As major movie productions keep on getting more secretive, even the best laid plans keep on getting foiled by one thing: merchandising. Yes, hide you costumes and characters and plot points all you want, because when the toys arrive, all bets are off! The latest casualty in this very silly war is Iron Man’s new armor (the Mark XLIII), which was supposedly going to make its debut at some point in ‘Avengers 2’ but can now be clearly seen, examined, and salivated over in toy form.
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.
Every generation has their Batman. Depending on the age of the person you ask, you’ll discover Adam West fans, Michael Keaton fans, Kevin Conroy fans and, if you stare into the darkness long enough, a George Clooney fan. For a certain group of fans, Christian Bale’s take on the Dark Knight always be the definitive interpretation, with his gravelly growl and trademark intensity instantly beating out whatever Ben Affleck brings to the character in ‘Batman vs. Superman.’ Some of these people are going to resent Affleck no matter what. And, in a surprising turn of events, it looks like they can all rally around Bale himself.
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.
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.
Marvel's ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ was one of the most surprising blockbusters of 2014 for a variety of reasons, but one of the most interesting side effects of its success is that it got people all over the world listening to a bunch of catchy songs from the '60s and ‘70s. Yes, Star-Lord's “Awesome Mix Vol. 1” mix tape took the world by storm, even reaching number one on the billboard charts. Considering how much the soundtrack informed the tone of the film, it's not surprising that the movie ended with the reveal of an “Awesome Mix Vol. 2,” which we‘ll surely get to hear in the sequel.
Now, director James Gunn has revealed the existence of and “Awesome Mix Vol. 0” playlist.
A sequel to 1994’s ‘Dumb and Dumber’ seemed like a silly idea until ‘Dumb and Dumber To’ went and made $36 million in its opening weekend. Now, the sky is the limit for the aging idiots played by Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels and the thought of a third film (‘Dumb and Dumberer’ is not official canon) doesn’t seem all that crazy. In fact, the new film is already waaay ahead of you. If you stuck around through the end credits of ‘Dumb and Dumber To,’ you already know that the post-credits scene teases a theoretical third entry in the series.
‘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.
When Woody Harrelson was revealed to be hosting ‘SNL’ just a few days before the new ‘Hunger Games’ movie was set to open in theaters, it was obvious that the massively popular franchise would, somehow, figure into at least one sketch. Surprisingly, that ended up being the opening monologue, which featured Harrelson performing his own version of Taylor Swift's ‘1989.’ With a little help from some friends.
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.
Although 'Nightcrawler,' the only new wide release of the week, did end up taking the top spot at the box office this weekend, it did so in one of the tightest races we've ever seen. The top six films all came within $3 million of each other and the order could have radically changed by a stiff breeze for all we know. Heck, some titles may get swapped around by tomorrow when the studios release some more official numbers.
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