If it's set in Middle Earth, it's going to open at number one. That's common knowledge. The big question is always how big or how small it's going to open at number one. 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' did open at number one this weekend, but it's a number that's going to feel controversial for people who like to bicker about box office numbers. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it disappointing? Honestly, you could make a case for all of those.
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.
After years of struggling against the odds and barely surviving in a rapidly changing world, Blockbuster announced that it's officially set to close the remainder of its US stores. For some, this is a day or mourning. For others, a day of celebration. For all of us, it's just a reminder that the way we consume media has changed so drastically and so quickly that the thought of Blockbuster going out of business would have been unthinkable a decade ago.
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.
When a movie is sold as being the next incredible cinematic experience that will change the way we watch movies, expectations are huge. Audiences may scoff. It could all backfire. But Alfonso Cuaron's 'Gravity' lived up to the hype and audiences responded in kind, giving it the biggest opening ever for a non-sequel October release.
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.
September may traditionally be a wasteland of half-baked films unfit to open in a proper month, but the lack of competition can actually be a good thing. Could 'Prisoners,' a film made specifically for an adult audience, have opened as well as it did if it was released in a busier month? Probably not.
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