By Chris Kavan - 06/20/18 at 09:26 AM CT
It's another pretty good week from the rating board, as they toe the line and give me three decent updates. Following the huge success of both Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War - I have a feeling Ant-Man and the Wasp is going to be a more traditional Marvel film - it will still make boatloads of money, just not astronomical boatloads of money - plus, it looks like a lot of fun. The other two include another YA adaptation about non-mutant kids with special powers (who are still treated like, well, mutants) and a comedy where Kevin Hart goes back to school (but don't worry, the delightful Tiffany Haddish will be there to set things straight). All in all, not a bad update at all - nice and steady.
Marvel has rarely stumbled since the first Iron Man, and even when they do, things still tend to turn out just fine. This year has already seen two $2 billion plus films from the MCU, Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War. As I said, Ant-Man and the Wasp looks to play more like a traditional Marvel film - in the realm of the $300-350 million range - and considering it's more a comedy akin to Thor: Ragnarok, that film's $315 million total seems like a target to hit. The film is set before the events of Infinity War and follows Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), who now has a partner in crime in Wasp aka Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) as well as the continued support of Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). All three are on the lamb following the events of Ant-Man as well as the Civil War storyline, but hopes are that they can tap in to the microverse and rescue the long-lost Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) but doing so unleashes a new threat in the form of Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen). The trailers make this film just look like a lot of fun - from a giant Ant-Man (oxymoron?) riding a vehicle like a skateboard to the witty banter that made the original so fun (also, Michael Peņa returns - huzzah!). The big question is whether this quirky, humorous entry can succeed after the heavy ending of Infinity War and the powerful statement made by Black Panther. I'm sure it will do fine - just don't expect massive numbers. Rated Rated PG-13 for some sci-fi action violence.
Teens with powers or facing some kind of dystopian future seem a dime a dozen. With so many out there, it's often hard to get things right. For every decent film out there, I can probably name three times as many that just didn't work. So the odds are a bit stacked against The Darkest Minds, but that doesn't mean it will fail. The premise is thus: a plague wipes out nearly all people under the age of 18 and those left behind are granted special abilities - telekinesis, pyrokenesis, mind control, super intelligence and the like. Of course they are immediately rounded up and taken to rehabilitation camps as what adult would trust a child or teen with such powers? Ruby is one such teen, one with a powerful ability that she has been able to keep hidden by pretending she has a lesser power. But she soon joins a renegade group who break her out and while she becomes involved, realizes the adults are not the only ones with an agenda. I will say that Darkest Minds looks a bit deeper than the typical YA junk that gets peddled (not nearly as interesting as Mortal Engines - thought that is not YA but more steampunk crazy). I'm not going to rush to see this but the young cast - including Hunger Games vet Amandla Stenberg is in good company: Mandy Moore, Gwendoline Christie, Bradley Whitford, arris Dickinson, Patrick Gibson, Skylan Brooks and Mark O'Brien are just a few of the actors joining her. Considering there are three books in this series, we'll see if it can capture a big enough audience to jump-start a new franchise. Rated PG-13 for violence including disturbing images, and thematic elements.
The final big film this time around is comedy featuring the talents of Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Keith David, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Anne Winters, Taran Killam, Rob Riggle, Ben Schwartz and Megalyn Echikunwoke. That film is Night School, which follows a group of misfits who are forced to attend night school in hopes they will be able to pass the GED and thus finally graduate high school. For some reason I thought of Moving Violations (a supremely overlooked 80s comedy, as far as I'm concerned) the first time I saw the plot outline. Granted, this seems to have a lot more talent involved, with Haddish especially on a hot streak right now, so it's bound to get a lot of eyes on it this September. I have a feeling even if it winds up being a bit undercooked, it will still make bank. Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content throughout, language, some drug references and violence.
Those are all the big releases getting their ratings due, but check out the full MPAA Ratings Bulletin below (featuring such films as the Suspiria remake and documentary Whitney among others).
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
Rated PG-13 for some sci-fi action violence.
Rated PG-13 for some violent content and thematic material.
THE DARKEST MINDS
Rated PG-13 for violence including disturbing images, and thematic elements.
A HAPPENING OF MONUMENTAL PROPORTIONS
Rated R for sexual content and language.
HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL
Rated PG for thematic material and some language.
A KID LIKE JAKE
Rated R for some language.
LAKE PLACID: LEGACY
Rated R for creature violence and related gore.
THE LONG HOME
Rated R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language, violence and brief drug use.
Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content throughout, language, some drug references and violence.
Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language, some violence and drug use.
SUPPORT THE GIRLS
Rated R for language including sexual references, and brief nudity.
Rated R for disturbing content involving ritualistic violence, bloody images and graphic nudity, and for some language including sexual references.
UNDER THE WIRE
Rated R for language and disturbing violent images.
Rated R for language and drug content.