A lot of people are going to act like they didn’t see the enormous success of ‘American Sniper’ coming, but the signs were all there. On top of the promising limited release numbers, there was the awards buzz. On top of that, there were the names of director Clint Eastwood and star Bradley Cooper. On top of that, the subject matter of the film is inherently attractive to the same category of moviegoer that makes Christian-themed films into massive hits. ‘American Sniper’ had one doozy of a weekend, but it’s not that surprising.
Although all of the public focus is currently on the looming release of ‘Star Wars: Episode 7,’ Disney, Lucasfilm and director Gareth Edwards are currently trying to whip the first standalone film in the saga into shape. A few days ago, original screenwriter Gary Whitta amicably departed the project after completing his initial draft, leading the entire internet to wonder what’s next for this mysterious project, which is still due out in 2016. Now, it looks like the next screenwriter writer has already been found. Enter Simon Kinberg.
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.
‘Batman vs. Superman’ doesn’t open until 2016, but our first glimpse at footage from Zack Snyder’s ‘Man of Steel’ follow-up may be right around the corner. According to the latest internet buzz, the first teaser trailer for the film will arrive next month, attached to ‘Jupiter Ascending.’
Last night, we reported that 20th Century Fox was shaking up its schedule, maneuvering sequels to ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ and ‘Fantastic Four’ into new positions. However, one of the films given a new release date is a project that continues to perplex us: the adaptation of the popular video game ‘Assassin’s Creed,’ which was first announced ages ago as a franchise for Michael Fassbender. Will we ever see this movie or will it continue to keep shifting further and further backwards on Fox’s schedule until it vanishes altogether?
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.
Okay, Marvel. This is cute. As exhausting as “teasers for trailers” can be, we’ll give you credit for this ‘Ant-Man’ preview, which is more of a snarky joke than an actual piece of marketing. Technically, this is our first look at footage from the upcoming film, but someone has apparently saturated the video with Pym Particles because the screen is literally too small for us to actually comprehend anything that’s going on.
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.
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.
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