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New in Theaters March 31: Ghost in the Shell, The Boss Baby

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By Chris Kavan - 03/30/17 at 06:41 AM CT

Beauty and the Beast had little trouble with keeping itself atop the box office for the second weekend in a row, despite healthy competition. This week sees two more contenders that will strike right where it hurts: Boss Baby looks to court the family crowd while Ghost in the Shell will go after nostalgic adults (who aren't bothered by the casting decision). I think the race to top the box office is going to be a lot closer this weekend, and it will also be interesting to see where last week's new films wind up once the dust has settled.

GHOST IN THE SHELL I am not ashamed to admit that Ghost in the Shell is easily one of my top anime films of all time. It has an intriguing story, characters and is still one of the most visually-stunning even though it came out in 1995. In fact, the whole cyberpunk aesthetic was, in large part, influenced by the film. There have been other anime television shows and, of course, the manga, and they all tell a story about dealing with humanity in a world where cybernetics and AI are becoming the reality. I have a hard time believing the 2017 version is going to be able to achieve the lofty heights set by the original, but I am sure eager to find out. I don't have a problem with casting Scarlett Johansson in the main role - some people may crow about white-washing, but I'm not one of them. The cast features a good mix: Takeshi Kitano, Chin Han and Yutaka Izumihara are there along with Juliette Binoche, Michael Pitt and Pilou Asbęk. It's an international affair and, by the looks of the trailers, also a highly technical one with plenty of special effects to go around. If the story is not as strong as the original at least it looks like they're going to get the feel of the film right. I have high hopes for this and I truly hope it manages to capture the spirit of the original.

THE BOSS BABY Despite the face the main character in Boss Baby is voiced by Alec Baldwin, it turns out it is based on a book written by Marla Frazee several years ago and has nothing to do with a certain current world leader. Given the similarities, however, it is easy to jump to conclusions - though I would argue this baby's hair looks much better. Boss Baby is about a well-dressed, take-charge and no-hold-barred kind of baby - and he enlists the help of his seven-year-old brother when the CEO of Puppy Co. hatches an evil plan. It's time to stop him and what the Boss Baby wants, the Boss Baby gets. Along with Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Tobey Maguire, Miles Christopher Bakshi, Conrad Vernon and ViviAnn Yee round out the cast. Director Tom McGrath is no stranger to animation, having directed Megamind as well as the first three Madagascar films. This seems like a role that Balwin is tailored for, and he gives it his all. If it can draw enough families away from Beauty and the Beast, it should have a decent opening.

It might take a lot to topple the current champ, and there's a good chance Beauty and the Beast will three-peat, but I'm hoping the competition at least makes things interesting. See you Sunday with the results.


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