A lot of people are going to act like they didn’t see the enormous success of ‘American Sniper’ coming, but the signs were all there. On top of the promising limited release numbers, there was the awards buzz. On top of that, there were the names of director Clint Eastwood and star Bradley Cooper. On top of that, the subject matter of the film is inherently attractive to the same category of moviegoer that makes Christian-themed films into massive hits. ‘American Sniper’ had one doozy of a weekend, but it’s not that surprising.
Sometimes, a film can effortlessly open at number one at the box office while still being a pretty huge disaster. This is the case with ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings,’ which rode a wave of terrible reviews and an even more terrible marketing campaign to a hugely disappointing start. With a lot of big movies opening the next two weeks, the new Biblical epic won’t even find time to grow some legs. Chances are strong that it is dead on arrival.
Honestly, we could have just copied and pasted last weekend’s box office report and gotten away with it. Outside of the shifting numbers, the order of the top 10 is almost identical to what it was a week ago. This is Hollywood in a holding pattern. The weekend after Thanksgiving is a wasteland. That’s probably why ‘The Pyramid’ was dumped this weekend. However, the lone newcomer in the top 10 didn’t just bomb, it bombed spectacularly.
It's been three years since ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ was unleashed upon an unsuspecting populace, convincing even the most die hard fans of Disney's lucrative franchise that Captain Jack Sparrow needed to take a break. Maybe forever. And yet, these past years have been filled with rumors and casting and almost-casting for ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.’ Like it or not, this film is coming and now it has the young up-and-comer Brenton Thwaites in its drunken, slurred, overlong clutches.
There‘s going to be a lot of blood and ink spilled across the internet on the subject of the opening weekend for ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1.’ Yes, the third film in the series did open significantly lower than its predecessors. Yes, there are definitely people at Lionsgate wringing their hands and trying to figure out why the film opened below expectations. And yet, that opening weekend is still massive. It’s three day total is larger than most movies ever have a chance to make in their entire runs. So, let's have some perspective as we dive into this week’s top 10.
‘Dumb and Dumber To’ arrives two decades after the first film was one of the bigger hits of 1994 and no one knew what to make of it ... until it topped the box office this weekend and made it look easy. Now, the idea of two middle-aged actors returning to two of the most idiotic characters in modern movie history doesn't seem so desperate and crazy. It seems canny.
The likes of Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolf Man have no business aping the Marvel “shared universe” structure in the first place. They're monsters! Let them monster! Any of our well-intentioned blogging-into-the-wind was too little, too late because the head of Universal has pretty much come and out said that they're taking the horror out of their horror icons.
We live in a world where commercial directors speak (and breathe and live) the same pop culture language as the people they've been hired to peddle all kinds of products to. The result: television advertisements have gotten more clever, more specific, and most importantly, more ready to become instant viral sensations on the internet. A new IKEA commercial, whose release in the chilly weeks of October is no coincidence, cleverly parodies one of the most famous horror movies of all time and it's pretty cool.
Stephen Collins has been fired from director Seth MacFarlane's 'Ted 2' today after a recording of the actor admitting to child molestation made its way online. This horrifying news is compounded by the fact that Collins is best known for playing the loving Rev. Eric Camden on the beloved family drama '7th Heaven' for 11 seasons.
There actually was a new film released this week. It's called 'The Identical' and it's a Christian-themed fable about what would have happened if Elvis Presley's stillborn twin brother had survived. Well, for reasons that should be obvious after reading that sentence, 'Guardians of the Galaxy' held onto the number one spot this weekend while 'The Identical' opened outside of the top 10, never to be heard from again.
A few weeks ago, this column was skeptical that Marvel's 'Guardians of the Galaxy' could reach $300 million. Now, it seems impossible that it won't. Thanks to ecstatic word of mouth, killer marketing and only one genuinely successful box office challenger (that would be 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles'), Marvel's oddball space opera has managed to spend three of the past four weekends at the number one spot at the box office, giving it enough momentum to officially become the highest grossing film of 2014.
For awhile there, it looked like 'Star Wars: Episode 7' was in trouble. Harrison Ford had broken his leg in a freak Millennium Falcon accident and there were rumors that the production was going to be shut down for weeks! Months! Forever!!! And then Harrison Ford got better and the only real damage to the schedule was a two-week break where everyone made ice bucket challenge videos and refused to answer questions to prying reporters on red carpets.
And now, 'Star Wars: Episode 7' has officially resumed filming.
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