Wednesday 22 November 2017

Battle of the summer blockbusters begins

Roisin Burke

As the big movie studios unleash their summer blockbusters, there's a variety to choose from should you need to escape the current heatwave.

These are the investments that power revenue at the likes of Disney, Warner and Universal, with hundreds of millions riding on their takings. It hasn't been a hot summer, but the fight for movie-goer money is certainly heating up.

Coming this way onFriday is Disney-Pixar's Monsters University, the furry Monsters Inc prequel that has smashed cinema takings records in the US, grossing $82m on its opening weekend.

Vying with Monsters in ticket takings is something completely different, slapstick cop buddy comedy The Heat, starring Melissa McCarthy, of Bridesmaids fame, and movie-star Marmite-equivalent Sandra Bullock. It was the second-highest grossing film Stateside, taking over $30m and it's coming here inAugust.

X-Men fans get a fix of the latest in the franchise next week, when The Wolverine, starring hunky Hugh Jackman (grrrrwwwl), opens. The previous five films have made €2bn for 20th Century Fox.

Standing out among the hordes of sequels is Guillermo del Toro's latest oeuvre, Pacific Rim, from Warner Brothers. It's a grandscale, CGI-enhanced apocalyptic fantasy featuring giant alien monsters on a mission to wipe out humankind, going into battle with giant robots. A blue movie, sort of, hits big screens next month when Smurfs 2 lands. Sony Pictures' last Smurf movie was a top-10 Irish box-office hit, taking €2m here.

It's a while since a big budget western graced the big screen, but The Lone Ranger, starring Johnny Depp, arrives here in mid-August, the latest by Pirates of the Caribbean team. It disappointed expectations in the US, taking $40m, so Disney needs it to do big European business if it's going to make back its $190m budget.

Other films on the way later in the summer include Steve Coogan's new Alan Partridge vehicle, Alpha Papa, and Disney's Planes, set in the same universe as Cars.

There's superhero sequel Kick Ass 2; and a sci-fi movie called Elysium, starring Jodie Foster and Matt Damon; and Pain & Gain, starring Mark Wahlberg and Rebel Wilson, a based-on-a-true-story black comedy about a gang of body builders-turned-criminals.

Irish Independent

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