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New in Theaters March 20: Insurgent, The Gunman, Do You Believe?

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By Chris Kavan - 03/19/15 at 06:40 AM CT

After Cinderella provided some incendiary results at the box office, March is in much better shape after the first lackluster weekend. Things look to follow a much more productive pattern as this weekend we get a sequel to a popular tween lit action franchise, another actor trying to flex his aging action muscles and, for those who are so inclined, a faith-based drama sure to stir the heart and soul. With so many offerings, plus the strength of Cinderella, the weekend should be another winner.

INSURGENT While I wasn't that enamored of Divergent, audiences seemed to like it well enough. Based on the first book in the trilogy by Veronica Roth, the film went on to earn over $150 million domestically and over $288 million worldwide. It also has a great cast - Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Kate Winslet and Jai Courtney among them. My main issue with Divergent is that, like all opening films in a series, it spent too much time setting things up - by the time they got to the action, the movie was nearly over. I think Insurgent is going to be better just for the fact that now that we know the setup, we can get straight to the meat of things. In this case, the Divergent faction is already up and running - the Alliance seeks to eliminate this threat, by any means necessary - and Tris (Woodley) must face her own inner demons in order to become a leader to this cause. While the series won't put up Hunger Games numbers, the fact is, it doesn't have to - if it can earn equal or more than Divergent, I expect people will be happy with the results. It should have a pretty big opening - we'll see how it does against Cinderella, which is likely to be its biggest competition.

THE GUNMAN It turns out the Liam Neeson school for badass acting has taken on a new student. Sean Penn (known more for his dramatic roles rather than straight-up action) is going to try his hand at reinventing his career with The Gunman. Playing an assassin in hiding who is forced to return to the scene of his deadliest mission only to face off against those who still want him dead - the setup sounds like a Neeson movie all the way. Earlier reviews suggests Penn is actually an excellent player in this game, but that the story is a bit of a letdown. Still, for those who crave action, The Gunman looks like a solid choice for the weekend. I'm interested to see how this compares to Run All Night - which had a lackluster opening at best - if it can top that film, maybe we're going to see a trend with other actors trying their hands at this gritty kind of elder-statesman action anti-hero biz.

DO YOU BELIEVE? If action isn't your cup of tea, don't worry, there is something a bit more spiritual on the docket. Following in the footsteps of God's Not Dead and Heaven is for Real, Do You Believe? follows a pastor who witnesses a street preacher that ends up shaking his core beliefs leading to a revelatory journey that affects not only him, but the people in his life as well. There is a built-in audience for faith-based films. Depending on the quality you can either wind up with the result of God's Not Dead ($60 million plus) or The Identical (not even $3 million). What I'm saying is this film could either surprise or crash and burn and, as far as I can tell, there's really no way to tell until the film opens. At least this has promising actors - Mira Sorvino, Sean Astin, Alexa PenaVega and Delroy Lindo are all ate least recognizable. The supporting cast includes Cybill Shepherd, Ted McGinley, Lee Majors and The Boz (Brian Bosworth). Those names alone should at least bring in a decent crowd. The movie isn't my scene, but good Christians should have a good reason to go out over the weekend.

In the end, I believe the weekend will be a profitable one. Cinderella should continue to do business and Insurgent should also open strong. If The Gunman and Do You Believe? can rustle up a decent crowd as well, things should turn pretty good for the weekend. See you Sunday with the full story.


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