As expected, ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ won the weekend, but a quick examination of the actual numbers makes this victory feel just a little hollow. The same goes for ‘Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb’ and ‘Annie,’ both of which took second and third place without putting forward particularly impressive numbers. Yep, the holiday box office looked just a little rough this weekend.
You’ve got to hand it to Jonah Hill and James Franco, both of whom manage to effortlessly glide between comedic and dramatic roles. It’s not easy to be a popular goofball and an Oscar nominated “serious” actor, but somehow these two have managed to pull it off. Their latest film, ‘True Story’ is unique in that it is the first project to cast them together in dramatic roles. When you watch the first trailer for film, you can be forgiven for expecting them to drop the dramatic stare-downs and start riffing with each other at any moment.
The odd couple is one of the basic principles of comedy. You take two very different people, fling them into an absurd situation and (hopefully) rack up some good laughs. The ‘Get Hard’ trailer shows off one of the more inspired comedic pairings in recent memory, with the tall whiter-than-white Will Ferrell teaming up with the short black Kevin Hart. If the differences between two lead actors generated laughs on their own, then this is already the funniest movie of 2015.
Sometimes, a film can effortlessly open at number one at the box office while still being a pretty huge disaster. This is the case with ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings,’ which rode a wave of terrible reviews and an even more terrible marketing campaign to a hugely disappointing start. With a lot of big movies opening the next two weeks, the new Biblical epic won’t even find time to grow some legs. Chances are strong that it is dead on arrival.
If you loved ‘Divergent’ and are already totally on board with the cinematic adaptations of Veronica Roth’s young adult science fiction novels, then the trailer for the awkwardly titled ‘The Divergent Series: Insurgent’ is probably going to prove exciting. If you’re unfamiliar with the franchise, prepare for 144 seconds that might as well be in a foreign language.
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.
Honestly, we could have just copied and pasted last weekend’s box office report and gotten away with it. Outside of the shifting numbers, the order of the top 10 is almost identical to what it was a week ago. This is Hollywood in a holding pattern. The weekend after Thanksgiving is a wasteland. That’s probably why ‘The Pyramid’ was dumped this weekend. However, the lone newcomer in the top 10 didn’t just bomb, it bombed spectacularly.
Stephen King’s ‘It’ is a beast of a book. Over its 1,000-plus pages, the novel follows a group of close-knit friends who do battle with a malevolent, child-killing force in their youth, only to reunite decades later to finish the job. It’s a messy, ambitious and insanely (perversely, even) detailed work. It feels unadaptable. But no one tell that to ‘True Detective’ director Cary Fukunaga, whose long-gestating adaptation is finally going before cameras next summer.
Appropriately, the Thanksgiving holiday box office was all about the leftovers. While two high profile new releases struggled to open, films from the past few weeks continued to do solid business. In fact, this was one of the most varied weekends at the box office in quite some time, with YA adaptations, animated family movies, epic blockbusters, and small independent films all performing better than expected.
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