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A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

The Brightest Star of A Wrinkle in Time, To the uninitiated, the ads for Disney’s new fantasy blockbuster A Wrinkle in Timeemphasize its A-list cast: Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Mindy Kaling, Zach Galifianakis, and Oprah Winfrey. But anyone familiar with the Madeleine L’Engle novel that serves as the source material knows that this story is all about a 13-year old girl and her incredible, impossible journey through space and time to rescue her missing father. So, as has been the case with plenty of Disney’s live-action films over the years, this movie relies on the talents of its young, relatively unknown lead, Storm Reid. The gamble pays off, better than might have been expected.

Reid plays Meg Murry, an awkward, bespectacled young teen who struggles at school because of bullies as well as schoolyard gossip regarding her father (Pine), a trailblazing scientist who’s been mysteriously missing for years. One day, Meg is whisked away by a trio of supernatural figures (Witherspoon, Winfrey, and Kaling) so that she, along with her adopted brother and a classmate, can jump—or tesser—through space and time to find her dad. The reasons why Meg’s father went missing and where he’s being held captive are all fantastical, but A Wrinkle in Time remains firmly rooted in pain and loss thanks largely to Reid’s nuanced, emotional performance.

No matter how wild the visuals get in A Wrinkle in Time, it’s to the credit of director Ava DuVernay and screenwriters Jennifer Lee and Jeff Stockwell that they never stray too far from the emotional underpinning of why Meg is willing to almost literally move Heaven and Earth to bring her whole family back together. Reid is one of the film’s biggest assets overall; Meg’s arc from being crippled by self-doubt to embracing her faults and her dysfunctional family is wonderfully realized through her expressive and subtle work.

What makes A Wrinkle in Time perhaps a more frustrating book to adapt for the big screen is that the struggles L’Engle depicted are largely internal. The climax of the story (both in book and film form) features Meg facing off against a massive brain known as the IT, which represents the darkness of the universe. But no matter how odd or baffling the story gets — or how odd or baffling some of the choices in how the book has been adapted — Reid is at the center, a wrenching emotional core who serves as a necessary throughline.

In many ways, Reid’s toughest scene is the emotional crescendo of Wrinkle: after all sorts of wild tessers through space and time, and encounters with fantasy worlds and creatures, Meg is able to find her father and has a tearful reunion with him. The basic emotional expectations of the scene may be predictable, but Reid imbues Meg’s literal and metaphorical embrace of her dad with a level of raw heartbreak and tearful happiness that’s unexpected in a big-budget blockbuster like this. Moments like that reunion are what stand out amidst the grand, colorful, CGI-laden events of Wrinkle; so much of what makes the film work is its sincerely emotional presentation of a girl on the cusp of adulthood grappling with loss and confusion at what kind of person she wants to be.

A Wrinkle in Time Beats Black Panther at Friday Box Office

Black Panther was knocked down to second place at the domestic box office on Friday thanks to the release of A Wrinkle in Time, which happens to be yet another Disney film. Marvel’s Black Panther – directed by Ryan Coogler and based on a script from Coogler and screenwriter Joe Robert Cole, and starring Chadwick Boseman as the eponymous hero – has been dominating at the worldwide box office these past few weeks and is on the verge of crossing the billion-dollar mark. But its box office reign may be coming to an end.

Directed by Ava DuVernay (Selma) from a script by Jennifer Lee (Frozen) and Jeff Stockwell (Bridge to Terabithia), Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time is based on the 1962 novel of the same name by Madeleine L’Engle. The film was originally commissioned by Disney in 2010 following the highly successful release of Tim Burton’s live-action Alice in Wonderland movie. It stars Storm Reid, Chris Pine, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling, among others. Unfortunately, despite a well-rounded cast and some truly emotional scenes, the film didn’t translate well onto the big screen. A Wrinkle in Time has earned generally negative reviews from both critics and audiences alike, and it’s sitting at a 42 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Still, the film has an audience – and that audience just helped it knock down the world’s biggest movie right now: Black Panther.

A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

A Wrinkle in Time Can’t Slow Black Panther at Weekend Box Office.

Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time is losing some of its magic at the U.S. box office.

Though Ava DuVernay’s fantasy adventure topped Friday’s box office, its fellow Disney title Black Panther looks to maintain its box office reign this weekend.

A Wrinkle in Time opened on Friday with $10.2 million, including $1.3 million in Thursday night previews, which is just below earlier estimates of $13 million. With a mixed critical response, the $100 million-plus budgeted film is slated to take in around $33 million in its weekend debut, though that number could change depending on Saturday and Sunday matinee grosses.

Based on Madeleine L’Engle’s 1962 classic fantasy novel, A Wrinkle in Time stars Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Zach Galifianakis, Chris Pine, Mindy Kaling and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. The film, which received a B Cinemascore from audiences, follows a young girl (Reid), her step-brother (Deric McCabe), and a friend (Levi Miller) as they embark on a journey that spans time and space in search of her missing father.

Now in its fourth weekend, Marvel’s Black Panther grossed $10 million on Friday and looks to make $40 million-plus this weekend. In just 26 days, Black Panther became the 33rd film to cross the $1 billion mark at the global box office.

Black Panther Leads A Wrinkle in Time in All-Disney Box Office Face-Off

After crossing the $1 billion mark at the box office on Friday, “Black Panther” is on its way to becoming the first film since “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” to take the No. 1 spot for the fourth straight weekend, as it is projected to beat fellow Disney release “A Wrinkle in Time.”

Though its $9.9 million gross on its fourth Friday was narrowly beaten by “A Wrinkle in Time”‘s $10.2 million opening day total, “Black Panther” is expected to win the weekend with $40-41 million, among the best ever totals for a fourth weekend. That also equates to a drop-off of just 38 percent from its $66.3 third weekend. The film has yet to suffer a drop-off of more than 44 percent, a staggering cut above most Marvel movies, which usually see a drop-off of 55-60 percent after their opening.

“A Wrinkle in Time,” meanwhile, is looking at a disappointing opening of $33 million from 3,980 screens against a reported $103 million budget. Though the film was considered the next big release for an industry trying to answer demands for more diverse casts and filmmakers, word of mouth has been tepid, as critics labeled it a “well-intentioned disappointment” and gave it a 42 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.

On the bright side, director Ava DuVernay — who became the first black woman to direct a movie with a $100 million-plus budget with this picture — has succeeded with earning the approval of the demographic she aimed her film’s message towards: the youth. Opening night polls from CinemaScore showed that audiences under the age of 25 gave the film an A-, compared to a B- for audiences over the age of 25. Overall, the film has a CinemaScore grade of B.