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(Photo by Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)

All Natalie Portman Movies Ranked

For most actors, a movie like Leon: The Professional would be the peak. For Natalie Portman, it was just the beginning.

She followed up her breakthrough debut as the lil’ assassin with three more Certified Fresh films: HeatBeautiful Girls, and Everyone Says I Love You. Science-fiction projects gave her first brushes with Rotten ratings (Mars Attacks!) but also global stardom (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace), giving her the clout to work with the biggest name directors; people like Wes Anderson (The Darjeeling Limited), Milos Forman (Goya’s Ghosts), Wong Kar-Wai (My Blueberry Nights), and Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), the last of which nabbed her the Best Actress Oscar.

Portman has also increasingly worked directly behind the camera in recent years, first with her own directed segment in New York, I Love You, and then the feature-length A Tale of Love and Darkness. That came after Portman was absent from the screen a few years following mildly compelling if safe turns in two Thor movies.  But she’ll be back in a revamped starring role with Thor: Love and Thunder, directed by Taika Waititi and set for 2022. Before then, we’re celebrating her birthday by looking at all of Natalie Portman’s movies with Tomatometers, ranked!

#39

Planetarium (2016)
16%

#39
Adjusted Score: 16964%
Critics Consensus: The Summoning (Planetarium) looks out on a constellation of potentially brilliant ideas, but proves fatally unable to find its focus.
Synopsis: In 1930s France, two sisters who are thought to be able to communicate with ghosts meet a visionary producer while... [More]
Directed By: Rebecca Zlotowski

#38
Adjusted Score: 19101%
Critics Consensus: The Death and Life of John F. Donovan finds writer-director Xavier Dolan flailing at profundity with a technically assured drama that never makes sense of its own ideas.
Synopsis: A young actor reminisces about a dead American TV star and the correspondence they shared.... [More]
Directed By: Xavier Dolan

#37

Lucy in the Sky (2019)
21%

#37
Adjusted Score: 28339%
Critics Consensus: Natalie Portman gives it her all, but it isn't enough to overcome Lucy in the Sky's confused approach to its jumbled story.
Synopsis: After an awe-inspiring experience in outer space, an astronaut returns to Earth and starts to lose touch with reality in... [More]
Directed By: Noah Hawley

#36

Free Zone (2005)
26%

#36
Adjusted Score: 27191%
Critics Consensus: The symbolism in this cinematic metaphor on conflicts in the Middle East becomes so overbearing that it's hard to care about the characters or their plight.
Synopsis: Three women, an American (Natalie Portman), an Israeli (Hanna Laslo) and a Palestinian (Hiam Abbass), all become traveling companions in... [More]
Directed By: Amos Gitai

#35

Your Highness (2011)
27%

#35
Adjusted Score: 33927%
Critics Consensus: Big budgets and costumes in service of scatalogical jokes may seem funny on paper, but in execution this is a highly monotonous romp that registers only occasional laughs.
Synopsis: Prince Thadeous (Danny McBride) has always lived his life in the shadow of his brother, the heir apparent, Prince Fabious... [More]
Directed By: David Gordon Green

#34

Goya's Ghosts (2006)
30%

#34
Adjusted Score: 32173%
Critics Consensus: Ornate costumes and a talented cast can't make up for Ghosts' glacial pace and confused plot.
Synopsis: Brother Lorenzo (Javier Bardem), a member of the Spanish Inquisition, seeks to curry favor with the Inquisitor General by arresting... [More]
Directed By: Milos Forman

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 37344%
Critics Consensus: Poor script and messy plot undermines the decent cast.
Synopsis: After Tennessee teen Novalee Nation (Natalie Portman) is left literally barefoot and pregnant in a Wal-Mart parking lot by her... [More]
Directed By: Matt Williams

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 40243%
Critics Consensus: Like many anthologies, New York, I Love You has problems of consistency, but it isn't without its moments.
Synopsis: On the eve of her wedding, a Hasidic woman (Natalie Portman) considers a romance with another man, in one of... [More]

#31
Adjusted Score: 43044%
Critics Consensus: Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium's title is much more fun that the film itself, as the colorful visuals and talented players can't make up for a bland story.
Synopsis: Magic flows freely through the walls and toys within the Wonder Emporium. But when Mr. Magorium (Dustin Hoffman), the store's... [More]
Directed By: Zach Helm

#30
Adjusted Score: 39982%
Critics Consensus: Natalie Portman and Lisa Kudrow deliver fine performances in The Other Woman, but they're muted by Don Roos' clumsy direction and cluttered, melodramatic script.
Synopsis: A woman (Natalie Portman) tries to mend her relationship with her stepson and deal with her husband's jealous ex-wife (Lisa... [More]
Directed By: Don Roos

#29

Jane Got a Gun (2016)
43%

#29
Adjusted Score: 46450%
Critics Consensus: Jane Got a Gun flounders between campy Western and hard-hitting revisionist take on the genre, leaving Natalie Portman's committed performance stranded in the dust.
Synopsis: Panic strikes Jane Hammond (Natalie Portman) when her outlaw husband John returns to their farm with bullet wounds. Expecting the... [More]
Directed By: Gavin O'Connor

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 48633%
Critics Consensus: Though it features some extravagant and entertaining moments, The Other Boleyn Girl feels more like a soap opera than historical drama.
Synopsis: King Henry VIII (Eric Bana) lacks an heir. Seeing this as an opportunity for personal gain, the Duke of Norfolk... [More]
Directed By: Justin Chadwick

#27

Song to Song (2017)
44%

#27
Adjusted Score: 52286%
Critics Consensus: As visually sumptuous as it is narratively spartan, Terrence Malick's Song to Song echoes elements of the writer-director's recent work -- for better and for worse.
Synopsis: Set against the Austin, Texas, music scene, two entangled couples -- struggling songwriters Faye (Rooney Mara) and BV (Ryan Gosling),... [More]
Directed By: Terrence Malick

#26

Knight of Cups (2015)
47%

#26
Adjusted Score: 57171%
Critics Consensus: Knight of Cups finds Terrence Malick delving deeper into the painterly visual milieu he's explored in recent efforts, but even hardcore fans may struggle with the diminishing narrative returns.
Synopsis: A Los Angeles screenwriter (Christian Bale) indulges his wild side with a stripper (Teresa Palmer), a model (Freida Pinto) and... [More]
Directed By: Terrence Malick

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 49916%
Critics Consensus: Though well filmed, My Blueberry Nights is a mixed bag of dedicated performers working with thin material.
Synopsis: After her boyfriend of five years breaks up with her, Elizabeth (Norah Jones) consoles herself by consuming creamy confections at... [More]
Directed By: Kar Wai Wong

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 54453%
Critics Consensus: It benefits from the presence of Natalie Portman and director Ivan Reitman's steady hand, but No Strings Attached doesn't have the courage or conviction to follow through on its ribald premise.
Synopsis: Lifelong friends Emma (Natalie Portman) and Adam (Ashton Kutcher) take their relationship to the next level by having sex. Afraid... [More]
Directed By: Ivan Reitman

#23
Adjusted Score: 62095%
Critics Consensus: Burdened by exposition and populated with stock characters, The Phantom Menace gets the Star Wars prequels off to a bumpy -- albeit visually dazzling -- start.
Synopsis: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) is a young apprentice Jedi knight under the tutelage of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) ; Anakin... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#22

Hesher (2010)
55%

#22
Adjusted Score: 57359%
Critics Consensus: It has a dark sense of humor and a refreshing lack of sentimentality, but like its title character, Hesher isn't really interested in going anywhere.
Synopsis: An anarchist (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) shakes things up after moving -- uninvited -- into the garage of a troubled youth (Devin... [More]
Directed By: Spencer Susser

#21

Mars Attacks! (1996)
55%

#21
Adjusted Score: 60085%
Critics Consensus: Tim Burton's alien invasion spoof faithfully recreates the wooden characters and schlocky story of cheesy '50s sci-fi and Ed Wood movies -- perhaps a little too faithfully for audiences.
Synopsis: A fleet of Martian spacecraft surrounds the world's major cities and all of humanity waits to see if the extraterrestrial... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#20

Vox Lux (2018)
62%

#20
Adjusted Score: 76191%
Critics Consensus: Intriguing albeit flawed, Vox Lux probes the allures and pitfalls of modern celebrity with intelligence, visual style, and an assured Natalie Portman performance.
Synopsis: Celeste is a 13-year-old music prodigy who survives a horrific school shooting in Staten Island, N.Y., in 1999. Her talent... [More]
Directed By: Brady Corbet

#19

Brothers (2009)
64%

#19
Adjusted Score: 69231%
Critics Consensus: It plays more like a traditional melodrama than the Susanne Bier film that inspired it, but Jim Sheridan's Brothers benefits from rock-solid performances by its three leads.
Synopsis: Siblings Sam (Tobey Maguire) and Tommy Cahill (Jake Gyllenhaal) are as far apart as brothers can be; while Sam serves... [More]
Directed By: Jim Sheridan

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 67576%
Critics Consensus: The strong chemistry between Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman as a mother and daughter trying to make a fresh start in L.A. helps to elevate Anywhere But Here above its occasional forays into melodrama.
Synopsis: In this adaptation of the Mona Simpson novel, single mother Adele August (Susan Sarandon) is bad with money, and even... [More]
Directed By: Wayne Wang

#17
Adjusted Score: 73555%
Critics Consensus: Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones benefits from an increased emphasis on thrilling action, although they're once again undercut by ponderous plot points and underdeveloped characters.
Synopsis: Set ten years after the events of "The Phantom Menace," the Republic continues to be mired in strife and chaos.... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 77761%
Critics Consensus: It may not be the finest film to come from the Marvel Universe, but Thor: The Dark World still offers plenty of the humor and high-stakes action that fans have come to expect.
Synopsis: In ancient times, the gods of Asgard fought and won a war against an evil race known as the Dark... [More]
Directed By: Alan Taylor

#15

Closer (2004)
68%

#15
Adjusted Score: 74764%
Critics Consensus: Closer's talented cast and Mike Nichols' typically assured direction help smooth a bumpy journey from stage to screen.
Synopsis: Alice (Natalie Portman), an American stripper who has moved to London, meets Dan (Jude Law) on the street. While looking... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#14

Cold Mountain (2003)
70%

#14
Adjusted Score: 78116%
Critics Consensus: The well-crafted Cold Mountain has an epic sweep and captures the horror and brutal hardship of war.
Synopsis: In this classic story of love and devotion set against the backdrop of the American Civil War, a wounded Confederate... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Minghella

#13
Adjusted Score: 74455%
Critics Consensus: A Tale of Love and Darkness suggests greater things for debuting writer-director Natalie Portman -- even if its reach slightly exceeds her creative grasp.
Synopsis: Influenced by his mother's (Natalie Portman) stories and poetry readings, young Amos Oz (Amir Tessler) grows up in 1940s Jerusalem... [More]
Directed By: Natalie Portman

#12

The Professional (1994)
74%

#12
Adjusted Score: 77147%
Critics Consensus: Pivoting on the unusual relationship between seasoned hitman and his 12-year-old apprentice -- a breakout turn by young Natalie Portman -- Luc Besson's Léon is a stylish and oddly affecting thriller.
Synopsis: Mathilda (Natalie Portman) is only 12 years old, but is already familiar with the dark side of life: her abusive... [More]
Directed By: Luc Besson

#11

V for Vendetta (2006)
73%

#11
Adjusted Score: 84195%
Critics Consensus: Visually stunning and thought-provoking, V For Vendetta's political pronouncements may rile some, but its story and impressive set pieces will nevertheless entertain.
Synopsis: Following world war, London is a police state occupied by a fascist government, and a vigilante known only as V... [More]
Directed By: James McTeigue

#10

Thor (2011)
77%

#10
Adjusted Score: 87530%
Critics Consensus: A dazzling blockbuster that tempers its sweeping scope with wit, humor, and human drama, Thor is mighty Marvel entertainment.
Synopsis: As the son of Odin (Anthony Hopkins), king of the Norse gods, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) will soon inherit the throne... [More]
Directed By: Kenneth Branagh

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 81075%
Critics Consensus: A likable, infectious musical, Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You is sometimes uneven but always toe-tapping and fun.
Synopsis: The daughter of wealthy Manhattanites Joe (Woody Allen) and Steffi (Goldie Hawn), D.J. (Natasha Lyonne) has to contend with her... [More]
Directed By: Woody Allen

#8

Beautiful Girls (1996)
79%

#8
Adjusted Score: 81436%
Critics Consensus: A warm, thoughtful dramedy about male insecurity, Beautiful Girls is buoyed by an excellent cast - particularly Natalie Portman in a stunning early role.
Synopsis: An all-star cast sparks this captivating comedy about a group of old friends whose 10-year high school reunion creates some... [More]
Directed By: Ted Demme

#7
Adjusted Score: 91492%
Critics Consensus: With Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas brings his second Star Wars trilogy to a suitably thrilling and often poignant -- if still a bit uneven -- conclusion.
Synopsis: It has been three years since the Clone Wars began. Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Jedi Knight Anakin... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#6

Black Swan (2010)
85%

#6
Adjusted Score: 96499%
Critics Consensus: Bracingly intense, passionate, and wildly melodramatic, Black Swan glides on Darren Aronofsky's bold direction -- and a bravura performance from Natalie Portman.
Synopsis: Nina (Natalie Portman) is a ballerina whose passion for the dance rules every facet of her life. When the company's... [More]
Directed By: Darren Aronofsky

#5

Garden State (2004)
86%

#5
Adjusted Score: 92937%
Critics Consensus: Delivering a quirky spin on familiar twentysomething tropes -- with a cannily-placed soundtrack -- Garden State has enough charm to mark a winning debut for first-time director Zach Braff.
Synopsis: After many years away, television bit part actor Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff) returns to his small home town in New... [More]
Directed By: Zach Braff

#4

Heat (1995)
87%

#4
Adjusted Score: 92680%
Critics Consensus: Though Al Pacino and Robert De Niro share but a handful of screen minutes together, Heat is an engrossing crime drama that draws compelling performances from its stars -- and confirms Michael Mann's mastery of the genre.
Synopsis: Master criminal Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) is trying to control the rogue actions of one of his men, while... [More]
Directed By: Michael Mann

#3

Paris, je t'aime (2006)
86%

#3
Adjusted Score: 89362%
Critics Consensus: Paris Je T'aime is uneven, but there are more than enough delightful moments in this omnibus tribute to the City of Lights to tip the scale in its favor.
Synopsis: A collection has 18 vignettes set in Paris. In "Bastille," a man (Sergio Castellitto) considers leaving his wife (Miranda Richardson)... [More]

#2

Jackie (2016)
87%

#2
Adjusted Score: 109807%
Critics Consensus: Jackie offers an alluring peek into a beloved American public figure's private world -- and an enthralling starring performance from Natalie Portman in the bargain.
Synopsis: After her husband's assassination, Jackie Kennedy's (Natalie Portman) world is completely shattered. Traumatized and reeling with grief, over the course... [More]
Directed By: Pablo Larraín

#1

Annihilation (2018)
88%

#1
Adjusted Score: 108009%
Critics Consensus: Annihilation backs up its sci-fi visual wonders and visceral genre thrills with an impressively ambitious -- and surprisingly strange -- exploration of challenging themes that should leave audiences pondering long after the end credits roll.
Synopsis: Lena, a biologist and former soldier, joins a mission to uncover what happened to her husband inside Area X --... [More]
Directed By: Alex Garland

As the latest wave of Obamamania sweeps the country, look forward to HBO’s Recount…or peek into the past with HBO’s John Adams. Also clear your calendar for high-def Top Gun action and get over that crippling shyness with an innovative new DVD from Japan. Whatever you do, make sure you check out this week’s new releases!


Recount, recount!

What went wrong in the 2000 Presidential election? Perhaps everything — or perhaps nothing, depending on your politics. Either way, HBO’s gripping fictional retelling of the Gore vs. Bush vote counting fiasco is coming to DVD August 19, which gives all of you non-subscribers the chance to see Kevin Spacey, Laura Dern, and Tom Wilkinson portray some of the most notorious political movers and shakers in recent history.

Blu-Ray Top Gun to finally satisfy HD fans

If you were disappointed by the extras-free HD-DVD version of Top Gun, we’ve got great news for you. The Blu-Ray release of Tom Cruise‘s career-defining flick is not only headed your way, it’s also loaded with bonus materials — feature and storyboard commentaries by Tony Scott and more, a six-part making-of documentary, and a “Vintage Gallery” of ’80s TV spots, featurettes, Cruise interviews, and, yes, music videos by the likes of Kenny Loggins, Berlin, and Loverboy. Which means you should grab your wingman, Maverick, and take the highway to the danger zone. Because you have the need. The need for speed.

Beware the Ninja Cheerleaders!

Breaking acquisition news! DMX and Kris Kristofferson. George Takei and The Real World‘s Trishelle. Willie Nelson and a young, beautiful assassin. You couldn’t make up better movie concepts than these. Peace Arch Entertainment thought so, too — they’ll be bringing Lord of the Street, Ninja Cheerleaders, and Fighting With Anger, respectively, to your Netflix account soon. Just remember: the more you rent movies like this, the more they will make. Act accordingly.

Pour one out for Manny the labrador…

In sadder news, one of two pirate-sniffing dogs donated to the Malaysian government was found dead last week. Manny, a one-year-old golden Labrador, passed away mysteriously; despite recorded doggie bounties put out on previous Malaysian pirate smashers Lucky and Flo, officials do not suspect foul play. Manny and his doggie partner, Paddy, had been donated by the MPAA to form the world’s first-ever DVD-sniffing canine unit.

Get out there and meet new people…kinda

And finally in this week’s worth of DVD news, those crafty Japanese have created a solution for you bashful home theater owners. Cure your shyness with the interactive “Miterudake” disc, in which 50 different women stare directly at you — in the hopes of helping the socially anxious become more comfortable around the opposite sex. Get it for $25 here. Have a sample staring contest below.



Click for this week’s new releases!

Jumper


Tomatometer: 16%

Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith) takes one of the year’s most interesting science fiction concepts — space-jumping teenagers hopping all over the world — and turned an incoherent mess into theaters last February. Now you can see that mess for yourself on DVD!

Bonus Features:

Considerable behind-the-scenes features and a commentary track with Liman, producer Lucas Foster, and co-writer Simon Kinsberg (X-Men: The Last Stand) might make up for the movie itself. A sequel was planned — that is, until Jumper failed to make back its own budget — so if you’d like to see Hayden Christensen frolic across the space continuum again, help Liman out and buy the DVD.

The Bucket List



Tomatometer: 41%

Two Oscar-winning septuagenarians hit the road for one last comic hurrah before they retire in Rob Reiner’s sentimental schmaltzfest. Before you skip to the next release, consider the fact that The Bucket List made more money in theaters than any other title this week. “Life is short — live a little!” Morgan and Jack seem to tell us. But what does the bonus menu have in store…?

Bonus Features:

A music video for John Mayer’s “Say,” and precious little else? How did they know that was the one thing we had left to do on our bucket list??



The Other Boleyn Girl


Tomatometer: 41%

Some people like their world history with a healthy dose of soap. (We also like good movies, but that’s just us.) As Anne and Mary Boleyn, Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson give a valiant heave of the bosom, but this version of King Henry VIII’s love triangle with two sisters is bloodless melodrama.

Bonus Features:

As with Phillippa Gregory’s source novel, The Other Boleyn Girl is more intriguing for the real-life history of Tudor England than for its fictionalized drama. History buffs will get a kick out of features about the real life royals and Gregory’s wildly popular book, but everyone else…is probably already falling asleep.


Funny Games

Tomatometer: 49%

The first time Michael Haneke made Funny Games in Austria, critics were terrified and impressed. This time around, his tale of home invasion — shot nearly scene-by-scene in English and starring Naomi Watts and Tim Roth — proved too sadistic for the uninitiated. Is America ready for cerebral horror?

Bonus Features:

Perhaps Haneke wants the film to speak for itself. You’ll have to work through the exercise in complicit viewer sadism yourself, since there are zero features to accompany this disc.


John Adams

Tomatometer: N/A

Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney stand out in this handsome HBO miniseries about U.S. President and founding father John Adams in the early days of American independence.

Bonus Features:

The celebrated series comes in a three-disc release, just in time for Father’s Day. An hour of extras includes documentaries and pop-up trivia that deliver even more history. Shop at HBO.com and pick up nifty “Join or Die” swag.


Witless Protection

Tomatometer: 00%

No. Just — no.

Bonus Features:

Zero percent, folks. Go back and get John Adams, for goodness sake.

Cult DVD Pick of the Week – Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan

Tomatometer: N/A

Indulge in the recent wave of Shaw Brothers re-releases and give this lush, action-packed female revenge pic a go. The story of a courtesan who takes her vengeance with a heart-ripping technique known as “ghost hands” (long before the “Kali Ma” cult in Temple of Doom) combines the best elements of 1970s Shaw Bros.: dazzling sets, wuxia, kung fu, lady fighters, eroticism and a touch of the perverse.

‘Til next week, happy viewing!

Say what you like about blockbuster supremo Roland Emmerich, he sure knows how to pack ’em in the aisles. The director of Independence Dayand The Day After Tomorrow‘s new “historical” epic 10,000 B.C.. has – almost inevitably – come straight in at number one in the UK charts.

This is despite the film’s dreadful reviews, dearth of recognisable stars and a daft concept that liberally shifts around thousands of years of history. The movie is currently at a meagre 10% on the Tomatometer, and the plot’s reliance on large, woolly elephantine creatures has given grizzled hacks carte blanche to dub the film a ‘mammoth disappointment/turkey/flop’ etc.

Nonetheless, gullible punters flocked to see the film, and consequently the money men at Warner Bros. sat on over £2m worth of box office receipts in the first 4 days. This is on top of the pic’s $61 million take in the US. It all just goes to show that Emmerich is once again bulletproof at the box office and, along with maybe Michael Bay, the premier popcorn hitmaker of our age.

Elsewhere indie British comedy The Cottage made a so-so showing, coming in at 6th place. Directed by Paul Andrew Williams, who made a remarkable debut with critical darling London to Brighton last year, this new effort was also well received, though not to the same extent. 75% on the Tomatometer was a good return for a film described by Elliot Noble from Sky Movies as, “solid Brit-horror nourishment,” though the filmmakers might have expected better than the £350,000 the film has pulled in so far, especially considering the film’s heavy promotion.

Most interesting however is the cross-Atlantic success of the stupidly-monikered Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert. The titular 15 year-old is the latest in a long line of manufactured Disney popstrels with her own records, TV shows and movies to make the mouse big bucks. Complete with creepy footage of screaming preteen white-teethed fans, this concert movie has already proved a cash-cow for the corporation in the States and is now making serious money here too. The film came in at nine in the charts, a scarily impressive showing considering it was only playing on 65 screens.

North American film fans heard the call of the elephant and stampeded to the box office to see the animated Dr. Seuss pic Horton Hears a Who, which enjoyed the largest opening weekend of the year so far. The testosterone flick Never Back Down launched to decent numbers; however, the virus thriller Doomsday was dead on arrival in its debut. But ‘toon power was able to revitalize the marketplace, sending the top 10 above the $100M mark and ahead of year-ago levels for the first time in a month.

Jim Carrey and Steve Carell lent their voices to Horton and ticket buyers responded, spending an estimated $45.1M on the Fox hit for a strong number one premiere. The G-rated tale bowed ultrawide in 3,954 locations and averaged a sturdy $11,406 per theater. The Whoville story generated the fourth best March opening ever, behind 300 ($70.9M), Ice Age: The Meltdown ($68M), and the original Ice Age ($46.3M) and also landed the fifth largest opening in history for a G-rated film.

Horton took advantage of star power, the popularity of the Seuss brand, and an open marketplace with few options for families to help it post the year’s best debut. But the film went beyond just parents and kids — the studio reports that 47 percent of the audience was non-family, with teens kicking in a significant contribution. Budgeted at $85M, the animated feature also garnered glowing reviews from most critics. Horton also bowed in 29 international markets this weekend, and captured an estimated $14.2M tally.

Animated films opening in March usually enjoy strong legs thanks to the Easter holiday and school vacations. Ice Age‘s opening weekend represented only 26 percent of its eventual $176.4M domestic final. Fox’s 2005 film Robots witnessed a 28 percent share, Meltdown played like a sequel and saw 35 percent, and last year’s Disney offering Meet the Robinsons grabbed 26 percent. Horton should follow in the same footsteps, as direct competition in the coing weeks is not too fierce, leading to possibly $150-175M from North America alone.

Trailing the animated elephant were the woolly mammoths of 10,000 BC. The not-so-accurate account of prehistoric times fell 54 percent in its second outing to an estimated $16.4M and pushed the total to $61.2M after 10 days. Given the bad reviews, negative word-of-mouth and the genre, the sharp decline was expected. The Warner Bros. title is playing almost exactly like another spring historical actioner, 2002’s The Scorpion King. The Rock starrer generated similar numbers with a $36.1M debut and $61.3M 10-day take before concluding with $90.5M. 10,000 BC should find its way to the same vicinity domestically. Overseas, the prehistoric pic collected a mighty $38M this weekend as it saw top spot debuts in the United Kingdom, Korea, and Russia and second place launches in France and Italy. The international cume has risen to $73M putting the global gross at an impressive $134M.

So far this year, moviegoers have been showing up in the same numbers, but have spread their dollars across a wider selection of movies than in 2007. Overall domestic box office is up 4 percent compared to the same period last year, and when factoring in the annual increase in ticket prices, total admissions are up only a slight amount. But at this point in 2007, six films had crossed the $50M mark, including three that broke the $100M barrier; this year, none have reached nine digits yet, but a whopping 10 have vaulted ahead of $50M (not including Horton, which is just days away from surpassing that mark).

The Mixed Martial Arts drama Never Back Down debuted to mediocre results and landed in third place with an estimated $8.6M from a wide 2,729 theaters. Averaging a mild $3,155, the PG-13 high school tale is the first in-house production from new distributor Summit and played to an audience of young males. Research showed that 59 percent of the audience was male and 60 percent were under 21. Never was budgeted at $20M.

Martin Lawrence’s second comedy of the year, College Road Trip, dropped a moderate 42 percent in its second weekend,, grossing an estimated $7.9M. With $24.3M collected in 10 days, the G-rated family flick should end up in the neighborhood of $45M.

Sony’s action thriller Vantage Point has been enjoying surprisingly strong legs, and slipped only 27 percent this week, to an estimated $5.4M for a solid cume of $59.2M. Rival actioner The Bank Job posted an even greater hold, sliding only 17 percent in its sophomore frame to an estimated $4.9M, giving Lionsgate $13.1M in 10 days. The high-octane pics should reach about $75M and $27M, respectively.

Universal suffered a dismal opening for its futuristic virus thriller Doomsday, which bowed to just $4.7M, according to estimates, from 1,936 theaters. The R-rated pic averaged a miserable $2,450 and should find its real audience on DVD this summer.

Will Ferrell‘s basketball comedy Semi-Pro fell 49 percent to eighth with an estimated $3M, pushing the total for New Line to $29.8M. Look for a final of roughly $35M, making it the comedian’s lowest-grossing lead performance in a wide release since 1998’s Night at the Roxbury.

Sony’s The Other Boleyn Girl dipped only 28 percent to an estimated $2.9M for a cume of $19.2M. The kidpic The Spiderwick Chronicles rounded out the top 10 with an estimated $2.4M, off 49 percent, for a $65.4M sum. Final grosses should reach $26M and $70M, respectively.

Warner Independent had a mixed weekend with its pair of limited release titles. The Naomi Watts thriller Funny Games opened in 289 theaters and grossed an estimated $520,000 for a dull $1,800 average. But its promising platform release Snow Angels added one Los Angeles site and took in an estimated $26,000 from three sites for a potent $8,667 average. The Kate Beckinsale starrer expands to the top 10 on Friday during its third session.

Three solid box office performers fell from the top 10 this weekend. Fox’s sci-fi flick Jumper dropped 42 percent to an estimated $2.1M, lifting the total to $75.8M. The $85M Hayden ChristensenSamuel L. Jackson actioner should conclude with about $80M. It’s already banked $100M overseas and counting.

The $70M adventure comedy Fool’s Gold collected an estimated $1.7M, off 38 percent, for a $65.4M sum. Warner Bros. looks to end with just under $70M. Step Up 2 the Streets, the latest teen dance drama to score with audiences, took in an estimated $1.5M, down 51 percent. With $55.4M taken in thus far, the Buena Vista release will reach close to $60M, putting it within striking distance of the $65.3M gross of 2006’s surprise smash Step Up.

The top 10 films grossed an estimated $101.3M, which was up less than 1 percent from last year — when 300 remained at number one in its second weekend with $32.9M — and up 13 percent from 2006, when V for Vendetta debuted in the top spot with $25.6M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

A triumvirate of films opens this weekend, but all will bow to the power of the mighty Will Ferrell and his latest outrageous comedy, Semi-Pro.

Will Ferrell storms the box office this weekend with his latest sports comedy, Semi-Pro. This time the funnyman takes on the world of professional basketball, following in the footsteps of 2007’s figure skating pic Blades of Glory and 2006’s racing flick Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. There is no question this kind of film is directly in Ferrell’s wheelhouse so he should slam another one out of the park – sorry, let me try that again… so this weekend should be a slam dunk for him.

Almost exactly a year ago, Blades of Glory opened with $33M on its way to a $118.5M final gross. In August of 2006, Talladega Nights opened with $47M on its way to $148M. The major differences between those two films and Semi-Pro is that the previous two were rated PG-13 while Semi-Pro has landed an R rating, and that people may be tiring of seeing Ferrell doing the same shtick over and over again. The rating will keep some of the young folks who dig Ferrell’s irreverent comedy, away from theaters. The shtick may keep some viewers away, but the fans will come out in droves and it shouldn’t hurt the overall grosses too much, as the film is the only major player in town. Opening on over 3,000 screens, Semi-Pro could gross $35M this weekend.


Will Ferrell as Jackie Moon in Semi-Pro.

Two other smaller films, both headlined by women, also open this weekend. First is The Other Boleyn Girl, starring Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson. The film finds the two playing sisters, both trying to win the heart of the King of England. While both are critical darlings (and have a countless number of male fans), neither one is considered a big box office draw. Johansson’s biggest opening weekend (for a live action film) was 1998’s The Horse Whisperer, which opened to $13.6M. Portman of course starred in three episodes of the Star Wars saga, but if you exclude those films, her highest opening weekend was $25.6M for V for Vendetta back in March of 2006. That sounds reasonably impressive until you realize her next highest opening weekend for a film in which she had a leading role was last winter with Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium which opened with $9.6M.

The Other Boleyn Girl will likely cater to an audience of older women, although the joint star power of Johansson and Portman could bring in a somewhat younger crowd, as will Eric Bana who plays the aforementioned King. However the film opens on only about 1,000 screens and will likely get lost in the shuffle. While the film isn’t a romantic comedy and in fact has a twisted and scandalous storyline, there are no less than three romantic comedies still in the marketplace all of which cater to the same demographic. Look for The Other Boleyn Girl to open with around $5M.


The Boleyn girl and the other Boleyn girl.

The final new release this weekend is the long awaited Penelope starring Christina Ricci, Reese Witherspoon and James McAvoy. The movie tells the tale of a woman who is forced to hide a family curse which will only be lifted if she can find true love. The film has aspects of science-fiction and fantasy which makes it a little different than the other romantic comedies out right now, but even with Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon’s name attached, the film will most likely get buried. Opening on around 1,200 screens, look for Penelope to gross around $4M this weekend.


Christina Ricci as Penelope.

Last weekend’s champ Vantage Point will likely lose business to the Ferrell juggernaut, but should still have a reasonable hold this weekend. Look for the ensemble political thriller to fall around 40% to around $14M.

LAST YEAR: Disney jumped all over the box office with the smash Wild Hogs, which grossed $39.7M making it the largest opening in March history for a live-action film (until the following weekend when 300 shattered the mark). The critically acclaimed Zodiac debuted in second place with $13.4M. Two-time champ Ghost Rider grossed $11.6M, while a second Disney film, Bridge to Terabithia made $8.9M. Jim Carrey‘s crossover into horror, The Number 23, crashed 56% and collected $6.5M in its second weekend.

This week
at the movies, we’ve got hapless hoopsters (Semi-Pro, starring
Will
Ferrell
, Woody Harrelson, and
Andre Benjamin), snouted socialites (Penelope,
starring Christina Ricci
and James McAvoy), and scandalous siblings (The Other Boleyn Girl,
starring Natalie Portman,
Scarlett Johansson, and
Eric Bana). What do the
critics have to say?

Will
Ferrell has made a mini-career for himself yuking it up in wacky sports
comedies. Some, like


Talladega Nights
and
Blades
of Glory
, were
winners with the critics, while others (Kicking and Screaming, anyone?)
have fallen below the Mendoza Line. It appears the pundits are putting his
latest, Semi-Pro, in the latter category. Ferrell stars as Jackie Moon,
the owner of a struggling American Basketball Association (yep, the league with
the red, white, and blue ball) squad that’s on the verge of folding; worse, the
NBA may soon buy the only solvent ABA squads, so the team has to start winning
in a hurry. The pundits say that while Semi-Pro offers occasional laughs,
its shooting percentage isn’t all that high; it’s never as deliriously funny as
it should be, and sags under the weight of too much sentiment. At 23 percent
on the Tomatometer, Semi-Pro is looking as pretty as a Ben Wallace free
throw.




"So you guys will watch this but not Brothers Solomon?
Come on!"

A lonely
lass with a swine’s schnoz, Penelope (Christina Ricci) isn’t your average girl.
And the scribes say Penelope isn’t your average movie
— and despite
moments of enchantment, this modern-day fairy tale is something of a mixed bag.
Penelope is a poor little rich girl who suffers from a strange curse: she’s got
a pig snout, and can only be saved by the proper suitor. The critics say Penelope
is never short on whimsy and charm, but it’s uneven and a little short on magic.
It’s currently at 55 percent on the Tomatometer. (Check out our inventory of
fairy tales for grownups here.)




Penelope getting ready to practice some American Ninja moves.

The Other Boleyn Girl has all the makings of a juicy tale of period intrigue: a
love triangle, political machinations, and a stellar cast. Unfortunately,
critics say the film can’t quite put all the pieces together. Based upon the
bestseller by Philippa Gregory, Boleyn is the story of two sisters
(Natalie Portman and
Scarlett Johansson)
vying for the ardor of the King of England (Eric Bana) — and finding themselves in a romantic tug-of-war that
threatens to destabilize the nation. The pundits say the movie looks terrific,
and the plot has intrinsic interest, but Boleyn ends up devolving into
over-plotted, melodramatic territory while leaving certain elements of its plot
underdeveloped. At 45 percent on the Tomatometer, the critics aren’t quite in
love with this Girl.




“Hold me, like you did by the lake on Naboo, so long ago when there was nothing but our love.”

Also
opening this week in limited release:

  • Chop
    Shop
    , the story of a 12-year-old orphan fending for himself in gritty New
    York City, is at 88 percent.


  • Beyond
    Belief
    , a doc about a pair of Boston women who travel to Afghanistan after
    their husbands are killed by terrorism, is at 80 percent.

  • Chicago
    10
    , which combines documentary footage and animation to tell the story of
    the riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, is at 78 percent (check out
    our take from Sundance
    here).

  • The
    Unforeseen
    , a doc about the fragile balance between home-ownership and the
    environment, is at 75 percent.

  • City
    of Men
    , the follow-up to
    City of God
    , about a group of youngsters
    growing up amidst the drug trade in Rio, is at 71 percent.

  • Bonneville,
    a road movie starring
    Jessica Lange,
    Kathy Bates, and
    Joan Allen, is at 45
    percent.

  • Vivere,
    the story of three desperate women on the run, is at 40 percent.

 




"Cool, we can make our 80 million margaritas out here."
 

And
finally, props to
Splendidisolation,
man in the water,
I am evil homer,
kubla,
ilovetacobell,
bwozar07, and
Pilgermann, who all, ahem, got ‘er done by
successfully guessing that
Witless Protection
would earn a big zero
percent Tomatometer. Good to see some folks around these parts aren’t totally
lacking in wit.
 

Recent
Will Ferrell Movies:

————————————

44% —
The
Wendell Baker Story
(2007)

69% —
Blades
of Glory
(2007)

73% —
Stranger
than Fiction
(2006)

72% —

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
(2006)

41% —
Winter
Passing
(2006)

Recent
Christina Ricci Movies:

————————————–

66% —
Black
Snake Moan
(2007)

23% —
Home
of the Brave
(2006)

20% —
The Gathering (2006)

23% —
I
Love Your Work
(2005)

16% —
Cursed

(2005)

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