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New in Theaters February 06: Jupiter Ascending, Seventh Son, Spongebob

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By Chris Kavan - 02/05/15 at 06:46 AM CT

Pretty much the entire success of 2015 can be attributed to American Sniper. Granted, there have been some films that have performed above expectations (the low-budget Boy Next Door and family-friendly Paddington) but, for the most part, most of the news surrounding the wide release films are how poorly they have done (Mortdecai, Strange Magic and The Loft all falling victim to bad reviews and dwindling audiences). Unfortunately, I have a feeling this weekend is going to be more of the same. You have one family film that could put up a fight and two long-delayed projects that aren't likely to generate much heat despite the star power behind them. American Sniper could squeeze out one more win.

JUPITER ASCENDING Originally scheduled for a June 2014 release, the Wachowskis latest film is finally getting a released - in the dead of winter where films go to die. The track record for the Matrix visionaries has been rocky - Speed Racer was a wreck and Cloud Atlas, while generating interest, didn't generate much heat at the box office. Jupiter Ascending has another interesting premise - a lowly maid on Earth (Mila Kunis) finds out she is interstellar royalty - and it taken on a wild journey as opposing faction want her to either rise to power or destroy her utterly (along with Earth itself). The cast looks great - aside from Kunis, you have Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything standout), red-hot Channing Tatum, James D'Arcy, Sean Bean and even Terry Gilliam joining the fun. Yet despite what looks to be an outstanding cast, I have a feeling this is only going to do middling business. If it hits $25-$30 million I would consider that good.

SEVENTH SON A film with an even longer shelf life - Seventh Son was originally supposed to be released in January... of 2014. This was originally a joint venture between Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment before the deal fell through and Legendary teamed up with Universal instead. The film features a reunion between Jeff Bridges (aka The Dude) and Julianne Moore - though this time they play enemies rather than friends. Bridges is the last of a line of spooks - men trained to fight witches, boggarts and all manner of evil - that is until Tom Ward (Ben Barnes) comes along. The master/apprentice set out to stop the powerful Mother Maalkin (Moore) who has escaped custody. Supporting cast includes Game of Thrones vet Kit Harrington, Djimon Hounsou, Olivia Williams and relative newcomer Alicia Vikander. Nothing I've seen screams out this is going to be anything but high fantasy with lots of (questionable) CGI. I doubt the story or characters are going to be deep on any level - this looks like it's worth a rental, but that's as far as I would go with it.

THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER Much like Napoleon Dynamite, I never understood the appeal of SpongeBob Squarepants. Have I seen a few episodes? Yes indeed. But I still have no idea what made it so popular - apparently kids and toasted people are on a different wavelength than I am. Anyway, Sponge Out of Water is part animation, part live-action that takes the crew from Bikini Bottom to our world - where things really get out of hand. Besides the talented vocal cast (Clancy Brown, Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke and Rodger Bumpass) the cast also includes an eclectic mix of people including Antonio Banderas (as the main villain Burger-Beard), Slash (yes, the former Guns N Roses guitarist), Frankie Muniz and prolific (mostly TV) actor Thomas F. Wilson. Even after the trailers I'm unsure exactly what is going on with the movie but suffice to say for the target audience, I'm sure it will be a lot of fun and a laugh riot. The main thing going for SpongeBob is that Paddington has been out for awhile and families craving something new finally have something to look forward to. Does this make the movie a hit? Hard to say - but it has just a good a chance (if not better) to give it a shot.

The first weekend in February is up for grabs. Don't count American Sniper out just yet - but it faces its toughest test yet with Jupiter Ascending and SpongeBob. I'll be back on Sunday when we find out how things play out.


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