After a slow start, September 2015 is shaping up to be a pretty solid month for the box office. After last week’s solid numbers, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials and Black Mass picked up the baton and ran with it, leading another strong weekend.
Alex Trebek is a cultural institution, a beacon of knowledge and grace under pressure. Everyone loves him. Which is why it’s always amusing to watch the unflappable host of Jeopardy say silly words and phrases in that reliable deadpan of his. A recent episode of the immortal game show saw him forced to say the name “Turd Ferguson,” which should amuse anyone with a passing knowledge of modern comedy.
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.
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.
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.
You don't have to be a sports fan to know that the NFL has come under fire in recent weeks for how it has handled (or failed to handle) its players committing all kinds of heinous crimes. Although this is a very serious matter that has football fans deeply troubled and concerned about the future of their favorite sport, it's certainly not above satire, which is where 'SNL' comes in.
There actually was a new film released this week. It's called 'The Identical' and it's a Christian-themed fable about what would have happened if Elvis Presley's stillborn twin brother had survived. Well, for reasons that should be obvious after reading that sentence, 'Guardians of the Galaxy' held onto the number one spot this weekend while 'The Identical' opened outside of the top 10, never to be heard from again.
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.
You can tell the summer movie season is coming to an end because the weekend box office has stopped being exciting and has starting becoming sad and weird. The past two weeks have seen several major movies bomb, but nothing could have prepared us for 'Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.'
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