1980) 85%

Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of the Stephen King novel was famously dismissed by King himself, but it remains one of the most iconic pieces of horror cinema, highlighted by a particularly creepy performance from Jack Nicholson as a struggling writer who relocates his family to an empty hotel during a harsh winter season and slowly goes mad.

Available now on: Netflix


Galaxy Quest (1999) 90%

Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, and Alan Rickman headline an ensemble cast in this gleeful sendup of space nerd culture as a group of washed-up actors from a popular Star Trek-like show who are recruited by misguided aliens to help defend them against an intergalactic threat.

Available now on: Netflix


Meet the Parents (2000) 84%

Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro star in Jay Roach’s Certified Fresh comedy about an easily frazzled male nurse who struggles to impress his fiance’s father, a hard-nosed former CIA operative who almost immediately dislikes his future son-in-law.

Available now on: Netflix


Notting Hill (1999) 83%

Roger Michell’s romantic comedy stars Julia Roberts as a famous actress who falls in love with bookstore cashier in London when a chance encounter leads to romance.

Available now on: Netflix


Rumble in the Bronx (1995) 80%

Jackie Chan made his American debut with this lighthearted — and slightly off-kilter — action comedy, which was redubbed and ported over from Hong Kong after its successful 1995 premiere there. A familiar storyline is elevated by Chan’s typically stellar stunt work and  several elegant displays of his trademark prop-fueled fighting style.

Available now on: Netflix


We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011) 75%

Lynne Ramsay’s Certified Fresh psychological thriller stars Tilda Swinton as the mother of a troubled teenage boy (Ezra Miller), who increasingly exhibits dangerous tendencies.

Available now on: Netflix


Nanny McPhee (2005) 74%

Emma Thompson sports a prosthetic nose and a rogue tooth as the magical nanny who moves in with a widower (Colin Firth) and promptly whips his seven naughty children into shape.

Available now on: Netflix


Something New (2006) 61%

Sanaa Lathan and Simon Baker star in this romantic comedy about a career woman who agrees to a blind date and begins to fall for him… until another man enters her life and stirs things up.

Available now on: Netflix


It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season 10 (2015) 100%

With its eleventh season set to premiere this week, you’ll be happy to know that the addition of season ten means that the entire show is now available to watch on Netflix. Perfect viewing for the next time you’re enjoying a fine milksteak.

Available now on: Netflix


New Girl: Season 4 (2014) 100%

Another show premiering this week is Fox’s New Girl, and with that in mind, Netflix has added season four, which means, like, over 90 episodes of Zooey Deschanel being adorkable with her bro-friends.

Available now on: Netflix


Nurse Jackie: Season 7 (2015) 94%

– Seasons 1-7

And lastly, Netflix also added all seven seasons of Nurse Jackie, so you don’t need Showtime to watch Edie Falco’s Emmy-winning performance as the drug-addicted nurse trying to make her way in New York City.

Available now on: Netflix


New on Amazon Prime

 

Dazed and Confused (1993) 92%

Richard Linklater’s affectionately nostalgic look at the 1970s centers on a group of high school friends in Texas as they celebrate the last days of the school year.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) 89%

Arguably the most celebrated — surely the most widely recognized — Audrey Hepburn film. We just prefer to pretend all the Mickey Rooney stuff doesn’t exist.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Django (1966) 93%

Before he was unchained, Django was a man named Franco Nero in a Sergio Corbucci western, which follows a gunslinger as he pits a gang of racists against a group of Mexican revolutionaries, Yojimbo style.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Elizabeth (1998) 83%

Cate Blanchett is Queen Elizabeth I of England, who was imprisoned by Queen Mary as a teen and became queen herself at 23. The film recounts the early years of her reign, when she struggled to uncover conspiracies against her.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Available to Purchase

 

Straight Outta Compton (2015) 89%

F. Gary Gray’s Certified Fresh music drama tells the story of legendary rap group N.W.A., chronicling its formation, dissolution, and all the drama between members Eazy E, Ice Cube, and Dr. Dre.

Available now on: AmazoniTunes


Infinitely Polar Bear (2014) 82%

Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana star in this Certified Fresh drama about a man suffering from bipolar disorder who attempts to rebuild his relationship with his family.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes


Memories of the Sword (2015) 75%

This lavishly shot martial arts epic from South Korea tells the tale of a young woman who vows revenge upon a warrior whose betrayal lead to her own father’s death.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes


Jem and the Holograms (2015) 22%

Inspired by the 1980s cartoon of the same name, this truly outrageous musical film follows an unlikely YouTube star who agrees to a record deal in order to help keep her aunt’s house from being auctioned off. There’s also a robot.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes

As the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts get ready to rumble at the Super Bowl on Sunday, Hollywood goes into counterprogramming mode and targets female moviegoers with a pair of new releases.

Those looking for big names will get to laugh with the new comedy "Because I Said So" while those in the mood for a scare get the haunted house flick "The Messengers." Overall, it should be a low scoring game at North American multiplexes this weekend.

Diane Keaton leaves behind the men and anchors her own comedy in "Because I Said So" playing an overbearing mother trying to find the right man for her youngest daughter. Directed by Michael Lehmann ("Heathers," "40 Days and 40 Nights"), the PG-13 film boasts some added girlpower in the cast with Mandy Moore, Piper Perabo, and Lauren Graham playing the daughters. The Universal release will undoubtedly skew heavily female and heavily Caucasian, but the acting ensemble could lead to a broad age range with mature women drawn in by Keaton’s motherly problems and young women connecting with the sisters. Aside from Mother’s Day weekend, the Super Bowl frame could indeed be the best time to launch a film like this as male interest will be low.

In a world where Meryl Streep can open "The Devil Wears Prada" to $27.5M, Jane Fonda can drive "Monster-in-Law" to a $23.1M debut, and Helen Mirren keeps bringing in audiences month after month with "The Queen," there certainly is box office gold with Hollywood’s elder stateswomen. Whether Keaton can join the ranks with this particular vehicle might be a different story. The studio has been pushing "Because" with great energy, but poor reviews could prompt many to just wait for the DVD. Starpower should help drive women of different ages to the box office and away from football and in a weak marketplace, that may be enough to reach the top spot. Opening in 2,526 theaters, "Because I Said So" might debut with around $14M.


Diane Keaton in "Because I Said So."

Also opening on Friday is "The Messengers," the fourth horror film in as many weeks to hit multiplexes. The PG-13 film directed by the Hong Kong-born Pang brothers tells the story of a family that moves into a run-down old house only to find creepy forces at play. Audiences have rejected every fright flick Hollywood has offered since October and "The Messengers" does not seem to bring anything new and exciting to the table to change things. Teens and young adults seem to be the core audience and with the big game in Miami commanding a lot of attention from the boys, Sony is hoping that teenage girls will be up for a scare. Marketing has been textbook and identical to every other horror pic. The starpower battle will be lost against "Because" so this flick will have to cater to those young ladies who do not want to be reminded of how meddlesome mothers can be. "The Messengers" opens in 2,528 theaters and could scare up around $12M for the weekend.


Kristen Stewart gets a message in "The Messengers."

Among holdovers, the spoof comedy "Epic Movie" may have won last weekend’s box office derby beating fellow freshman "Smokin’ Aces," but the R-rated action pic has taken over at number one each day during the mid-week period as "Epic" fans have gone back to class. The Fox comedy should see the larger drop as word-of-mouth will be nonexistent given its pathetic 3% score on RottenTomatoes.com which makes it the odds-on favorite so far for next year’s Razzie Awards. A 50% fall would leave "Epic Movie" with about $9M and a ten-day cume of $30M.

"Smokin’ Aces" has held up better during the week and newcomers won’t threaten its audience of young men that much. A 45% drop would give the Universal release around $8M for the weekend and a total of $27M after ten days.

The blockbuster "Night at the Museum" will enjoy yet another weekend when no kid movies enter the marketplace. That should lead to a small drop, possibly 25%, giving the Ben Stiller pic roughly $7M for the frame pushing the cume to an amazing $225M.

LAST YEAR: Thrills ruled the box office as the scary pic "When a Stranger Calls" opened at number one with a strong $21.6M to easily lead the frame. Sony found its way to $47.9M. Fox’s "Big Momma’s House 2" dropped a notch to second with $13.6M in its second weekend while the kidpic "Nanny McPhee" finished in third with $9.8M. "Brokeback Mountain" climbed to the highest position of its entire run coming in fourth place with $6M. Rounding out the top five was the animated hit "Hoodwinked" with $5.3M. Focus opened its new cross-cultural romantic comedy "Something New" in seventh place with a mild $4.9M on its way to only $11.5M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

A quartet of poorly-titled films will hit the multiplexes on Friday hoping to grab some business opposite a string of acclaimed releases fresh from earning their Oscar nominations.

Leading the newcomers with the most theaters is the spoof comedy "Epic Movie" which goes head to head against the crime drama "Smokin’ Aces." Horror fans get the werewolf pic "Blood and Chocolate" while those who prefer non-violence get the Jennifer Garner drama "Catch and Release."

Fox tries to tap into the immature crowd with its new comedy "Epic Movie" which spoofs many of the big-budget action and fantasy blockbusters of recent years. The "Scary Movie" series has ushered in more spoof flicks and Fox even saw solid results a year ago with its "Date Movie" which lampooned popular romantic comedies. That film bowed to $19.1M and found its way to $48.5M. Fans may be getting a little sick of the same template over and over again so the opening may not be as big, but the genre still works especially with young teens looking for mindless entertainment after a long week of classes. Commercials and trailers do not look that funny, but given the weak marketplace and the success rate of comedies with specific concepts, "Epic" may take in all the cash it needs to hit the number one spot. Holdovers do not seem like they will break into double digit millions this weekend. With a wide release in 2,801 playdates, the PG-13 pic could amass around $14M.


Lampooning Harry Potter in "Epic Movie."

The weekend’s solo R pic comes in the form of the mob thriller "Smokin’ Aces" from Universal. Jeremy Piven, Ben Affleck, Andy Garcia, and Alicia Keys star in this ensemble piece about a witness in protective custody being hunted down by a crime boss before he can testify. Young men are the target audience here in this Vegas-set flick that tries too hard to be cool. The NFL’s weekend off should make guys more available for ticketbuying which will help. The studio saw an underwhelming $6.4M three-day debut for another R-rated crime saga earlier this month – "Alpha Dog" – and will probably see many of the same customers this time around. An extra 1,000 theaters will ensure a bigger opening, but there is no A-list star or director in the film to truly attract a large crowd. A quick in and out of theaters should result. Opening in 2,204 locations, "Smokin’ Aces" might collect roughly $8M in its first hand.


Alicia Keys in "Smokin’ Aces."

Jennifer Garner plays a woman trying to rebuild her life after the death of her husband in the new drama "Catch and Release." Sony proudly offers the only major new pic for female moviegoers and hopes to stand out from the crowd by going after an audience few others are targeting. The PG-13 film will test the starpower of the former "Alias" star who last hit screens two years ago with the big-budget bomb "Elektra." Her comedy "13 Going on 30" which she anchored solo performed well with a $21.1M bow, but "Catch" lacks the same fun factor and will probably draw fewer males too. Plus the studio is going into the marketplace with less than half the theaters they gave to "13." A supporting role by Kevin Smith is not likely to help bring in many dudes. But with so few films playing specifically to young women, a decent average is likely. "Catch and Release" hits 1,622 theaters on Friday and could take in about $7M.


Jennifer Garner, Kevin Smith, and some other dude in "Catch and Release."

Werewolf terror hits the multiplexes in the form of "Blood and Chocolate," a new supernatural fright flick aiming for teens and young adults. The MGM release carries a PG-13 rating which could work well in getting in younger teens, but the film lacks the zing or interesting concept that fans need in order to pay top dollar at the local theater. Every recent horror film has underperformed at the box office and this one does not seem like the savior that can turn things around. Plus other new releases will be distracting the target audience too. Opening in roughly 1,500 theaters, "Blood and Chocolate" could debut to around $4M.


"Blood and Chocolate."

After racking up over $200M through its five-week stay in the top two slots, "Night at the Museum" should get bumped down a bit. The Ben Stiller film once again faces no new competition for the family audience so a slim decline should result. A 30% fall would give Fox about $8M for the weekend and a towering cume of $215M. Sony’s "Stomp the Yard" looks to fall harder so a 40% drop to around $7M could occur pushing the cume to $50M.

After scoring the most Oscar nominations of any film with eight, the big-budget musical "Dreamgirls" shot up to the number one spot on Tuesday after finishing in third last weekend and on Monday. Although it missed out on the top prize of a Best Picture nomination, the Jamie FoxxBeyonce Knowles film is still getting media attention which is fueling the buzz and the studio has wasted no time in advertising the fact that no other film has more Academy Award nods. Still, the film is aging and many other awards contenders are expanding and trying to attract upscale moviegoers too. A small 20% slide to around $6M may occur giving "Dreamgirls" a solid $85M total.

LAST YEAR: Martin Lawrence topped the box office with his hit comedy sequel "Big Momma’s House 2" which bowed to a plump $27.7M. The Fox release went on to gross $70.2M. Debuting in second was the family film "Nanny McPhee" with $14.5M for Universal on its way to $47.1M. Sony’s "Underworld: Evolution" tumbled by 58% in its second weekend and placed third with $11.4M. The military drama "Annapolis" opened in fourth with a modest $7.7M before finishing with $17.1M for Buena Vista. The animated hit "Hoodwinked" rounded out the top five with $7.5M in its third caper.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week at the movies, we’ve got a pair of sequels that will appeal to widely disparate demographics ("Ice Age 2: The Meltdown," "Basic Instinct 2"), a slimy mix of comedy and horror ("Slither"), and a tale of young ATL-liens coming of age ("ATL"). What do the critics say?

For those of you who like a healthy dose of laughs between scares, there’s a gleefully nasty little piece of business in theaters this week. "Slither," a tale of creepy crawly little beasts that invade Smalltown, USA, is a B-movie through and through. But critics say it’s one of the most enjoyable of its type in years — if you’ve got the stomach for this sort of thing. At 86 percent on the Tomatometer, the Certified Fresh "Slither" may make you squirm — when you’re not busting a gut laughing. And it’s the third best-reviewed film of the year, behind only Dave Chappelle’s Block Party (at 93 percent) and last week’s Inside Man (at 88 percent).

The first "Ice Age" was warmly received. The second? It’s getting a chillier reception. In "Ice Age 2: The Meltdown," Manny the woolly mammoth, Sid the sloth, Diego the saber-toothed tiger, and the cross-species wiseguy Scrat are back, and they confront two major issues: The end of the ice age, and mating. The critics say while "Ice Age 2" may not be red-hot, it’s moderately entertaining. It’s at 59 percent on the Tomatometer, a bit behind its predecessor (78 percent and Certified Fresh).

"ATL" is a movie about the last summer before a group of African American high school students go off into the real world and attempt to navigate potential pratfalls. And critics say the film is at its most involving when it sticks to a smart, laid-back vibe and affectionate portrayals of its young leads; the scribes say that the film is less successful when it starts follow the mechanics of its plot. It’s currently at 61 percent on the Tomatometer.

"Basic Instinct" is something of a recent cinematic touchstone – albeit one many are a bit embarrassed to say they actually enjoy. According to critics, moviegoers may be in an even deeper quandary with the sequel. In "Basic Instinct 2," Sharon Stone is back to play deadly games of cat-and-mouse with spellbound guys. The scribes note that while the original was subversively trashy (and, at 63 percent on the Tomatometer, fresh), this sequel is more in the so-bad-it’s-good category — or perhaps, so-bad-it’s-bad. At 6 percent on the Tomatometer, trust your instincts on this one.

Also, props to lovelykeira, who correctly guessed that the Tomatometer for "Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector" would be 4 percent, and to mizzoucritic, who came the closest to "Stay Alive"’s 6 percent.

Top Five Best-Reviewed Wide Releases of 2006 (So Far):
——————————————————
93% — Dave Chappelle’s Block Party
89% — Inside Man
86% — Slither
75% — Nanny McPhee
75% — V For Vendetta

Recent Sharon Stone Movies
———————————–
86% — Broken Flowers (2005)
9% — Catwoman (2004)
12% — Cold Creek Manor (2003)
50% — Beautiful Joe (2000)
53% — The Muse (1999)

Tension: it’s the key to many a film, and this week’s wide releases bring three variants on that theme. We’ve got a hostage situation ("Inside Man"), class conflict ("Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector"), and a video game that becomes real ("Stay Alive"). What will the critics say? Well, for one, "Inside Man" is one of the year’s best.

Spike Lee is a director whose work has always been wonderfully unpredictable. With "Inside Man," he may have pulled off his weirdest foray yet: a heist picture. With a terrific cast that includes Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Willem Dafoe, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, "Inside Man" puts a spin on the "Dog Day Afternoon" scenario, with a group of sharp bank robbers who stay one step ahead of the police. Critics say this is a sharp genre film that is not only rewarding on its own terms, but manages to subvert its pulpy trappings with wit and skill. At 89 percent on the Tomatometer, this one’s pretty excellent, "Inside" and out. And it’s Lee’s best reviewed film since the brilliant documentary "4 Little Girls," which scored 100 percent on the Tomatometer. "Inside Man" is Certified Fresh, and it’s the second-best reviewed wide release of 2006 (trailing only "Dave Chappelle’s Block Party," at 93 percent).

Well, you can tell by the way it wasn’t screened for critics that "Stay Alive" may not be alright, and it may not be okay, so you might want to look the other way. And "Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector" wasn’t screened for critics either, which means it may be hazardous to your health. So let’s play everyone’s favorite game: Guess the Tomatometer!

Top Five Best-Reviewed Wide Releases of 2006 (So Far):
——————————————————
93% — Dave Chappelle’s Block Party
89% — Inside Man
75% — Nanny McPhee
75% — V For Vendetta
73% — Eight Below

Recent Spike Lee Joints:
—————————–
20% — She Hate Me (2004)
64% — Jim Brown: All American (2002)
77% — 25th Hour (2002)
84% — The Original Kings of Comedy (2000)
53% — Bamboozled (2000)

Recent Denzel Washington Movies:
——————————–
80% — The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
39% — Man on Fire (2004)
66% — Out of Time (2003)
24% — John Q (2002)
79% — Antwone Fisher (2002)

A pack of sled dogs brave the cold ("Eight Below"). A detective works on a case with potentially explosive ramifications ("Freedomland"). A movie parodies other movies ("Date Movie"). It’s this week’s wide releases!

Over the years, Disney has produced many adventures with animals struggling to survive in the harsh wild ("White Fang" comes to mind). And critics say "Eight Below," the story of a group of sled dogs who must brave the cold of Antarctica, carries on that proud tradition. Paul Walker stars in the based-on-a-true-story of a guide who must take a visiting researcher across a particularly perilous stretch of territory. The scribes say this is more than just a shaggy-dog story; it’s infused with a real sense of drama and some of the warmest canine thespians ever to grace the silver screen. It’s Mr. Walker’s best reviewed film since "Pleasantville" (86 percent on the Tomatometer), and his best in a leading role. At 82 percent, "Eight Below" proves that every dog has its day. And "Eight Below" is not only Certified Fresh, is also the best-reviewed wide release of the year, besting a pair of family films, "Nanny McPhee" (75 percent) and "Curious George" (72 percent).

Sometimes the noblest of intentions can make for the clumsiest of films. Case in point: "Freedomland," a drama that delves into the thorny issue of race relations after a white woman dubiously claims she has been carjacked and her child kidnapped in a largely African American housing project. Critics say the film features perhaps the weakest performances in the distinguished careers of Samuel L. Jackson and Julianne Moore, and the script lacks the nuances that should give the film its emotional punch. (Strange, since Richard Price, the screenwriter, also penned the source novel for Spike Lee’s "Clockers," a deft mixture of police procedural and social issues. It’s at 75 percent on the Tomatometer.) At 16 percent on the Tomatometer, "Freedomland" may not be worth a visit.

Like someone on who has a stunning picture on the Internet personals but looks a lot different in person, "Date Movie" claims to be a comedy, but, since it wasn’t screened for critics, we’re guessing it may be a little short on laughs. (Here’s a hint, in love as in cinema: just be honest!) So, kids, it’s time for the funnest game since Spin the Bottle: Guess the Tomatometer! The closest guess wins a date with Critical Consensus. Or at least some props.

The Best Reviewed Wide Releases of 2006:
—————————————————–
75% — Nanny McPhee (2006)
72% — Curious George (2006)
64% — Something New (2006)
58% — Hostel (2006)
57% — Glory Road (2006)

Notable Movies About Dogs in the Wild:
——————————-
22% — Snow Dogs (2002)
67% — Lassie (1994)
75% — Homeward Bound- The Incredible Journey (1993)
82% — White Fang (1991)
86% — Benji (1974)

Recent Films Not Screened For Critics:
———————————————-
10% — When a Stranger Calls (2006)
16% — Underworold: Evolution (2006)
7% — BloodRayne (2006)
15% — Grandma’s Boy (2006)
12% — Aeon Flux (2005)

That it would debut in the #1 spot was a foregone conclusion, but Sony/Screen Gems’ "When a Stranger Calls" did a whole heckuva lot better than that by grossing an unexpectedly high (albeit estimated) $22m from just about 3,000 screens. Sony chose to shield the flick from the press, as if teenagers interested in PG-13 horror movies give a wet slap what film critics think.

Dropping 51% into second place was the comedy in which Martin Lawrence dresses up like a fat old lady. "Big Momma’s House 2" made about $13.3 million over the weekend, lifting its total tally to $45.4 million.

In third place was Universal’s family comedy "Nanny McPhee," which added another $9.9 million to its $26.6 million total.

Gaining an addition 400+ screens over the weekend was Oscar favorite "Brokeback Mountain," which broached the top five with a $5.6m haul. Its grand total presently stands at $59.7 million.

Rounding out the top five was the animated comedy "Hoodwinked," which tucked another $5.3 million into its $44m piggy bank.

Focus’ "Something New" semi-sputtered out of the gate, tallying about $5 million from 1,200 theaters, placing it seventh behind Sony’s "Underworld: Evolution," which added another $5.1 million to its $52.7 million kitty.

Next week sees the wide release of four big titles: The feature-length debut of "Curious George," the Harrison Ford thriller "Firewall," the long-delayed farce remake "The Pink Panther," and the horror sequel "Final Destination 3."

As always, you can visit the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office Page for a closer look at the weekend numbers.

Principal photography will commence February 6 at England’s Leavesden Studios on "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," the fifth film adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter novel series.

Directed by award winning British filmmaker David Yates ("The Girl in the Café," "Sex Traffic," "State of Play"), "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" is produced by Harry Potter film series producer David Heyman and David Barron, from a screenplay by Michael Goldenberg ("Where the Wild Things Are," "Peter Pan," "Contact").

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson reprise their roles as close-knit teen wizards Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The production also welcomes back production designer Stuart Craig, costume designer Jany Temime, creature effects supervisor Nick Dudman, special effects supervisor John Richardson and visual effects supervisor Tim Burke. The director of photography is Slawomir Idziak ("King Arthur," "Black Hawk Down") and the editor is Mark Day ("The Girl in the Café," "State of Play").

Joining the stellar cast are Imelda Staunton ("Nanny McPhee," "Vera Drake") as Dolores Umbridge, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher; George Harris ("The Interpreter," "Black Hawk Down") as Kingsley Shacklebolt; Helen McCrory ("Casanova," "Enduring Love") as Bellatrix Lestrange; Natalia Tena ("Mrs. Henderson Presents," "About a Boy") as Nymphadora Tonks; Kathryn Hunter ("All or Nothing," "Orlando") as Mrs. Figg; and 14 year-old newcomer Evanna Lynch, who beat over 15,000 hopefuls at an open casting call to win the role of Luna Lovegood, a Ravenclaw student who becomes an important ally of Harry, Ron and Hermione’s.

In "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," Harry returns for his fifth year of study at Hogwarts and discovers that much of the wizarding community is in denial about the teenager’s recent encounter with the evil Lord Voldemort, preferring to turn a blind eye to the news that Voldemort has returned. Fearing that Hogwarts’ venerable Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, is lying about Voldemort’s return in order to undermine his power and take his job, the Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge, appoints a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher to keep watch over Dumbledore and the Hogwarts students. But Professor Dolores Umbridge’s Ministry-approved course of defensive magic leaves the young wizards woefully unprepared to defend themselves against the dark forces threatening them and the entire wizarding community, so at the prompting of his friends Hermione and Ron, Harry takes matters into his own hands. Meeting secretly with a small group of students who name themselves “Dumbledore’s Army,” Harry teaches them how to defend themselves against the Dark Arts, preparing the courageous young wizards for the extraordinary battle that lies ahead.

"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" will be released in 2007.

Proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that there’s nothing in the universe funnier than a desperate comedian in drag (preferably fat drag), "Big Momma’s House 2" snagged the #1 spot at the weekend box office by tallying an estimated $28 million from 3,200 theaters. And yet everyone will complain when Fox announces the inevitable "Big Momma’s House 3."

Clocking in at second place, with a surprisingly strong $14 million haul from 2,000 theaters, was the British family comedy "Nanny McPhee," starring Emma Thompson. Third place went to last week’s #1 winner, the vampire vs. werwolf thriller "Underworld: Evolution," which added an additional $11 million to its $44 million coffin.

Another new arrival, the Disney military boxing drama romance amalgam "Annapolis," debuted in 1,600 theaters with a haul of $7.7 million, while the top five was rounded out by "Hoodwinked," the animated comedy that added another $7.3 million to its $37 million goodie basket.

Next Friday sees the release of two new studio flicks: Focus Features’ rom-com "Something New" (1,100 theaters) and Screen Gems’ horror remake "When a Stranger Calls" (2,600 theaters).

For a closer look at the weekend numbers, stop by the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office page.

Annapolis, the renowned naval military school, is an institution steeped in history; unfortunately, the movie can lay claim to that as well. Starring James Franco as a new recruit who needs to set his priorities straight, the movie’s shopworn story and clich�s will remind viewers of "Rocky," "Top Gun," and "An Officer and a Gentleman," movies "Annapolis" can’t favorably stand against. Currently at 10% on the Tomatometer, the best encouragement we can give "Annapolis" is better luck tomorrow.

Obviously, of all the movies needing a sequel, the most pressing one has to be Martin Lawrence’s "Big Momma’s House." How else can we explain "Big Momma’s House 2," a comedy called painfully unfunny and unnecessary by the critics? Lawrence is back in a fat suit and incognito as Big Momma. There’s a story about him going undercover to avert a national disaster, but that’s only an excuse to string together the fat jokes. At 29% on the Tomatometer, "Big Momma’s House 2" is at least an improvement over Lawrence’s last effort, "Rebound."

Nanny McPhee is no Mary Poppins, but there isn’t a rowdy kid she can’t handle. Starring Emma Thompson as the title character, she finds that her latest charges will need all the help they can get to keep their family together. Hovering at 72% on the Tomatometer, "Nanny McPhee" is a fine film to take the kids, critics say.

Recent James Franco Movies:
34% — Tristan & Isolde (2006)
35% — The Great Raid (2005)
93% — Spider-Man 2 (2004)
69% — The Company (2003)
90% — Spider-Man (2002)

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