New releases have a habit of floundering in January, which tends to be one of Hollywood's biggest dumping grounds. Even this year's big January horror release, which is commonly a sure thing, floundered. What does tend to do well are the prestige pictures that opened late in the previous year (often in limited release) and finally expand in the new year, riding awards momentum to solid box office.
Of course, this is just a roundabout way of saying that Peter Berg's 'Lone Survivor' emerged from limited release this week to kick everyone's ass at the box office.
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.
The weekend following a major holiday is always a little slow. The boost from vacationing moviegoers is gone, so everyone tends to take a major dip. Some films end up okay. Some die on the vine. This weekend saw two films weather the storm perfectly fine and one new release collapse on the starting line.
In one of the biggest holiday weekends of all time, the combined might of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' and 'Frozen' proved that yes, ladies can star in major blockbuster movies. We'll see if this lesson sticks (it won't), but between those two and the surprisingly female-friendly 'Thor: The Dark World,' this was a great weekend if you were looking for quality family entertainment that didn't treat its woman characters like crap.
Everyone knew that 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' was going to do well this weekend, but the lingering question was always whether or not it was going to do "really, really well" or "stupidly, gobsmackingly well." We should know by now that you always bet on Katniss Everdeen defying the odds, because it was the latter and everyone made it look easy.
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.
There was no question of whether or not 'Thor: The Dark World' was going to open at number one this weekend. Of course it was. The big question was whether it would get a post-'Avengers' bump, or if it would do similar business to its 2011 predecessor. Question answered: it got a bump and a pretty good one, too.
After months of boycott talk and constant controversy, the long in the works adaptation of Orson Scott Card's 'Ender's Game' opened at number one at the box office with decent but not spectacular numbers. It's a long road to profitability, but hey, this is a start.
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.'
Despite a few new releases, this weekend was all about last week's champion. 'Gravity' held on to the number one spot with all of its might, showing that Alfonso Cuaron's space thriller may have some of the strongest legs of any major 2013 release.
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