Michael Gibson/STX Entertainment

(Photo by Michael Gibson/STX Entertainment)

All Idris Elba Movies Ranked

To some fans, Idris Elba will forever be Stringer Bell from The Wire. To others, he’ll always be best remembered as John Luther. For still others, he’s the guy who gave us the Heimdall of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or — and this is admittedly a much smaller subset — finally brought gunslinger Roland Deschain to the big screen in the long-gestating adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. All of which is to say that Mr. Elba’s done a lot in his impressive career, and by all appearances, he’s still just getting started: even if those persistent rumors about him taking over the James Bond franchise never pan out, he’s got plenty of projects lined up to add to an eclectic filmography that already includes some of the more popular and widely acclaimed TV and film releases in recent memory, including an original character in The Suicide Squad. And now we’re ranking all Idris Elba movies by Tomatometer!

#37

Prom Night (2008)
7%

#37
Adjusted Score: 9002%
Critics Consensus: A dim and predictable remake of an already dull slasher film, this Prom Night fails to be memorable.
Synopsis: When a deranged high-school teacher kills the family of the girl, Donna, that he loves, in a disturbed attempt to... [More]
Directed By: Nelson McCormick

#36

The Reaping (2007)
8%

#36
Adjusted Score: 13415%
Critics Consensus: It may feature such accomplished actors as Hilary Swank and Stephen Rea, but The Reaping also boasts the apropos tagline "What hath God wrought?" It's schlocky, spiritually shallow, and scare-free.
Synopsis: Katherine Morrissey (Hilary Swank), a former Christian missionary, lost her faith after the tragic deaths of her family. Now she... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Hopkins

#35

The Unborn (2009)
10%

#35
Adjusted Score: 14407%
Critics Consensus: David Goyer's Unborn is a tame genre effort with cheap thrills and scares that border on silliness.
Synopsis: Plagued by nightmares and visitations from tortured ghosts, Casey Beldon (Odette Yustman) turns to a spiritual adviser named Sendak (Gary... [More]
Directed By: David S. Goyer

#34

No Good Deed (2014)
12%

#34
Adjusted Score: 13677%
Critics Consensus: Dull, derivative, and generally uninspired, No Good Deed wastes its stars' talents -- and the audience's time.
Synopsis: An unsuspecting Atlanta woman (Taraji P. Henson) lets in a charming stranger (Idris Elba) to use her phone and soon... [More]
Directed By: Sam Miller

#33

The Dark Tower (2017)
16%

#33
Adjusted Score: 35747%
Critics Consensus: Go then, there are other Stephen King adaptations than these.
Synopsis: Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), the last Gunslinger, is locked in an eternal battle with Walter O'Dim (Matthew McConaughey), also known... [More]
Directed By: Nikolaj Arcel

#32

The Gunman (2015)
16%

#32
Adjusted Score: 23108%
Critics Consensus: With an uninspired plot and rote set pieces that are overshadowed by its star's physique, The Gunman proves a muddled misfire in the rapidly aging Over-50 Action Hero genre.
Synopsis: Eight years after fleeing the Congo following his assassination of that country's minister of mining, former assassin Jim Terrier (Sean... [More]
Directed By: Pierre Morel

#31
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]

#30

Obsessed (2009)
19%

#30
Adjusted Score: 22863%
Critics Consensus: The inevitable Fatal Attraction comparisons aside, Obsessed is a generic, toothless thriller both instantly predictable and instantly forgettable.
Synopsis: Things couldn't be better for Derek Charles (Idris Elba). He's just received a big promotion at work, and has a... [More]
Directed By: Steve Shill

#29

Cats (2019)
19%

#29
Adjusted Score: 39518%
Critics Consensus: Despite its fur-midable cast, this Cats adaptation is a clawful mistake that will leave most viewers begging to be put out of their mew-sery.
Synopsis: A tribe of cats must decide yearly which one will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a... [More]
Directed By: Tom Hooper

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 26896%
Critics Consensus: Daddy's Little Girls boasts fine performances and a poignant message, but is ultimately let down by amateurish filmmaking.
Synopsis: Monty (Idris Elba), a mechanic, struggles to make ends meet and raise his three young daughters alone. When his drug-dealing... [More]
Directed By: Tyler Perry

#27

Takers (2010)
28%

#27
Adjusted Score: 30881%
Critics Consensus: Takers boasts some gripping set pieces and keeps things moving quickly, but its two-dimensional characters, clichéd script, and brazenly derivative plot make it hard to recommend.
Synopsis: Gordon Jennings (Idris Elba) and his friends enjoy a luxurious lifestyle funded by bank robberies, and they avoid capture by... [More]
Directed By: John Luessenhop

#26

The Gospel (2005)

#26
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: While he was once on the way to becoming a minister, David Taylor (Boris Kodjoe) instead chose to become a... [More]
Directed By: Rob Hardy

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 50779%
Critics Consensus: The Mountain Between Us may be too far-fetched for some viewers to appreciate, but it's elevated by reliably engaging performances from Idris Elba and Kate Winslet.
Synopsis: Stranded on a mountain after a tragic plane crash, two strangers must work together to endure the extreme elements of... [More]
Directed By: Hany Abu-Assad

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 43062%
Critics Consensus: 100 Streets strands its talented cast - led by a clearly overqualified Idris Elba - in the midst of a well-meaning but fatally contrived drama.
Synopsis: Three different stories covering infidelity, adoption and a drug dealer turned actor are intertwined as characters meet in the streets... [More]
Directed By: Jim O'Hanlon

#23

Bastille Day (2016)
48%

#23
Adjusted Score: 51321%
Critics Consensus: Bastille Day proves Idris Elba is an action hero in waiting -- specifically, waiting for a script that deserves his talents.
Synopsis: A rogue CIA agent (Idris Elba) forms an unlikely partnership with a pickpocket (Richard Madden) to stop a terrorist conspiracy... [More]
Directed By: James Watkins

#22

The Losers (2010)
48%

#22
Adjusted Score: 54141%
Critics Consensus: The Losers is loud, fast, and unrelentingly violent -- but it's also funny and well-acted, which will make all the difference for some action fans.
Synopsis: On a mission deep in the Bolivian jungle, a team of elite commandos (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans) finds itself... [More]
Directed By: Sylvain White

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: At holiday time, family matriarch Ma'Dere Whitfield (Loretta Devine) assembles her large brood for their first reunion in four years.... [More]

#20

RocknRolla (2008)
60%

#20
Adjusted Score: 64591%
Critics Consensus: Mixed reviews for Guy Ritchie's return to his London-based cockney wideboy gangster movie roots, but most agree, it's a step in the right direction following two major turkeys.
Synopsis: Old-school mobster Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson) rules London's underworld with an iron fist and a score of well-greased palms. As... [More]
Directed By: Guy Ritchie

#19
Adjusted Score: 66448%
Critics Consensus: It might be too respectful to truly soar, but there's no denying Idris Elba's impressive work in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom -- or the inspirational power of the life it depicts.
Synopsis: The remarkable life of South African revolutionary, president and world icon Nelson Mandela (Idris Elba) takes center stage. Though he... [More]
Directed By: Justin Chadwick

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 78026%
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

#17
Adjusted Score: 88516%
Critics Consensus: Hobbs & Shaw doesn't rev as high as the franchise's best installments, but gets decent mileage out of its well-matched stars and over-the-top action sequences.
Synopsis: Brixton Lorr is a cybernetically enhanced soldier who possesses superhuman strength, a brilliant mind and a lethal pathogen that could... [More]
Directed By: David Leitch

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Six months after the original epidemic, the rage virus has all but annihilated the population of the British Isles. Nevertheless... [More]

#15

Pacific Rim (2013)
72%

#15
Adjusted Score: 84303%
Critics Consensus: It may sport more style than substance, but Pacific Rim is a solid modern creature feature bolstered by fantastical imagery and an irresistible sense of fun.
Synopsis: Long ago, legions of monstrous creatures called Kaiju arose from the sea, bringing with them all-consuming war. To fight the... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#14

Prometheus (2012)
73%

#14
Adjusted Score: 86503%
Critics Consensus: Ridley Scott's ambitious quasi-prequel to Alien may not answer all of its big questions, but it's redeemed by its haunting visual grandeur and compelling performances -- particularly Michael Fassbender as a fastidious android.
Synopsis: The discovery of a clue to mankind's origins on Earth leads a team of explorers to the darkest parts of... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 90810%
Critics Consensus: Exuberant and eye-popping, Avengers: Age of Ultron serves as an overstuffed but mostly satisfying sequel, reuniting its predecessor's unwieldy cast with a few new additions and a worthy foe.
Synopsis: When Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) jump-starts a dormant peacekeeping program, things go terribly awry, forcing him, Thor (Chris Hemsworth),... [More]
Directed By: Joss Whedon

#12

Second Coming (2014)
77%

#12
Adjusted Score: 77463%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An unexplained pregnancy forces a husband to doubt his wife's faithfulness.... [More]
Directed By: Debbie Tucker Green

#11

Thor (2011)
77%

#11
Adjusted Score: 90300%
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

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 89289%
Critics Consensus: American Gangster is a gritty and entertaining throwback to classic gangster films, with its lead performers firing on all cylinders.
Synopsis: Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) earns his living as a chauffeur to one of Harlem's leading mobsters. After his boss dies,... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#9

Molly's Game (2017)
82%

#9
Adjusted Score: 99841%
Critics Consensus: Powered by an intriguing story and a pair of outstanding performances from Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba, Molly's Game marks a solid debut for writer-director Aaron Sorkin.
Synopsis: The true story of Molly Bloom, a beautiful, young, Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game... [More]
Directed By: Aaron Sorkin

#8

Legacy (2010)
86%

#8
Adjusted Score: 25256%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A former soldier (Idris Elba), who was once captured and tortured during a mission, has a mental breakdown while holed... [More]
Directed By: Thomas Ikimi

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 114139%
Critics Consensus: Avengers: Infinity War ably juggles a dizzying array of MCU heroes in the fight against their gravest threat yet, and the result is a thrilling, emotionally resonant blockbuster that (mostly) realizes its gargantuan ambitions.
Synopsis: Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk and the rest of the Avengers unite to battle their most powerful enemy yet --... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

#6

Star Trek Beyond (2016)
86%

#6
Adjusted Score: 105811%
Critics Consensus: Star Trek Beyond continues the franchise's post-reboot hot streak with an epic sci-fi adventure that honors the series' sci-fi roots without skimping on the blockbuster action.
Synopsis: A surprise attack in outer space forces the Enterprise to crash-land on a mysterious world. The assault came from Krall... [More]
Directed By: Justin Lin

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 101453%
Critics Consensus: Beasts of No Nation finds writer-director Cary Fukunaga working with a talented cast to offer a sobering, uncompromising, yet still somehow hopeful picture of war's human cost.
Synopsis: As civil war rages in Africa, a fierce warlord (Idris Elba) trains a young orphan (Abraham Attah) to join his... [More]
Directed By: Cary Joji Fukunaga

#4

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
93%

#4
Adjusted Score: 126308%
Critics Consensus: Exciting, funny, and above all fun, Thor: Ragnarok is a colorful cosmic adventure that sets a new standard for its franchise -- and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Synopsis: Imprisoned on the other side of the universe, the mighty Thor finds himself in a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits... [More]
Directed By: Taika Waititi

#3

Finding Dory (2016)
94%

#3
Adjusted Score: 115556%
Critics Consensus: Funny, poignant, and thought-provoking, Finding Dory delivers a beautifully animated adventure that adds another entertaining chapter to its predecessor's classic story.
Synopsis: Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) is a wide-eyed, blue tang fish who suffers from memory loss every 10 seconds or so. The... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Stanton

#2

The Jungle Book (2016)
94%

#2
Adjusted Score: 114733%
Critics Consensus: As lovely to behold as it is engrossing to watch, The Jungle Book is the rare remake that actually improves upon its predecessors -- all while setting a new standard for CGI.
Synopsis: Raised by a family of wolves since birth, Mowgli (Neel Sethi) must leave the only home he's ever known when... [More]
Directed By: Jon Favreau

#1

Zootopia (2016)
98%

#1
Adjusted Score: 115777%
Critics Consensus: The brilliantly well-rounded Zootopia offers a thoughtful, inclusive message that's as rich and timely as its sumptuously state-of-the-art animation -- all while remaining fast and funny enough to keep younger viewers entertained.
Synopsis: From the largest elephant to the smallest shrew, the city of Zootopia is a mammal metropolis where various animals live... [More]
Directed By: Byron Howard, Rich Moore

Aaron Eckhart stars as a doctor able to enter the subconscious minds of possessed patients in this week’s Incarnate, a new take on the old exorcism story. And in this week’s 24 Frames gallery, we give our take on the best and worst exorcism horror movies by Tomatometer. Before we start, some règle de jeu: there are no comedies or non-horrors listed, and only movies with at least 20 reviews qualify. Got it? Good. God help us.

It’s a genre lover’s feast this week on DVD, but don’t say we didn’t warn you about those pesky rotten Tomatometers. First up? Alex Proyas’s latest science fiction thriller, starring Nicolas Cage in a doomsday scenario (Knowing). Also new is a would-be franchise about super-powered humans on the lam from shady government types (Push, starring Chris Evans and Dakota Fanning). David S. Goyer tries his hand at an original story, resulting in silly, PG-13 horror (The Unborn), while one of our favorite ’90s rappers gives directing a shot (A Day in The Life, filmed entirely in rhyme!). If all else fails, look backward to a handful of older titles getting a shiny new polish (Beau Geste, The Deep on Blu-ray). Dig in!


Knowing

32%



Unless you’re an avowed Alex Proyas fan, his latest science fiction thriller, Knowing, is likely to underwhelm. (But who knows? Roger Ebert, one of the lone critics to champion Proyas’s Dark City, found Knowing to be “frightening, suspenseful, [and] intelligent.”) Most critics agreed that Knowing — about a professor (Nicolas Cage) who discovers that a series of numerical codes have predicted major disasters for decades, with more to come — is simultaneously absurd and overly serious, although its CG-enhanced set pieces are a wonder to behold. Silly or no, those spectacular subway and plane crash scenes will, morbidly, look great on Blu-ray; glean insights from Proyas himself in a commentary track and behind-the-scenes featurettes on the making of the film.

Next: Dakota Fanning, superhero? Push hits DVD


Push

22%



Hearken back to February of this year, and you might remember a little sci-fi actioner called Push, a Hong Kong-set superhero tale of sorts about a ragtag band of super-powered young people (Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning, and Camilla Belle) on the run from a shadowy organization called The Division (led by Djimon Hounsou). After a mild box office performance, Push seems unlikely to spawn its intended film sequels (the last in a set of comic book prequels were published upon release), so look on it as a sort of failed experiment in science fiction franchise-making; where did it go wrong? Director Paul McGuigan‘s (Lucky Number Slevin) hyperkinetic direction? The convoluted plot? The audience’s impatience for the over-tread ground of average Joes discovering super powers and fighting off shady government types? Truth be told, McGuigan gives the material a distinct stylistic flair; listen to his musings on production on a commentary track, joined by stars Evans and Fanning.

Next: David S. Goyer’s original horror concept: The Unborn


The Unborn

12%




As David Goyer warns in his latest film, The Unborn, beware the dybbuk! Wait, you ask, what’s a dybbuk? Well, it’s a demon. A Jewish demon that possesses humans. Like, to gain access in to the human world. So, yeah, The Unborn is about a Jewish demon. Goyer, best known for adapting beloved comic book properties into major motion pictures (The Crow: City of Angels, Blade, Batman Begins) hit upon the concept for The Unborn by combining otherwise unrelated historical, scientific, and mystical ideas — the Jewish dybbuk, Nazi experimentation, genetic twin phenomena, and of course, creepy kids and hot girls –resulting in this silly PG-13 genre exercise. Odette Yustman stars as Casey, a coed who fears a demon is trying to possess her; Gary Oldman, Idris Elba, Cam Gigandet and Meagan Good try to help her, with varying degrees of success.

Next: Reno 911! Sixth Season hits DVD!



The inept deputies of the Reno Sheriff’s Department carry on after tragic Season 5 losses from their ranks in Season Six, which picks up with a memorial to fallen Officers Garcia (Carlos Alazraqui), Johnson (Wendi McLendon-Covey), and Kimball (Mary Birdsong). In true Reno 911! fashion, more escapades ensue as the Reno cops, led by Lt. Dangle (Thomas Lennon), welcome new officers and encounter guest stars old and new (Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, the Human Giant comedy troupe). Get all 15 episodes uncensored along with outtakes, deleted scenes, and commentary tracks.

Next: Universal releases four classic films, including Ali Baba and Beau Geste



This week, Universal releases four new reissues from their Universal Backlot Series, which has become a great way to reacquaint yourself with (or, discover for the first time) some classic catalog titles. In 1936’s The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (Tomatometer N/A), an Appalachian family feud gets in the way of romance — and industrialization — as Henry Fonda and Fred MacMurray vie for the same woman. The Western genre takes on a wistful sheen in 1962’s Lonely are the Brave (89%), which stars Kirk Douglas as a cowboy living off the grid, pursued by a sheriff (Walter Matthau) in a film scripted by Dalton Trumbo. Shot in “glorious” Technicolor, the 1944 spectacle film Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (N/A) is a sumptuous, if camp, adventure starring the exotic screen star Maria Montez. Finally, check out Beau Geste (100%), the 1939 classic about a trio of French Legionnaire brothers harboring a secret, starring Gary Cooper, Ray Milland, and Robert Preston.

Next: Leelee Sobieski, Steve Zahn, and Danny Glover are strangers on a Night Train


Night Train — N/A




Pandora’s Box meets Murder on the Orient Express in Night Train, a direct-to-DVD thriller about greed and murder among strangers who find a mysterious box in the possession of a dead man on an overnight train. Danny Glover stars as the conflicted conductor, who along with Leelee Sobieski and her Joyride co-star Steve Zahn, wrestles with his conscience over the jeweled contents of the wooden puzzle box. (shades of Hellraiser, anyone?) Making-of features accompany the film.


Next: Jacqueline Bisset in The Deep, in High Definition!



A scuba-diving couple (Nick Nolte and Jacqueline Bisset) discovers a sunken ship full of treasure — and valuable drugs — in this 1977 underwater thriller from director Peter Yates (Breaking Away, Bullitt). Based on Peter Benchley’s novel of the same name, The Deep suffered from comparisons to Benchley’s other deep sea tale — a little story called Jaws — but features a watchable cast (including Robert Shaw, Louis Gossett, Jr. , and Eli Wallach) and blazed the trail for an entire genre of underwater, treasure-hunting films. (Into the Blue? Not very original.) A handful of additional scenes and a lengthy making-of feature make this a fair release for retro film aficionados.

Next: Rapper-turned-actor makes his star-studded directorial debut!



You might remember him best from the 1993 hit single “Slam,” courtesy of his rap group Onyx, but hip-hop-artist-turned-actor Sticky Fingaz (AKA Kirk Jones) has been involved in film and television almost as long. This week, Mr. Fingaz makes his directorial debut with A Day in the Life, a crime saga in which every line — yes, even those spoken by the narrator in this ought-to-be-red band trailer — are rhymed. As in, rapped! Given the impressive cast listing, seemingly comprised of everyone Sticky Fingaz knows in showbiz (including Omar Epps, Mekhi Phifer, Bokeem Woodbine, Faizon Love, Michael Rapaport, Kurupt, Treach, and fellow Onyx musician Fredro Starr), we were a little disappointed by the production values and silly, gratuitous violence on view in the aforementioned trailer. Then again, Fingaz gets points for having the guts to add some realism to the classic movie cliché of the runaway stroller (watch at the 2:32 mark)!

Until next week, happy renting!

This week at the movies, we’ve got a bridal battle (Bride Wars, starring Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson); a cranky car enthusiast (Gran Torino, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood); mystic monsters (The Unborn, starring Odette Yustman and Gary Oldman); and marital mishaps (Not Easily Broken, starring Taraji P. Henson and Morris Chestnut). What do the critics have to say?

The stress of an upcoming wedding can drive even the most levelheaded people crazy. And, though they haven’t been tasked with hiring a band or picking out a caterer, critics have also been provoked to bouts of insanity by Bride Wars. The film stars Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson as a pair of BFFs who discover they’ve scheduled their weddings for the same date; cattiness and sabotage ensue. The pundits say that this nominal satire studiously avoids taking anything but limp jabs at our wedding-obsessed culture; worse, the usually-winning leads are saddled with characters that aren’t particularly likable — or smart. At four percent on the Tomatometer, Bride Wars seems destined for cinematic annulment.

“Listen, I think you’re cool and all, but I’d like it if you moved out of my dress.”

As an actor and director, Clint Eastwood’s august years have proven to be as fertile as any point in his career — and the critics say his latest, ahem, vehicle, Gran Torino, is no exception. Eastwood stars as a curmudgeonly, racist Korean War vet whose life changes when an Asian-American boy from the neighborhood attempts to steal his prized Gran Torino. The two form an unlikely bond — and Clint finds himself protecting the boy’s family from neighborhood toughs. The pundits say Gran Torino is heartfelt, funny, and smart, featuring a sly, self-deprecating performance from one of America’s most iconic actors. Certified Fresh at 74 percent on the Tomatometer, Gran Torino is worth a spin. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we celebrate some of cinema’s stodgiest curmudgeons.)

“All things considered, I guess I do feel lucky. Do you, punk?”

Nothing spices up a horror flick like some good old time religion, right? Unfortunately, critics say The Unborn‘s blend of Jewish mysticism and horror tropes is bedeviled by overplotting. Odette Yustman stars as Casey, a young woman with a traumatic family history who’s haunted by a demonic spirit – one that traverses the nebulous world between the living and the dead and searches for a body to inhabit. Director David S. Goyer certainly knows his way around a good script — heck, the man penned Dark City and Batman Begins — but critics say The Unborn is a convoluted ghost yarn that borrows liberally from The Exorcist and confounds more that frightens. At 13 percent on the Tomatometer, audiences might want to abstain from The Unborn. (Click here for our interview with Goyer, in which he discusses his five favorite films.)

“Don’t stop/ believin’/ Hold on to that feeeeeeling!”

Good intentions don’t necessarily make for compelling cinema. Case in point: Not Easily Broken, which critics say contains an unimpeachable message about familial responsibility, but is hampered by its sermonizing tone. Based on a novel by Bishop T.D. Jakes, Not Easily Broken stars Taraji P. Henson and Morris Chestnut as Clarice and Dave, a married couple with some serious problems. Clarice’s status as the breadwinner threatens Dave’s self-image, but when tragedy strikes, Dave learns to be a better man — with plenty assist from the Man upstairs. The pundits say Not Easily Broken is sincere and well-acted but essentially generic, featuring melodramatic plotting and an intrusive voiceover. At 20 percent on the Tomatometer, this may Not be your top choice this weekend.

“I’m not moving until the Pirates make the playoffs.”

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Silent Light, Carlos Reygadas’ examination of faith and love in a Mennonite community, is at 80 percent.

  • The Danish import Just Another Love Story, a neo-noir with twists, turns, mistaken identity, infidelity, and amnesia, is at 80 percent.

  • Yonkers Joe, starring Chazz Palminteri as an aging gambler who’s looking for one last score while facing up to parental responsibility, is at 50 percent.

Recent Anne Hathaway Movies:

Fathers and daughters will duke it out at the box office as two films appealing to opposite demographics open wide on Friday gunning for the number one spot. Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway could have the edge with their new comedy Bride Wars which will skew towards young females while Clint Eastwood‘s latest effort Gran Torino will target older men as it jumps from a hugely successful limited run into a nationwide opening. Adding to the mix will be the launches of the supernatural thriller The Unborn and the marital drama Not Easily Broken.

Wedding comedies always sell so Fox may just end up replacing itself in the number one spot with its new offering Bride Wars which follows the studio’s two-week reign with Marley & Me. Hudson and Hathaway star as best friends whose dream weddings end up being scheduled on the same day due to a clerical error. Though it carries a PG rating, this is no kiddie flick. The audience will consist of teenage girls plus young and even older women. Three or four males are expected to show up too. Hudson makes her producing debut here and a top spot bow could mean that she knows how to put together a project that mainstream movie fans will pay to see.

Bride Wars has hit written all over it. The film packs plenty of starpower (Candice Bergen co-stars in her usual elder stateswoman role), the concept is compelling, the commercials are funny, the title is catchy, and the wedding comedy genre in general is bankable. Plus people enjoy an adversarial comedy when both warring characters are played by big stars. Expect every woman getting married this summer to show up for this one. Last year, female-skewing comedies included 27 Dresses which bowed to $23M, Baby Mama which opened to $17.4M, and Made of Honor which debuted with $14.8M. Bride Wars rolls into 3,224 theaters and should fall into the high end of that range with $21M this weekend.


Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway in Bride Wars

Expanding nationally from 84 to 2,808 theaters on Friday is Clint Eastwood’s directorial and starring project Gran Torino which has posted red hot averages over the past four weeks. The Warner Bros. release debuted to a $45,287 average from just six venues and followed that up with muscular averages of $24,643, $27,652, and $34,957 in subsequent frames. It’s been in the Top 20 every weekend. Rarely do films see their averages rise as they get older so support is truly strong for Torino despite the fact that the film has not been among the top three or five films with the most awards buzz this winter. One factor which always hurts male-skewing films in the first month of the year will be NFL playoff games on both Saturday and Sunday that will keep millions of men away from theaters.

The Oscar-winning filmmaker still sells at the box office and older adults have been the driving force. Warners used this very weekend a year ago to expand the Jack NicholsonMorgan Freeman pic The Bucket List and was rewarded with a top spot debut with $19.4M from 2,911 sites and a sturdy $6,662 average. Gran Torino will play to much of the same audience in a similar number of theaters and could gross around $18M this weekend.


Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino

Could the writer of 2008’s biggest blockbuster now be delivering the worst film of 2009? Horror fans will get to decide this over the weekend after they see The Unborn, a supernatural thriller from writer/director David S. Goyer and producer Michael Bay. The PG-13 tale of a young woman haunted by a creepy spirit will target teens and young adults looking for a scare. Declines in future weeks will be massive, but opening weekend sales look to be decent. Universal’s marketing materials have been slick and scary which should effectively lure in teens in the short-term.

January has been a great month for horror film openings since the cheery Christmas season ends and darker material can work its way back into the multiplexes. Plus a large portion of college students are still on break and are eager to see something. Some of the more successful January fright flick bows in recent years include $24.1M for White Noise, $22M for Hide and Seek, $19.6M for Hostel, and $12.5M for One Missed Call. The Unborn has a friendly rating that will allow teenagers in and competition will not be much since no other horror pictures are in the top ten. Entering 2,356 theaters, The Unborn might debut with roughly $11M.


The Unborn

Morris Chestnut takes a page from Kate Hudson’s book by starring in and producing (executive style) Not Easily Broken. Adapted from the popular book, the PG-13 film co-stars Taraji P. Henson and tells of a couple whose marriage is put to the test after a car crash leaves the wife seriously injured. African American women will make up the biggest segment of the audience and competition for that crowd is not very fierce right now. The faith-based elements in the story will probably lure the churchgoing audience too. But starpower is not high and the marketing push has only been focusing on the target audience so mass appeal is not likely. Plus Sony is not opening it very wide either. Debuting in roughly 600 locations, Not Easily Broken could take in about $3M this weekend.


Morris Chestnut and Taraji P. Henson in Not Easily Broken

Following two weeks of box office rule, Marley & Me is set to fall down a couple of notches this weekend. No new kidpics open, but Fox’s new bridal flick will take away some Jennifer Aniston fans. A 40% decline could result giving the dog drama $14.5M for the weekend and a cume of $127M after 18 days. Rival PG-rated Christmas pic Bedtime Stories held up better in its second frame so a slightly smaller drop may occur. A 35% fall to $13M would push the total for the Adam Sandler title to $102M.

Brad Pitt‘s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has been a close second each day this week behind the wacky pooch. Competition will come from both Bride Wars for females and Gran Torino for older adults looking for serious awards fare. Button should drop by 35% to about $12M and raise its tally to $96M. Pitt’s vampire buddy Tom Cruise looks to see a larger decline for Valkyrie which may slide by 45% to around $8M. MGM’s cume would climb to $72M.

LAST YEAR: Geezer gold led the way as The Bucket List starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman expanded nationally and took the top spot with $19.4M on its way to $93.5M for Warner Bros. Second place went to the new Ice Cube pic First Sunday which bowed to $17.7M for Sony on its way to $37.9M. Holdovers rounded out the top five with Juno grossing $13.6M, three-time chart champ National Treasure: Book of Secrets taking in $11.3M, and Alvin and the Chipmunks dropping to fifth with $9.3M. The weekend’s two other new releases failed to generate much heat. Universal’s animated kidpic The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything debuted with just $4.3M while the actioner In the Name of the King tanked with a $3M launch which was good enough for 14th place for Freestyle. Final grosses reached $12.7M and $4.8M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com


David Goyer Jim Spellman/WireImage.com
Writer/director David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, the Blade trilogy) has held close associations to the comic book genre — he’s currently awaiting the green light on his script for X-Men Origins: Magneto — but took a break from adapting superhero tales to write and direct an original horror story. The result is this week’s The Unborn, a PG-13 supernatural thriller about a doe eyed co-ed named Casey (Cloverfield‘s Odette Yustman) haunted by an ancient Jewish dybbuk, or demon.

Unlike many contemporary horror films, The Unborn opts for old-fashioned suspense over gore and treads ground rare for its genre; twin studies, Nazi experimentation, Jewish mysticism and even the abortion debate pop up thematically throughout Goyer’s tale, which also stars Meagan Good, Gary Oldman, and Cam Gigandet.

Rotten Tomatoes spoke with Goyer about his other extra-cinematic influences, how he developed The Unborn through his own personal fascinations, and whether or not the film is meant to spark the pro-life vs. pro-choice debate. He also shared his Five Favorite Films, noting that his choices are ever-changing and perhaps surprising. “Those aren’t necessarily the kinds of films I might make,” Goyer explained. “But that’s okay — I think people are more complex. We’re not just little sound bites.”

 

The Man Who Would Be King (1975, 100% Tomatometer)



The Man Who Would Be King
Well, my favorite film of all time, period, is The Man Who Would Be King. John Huston, you know, based on the Rudyard Kipling story. Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Christopher Plummer. First of all, I love Connery and Caine, and John Huston is probably my favorite old-time director, and I just love that movie from start to finish. I love everything about it — I can never get enough of it. It’s epic adventure, and I love the rogueish relationship between Connery and Caine’s characters. I think I was 13 or 14 when I first saw it. I watch it probably once a year — I love it.

Being There (1979, 97% Tomatometer)



Being There
Another one is Being There. Hal Ashby — that’s finally coming out on Blu-ray and DVD, so I’m very excited about that. That movie, I think, is just a really lovely, amazing movie. Peter Sellers‘ best movie by far, and Hal Ashby’s best, in my opinion. I think it’s just terribly funny and terribly touching, and…I don’t know. I love that movie.


28 Days Later (2003, 88% Tomatometer)



28 Days Later
What else? 28 Days Later is one of my favorite movies — a horror film. Danny Boyle is probably my favorite director. I just loved how ballsy 28 Days Later was, from start to finish. He’s fearless, he’ll do any genre — “Fine, I’m going to do a zombie movie” — and just smack you in the face with it.


Pan’s Labyrinth (2006, 96% Tomatometer)



Pan's Labyrinth
Pan’s Labyrinth is one of my top five. That’s just a perfect movie, a beautiful movie, and I thought it absolutely deserved to win Best Foreign Film until I saw The Lives of Others.

Rotten Tomatoes: Pan’s Labyrinth was made by Guillermo del Toro, who you’ve worked with. Were you able to see it before it came out?

David Goyer: I just saw some artwork. He showed me some of his journals where he sketches, and told me a little over dinner one time, a year or so before he made it, but it’s kind of an impossible film to describe. I think everything he does is interesting, but it was hard to visualize until I’d seen it.


The Lives of Others (2006, 93%)



The Lives of Others
I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it, and among recent movies, it’s probably in my top five as well. I couldn’t believe Pan’s Labyrinth got shut out, and then I saw The Lives of Others and was floored. I bawled like a baby at the end of that movie. Just staggering.


Next: Goyer discusses his influences outside of film and how his creative process took him from twins to Nazi science to demons and beyond…

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Rotten Tomatoes: You’re known for your love of comic books, and how it’s influenced your filmmaking, but I’m sure that’s not the only medium you love.

David Goyer: Oh, no. I still read comic books, but they aren’t the only things. I’m a voracious reader.

RT: What other kinds of art influence you?

DG: Well, I like documentary filmmaking very much — I’m a big fan of that. Photography, modern art, things like that — I love to travel, so I like historical and cultural art. Just last year, I went to Vietnam and Cambodia for about five weeks and immersed myself in that world. In college, I minored in poetry, so I pull from all over the place.

RT: One of the most striking aspects of The Unborn is how detailed it is, and how it delves into areas like Jewish mysticism, religion, and other layered themes that are developed.

DG: Well, I like even my genre movies to have a lot of historical underpinnings and research. There’s probably a lot more in there than you might realize. I hope it catches that air of authenticity — at least it helps me when I’m writing. So even if the imagery isn’t explicitly stated, a lot of the imagery comes from [historical research] — like the dream where she’s on the ceiling and looking down on herself, that comes from the idea that in olden days, Jewish people believed that their souls would go wandering while they were sleeping, so when they woke up, they’d say a prayer like Jane Alexander does in the movie for being thankful that nothing sort of unwelcome inhabited their body while their souls were out wandering. So the imagery of that dream comes from that, and obviously there’s the subtext of this thing crawling into [Casey’s] womb…

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RT: It seems that a lot of what you explore in this movie comes from your own deep personal interests, such as the fascination with twins.

DG: Sure.

RT: Was it the same with Jewish folklore?

DG: You know, it’s not like I was steeped in Jewish folklore. It started with the idea of the twins first, and that led me to researching heterochromia — the changing of the color of the iris — which is the condition that the lead character suffers from in the film, and that led me to the experiments that Dr. Mengele was doing in Auschwitz, which coincidentally also had to do with twins. That led me to the legend of the dybbuk, which in turn led me to all the imagery of the mirrors. So it wasn’t like I started off thinking I was going to make a movie about Jewish mysticism. I just kind of started with an idea, and started doing research, and let myself wander. One by one, the elements just sort of fell into place with one another. I was trying to see if I could kind of craft a new legend, at least filmically, because I don’t know that anyone had done a dybbuk story before, and it’s a different take on possession and exorcism. Ironically, most people’s perceptions of exorcism come from the Friedkin film, of course, but the tradition dates back five or six thousand years and actually originated in the Jewish faith, long before it started in the Christian or Catholic faith.

Next: On dybbuks, Holocaust guilt, and whether or not The Unborn overtly addresses the abortion debate….

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RT: Your characters talk about how the idea of demons —

DG: Predates organized religion. Well, they would. I always thought it was funny that you’d hold up a cross and Dracula would shy away from it, because it seems to me that evil isn’t Jewish or Muslim or Christian. In fact, I had a character say that in the film.

RT: There’s also the idea in the movie that younger generations are detached from their heritage, that Casey not only doesn’t practice the Jewish faith but also is unaware of the dybbuk that has cursed her family for generations.

DG: Well, it’s a subtext. They’re detached from their lineage, they’re detached from their heritage, they’re detached from their families, and that makes them more vulnerable, because there’s not as much of a sense of community. It’s all subtext, but it’s in there, yeah. Absolutely.

RT: What about Holocaust survivor’s guilt, and the idea that Casey now becomes responsible for setting right things that began so long ago?

DG: Well, I could make a joke about Jewish guilt, but yeah, that’s in there a little bit too. The grandmother has survivor’s guilt, and she unintentionally passes it along to her daughter, who does the same to her granddaughter. I think there’s this sense that in reality, whether it’s genetics or learned behavior, that generations tend to pass these things on to successive generations, and whether we know it or not, we’re often dealing with things that happened three or four generations prior to us. Hopefully, people will watch the movie and it’ll make them think about these things in different ways.

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RT: Another underlying theme that persisted for me was the question of whether this is a pro-life or pro-choice film.

DG: It isn’t meant to be either. I mean, you know, it’s funny that a very small percentage of the audience when we were testing it — we’re talking three or four people out of 500 — would say either “this is a pro-choice film” or “this is a pro-life film.” It’s not really either, and I don’t mean to make an overt political statement there. Obviously, people are going to imbue it with whatever their specific belief is, but in the same way, some people were saying that The Dark Knight was a Republican apology, and some were saying it was an anti-Bush film. Both sides were sort of claiming it for their own.

RT: Well, I think you’re in the clear, because at different times I thought it could possibly be either a pro-life or a pro-choice film.

DG: I try to walk that very thin line, so good.

For the latest reviews, trailers, and news for The Unborn, click here.

Want more Five Favorite Films? Check out previous installments with Mickey Rourke, Don Cheadle, and Robert Pattinson.

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