20th Century Fox sat on Deadpool for six years before finally giving it a green light with a modest $58 million budget. After a lengthy and impressive marketing campaign that ensured everyone in the world knew the name Wade Wilson, box office tracking was looking strong with $55 million. And then the film actually opened, more than doubling that prediction, shattering a handful of records and blowing the doors off the comic book movie genre. This feels like a big deal. Oh, and Zoolander 2 also opened.
Kung Fu Panda 3 once again led the box office this weekend, but like its lower-than-expected opening weekend, it’s not as impressive as anyone was hoping or expecting. DreamWorks Animation’s sequel managed to fend off a trio of newcomers, but each of those films disappointed in their own ways, leading to a shrug-worthy top 10 that feels like Hollywood just accepting that everyone is going to be watching the Super Bowl instead of going to the movies.
The victory of of Kung Fu Panda 3 at the box office this weekend conjures one of the most common questions you have to ask yourself when keeping a constant eye on the charts: when is a hit not a hit? Sure, the third film in DreamWorks Animation’s series did open at number one and its numbers are very good, but they’re lower than you’d think. In any case, it still fared significantly better than the rest of the competition this week — all of the other new releases simply flopped.
It wasn’t that surprising last week when Ride Along 2 officially dethroned Star Wars: The Force Awakens as reigning champion of the box office. However, what is surprising is how fast and far it plummeted in its second weekend. As the comedy sequel’s legs instantly shattered, The Revenant was finally able to claim the top spot after several weeks of playing box office bridesmaid.
When the 2016 Oscar nominations were announced nearly two weeks ago, the response to the overwhelmingly white line-up of talent proved instantly controversial. Film fans and industry veterans alike gathered around the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag to make their voices heard, especially decrying how films starring black actors and directed by black filmmakers — like Creed and Straight Outta Compton — somehow managed to only receive nominations for the white people involved in making them. With material this ripe, of course SNL was going to take a swipe at the Academy Awards this week.
The moment former Alaskan governor and 2008 Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump for President of the United States, you know the producers at SNL hurried to get Tina Fey on the phone. The beloved former cast member, who just hosted the show last month, famously took on the role of Palin eight years ago and many people believe that her scathing imitation actually did lasting harm to the real Palin’s political chances. In any case, this event allowed SNL to pair Fey’s Palin with Darrell Hammond‘s Trump. Thanks, reality!
Star Wars: The Force Awakens wasn’t going to reign atop the box office forever. Something was going to take it down sooner or later and we’ll just be honest — we expected it would take a little longer than this. At the same time, anyone who thought that Ride Along 2 wouldn’t perform well has a short-term or poor memory, as the first film was a gigantic hit this time last year. An Ice Cube and Kevin Hart buddy cop comedy dethroned the biggest movie in the history of the U.S. box office from the top of the charts and it’s not that surprising.
Eventually, another movie will top Star Wars: The Force Awakens and end the incredible run that has transformed it into the highest grossing movie in the history of the American box office. That movie was almost The Revenant. This is no failure, though. The combined powers of Leonardo DiCaprio, stories of a harrowing shoot, and a strong marketing campaign actually gave this movie a fighting chance against a genuine cultural sensation. It may have only hit number two on the top 10, but this is a huge victory for a difficult movie.
It took Avatar two and half months to become the highest grossing movie of all time. Star Wars: The Force Awakens will surpass its domestic box office gross within the next day or two after less than three weeks in release. The big question now is when J.J. Abrams’ sequel will find its ceiling because as of right now, it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens was always going to make enough money to make most blockbusters tremble in fear. That was inevitable. It’s a Star Wars movie. The big question lingering over this opening weekend concerned whether or not it’s surely enormous opening weekend would break the records set by Jurassic World earlier this year. And now, with the early estimates in, we can answer that question: yes and no.
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