As major movie productions keep on getting more secretive, even the best laid plans keep on getting foiled by one thing: merchandising. Yes, hide you costumes and characters and plot points all you want, because when the toys arrive, all bets are off! The latest casualty in this very silly war is Iron Man’s new armor (the Mark XLIII), which was supposedly going to make its debut at some point in ‘Avengers 2’ but can now be clearly seen, examined, and salivated over in toy form.
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.
Stephen King’s ‘It’ is a beast of a book. Over its 1,000-plus pages, the novel follows a group of close-knit friends who do battle with a malevolent, child-killing force in their youth, only to reunite decades later to finish the job. It’s a messy, ambitious and insanely (perversely, even) detailed work. It feels unadaptable. But no one tell that to ‘True Detective’ director Cary Fukunaga, whose long-gestating adaptation is finally going before cameras next summer.
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.
Ever since it was first revealed that director Gareth Edwards and screenwriter Gary Whitta were teaming up to make the first official ‘Star Wars’ spin-off movie, the internet has been ablaze with theories concerning what this thing could possibly be about. Now, an unconfirmed report from a reliable source claims to have discovered the plot of the 2016 film and if it’s true, fans of the saga are in for a real treat.
There‘s going to be a lot of blood and ink spilled across the internet on the subject of the opening weekend for ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1.’ Yes, the third film in the series did open significantly lower than its predecessors. Yes, there are definitely people at Lionsgate wringing their hands and trying to figure out why the film opened below expectations. And yet, that opening weekend is still massive. It’s three day total is larger than most movies ever have a chance to make in their entire runs. So, let's have some perspective as we dive into this week’s top 10.
It's been three years since ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ was unleashed upon an unsuspecting populace, convincing even the most die hard fans of Disney's lucrative franchise that Captain Jack Sparrow needed to take a break. Maybe forever. And yet, these past years have been filled with rumors and casting and almost-casting for ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.’ Like it or not, this film is coming and now it has the young up-and-comer Brenton Thwaites in its drunken, slurred, overlong clutches.
Yes, the internet just shook with squeals of glee (no pun intended): the ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ trailer has arrived and, for better or worse, it looks like a whole lot more of the same. For fans, that's perfectly okay! Why fix something that clearly isn't broken? For the people who just couldn't deal with the first entry, this one promises all kinds of new nightmares and/or migraines.
Yes, it’s easy to decry the permeation of film marketing and our obsession with trailers and posters and previews, but let’s just be honest with ourselves here: The ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ trailer is going to an event that rivals the release of most movies. Think back to the good ‘ol days of 1998 (”A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...”) and remember how fans would buy tickets to ‘A Bug’s Life’ and ‘The Siege’ just to watch the teaser trailer for ‘Star Wars: Episode I.’ If you’re one of those people and want to replicate that experience, you’d better pre-order your ticket for ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ pretty soon.
Marvel's ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ was one of the most surprising blockbusters of 2014 for a variety of reasons, but one of the most interesting side effects of its success is that it got people all over the world listening to a bunch of catchy songs from the '60s and ‘70s. Yes, Star-Lord's “Awesome Mix Vol. 1” mix tape took the world by storm, even reaching number one on the billboard charts. Considering how much the soundtrack informed the tone of the film, it's not surprising that the movie ended with the reveal of an “Awesome Mix Vol. 2,” which we‘ll surely get to hear in the sequel.
Now, director James Gunn has revealed the existence of and “Awesome Mix Vol. 0” playlist.
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