And here we are: five weeks into the new year and we already have our first major blockbuster of 2014. Early estimates had 'The LEGO Movie' opening big, but the animated adventure shattered all expectations this weekend, with universally positive reviews and word of mouth sending the film to a massive opening.
Unless you had a personal stake in a film being released this weekend, movies were far from the most important thing happening to you these past couple of days. You can blame the weekend's mostly anemic box office on one thing: the Super Bowl. Everyone spent their money buying snacks and preparing their parties and not going to see 'That Awkward Moment' and 'Labor Day,' both of which opened soft.
After years behind the Weekend Update desk, the terrific Seth Meyers is leaving 'SNL' to pursue other projects. And by pursue other projects, we mean "take over as host of 'Late Night' while Jimmy Fallon ascends to 'The Tonight Show.'" Of course, something as important, popular and prominent as Meyers doesn't depart without some kind of send-off and the show sent him off in style.
Ah, a week at the box office where the new release flies completely under the radar and everything else feels like it's just hanging out because there's nothing else to push it off the charts. Welcome to January. Welcome to the home of movies like 'I Frankenstein,' which was dead on arrival this weekend and will vanish into dollar theaters within the next week or so.
Now that Disney has gobbled up everything that's important to you and your childhood, they're going to start doing what any corporation worth its salt would do: start squeezing every single possible dollar out of your bank account until your wallet cries uncle. The first step in their recent wave of corporate synergy was giving the 'Star Wars' comic license back to Marvel. Step two is an even bigger deal: giving Pixar a 'Star Wars' movie to make.
In the first truly busy weekend for new releases in 2014, Ice Cube and Kevin Hart took the competition, bent them over the knee and gave them a good spanking. Okay, you probably didn't want the image of those two spanking animated squirrels, demonic babies or Chris Pine in your head, but how else are we going to talk about the opening weekend for 'Ride Along'?
The "Golden Raspberry" Razzie awards set out to do the opposite work of the Academy Awards and "honor" the year's worst films, and every year, they have plenty of material to work with. While 2013 may have been one of the best years for movies in recent memory, it was also home to enough deplorable junk to make this a fairly interesting (if not at all surprising) year for Razzies.
We think that talking or texting during a movie is the epitome of rudeness and shouldn't be tolerated in any way. While we fully support hushing and zero-tolerance policies that eject talkers from theaters, we draw the line at physical violence and we imagine that even the most ardent movie fans would agree.
New releases have a habit of floundering in January, which tends to be one of Hollywood's biggest dumping grounds. Even this year's big January horror release, which is commonly a sure thing, floundered. What does tend to do well are the prestige pictures that opened late in the previous year (often in limited release) and finally expand in the new year, riding awards momentum to solid box office.
Of course, this is just a roundabout way of saying that Peter Berg's 'Lone Survivor' emerged from limited release this week to kick everyone's ass at the box office.
Over the past few years, the 'Paranormal Activity' series has established itself as one of the most inexpensive and reliable horror franchises around. Produced for (non-literal) pennies, they've consistently opened strong at the box office, ensuring a fast and efficient turnaround. The latest film, 'Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones,' has already accomplished that goal, but it did so without grabbing the number one spot. Sure, people may love found footage demons, but it turns out that they love animated singing princesses more.
In the weeks following the tragic death of Paul Walker, Universal and the crew of 'Fast and Furious 7' have been forced to drastically course correct the direction of the blockbuster franchise. With little time to mourn and countless jobs and dollars on the line, sources reveal director James Wan, writer Chris Morgan and executive Jeffrey Kirschenbaum will gracefully "retire" Walker's Brian O'Conner from the series using footage already shot for the film.
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