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This summer has been an exciting one for movies, and the weekend of July 13th is no exception.  No terrifying horror movies are being released this Friday the 13th, but one of two highly anticipated animated sequels, Ice Age: Continental Drift, is hitting theaters.  The fourth installment in the Ice Age series doesn’t seem to be losing much steam, with voice appearances by Drake, Seann William Scott, Jennifer Lopez, Peter Dinklage, Nicki Minaj, and plenty more celebs.  Even the plot seems fresh for an animated sequel, with Sid, Manny, Diego, and the gang facing pirates on the high seas after Pangaea begins to split apart as a result of Scrat’s constant need to feed.  This creativity — and the somewhat accurate global history lessons that both entertain and educate kids — is one of the main reasons that the Ice Age franchise has done so well over the past ten years.  Continental Drift has already released in a number of countries overseas and has done very well at the box office, especially in Ireland and Scotland.  But can these adorable prehistoric creatures defeat one of the most powerful and cunning superheroes the world has ever known?!

And The Amazing Spider-Man has overcome so much adversity already.  First, it had to overcome the stigma placed on it by its three Tobey Maguire-infested predecessors.  Luckily audiences kept an open mind when presented with Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man, and were pleasantly surprised to find he had cinematic back up in the form of Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy.  Then Spider-Man had to convince audiences that even though Sony was producing the movie instead of Marvel Studios (which gave us Captain America, Thor, and The Avengers) that it would still uphold the new standard of superhero movies.  While these handicaps are partially responsible for The Amazing Spider-Man not performing as well as the Sam Raimi movies, it still made $7.5 million at midnight premieres alone and came out way ahead in the box office last weekend.  And why not?  The Amazing Spider-Man has romance (bolstered by the real-life relationship between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone).  It has all the special effects and groundbreaking fight scenes an action movie could want.  It has a giant lizard-man.  And most importantly it has a hero who – for 50 years this August – has taught people around the world that even the most helpless among us can rise up and use their great power with great responsibility to become a hero.  It’s an idea that we all need to be reminded of once in a while, even if it takes a franchise reboot.

Whether Ice Age: Continental Drift or The Amazing Spider-Man comes out on top this weekend, the winner is clear: Us.  Major movie studios may not have to worry about bankruptcy like they did in the early days of film, but the spirit of competition is still there.  As long as studios crave that top box office spot, even for just a weekend, the quality of the films they put out will continue to get better and better.  And maybe – someday – movies like Carrot Top’s Chairman of the Board will be just a faded memory, spoken of in hushed whispers or to scare children.   Make your choice by checking out your local show times for Ice Age: Continental Drift here or times for The Amazing Spider-Man here.

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