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The Angry Birds Movie Soars To Top Spot At Weekend Box Office, With Nearly $40 Million

The Angry Birds Movie is soaring in popularity since it opened in North American theaters on Friday. It has raked in $ 39 million at the box office so far, dethroning Captain America: Civil War from the #1 spot for the weekend.

Video game film adaptations don't always have the best track record, but with a talented voice cast and some creative animations, Sony's Angry Birds is doing better than expected. Our editor Kyle Hilliard saw the movie and had mostly positive impressions. The film has also seen success since its international debut, where it has generated around $ 111 million overseas.

Captain America: Civil War falls to second place with $ 33.1 million in terms of this weekend's sales, though it has collected about $ 347.4 million since its release. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, which debuted this weekend along with Angry Birds, sits in third with $ 21.8 million.

[Source: New York Times]

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Is The Angry Birds Movie Worth Your Time?

The announcement of The Angry Birds Movie was met with justified skepticism. Not only is the track record for video game movies abysmal, but it seemed like even the Super Mario Bros. movie had more to work with in terms of characters and lore than Angry Birds. With the help of a talented comedic voice cast, and a pair of directors with impressive animation resumes, the result is a movie that is better than it has any right to be, even if it will never be referred to as an animated classic.

The movie follows Red, an angry outcast who has little patience for the happy-go-lucky, flightless birds he shares his home with. When we spoke with the directors earlier this month, we talked about Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Larry David, and the comparison is apt, even if the film never comes close to the comedic level of David’s choleric HBO show. Pigs arrive by boat to the birds’ island and Red is the only one skeptical of their lavish gifts and destructive potential. He is justified when the pigs steal all of their eggs and the birds are forced to follow Red on an angry invasion against the pigs to retrieve their eggs.

It is this part of the movie that is most successful. It never hits a consistent comedic tone as only about a third of the jokes reward laughter, but the act of retrieving stolen children from an antagonist is an engaging pursuit. The early parts of the film do a good job establishing how important children are to the optimistic tone of the birds’ island, and watching the entire adult population band together to get mad and get them back is exciting and engaging.

The “war” also affords the opportunity to reference the game as each of the birds we’ve met ¬¬earlier during the film discover they have special abilities when flung from a giant slingshot. It’s reminiscent of a super hero origin story where a hero is discovering their powers, but you get a whole bunch at once. Watching the pig’s city of precariously balanced structures collapse is also a visual highlight of the film.

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The comedic pursuit of the film, despite the best intentions of its notable cast of stand-up comedians and SNL alumni, does not fare as well. Few jokes land and despite his importance to the film’s climax, the Mighty Eagle (voiced by Peter Dinklage) probably could have been excised entirely. His character tries the hardest, but is the least successful at being funny.

There is a potentially troubling lesson to be taken away from the film about mistrusting those different from you with the Red’s justified dislike for the pigs, but I think (or perhaps hope) that the stronger lesson the film teaches is opening yourself up to those around you. Red intentionally isolates himself from his community, and becomes increasingly bitter because of it. By the end, he finds friends and learns to open up to and embrace his community and is a better bird for it.

It’s an important lesson for kids to take away today as we continually retreat to our cell phones instead of having human interactions. You can even point to Angry Birds’ creator, Rovio, as being part of the problem by creating one of the most popular mobile apps of all time. Maybe The Angry Birds Movie is its way of trying to make up for giving smart phone owners a great reason to keep their heads down and ignore those around them, just like Red.

Should You See The Angry Birds Movie?
Surprisingly, yes. It’s a great-looking film, even if it does little to push forward the animation genre forward. It’s too scared to let itself breathe and nervously stuffs itself full of unsuccessful jokes, but I was eager to see the end. Red’s growth and his interactions with his new friends Chuck and Bomb is an arc worth watching, and the films destructive climax is fun to watch. It’s not an animated classic that will hold up for years to come, but when my daughter starts the inevitable loop of repeated viewings after the movie comes out on Blu-ray, I won’t groan between each consecutive viewing, which is an achievement for any animated film.

For our thoughts on this year's other animated video game film, Ratchet & Clank, head here.

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Report: Warner Bros. Working On Spin-Off Movie For Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn

After the disappointing performance of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice at the box office, Warner Bros. is said to be focusing its resources on the upcoming Suicide Squad movie. The film, which turns the spotlight on the bad guys in the DC Universe, features such stars as Jared Leto as The Joker, Will Smith as Deadshot, and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. is considering giving Robbie's Harley Quinn her own spin-off in the form of film that would focus on DC's female heroes and villains.

While THR was unable to obtain too much more information, the outlet did learn that names like Batgirl and Birds of Prey could be involved in some unclear capacity. According to the report, Robbie's research for her role as Harley in the Suicide Squad film led her to fall in love with the female characters of DC Comics. From there, she worked with an unnamed female writer to develop a story that Warner Bros. reportedly picked up.

No further details were made available through the report, but if Suicide Squad is the success that Warner Bros. hopes it is, this move would make sense for the studio as Robbie's Harley Quinn has been a centerpiece for all of the trailers we've seen so far. Suicide Squad hits theaters August 5.

[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]

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Blizzard Giving Away World Of Warcraft If You See The Movie

If you’re planning on seeing Warcraft when it hits theaters on June 10, you can come home and visit Azeroth for free. Blizzard and Regal Cinemas have announced a deal that will give moviegoers a free copy of the long-running MMO.

In order to get your free copy, you’ll need to redeem your ticket receipt at Regal, United Artists, or Edwards theaters. The codes can be redeemed through the end of the year.

Whether you’re a seasoned player or jumping in for the first time through this offer, you can nab some free cosmetic gear based on the movie. In order to get it, simply log in between May 25 and August 1.

For more on the Warcraft movie, check out our interview with director Duncan Jones.

Update: Blizzard has clarified that the free copy will include all expansions through Warlords of Draenor and 30 days of game time.

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GI Show – Battleborn’s Verdict, Disney’s Tragedy, Angry Birds Movie Interview

This week's episode of The Game Informer Show is focusing on the details. First off, Matt Miller joins us to talk about his extensive experience playing Gearbox's Battleborn and why it just doesn't live up to expectations from similar shooters. After that, Jeff Marchiafava discusses his love-affair with the latest open beta for Blizzard's Overwatch. We also talk about how Blizzard's expert sense of game design compares to Uncharted 4's attention to detail. Also, we have Kyle Hilliard to discuss Game Freak's latest efforts with Pocket Horse Jockey and the trailers for Pokemon Sun and Moon. We also cover Disney's big news of the week before speaking with the co-directors of the upcoming Angry Birds Movie Fergal Reilly and Clay Kaytis about game animation and why they're so proud of this surprising game adaptation.

You can watch the video below, subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes, or listen to episode 298 on SoundCloud. Also, be sure to send your emails to [email protected] for a chance to have them answered on the show and win a prize by becoming Email of the Week!

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Our thanks to the talented Super Marcato Bros. for The Game Informer Show's intro song. You can hear more of their original tunes and awesome video game music podcast at their website.

To jump to a particular point in the discussion, check out the time stamps below… 

4:20 – Matt Miller's thoughts on Battleborn
24:10 – Overwatch's latest open beta
39:20 – Blizzard vs Naughty Dog: Who's a more talented developer?
43:16 – Uncharted 4's magical little touches
54:25 – Game Freak's Pocket Card Jockey
57:45 - Pokémon
 Sun and Moon reactions
59:53 – Disney's changing game publishing strategy
1:07:25 – Emails
1:29:30 – Angry Birds Movie interview with co-directors Fergal Reilly and Clay Kaytis
 

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Two New Warcraft Movie Trailers Put Spotlight On Khadgar And Garona

Khadgar and Garona are featured in two new character trailers for the upcoming film Warcraft, based on the famed Blizzard franchise of the same name.

The wizard Khadgar, played by Ben Schnetzer, is featured in the teaser below, where he enters a scene on a Gryphon and later discovers a glowing tattoo on his forearm.

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The half orc assassin Garona, played by Paula Patton, stars in this second video below as she brutally kills orcs in an action-packed battle.

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Warcraft, directed by Duncan Jones, hits theaters next month on June 10. Watch another trailer here and check out these character posters for the film. World of Warcraft's sixth expansion Legion arrives in August.

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Is The Ratchet & Clank Movie Worth Your Time?

The Ratchet & Clank franchise has always made me think of the world of CGI animated film. When the original game debuted in 2002, many related it to a Pixar movie due to its fun characters, alien worlds, and attractive, colorful visuals. After the franchise continued to find success, an animated film adaption seemed guaranteed. It took a little while, but it finally happened and it’s in theaters now. But it’s not a film I eagerly recommend.

My daughter is four and not familiar with the games, but was enamored by the initial trailers for the movie. When I brought the latest game home, she was excited to play it with me and frequently asked when we could see the film. I bring up her excitement because one of the most damning things I can say about Ratchet & Clank is how little she reacted while watching it in the theater. She laughed maybe twice, didn’t ask any questions about what was happening, and just sat there stoically, carefully munching on popcorn. She said she liked it as we were leaving, but hasn’t mentioned the film or asked any questions about it since leaving the theater.

A four-year-old’s second-hand review aside, the movie’s big problem is it feels sterile. None of the characters are particularly attached to their motivations, and all of the jokes feel forced. The most engaging characters are the titular Lombax and robot, but they don’t change at all during the film. It hints at a lesson about the danger of seeking fame for the sake of fame (a worthy course for young, modern viewers) as Ratchet’s popularity in the world skyrockets after saving the city, but it never amounts to anything. The duo are stars of the film almost exclusively by virtue of screen time. The only character who seems to have an arc is Captain Qwark, and his lesson about loyalty is severely undercut by his tired shtick. He is a one-note character – and not a particularly funny one.

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Ratchet & Clank also does nearly nothing in the way of setting up plot devices to be later explored, despite myriad opportunities to do so. A montage of Ratchet using weapons early on while training could have easily been used to set up a fight later, but during the final confrontation Ratchet pulls a collection of weapons and items from seemingly nowhere. Another squandered opportunity to set up a premise is related to the movie’s most imposing villain, the evil robot Victor Von Ion, voiced by Sylvester Stallone. His weakness is both revealed and executed in the same scene. It’s a small plot point, but one that shows each scene feels as though it was developed on its own, without any regard for the grander vision.

The film does get Ratchet & Clank and their world right, even if the versions we see here are not particularly interesting. The specific nods to the game are also done in a non-obtrusive way that won’t distract newcomers, but will give fans something to keep an eye out for. Also, a blink-and-you-miss-it reference to Jak & Daxter and Sly Cooper appears, and it was nice to see the acknowledgement of Ratchet & Clank’s peers.

Should You See Ratchet & Clank?
You’re better off playing the new game. The movie feels like an extension of the universe, but a very bland chapter that reveals nothing about the characters you don’t already know, regardless of your history of the games. The film demonstrates a clear understanding of the experiences that birthed the franchise, and from an optimistic standpoint it makes me think maybe the days of cheap Uwe Boll-style film adaptations of game franchises are behind us. Taken as a film though, and not a qualified adaptation of a video game, Ratchet & Clank does nothing to make the characters more appealing than they already are in video game form.

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Crytek doubles down on the movie business with standalone Film Engine

CryEngine developer Crytek has formed a new company around Film Engine, a suite of “real-time cinematic production software” aimed squarely indie, big-budget, and VR filmmakers. …


Gamasutra News

Steam expands its streaming movie biz with Lionsgate partnership

Valve bolsters its streaming movie business in a big way this week via a new partnership with Lionsgate that will see over 100 movies added to Steam’s catalog, with more to come in the months ahead. …


Gamasutra News

New Warcraft Movie Poster Unveiled At PAX East

Director Duncan Jones unveiled a new poster today at PAX East for the upcoming Warcraft movie that's hitting theaters in June. 

The film's had a fair share of promotion, including an interactive trailer and TV spots. Other posters previously released include a spotlight on characters like Lothar (Travis Fimmel) of the humans and Durotan (Toby Kemmel) of the orcs. Warcraft releases in theaters on June 10.

You can take a look at the newest poster down below.

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