After September opened with a whimper, we were prepared for a dull couple of weeks. It looks like we shouldn’t have been so quick to judge. The one-two punch of The Perfect Guy and The Visit have suddenly made the least interesting month of the year interesting, opening big and opening close enough to one another to make for an interesting race. In the slower movie months, weekends like these are rare treats.
All summer movie seasons end with a whimper and 2015 was no different. The final weekend of August was a pretty sad display across the board, with Straight Outta Compton nabbing the number one spot by default while just about every new release faltered. You know it’s a slow weekend when a movie promoted exclusively to faith-based audiences nabs the number two spot.
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?
Straight Outta Compton dominated the box office for the second weekend in a row, ensuring that every other movie in the top 10 that doesn’t feature Tom Cruise trembled in its mighty wake. Anyone with their finger on the cultural pulse foresaw the N.W.A. biopic doing well, but it’s performing above and beyond all expectations.
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.
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.
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.
As expected, the Fourth of July holiday weekend saw a lot of people heading to the theater. Unfortunately for the new releases, those people gravitated toward films that have already been in theaters for a few weeks. Once again, Jurassic World and Inside Out dominated the top 10, leaving newcomers like Terminator Genisys and Magic Mike XXL out in the cold.
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.
Tomorrowland may have taken the top spot at the box office in its debut weekend, but things still look awfully grim for the George Clooney sci-fi vehicle. Not only did the film open far below expectations, it faced serious competition in Pitch Perfect 2, which continued to kick aca-butt in its second weekend. And it wasn’t the only new release to under-perform, with the Poltergeist remake also falling short of early predictions. If you were a new release this weekend, things were awfully rough.
Last night’s generally unremarkable episode of SNL peaked early when it took advantage of its proximity to Mother’s Day to do something kind of remarkable. As part of her opening monologue, guest host Reese Witherspoon declared that the show was going to mark the occasion by bringing each cast member out with his or her mother...and then forcing them to apologize for their childhood transgressions.
As expected, Avengers: Age of Ultron dominated the box office for the second weekend in a row, pulling in numbers that would be the envy of most summer blockbusters’ opening three days. And while the only new release of the week faltered, it was a surprisingly strong week overall, with many of the films in the top 10 faring well despite facing one of the biggest movies of the year.
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