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New in Theaters July 1: Terminator: Genisys, Magic Mike XXL

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By Chris Kavan - 07/01/15 at 11:15 AM CT

Welcome to an extra-early edition of the weekend preview. Thanks to the 4th of July falling on Saturday, studios are in a rush to release their new films before the big holiday (one where most people are blowing up thing, watching things blow up or eating and drinking while things get blown up - all rather than watch movies). Alongside some strong holdover contenders - namely the dinosaurs of Jurassic World and the emotions of Inside Out - this weekend brings two prove brands back into the fold. One is a sci-fi masterpiece with a rather convoluted timeline the other is a sequel to a well-received male stripper-centric dramedy. Guys and girls will have a reason to celebrate this year, no question.

TERMINATOR: GENISYS Jurassic World has proven that nostalgia for classics along with a healthy dose of kick-action is a surefire hit (record-breaking even). Now we'll see if there's room for two such films at the box office. Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to the role that helped kick-start his Hollywood career. Also on board is Jason Clarke as John Connor (aka the leader of the human resistance in the future), Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese (the man he sends back in time to stop the machines - not knowing he is sending back his own father) and Emilia Clarke (the "mother of dragons - yeah!) as a young Sarah Connor. Other cast includes J.K. Simmons, Courtney B. Vance, Byung-hun Lee (as a metal terminator), Matt Smith (a former Doctor - as in Who) and Dayo Okeniyi. The timeline in this series is already impossible to follow, so Genisys is resetting everything. In this version Sarah Connor isn't some damsel in distress - she is already the kick-ass version we saw in T2 - and The Terminator is now her Guardian - and Reese finds himself having to save a fractured timeline in order to reset the future. It all sound very confusing from a story standpoint, but, as much as I would like to say this is going to be the exact opposite of the way Jurassic World handled things, I still kind of want to see this one. I think it's going to be big, loud and probably dumb - but I also bet it's going to be a lot of fun.

MAGIC MIKE XXL The original Magic Mike was the total package - bulging with talent, flexing its muscles with critics and gaining a healthy fanbase. Of course, most of those are going to women given the first film revolved around a group of male strippers - led by Channing Tatum, the film also had Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, Kevin Nash and Gabriel Iglesias, Olivia Munn and Riley Keough were on hand as well. This time around Magic Mike is on a road trip with his former team. Even though he left the game three years ago, this one, last opportunity will not pass him by as the guys head from Tampa to Myrtle Beach for the performance of their lives. Most of the cast returns - Tatum, Manganiello, Nash, Iglesias, Bomer and Rodriguez are all back (only McConaughey and Pettyfer are out) they are joined by some new to the franchise - Amber Heard, Elizabeth Banks, Jada Pinkett Smith, Michael Strahan and Andie MacDowell are just some of the new faces to be seen. This is a great counter-programming move going into the holiday weekend, as this is really the only female-driven film at the box office. The original went on to make a cool $113.7 million (on just a $7 million budget). The budget for XXL is likely a bit more but is probably still on the low end of things for major films. If the sequel can match or beat the total of the first film (or even come close) - I would consider that a win.

The weekend should be another winner. Though I don't know if the 4th is really a "go-out-to-the-movies" type of holiday, it with Jurassic World, Terminator, Inside Out and Magic Mike XXL all out there - is has all the bases covered and should prove another big weekend for Hollywood. I'll be back all the way on Sunday with the final results.


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