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.
If you were wondering what it would take to finally shove 'Gravity' out of the number one spot at the box office, the answer is Johnny Knoxville as an elderly man with a foul mouth and penchant for sustaining groin injuries. After nearly a month at the top, Alfonso Cuaron's science fiction spectacle fell to number two, dethroned by 'Bad Grandpa.'
For the third weekend in a row, 'Gravity' dominated the box office, taking no prisoners in its quest to become one of 2013's most deserving blockbusters. However, its tremendous success has been at the expense of a handful of other films, which have been crushed in Alfonso Cuaron's titanic wake.
You've got to love it when 'SNL' forces its major movie star guest hosts to do really, really silly stuff and you honestly don't get much sillier than Bruce Willis playing a centaur. The only thing you can complain about here is that Willis is playing a guy playing centaur instead of a real centaur, but that may have been just a little too much perfect for a single sketch.
September may traditionally be a wasteland of half-baked films unfit to open in a proper month, but the lack of competition can actually be a good thing. Could 'Prisoners,' a film made specifically for an adult audience, have opened as well as it did if it was released in a busier month? Probably not.
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