Although you'd think people would spend the holidays in their homes catching up with their families and what-not, they actually tend to go to the movies after opening gifts and having awkward conversations. And Christmas Day moviegoers had a bunch of options this week, with recent releases (and not-so-recent releases) still going strong and a whole bunch of new releases arriving to coincide with the holiday.
'The Monuments Men' was one of our most anticipated movies of 2013, so when it got bumped to next year, it immediately became one of our most anticipated movies of 2014. Although the schedule change has moved it out of potential awards contention, the marketing train has kept on rolling and the latest trailer takes a slightly more unique approach than the others, stylizing itself as a period-appropriate newsreel.
The return of Ron Burgundy and his news team has been positioned as a big, huge deal. 'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues' has been marketed more than any major release this month and everyone just assumed that the film would effortlessly snag massive box office numbers thanks purely to saturation (on top of the fact that the original is quite beloved). So it must sting a little for Paramount to see the film open in second place and it must sting even more once they compare the opening numbers to the opening of the first film from 2004.
Since 2003, the "Barry Gibb Talk Show" sketches on 'SNL' have popped up whenever Justin Timberlake or Jimmy Fallon have appeared on the show, with Fallon playing Bee Gees lead singer Bary Gibb and Timberlake taking on his brother, Robin Gibb. The last time we saw these characters was in 2011 and its return seemed unlikely following the death of Robin Gibb in 2012. However, the sketch made its big return last night and it brought a handful of surprise cameos along for the ride.
Few guest performers seem to get 'SNL' quite like Justin Timberlake, who has a wonderful habit of showing up on the stage and creating classic sketches and characters with seemingly no effort. In most cases, he would easily overshadow the actual guest host, but when that guest host is show alum (and current late night superstar) Jimmy Fallon, there is less overshadowing and more comedic awesomeness.
If it's set in Middle Earth, it's going to open at number one. That's common knowledge. The big question is always how big or how small it's going to open at number one. 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' did open at number one this weekend, but it's a number that's going to feel controversial for people who like to bicker about box office numbers. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it disappointing? Honestly, you could make a case for all of those.
The weekend following a major holiday is always a little slow. The boost from vacationing moviegoers is gone, so everyone tends to take a major dip. Some films end up okay. Some die on the vine. This weekend saw two films weather the storm perfectly fine and one new release collapse on the starting line.
In one of the biggest holiday weekends of all time, the combined might of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' and 'Frozen' proved that yes, ladies can star in major blockbuster movies. We'll see if this lesson sticks (it won't), but between those two and the surprisingly female-friendly 'Thor: The Dark World,' this was a great weekend if you were looking for quality family entertainment that didn't treat its woman characters like crap.
Everyone knew that 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' was going to do well this weekend, but the lingering question was always whether or not it was going to do "really, really well" or "stupidly, gobsmackingly well." We should know by now that you always bet on Katniss Everdeen defying the odds, because it was the latter and everyone made it look easy.
If there's one thing that we're reminded of a few times a year here at the Weekend Box Office Report, it's that films targeted at black audiences are always ignored by many mainstream movie websites ... until they open huge at the box office. 'The Best Man Holiday' is the latest film to prove that there's an entire group of moviegoers who aren't being given the films they obviously want to see, and hopefully its success will spur Hollywood into action, allowing for the production of more movies with black casts and filmmakers. Maybe. This is Hollywood, after all.
There was no question of whether or not 'Thor: The Dark World' was going to open at number one this weekend. Of course it was. The big question was whether it would get a post-'Avengers' bump, or if it would do similar business to its 2011 predecessor. Question answered: it got a bump and a pretty good one, too.
Thrill rides and attractions based on popular franchises have proven incredibly lucrative in the past decade, so it's not surprising that a massively popular young-adult book and film series is being eyed for the theme park treatment. What is a little surprising is that we're talking about 'The Hunger Games,' a franchise that takes place is a dystopian future where poor people suffer at the hands of the vicious Capitol and are forced to battle each other to the death on TV. You know, fun for the whole family.
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