Like any holiday that sees families congregating together and then desperately seeking activities where they don't have to talk to each other for two hours, this Easter weekend saw a strong bump at the box office thanks to a few new contenders and a handful of holdovers with some surprising staying power.
'Jack the Giant Slayer' may have taken the number one spot at the box office, but no one is celebrating -- it may sit at the top, but it sits at the top of one of the weakest box office weekends since, well, last weekend.
In retrospect, it's easy to say "Of course the new 'Die hard' movie was going to open at number one at the box office!" but you can bet Bruce Willis and company were a little worried. After all, 'A Good Day to Die Hard' opened in the wake of the failure of 'The Last Stand,' 'Parker' and 'Bullet to the Head,' three other macho, R-rated movies starring modern action icons. However, the strength of the 'Die Hard' brand seems to have broken that trend: John McClane's fifth outing made $25 million over the weekend.
There was much fanboy rejoicing when is was learned that Lawrence Kasdan was on board to write a new 'Star Wars' spin-off movie and consult on 'Star Wars Episode 7.' After all, this is the man who wrote 'The Empire Strikes Back,' a movie that isn't just the best 'Star Wars' movie, but one of the best science fiction movies ever made. Although the full details of whatever Kasdan is working on (a Yoda movie? Young Han Solo?) are buried in an underground bunker somewhere, he recently spoke about his involvement in the new films.
Is Melissa McCarthy a movie star yet? The opening weekend of 'Identity Thief' suggests that yes, she is. After all, all of those people weren't flocking to this movie because of Jason Bateman (as delightful as he is). Anyway, all of this pretty much means that McCarthy's asking price just doubled.
Eventually, the popular opinion on zombies is going to shift and people are going to stop watching 'The Walking Dead' and buying zombie-themed video games, but that day is not today. People still love zombies and if the opening weekend is any indication, they love 'Warm Bodies.'
Make no mistake: this was a slow and bad weekend at the box office, an example of the January doldrums at their absolute worst. However, this was probably the only environment where a film titled 'Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters' could have flourished, so at least someone is happy.
Is Jessica Chastain a movie star? Probably not. At least not yet. However, this weekend proved that she's well on her way to being one. Headlining the top two films at the box office in a single weekend is a great start. The Oscar nomination certainly doesn't hurt either.
How is it that the new TV spot for 'Oblivion' somehow manages to look more epic and exciting than full theatrical trailer? There's no denying it -- there's tons of scope and promise in this 40 second spot, enough to actually make us excited for a movie by the guy who made the sleeping pill known as 'Tron Legacy.' Watch the trailer embedded below.
You really only need to say one thing about the opening weekend of Kathryn Bigelow's 'Zero Dark Thirty': it made more in three days than 'The Hurt Locker' did in its entire run. If there's anything that's going to alleviate getting snubbed for at the Oscars in the Best Director category, it's that.
Here's the thing about January: it's usually a wasteland. With the studios concentrating on their Oscar campaigns and the profitable summer months still half a year away, this month is where all of the crap usually gets dumped. However, this is also one of the few months where crap has a chance of performing well, hence the success of last year's 'The Devil Inside' and now 'Texas Chainsaw 3D,' which took the weekend with a strong $23 million opening.
Well, now we know why the box office was so incredibly light last week: everyone was waiting to see things this week! Although 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' clung to the top spot for the third week in a row, it was a very tight race, with only $4 million separating the top three films.
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