If the main goal of 'Divergent' was to snag a large portion of the audience for 'The Hunger Games,' it looks like it succeeded. Although it didn't reach the absurd heights of Katniss' two movies, Shailene Woodley's dystopian adventure effortlessly nabbed the number one spot and, unless something bad happens next week, announced the arrival of a new big franchise.
After seven years of waiting, no one knew if a sequel to '300' would do the business of its predecessor. And now we have a definitive answer: yes. '300: Rise of an Empire' effortlessly took the number one spot at the box office, proving that America still loves shirtless Greeks murdering each other in slow motion.
This weekend saw a brutal showdown between Liam Neeson, the current god of action cinema, and Jesus Christ, the current god of millions of human beings. Since the box office is a "two may enter, but only one may leave" type showdown, the victory ultimately went to Mr. Neeson and 'Non-Stop,' which edged out the son of God and his movie, uh, 'Son of God' to win the weekend.
When 'RoboCop' got pushed from an August 2013 release date to February 2014, everyone assumed it would open stronger when far away from the busy summer months. If this is the better of the two options, then we can't even imagine how poorly it would have opened in the warmer months. The remake of the 1987 classic is definitely not a disaster, but it most certainly underperformed.
And here we are: five weeks into the new year and we already have our first major blockbuster of 2014. Early estimates had 'The LEGO Movie' opening big, but the animated adventure shattered all expectations this weekend, with universally positive reviews and word of mouth sending the film to a massive opening.
Ah, a week at the box office where the new release flies completely under the radar and everything else feels like it's just hanging out because there's nothing else to push it off the charts. Welcome to January. Welcome to the home of movies like 'I Frankenstein,' which was dead on arrival this weekend and will vanish into dollar theaters within the next week or so.
Over the past few years, the 'Paranormal Activity' series has established itself as one of the most inexpensive and reliable horror franchises around. Produced for (non-literal) pennies, they've consistently opened strong at the box office, ensuring a fast and efficient turnaround. The latest film, 'Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones,' has already accomplished that goal, but it did so without grabbing the number one spot. Sure, people may love found footage demons, but it turns out that they love animated singing princesses more.
If there's one thing that we're reminded of a few times a year here at the Weekend Box Office Report, it's that films targeted at black audiences are always ignored by many mainstream movie websites ... until they open huge at the box office. 'The Best Man Holiday' is the latest film to prove that there's an entire group of moviegoers who aren't being given the films they obviously want to see, and hopefully its success will spur Hollywood into action, allowing for the production of more movies with black casts and filmmakers. Maybe. This is Hollywood, after all.
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