Despite being the second largest film market in the world after the United States, China still enforces strict censorship laws regarding what can and can't be seen in its cinemas. The latest victim of Chinese censors is Quentin Tarantino's Oscar-winning 'Django Unchained,' which was yanked out of theaters on the first day of its release.
If someone glanced at this weekend's box office, they could be forgiven for thinking they accidentally stepped into some kind of time portal. After all, films called 'Evil Dead' and 'Jurassic Park' were in the top five.
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.
You can't imagine two films more different than 'The Croods' and 'Olympus Has Fallen,' but right now the two of them sit on top of the box office chart, both temporarily linked by the fact that a bunch of people apparently wanted to see them this weekend. It's the first time in forever that two films have opened to over $30 million at the same time...but it wasn't golden for all of the new releases.
After a series of increasingly dire weeks at the box office, 'Oz the Great and Powerful' arrived and shook things up in a major way, earning the first truly massive opening weekend of 2013 and setting the table for all kinds of Oz-related content in the near future. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is something that we'll let you judge.
With Hollywood focused on the Oscars, this was one of the dullest box office weekends in recent memory, with each of the new releases arriving with a shrug, last week's champions plummeting and 'Identity Thief' climbing back to the top of the chart.
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.
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.
With each passing awards ceremony, the Academy's snubbing of Ben Affleck for Best Director looks increasingly ridiculous. Some thought that 'Argo' winning Best Picture and Best DIrector at the Golden Globes was something of a fluke, but now that the critically acclaimed box office hit has won big at the Producer's Guild of America awards, you may want to shuffle around your Oscar bets.
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.
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