After September opened with a whimper, we were prepared for a dull couple of weeks. It looks like we shouldn’t have been so quick to judge. The one-two punch of The Perfect Guy and The Visit have suddenly made the least interesting month of the year interesting, opening big and opening close enough to one another to make for an interesting race. In the slower movie months, weekends like these are rare treats.
Summer is officially over, September is here, and the movies stink. While the big releases and heavy-hitters of the fall movie season make the festival rounds or rev up their marketing campaigns, audiences have to tough it out and wade through a lot of not-so-good movies. Welcome to September. It’s like this every year. Get ready for an excruciating month at the movies and at the box office.
The original The Karate Kid is one of those seemingly untouchable slices of ‘80s nostalgia. Everyone above a certain age has a soft spot for it. It has effortlessly merged with general pop culture, with characters like Mr. Miyagi and lines like “Wax on, wax off” existing outside of the film that created them. It’s a touchstone … but what if it’s a touchstone that we have been misunderstanding for the past 31 years? What if Ralph Macchio’s Daniel isn’t the hero of the film, but actually – dun dun DUN – the real bad guy?
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.
By the time Kung Fu Panda 3 hits theaters, it’ll have been five years since the previous adventure of Jack Black’s Po and his martial artist animal buddies. For the kids weened on the first two movies, that’s practically a lifetime. Considering the diminishing creative (but certainly not financial) returns between Kung Fu Panda and Kung Fu Panda 2, will anyone care about this movie when it ultimately lurches into theaters? Consider that question as soon as you click play on the trailer above.
Everyone knew that Jurassic World was going to open big, but no one saw this coming. The fourth film in the beloved dinosaur-centric franchise had the second biggest domestic opening of all time, the biggest June opening of all time, and, with $511 million worldwide, the biggest international opening of all time. It also broke a bunch of records that we’ll get to in a few minutes. This was supposed to be the summer of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Unless something goes horribly wrong, this is officially the summer of Jurassic World.
Tomorrowland may have taken the top spot at the box office in its debut weekend, but things still look awfully grim for the George Clooney sci-fi vehicle. Not only did the film open far below expectations, it faced serious competition in Pitch Perfect 2, which continued to kick aca-butt in its second weekend. And it wasn’t the only new release to under-perform, with the Poltergeist remake also falling short of early predictions. If you were a new release this weekend, things were awfully rough.
In one weekend, Pitch Perfect 2 has handily outgrossed the entire run of its predecessor, proving that you should never underestimate a sleeper hit that steadily grows an army of dedicated followers through the power of Blu-ray and DVD. Right below it, Mad Max: Fury Road opened to respectable numbers that will look disastrous to anyone who doesn’t pay attention to the details. Let’s dive in.
There’s a bizarre narrative floating around the internet: Avengers: Age of Ultron is already a disappointment because it didn’t open higher than The Avengers in its first weekend. This seems to be ignoring the fact that The Avengers had the biggest opening of all time and Avengers: Age of Ultron now has the second biggest opening of all time, which is nothing to scoff at. Sure, the sequel may not match the numbers of the first movie in the end, but it’s already well on the way to becoming one of the biggest movies of the year. And of all time.
If there were any lingering doubts about the popularity of Star Wars in the year 2015, Star Wars Celebration killed them. Ruthlessly. When the the live-streamed panel for Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiered the second trailer for J.J. Abrams’ wildly anticipated sequel, you could feel the internet quiver and shake underneath the weight of the hype. It was a staggering event that made the next few geek-friendly trailers released in the following days feel like small potatoes in comparison. And yes, this hyperbole is backed up by raw numbers: the second trailer for The Force Awakens shattered the record for most trailer views in 24 hours.
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