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article image'Dumb and Dumber To' aims for laughs but holdovers in the way

By Tim O'Brien     Nov 13, 2014 in Entertainment
It is the box office calm before the storm as the world awaits "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1" next week. But, one must first get through this weekend as it looks for laughs and hoping for holdover success.
The laughs will try to be forced from "Dumb and Dumber To" with Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. It will bring up the question, "was this needed"? To the tons of fans of the first one, it did. But overall, come on, not really. Its PG-13 rating may help draw in some younger viewers. Oh, yeah, it's cute to use To, and not Too, or even 2. Now that is dumb and dumber.
"Dumb and Dumber To" and its hype are not there either so one wonders if it can muster a third place finish behind "Big Hero 6" and "Interstellar." Those two films were solid last weekend and likely will remain that way. The normal percentage drops will be seen, of course, but if smaller ones than usual will make for two good outings in a row for them.
The family crowd and its kids do tend to go back, as witnessed in "Frozen" in a big way. Too soon to tell if this Disney and Marvel film has legs that will last that long. No other animated film has, so not likely. It seems for on line with "The Lego Movie" and other product-driven animated films. Gimmicks can fuel those tied to products, as that is a natural paring. Disney had it all with "Frozen" and doesn't happen often. "Toy Story 4" will have it.
1. "Dumb and Dumber To" - 3,152 theaters
2. "Beyond the Lights" - 1,600 theaters
3. "Whiplash" - 419 theaters
4. "Rosewater" - 351 theaters
5. "Foxcatcher" - 6 theaters
"Beyond the Lights" starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Minnie Driver, Danny Glove and Nate Parker is not aimed to win any box office titles. It is there to to entertain its intended audience - nothing more. It should do that. A story of love among a a cop and a star and how they fall in love, despitee setbacks. With its PG-13 rating it hopes to attack that love story crowd, mainly younger women.
"Rosewater" is rated R and marks Jon Stewart entry into film-making on the other side of the lense. It is based "Then They Came for Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival," by Maziar Bahari. Oscar qualifying is happening is this is one, as is "Whiplash" and "Foxcatcher." All are not intended to open in wide release, but should do pretty good per screen averages. That does not mean they will play well if and when they are released wide.
The R-rated "Whiplash" stars Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist and Paul Reiser. The world of jazz, heartbreak and dedication on the east coast music scene play out. Its aim now is to have as many Oscar like the tune is hears and they just might.
All eyes are on "Foxcatcher," albeit in small release, but huge buzz is abound for the wresting film starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo. It is all about Olympic Gold Medal-winning wrestler Mark Schultz, but so much more. A sports drama of poverty, fame, tragedy and competition. The R rating should indicate that is pulls no punches and goes to the mat.
In the end, three films are out in smaller release that set to make Oscar voters take note. Perhaps "Foxcatcher" will do that the most, but "Rosewater" and "Whiplash" will get noticed more after the weekend is over.
Add those to Oscar buzz territory of "Interstellar" and the upcoming "The Imitation Game" and November is and was a month for award season talk to take over.
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