Your weekend time is valuable and at the end of a long week, the discretionary time must be spent to its maximum value. To help narrow down your choices on the film, television, and gaming fronts, every Friday, the Weekend Preview gives you the rundown of your options and an educated guess as to which ones make the most sense.
At the Movies
Director: Ron Clements, John Musker
Stars: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Jermaine Clement
Current RT Meter: 97% Fresh
Drew’s box office prediction: $68,000,000
Nicks box office prediction: $74,000,000
Howdy, folks! I know many of our American friends will be spending the weekend chowing down leftovers and hanging with family but there is a lot going on in theaters too. The biggest newcomer this week is Disney’s Moana. The film, about a young woman who joins forces with demigod Maui to save her people, has a lot going for it. It looks gorgeous, boasts an impressive voice cast (including the undeniably charming Auli’i Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson) and features music from Broadway superstar Lin Manuel-Miranda. So the audience will consist of people who love Disney (everyone), love Dwayne Johnson (everyone) and love Hamilton (seriously everybody on Earth). This thing is posed to be a massive hit. What will its staying power be? Is this the next Frozen? Even if it’s not, this will probably be one of the biggest smashes of the season.
The Verdict: Disney has another hit on its hands. I’m starting to think these folks know how to make a good animated film.
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard
Current RT Meter: 64% Fresh
Drew’s box office prediction: $28,000,000
Nicks box office prediction: $13,000,000
Remember when Robert Zemeckis only made motion-capture films? Well, those days are long gone. Zemeckis is back in the habit of making movies with real sets and real people. This time he’s giving us Allied, a World War II drama about an intelligence officer (Pitt) who is told that his lovely wife (Cotillard) is a double agent. He is tasked with finding out if she is and executing her if so. It’s ample drama, for sure, but Zemeckis has added his usual flair to the proceedings: explosive action sequences packed with special effects. Zemeckis’s approach has produced mixed results lately with Flight and The Walk. Critics seem to generally like Allied but it remains to be seen if audiences respond. However, with Moana and Fantastic Beasts drawing in young crowds maybe some adults will make their way to Allied while the rest of their clan sees something family-friendly.
The Verdict: Allied might find success by being one of the only adult dramas in theaters right now. Expect it to take a chunk of Arrival’s audience.
Bad Santa 2
Director: Mark Waters
Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates, Tony Cox, Christina Hendricks
Current RT Meter: 24% Rotten
Drew’s box office prediction: $10,000,000
Nicks box office prediction: $17,000,000
It’s been 13 years since Bad Santa hit theaters. If that feels like a long time for a sequel it’s because it is. In fact, some might say that Bad Santa 2 is coming a few years too late. While the original has created quite the fanbase, the follow-up isn’t creating much buzz. As well, critics are tearing it apart. It seems like Bad Santa 2 is another sequel that waited too long to be made and lacks the magic of its predecessor. Tale as old as time. However, like Allied, the movie might benefit from so many family-friendly features populating theaters. Some audiences might be wanting something naughty and wrong. If you want something that’s literally the complete opposite of Moana, it’s Bad Santa 2.
The Verdict: There is little buzz or positivity surrounding Bad Santa 2 but that doesn’t mean it won’t deliver the raunchy goods to some.
On the Tube
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (Starts streaming Friday)
Once again Netflix has given a cherished TV show a second life. This time it’s Gilmore Girls, a show that is more beloved than perhaps any other in modern times. Gilmore Girls doesn’t just have fans, it has die-hard, obsessive fans. This show is cared for in a very deep, real way. Many people are very, very happy for its return. A Year in the Life isn’t a straight-up season but consists of four 90-minute episodes with each installment covering a different season. That’s an interesting angle and will cover lots of ground. People have been waiting a long time to hang out with Rory and Lorelai again. Let’s hope the reunion is everything they hoped for.
The Verdict: Is there a Gilmore Girl fan in your life? Prepare to lose them for the entire weekend.
Legends of the Hidden Temple (Saturday on Nickelodeon)
If you’re a child of the 90s then you probably remember Nickelodeon’s Legends of the Hidden Temple. The kid-friendly gameshow featured a giant talking statue named Omec and a wild, jungle-themed set and multiple physical challenges. It was quite the experience for contestants. Now the property is returning. But it’s not a gameshow this time, it’s a TV movie about three siblings who are plunged into the temple and have to embark on an adventure to get out. While the modern Nick audience might not remember the original show (because they weren’t alive) that doesn’t mean the new movie won’t be fun for them. And who knows, maybe it’ll lead to the gameshow coming back. We’d love to see host Kirk Fogg again.
The Verdict: Young audiences will love the action and advnture, older audiences will love the nostalgia.
For the Gamers
Batman: The Telltale Series – Episode 4: Guardian of Gotham
Telltale's episodic Batman game is winding to a conclusion. Episode four of the series hit Xbox One and PS4 this week to mostly positive reviews. In this installment, Bruce Wayne finds himself locked up in Arkham Asylum, wrongfully convicted and needing to find his way out. Meanwhile, it seems that all of Gotham City is falling apart (as usual). Batfans will be excited to escape from Arkham, make tough moral choices and get their first look at Telltale's take on The Joker. Plus this is the penultimate episode, meaning the stakes are really ratcheting up. It isn't easy being Batman.
The Verdict: Most people have responded favorably to Batman and have been waiting to see what hard choices and story twists have been waiting for them. Things will become even more intense as the ending looms.