Astro Boy Ready for Takeoff

Astro Boy finally bursts onto movie screens this weekend, taking part in an epic box office battle against vampires, serial killers, the world’s most famous female pilot and another 3-D version of an animated classic.

Based on the classic manga and anime by Osamu Tezuka, Imagi Studios’ Astro Boy opens at more than 3,000 screens via distributor Summit Entertainment. The film was directed by David Bowers (Flushed Away) and features the voices of Freddie Highmore, Kristin Bell, Nicolas Cage, Donald Sutherland, Nathan Lane and Bill Nighy.

The film has so far earned plaudits from critics. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times writes, ‘Astro Boy is better than most of its recent competitors, such as Monsters vs. Aliens and Kung Fu Panda.’

Astro Boy is a marvelously designed piece of cartoon kinetics, with the pleasing soft colors and rounded-metal tactility of an atomic-age daydream,’ writes Owen Gleiberman in Entertainment Weekly.

‘In its best moments, the film exudes an almost Miyazakian love of flight, notably during the hero’s maiden soar through the clouds,’ writes Nick Schager of Time Out New York.

Taking on the mighty atom is the fantasy film Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, which opens in some 2,700 theaters courtesy of Universal, and the horror film Saw VI, which also arrives on just more than 3,000 cinemas.

Rounding out the openings this week is Fox Searchlight’s limited release of Amelia, a biopic of Amelia Earhart starring Hilary Swank, in 818 cinemas.

And lastly, opening in 105 theaters, is a re-release of the 3-D version of the stop-motion animated classic The Nightmare Before Christmas.