There‘s going to be a lot of blood and ink spilled across the internet on the subject of the opening weekend for ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1.’ Yes, the third film in the series did open significantly lower than its predecessors. Yes, there are definitely people at Lionsgate wringing their hands and trying to figure out why the film opened below expectations. And yet, that opening weekend is still massive. It’s three day total is larger than most movies ever have a chance to make in their entire runs. So, let's have some perspective as we dive into this week’s top 10.
Yes, the internet just shook with squeals of glee (no pun intended): the ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ trailer has arrived and, for better or worse, it looks like a whole lot more of the same. For fans, that's perfectly okay! Why fix something that clearly isn't broken? For the people who just couldn't deal with the first entry, this one promises all kinds of new nightmares and/or migraines.
When Woody Harrelson was revealed to be hosting ‘SNL’ just a few days before the new ‘Hunger Games’ movie was set to open in theaters, it was obvious that the massively popular franchise would, somehow, figure into at least one sketch. Surprisingly, that ended up being the opening monologue, which featured Harrelson performing his own version of Taylor Swift's ‘1989.’ With a little help from some friends.
The showdown between 'Interstellar' and 'Big Hero 6' has got to be one of the most interesting things to happen to the box office in 2014. After all, it would be tough to find two movies that are simultaneously so different and so alike. Both are pro-science adventures that are all about using your intelligence to save your friends and family. However, one is an animated, family friendly release from Disney and the other is a three-hour epic from the ever-serious Christopher Nolan. In other words, they represent opposite ends of the blockbuster spectrum.
The first 'Into the Woods' trailer was strangely lacking in singing, which was an odd way to sell a movie based on one of the most beloved of all modern musicals. Thankfully, Disney has course corrected with trailer number two, which actually lets us see and hear the ensemble cast performing Stephen Sondhiem's iconic songs. It's an improvement by default.
The final trailer for 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' is here and it's strictly business. At just over a minute long, it's packed full of big emotions and even bigger explosions, never even bothering to pause and fill you in on the plot because it already assumes that you saw the first two movies. Yeah, this movie is going to be huge.
Brad Pitt's new World War II drama 'Fury' opened at number at the box office and has officially defined what this October has been about: long, R-rated movies featuring huge movie stars bucking the usual trends and out-grossing their family friendly competition. Between this and 'Gone Girl,' it looks like grown adults are heading to their multiplex more than ever these days.
The last time we heard from DreamWorks' planned live action adaptation of 'Ghost in the Shell,' the studio was courting 'The Wolf of Wall Street' star Margot Robbie for the lead role. Now, things have changed and a bigger name has been thrown into the mix: Scarlett Johansson, aka, Black Widow, aka, 'Lucy,' aka, the most bankable female action star of the moment.
It's sad news to end the week with: actress Misty Upham, who recently appeared in 'Django Unchained' and 'August: Osage Country,' was found dead at the bottom of a Seattle ravine. Her body was discovered by a search party led by her family, who are now accusing the local police of failing to assist in the situation in any way.
Despite being one of the bigger hits of 2007, a sequel to 'I Am Legend' failed to materialize. Blame star Will Smith's unwillingness to do sequels or blame the film's rather definitive ending, which made a follow-up difficult. Seven years later, the franchise that wasn't is being rebooted and, no, Smith will not be involved.
The 'Taken' films have been a blessing and a curse for star Liam Neeson. Sure, he's found great success in his newfound career as an aging action hero, but the days of Neeson being a completely respectable presence in prestige films seem to have come to an end. So the 'Taken 3' trailer fills us with mixed feelings. We'd love to see Neeson doing something else, but man, he sure is good at killing people.
A few weeks ago, this column was skeptical that Marvel's 'Guardians of the Galaxy' could reach $300 million. Now, it seems impossible that it won't. Thanks to ecstatic word of mouth, killer marketing and only one genuinely successful box office challenger (that would be 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles'), Marvel's oddball space opera has managed to spend three of the past four weekends at the number one spot at the box office, giving it enough momentum to officially become the highest grossing film of 2014.
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