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.
As expected, ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ won the weekend, but a quick examination of the actual numbers makes this victory feel just a little hollow. The same goes for ‘Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb’ and ‘Annie,’ both of which took second and third place without putting forward particularly impressive numbers. Yep, the holiday box office looked just a little rough this weekend.
The odd couple is one of the basic principles of comedy. You take two very different people, fling them into an absurd situation and (hopefully) rack up some good laughs. The ‘Get Hard’ trailer shows off one of the more inspired comedic pairings in recent memory, with the tall whiter-than-white Will Ferrell teaming up with the short black Kevin Hart. If the differences between two lead actors generated laughs on their own, then this is already the funniest movie of 2015.
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.
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.
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.
It feels like common sense: of course the horror movie released a week before Halloween is going to win the weekend war at the box office over the action movie. And yet, most horror movies continue to get released as far away from the season of the witch as possible. Can the recent success of 'Annabelle' and this weekend's 'Ouija' change that?
The first 'Into the Woods' trailer left many people scratching their heads because it featured no singing for what is ostensibly a musical and it kept Johnny Depp, one of the biggest names in the cast, completely offscreen. However, Depp's Big Bad Wolf has made the cover of Entertainment Weekly (along with the rest of the ensemble cast), giving us our first look at Disney's favorite leading man in his latest wacky costume.
With 'Frozen' still a raging phenomenon and 'Big Hero 6' right around the corner, the folks at Disney Animation are probably feeling pretty good about their lives and careers at the moment. So the first news about their next film, 'Moana,' arrives at a time when the world's most famous animation studio is at a fairly incredible high and like their last major blockbuster, this is a female-led adventure. Prepare for the merchandise, parents.
'Gone Girl' may have barely won its first weekend at the box office over 'Annabelle,' but in its second week of release, it emerged as the real victor. Fighting off tons of new competition, David Fincher's thriller held onto the number one spot and made it look easy.
The unfortunate and untimely death of the great Jan Hooks this past week sent the comedy world into mourning, with countless writers and comics stepping forward to pay tribute to the late 'SNL' star. It could have been easy for this week's new episode to gloss over the passing of one of their own (it is a comedy show, after all), but 'SNL' has always been a slightly class institution -- it remembers those who came before.
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