MOVIE BOX OFFICE
$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.