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New in Theaters June 10: Warcraft, The Conjuring 2, Now You See Me 2

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By Chris Kavan - 06/09/16 at 06:49 AM CT

With two weeks of weak sequels bogging down the summer box office, will this weekend offer up some good news? We, yet again, have two sequels on the docket - one the second entry in one of the most impressive horror films in recent memory and the second to an ensemble crime/mystery/thriller revolving around a group of magicians. Aside from those two, we have a video game adaptation based on the world's most popular MMO, so it has a built-in fan base, but will anyone show up? In any case, I just hope there are going to be a few more fireworks after the last two lackluster weekends.

THE CONJURING 2 In 2013, James Wan scored a knockout horror hit with The Conjuring. Based on the real-life couple of Lorraine and Ed Warren and even thought the film took several liberties with the story, I have to admit, I was hooked and consider it one of the better horror films to have graced the screen lately. That is why I am very happy that The Conjuring 2 has been getting some pretty rave reviews. Wan is back behind the camera and Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga reprise their roles as the Warrens. This time the story goes across the pond to not-so-jolly England where a family finds themselves terrorized by malicious spirits. Once again, this is based on an actual case that really happened. And, once again, I'm expecting several liberties to be taken to make things much more tense and paranormal. Still, out of the several sequels that will be floating around, this one may easily one of the better ones offered this summer. Horror films are often a tough sell, but this has a much better shot at doing well - if only because Wan has already proved himself and this series is one of the few to look forward to.

WARCRAFT When I learned that Angry Birds was about to become one of the highest-grossing video game movies of all time (if not the highest), the only silver lining was that Warcraft was on the horizon. The blockbuster film is based on the most popular MMO and has Duncan Jones directing it. Yet rumblings suggest this is a lot of bark and not enough bite - but even if flames out in America it has already made a big impact overseas where it scored $46 million on its first day in China - the biggest opening day of all time, easily topping the $28 million Avengers: Age of Ultron previously held. We'll see what kind of impact it has domestically, but I'm guessing it won't be nearly that impressive. My hope at this point is that it at least tops Angry Birds, but nothing is a given. The film looks great but if it has a meandering story and too many characters to care about, I don't know if audiences outside the game will care and if they change things too much, fans of the game may scoff at the changes. This one could go either way, but my expectations are tempered.

NOW YOU SEE ME 2 The other sequel making its debut this weekend features a great, big cast and a story to go along with them. Now, I was fan of the original Now You See Me - it was fun, had plenty of misdirection and a lot of "magic" if you will . It's also one of the few films where the cast looked like it was having as much fun as what was going on in the movie. Most of the main cast is back - Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman all reprise their roles. Isla Fisher is out but Lizzy Caplan is on hand to take her spot. Likewise, the films adds Daniel Radcliffe as a tech giant (and probable bad guy) and also adds Jay Chou and Sanaa Lathan. An impressive cast - both returning and additions - and if the story is as fun this second time around, I don't see why this can't match the original. Its biggest test is going to be the competition. If I don't hit this up in theaters, I will be looking forward to it later.

The weekend is anyone's to take - big horror, big fantasy, big mystery - I'm actually quite interested to see where things stand come Sunday. See you then.


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