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 final Harry Potter novel was full of grand battles and grander revelations, but it also featured a tiny detail that radically changed the saga’s timeline. Although J.K. Rowling’s first book in the beloved series was published in 1997 and the final book in 2007, a date on a gravestone revealed that the events of the final novel take place in 1997. That means that Harry Potter himself was born in 1980. Which means that he’s 35 in 2015. And according to Rowling herself, that makes today, September 1, 2015, the first day of school at Hogwarts for Harry’s eldest son.
There’s one reason and one reason only why we’re getting a Ghostbusters remake in 2016 instead of an actual Ghostbusters 3 five years ago. That reason is named Bill Murray and he’s been the not-so-secret sequel roadblock for as long as we can remember. But then he accepted a small role in the new reboot, because he’s Bill Murray and Bill Murray does whatever he wants. Sometimes that means randomly showing up at your birthday party. Sometimes that means popping up in a film franchise that he seemingly had zero desire to revisit. Now, Murray explains his reasons for joining a new Ghostbusters movie he was so vocally against.
All summer movie seasons end with a whimper and 2015 was no different. The final weekend of August was a pretty sad display across the board, with Straight Outta Compton nabbing the number one spot by default while just about every new release faltered. You know it’s a slow weekend when a movie promoted exclusively to faith-based audiences nabs the number two spot.
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.
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