How much does the new Ghostbusters need to make if it wants to be a bonafide, genuine hit? The opening weekend for director Paul Feig’s reboot of the beloved franchise raises more questions than answers and the second and third weekend will ultimately prove more telling. However, here’s what we can say right now: it opened with solid numbers in second place behind last week’s massive champion, The Secret Life of Pets.
Naked & Afraid is an actual reality show that just began its fifth season on the Discovery Channel, but it sounds so much like something that was cooked up in the SNL writers’ room that you can be forgiven for thinking it’s entirely a gag. The premise is patently ridiculous: two strangers are thrown into the wild without clothing or supplies and must survive for 21 days. But SNL has devised a “celebrity” edition of the show and they tossed guest host Peter Dinklage and the incredible Leslie Jones into it.
When the 2016 Oscar nominations were announced nearly two weeks ago, the response to the overwhelmingly white line-up of talent proved instantly controversial. Film fans and industry veterans alike gathered around the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag to make their voices heard, especially decrying how films starring black actors and directed by black filmmakers — like Creed and Straight Outta Compton — somehow managed to only receive nominations for the white people involved in making them. With material this ripe, of course SNL was going to take a swipe at the Academy Awards this week.
With Star Wars: The Force Awakens star Adam Driver hosting 2016’s first episode of SNL, a Kylo Ren sketch of some kind was inevitable. After all, you don't get the actor who plays the villain in one of the biggest movies of all time to appear on your comedy variety show and not have him reprise that character. And we'll give the show this much: we never would have predicted a faux episode of Undercover Boss set on Starkiller Base, with the angry, murderous Kylo Ren going undercover amongst his troops as a radar technician named Matt.
There hasn’t been a proper family film in theaters since Minions opened in July, so it’s not surprising at all that Hotel Transylvania 2 cleaned up at the box office this weekend. Still, we didn’t imagine it cleaning up this well. This is the kind of opening weekend that guarantees us a Hotel Transylvania 3, for better or worse.
The original The Karate Kid is one of those seemingly untouchable slices of ‘80s nostalgia. Everyone above a certain age has a soft spot for it. It has effortlessly merged with general pop culture, with characters like Mr. Miyagi and lines like “Wax on, wax off” existing outside of the film that created them. It’s a touchstone … but what if it’s a touchstone that we have been misunderstanding for the past 31 years? What if Ralph Macchio’s Daniel isn’t the hero of the film, but actually – dun dun DUN – the real bad guy?
Every time a movie about and for audiences who aren’t white and male does well, everyone acts like it’s a big surprise. “Black people and women like movies? Who’da thunk it?” It’s actually not surprising at all that Straight Outta Compton had a massive opening, handily defeating its more standard competition. Because all kinds of people like movies and when you make movies for all kinds of people, you end up with huge weekends at the box office.
A few weeks ago, tracking for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation was supposedly in the toilet. Early reports suggested that Tom Cruise’s fifth outing as super-spy Ethan Hunt was not getting people excited. This would be the end, the experts said, of a franchise that has kept Cruise’s career surging forward for the past two decades. Well, that was apparently a big load of crap because Rogue Nation opened well and opened in the same ballpark as the rest of the franchise. Even with inflation differences, this series keeps on hitting the same box office sweet spot.
At the time of this writing, early estimates for the weekend box office have Ant-Man edging out Pixels for the top spot in this week’s top 10. That could change. With less than $1 million separating the films, Pixels may very well slide into first place tomorrow, winning one very close competition. But even if it does claim ultimate victory, it doesn’t change the fact that Pixels’ opening weekend is a massive disappointment and another nail in the coffin of Adam Sandler’s career.
It would be easy to label the opening weekend for Ant-Man a failure. After all, it’s significantly lower than the openings for recent Marvel Studios movies and it’s a good $130 million less than the three-day opening Avengers: Age of Ultron had a few months ago. But let’s not be so hasty. Its opening numbers may not have blown anyone away, but Ant-Man’s box office arrival is textbook Marvel.
When Marvel announced a release date for Guardians of the Galaxy 2 before the first one was even released, everyone thought Marvel was overestimating their strange space opera. And then it made a bajillion dollars and everyone on the internet felt like a fool. Now, the title for that sequel has been revealed and while it doesn’t bring any grand revelation with it, it’ll probably get you to crack a tiny smile.
When Universal scheduled Ted 2, they surely had no idea that Seth MacFarlane’s swearing teddy bear sequel would be squaring off against one of the biggest box office juggernauts of all time...a juggernaut that they themselves had created. So it’s not surprising that Jurassic World topped the box office again and it’s not surprising that Pixar’s Inside Out held onto second place. What is a little surprising is how low Ted 2 opened, falling significantly short of its predecessor’s opening weekend.
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