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New in Theaters July 22: Star Trek Beyond, Ice Age: Collision Course, Lights Out

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By Chris Kavan - 07/21/16 at 06:42 AM CT

It's been a long time since anything but an animated film has topped the box office. This week offers the best chance at a live-action film coming out on top as Star Trek Beyond looks to give the animated films a run for their money. Granted, there is yet another animated film coming out, along with a mid-summer horror offering - so it's going to be a bit crowded. We can only hope that the three new films will be enough to help the box office to gain a little after last week, which was good for The Secret Life of Pets but was a bit down compared to last year.

STAR TREK BEYOND My biggest concern for Star Trek Beyond is that with J.J. Abrams moving on to Star Wars (he still worked on the film as the producer), they bring in Justin Lin and maybe rush this one out a bit too soon. Granted, it's not like Abrams didn't have issues with Into Darkness (which as basically a retelling of Wrath of Khan, with a few twists). This time around it looks like an original story, which follows the Enterprise crew (with all the cast returning - Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho and the late Anton Yelchin) as they begin their five-year mission to boldly go where no one has gone before. Too bad one of their first stops puts them in contact with a hostile group, one bent on bringing the Federation to its knees. Idris Elba joins the cast as the big bad with Sofia Boutella on board as a more helpful (and totally bad-ass) alien. I really hope this comes out on top - it's fighting against two animated films along with the Ghostbusters but something tells me this has the edge. I had early misgivings myself, but I hope that this will be the Star Trek movie that breaks away and really gives us something new - with a fourth film already in the works, the studio isn't backing down and neither will I.

ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE The Ice Age series is like the candy corn of the animated world: cloyingly sweet and a lot of people like it though no one will call it their favorite. This is the fifth film in the series and (supposedly) the last. The pursuit of the perfect acorn somehow lands Scrat in outer space where he sets off a chain of event that essentially put meteors on a path to Earth. Our friends Manny (Ray Romano), Diego (Denis Leary) and Sid (John Leguizamo) aren't about to let the world end. They enlist the help of Buck (Simon Pegg) to save the day, and the planet. This feels a bit far-fetched, even for an animated film about talking wooly mammoths and saber-tooth tigers, but who am I to judge? Anyway, I don't think I've seen an Ice Age film after the second one anyway, so I keep this as strictly a kids series at this point. Still, they have managed to round up an interesting cast of supporting voices including Neil deGrasse Tyson, Jessie J, Michael Strahan, Adam Devine and returning talent Jennifer Lopez, Queen Latifah, Seann William Scott and Wanda Sykes among others. Considering the dearth of family films out right now, it may be a bit busy. Normally I would say this would have the edge but with Secret Life of Pets and Ghostbusters both courting family crowds, it may bump down the prospects for this sequel.

LIGHTS OUT It wouldn't be the middle of summer without the odd horror offering. It has been over a month since The Conjuring 2 dropped and almost a full month since The Purge: Election Year hit, so I guess it's that time again. Lights Out is based on a pretty good horror short (seriously, check it out if you haven't - for free on YouTube right now!). Director David F. Sandberg has managed to expand his short into a full-length movie, but even with a more accessible PG-13 rating, this one is facing an uphill battle for a spot in the top five. Both The Conjuring and The Purge have established bases. Lights Out is based on a (good) short, but that doesn't mean it will translate well to the big screen. It's easier to scare someone in a few minutes than an hour or more. The cast includes Teresa Palmer, Billy Burke, Maria Bello, Alexander DiPersia and Gabriel Bateman as people who have a good reason to be afraid of the dark. Modern horror films can be tough to pull off, we'll see if Lights Out can approach the new wave of horror or if it gets lost in the crowd.

I'm holding out hope that Star Trek can bring a live-action film back in to the number one slot. It probably won't open as high as the first two films, but it should have a decent run ahead of it. I'll be back on Sunday with the results.


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