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Box Office Predictions: Noah vs. Divergent

This week, biblical epic Noah will face off against last week's book office champ, Divergent.

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Box Office Predictions:

1. Noah - $39 million. Starring Russell Crowe (Man of Steel) and directed by auteur Darren Aronofski (Black Swan), this film has been the subject of a lot of controversy, which also means it has gotten a lot of attention. Despite Paramount fearing Christian backlash and including disclaimers on the film and its promotional material, I think Noah will be financially successful. Its well-known stars, respected director, lots of action, and positive reviews (76% on Rotten Tomatoes) should help it have a solid opening weekend.

2. Divergent - $22 million. Last weekend this film debuted of $56 million, a great haul, though it didn't surpass any expectations. Due to middling reviews and the trend of Young Adult adaptations, it should have a steep drop in its second weekend, especially facing Noah as competition in the action genre. Expect Divergent to fall at least 55% this week.

3. Muppets Most Wanted - 11 million. The Muppets sequel disappointed last week with only $16 million (about half of 2011 film's $29 million opening). Still, positive word of mouth and the fact that family films generally have longer legs should help. Expect a 30% drop.

4. Sabotage - $9 million. The other new release of the week stars Arnold Schwarzenegger (Escape Plan) and is directed by David Ayer (End of Watch). Arnold has not been much of a box office draw recently, outside of the Expendables franchise. Expect a soft debut.

5. The Grand Budapest Hotel - $8 million. Wes Anderson's latest (Moonrise Kingdom) is getting rave reviews and has excellent word of mouth. It is expanding into theaters and could turn out to be his most financially successful film yet.

Check back Sunday to see how well my predictions hold up.

Trailer Roundup: Maleficent vs. Young Adult Novel Adaptations

This week gave us quite a few new trailers for upcoming sequels, remakes, and young adult novel adaptations.

New Maleficent Trailer

First up is Disney's upcoming big-budget reimagining of Sleeping Beauty, MaleficentStarring Angelina Jolie as the titular villain/protagonist, this reminds me of 2010's Alice in Wonderland reboot in the worst way possible, with the CGI landscapes and creatures just coming off as generic. What it does have going for it, however, is big star-power in Jolie, who looks like she's having a blast creepily chewing the scenery. Judge for yourself, but between Snow White and the Huntsman and Oz the Great and Powerful, I'm getting tired of dark reboots of fantasy movies over reliant on CGI. Maleficent flies into theaters May 30, 2014.
Trailer Rating: 3/5 Stars

This week trailers were released for two upcoming adaptations of Young Adult Novels hoping to become the next Hunger Games:

The Maze Runner Teaser

Set in a post-apocalyptic world, this film stars Dylan O'Brien (Teen Wolf) who awakes to find his memories are erased and he is trapped inside a maze with a community of boys. The trailer is tense and suspenseful, and the action scenes and questions it raises pique my interest (having not read the novel) for what is to come. The Maze Runner will be released September 19, 2014.
Trailer Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

The Giver Teaser

Also set in a dystopia, this film produced by the Weinstein Co. has higher star power: Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep, among others. Visually, it looks derivative of The Hunger Games and Divergent, though it's source material predates both films' sources. Overall, it doesn't appear to live up the quality of the book it's based on. The Giver comes out August 15, 2014.
Trailer Rating: 2/5 Stars

First Trailer for Oculus

From the producer of Insidious and Paranormal Activity comes a new low-budget horror movie that is sure to make a huge profit. Starring Karen Gillan (Doctor Who), this trailer shows lots of creepy tension, a few jump-scares, and plenty of inventive imagery. Oculus comes out April 11, 2014.
Trailer Rating: 4/5 Stars

This week also gave us the Final Trailer for The Amazing Spiderman 2Noah, and an International Trailer for Godzilla, which show off some epic new footage and really get me excited for each of them.

Check back next week for another Trailer Roundup.