'The Wolverine' was one of the most pleasant surprises of the summer, a shockingly low key and self-contained superhero story that valued its characters above action. Well, at least until the third act, but that's a complaint for another time and place. The good news is that 'The Wolverine' DVD and Blu-ray will arrive on December 3 with an unrated version, allowing for more Wolverine-stabs-ninjas action than ever before!
There's nothing like a family-friendly animated movie to help shake off the September doldrums and 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2' performed as expected. Although Sony's big release effortlessly took the number one spot, this weekend had a few other bright spots, namely a handful of independent films doing quite well in more limited release.
'SNL' is nothing if not timely. With the Tina Fey-hosted season premiere airing less than a day before the final episode of AMC's 'Breaking Bad,' it was only natural that they'd put together a meth-themed sketch. And since this is the world's most famous comedy and variety show, someone was able to pull the right strings and snag Jesse Pinkman himself -- Aaron Paul -- to make an appearance.
September may traditionally be a wasteland of half-baked films unfit to open in a proper month, but the lack of competition can actually be a good thing. Could 'Prisoners,' a film made specifically for an adult audience, have opened as well as it did if it was released in a busier month? Probably not.
James Wan has done it again. For the second time this year, a horror film that he's directed has opened to over $40 million, securing his position as the reigning king of mainstream horror cinema. He may be taking a break from the genre to direct 'Fast and Furious 7,' but after the jaw-dropping success of 'The Conjuring' and now 'Insidious Chapter 2,' you just know he'll be back. No one is bringing the audiences in quite like Wan.
Oh, and there were some other movies that made some money, too.
One of the things 'Riddick' has going for it is that it didn't cost too much. So while its opening weekend may be a little less than impressive, it doesn't have that far to go to make a profit. It's little victories like this that make this, one of the slowest most stagnant movie weekends of the year, more palatable.
The summer is over and September is upon us. The result? One of the most boring weekend box office reports in months. Months! The month or so following the end of the summer movie season is traditionally one of the worst of the year, the time when Hollywood unleashes all of the films that they have little faith in, a buffer between the blockbuster months and the award season months. In other words, it's the exact kind of climate where a movie like 'One Direction: This is Us' can thrive.
Despite a bunch of new releases with all kinds of wide and varied appeal, this weekend's box office top 10 looks suspiciously like last week's. Apparently, none of the newcomers could match Lee Daniels' 'The Butler,' which effortlessly claimed the top spot once more.
'The Expendables 3' began filming in Bulgaria today, and Lionsgate marked the occasion by sending out a press release that not only confirms most of the crazy ensemble cast but teases a plot that sounds just nutty enough to earn back our attention after the mediocre second film. If you aren't on board the 'Expendables' bandwagon (and we totally wouldn't blame you if you're not), just know that Mel Gibson is playing a character named Conrad Stonebanks. Conrad Stonebanks.
There's something thematically appropriate about a movie telling the story of a butler who quietly influenced the United States taking the number one spot at the box office over its flashy, bigger rivals. Lee Daniels' 'The Butler' took multiplexes by storm this weekend, taking down last week's competition as well as a handful of seemingly strong newcomers.
Anyone who has been following superhero movies knows that Robert Downey, Jr. has signed on to return as Tony Stark in 'The Avengers 2' and 'The Avengers 3,' but his future as Iron Man beyond that is up in the air. It's unlikely that Downey (who will be 53 when the third 'Avengers' film hits) will occupy the role forever, and Marvel hasn't been shy about recasting the character should the need ever arise.
And that brings us to the weird news bit of the day: Mark Wahlberg wants to takeover the part.
In a weekend with four new major releases but no definitive frontrunners, the Matt Damon sci-fi action flick 'Elysium' snagged the top spot over some seemingly powerful competition. Director Neill Blomkamp's film continues this summer's trend of R-rated fare opening big ('The Purge,' 'The Conjuring,' '2 Guns') and proves that there's plenty of box office success to be had in the typically slow final weeks of the season.
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