In a parallel universe where Paramount Pictures doesn’t alienate its fanbase, we might be talking about Ghost in the Shell as the big winner of this weekend and the de facto start of a new wave of Japanese Hollywood adaptations. Instead, DreamWorks Animation and The Boss Baby blew up the box office, no doubt delighting a handful of DreamWorks executives who watched the Ghost in the Shell controversy unfold with glasses of champagne in hand. After all, nobody’s going to boycott a movie about a baby who wears a suit.
After several weeks of limited movement, a handful of new releases prompted a pretty thorough shakeup of the Box Office Top 10. While Beauty and the Beast continued its unstoppable assault on the domestic box office, we also said hello this weekend to three new movies and goodbye to a handful of old favorites from the first few months of the year. Let’s start with the estimated numbers as of Sunday afternoon.
This week’s most high-profile release is the big Power Rangers reboot (I’m sorry, that’s Haim Saban‘s Power Rangers, please nobody sue me) and the earliest round of reviews has begun to surface over the past few day or so. They are, to put it somewhat charitably, mixed. The early consensus is that the film squanders what could have been remake-ready material — a multiethnic group of telegenic teens working together to form a gigantic robot that battles evil aliens sounds like a pretty hard concept to foul up — with a generic and often painfully unfunny take.
Superheroes don’t have to come from the brightly-colored pages of American comic books; the Power Rangers series that captivated youngsters during the ‘90s and early 2000s had roots in Japan, stemming from their tradition of kaiju films. It’s a powerful bridge between cultures, the universal desire to watch a team of teenagers with extraordinary abilities team up to beat the stuffing out of gigantic monsters, And now it’ll connect generations, too, as the official trailer arrives today with the promise of the same spirit of teamwork and towering-menace-fighting that made them an unlikely cross-Pacific sensation two decades ago.