Good reviews and a phenomenal marketing campaign did their job this weekend. No number of foot-in-mouth moments from Matt Damon could harm the opening weekend of The Martian, which opened in the number one spot at the box office. After a surprisingly robust September, this is another sign that we may very looking at one of the bigger fall movie seasons in quite some time.
Alex Trebek is a cultural institution, a beacon of knowledge and grace under pressure. Everyone loves him. Which is why it’s always amusing to watch the unflappable host of Jeopardy say silly words and phrases in that reliable deadpan of his. A recent episode of the immortal game show saw him forced to say the name “Turd Ferguson,” which should amuse anyone with a passing knowledge of modern comedy.
With Star Wars: The Force Awakens only three months away from release, Disney and Lucasfilm are waist-deep in their plan to ensure that every human being on the planet with access to a movie theater will go see their new movie. Now, the next phase is upon us: put all six films on Netflix, to remind any doubters that they like Star Wars.
There are few performers as easy to watch as Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick. Both are blessed with that most uncommon superpower – they walk on screen and you instantly like them, no strings attached. So any movie that casts them side-by-side deserves your attention. If that movie is a musical, that movie becomes an instant must-see. But now Hollywood have decided to test your devotion by making them the leads in the upcoming Trolls, an animated musical based on those creepy Troll dolls.
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?
We’ve known for a long time that Star Wars: The Force Awakens would screen in IMAX theaters because director J.J. Abrams filmed one key sequence with IMAX cameras. But now, we’ve learned the full extent of Disney and Lucasfilm’s plans for large format presentation and it’s exactly what you’d expect from a studio that has the most popular movie franchise on the planet and the power to do whatever it wants with it. The new Star Wars movie has booked pretty much every IMAX screen in the world for four weeks. Everyone with the desire to see this movie on the biggest movie screens in the world now has plenty of time to do so.
Ride Along was one of the surprise hits of 2014, making a massive pile of cash in the traditionally slow month of January. A sequel was inevitable. Like clockwork, Ride Along 2 is set to arrive almost exactly two years to the day after the first film. Which means the second outing of Ice Cube and Kevin Hart’s mismatched buddy cops was written, shot, edited and will be released in the space of 728 days.
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.
Paramount really wants you to see Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and they’re nudging you in the ribs using the most effective marketing tactic in the history of marketing tactics...they’re giving you free stuff. Specifically, they’re giving you free digital copies of the first four Mission: Impossible movies, reminding you that this series has been 75% good and that you should start getting excited for the new one.
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.
Universal was already bathing in its Furious 7 and Jurassic World money Scrooge McDuck-style before Minions opened this week. Now the studio is looking at its third truly massive hit of the year, a run that feels nearly unprecedented. Universal already released two of the biggest movies of all time within the past four months, and now it’s looking like it may have three.
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