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MARTIN GROVE'S HOLLYWOOD REPORT -- MAY MOVIES - 5/5/14


 
Muppets Most Wanted - Miss Piggy

Godzilla

Need For Speed

X-Men: Days of Future Past - Jennifer Lawrence

Noah - Russell Crowe

Maleficient - Angelina Jolie

May movies: May's off to a swinging "Spider-Man 2" start to a merry month at the boxoffice.

With last weekend's $92 million launch for Marvel and Columbia's PG-13 rated 3D fantasy action adventure "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," there's already a solid foundation upon which to build a memorable month as other high profile films arrive. Here's a look at the wide releases to watch for in May.

Needless to say, Spidey will be a boxoffice force throughout the month. Directed by Marc Webb, director of the 2012 franchise reboot "The Amazing Spider-Man," it stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Jamie Foxx. It's starting out with much bigger ticket sales than the last episode, which opened July 3, 2012 -- a Tuesday opening geared to July Fourth falling on a Wednesday that year -- to $62 million and did $262 million domestically.

Spidey had last weekend entirely to himself, but this weekend's another matter with three wide openings competing for moviegoers' time and money.

Universal and Good Universe's comedy "Neighbors," from "Get Him to the Greek" director Nicholas Stoller, stars Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne and Zac Efron.

The Story: Mac and Kelly Radner (Rogen and Byrne), a young couple with a newborn baby, run into big problems when they wind up moving next door to a fraternity house.

"Neighbors," opening at about 3,200 theatres, is tracking in double digits as an overall first choice. It's doing best and about equally well with under-25 males and females. That's the perfect movie dating crowd to appeal to for an R rated comedy.

Also on tap for May 9 is TriStar Pictures' PG rated comedy "Moms' Night Out," opening at about 1,000 theatres. It's from the directing team Andrew Erwin & Jon Erwin ("October Baby") and stars Sarah Drew, Sean Astin and Patricia Heaton.

As you'd expect, "Moms" is tracking best with moms – 25-plus women – as a first choice. With that core audience it won't get in Spidey's way or run into the younger female appeal "Neighbors."

The Story: Allyson (Drew) and her BFFs are eager to enjoy a badly needed moms' night out for dinner and fun, but making that happen means having their husbands watch the kids for a few hours. So what could possibly go wrong?

Rounding out this weekend is Clarius Entertainment's PG rated 3D animated family musical "Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return," opening at about 2,600 theatres. Directed by Will Finn ("Home on the Range") & Dan St. Pierre ("Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey"), its voice talents include Lea Michele, Kelsey Grammer and Dan Aykroyd.

The Story: Dorothy wakes up in post-tornado Kansas and is whisked back to Oz to save her old friends -- the Scarecrow, the Lion, the Tin Man and Glinda -- from a new villain, the Jester. Wiser the Owl, Marshal Mallow, China Princess and Tugg the Tugboat join Dorothy on her new magical journey through Oz to restore order and happiness to Emerald City.

"Oz" should benefit from its brand name title and also from being targeted to family audiences who don't have a lot to choose from right now. Although Spidey plays well to families, parents with very young children are probably looking for something animated to take them to see. "Oz's" animated competition is Fox's hit "Rio 2," which after four weeks has grossed about $106.5 million. All those families who've already seen "Rio 2" are now a prime market for "Oz."

"Spider-Man's" direct competition heats up May 16 with the launch of Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures' PG-13 rated 3D sci-fi action adventure "Godzilla," from "Monsters" director Gareth Edwards. Starring are Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche and Sally Hawkins.

The Story: The iconic monster Godzilla is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by scientific arrogance, threaten mankind's existence.

"Godzilla's" already tracking in double digits as an overall first choice. It's tracking best and almost equally well with men under and over 25.

There have been some 200 "Godzilla" movies and television shows since the original 1954 Japanese feature about a nuclear radiation mutant monster wreaking havoc in post-World War II Japan.

A high profile "Godzilla" remake, directed and co-written by Roland Emmerich ("Independence Day"), opened May 20, 1998 from TriStar and Centropolis Entertainment to $44 million and grossed $136.3 million domestically. Starring were Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno and Maria Pitillo.

Walt Disney Pictures and Roth Films' PG rated biographical sports drama "Million Dollar Arm" is also on deck for May 16. Directed by Craig Gillespie ("Fright Night"), it stars Jon Hamm, Aasif Mandvi and Alan Arkin.

The Story: Sports agent JB Bernstein's (Hamm) career hinges on finding an exceptionally gifted young cricket pitcher in India, who can be trained to play for an American major league baseball team.

"Arm's" tracking best with women 25-plus, an audience that knows and likes Hamm from "Mad Men." It's the perfect demo to go after opposite a strong male appeal title like "Godzilla."

May 23 starts the four day Memorial Day holiday weekend that in years past marked the summer movie season's official start. Although that distinction's shifted to early May, Memorial Day's still a major event for Hollywood. It's the summer's first holiday weekend, but in much of the U.S. the weather's still cool and sometimes wet so there's usually not much competition from outdoor activities as there is in mid-summer with July Fourth. That translates into expanded moviegoing over the four days and big boxoffice numbers.

20th Century Fox and Marvel Entertainment's PG-13 rated 3D fantasy action adventure "X-Men: Days of Future Past" is the perfect high profile franchise for holiday weekend moviegoing. It's the seventh episode in the blockbuster series that started with the launch of "X-Men" July 14, 2000 to $54.5 million and a domestic total of $157.3 million. All told, the franchise has done $1.1 billion in domestic theatres.

The new episode starring Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen and Hugh Jackman is directed by Bryan Singer ("X-Men" and "X-Men 2").

The Story: The original X-Men trilogy characters join forces with their younger selves from "X-Men: First Class" in an epic battle to change the past in order to save the future.

Memorial Day weekend's counter programming to "X-Men" will be Warner Bros. and Happy Madison Productions' PG-13 rated comedy "Blended" from "The Wedding Singer" director Frank Coraci. It teams up Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, whose previous hits together include "50 First Dates" and "The Wedding Singer."

The Story: After a disastrous blind date, single parents Lauren (Barrymore) and Jim (Sandler) never want to see each other again. But when they sign up separately for a fabulous family vacation with their kids, they're all stuck sharing a suite for a week at a luxurious African safari resort. May will end on a high profile note with Disney's PG rated 3D action adventure "Maleficent," from first time feature director Robert Stromberg, whose many visual effects credits include "Life of Pi." Starring are Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning and Sharito Copley.

The Story: In this untold tale of Disney's iconic villain from "Sleeping Beauty" we learn what hardened Maleficent's heart and caused her to curse baby Aurora.

May 30 will also see the arrival of Universal Pictures and Media Rights Capital's R rated western comedy "A Million Ways to Die in the West." Directed by Seth MacFarlane ("Ted"), it stars MacFarlane, Charlize Theron and Liam Neeson.

The Story: After Albert (MacFarlane), a cowardly sheep farmer, backs out of a gunfight, his girlfriend (Amanda Seyfried) leaves him. When the mysterious Anna (Theron) rides into town, he finds his courage and they fall in love. But when her outlaw husband (Neeson) arrives seeking revenge, Albert's newfound courage is put to the test.

Bottom line: It's a safe bet the multiplexes will be busy in May. And June should get off to a strong start with Tom Cruise in "Edge of Tomorrow."