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.
Something went horribly wrong this weekend. Despite a few high profile new releases and the mere presence of 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,' this weekend's box office was, uh...not great. What happened here?
Was there ever any doubt that 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' was going to dominate this weekend? Heck, it's probably going to dominate next weekend, too. If audiences embrace it like they did 'Lord of the Rings,' it may even dominate the week after that. The big question now is whether or not Peter Jackson's return to Middle Earth will make a bunch of money, but exactly how many bunches.
There's no use beating around the bush here -- this was a pretty dull weekend at the box office. There was only one new release, but it was a dump that bombed rather spectacularly and the rest of the line-up is essentially the same as last week, with only a few titles shuffling around. It's the the quiet before the storm...the storm being 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,' which opens in a few days.
Many Americans found themselves with four days off last week, ostensibly so they could go see their family and eat turkey and celebrate Thanksgiving from the comfort of their homes. Instead, they went to the movies. In fact, this was the biggest Thanksgiving box office of all time. Congratulations, America!
It was a given: 'Skyfall' was going to win the weekend no matter what. What wasn't a given was 'Skyfall' shattering the opening weekend record for its franchise and positioning itself to become the most successful film in history of the James Bond films. 007 is back and after 50 years, he's showing no signs of slowing down.
Whoever first pitched 'Wreck-It Ralph' certainly got a nice big bonus check from Disney today. A cute hook that appeals to adults and kids + positive reviews = one of the biggest openings in weeks. And hey! 'Flight' didn't do too shabby either! Wait...are this good box office numbers? Does this mean the holiday movie season has officially arrived? Yes. Yes it has.
There is really only one way to describe the opening weekend for 'Cloud Atlas' and 'Silent Hill: Revelation' and that word is "Ouch." But they weren't alone: this was a bad week for just about every movie not called 'Argo.'
'Taken' was the surprise hit of 2009, a January dump that inexplicably made nearly $150 million in the United States and transformed Liam Neeson into an instant action star. Three years later, 'Taken 2' has arrived in theaters on a primo release date and with an advertising campaign that probably cost more than the entire first movie. Well, it looks like the hype was worth it. The first film may have been a sleeper, but the second adventure of Liam Neeson's kidnap-prone family has opened like a true blockbuster.
How do you define a hit? What's more important: total gross or actual audience enthusiasm? The answer to this question will help us decide who actually won the weekend. Call it the "Battle of the Paul Andersons": Paul WS Anderson's 'Resident Evil: Retribution' and Paul Thomas Anderson's 'The Master' both opened this week and both had completely different results, but they beg to be compared to each other.
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