Good reviews and a phenomenal marketing campaign did their job this weekend. No number of foot-in-mouth moments from Matt Damon could harm the opening weekend of The Martian, which opened in the number one spot at the box office. After a surprisingly robust September, this is another sign that we may very looking at one of the bigger fall movie seasons in quite some time.
There hasn’t been a proper family film in theaters since Minions opened in July, so it’s not surprising at all that Hotel Transylvania 2 cleaned up at the box office this weekend. Still, we didn’t imagine it cleaning up this well. This is the kind of opening weekend that guarantees us a Hotel Transylvania 3, for better or worse.
With Star Wars: The Force Awakens only three months away from release, Disney and Lucasfilm are waist-deep in their plan to ensure that every human being on the planet with access to a movie theater will go see their new movie. Now, the next phase is upon us: put all six films on Netflix, to remind any doubters that they like Star Wars.
After September opened with a whimper, we were prepared for a dull couple of weeks. It looks like we shouldn’t have been so quick to judge. The one-two punch of The Perfect Guy and The Visit have suddenly made the least interesting month of the year interesting, opening big and opening close enough to one another to make for an interesting race. In the slower movie months, weekends like these are rare treats.
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.
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.
Straight Outta Compton dominated the box office for the second weekend in a row, ensuring that every other movie in the top 10 that doesn’t feature Tom Cruise trembled in its mighty wake. Anyone with their finger on the cultural pulse foresaw the N.W.A. biopic doing well, but it’s performing above and beyond all expectations.
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.
Jurassic World is finally starting to slow down at the box office, but it’s going to bow out as the third highest-grossing film of all time at the domestic box office and international box office. That means that the only director to have made a more financially successful film than Colin Trevorrow is James Cameron of Titanic and Avatar fame. Not bad for a guy who was toiling away in indie obscurity a few years ago. Anyway, Trevorrow found some time in between taking baths in tubs filled with cash to chat about the inevitable sequel, dropping the first hints about what we can expect from the follow-up to Jurassic World.
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.
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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