With some of the year’s biggest movies only a month or two away, the box office seems to have entered a holding pattern. Some of the new releases are minor hits. Others crash and burn. Right now, Hollywood just seems to be crossing their fingers and hoping for the sweet, sweet summer movie season to come along and save them (or at least the April release of Furious 7). In other words, every new release underperformed this weekend.
Last year, John Travolta took the Oscar stage to introduce Idina Menzel so she could perform “Let It Go” from Frozen. What should have been a very simple, teleprompter-aided introduction quickly became a Big Deal when Travolta stumbled over his words. Instead of “Idina Menzel,” Travolta said “Adele Dazeem.” An internet meme was born and everyone added another great John Travolta joke to their repertoire. The 2015 Oscars decided to revisit that memorable flub and the results were weird, awkward, and yeah, pretty funny.
For many viewers, the Oscars are are chance to snark and make fun of everything that happens on stage (and can you blame ‘em?). But then the “In Memoriam” segment comes around and reduces even the most cynical person to puddle of bubbling tears. The 2015 Oscars “In Memoriam” is no different, offering a whirlwind tour through a year’s worth of beloved people who passed away. Get ready ... it’s about to get a little dusty in here.
We all watch the Oscars for different reasons. Some watch for the sheer spectacle. Some watch to see if the movies they like actually win something. Some watch so they can drunkenly criticize what everyone is wearing. But in the end, it all comes down to all viewers doing the exact same thing: watching people thank other people for upwards of three hours. But which people have been thanked the most in 86 years of Oscar history? Someone with a lot of time on their hands decided to figure that out.
The first ‘Pitch Perfect’ was a sleeper success, doing surprisingly solid business at the box office and earning equally solid reviews from critics. But it was home video that transformed this little a cappella comedy into a genuine sensation, instantly becoming the favorite film of 12-year-old girls (and their initially reluctant parents) all over the world. So the new ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ trailer arrives with the air of an event film. The sequel is not an underdog, but the Bigger, Flashier, and Louder follow-up that has the confidence to suggest that there is an entire franchise to be found here.
In news that should surprise approximately no one, a new study from the University of Texas at Austin has discovered that “binge-watching” has been linked to depression, loneliness, and the inability to make wise decisions, like getting off the couch and doing anything else. Researchers Wei-Na Lee, Yoon Hi Sung and Eun Yeon Kang surveyed 316 people between the ages of 18 and 29, asking them about their mental and emotional states while they marathoned TV shows on Netflix (the study defined binge-watching as at least three episodes in a row).
‘Breaking Bad’ may be completely, definitively over, but that doesn’t mean Walter White is ready to leave popular culture alone. Oh, no. As long as Bryan Cranston is alive and as lone as insurance companies are prepared to back dump trucks full of cash up this house, we’ll get to see America’s favorite meth dealer pop up every so often. So while it’s weird to se Cranston play Heisenberg one more time in an Esurance commercial, it’s not that surprising.
In most years, January tends to be the most boring month of the year for the box office. This is where Hollywood typically sends the movies in which it has the least faith. This is the dumping ground, the place where movies go to die so the studios can concentrate on their Oscar campaigns. However, thanks to ‘American Sniper,’ this January has bucked every trend. It may technically be a 2014 release, but Clint Eastwood’s war film has made the first chunk of 2015 interesting, shattering expectations and threatening to become the highest grossing film of last year in only a few weeks.
Super Bowl commercials are still a big, huge, massive, crazy deal, with major corporations shelling out absurd amounts of money on ads designed to win over the most reliably large and receptive audience in all of televised sports. So of course ‘SNL’ was going to contribute its own commercial parody to the mix...but man, no one was expecting something this mean, scathing or on-point.
Okay, let’s ask the big question: what the hell is ‘Chappie’? The first trailer made the film look like a slightly goofy and overly sentimental ‘Short Circuit’ riff, with the title robot learning about the world ... while teaching us (blech). The new trailer feels more like director Neill Blomkamp’s previous work, showcasing wacky science fiction ideas and explosive action. In any case, we’re definitely not sold on the film yet based on either trailer.
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.
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