Avengers dominating box office pre-sales this weekend

The Takeaway

The long-awaited super-hero movie “The Avengers” reaches the silver screen this weekend.

It’ll be joined by the all-star senior citizens’ ensemble movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” and the dance documentary “First Position” in what should be a busy weekend at the box office.

Avengers has already sold $300 million in advance tickets, making it the biggest release of the year since the Hunger Games movie came out in March. Rafer Guzman, Newsday’s movie critic, said the power of Avengers scared off all the other major releases.

“It’s got the whole weekend to itself,” Guzman said.

Reports are that the opening showings are already almost completely sold out, across the country.

Guzman praised the film as fun, fast-moving, silly film, perfect for enjoying with a bucket of popcorn.

“You don’t have to be a nerd to enjoy it,” he said. “I think it works.”

Kristen Meinzer, culture producer for The Takeaway, said Avengers is just one step too far in the bid to remake every comic book superhero into a blockbuster movie.

“This movie is awful,” she said. “I walked out of this movie. I stayed for about an hour and a half, and that was enough. I felt like I was trapped at someone else’s really awful, really terrible high school reunion.”

Guzman said the toughest task this movie faces is to combine four fan bases, fans of the four superhero character stars, while also bringing in a wider swath of America.

“I think it does it,” he said. “I think you don’t have to be a comics nerd to like the film and have a good time.”

While there aren’t any other blockbusters out this weekend, Marigold Hotel has a cast that should make it successful. Starring Dev Patel of Slumdog Millionaire, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie, Ronald Pickup, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson and Penelope Wilton, the movie follows a group of older people who are in their retirement and head to a retirement home in India to live out their final years.

“There are misadventures along the way. The cast is, of course, phenomenal,” Meinzer said. “I really loved this movie.”

Guzman also applauded the movie, though said it’s contrived and fluffy. Ultimately, though, the cast carries it.

“This is like the cream of the British acting world. Half the cast has a title,” he said.

Then there’s First Position, which looks at young would-be ballet stars. Meinzer called it a public service announcement for why you shouldn’t enroll your children in ballet.

“It’s tortuous, it’s hard on the body, it’s full of injuries and eating issues. And yet, the characters are so compelling in this,” Meinzer said.

But, that negativity aside, Meinzer said the characters, including a girl from Sierra Leone who watched her family be slaughtered, make it a movie absolutely worth seeing.

“And then the dance itself is just beautiful to watch,” she said.

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