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 a debate that has literally raged on for decades. Who would win in a fight: the heroes of the Marvel comic book universe or the heroes of DC Comics? It’s mostly been a theoretical debate. Even a handful of special events over the years that saw both companies come together to pit their characters against one another have done little to solve things. This eternal, burning question is the inspiration behind a new fan-made trailer for a movie that will never, ever exist: ‘Marvel vs DC.’
The Sony hacking scandal has proven to be a massive headache for a company that’s already been having a rough few years. And now, this increasingly weird story has taken an even darker turn: the hackers are threatening to launch terrorist attacks against theaters showing ‘The Interview’ this Christmas. Seriously.
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.
Stephen King’s ‘It’ is a beast of a book. Over its 1,000-plus pages, the novel follows a group of close-knit friends who do battle with a malevolent, child-killing force in their youth, only to reunite decades later to finish the job. It’s a messy, ambitious and insanely (perversely, even) detailed work. It feels unadaptable. But no one tell that to ‘True Detective’ director Cary Fukunaga, whose long-gestating adaptation is finally going before cameras next summer.
Appropriately, the Thanksgiving holiday box office was all about the leftovers. While two high profile new releases struggled to open, films from the past few weeks continued to do solid business. In fact, this was one of the most varied weekends at the box office in quite some time, with YA adaptations, animated family movies, epic blockbusters, and small independent films all performing better than expected.
‘Big Hero 6’ may only be tangentially related to the Marvel comic on which it is based and completely unconnected to the larger Marvel cinematic universe, but it still has the obligatory Stan Lee cameo. Yes, this is an animated movie featuring an animated version of the legendary comic book icon/Marvel mascot. But hey, it’s a tradition at this point.
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 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.
The final 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' trailer has arrived and, well, it looks like another 'Hobbit' movie. If your faith in director Peter Jackson's vision of Middle-Earth remains unshaken, prepare to get excited. If the previous two films have muted your excitement for the series, prepare to see...more of the same.
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