With some of the year’s biggest movies only a month or two away, the box office seems to have entered a holding pattern. Some of the new releases are minor hits. Others crash and burn. Right now, Hollywood just seems to be crossing their fingers and hoping for the sweet, sweet summer movie season to come along and save them (or at least the April release of Furious 7). In other words, every new release underperformed this weekend.
We all watch the Oscars for different reasons. Some watch for the sheer spectacle. Some watch to see if the movies they like actually win something. Some watch so they can drunkenly criticize what everyone is wearing. But in the end, it all comes down to all viewers doing the exact same thing: watching people thank other people for upwards of three hours. But which people have been thanked the most in 86 years of Oscar history? Someone with a lot of time on their hands decided to figure that out.
In most years, January tends to be the most boring month of the year for the box office. This is where Hollywood typically sends the movies in which it has the least faith. This is the dumping ground, the place where movies go to die so the studios can concentrate on their Oscar campaigns. However, thanks to ‘American Sniper,’ this January has bucked every trend. It may technically be a 2014 release, but Clint Eastwood’s war film has made the first chunk of 2015 interesting, shattering expectations and threatening to become the highest grossing film of last year in only a few weeks.
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.
Okay, let’s ask the big question: what the hell is ‘Chappie’? The first trailer made the film look like a slightly goofy and overly sentimental ‘Short Circuit’ riff, with the title robot learning about the world ... while teaching us (blech). The new trailer feels more like director Neill Blomkamp’s previous work, showcasing wacky science fiction ideas and explosive action. In any case, we’re definitely not sold on the film yet based on either trailer.
After the jam-packed month of December, with its huge family-friendly blockbusters and awards season Oscar bait, we have arrived in the month of January. Formerly a dumping ground for mediocre films, the month has taken on a new identity in the past few years as a testing ground for unique genre films (think ‘Cloverfield’) and a solid place to release a horror movie, which seems to do quite well right around New Year’s for whatever reason. This year, we have ‘The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death,’ which had a fairly solid opening. Not solid enough to topple the Christmas Week champions, but no one is complaining too much.
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.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Justin Lin was being courted by Universal to return to the ‘Fast and Furious’ series after taking ‘Furious 7’ off and giving the director's seat to James Wan. It was also reported that his return would be be part of a two film “grand finale” that would send this beloved franchise driving off into the sunset. But that second part is just plain silly. Have you seen the box office receipts for these movies? So it should come as no surprise that the studio has “at least three” more Dominic Toretto and company adventures in the pipeline.
The showdown between 'Interstellar' and 'Big Hero 6' has got to be one of the most interesting things to happen to the box office in 2014. After all, it would be tough to find two movies that are simultaneously so different and so alike. Both are pro-science adventures that are all about using your intelligence to save your friends and family. However, one is an animated, family friendly release from Disney and the other is a three-hour epic from the ever-serious Christopher Nolan. In other words, they represent opposite ends of the blockbuster spectrum.
It feels like common sense: of course the horror movie released a week before Halloween is going to win the weekend war at the box office over the action movie. And yet, most horror movies continue to get released as far away from the season of the witch as possible. Can the recent success of 'Annabelle' and this weekend's 'Ouija' change that?
The 2014 Oscars, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, started off with a bang. The comedienne, who previously hosted seven years ago, took the stage and immediately made it her own. Like any host worth her salt, she took the material given to her and blended it with her own specific persona, giving the telecast a gentle and amusing start.
For the third weekend in a row, 'The LEGO Movie' effortlessly held onto the number one spot at the box office, cutting down all of the newbies that showed up to dethrone it. Don't cry to hard for '3 Days to Kill,' but feel free to wince a'plenty for 'Pompeii.'
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