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New in Theaters May 21: Tomorrowland, Poltergeist

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By Chris Kavan - 05/21/15 at 06:48 AM CT

Things have been hot at the box office as of late. First, The Avengers: Age of Ultron officially kicked off the summer movie season in stunning fashion. Last week, the women of Pitch Perfect hit a high note with their opening while the high-octane action of Mad Max: Fury Road followed in a respectable second-place showing. This week two more movies join the fray. We have George Clooney and Britt Robertson in Disney's latest live-action take with Tomorrowland. Also stepping up to the plate is the Poltergeist remake, hoping to scare up a decent audience. It should be a an interesting weekend, that's for sure.

TOMORROWLAND Disney has had a good run with turning "attractions" into major money makers. Pirates of the Caribbean is, of course, the gold standard to live up to. With Tomorrowland we have Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) a curious, science-minded teen who stumbles upon a pin that transports her into a futuristic world. She seeks out a former boy genius inventor Frank Walker (George Clooney) who apparently knows about this other world. But she draws the attention of some unwanted company and the two embark on an adventure to Tomorrowland - a place that binds them both together. The rest of the cast looks impressive - Hugh Laurie, Kathryn Hahn, Judy Greer, Chris Bauer and Tim McGraw are all on board this wild trip. The fact it's rated PG has me worried it will be a bit too cheerful, but the previews make it seem pretty exciting none-the-less. This had a good chance of reaching the top spot - depending on how much goodwill Pitch Perfect 2 still has left in it. With schools getting out, families looking for a good movie are going to gravitate toward this one, which is why I think it has the edge.

POLTERGEIST It's hard to get behind a remake when the original product is pretty much as perfect as it gets. The 1982 version of Poltergeist is still a decent horror film and I think it holds up quite well. The contemporary remake seems to follow the original closely, just updated the technology (and making that damn clown doll ever worse). The cast looks good - Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jared Harris and newcomer Kennedi Clements taking on the mantle of creepy little girl that the late Heather O'Rourke pretty much perfected in the '82 version. Maybe this will stand on its own - maybe it will even be good but to me, why mess with a good thing? Look - Mad Max: Fury Road can be seen as a reboot - but it didn't try to remake a classic, it did its own thing (and well, I might add). This Poltergeist remake, like Red Dawn, Total Recall and RoboCop, seems doomed because the original was amazing on its own. I don't think it's going to have that big of audience and will likely have a low opening and a rush to home viewing.

With a couple of new heavy hitters and a bunch of strong hold-overs, the weekend is looking to continue the winning streak for Hollywood. I'll be back on Sunday with the final results.


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