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New in Theaters Oct. 21: Jack Reacher Never Go Back, Madea Halloween, Ouija Origin of Evil, Joneses

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By Chris Kavan - 10/20/16 at 06:43 AM CT

It's about to get very crowded at the box office. It has been a rough few weeks since September, with no films really being able to break out on its own. With an influx of so many new films, it may be hard once again for any of the movies to stand out. The best shot may lie with Tom Cruise and the Jack Reacher sequel - but it has plenty of competition. You have the return of Tyler Perry's Madea, a Halloween treat with an Ouija prequel and the odd duck out a comedy about the spies next door. In any case, we'll see if this weekend's box office can reverse the trend and deliver us a true standout film.

JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK It has been four years since Tom Cruise delivered us another action hero in Jack Reacher. Granted, Cruise was an odd choice to play this particular hero (since the books describe him more as hulking brute of a man) but he has proven a capable choice. While Reacher was a modest hit ($80 million stateside, $218.2 worldwide), that was apparently enough to greenlight this sequel. This time, it's Reacher himself who is accused and while on the run must not only clear his name, but find the guilty party - which may prove difficult as the conspiracy to target him goes all the way to the top. The movie certainly looks action-packed - witty, fun, exciting. It may never reach the heights of the Mission: Impossible series, but it may be good enough for now. Never Go Back faces a lot of competition - it seems almost every week brings a new adult-targeting action film, none of which have made a huge mark. We'll see if Cruise can stand out amongst the crowd or simply get lost in the shuffle.

BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN I have seen a few trailers for this movie and I'm still not sure what to think. It seems to be a mix of classic Tyler Perry Madea, mixed in with a "Scary Movie" type vibe that skewers the horror genre by featuring plenty of tropes (zombies, ghosts, paranormal activity, purging? and, of course, scary clowns because that's all the rage). I have yet to see a single Madea film and I don't think I'm going to start now. Perry has a built-in audience with his films, and tends to come out pretty good - $50 million plus for his Madea films and most of his other properties tend to fall in the same area (with some exceptions). The last Madea film was in 2013 with A Madea Christmas (which hit $52.5 million) and if there is a pent-up demand, I see no reason why this won't make at least as much as that one. If faces the biggest competition from Kevin Hart and his latest stand-up film so we'll see if there's room for two big comedians out there.

OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL You should always have at least one decent horror movie in theaters for Halloween and this year we're getting two. First up we're getting a prequel to the 2014 $50 million-grossing Ouija with Origin of Evil. I recently caught Ouija and can say I was pretty unimpressed. Plus, after learning the history of the Ouija Board, I just can't take it seriously. I mean, what if paranormal people had embraced Monopoly instead? Would we have a series of movies where Mr. Moneybags comes after you like Jason or Freddy? Actually, let me call Hollywood, I think I just found the next, great horror icon. But seriously, the only reason this film has a chance is because people want something scary to watch. The premise follows the Zander family - a mother and her two daughters - who run a kind of home-grown seance scam business but when they add in an Ouija Board, the unknowingly invite in real evil. If you've seen Ouija, I guess you know how things turn out (spoiler: not good). It has been a good year for horror and even with something as uninspiring as this, it will probably come out just fine.

KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES That leaves us with the lone comedy for the weekend, Keeping Up with the Joneses. Isla Fisher and Zach Galifianakis play the standard, middle-class, suburban couple who become convinced that their new neighbors (Gal Gadot and Jon Hamm) are hiding something. But of course they are - they two happen to be highly-trained spies (ala Mr. and Mrs. Smith) and all four become wrapped up a deadly plot. The film looks harmless enough - the trailers make it seem like a good time - but it's coming out at an odd time and I'm not sure what kind of reception it's going to get. The cast looks spot-on, though, I can't fault that. The premise has been done (slightly differently) but that's not always a bad thing. I just have a feeling it's going to get the short end of the stick this time around as it really sticks out like a sore thumb - but I don't think the result is going to be that pretty.

The lineup is more robust this time around, but it doesn't necessarily mean this October weekend is going to stand out. I'll be back Sunday with the report.


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