This weekend: Space Invaders and Seniors in Vegas
by Mark Bialczak - Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Epic space battles and more

You might want to keep that space cadet Halloween costume out of the mothballs for one more weekend, sci-fi fans.

“Ender’s Game” is opening around these parts. The action/science fiction movie directed and written by Gavin Hood is based on the popular save-us-all-from-space-invaders novel written by Orson Scott Card. It features Asa Butterfield as Ender Wiggin, a bold and brilliant lad chosen as “the one” from a bunch of talented youngsters trained on simulators by the International Military. Wiggin is charged with saving humankind from wicked ant-like creatures called The Formics.

The trailer features elders played by Harrison Ford, Viola Davis and Ben Kingsley working the system and wondering if Ender has what it takes to lead the defense to ward off annihilation. The space battle is epic.

You also can keep that costume ready if you dressed up like grandpa. Or feel free to wear the regular wardrobe to “Last Vegas” if you are a grandpa or relish the role coming¬† in your foreseeable future. This comedy, written by Dan Fogelman and directed by Jon Turteltaub, focuses on the tale of four sixtysomethings as they venture to Las Vegas for a bachelor party in honor of their last remaining single friend. The I’m-not-done-yet crowd is played by four really big names: Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline.

The trailer drew laughs as they defend and honor their manhood the best ways they know how. They might have named this “Four Shades of Gray,” but, of course, the last part of that title now means something entirely different. “Bad Grandpa” was taken, too, and in a big way. (See box office report below.)

The animation-loving crowd can flock to see “Free Birds.” Just in time for the Thanksgiving run-up comes this tale written and directed by Jimmy Hayward, featuring two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks who get together for some time travel. Their mission is to change history and get their kind off the holiday dinner menu forever more. Voices include Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Amy Poehler and George Takei.

 Box office report

Pranks prevailed the weekend of Oct. 26. “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” took No. 1 on the list. The MTV-inspired comedy featuring Johnny Knoxville and Jackson Nicoll as the 86-year-old and 8-year-old on a road trip across the country had an opening-weekend gross of $32.1 million, according to hollywood.com.

That far outpaced the drama of the other big opener, “The Counselor,” the here’s-what-the-drug-cartel-will-do-to-you tale featuring Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt that landed at No. 4 on the list with a gross of $7.8 million.

In between were holdovers “Gravity” and “Captain Phillips.” After a weekend take of $20.1 million, the space movie moved oh-so-close to another big landmark, at $199.6 million overall. The modern pirate tale was No. 3. Its take of $11.6 million moved it to $69.9 million overall.

-Mark Bialczak