It’s hard to imagine Hollywood without Steven Spielberg. Spielberg’s career as a filmmaker serves as a perfect parallel for contemporary film history. From his humble beginnings outside the collection of University of Southern California wunderkinds to his commercial dominance at the multiplex, Spielberg did more than just make movies that wowed millions of people around the world: he also disrupted an entire industry, changing the way Hollywood approached filmmaking and establishing the format for blockbuster films that persists to this day.
It feels like we’ve been watching the same six or seven movies shift places on the charts for weeks now, which makes what happened this weekend such a breath of fresh air. With four new releases all cracking the charts, we’ve at least got a little bit of variety in the titles we’ll be discussing, and no The Emoji Movie near the list. I’ll put that down as a win in my book any day of the week. Here’s the estimated box office grosses as of Sunday afternoon:
It’s now been two weekends since Pennywise the Dancing Clown was unleashed upon unsuspecting audiences, and Hollywood may never be the same. Seriously. The kind of box office numbers we’re seeing right now will inspire, uh, major changes in how Hollywood tries to jump on specific trends. And while two new movies made a sort of solid showing for themselves over the weekend, the fact is this: it’s Pennywise’s world. We’re just living in it. Here’s the box office projections as of Sunday afternoon:
Well, that’s kinda awkward timing. On Thursday of last week, the New York Times published an article titled “Attacked by Rotten Tomatoes,” an in-depth look at the popular review aggregation site and the role it may have played in this summer’s disappointing box office numbers. The article ends with a prolonged examination of the various ways that studios are trying to “battle Rotten Tomatoes on multiple fronts,” seemingly accepting the idea that Rotten Tomatoes has been bad for the movie industry (despite the fact that Rotten Tomatoes is, in fact, owned by said members of the movie industry). The article may have been an interesting read for those unfamiliar with the controversy, but for those in the know, it was old news, part of an ongoing debate that tried to argue that critics were duping poor, easily misled moviegoers.
Welcome to the calm before the storm. With a handful of blockbuster movies already released, and more on the way, the second weekend in April was a relatively quiet affair, with a few old favorites dominating the weekend yet again and a few new releases grabbing whatever box office they could before things get fast and furious at your local multiplex. Let’s take a look at the projected grosses through Sunday afternoon.
In a parallel universe where Paramount Pictures doesn’t alienate its fanbase, we might be talking about Ghost in the Shell as the big winner of this weekend and the de facto start of a new wave of Japanese Hollywood adaptations. Instead, DreamWorks Animation and The Boss Baby blew up the box office, no doubt delighting a handful of DreamWorks executives who watched the Ghost in the Shell controversy unfold with glasses of champagne in hand. After all, nobody’s going to boycott a movie about a baby who wears a suit.
It might be a tale as old as time, but audiences have proven there’s still a few petals left on that old flower. Despite being projected to open at somewhere between $214–245 million worldwide, Beauty and the Beast knocked the pants off those projections, eclipsing $350 million at the international box office and setting a March record for domestic releases along the way. Let’s take a look at how things shook out this past weekend with some of the expected grosses.
While the giant ape in Kong: Skull Island may not climb any New York skyscrapers this time around, he certainly did climb the box office charts. The latest Warner Bros. monster movie shot all the way to the top spot in its opening weekend, with Logan and the surprising hit Get Out both shifting one spot down to accommodate him.
While not quite an award season darling, one of the more anticipated movies of the next two months is Juan Antonio Bayona’s adaptation of A Monster Calls, a movie about a young boy who dives into a fantasy world to deal with the pain of losing his mother. Sitting as a cross between The Iron Giant and Calvin and Hobbes, A Monster Calls is a film about childhood loss; those who saw the film on the festival circuit have already described it as an earnest tearjerker, including our own Erin Whitney at the Toronto International Film Festival.
How are your plans for Halloween shaping up? For me, the hardest part of throwing a Halloween party is choosing a soundtrack. We can probably all agree that those sound effect CDs — the ones with creaking doors and thunder and maniacal laughter — have no business outside of an elementary school haunted house, but then what? Do you put together a playlist of all the obvious soundtrack selections? Do you choose pop songs that have some vague tie-in to the season? Who really wants to hear Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” on Halloween for the umpteenth time, anyways?
Last month, the Los Angeles Times began a six-part story on Kelli Peters, a school volunteer and PTA member in the community of Irvine, California who became the unwitting subject of a bizarre conspiracy to ruin her family’s name. A few days later, Peters’ tell-all book, I’ll Get You! Drugs, Lies, and the Terrorizing of a PTA Mom, hit bookshelves across the country. It wasn’t long before the film rights to the book were shopped around in Hollywood, and now it appears a major star is interested in playing the role of Peters herself.
How’s this for awkward timing: just as an entire generation of moviegoers are rediscovering their love for Winona Ryder thanks to Stranger Things, her chances at reappearing in the role that made her famous may be dying on the vine. The last time we checked in on Beetlejuice 2, it was Ryder who thought the sequel might actually be happening. Now it is Michael Keaton, her costar from the original film, who seems determined to put the final nail in the coffin.
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