MOVIE BOX OFFICE
This weekend Harry and Floyd made a triumphant return to the big screen twenty years after the original made a splash, creating two pop culture icons out of the main characters. Dumb and Dumber To landed a solid number one with a $38 million debut. That's more than double what the original made in 1994 when it banked $16 million.
Christopher Nolan is a director whose name has become synonymous with big number one openings. His last five movies opened at number one two of those topped $150 million their opening weekend. But this weekend he had to settle for a close second place.
Halloween had a spate of horror, thriller and just plain creepy dramas in theaters, but none of them performed very well. That might be because getting candy for free going door to door is way better than taking out a second mortgage to be able to afford the kinds sold in movie theaters, but more likely audiences are just saving their pennies for bigger entries set to roll out in the next few weeks.
$340 million dollars. That's how far behind domestic box office ticket sales are from last year. In fact, sales are so slow they could end up being the lowest in seven years. That will be down to how well the holiday movies fare come December, but until then the usual October doldrums aren't doing much to help.
Gone Girl held the number one spot for a second weekend in a row, while four newcomers settled for non-exciting to down right disappointing openings. Several major small release indie and indie-ish movies hit theaters with mixed results.
It was a good weekend for director David Fincher and his leading man Ben Affleck. Not only was their new movie Gone Girl number one this weekend, it banked a total that is one of the highest for each.
In the mid to late 80s Edward Woodward was The Equalizer. His character, Robert McCall, brought a grin to audience's faces by wiping the grin off the faces of particularly egregious and dangerous criminals in particularly painful and fitting ways. Critics were lukewarm about the new film revival of the character as played by Denzel Washington, but audiences were interested enough to give it a decent number one opening.
The Maze Runner, based on yet another series of young adult books set in a sci-fi-ish, post-apocolyptic-ish world took first place, but only banked $32 million. That's a modest showing at best, well short of openings like Divergent's $54 million debut in March and the hugely successful Hunger Games franchise and its triple digit bow ins. Still, Maze Runner's $32 million start isn't bad when compared with its equally modest budget of $34 million, making it a viable, if not wildly successful, financial franchise.
After three quiet weeks in a row at number one, Guardians of the Galaxy finally began the usual descent down the charts, but not before crossing the $300 million mark. Already the number one movie of the year so far, that total makes it one of less than fifty movies to ever bank that much money in domestic sales.
The cinematic doldrums of September and October are off to an unusually quiet start with one of the slowest weekends in recent box office history.
Labor Day Weekend didn't bring anything new and exciting for audiences to enjoy, and in return people pretty much stayed away from the movies, making the weekend the second lowest of the year so far.
This weekend the staying power of quality comic-book-movie-making over crappy comic-book-movie-remaking proved there is a little bit of justice in the world of the box office. After two weekends playing second fiddle to the inferior Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles debacle, Guardians of the Galaxy held on strong enough to retake number one for a second weekend to date.
The new competition this weekend was no competition at all, leaving the box office to begin sloughing through its slow, steady chain of mostly sleepy stuff that fills in the gap between the end of summer and the beginning of the holiday bonanza.
Some movies hit theaters and prove that no matter how bad the movie is, no matter how many critics point out its copious flaws, and no matter how disappointing the trailers might be, audiences with a notable lack of taste and common sense will still turn up to watch the drivel explode like cinematic diahrea off the screen and through their 3-D glasses. It's also interesting to note how many of those movies involve Michael Bay.
August is usually the lame second cousin of the summer blockbuster season. All the really major entries get released in May through July. Maybe Buena Vista was a little hesitant about how well received Guardians of the Galaxy would be when they chose to launch it in August, but the comic blockbuster saw a massive opening, shattering the current August opening record.
The big summer blockbuster heading to theaters this weekend ended up washing out, leaving room for number one to go to a quirky director who hasn't had a movie in the top spot in almost twenty years.
Friday was a bumper day for horror flick The Purge: Anarchy and for a moment it looked like it might be number one this weekend. But audiences for the movie got it out of their system opening night and the rest of the weekend went to last week's number one Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
If there was to be a proportionate increase in ticket sales for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes based on how much better it was than is predecessor Rise of the Planet of the Apes, it would have easily done twice as well. As it was, Dawn did better, but not by so wide a margin. With a $73 million debut it was well above the $54 million opening of Rise and an easy number one for the weekend.
Three new movies hit theaters for the Fourth of July holiday, but none of them unseated last weekend's number one.
There was only one new entry into the summer fray this weekend, and without much surprise Transformers: Age of Extinction was not only panned by critics, it was number one. Estimates have the movie standing at exactly $100 million, a dubious number that probably means that Paramount's probably hoping for the best, but when the actual numbers roll in it probably won't quite be that high. Just the same it's the highest opening of the year so far in a year where opening weekends for blockbuster movies aren't as impressive as they've been in the recent past.
Summer sequels took the top three spots this weekend, with newcomer Think Like A Man Too banking number one with $30 million. That's down slightly from the opening weekend of its predecessor which earned a $33 million debut two years ago.
Two sequels to two popular movies went head to head this weekend. One was after the rated-R crowd, the other after the family friendly folks, but there was still one that was expected to come out on top. It didn't.
Ask folks on the street which movie they think would do better on opening weekend, an action flick starring Tom Cruise or an adaptation of a young adult drama novel, most people would probably put their money on Cruise. This weekend proved yet again that these days the second most powerful box office demographic behind comic book fans are teenage girls.
Maleficent may have taken one of Disney's most wicked and terrifying villains and turned her into a limp shadow of her former self, but the film's sparkling marketing and Angelina Jolie's ability to look beautifully creepy in horns and cheek-bone defining facial appliances led the movie to a $70 million number one this weekend.
The four day Memorial Day holiday weekend saw the latest entry to the X-Men franchise dominate the box office. But it was also a great example of how franchises are struggling to keep up with themselves, both in money made and tickets sold.