(Photo by 20th Century Fox. Thumbnail: Netflix/courtesy Everett Collection.)

The Worst Superhero Movies of All Time

Great leaping tomatoes! It’s the worst superhero movies ever, an infamous league of Rotten films that scored less than 30% on the Tomatometer!

First off, to keep this list spandex-tight, not only did we include superhero movies below 30%, but each had to have at least 20 reviews, guaranteeing enough critics witnessed of these erratic efforts, franchise non-starters, and would-be blockbusters.

After looking through the list, if you’re wondering why you didn’t see the 1990 Captain America movie, a bunch of those sequels to The Crow, or Dolph Lundgren’s The Punisher, they were cut out by not accumulating at least 20 critics reviews. But, don’t worry, still plenty of room for Frank in this castle of decrepitude, as the other two Punisher movies, the Thomas Jane one and War Zone, are represented. In fact, they both even currently have the same score at 29%, just squeezing into the list. And while most Audience Scores are in the same realm as its movie’s Tomatometer, there’s a divergence on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Dark Phoenix: Both Rotten movies according to the critics, but which settled above 60% on the Audience Score.

Nic Cage appears twice on this list because they made two Ghost Rider movies. Ryan Reynolds also shows up twice but in two separate franchises, mucking it up in both houses of Marvel and DC via Blade: Trinity and Green Lantern. And because who doesn’t like a comic book showdown, in the battle of Marvel vs DC over who’s made the most worst superhero movies, Marvel is “triumphant” with 10 listings, and DC at 9. We didn’t count The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the movie so bad it made Sean Connery quit acting, because though it was at the time produced at an imprint of an imprint of DC Comics (it’s imprint-ception, people), the comic was always wholly owned by its creator Alan Moore.

Of course, let’s not count out other labels making special appearances, like 2000 A.D. (Judge Dredd) or Image (Spawn). Then there’s the magic that happens when when Hollywood executives come together to create something that didn’t come from a comic book, with sparkling results like Tim Allen’s Zoom, an adaptation of TV cartoon Underdog, and the toy-based Max Steel.

One last thing: For movies with the same Tomatometer scores, whichever had more reviews was placed higher. Now, come take a flying leap as we rank the worst superhero movies of all time!

(And see a movie here you love and think ‘Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong’? Send us a note and we might cover your movie in our new podcast. Hit us up at rtiswrong@rottentomatoes.com.)

#30
Adjusted Score: 55949%
Critics Consensus: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice smothers a potentially powerful story -- and some of America's most iconic superheroes -- in a grim whirlwind of effects-driven action.
Synopsis: It's been nearly two years since Superman's (Henry Cavill) colossal battle with Zod (Michael Shannon) devastated the city of Metropolis.... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#29

Ghost Rider (2007)
26%

#29
Adjusted Score: 31746%
Critics Consensus: Ghost Rider is a sour mix of morose, glum histrionics amidst jokey puns and hammy dialogue.
Synopsis: Years ago, motorcycle stuntman Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) sold his soul to save the life of a loved one. Now,... [More]
Directed By: Mark Steven Johnson

#28

Green Lantern (2011)
26%

#28
Adjusted Score: 34641%
Critics Consensus: Noisy, overproduced, and thinly written, Green Lantern squanders an impressive budget and decades of comics mythology.
Synopsis: Sworn to preserve intergalactic order, the Green Lantern Corps has existed for centuries. Its newest recruit, Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds),... [More]
Directed By: Martin Campbell

#27

Suicide Squad (2016)
26%

#27
Adjusted Score: 50734%
Critics Consensus: Suicide Squad boasts a talented cast and a little more humor than previous DCEU efforts, but they aren't enough to save the disappointing end result from a muddled plot, thinly written characters, and choppy directing.
Synopsis: Figuring they're all expendable, a U.S. intelligence officer decides to assemble a team of dangerous, incarcerated supervillains for a top-secret... [More]
Directed By: David Ayer

#26
#26
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The war between humans and vampires continues, but the humans' best hope, human-vampire hybrid warrior Blade (Wesley Snipes), has been... [More]
Directed By: David S. Goyer

#25

Bulletproof Monk (2003)
23%

#25
Adjusted Score: 27186%
Critics Consensus: Venerable action star Chow Yun-Fat is the only saving grace in this silly action flick that more often than not resembles a commercial in style.
Synopsis: For 60 years, a mysterious monk with no name (Chow Yun-Fat) has zigzagged the globe to protect an ancient scroll... [More]
Directed By: Paul Hunter

#24
Adjusted Score: 23374%
Critics Consensus: It's a case of one sequel too many for the heroes in a half shell, with a tired time-travel plot gimmick failing to save the franchise from rapidly diminishing returns.
Synopsis: Reporter April O'Neil (Paige Turco) purchases an ancient Japanese scepter that can cause those simultaneously holding it in different centuries... [More]
Directed By: Stuart Gillard

#23

Dark Phoenix (2019)
22%

#23
Adjusted Score: 45011%
Critics Consensus: Dark Phoenix ends an era of the X-Men franchise by taking a second stab at adapting a classic comics arc -- with deeply disappointing results.
Synopsis: The X-Men face their most formidable and powerful foe when one of their own, Jean Grey, starts to spiral out... [More]
Directed By: Simon Kinberg

#22

Judge Dredd (1995)
22%

#22
Adjusted Score: 24692%
Critics Consensus: Judge Dredd wants to be both a legitimate violent action flick and a parody of one, but director Danny Cannon fails to find the necessary balance to make it work.
Synopsis: In the crime-plagued future, the only thing standing between order and chaos is Judge Joseph Dredd (Sylvester Stallone). His duty:... [More]
Directed By: Danny Cannon

#21

Thunder Force (2021)
21%

#21
Adjusted Score: 28069%
Critics Consensus: It's got a few chuckles, but Thunder Force is largely a superhero comedy that's neither exciting nor funny -- and an egregious waste of its co-stars' talents.
Synopsis: Two childhood best friends reunite as an unlikely crime-fighting superhero duo when one invents a formula that gives ordinary people... [More]
Directed By: Ben Falcone

#20
Adjusted Score: 26656%
Critics Consensus: Neither entertaining enough to recommend nor remarkably awful, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles may bear the distinction of being the dullest movie ever made about talking bipedal reptiles.
Synopsis: Spawned from a lab experiment gone awry, teenage terrapins Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael live in the sewers beneath New... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Liebesman

#19
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Now hiding out in Eastern Europe, Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) is still struggling with the curse of the Ghost Rider... [More]

#18

Spawn (1997)
17%

#18
Adjusted Score: 19426%
Critics Consensus: Spawn is an overbearing, over-violent film that adds little to the comic book adaptation genre.
Synopsis: Covert government assassin Al Simmons (Michael Jai White) is killed after being double-crossed by his boss, Jason Wynn (Martin Sheen).... [More]
Directed By: Mark A.Z. Dippé

#17
Adjusted Score: 23267%
Critics Consensus: Just ordinary. LXG is a great premise ruined by poor execution.
Synopsis: A team of extraordinary figures culled from great adventure literature (including Alan Quatermain, vampiress Mina Harker from Dracula, the Invisible... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Norrington

#16

Underdog (2007)

#16
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After a lab accident gives him extraordinary powers, including the ability to speak, a canine (Jason Lee) declares himself the... [More]
Directed By: Frederik Du Chau

#15
Adjusted Score: 15490%
Critics Consensus: No no, Power Rangers.
Synopsis: The young superheroes square off against an evil villainess who plots to free a fiery monster from its volcano cage.... [More]
Directed By: Shuki Levy, David Winning

#14

The Spirit (2008)

#14
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Apparently murdered cop Denny Colt (Gabriel Macht) returns as the Spirit, dedicated to protecting Central City from crime. His archenemy,... [More]
Directed By: Frank Miller

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this film based on the comic book character, Howard the Duck is suddenly beamed from Duckworld, a planet of... [More]
Directed By: Willard Huyck

#12

Steel (1997)

#12
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Former Army scientists (Shaquille O'Neal, Annabeth Gish), one in a steel suit, team up in Los Angeles against another (Judd... [More]
Directed By: Kenneth Johnson

#11

Batman & Robin (1997)
12%

#11
Adjusted Score: 17028%
Critics Consensus: Joel Schumacher's tongue-in-cheek attitude hits an unbearable limit in Batman & Robin resulting in a frantic and mindless movie that's too jokey to care much for.
Synopsis: This superhero adventure finds Batman (George Clooney) and his partner, Robin (Chris O'Donnell), attempting to the foil the sinister schemes... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#10

Jonah Hex (2010)

#10
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Having cheated death, gunslinger and bounty hunter Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) has one foot in the natural world and one... [More]
Directed By: Jimmy Hayward

#9
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Seeing the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in a nuclear arms race that could lead to Earth's destruction,... [More]
Directed By: Sidney J. Furie

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 12495%
Critics Consensus: The Crow: City of Angels is a sloppy pretender that captures neither the mood nor energy of the original.
Synopsis: After mechanic Ashe (Vincent Perez) and his son (Eric Acosta) witness a murder, they are captured and killed by drug... [More]
Directed By: Tim Pope

#7

Elektra (2005)
11%

#7
Adjusted Score: 16419%
Critics Consensus: Jennifer Garner inhabits her role with earnest gusto, but Elektra's tone deaf script is too self-serious and bereft of intelligent dialogue to provide engaging thrills.
Synopsis: Assassin-for-hire Elektra (Jennifer Garner) works for a mysterious international organization known as the Hand, for which she kills her targets... [More]
Directed By: Rob Bowman

#6

Supergirl (1984)
9%

#6
Adjusted Score: 10233%
Critics Consensus: The effects are cheesy and Supergirl's wide-eyed, cheery heroine simply isn't interesting to watch for an hour and a half.
Synopsis: Kara (Helen Slater) of Argo City poses as Clark Kent's cousin, Linda Lee, to recover the Omegahedron from a witch... [More]
Directed By: Jeannot Szwarc

#5

Catwoman (2004)

#5
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: "Catwoman" is the story of shy, sensitive artist Patience Philips (Halle Berry), a woman who can't seem to stop apologizing... [More]
Directed By: Pitof

#4

Fantastic Four (2015)
9%

#4
Adjusted Score: 18700%
Critics Consensus: Dull and downbeat, this Fantastic Four proves a woefully misguided attempt to translate a classic comic series without the humor, joy, or colorful thrills that made it great.
Synopsis: Transported to an alternate universe, four young outsiders gain superhuman powers as they alter their physical form in shocking ways.... [More]
Directed By: Josh Trank

#3

Son of the Mask (2005)
6%

#3
Adjusted Score: 8693%
Critics Consensus: Overly frantic, painfully unfunny, and sorely missing the presence of Jim Carrey.
Synopsis: A cartoonist and family man, Tim Avery (Jamie Kennedy) lives a peaceful existence with his wife, Tonya (Traylor Howard), as... [More]
Directed By: Lawrence Guterman

#2

Zoom (2006)
4%

#2
Adjusted Score: 6508%
Critics Consensus: Lacking the punch and good cheer of The Incredibles and Sky High, Zoom is a dull and laugh-free affair.
Synopsis: Capt. Zoom, or Jack (Tim Allen), as he is now known, has long since given up his career of fighting... [More]
Directed By: Peter Hewitt

#1

Max Steel (2016)
0%

#1
Adjusted Score: 396%
Critics Consensus: Bereft of characterization or even satisfying rock 'em sock 'em, Max Steel feels like futzing with an action figure without any childhood imagination.
Synopsis: Teenager Max McGrath (Ben Winchell) discovers that his body can generate the most powerful energy in the universe. Steel (Josh... [More]
Directed By: Stewart Hendler

(Photo by Peter Iovino. ©Lionsgate/courtesy Everett Collection)

All Blake Lively Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

After her major feature debut in 2005’s The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants, Blake Lively hopped over to television as the lead in Gossip Girl, the CW teen drama fixture that ran for six seasons. Though busy with the show, Lively was still able to turn in a few memorable appearances in films, like the Certified Fresh crime saga The Town, and Green Lantern, where she would meet future husband Ryan Reynolds.

Though Gossip Girl ended in 2012, it would be several years before her film career would resume in earnest, starting with the romantic fantasy The Age of Adaline. But it would be shark movie The Shallows that would propel her to movie stardom. 2018’s A Simple Favor, where she goes tête-à-tête with Anna Kendrick, was another critical and box office hit. In her latest movie, 2020’s The Rhythm Section, Lively goes on a one-woman mission to take down those responsible for a plane crash that killed her family. See where it places as we rank Blake Lively’s best movies (and her worst) by Tomatometer!

#14

Hick (2011)
5%

#14
Adjusted Score: 4036%
Critics Consensus: Hick's talented young star is ill served by a film whose story wavers between discomfitingly inappropriate and simply muddled.
Synopsis: A pistol-packing teen (Chloë Grace Moretz) meets an unstable rebel (Eddie Redmayne) and a cocaine-snorting drifter (Blake Lively) as she... [More]
Directed By: Derick Martini

#13

Green Lantern (2011)
26%

#13
Adjusted Score: 34641%
Critics Consensus: Noisy, overproduced, and thinly written, Green Lantern squanders an impressive budget and decades of comics mythology.
Synopsis: Sworn to preserve intergalactic order, the Green Lantern Corps has existed for centuries. Its newest recruit, Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds),... [More]
Directed By: Martin Campbell

#12

All I See Is You (2016)
29%

#12
Adjusted Score: 30598%
Critics Consensus: All I See Is You hints at a number of intriguing questions with its premise, but they dissolve in a stylish yet empty psychodrama that fails to connect.
Synopsis: Gina is a beautiful young woman who's still haunted by the accident that took her sight years earlier. Living in... [More]
Directed By: Marc Forster

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 41439%
Critics Consensus: Blake Lively delivers an impressive lead performance, but The Rhythm Section plods predictably through a story that could have used some flashier riffs.
Synopsis: Stephanie Patrick veers down a path of self-destruction after a tragic plane crash kills her family. When Stephanie discovers it... [More]
Directed By: Reed Morano

#10

Accepted (2006)
38%

#10
Adjusted Score: 42038%
Critics Consensus: Like its characters who aren't able to meet their potential, Accepted's inconsistent and ridiculous plot gets annoying, despite a few laughs.
Synopsis: After receiving his latest college rejection letter, senior Bartleby Gaines devises a novel way to fool everyone into thinking he... [More]
Directed By: Steve Pink

#9

Savages (2012)
50%

#9
Adjusted Score: 58894%
Critics Consensus: It's undeniably messy, but Savages finds Oliver Stone returning to dark, fearlessly lurid form.
Synopsis: California entrepreneurs Ben (Aaron Johnson) and Chon (Taylor Kitsch) run a lucrative business raising marijuana and share a one-of-a-kind love... [More]
Directed By: Oliver Stone

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 60621%
Critics Consensus: The Age of Adaline ruminates on mortality less compellingly than similarly themed films, but is set apart by memorable performances from Blake Lively and Harrison Ford.
Synopsis: Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) has miraculously remained a youthful 29 years of age for nearly eight decades, never allowing herself... [More]
Directed By: Lee Toland Krieger

#7
Adjusted Score: 68570%
Critics Consensus: The workable chemistry among the four leads combined with the enriching message make for a winning Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2.
Synopsis: Following freshman year at college, best friends Tibby (Amber Tamblyn), Lena (Alexis Bledel), Carmen (America Ferrera) and Bridget (Blake Lively)... [More]
Directed By: Sanaa Hamri

#6
Adjusted Score: 71226%
Critics Consensus: Reverential and offbeat, the road trip film Private lives of Pippa Lee takes emotional detours and is elevated by great performances, particularly that of Robin Wright-Penn.
Synopsis: Pippa Lee (Robin Wright Penn) is a middle-aged woman married to a much older man named Herb (Alan Arkin), a... [More]
Directed By: Rebecca Miller

#5

Café Society (2016)
71%

#5
Adjusted Score: 85948%
Critics Consensus: Café Society's lovely visuals and charming performances round out a lightweight late-period Allen comedy whose genuine pleasures offset its amiable predictability.
Synopsis: Looking for an exciting career, young Bobby Dorfman leaves New York for the glitz and glamour of 1930s Hollywood. After... [More]
Directed By: Woody Allen

#4
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Bridget (Blake Lively), Carmen (America Ferrera), Lena (Alexis Bledel) and Tibby (Amber Tamblyn) are best friends living in Maryland. After... [More]
Directed By: Ken Kwapis

#3

The Shallows (2016)
78%

#3
Adjusted Score: 91561%
Critics Consensus: Lean and solidly crafted, The Shallows transcends tired shark-attack tropes with nasty thrills and a powerful performance from Blake Lively.
Synopsis: Still reeling from the loss of her mother, medical student Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) travels to a secluded beach for... [More]
Directed By: Jaume Collet-Serra

#2

A Simple Favor (2018)
84%

#2
Adjusted Score: 99514%
Critics Consensus: Twisty, twisted, and above all simply fun, A Simple Favor casts a stylish mommy noir spell strengthened by potent performances from Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively.
Synopsis: Stephanie is a widowed, single mother who works as a vlogger in Connecticut. Her best friend, Emily, seems to have... [More]
Directed By: Paul Feig

#1

The Town (2010)

#1
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) leads a band of ruthless bank robbers and has no real attachments except for James (Jeremy... [More]
Directed By: Ben Affleck

With Justice League hitting theaters this Friday, we explore DC’s long history at the movies by ranking their 29 theatrical superhero films best to worst by Tomatometer!

As Wonder Woman gets added to the heap of superhero movies from DC and Warner Bros. throughout the years, here’s your chance to rank them as you see fit from the list below, which featuring each theatrical movie’s Tomatometer score, audience rating, and critics consensus!

Multi-talented New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi established himself on the local comedy circuit and scored an Academy Award nomination for his 2004 short, Two Cars, One Night, though chances are you’ll be most familiar with his behind-the-scenes work on TV’s Flight of the Conchords, where he collaborated with friends Jemaine Clement, James Bobin and recently-minted Oscar winner Bret McKenzie. Waititi’s first feature, Eagle vs Shark, earned cult notices, but it’s with his follow-up, Boy, that the director really comes into his own.

Set in suburban New Zealand in 1984, it’s a keenly-observed story about an 11-year-old boy called, well, Boy, whose heroes are pop star Michael Jackson, and his mostly absent, tall-tale spinning dad (played with mythic weirdness by Waititi himself). Capturing that all-too elusive tone in such films — where genuine comedy and drama mingle with the just the right hint of nostalgia — Boy is arguably among the best films about growing up to emerge in recent years. Local audiences seemed to agree, too: the movie became the highest-grossing New Zealand production ever when it was released there in 2010.

With the movie opening in the US this week, we sat down for a conversation with Waititi about making Boy, his experiences with Hollywood (he appeared in last year’s Green Lantern), and his plans with Jemaine Clement to make a vampire comedy. But first, here are his five favorite films.

Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Stanley Kubrick, 1964; 100% Tomatometer)


Dr. Strangelove. I think purely because of Peter Sellers. I love his characters; he’s just having so much fun. And that kind of subversion of very serious things going on is right up my alley; I really like that. I love Kubrick’s films, but that for me is also a very different Kubrick film. People either get it or they don’t. I love that film.

The Graduate (Mike Nichols, 1967; 87% Tomatometer)



The Graduate is always a good one to have on my list. It’s hilarious, but also has that element of treading between comedy and drama and doing it so well, and actually being about something. It’s probably the best version of those films about rich people and their boring problems, you know, that anyone’s ever made. People have tried to do that since — that film has totally inspired generations of filmmakers. For me it’s just fresh. There’s also the energy of the actors: Hoffman, just young and going for it; he hasn’t become jaded. That film could come out today in a fresh print and still be incredible; everyone would think “Oh, Wes Anderson made a new film,” or “Sofia Coppola made a new film.” I’ve always loved that film.

Stalker (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979; 100% Tomatometer)



Stalker. I went through a big phase, a Tarkovsky phase, when I was in my mid-20s, and that film always stuck with me. For me, I think visually there’s something about that film that manages to get inside your head and touch you on your emotional synapses or something; it somehow just gets in there. And visually: for instance just the shot of this dog, this black dog that’s always wandering around by itself, that… I mean Tarvovsky was a master of symbolism and just knowing, for example, that a candle in a certain place would trigger in most audiences’ minds something to do with memory. And working on an amazing sensory level, with the composition of shots; these big, long shots that just go on forever. And it doesn’t always matter what people are saying — because the film’s full of dialogue, full of poetry and stuff, but that’s what I love about that film, and also The Mirror. It just washes over you, and you can watch it again and again and take more and more in each time. Mirror is also one of my favorites but it’s a baffling, baffling film.

It’s the same as in painting, you know: people have to go back and study the old masters to see how they did shit. They’re called masters because they’re still the best that ever were. It’s the same with Kurosawa and Ozu and Tarkovsky: if you look at their films and what they were doing, you kind of feel safe watching those films. With Tarkovsky’s stuff I have to keep going back to it to remind myself that there’s an alternative to the 90-minute American film, you know where it’s all fucking three acts and information, boom-boom-boom, and just to go, “Hey, you know what — there’s a way of communicating that’s different and there’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t be scared to appreciate that stuff.”

Coming Home (Hal Ashby, 1978; 81% Tomatometer)



Another one’s Coming Home, by Hal Ashby. I mean, I love all of his films — if there’s any filmmaker I would love to be, it would be him. It’s just an amazing film. You think about something like Harold and Maude, which is to me one of the most flawless films there is. There’s always the great films, like Harold and Maude, sure; but then there’s ones that people kind of forget about, you know, or they sort of get swept to the side a little — and I think Coming Home is one of those films. Even The Last Detail is one of those films. But Coming Home: amazing performances, it’s about something, amazing emotional stuff, and it’s just about people — people trying to connect. There’s a simplicity to it, but it’s really engaging the entire time. Waldo Salt wrote the script. I saw a documentary on him. I think just knowing how a film’s made makes me love it as well. He wrote a 200-, 300-page script for this thing, and went and talked to vets and recorded them for like a year. Jon Voight went and lived with paraplegics and war vets who had been injured and stayed in his wheelchair the entire time. It was just a good commitment to making a film, you know, whereas these days it’s like, “I’ll get my double to do it.” I feel like that was made at a time when people still had passion.

Badlands (Terrence Malick, 1973; 98% Tomatometer)

Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (Martin Scorsese, 1974; 95% Tomatometer)

 

 

I’m sort of torn on my last film between Badlands and Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. I’m on the fence — I love both of those films. Badlands, for me, is a very important film because I feel like a lot of the time it’s the kind of film I would love to make, if I could just make one. It’s so small, but really perfect. I think another great example of a film, which is like a second film, that people don’t think about, is Days of Heaven, which is again another flawless film. His use of voice over is the best out of any filmmaker. Linda Manz, her voiceover, nothing can beat it, you know. I always think that if there’s a voiceover in a film, it’s gotta be like that, where it?s not telling you what’s happening, it’s talking about completely different things. It’s incredible.

Did you see The Tree of Life? There are passages in there that are uncannily of a piece with Badlands.

Yeah. Especially in the street, when they’re out in the street in those opening scenes [in Badlands] when he first meets Sissy Spacek, all that stuff with the trees and the old ’50s feel. I fucking love Sissy Spacek. She’s incredible in that film, as is Martin Sheen. Just those two together, and the way that those shots just drift along, and the casual nature of their conversation. It’s so perfect. That character, actually — that character of Kit — in a very sort of subtle way I based a little of the father character in Boy on him. Just the way he was sort of distracted by the world and daydreaming and off somewhere else. I think I rip off a lot of films, but that specifically…

Ripping off the best, as the saying goes.

Yeah. Well, the beginning of Boy, with the cutting and stuff, was based a lot on the opening of Jules and Jim, which a lot of people have done now, but I just love that film so much. And Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore — one of the greatest performances of a woman, and that kid as well, that little boy; those two together. And again, it’s just something about a film about normal people just trying to follow their dreams. It’s those films that haven’t got a really complex narrative or complex structure that are literally just, “We’re gonna leave town and drive.” That’s again a great mixture of drama and comedy, like when Harvey Keitel threatens to kill her and breaks up the motel room, and then a hard cut to one of the most hilarious scenes in the film where they’re trying to pack up and get out of the room, and the kid’s trying to tell that joke to the mother and she’s fucking going out of her mind. So Ellen Burstyn’s like a goddess in that film. I really love strong female characters, and for my next film I’ve actually written a mother character who borrows a lot from Alice in that film. I feel like a mother character should be that interesting.

Next, Waititi talks about his latest film, Boy, the experience of working in Hollywood, and what he and Conchords Jemaine Clement have planned next.

 

A lot of those films mix drama and comedy perfectly, which seems like a rarer thing to find in contemporary stuff.

Taika Waititi: Yeah. I feel so surprised when I see billboards for films and I’m like, “Really! That’s what you came up with?” — where it’s a really obvious broad comedy or farce or a really obvious drama, like a “This is gonna depress you” film; a real lack of a sense of adventure about trying to mix some shit up, you know.

It’s not easy to successfully mix genres. Which is the thing you notice about Boy — it does moves between comedy and drama so well, without feeling contrived in doing so. How do you make a “coming of age” film, so to speak, without falling into the trap of cheap nostalgia? Is it hard to balance the tones?

I think a lot of it is coming from somewhere like New Zealand or Australia, where we’re so far removed from the rules on how to make films. I think even if we tried it’d be like a weird New Zealand version of those films, and I think that’s what most of our New Zealand cinema is — weird versions of popular genres. And I’ve always — just because of my comedy background — I’ve always wanted to do mixtures of things because I’m also into things that feel more real, or more human, and things that emotionally aren’t just saying “Just laugh.” Audiences are so savvy now. They know the structures of these genres. If you tell an audience they’re going to a romantic comedy, they’re gonna know exactly what’s gonna happen. Audiences know what they’re getting when they go to those movies, so why not trick them? Why not mix it up? Try to keep audiences on their toes and keep them engaged. It’s just telling the same stories, delivering the same messages, life messages or whatever, but trying to package it differently. I think you have a duty as a storyteller to make that story interesting. We come from an oral background. Maori is traditionally an oral culture: we never wrote anything down and all information and history was spoken, told by story. You had to be good at telling stories, and if you weren’t, someone else would get the job. If you told the same story again and again, it gets boring. And that’s where myth comes from — you’re adding little bits all the time. It’s like, “Oh, I forgot to tell you — also, he could speak to the trees.” [Laughs] You’re making shit up, you know. That’s the evolution of story, I guess. Truth will eventually become myth.

Did that notion of myth feed into the character of Boy’s father, and how his stories are always slightly different and increasingly outlandish?

Yeah, yeah. His stories are changing all the time.

It’s great when he’s bragging to the kids about how many times he’s seen E.T.. It’s such a child-like thing to do.

[Laughs] It’s such a thing for a kid to say, but for an adult to be competitive with a kid, you know: “I’ve seen it 10 times. I was one of the first.” When we were kids, when Return of the Jedi came out, we were always like, you had to be the first person to see it so you could hold that over every one else — “I saw it before you,” you know. [Laughs]

Going back to the beginnings of Boy, is it based, or partially based, on your own childhood?

Not really. It’s a mixture of memories, and things were changed to protect the innocent. [Laughs]

So you weren’t actually playing your own father, just to make that clear.

I was actually playing a character made up of parts of myself, my father, a lot of uncles, people I’ve met. Basically he’s just a version of a lot of different men I’ve known, either as a child or as an adult; a mixture of people who either hadn’t grown up or were living outside of what was going on — they were living in their head and wanting to be somewhere else. The real autobiographical part of it is just where it was shot. For instance, we shot in the house I grew up in, my grandmother’s house. I grew up in a house like that, with the grandmother and all these kids. Parents and adults would come in and out of our world, but essentially our stable world was kids and the grandmother. All of that was authentic to the ’80s. I needed to make it feel authentic somehow, so I thought that I may as well do it authentic to my memories. It was like recreating a real place but then telling a made-up story within that place.

You were already work-shopping this movie before you went amd made your first film, Eagle vs Shark?

Yeah. I took it to the Sundance lab in January 2005.

Was it always the same story?

It was. It was a lot more dramatic when I first did it. There was still humor in it but the dad didn’t arrive ’til half way through the movie; it was more about the kids trying to survive in that world. So I took it the lab and they said “Why don’t you come back to the June filmmaker’s lab where you get to shoot scenes and stuff?” I didn’t want to come back to Utah with kids from New Zealand and have to look after them, so I said, “Okay how ’bout I not submit that and I’ll submit another script, which is this comedy about this girl who loves this idiot?” I hadn’t actually written it at that point but I was trying to stall for time.

“This girl who loves this idiot” — I don’t think I’ve heard such a succinct log line for that movie.

[Laughs] Yeah. So I wrote it, and made that film and Boy just took a backseat. I came back to it in mid-2008 and wrote more drafts and we shot at the beginning of 2009.

 

Given that Boy is obsessed with Michael Jackson, how did Michael’s death affect the production? What stage were you at when the news broke?

We were at the end of editing. It was really sad. When we started the film I thought, “Well, this is going to be a sort of ironic thing where everyone loves Michael Jackson and we’re gonna show this at a time where everyone hates Michael Jackson — he’s been on trial, he’s going through all this shit, he’s bankrupt, and he’s a loser, you know.” I mean, I never considered him a loser but the world kind of considered him this old hack at the time. So I thought this is kind of interesting in a “What becomes of our heroes?” way, and it sort of ties in with the father, who’s Boy’s hero — and Michael Jackson was such a hero to the world in the ’80s and now it’s like, “What’s become of your hero?” So when he died it was just a real bummer. It sucked. It didn’t take anything away from the film; the film was fine with him being alive, or whatever — I just thought it was a bummer for the world to lose this dude. And also a weird bummer that everyone started loving him again once he was dead. It was great that he became more popular, but it sucks that he had to die.

Did you find that it changed audiences’ reaction to the film?

Not really. Now and then some people think that film was made after he died, which again is a bummer ’cause I wouldn’t want people to think it was made as a reaction to him dying, like “Oh I’m gonna make a film about somebody that likes Michael Jackson,” you know, to try and cash in on his death or something. When he died we had actually budgeted to put some of his music in the film; a lot of it was quite affordable. And before he died, we were watching it and we had some of his songs in it, and it just didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel right having a small, intimate film suddenly kick in with “Beat It” or something. I felt like people would be wondering “How’d you guys afford this?” or it would take you out of the moment.

You always had “Poi E” in the film, though?

Yeah, oh yeah.

At least you still got to mix that in with “Thriller.”

Well we used to do that when we were young. We used to mix Maori Haka with other sorts of songs. “Poi E” was such a huge hit in New Zealand. It was this mixture of traditional Maori dance with synthesizers and drum machines, so I was trying to kind of capture that as well.

 

How was your experience with Boy in the US? Did the distributors leave it alone?

They have, because we already had a lot of the prints. Which is great. They can’t change it or cut stuff out of the film.

They can’t dub over the accents…

Yeah. That was always a question, you know: Do we cut the accents? Do we put subtitles on them? But then I thought, “Fuck it,” you know? It’s like, open your ears. [Laughs] It’s English. Isn’t it a nice experience to hear how other people speak?

And how has the the response been to the film?

It’s been mostly positive. It’s good to be affirmed and have people say, “Yeah we get it, and this is good.” A big thing for me, as well, is the kind of stuff I make I want to be able to show it to my friends and get their approval, you know — I don’t wanna be at a party with my friends and for them to say, “Uggghhh! You made What Happens in Vegas.” I’d be too embarrassed. I feel like it’s quite good coming from a place like New Zealand where you have all those friends to tell you that shit, you know. I’d rather do small films that a small audience loves, which could grow, in a style that I’m proud of, rather than a couple of shitty big films that everyone will go and see.

Have you been approached to do bigger films by the studios?

I’ve read some scripts that I’ve turned down.

Did they offer you a certain kind of film?

Definitely after Eagle vs Shark, for sure. They’d send me all the “quirky” ones and the romantic comedies. It’s not even a romantic comedy. It’s a depressing romantic movie, with uncomfortable comedy. They started sending me broad shit and I was like, “That’s not me.” [Laughs]

 

What was it like going from a small movie to doing something like Green Lantern?

Oh, incomparable.

How did you end up in that?

Well, Boy played at Sundance, and the casting director from Warners happened to see it and at the time I guess was looking to fill that role. So I came back to LA and did an audition, then a follow-up audition, and a “chemistry read” with Ryan [Reynolds], and then it just sort of worked out. I was pretty happy with doing it, with getting that chance to do it, but then I don’t know, I feel like that time down in New Orleans kind of disappeared; it was like, “What happened to that three months?”

What are you doing for your next film?

I’ve got two. One of them is one I’m doing by myself, which I’ve written, which is gonna shoot in Europe — and that’s a World War II comedy. And then Jemaine [Clement] and I are writing a vampire movie that we’re both in with a bunch of our friends, and that will be shot in New Zealand. So that’s the New Zealand film and that’s a hard one to get up and running because there’s a lot of effects.

Is it a comedy?

It’s a comedy, yeah. We actually came up with the idea in, like, 2005, when no-one was making vampire films and the only films that were coming out was something like Blade, or Underworld. We were like, “Man, vampires are fucking lame, no-one’s into vampire movies — let’s make a vampire movie.” And it took us five years to write a script and get our shit together… and now vampires are lame again. So it’s kind of cool to come in at the end of the reign of the vampire stuff.

Are you directing?

We’re both gonna direct and be in it together. It’s just hard to make, really. We just wanna do stuff outside of studio control. Not that we’re big studio-involved people, but just me having been in a movie like [Green Lantern] and having worked with studios on a lot of things, and Jemaine’s done a lot of work in the studio system now… we just would like a lot of freedom with this film, and we wanna make it cheap. Ultimately our attitude is just that we wanna do it like how we would make something in New Zealand in the ’90s — by ourselves, with our friends, and just being left alone to do our own stuff and then showing people at the end without contracts and things going on and lots of people giving comments and stuff like that.


Boy opens in select theaters in the US this week.

This isn’t the best week on home video that we’ve seen in a while, but it certainly has some variety; it’s one of those weeks that probably has a little something for everyone. First off, the two big releases: Ryan Reynolds stars in DC’s failed attempt to bring one of its classic heroes to the screen, and Jason Bateman headlines an all-star ensemble cast in a silly and slightly raunchy workplace comedy. Then, we’ve got the much-talked-about new film from Terrence Malick (you know, the one with dinosaurs), and a couple of kid flicks that critics didn’t love. Lastly, we’ve got an acclaimed British road trip comedy starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon and Criterion’s latest offering: a classic epic. See below for the full list!



Green Lantern

26%

This summer was a pretty great one for superhero movies… if you were part of the Marvel universe, anyway. The one DC Comics hero to get a feature film, Green Lantern, didn’t receive the same kind of love his Marvel counterparts (Thor, Captain America, and the X-Men) did. Ryan Reynolds donned the skintight green suit as Hal Jordan, the cocksure test pilot who is the first human to be inducted into the Green Lantern Corps, an intergalactic police force of sorts charged with keeping the peace across multiple worlds. Despite a pedigree that boasted James Bond veteran director Martin Campbell and co-stars like Mark Strong, Peter Sarsgaard, Tim Robbins, Angela Basset, and Blake Lively, Green Lantern failed to impress critics, who found the film noisy, overproduced, and thinly written, successfully squandering a character with a rich mythology. If gigantic, special effects-driven action scenes and run-of-the-mill storytelling is all you need to get by, then by all means, check out this 27% Fresh movie. If not, there are better alternatives already out on video.



Horrible Bosses

Jason Bateman and Jason Sudeikis have been popping up everywhere recently, so it was probably only a matter of time before they shared the screen. In Horrible Bosses, the two Jasons, along with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia‘s Charlie Day, team up to plot the deaths of their three respective supervisors, played by Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, and Colin Farrell. Of course, things don’t proceed quite according to plan, and hilarity ensues. Though the film has since dropped to a 69% Tomatometer, Horrible Bosses did earn a Certified Fresh stamp early on, as most critics initially enjoyed the performances from its cast and the silliness of the premise, even if the film itself was a bit uneven. It won’t be the funniest film you’ll see all year, but by most accounts, it’s a decent comedy that should generate some good belly laughs.



The Tree of Life

84%

Terrence Malick is an enigmatic director, to be sure; while his films are generally praised by critics, they continue to divide audiences, who either love Malick’s poetic delivery or find his work impenetrable. The Tree of Life is perhaps his most experimental film, one that ostensibly focuses on the relationship between a young boy named Jack (Hunter McCracken) in the 1950s and his father (Brad Pitt), but delves much deeper into the human condition by taking the viewer through the ages, beginning with the first moments of all creation and culminating in the musings of a grown-up Jack (Sean Penn). Critics rewarded Malick for his efforts with a Certified Fresh 84% Tomatometer score, conceding that while the film may leave some scratching their heads, patient viewers more accustomed to Malick’s unique style will find it an emotional and visual treat. The Tree of Life isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a fan of Terrence Malick, you will find much to explore and discuss here.



Zookeeper

Adam Sandler seems to have taken Kevin James under his wing, specifically in order to groom him as the next slapstick-happy star of juvenile, inexplicably critic-proof comedies just a tad too simple for thinking grownups and just a tad too naughty for the children at which they seem aimed. The latest exhibit is Zookeeper, which features hip, talking zoo animals, James falling, grunting, flying through the air, and smashing into things, and not one, but two blatant product placement references to T.G.I. Friday’s… and I’m only talking about the movie’s trailer. Needless to say, the movie didn’t fare well with critics, who blasted it with a 13% Tomatometer score, but it still managed to make over $160 million at the box office. In other words, there’s apparently still a big enough audience worldwide for poop jokes to keep the Happy Madison family going, and honestly, who can deliver a poop joke better than Adam Sandler as the voice of a monkey?



Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer

21%

It’s no secret that children’s books are a great source for children’s movies. This is even more true for book series, in which the same characters will often mature and evolve over time. On top of that, when you succeed in creating something kids love, you’ve got a surefire moneymaker on your hands. It’s unfortunate, then, that Megan McDonald’s popular Judy Moody series translated into a 14% Tomatometer box office bomb. Jordana Beatty plays the title role, a third grader looking to liven up her summer vacation when her parents depart on a trip to California and leave her in the hands of her super cool Aunt Opal (Heather Graham). Consensus among critics was that the film was absolutely manic in its presentation, suitable only for those with short attention spans. There is simply too much going on in this movie for anyone over the age of five to sit through without quickly developing a headache, so if you’re looking for something to excite the kids, you can throw this on for 90 minutes, but it won’t be of much use beyond that.



The Trip

89%

Did you happen to catch that hilarious video clip a few months ago showing Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon trading Michael Caine impersonations over a coffee? This is the movie that spawned that clip. The Trip opened in limited release back in June and failed to generate any heat, but that’s not entirely surprising, given that it was about two relatively unknown (at least, here in the States) British comedians eating food and improvising silly conversations. Playing somewhat fictionalized versions of themselves, Coogan and Brydon travel the English countryside together when Coogan is asked to review a string of restaurants there and requests Brydon’s accompaniment after everyone else rejects his invitation to come along. Critics found the film amiable, funny, and surprisingly insightful, succeeding on the merits of the natural chemistry between its two stars. Certified Fresh at 89%, The Trip is a pleasant little diversion for those who are inclined towards movies like this, and even those who aren’t accustomed to such understated comedy may find it a rewarding watch.



The Four Feathers (1939) – Criterion Collection

100%

The Four Feathers was originally an adventure novel written by A.E.W. Mason back in 1902, but it was so popular that several film versions of it were produced after its publication, the most recent of which was the Heath Ledger-powered adaptation in 2002. The most celebrated version of the story, however, is Zoltan Korda’s 1939 The Four Feathers, a grand, sweeping epic filmed in Technicolor on location in Africa. For those unfamiliar, The Four Feathers takes place during the Mahdist War of the late 19th century, in which the UK parcitipated. One British lieutenant by the name of Harry Faversham (John Clements) resigns from service on the night before his regiment is set to depart for battle, eliciting accusations of cowardice from his friends and fiancée. In order to prove himself, Harry embarks on his own to join the battle, thus beginning a long and adventurous journey across Africa. This week, Criterion releases its restored print of The Four Feathers on both DVD and Blu-ray, with features like audio commentary, an interview with the director’s son, and a 1939 short film showing Zoltan Korda filming on set.

The super hero summer continued with the third comic book film of the season debuting at number one as Green Lantern shot to the top of the box office with a less-than-stellar opening weekend of $52.7M, according to studio estimates. The pricey Warner Bros. release averaged $13,806 from 3,816 theaters including ones offering the PG-13 film in 3D with extra surcharges. Although the amount of the weekend take would be welcomed by most films, Lantern carried a reported pricetag of about $200M plus was backed by one of the most expensive marketing campaigns of any summer movie so far.

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Directed by Martin Campbell (Goldeneye, Casino Royale), Green Lantern starred Ryan Reynolds as the title character and was panned by critics across the board. Moviegoers also were not impressed as the CinemaScore grade was only a B. Generally, a B+ or better indicates that a large segment enjoyed a film. Poor reviews and bad buzz led to instantly negative word-of-mouth which hurt ticket sales immediately.

Opening day Friday delivered a solid $21.6M including $3.35M from Thursday night’s post-midnight shows. But Saturday fell a disturbing 22% to $16.8M and the studio is optimistically projecting a slim 15% Sunday decline to $14.3M helped in part by Father’s Day. This summer’s well-reviewed super hero films Thor and X-Men: First Class both fared better with audiences. Each dipped by only 8% on Saturday and scored a B+ CinemaScore. More students were out of school for Lantern’s opening day, but the Saturday fall was still very troubling.

With bad reviews, an alarming Saturday decline, and a low audience score, it seems that Green Lantern will burn out quickly at the box office. Even 3D did not help too much as only 45% of the weekend gross came from those screens. That was a lower rate than Thor’s 60% and The Green Hornet’s 61% and more in line with the 46% of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. The Hal Jordan film played as expected to the demographic most familiar with the character – adult men. Males made up 64% of the crowd while 63% were over 25. Generating true excitement with teens and younger adults has been a consistent problem for all Hollywood studios this year.

For the Friday-to-Sunday opening weekend, Green Lantern managed to fall behind the $55.1M of the recent X-Men reboot from just two weeks ago and was far from the $65.7M bow of Thor from the first weekend of May. Moviegoers may only have an appetite for so many comic book flicks and three big ones within seven weeks may have been too much. Lantern had arguably the biggest character among the three and certainly the most starpower with Blake Lively, Tim Robbins, and the voice of Geoffrey Rush all in the same package. Next month’s Captain America will face challenges of its own being another 3D introduction of a new big-screen hero.

Warner Bros. was keen on developing Green Lantern as a franchise that could spawn lucrative sequels in the years ahead. Those hopes, however, were not crushed this weekend as super hero films are designed to be rebooted over time. Superman, Batman, and The Hulk all saw their movie franchises crash and burn, only to be resurrected later with new directors and lead actors.

Overseas, Green Lantern debuted in a dozen or so markets – many small – and grossed a moderate $17M with about half of that coming from the U.K. and Russia. As a very American super hero character, it may not generate the types of numbers overseas that recent summer action tentpoles have.

On the other end of the word-of-mouth spectrum, Super 8 posted a remarkable hold in its second weekend dipping only 40% to an estimated $21.3M. Paramount’s $50M production has collected a solid $72.8M in its first ten days and could be headed for the vicinity of $130M allowing it to possibly outgross Green Lantern at the end of the day at a fraction of the cost. The J.J. Abrams-directed action drama rolled into more of the international marketplace with debuts in 20 more territories for a weekend estimate of $12.5M from 29 total markets led by a number one opening in the increasingly crucial market of Russia. Super 8 is showing that a well-made summer action film with a moderate pricetag can go a long way, even without bells and whistles.

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Jim Carrey’s new family comedy Mr. Popper’s Penguins debuted in third place with a respectable bow grossing an estimated $18.2M. The PG-rated film averaged $5,451 from 3,339 locations and earned somewhat negative reviews from critics. Females made up 56% of the crowd while 58% was under 25. The Fox release about a man that inherits wacky penguins from his dad increased by a scant 2% from Friday to Saturday and will have Cars 2 from the Pixar juggernaut to compete with next weekend so the road ahead will not be an easy one. But with more children getting out of school for the summer each day this week, midweek sales could be solid.

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The ensemble super hero flick X-Men: First Class finished fourth with an estimated $11.5M falling 52% in its third round. Fox has gathered $119.9M in 17 days and is still aiming to end in the $145-150M range. The origin pic grossed an estimated $21.2M overseas this weekend boosting that tally to $163.2M and the global gross to $283.1M.

Two big worldwide hits followed. The Hangover Part II fell 46% to an estimated $9.6M boosting the domestic cume to $232.7M for Warner Bros. The raunchy sequel collected an estimated $21.5M offshore for a muscular international total of $256M. The global gross now stands at $488.7M surpassing its predecessor to become the world’s top-grossing R-rated comedy ever. Paramount’s 3D toon Kung Fu Panda 2 grossed an estimated $8.7M, off 47%, giving the DreamWorks sequel $143.3M to date. Overseas, where the Jack Black film ranks number one this weekend, kicked in an additional $52.5M for an international take of $280M to date led by China’s exceptional $77M.

Slipping by a small margin once again, Universal’s sleeper hit Bridesmaids dipped 26% to an estimated $7.5M lifting the sum to $136.8M. Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides followed with an estimated $6.2M, down 43%, for a $220.3M cume from North America. Overseas markets contributed an estimated $25.9M pushing the international take to a towering $731.9M. That makes the Johnny Depp sequel the fourth biggest overseas blockbuster in box office history trailing just Avatar, Titanic, and the final Lord of the Rings pic which it will surpass at the end of this week. With an eye-popping $952.2M globally, Tides will break the magic $1 billion mark before the end of this month.

With only a slight expansion, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris continued to hold up very well slipping a mere 10% to an estimated $5.2M giving Sony Classics $21.8M to date. It could very well double that amount by the end of its run. Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer fell apart in its second weekend tumbling 63% to an estimated $2.2M for a $11.2M total.

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In moderate release, the critically-panned teen romance The Art of Getting By stumbled in its debut opening to an estimated $700,000 from 610 theaters for a weak $1,148 average. Starring Freddie Highmore and Emma Roberts, the Fox Searchlight release didn’t win much acclaim from critics cutting into its potential with arthouse moviegoers. The Irish dancing documentary Jig was impressive in its limited debut grossing an estimated $65,000 from solo sites in five major markets for a solid $13,000 average. Reviews were mixed but generally positive.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $143.2M which was down 24% from last year when Toy Story 3 opened in the top spot with $110.3M; but up 2% from 2009 when The Proposal with Ryan Reynolds opened at number one with $33.6M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, Box Office Guru!

This week at the movies, we’ve got a hero with a power ring (Green Lantern, starring Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively) and some wacky waddlers (Mr. Popper’s Penguins, starring Jim Carrey and Carla Gugino). What do the critics have to say?



Green Lantern

26%

With the towering exceptions of Batman and Superman, DC’s stable of superheroes haven’t fared as well on the big screen as Marvel’s. And critics say the publisher’s latest adaptation, Green Lantern won’t reverse the trend – it’s a generic, special effects-heavy effort that lacks interesting characters and a compelling script. Ryan Reynolds plays Hal Jordan, a brash test pilot who’s recruited by the Green Lantern Corps to join their crusade against evil in the universe. With the help of a power ring, Jordan is granted a number of superpowers – but can he overcome his fears in time to defeat a marauding army of evil? The pundits say Green Lantern has a few decent set pieces and moments of loony humor, but mostly, it gets bogged down in a too-complicated backstory and never exhibits enough of a singular personality to be truly compelling.



Mr. Popper’s Penguins

47%

It’s summer, so spending time in an air-conditioned theater in the company of some Antarctic residents seems like a decent idea, right? Unfortunately, critics say Mr. Popper’s Penguins is mostly lukewarm stuff; it’s got a committed performance from Jim Carrey that’s undone by a lot of mediocre physical comedy. Based upon the Newbury Award-winning children’s classic, Mr Popper’s Penguins stars Carrey as a divorced businessman who inherits six penguins; soon after turning his apartment into a polar playground, he comes to learn a thing or two about responsibility and family. The pundits say Carrey gives it his all, and the birds are cute, but Mr. Popper’s Penguins is mostly a formulaic family comedy with some so-so slapstick and an overdone message.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Buck, a documentary portrait of real-life horse whisperer Buck Brannaman, is a 90 percent.
  • My Afternoons with Marguerite, starring Gérard Depardieu in a drama about a friendship between a simple man and a frail old lady, is at 85 percent.
  • R, a drama about a man serving time in Denmark’s toughest prison, is at 80 percent.
  • Page One: Inside the New York Times, a doc about a year in the life of the nation’s paper of record, is at 78 percent.
  • Jig, a doc that follows many of the participants in the Irish Dancing World Championships, is at 65 percent.
  • Angel of Evil, a biopic of one of Italy’s most notorious criminals, is at 61 percent.
  • Kidnapped, a drama about a family held captive by a trio of robbers, is at 36 percent.
  • The Art of Getting By, starring Freddie Highmore and Emma Roberts as a pair of troubled teens who find common ground, is at 20 percent.

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