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MARTIN GROVE'S HOLLYWOOD REPORT -- APRIL ACTION - 03/31/14


 
Oculus

Oculus

Rio 2

Rio 2

The Other Woman

The Other Woman

April action: With March going out like a lion thanks to "Divergent" and "Noah," April can't help but get off to a breezy boxoffice start.

"Noah's" $44 million launch via Paramount last weekend and "Divergent's" two week cume via Summit Entertainment of $95.3 million are both great signs that moviegoers are embracing mainstream movies again after the annual Oscar slowdown.

It's a safe bet the first beneficiary of this new appetite for big films in the crowded month of April will be Disney and Marvel Studios' PG-13 rated 3D sci-fi action adventure "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," opening Apr. 4 at about 3,900 theatres. It's already tracking through the roof as a double-digit overall first choice and it's really sizzling hot with men under and over 25.

Directed by Anthony Russo & Joe Russo ("You, Me and Dupree"), it stars Chris Evans, Frank Grillo and Sebastien Stan.

The Story: Evans returns as Steve Rogers and Captain America, joining forces with the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) to fight a formidable new enemy – The Winter Soldier (Stan).

The franchise's first episode, "Captain America: The First Avenger," opened via Paramount July 22, 2011 to $65.1 million. It went on to gross $176.7 million in domestic theatres. Opening the series' second episode in April is another instance of Hollywood exploring whether it's better to be a really big fish in a smaller spring pond than one of many big fish in a larger summer pond. With less competition in April than in July, "Soldier" could march off with more ticket sales.

While "Soldier" looms as the month's first big hit, April will be jam-packed with new wide releases competing for moviegoers time and attention. Here's a quick look at what to watch for.

"Soldier's" only wide competition Apr. 4 will be Warner Bros. and IMAX Entertainment's G rated 3D documentary "Island of Lemurs: Madagascar." Directed by David Douglas ("Fires of Kuwait"), it's narrated by Morgan Freeman.

The Story: The incredible true story of lemurs, nature's greatest explorers, as captured with IMAX 3D cameras. Moviegoers take a spectacular journey to the remote and wondrous world of Madagascar where Lemurs arrived as castaways millions of years ago. They've since evolved into hundreds of diverse species, but are now highly endangered.

The film follows trailblazing scientist Patricia Wright on her lifelong mission to help these strange and adorable creatures survive in the modern world.

April 11 will be a crowded date with four new wide releases opening.

20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios' 3D animated G rated adventure comedy "Rio 2" is from the creators of "Ice Age." Directed by Carlos Saldanha ("Rio"), it stars the voices of Rodrigo Santoro, Anne Hathaway and Leslie Mann.

The Story: It's a jungle out there for Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg) Jewel (Hathaway) and their kids after they're hurtled into the wilds of the Amazon. Blu, trying to fit in, goes beak-to-beak with the vengeful Nigel and meets his most fearsome adversary -- his father-in-law!

The franchise's first episode, "Rio," opened Apr. 15, 2011 to $39.2 million. It went on to gross $143.6 million domestically.

"Rio 2's" tracking best and about equally well with women under and over 25, which means it's likely to attract the moms-with-kids audience any 3D animated comedy needs.

Relativity Media will be going after a very different audience with its R rated horror thriller "Oculus." Directed by Mike Flanagan ("Absentia"), it stars Brenton Thwaites, Karen Gillan and Katee Sackhoff. It's tracking best with women under 25.

The Story: A woman who's brother's been convicted of murder tries to free him by proving a supernatural phenomenon was responsible for committing the crime.

Lionsgate's PG-13 sports drama "Draft Day" is directed by Ivan Reitman ("My Super Ex-Girlfriend") and stars Jennifer Garner, Kevin Costner and Chadwick Boseman. It's tracking best with men under 25.

The Story: The Cleveland Browns' General Manager's out to acquire the number one draft pick for his team.

The Weinstein Company's comedy "St. Vincent De Van Nuys" rounds out Apr. 11's wide releases. Directed by first time feature director Theodore Melfi, it stars Bill Murray, Naomi Watts and Chris O'Dowd.

The Story: A young boy, whose parents have just split up, gets an unlikely new friend and mentor in the misanthropic, bawdy, hedonistic, war veteran who lives next door.

Apr. 18 will also be wall-to-wall movies with four more wide releases entering the marketplace.

Warner Bros. and Alcon Entertainment's PG-13 original sci-fi action drama "Transcendence," is directed by Wally Pfister, the cinematographer for "The Dark Knight Rises," "The Dark Knight" and "Batman Begins." Starring are: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall and Morgan Freeman.

The Story: After a terminally ill scientist downloads his brain into a computer, his new powers make him truly unstoppable.

Disneynature's G rated true life adventure documentary "Bears" is directed by Alastair Fothergill ("African Cats") and Keith Scholey ("African Cats") and is narrated by John C. Reilly.

The Story: Showcasing a year in the life of a bear family as two impressionable young cubs learn life's most important lessons. Set against a majestic Alaskan backdrop teeming with life, their journey begins as winter ends and the bears emerge from hibernation to face the bitter cold in a world that's exciting, but risky with the looming threat of avalanches.

Open Road Films' R rated horror comedy "A Haunted House 2" is directed by Michael Tiddes ("A Haunted House")ouse")HH

 and stars Marlon Wayans, Jaime Pressly and Cedric the Entertainer.

The Story: Malcolm (Wayans) loses his beloved Kisha (Essence Atkins) in a car crash and starts over by remarrying Megan, a mother of two. When things return to their paranormal ways they get more complicated than ever when the unexpectedly back-to-life Kisha moves into the neighborhood.

TriStar Pictures, Roth Films and Screen Gems' PG rated drama "Heaven is for Real" is directed by Randall Wallace ("Secretariat") and stars Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly and Connor Corum.

The Story: Based on the Number One 1 New York Times best-selling book of the same name, the film is the true story of a small-town father (Kinnear) who must find the courage and conviction to share his son's extraordinary, life-changing experience with the world. The son (Corum) claims to have visited Heaven during a near death experience. He recounts the details of his amazing journey with childlike innocence and speaks matter-of-factly about things that happened before his birth that he couldn't possibly know.

Three new wide arrivals will end the month with Apr. 25 openings.

20th Century Fox's R rated comedy "The Other Woman" is directed by Nick Cassavetes ("The Notebook") and stars Cameron Diaz, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Kate Upton.

The Story: When Diaz's character realizes she's not her boyfriend's (Coster-Waldau) primary lover, she teams up with his wife (Leslie Mann) and his other mistress (Upton) to plot some very serious revenge.

Lionsgate's PG-13 horror thriller "The Quiet Ones" is directed by John Pogue ("Quarantine 2: Terminal) and stars Jared Harris, Sam Claftin and Olivia Cooks.

The Story: A college physics professor puts together a team whose goal is to create a poltergeist.

Relativity Media's PG-13 action crime drama "Brick Mansions" is from first time feature director Camille Delamarre and stars Paul Walker, David Belle and RZA.

The Story: An undercover cop infiltrates a gang run by a ruthless crime lord with access to a neutron bomb.

Bottom line: April's looking good and Hollywood's got nothing to worry about in May since the month's first film is "The Amazing Spider-Man 2."