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Box office report: 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' electrifies with an $111 million four-day weekend

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The mutants might be fighting for their lives in X-Men: Days of Future Past, but everything is smooth-sailing for the explosive, star-studded saga at the box office.

Professor X (old and young) and his friends helped usher in a mighty $111 million domestically for X-Men’s first four days in theaters. It now ranks fifth among the top Memorial Day weekend openings of all time, behind last year’s Fast & Furious 6 ($117 million) and 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand ($122.9 million). The $200 million pic also opened day and date in most major markets internationally to a cool $171.1 million. Technically the seventh installment in the long-running franchise, this super debut bodes well for X-Men: Apocalypse, set to open on the same spot on the calendar in 2016.

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Box office preview: Will 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' hit a $100 million opening?

Memorial Day weekend means big things at the box office, and what better movie to flex its muscles for such a high-profile debut than Fox’s star-studded X-Men: Days of Future Past?

The seventh movie in the long-running franchise brings the original characters together with their “younger” selves from 2011’s X-Men: First Class. Though it’s the third comic book film to open this year, behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it could prove the biggest opening yet. But, as far as Memorial Day records go, it may only crack the top five. The biggest is 2007’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, which made an enormous $139.8 million. X-Men: The Last Stand is the third biggest Memorial Day weekend opening of all time with $122.8 million, but tracking indicates that this latest installment won’t quite reach those heights.

Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore’s comedy Blended also opens wide this weekend, providing some alternative programming to the superhero/monster fare and the comfort of a reliable comedic pairing.

Here’s how things might play out:

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Box office report: 'Godzilla' demolishes the competition with $93.2 million weekend

Get ready for lots of monster puns and destruction jokes: Godzilla had a clear path to box office domination this weekend. After setting a new record for best opening day on Friday with $38.5 million, the King of the Monsters handily won the weekend with an estimated $93.2 million.

The reported $160 million film — directed by Gareth Edwards and starring Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, and a couple of MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms) — got a B+ Cinema Score, though critical reception has been decidedly mixed (EW’s Chris Nashawaty gave it a B-; you can read his review here). IMAX grosses were responsible for $14.1 million of Godzilla‘s total haul, which means when people want to see giant lizard-y monsters wreck a city, they want to see it big. (Side note: Another peripheral winner thanks to Godzilla? New York City, which — for once — is not the scene for urban destruction. Thanks for taking your turn, San Francisco!)

Coming in second place is the frat-tastic Neighbors, which — even with a 47 percent dip for its second weekend — grossed $26 million this weekend, bringing its total to $91.53 million (not to mention the $54.8 million overseas, bringing its global total to $146.3 million). Not bad for an R-rated comedy with an estimated $18 million budget. The movie — starring Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron, and Dave Franco — has now officially bypassed other recent comedies such as 21 Jump Street and The Heat. To-ga! READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Godzilla' sets 2014 record after $38.5 million rampage on Friday

The King of the Monsters took the box office crown on Friday. Godzilla, starring Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and a few enormous radioactive monsters, earned an estimated $38.5 million in theaters on its first day in theaters — the best opening day yet for 2014. (Captain America: The Winter Soldier opened with $36.9 million last month, while The Amazing Spider-Man 2 took in $35.2 on its first day two weeks ago.) That puts the film on track for an opening-weekend total around $97 million. Directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters), Godzilla reportedly cost $160 million — an amount it should easily make back in the coming weeks. The last U.S.-made Godzilla movie was Roland Emmerich’s 1998 version, a notorious misfire that cost $130 million and grossed just $136.3 million domestically. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: 'Godzilla' fights for No. 1

The King of the Monsters prepares to be the King of the Box Office, as Warner Bros. and Legendary’s Godzilla stomps into theaters this weekend.

As one of cinema’s most beloved icons, this new take from indie director Gareth Edwards promises a terrifying origin story for the ancient beast and a drama about one particularly unlucky family. Sixteen years after Sony and Roland Emmerich’s botched attempt to kick off an exciting Godzilla franchise, it remains to be seen whether audiences are interested in the atomic-breathed monster and how well it might stand up to the army of summer superheroes.

Disney’s PG-rated sports drama Million Dollar Arm, starring Jon Hamm, also opens wide this weekend. Though it won’t be competing for the top spot — or anywhere close to that — it will be interesting to see whether a sincere, and somewhat sugary, sports pic will appeal to audiences in the long term as 42 managed to do last spring.

Here’s how things might play out: READ FULL STORY

Critical Mass: Is 'Neighbors' the season's best comedy?

Most parents would do anything to protect their children from danger. In Neighbors, that danger takes the form of a discarded used condom on a young couple’s front lawn, and the offending party is the raucous fraternity — led by an ab-fab Zac Efron — that just moved in next door. Seth Rogen and Bridemaids‘ Rose Byrne play the young suburban couple whose lives are upended by the frat’s 24-hour antics. And as it turns out, the tit-for-tat battle of wills and pranks that ensues might be the season’s funniest comedy.

Director Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) is back in an R-rated groove — after co-writing two Muppets movies — and Neighbors has the polish and personnel of a Judd Apatow joint (though the Knocked Up filmmaker is not involved). There’s Rogen, playing a new dad who can’t help but look longingly at the fun going on next door. There’s Dave Franco and McLovin himself, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, playing oddly-talented members of the fraternity. And there’s the delightfully surprising Byrne, who plays a young mother struggling with her new role at home with a baby. In fact, though she’s surrounded by larger comic personae, Byrne — who proved she could do comedy in 2011’s Bridesmaids — marks her own territory. “Speaking in her native Aussie twang, Byrne shows that she’s a deadpan comic ace,” writes EW’s Chris Nashawaty. “And thanks to her chemistry with Rogen, Neighbors proves that just because you grow up doesn’t mean you have to be a grown-up.”

Read Nashawaty’s entire review, as well as a round-up of other notable critics, below. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: 'Neighbors' moves in on 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2'

The frat boys are moving in to challenge our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man for the No. 1 spot as Universal rolls out Neighbors this weekend. Starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, the highly anticipated comedy has a chance of outearning The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which can expect a steep drop in its second weekend in theaters.

The animated Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return and the wholesome Moms’ Night Out also open wide this weekend, in addition to a slew of interesting limited releases including Chef, The Double, Palo Alto, and God’s Pocket.

Here’s how things might play out: READ FULL STORY

Seth Rogen talks Zac Efron's comedy chops (and why you probably won't see a 'Freaks and Geeks' reunion) -- Listen!

Seth Rogen is making headlines for his poor opinion of Justin Bieber, but when he stopped by Entertainment Weekly Radio on Tuesday, he had nothing but nice things to say about his Neighbors co-star Zac Efron. Asked by EW Morning Live co-hosts Dalton Ross and Jessica Shaw if he had any reservations about working with Efron in the comedy, Rogen explained what it takes to do well in one of his movies: “He’s very self-aware, and that’s almost honestly one of the most important things about doing comedies, is understanding how the audience is receiving you, which he does very well,” Rogen says. “And he was very excited to do it, which meant he would trust us, which is also kinda the most important thing — just to go with the flow, to not second guess every line we throw out there, and to just kinda believe that we know how to make the movies funny at this point and to kinda relinquish some control of your performance into our hands.” Listen to a clip below. READ FULL STORY

NSFW 'Neighbors' trailer: Seth Rogen and Zac Efron fight dirty

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Living next door to Zac Efron sounds like the dream — but in this new, totally NSFW trailer for the upcoming comedy Neighbors, Seth Rogen doesn’t think it’s all it’s cracked up to be.

As previous trailers have revealed, Neighbors revolves around new parents Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne, who move to a neighborhood that’s nice and quiet — until a frat, led by Efron, set up camp next door. Since by now you probably know the movie’s premise, this trailer, naturally, focuses on the hijinks, pranks, and all-out debauchery that follow that ill-fated move.

Watch below, and ponder when exactly Rogen became “the old guy who wants quiet” as opposed to “the guy encouraging another keg stand — stat”:  READ FULL STORY

'Neighbors' with Seth Rogen, 'Space Station 76,' more join SXSW features lineup

Funny or Die friends Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, and Dave Franco are bringing their brand of humor to the SXSW Film festival this year in Neighbors, directed by The Muppets scribe Nick Stoller. Neighbors is about a young couple (Rogen and Rose Byrne) who are forced to live next to a fraternity house after the birth of their newborn baby. The comedy joins already announced films including Jon Favreau’s food truck sendup Chef and the much-anticipated premiere of the Veronica Mars movie at this year’s fest. The full lineup includes 68 films from first-time filmmakers, 76 world premieres, 10 North American premieres, and seven U.S. premieres.

Also debuting are Space Station 76, a sci-fi feature starring Patrick Wilson, Matt Bomer, and Liv Tyler; Cesar Chavez, the biopic about the iconic California labor activist from actor/director Diego Luna, starring Michael Pena; and We’ll Never Have Paris, written by The Big Bang Theory star Simon Helberg and starring Helberg and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

As for the choice of Neighbors to premiere at the fest, it’s hardly Rogen’s first time at SXSW, having appeared in Knocked Up in 2007 and Observe and Report in 2009. Comedies are not unusual for the festival, but Head of SXSW Film Janet Pierson says they have to have unique slant to work. “We like stuff that has an edge to it, where you can really feel the hand of the writer/director,” she says. “We try not to go too broad with comedy but we love to include it when we can.”

Space Station 76 is among several films that feature sci-fi and time travel prominently, Pierson points out, noting that Predestination starring Ethan Hawke, and Australian film The Infinite Man have similar elements. “Sometimes you don’t show a film because it has something another film has, but this time we went with it. It’s in the zeitgeist,” she says. Space Station 76 “is really unique, really different, and kind of wonderful,” Pierson adds.
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