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.
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.
Ride Along was one of the surprise hits of 2014, making a massive pile of cash in the traditionally slow month of January. A sequel was inevitable. Like clockwork, Ride Along 2 is set to arrive almost exactly two years to the day after the first film. Which means the second outing of Ice Cube and Kevin Hart’s mismatched buddy cops was written, shot, edited and will be released in the space of 728 days.
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.
The new Black Mass trailer pulls the focus back from Johnny Depp’s performance as the notorious gangster Whitey Bulger, showcasing an ensemble of actors that has to be seen to be believed. And like any movie set in Boston, each and every actor wield their accents like bricks. This isn’t a Boston movie – it’s a Baahstin movie and everyone in the cast is seemingly trying to one-up the others when it comes to dropping their R’s.
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.
Universal was already bathing in its Furious 7 and Jurassic World money Scrooge McDuck-style before Minions opened this week. Now the studio is looking at its third truly massive hit of the year, a run that feels nearly unprecedented. Universal already released two of the biggest movies of all time within the past four months, and now it’s looking like it may have three.
As expected, the Fourth of July holiday weekend saw a lot of people heading to the theater. Unfortunately for the new releases, those people gravitated toward films that have already been in theaters for a few weeks. Once again, Jurassic World and Inside Out dominated the top 10, leaving newcomers like Terminator Genisys and Magic Mike XXL out in the cold.
When Universal scheduled Ted 2, they surely had no idea that Seth MacFarlane’s swearing teddy bear sequel would be squaring off against one of the biggest box office juggernauts of all time...a juggernaut that they themselves had created. So it’s not surprising that Jurassic World topped the box office again and it’s not surprising that Pixar’s Inside Out held onto second place. What is a little surprising is how low Ted 2 opened, falling significantly short of its predecessor’s opening weekend.
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