All summer movie seasons end with a whimper and 2015 was no different. The final weekend of August was a pretty sad display across the board, with Straight Outta Compton nabbing the number one spot by default while just about every new release faltered. You know it’s a slow weekend when a movie promoted exclusively to faith-based audiences nabs the number two spot.
Every time a movie about and for audiences who aren’t white and male does well, everyone acts like it’s a big surprise. “Black people and women like movies? Who’da thunk it?” It’s actually not surprising at all that Straight Outta Compton had a massive opening, handily defeating its more standard competition. Because all kinds of people like movies and when you make movies for all kinds of people, you end up with huge weekends at the box office.
A few weeks ago, tracking for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation was supposedly in the toilet. Early reports suggested that Tom Cruise’s fifth outing as super-spy Ethan Hunt was not getting people excited. This would be the end, the experts said, of a franchise that has kept Cruise’s career surging forward for the past two decades. Well, that was apparently a big load of crap because Rogue Nation opened well and opened in the same ballpark as the rest of the franchise. Even with inflation differences, this series keeps on hitting the same box office sweet spot.
At the time of this writing, early estimates for the weekend box office have Ant-Man edging out Pixels for the top spot in this week’s top 10. That could change. With less than $1 million separating the films, Pixels may very well slide into first place tomorrow, winning one very close competition. But even if it does claim ultimate victory, it doesn’t change the fact that Pixels’ opening weekend is a massive disappointment and another nail in the coffin of Adam Sandler’s career.
It would be easy to label the opening weekend for Ant-Man a failure. After all, it’s significantly lower than the openings for recent Marvel Studios movies and it’s a good $130 million less than the three-day opening Avengers: Age of Ultron had a few months ago. But let’s not be so hasty. Its opening numbers may not have blown anyone away, but Ant-Man’s box office arrival is textbook Marvel.
Universal was already bathing in its Furious 7 and Jurassic World money Scrooge McDuck-style before Minions opened this week. Now the studio is looking at its third truly massive hit of the year, a run that feels nearly unprecedented. Universal already released two of the biggest movies of all time within the past four months, and now it’s looking like it may have three.
Everyone knew that Jurassic World was going to open big, but no one saw this coming. The fourth film in the beloved dinosaur-centric franchise had the second biggest domestic opening of all time, the biggest June opening of all time, and, with $511 million worldwide, the biggest international opening of all time. It also broke a bunch of records that we’ll get to in a few minutes. This was supposed to be the summer of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Unless something goes horribly wrong, this is officially the summer of Jurassic World.
There’s a bizarre narrative floating around the internet: Avengers: Age of Ultron is already a disappointment because it didn’t open higher than The Avengers in its first weekend. This seems to be ignoring the fact that The Avengers had the biggest opening of all time and Avengers: Age of Ultron now has the second biggest opening of all time, which is nothing to scoff at. Sure, the sequel may not match the numbers of the first movie in the end, but it’s already well on the way to becoming one of the biggest movies of the year. And of all time.
We all watch the Oscars for different reasons. Some watch for the sheer spectacle. Some watch to see if the movies they like actually win something. Some watch so they can drunkenly criticize what everyone is wearing. But in the end, it all comes down to all viewers doing the exact same thing: watching people thank other people for upwards of three hours. But which people have been thanked the most in 86 years of Oscar history? Someone with a lot of time on their hands decided to figure that out.
Unless your movie was named 'Jersey Boys,' this was a pretty excellent weekend at the box office for all parties involved. A new film opened big in the number one spot, last week's champions held on strong, and others continued to perform well further down the charts. But boy, it really kinda' sucks to be 'Jersey Boys.'
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