And here we are: five weeks into the new year and we already have our first major blockbuster of 2014. Early estimates had 'The LEGO Movie' opening big, but the animated adventure shattered all expectations this weekend, with universally positive reviews and word of mouth sending the film to a massive opening.
Philip Seymour Hoffman's tragic death occurred while he was nearing the end of his work on the two-part 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay' movies, and while he only had seven days of filming left, those days included at least one key scene. We initially thought that these final scenes would be rewritten to exclude the character of Plutarch Heavensbee, but according to the NY Post, the filmmakers are planning to recreate the late actor with special effects to keep his presence intact.
Few people are as welcome on our televisions as Terry Crews and few felt creatures warm our hearts quite like the Muppets. In other words, if you want to sell us a Toyota, there are far worse spokespeople (and spokespuppets) to use. In the grand tradition of modern Super Bowl ads, the presumably very expensive spot starring these guys is online in advance of the big game, giving everyone who doesn't watch football a chance to remember how much they like the Muppets and that really funny guy who used to play sports-ball once upon a time.
And, of course, a chance to BUY TOYOTA BUY TOYOTA BUY TOYOTA.
Ah, a week at the box office where the new release flies completely under the radar and everything else feels like it's just hanging out because there's nothing else to push it off the charts. Welcome to January. Welcome to the home of movies like 'I Frankenstein,' which was dead on arrival this weekend and will vanish into dollar theaters within the next week or so.
Russell Johnson, the veteran TV actor best known for playing Professor Roy Hinkley on 'Gilligan's Island,' passed away from kidney failure on Thursday. He was 89.
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.
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.
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.