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New in Theaters January 22: Dirty Grandpa, The 5th Wave, The Boy

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By Chris Kavan - 01/21/16 at 06:55 AM CT

With Star Wars: The Force Awakens finally taking a back seat, the race for the box office crown once again becomes wide open. Kevin Hart and Ice Cube managed to keep Ride Along 2 on top last weekend, but face some serious competition with a summer/winter comedic punch, another YA adaptation and a January horror title looking to make a name for itself. While Ride Along 2 was good, I don't know if it will be good enough to make it two weekends in a row on top, but it doesn't mean it's out of the running for the top spot once again.

DIRTY GRANDPA The biggest threat to last week's winning comedy may be this week's winning comedy. Zac Efron (who proved he was more than just a pretty face) has done comedy before in Neighbors and Robert De Niro has pretty much done everything before - so why not team the two up? Efron plays an uptight soon-to-be married man who is roped in by his randy grandpa for spring break trip neither will forget. I admit, the previews for this make me smile, though I'm sure most of the comedy is going to be juvenile and/or gross. But let's face it - this is exactly the type of comedy that drives people into theaters. Plus, where else are you going to find Aubrey Plaza in a sex scene with De Niro? The film also stars Zoey Deutch, Jason Mantzoukas, Dermot Mulroney and Julianne Hough. We'll see if this finds as much success (or more) than Ride Along 2, but I have a feeling it is going to do rather well on its own.

THE 5TH WAVE I guess we've gong long enough since our last, big YA adaptation hit. The ebbs and flows of this genre are great and divisive - for every "decent" series (like Divergence and Maze Runner) you have many more that just never catch on (His Dark Materials, Golden Compass, Mortal Instruments - and many, many more). Now, I have actually read The 5th Wave and I thought it was decent - not too mopey or sappy - and immediately knew they were going to make a movie out of it at some point. ChloŽ Grace Moretz depicts the main character, Cassie Sullivan, who watches as the world she knows is thrown into utter chaos as an alien force decimates Earth in waves: EMP, natural disasters, plague and subterfuge - all in attempt to wipe out humanity. She survives each ordeal, even as her family is killed - all except her brother, and she makes it her mission to get him back. She is not alone - fellow classmate Ben Parish (who she had a crush on - natch) also survived and she also meets the mysterious Evan Walker as well. Of course there has to be a romance angle thrown in there. Nick Robinson takes on the role of Ben while Alex Roe plays Evan. The cast is rounded out by the likes of Ron Livingston (playing Cassie's father), Tony Revolori, Maika Monroe, Maria Bello, Michael Beasley and, playing the big, bad Liev Schreiber. While the previews I have seen don't really distinguish the movie from so many other YA adaptations, I will probably watch this at some point. We'll see if this can capture an audience or if it sinks like so many other attempts.

THE BOY The final new film of the weekend is yet another January horror offering. This time it stars Lauren Cohan (likely known to most as Maggie from The Walking Dead) playing a nanny who finds out her new charge is a life-sized doll that is taken care of like a real boy. She also must follow a strict set of rules that, once broken, seem to unleash a force that brings the doll to frightening life. I haven't been that impressed by the previews I've seen - nothing that elevates this beyond a standard horror movie in my eyes. This is the kind of movie I pick out when I'm bored and there's nothing better on Netflix at the time. It might do well enough for a January horror film, but I don't see this having a huge impact on the box office.

There you have it - three new contenders enter the ring. We'll see how defending champion Ride Along 2 holds up against the competition and whether it can maintain its hold on the box office crown or give it up to a newcomer. I'll see you Sunday with the results.


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