Academy Awards should slow weekend releases

With spring just around the corner, this weekend’s box office brings several new releases, targeting a variety of demographics. While all of these films will suffer because of the Academy Awards on Sunday, some of them should have enough draw to audiences to the theaters.

The most talked about release this weekend should be the Liam Neeson action-thriller Non-Stop.  Starring Neeson, Julianne Moore and Lupita Nyong’o, the film explores the airplane hijacking genre. Neeson plays a federal air marshal who must deal with a mystery terrorist on the flight.  As he is accused of being the terrorist and people die, the film becomes more and more tense. Ever since Taken (2009), Neeson has become a fan favorite in the action genre. His overwhelming popularity will draw large crowds, and Non-Stop may be the film that takes down The Lego Movie as the top box office hit this weekend.

Son of God is the new biblical film based on the ten-hour History Channel miniseries The Bible.  It mostly uses footage from the miniseries, as well as some deleted scenes that were not featured in the original broadcast. The series was a huge hit when it was released, by both religious and nonreligious audiences alike. The film will likely garner plenty of viewers, but should not be as popular as Non-Stop.

Stalingrad is an epic historical film with the backdrop of World War II. In one of the most important battles of the war, the film follows a band of soldiers as they fight against the German army. The Russian film has not been heavily marketed to American audiences, and most people may not have even heard of it. It does have a nationwide release but probably will not be featured in as many theaters as the previous two films. Look for it to remain relatively low compared to the other new releases.

The one interesting development for this weekend is the theatrical release of a new version of Anchorman 2. The new version, which is Rated R, is said to be 95 percent different from the version released in December, and is 20 minutes longer. The nature of the filming of Anchorman 2 relies heavily on improvisation, which means that the filmmakers had a lot of spare footage and extra jokes. These were all combined into a brand new film which still follows the same plot as the original version. This special version of the film is only going to be released in theaters for a week, but it will be available on Blu-Ray and DVD. The Anchorman franchise is beloved by its fans, so the film should get a decent amount of viewers.

Non-Stop seems like the most popular movie for this weekend.  The question still remains whether or not it can overrule The Lego Movie. Non-Stop does ride the coattails of Liam Neeson’s popularity, but The Lego Movie should dominate once again.

This post has been updated.