All summer movie seasons end with a whimper and 2015 was no different. The final weekend of August was a pretty sad display across the board, with Straight Outta Compton nabbing the number one spot by default while just about every new release faltered. You know it’s a slow weekend when a movie promoted exclusively to faith-based audiences nabs the number two spot.
We’ve known for a long time that Star Wars: The Force Awakens would screen in IMAX theaters because director J.J. Abrams filmed one key sequence with IMAX cameras. But now, we’ve learned the full extent of Disney and Lucasfilm’s plans for large format presentation and it’s exactly what you’d expect from a studio that has the most popular movie franchise on the planet and the power to do whatever it wants with it. The new Star Wars movie has booked pretty much every IMAX screen in the world for four weeks. Everyone with the desire to see this movie on the biggest movie screens in the world now has plenty of time to do so.
Yesterday, photos of Bruce Willis filming director Woody Allen’s latest (and currently untitled) movie surfaced online and the everything seemed fine. Just another late-era Allen production that inexplicably features a killer line-up of movie stars! Move along, nothing to see here! However, something seems to have gone horribly wrong between yesterday and today because Willis has abruptly dropped out of the film. That’s the news. What follows is gossip, albeit interesting gossip.
Straight Outta Compton dominated the box office for the second weekend in a row, ensuring that every other movie in the top 10 that doesn’t feature Tom Cruise trembled in its mighty wake. Anyone with their finger on the cultural pulse foresaw the N.W.A. biopic doing well, but it’s performing above and beyond all expectations.
Every time a movie about and for audiences who aren’t white and male does well, everyone acts like it’s a big surprise. “Black people and women like movies? Who’da thunk it?” It’s actually not surprising at all that Straight Outta Compton had a massive opening, handily defeating its more standard competition. Because all kinds of people like movies and when you make movies for all kinds of people, you end up with huge weekends at the box office.
It should come as no surprise that fancy new limited editions of the original six Star Wars movies are hitting Blu-ray later this year. Did you think Disney and Lucasfilm weren’t going to do everything in their power to wring every last penny out of this devoted fan base? After all, everything about Star Wars: The Force Awakens has us weak in the knees. We have never been more vulnerable to large corporations exploiting our love. And now we know what love looks like: a series of very cool steelbook Blu-rays, complete with new art.
Jurassic World is finally starting to slow down at the box office, but it’s going to bow out as the third highest-grossing film of all time at the domestic box office and international box office. That means that the only director to have made a more financially successful film than Colin Trevorrow is James Cameron of Titanic and Avatar fame. Not bad for a guy who was toiling away in indie obscurity a few years ago. Anyway, Trevorrow found some time in between taking baths in tubs filled with cash to chat about the inevitable sequel, dropping the first hints about what we can expect from the follow-up to Jurassic World.
A few weeks ago, tracking for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation was supposedly in the toilet. Early reports suggested that Tom Cruise’s fifth outing as super-spy Ethan Hunt was not getting people excited. This would be the end, the experts said, of a franchise that has kept Cruise’s career surging forward for the past two decades. Well, that was apparently a big load of crap because Rogue Nation opened well and opened in the same ballpark as the rest of the franchise. Even with inflation differences, this series keeps on hitting the same box office sweet spot.
Edge of Tomorrow — the best summer blockbuster of 2014 — may have underwhelmed at the domestic box office, but it’s difficult to find anyone who actually watched it who didn’t have a great time with it. So when Tom Cruise starts teasing a potential sequel that will reunite him and Emily Blunt for another round of time-traveling, alien-shooting, heavy-armor-wearing, yoga-posing awesomeness, our ears perk up. Yes please, we would like an Edge of Tomorrow 2.
Paramount really wants you to see Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and they’re nudging you in the ribs using the most effective marketing tactic in the history of marketing tactics...they’re giving you free stuff. Specifically, they’re giving you free digital copies of the first four Mission: Impossible movies, reminding you that this series has been 75% good and that you should start getting excited for the new one.
At the time of this writing, early estimates for the weekend box office have Ant-Man edging out Pixels for the top spot in this week’s top 10. That could change. With less than $1 million separating the films, Pixels may very well slide into first place tomorrow, winning one very close competition. But even if it does claim ultimate victory, it doesn’t change the fact that Pixels’ opening weekend is a massive disappointment and another nail in the coffin of Adam Sandler’s career.
It would be easy to label the opening weekend for Ant-Man a failure. After all, it’s significantly lower than the openings for recent Marvel Studios movies and it’s a good $130 million less than the three-day opening Avengers: Age of Ultron had a few months ago. But let’s not be so hasty. Its opening numbers may not have blown anyone away, but Ant-Man’s box office arrival is textbook Marvel.
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