This is an incredibly boring weekend at the box office. Zootopia is probably going to log its third straight #1 weekend, and deservingly so; it’s got a pretty sophisticated message for what looks like a simple funny animal cartoon, digging deep into the fear of the other and how it shapes our society. Most of that will go over kids’ heads, but it’ll definitely keep the adults entertained.
But the new releases? Boy do I not have any enthusiasm for them at all. Another “the face of God moves upon the multiplex” movie in Miracles from Heaven and the next in the seemingly never-ending Divergent saga. Seriously, this series has yet to have an installment break $200 million domestic and they keep churning them out; after Allegiant, there’s one more to go, and I can’t imagine anyone at Lionsgate is all that excited to be in the Divergent business with those kind of numbers. They wanted a Hunger Games home run and ended up with a ground rule double. Which I guess is better than the infield single that is The Maze Runner, but still.
Besides, all anyone seems to be talking about this week is Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Will it open huge? Will it break records? Will it do better than the upcoming Captain America: Civil War? Oh, yeah, and will it be any good? Which, honestly, has felt like an almost tangential question in a lot of the pre-release conversation. So many people are fixated on the business side of it, the DC vs. Marvel battle. Well, Man of Steel made money, but it was also a narrative and thematic mess. I have no doubt Batman v Superman will do well, but the key to its long-term success is how much people like it, and I get the sense a lot of us are predisposed not to. There’s a lot of rooting to fail going on in the comments I’m seeing, be it because of a dislike for Zack Snyder, a dislike for DC’s cinematic strategy, or a fanatic devotion to Marvel. I’m not hoping for a disaster — there are too many good DC stories to be told to see the well get poisoned — but my expectations are not all that high either. Particularly in the wake of the most recent Civil War trailer that played like a text book example of how to get an audience invested in two of your big guns duking it out.
So that’s my rather long-winded way of saying I won’t be doing my usual film-by-film breakdown this week. It might seem lazy, but I have a feeling we’ll get plenty of fireworks next weekend, so I’ll make it up to you then.