There's nothing like a family-friendly animated movie to help shake off the September doldrums and 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2' performed as expected. Although Sony's big release effortlessly took the number one spot, this weekend had a few other bright spots, namely a handful of independent films doing quite well in more limited release.
James Wan has done it again. For the second time this year, a horror film that he's directed has opened to over $40 million, securing his position as the reigning king of mainstream horror cinema. He may be taking a break from the genre to direct 'Fast and Furious 7,' but after the jaw-dropping success of 'The Conjuring' and now 'Insidious Chapter 2,' you just know he'll be back. No one is bringing the audiences in quite like Wan.
Oh, and there were some other movies that made some money, too.
One of the things 'Riddick' has going for it is that it didn't cost too much. So while its opening weekend may be a little less than impressive, it doesn't have that far to go to make a profit. It's little victories like this that make this, one of the slowest most stagnant movie weekends of the year, more palatable.
Ah, the continuing appeal of the one and only Denzel Washington. How much do people love this guy? They love him so much that they'll transform just about any movie he appears in into a respectable hit, even if that movie is a poorly marketed (but well-reviewed) action movie based on a comic book that no one read. We shouldn't be surprised that '2 Guns' shot to the top of the box office, but we are a little. Oh, Denzel Washington, you always catch us off guard.
There was a lot of buzz surrounding James Wan's 'The Conjuring' going into this weekend. "Scariest movie of the year." "Best horror movie in a long time." And so on. But it paid off. 'The Conjuring' not only won the box office, it won the box office in a way that R-rated horror movies often don't. Between this and 'The Purge,' R-rated horror is officially back in a big way.
What's more powerful than a bunch of giant robots and giant monsters? What's more powerful than Adam Sandler and all his buddies? This weekend gave us a definitive answer: a lovable supervillain voiced by Steve Carell. 'Despicable Me 2' triumphed at the box office for the second week in a row, beating out newcomers like 'Grown Ups 2' and 'Pacific Rim' and making it look easy.
Which would you expect to win the Fourth of July weekend: the Disney-produced, Johnny Depp-starring revival of an iconic American hero or the sequel to a French-made, Steve Carell-starring animated movie about a lovable supervillain? Well, it looks like American audiences simply aren't interested in westerns, even the uber-expensive ones starring Captain Jack Sparrow with a bird on his head. 'Despicable Me 2' destroyed 'The Lone Ranger' over the holiday weekend. Like, totally wrecked it. Mercilessly.
What happens when two new releases that look like sure-things smash into the unstoppable wall that is a Pixar movie? Well, you get one second place hit and one severe disappointment. 'The Heat' still looks good next to the continued success of 'Monsters University,' but it made 'White House Down' stumbling at the starting line look all the more horrible.
Zombies may be really hot right now, but there's one thing that is (and probably always will be) a bigger deal: Pixar. Brad Pitt's 'World War Z' performed quite well in its opening weekend, but even the biggest zombie movie of all time couldn't keep pace with 'Monsters University.'
For the second week in a row, a David has taken down a Goliath. Last week, a little magician thriller handily derailed a Will Smith juggernaut and this week, the tiny horror film 'The Purge' took 'The Internship' down a peg or a dozen. We're one month in and this summer movie season has already given us plenty of surprises at the box office.
How rare is it for a Will Smith sci-fi blockbuster to not open at number one at the box office? Also, how horrible must it feel for a Will Smith sci-fi blockbuster to not only get beaten by the second week of a long running franchise about fast cars, but by a magician thriller headlined by Jesse Eisenberg?
Tom Cruise and science fiction are a powerful combination. Although the opening weekend of 'Oblivion' didn't break any records big or small, it's a more than solid start for a non-franchise, non-sequel, non-reboot. That's a sad statement on the current state of Hollywood, but that's another topic for another day.
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