Iron Man or Robert DeNiro - who won the box office battle?
Time Out Dubai staff
10 Oblivion Director: Joseph Kosinski Stars: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Andrea Riseborough
After a foray into musicals with Rock of Ages and a very public divorce, Tom Cruise is back doing what he does best: big blockbuster action. Oblivion is certainly big. With a budget of more than Dhs700 million, the film follows a veteran soldier who is sent to a distant planet. Once there, he is instructed to destroy the remains of an alien race, but an encounter with an exiled traveller forces him to question his perceptions of the planet and his mission. It will be interesting to see if relatively new director Joseph Kosinski, whose only other credit is Tron Legacy, can transcend the trappings of a CGI sci-fi film. TO
Weekly box office: Dhs84,770 Weekly admissions: 2,236 Total box office: Dhs6,143,857 Total admissions: 149,048
9 The Croods (3D) Director: Kirk De Micco, Chris Sanders Stars: Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone
Nicolas Cage voices a caveman in this comedy animation from the Dreamworks stable. Forced out of his home by an earthquake, Grug takes his family on the road (well, ‘path', maybe) and encounters an imaginative nomad (Ryan Reynolds) whose forward-thinking manner unsettles him. His daughter (Emma Stone), however, has other ideas about the attractive stranger. The writer-directors of this movie have form with How to Train Your Dragon and Space Chimps, so there may well be family appeal. Time Out Dubai staff
Weekly box office: Dhs210,561 Weekly admissions: 4,820 Total box office: Dhs8,442,058 Total admissions: 189,081
8 Disconnect Director: Henry Alex Rubin Stars: Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, Jonah Bobo
The Internet, as we know, has the potential to bridge the communications gap between cultures and continents. Yet it's not all smiley-face icons and lolcats on the World Wild Web and Henry Alex Rubin's ensemble drama is here to remind us of the evils that tablets, laptops, smartphones and other such devices do. For example, they allow you to enter support-group chatrooms, like the one that turns a grieving woman (Paula Patton) into a victim of identity theft. They play host to social media, which is where an alienated teen (Bobo) is cyberbullied and takes drastic measures, much to the concern of his Blackberry-obsessed pops (Bateman). And then there are the illicit sites, the kind that help an ambitious TV reporter (Andrea Riseborough) get her big break - but at what cost? You'd think it would connect folks, yet it does exactly the opposite. See the irony in that title now?
All the hand-wringing tech paranoia is an excuse for a microversion of Babel-like melodrama, in which the loosely interwoven stories, regrettably, never add up to the sum of their parts. Worse, you can sense the actors bumping their heads against the ceilings of their one-note roles, trying vainly to add substance to characters that might as well be called ‘Stoic Numbed Veteran', ‘Opportunistic, Morally Compromised Journalist' or ‘Young Man in Psychic Pain.' David Fear
Weekly box office: Dhs186,887 Weekly admissions: 5,228 Total box office: Dhs186,887 Total admissions: 5,228
7 Pain & Gain Director: Michael Bay Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, Rebel Wilson
Michael Bay finally returns to his small-scale indie roots... well, not really, but this is Bay's first film since his debut Bad Boys that doesn't feature spaceships, robot smackdowns or anyone trying to destroy the world. It's the comically-dramatic drawn-from-the-headlines tale of a pair of not-so-bright Miami bodybuilders - played by Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne ‘The Rock' Johnson - who become inadvertently involved in a kidnapping and extortion plot. Ed Harris plays the private detective who cracked the real-life case. If Bay can resist the temptation to blow things up and actually keep the focus on character, this sounds like a lot of fun. But don't worry, mayhem fans, Bay will be back in his comfort zone with Transformers 4 in 2014. TO
Weekly box office: Dhs267,033 Weekly admissions: 7,472 Total box office: Dhs4,429,572 Total admissions: 110,030
6 Sameer Abu Elneel Director: Amr Arafa Stars: Ahamd Meky, Nicol Saba and Alaa Mursy
Arabic comedy, about a manipulative gangster.
Weekly box office: Dhs439,657 Weekly admissions: 12,247 Total box office: Dhs1,342,892 Total admissions: 37,612
5 Rise of the Zombie Director: Nick Lyon Stars: Mariel Hemingway, Ethan Suplee, LeVar Burton
There's the distinct sound of a barrel being scraped with the cinematic release of this TV movie, about a bunch of survivors who take refuge on prison island Alcatraz to escape the zombie apocalypse. Director Nick Lyon specialises in horror/sci-fi TV escapism for teenage boys, and is perhaps best known for the small screen Species sequel, The Awakening. Taking top cast billing is Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of the great Ernest, and famed for playing Woody Allen's underage lover in Manhattan. TO
Weekly box office: Dhs466,240 Weekly admissions: 13,220 Total box office: Dhs466,240 Total admissions: 13,220
4 The Call Director: Brad Anderson Stars: Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin, Morris Chestnut
Brutishly effective and only modestly vile, Brad Anderson's snuffish thriller pits Halle Berry's 911 operator against a serial-killing psycho riding around with a young woman (Abigail Breslin) in his car trunk.
There's an argument to be had about whether serial-killer movies should ever be easy to watch, but when Anderson starts shoving a fish-eye lens into Breslin's terrified face, it feels less like autocritique and more like an attempt to out-deprave Criminal Minds.
Fair's fair, however: Crude as it is, The Call milks its jump scares and don't-go-down-to-the-basement tension for all they're worth. See it with a full house, if you absolutely must see it at all. Sam Adams
Weekly box office: Dhs668,145 Weekly admissions: 17,835 Total box office: Dhs1,995,079 Total admissions: 54,883
3 Welcome to the Punch Director: Eran Creevy Stars: Andrea Riseborough, James McAvoy, Mark Strong
The idea of a pacy Hollywood or Hong Kong-style crime thriller set in London isn't exactly a new one, but - James Bond aside - it just never seems to work. After his 2008 directorial debut Shifty won critical acclaim, Eran Creevy decided to move his career up a gear and make the ultimate London action flick, and he roped in producer-adviser Ridley Scott to help him realise his vision.
The result is confused, sketchily plotted and rather bland - but it's not a complete disaster.
James McAvoy is miscast as Max, a brooding loner cop on the trail of Mark Strong's crime boss. The tale twists and rambles, visiting dirty cops, corrupt businesses and rival gangs. By rights, this should work a lot better than it does: it's nicely shot, decently played (McAvoy's muttering, try-hard turn aside) and packed with incident. But there's simply no momentum and no tension. When it's over, all you'll remember is a whole lot of gunfire and shouting. Tom Huddleston
Weekly box office: Dhs929,706 Weekly admissions: 24,527 Total box office: Dhs929,706 Total admissions: 24,527
2 The Big Wedding Director: Justin Zackham Stars: Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton and Katherine Heigl
They don't make matrimonial comedies like they used to. Not only are recent titles cleansed of distinguishing terms like Fat and Greek, they can't even wait five screen minutes before showing Robert De Niro torpedoing his bristly goatee at Susan Sarandon. That it takes another ten minutes for Katherine Heigl to projectile vomit seems classily restrained by comparison.
In this dispiritingly typical ensemble Hollywood farce, Don (De Niro) and Bebe (Sarandon) are hosting a wedding celebration for their adopted son Alejandro (Ben Barnes) and his bride-to-be Missy (Amanda Seyfried). Things get wacky when Alejandro doesn't have the heart to tell his visiting ultra-Catholic Colombian birth mother that Don is no longer married to Ellie (Diane Keaton), the woman that raised him, prompting the bickering divorcés to reunite for one wild weekend.
Building on his script for The Bucket List, budding auteur of geriatric lust Justin Zackham panders to his wizened target audience with a film that's shot like a pharmaceutical commercial. De Niro and Keaton gamely summon semblances of characters despite the script's tin-eared potty talk, but can't save the film from amounting to a big nothing. Eric Hynes
Weekly box office: Dhs1,217,895 Weekly admissions: 29,100 Total box office: Dhs1,217,895 Total admissions: 29,100
1 Iron Man 3 Director: Shane Black Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow
Calling Iron Man 3 a mixed bag doesn't really do justice to the heady peaks and interminable troughs. In the minus column, there's the tedious, talky first act, the script's uneasy attempts at psychological realism, and Robert Downey Jr's disastrously smarmy facial furniture. But they're balanced out by a handful of punchy one-liners courtesy of Lethal Weapon scribe Shane Black, and a sprawling cast of reliable supporting players. Towering above them all is Ben Kingsley as one of comic book cinema's most astonishing and unlikely supervillains.
Despite his unimpeachable screenwriting CV, this is only Black's second film as a director and it shows. When he's in his element Black delivers the goods in style, but he seems out of his depth during the larger set pieces: the action sequences are busy and confusing, especially the misjudged, threat-free climax.
The result is a film which never settles into a comfortable groove. It tries to be an angsty Dark Knight-style game changer, an '80's-throwback action romp, a nudge-wink pastiche and a CG-fuelled spectacular. It's undeniably entertaining with the misfires never fully overshadowing the moments of glory. But Iron Man 3 still feels like something of a disappointment. Tom Huddleston
Weekly box office: Dhs4,842,570 Weekly admissions: 102,541 Total box office: Dhs17,542,887 Total admissions: 375,337