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Weekend Preview 2014: 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' Leads New Releases

First Posted: May 21, 2014 10:25 AM EDT
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X-Men: Days of Future Past

Photo : 20th Century Fox

On May 23, a number of movies will enter the marketplace in hopes of being box office hits and garnering a following.

"X-Men: Days of Future Past" - The latest installment in the Marvel franchise is finally being released. The superhero film tells the story of the X-Men who send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants. The movie has generated a lot of attention because it reunites the original cast (Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman) with the new cast (Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicolas Hoult) and as result is already tracking well for its opening weekend.

The movie is poised to open with $125 million over the Memorial Day weekend, which would make it the biggest for any 2014 film. It would also be way ahead of "X-Men: First Class." The 2011 feature was the lowest-grossing X-Men flick in the series in part due to the unknown cast at the time and the disappointing third installment, which was released in 2006. The film ended up making $146 million by the end of its run. "Days of Future Past" could easily exceed that gross in its first week as it will not only gain the attention of younger audiences but also audiences who were fans of the first two installments.

The film could also be helped by rave reviews. It currently has a 93 percent aggregate score on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics are agreeing that '"X-Men: Days of Future Past" combines the best elements of the series to produce a satisfyingly fast-paced outing that ranks among the franchise's finest installments. Fox is releasing the picture in about 3,900 theaters.

"Blended" - Adam Sandler's latest romantic comedy is also slated to open. The movie, which also features Drew Barrymore, tells the story of a man and woman who find themselves stuck together at a resort for families after a bad blind date. Warner Bros. is trying to counter "X-Men" and attempting to get Sandler fans into theaters. However, according to the Hollywood Reporter, early tracking shows audiences are not interested in the movie. Sandler has been on a decline at the box office and he has scored mixed result in the past few years.

Last year, Sandler had success with "Grown Ups 2" and in 2012 the animated feature "Hotel Transylvania" was also a huge hit. However, "Transylvania" was geared towards families and children while "Grown Ups 2" was sequel to a successful comedy. Additionally, "Grown Ups 2" was headlined by multiple actors with different fan bases. The last time Sandler headlined a movie by himself was "That's My Boy" and "Jack and Jill." Both of those comedies scored terrible reviews and went on to be huge disappointments. "Blended," however, could surprise especially since it reunites Barrymore and Sandler. When the two actors united for "50 First Dates" and "The Wedding Singer," both movies went on to become global hits. "Blended" will enter the marketplace with a huge chance at success as it is opening in 3,500 theaters.

"Cold in July" - The Sundance hit is finally landing in theaters after a successful festival run and rave reviews. The movie stars Michael C. Hall and Sam Shepard and tells the story of two fathers who are pitted against each other. The film is coming off a screening at the Cannes Film Festival where it is competing in the Un Certain Regard sidebar and where it is likely to receive even more attention. IFC Films will release the movie on VOD and in theaters hoping to get the most of its audience base on both platforms.

"Words and Pictures" - Juliette Binoche and Clive Owen return to the silver screen in a romantic comedy by Fred Schepisi. The movie tells the story of an art instructor and an English teacher who form a rivalry that ends up with a competition at their school in which students decide whether words or pictures are more important. The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and Palm Springs Film Festival where it obtained mixed reviews. Roadside Attractions has not given the movie a huge marketing push and as a result, "Words and Pictures" is likely have a short theatrical run. 

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