Opening this Weekend: Russell Crowe Gets His Story, Zac Efron Gets His Fame and Crank 2 Gets… Crankier?

Conspiracy theorists might want to get out their tinfoil hats for this one. Despite being leaked onto the Internet, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is still tracking to be a huge success. Earlier this week, Entertainment Weekly revealed details of a consumer report showing that the May 1st release remains the No. 1 choice for men over the age of 31—in technical terms, the film’s “wanna-see” levels are through the roof, and a huge opening weekend is all but assured. That sound you just heard was a sigh of relief coming from 20th Century Fox. But, we have to wonder: Was the leak nothing more than guerrilla marketing to the nth degree? Before the “security breach,” Wolverine was being set up as the first bomb of the summer; now, the film could be one of the summer’s biggest hits. Of course box office tracking is notoriously unreliable—they’re the same numbers that told us Observe and Report was going to make $20 million—so maybe Wolverine will be a dud after all. If looking for black helicopters isn’t your thing, three movies open this weekend, and, as usual, there is something for everyone. As we do every Friday, here’s a handy guide to the new releases.

State of Play

What’s the story: Based on the acclaimed BBC miniseries, State of Play finds Russell Crowe (looking increasingly like a fat Eddie Vedder) starring as the Last of the Mohicans—a Washington, D.C.–based investigative reporter tasked with solving the mystery of a congressman’s dead mistress. The film culls the BBC original down from six hours to a manageable two thanks to help from a trio of testosterone-heavy screenwriters—Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton, the Bourne movies), Matthew Michael Caranahan (The Kingdom) and Billy Ray (Breach, Shattered Glass)—and apparently leaves in enough of the essence to make fans happy. We can’t say we’re all that excited for State of Play, which looks a tad too on-the-nose for our tastes, but the fantastically pastiche cast—Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Jason Bateman, Helen Mirren and Jeff Daniels, Viola Davis—has our interest piqued.

Who should see it: Woodward and Bernstein.

17 Again

What’s the story: If you’ve been waiting for the next big movie star to arrive, allow us to introduce to you Zac Efron. After being a part of ensemble successes like High School Musical 3 and Hairspray, the Disney Channel stalwart steps out in front for the very first time in 17 Again—a vapid-looking body-swap comedy that takes parts of Big, Mrs. Doubtfire and Like Father, Like Son and repurposes them for a new generation. We’d like to hate, but Mr. Efron seems genuinely charming and self-effacing (for reference, check out his hosting stint on Saturday Night Live last weekend). We’re powerless before his floppy hair and, chances are, audiences will be as well.

Who should see it: Kirk Cameron.

Crank 2: High Voltage

What’s the story: The tag line for Crank 2: High Voltage, a sequel to the surprise 2006 meathead action hit starring Jason Statham, says all you need to know about the follow-up: “He was dead … but he got better.” Sounds good to us!

Who should see it: People who thought the first Crank was too reality-based.

Opening this Weekend: Russell Crowe Gets His Story, Zac Efron Gets His Fame and Crank 2 Gets… Crankier?