Things have been relatively quiet for superheroes this week. However, it still seems like every time Tom Hardy or Anne Hathaway so much as sneeze on "The Dark Knight Rises'" seemingly security-free set, there are a dozen photos or video clips of the act instantly uploaded to the Internet.
It's safe to say that fans are still obsessively gathering every ounce of info they can from Christopher Nolan's upcoming final Batman film (Selina Kyle fights! Bane has a "compound"!). The paparazzi and the fans haven't been this rabid about getting pix of "Man of Steel," "The Avengers" or "Amazing Spider-Man." Does that mean that "DKR" already wins the upcoming next round in the ongoing battle of the superhero films?
As for the rest of this week's list…
September 7, 2011
1. "The Dark Knight Rises" (Last time: No. 2)
2. The "Star Wars" series
Complain all you want about Lucas' latest round of head-scratching "improvements" to the original SW trilogy (Ewoks DON'T blink!) -- the upcoming Blu-ray release (Sept. 16) is still going to earn enough coin to single-handedly save the economy.
Opening this weekend opposite Steven Soderbergh's all-star virus drama "Contagion," this likely sleeper hit has a higher score on Rotten Tomatoes, and has the stirring, feel-good sports movie storyline of which audiences just can't get enough. Plus, the posters depicting bare-chested Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton won't hurt. It was a wise move on Lionsgate's part not to include a shirtless Nick Nolte.
4. "The Lone Ranger" (Last time: No. 6)
Johnny Depp, Jerry Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski's on-off-on-off western update "The Lone Ranger" is an interesting case study, with Disney balking at the proposed production cost ($250 million-ish), despite the presence of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" team who helped the studio earn billions. the good news for Depp and his fans is that even if Disney pulls the plug for good, Depp will still have his other remake of a decades-old property -- "The Thin Man" -- to fall back on.
5. "Tower Heist"
With the news that Eddie Murphy will be hosting next year's Oscar night, his comeback vehicle "Tower Heist" (directed by Brett Ratner, who's also producing the Academy Awards) should benefit from the exposure...or sink like a stone like most of Murphy's most recent (non-animated) films. We'll see how much audiences really want a Murphy comeback when "Tower" opens in November.
6. "The Expendables 2"
Even more testosterone is headed your way. Bit players in the first film, aging action icons Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger supposedly have much meatier roles in the sequel, alongside their beefy buddy Sylvester Stallone. Just keep Ah-nuld away from the two or three females who will be on set. Seriously, were there ANY women in the original?
7. "Man of Steel" (Last time: No. 10)
Michael Shannon confirms that a blurry photo from the set is indeed him (if only we could get Bigfoot to do the same), and that Superman nemesis General Zod's costume will indeed be partially CGI. Intriguing...
8. "The Help"
Sure, September is a weak time for blockbusters (Welcome back, class. How was your summer?), but historical chick flick "The Help" still claimed the No. 1 spot at the box office for three weeks in a row.
9. "The Descendants"
Playing like gangbusters in Telluride last week, the latest from Alexander Payne ("Sideways," "Election") is garnering significant awards buzz for George Clooney's stand out leading performance.
10. "A Dangerous Method"
Another fest success, David Cronenberg's kinky, talky Freud-Jung drama is heading into awards season with much talked-about performances from a trio of well-bred thespians: Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender and Keira Knightley.
Movie Power Rankings appears weekly on HitFix. What do you think of this week's rankings? Share your thoughts below.
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