A trio of newcomers entered the box office arena this weekend, but two battle-hardened and grizzled champions kept them at bay, holding onto the top two spots and making it look easy. Sorry, newbies: This top 10 still belongs to 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' and 'Guardians of the Galaxy.'
Up until the day it opened, 'Guardians of the Galaxy' was a big question mark at the box office. Could Marvel Studios continue its winning streak with a movie based on a practically unknown comic series that only has light connections to the rest of the films in their cinematic universe? Early estimates had the film grossing $60 million over the weekend and that would have been perfectly okay. But then it went and eclipsed that estimate
This weekend saw two movies named after their lead characters go head-to-head. In one corner, you have 'Lucy.' In the other, 'Hercules.' If you asked the average person who would win in a battle between Dwayne Johnson and Scarlett Johansson, most would probably side with the guy whose nickname is "The Rock." But the box office this weekend went in a completely different direction.
Despite three very different new challengers, 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' continued to rule over the box office this weekend. This doesn't spell disaster for the newcomers, but it does spell further success for the sequel to 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes,' which is riding extremely positive word of mouth to a big box office tally.
Riding a huge wave of strong reviews and even stronger buzz, 'Dawn of the Planet Apes' opened big for a non-superhero, non-Transformers movie, leading a top 10 that's full of just as many hits as misses. How about we just start at the top and work our way through?
Insert your own "when it rains, it pours" joke right here. Darren Aronofsky's instantly controversial biblical epic 'Noah' overcame mixed buzz to win the box office this weekend, catering to both religious audiences and film buffs who like weird movies from unique, picky directors. But all was not well for everyone -- the latest film from a certain Hollywood action legend got washed away in 'Noah''s success.
If the main goal of 'Divergent' was to snag a large portion of the audience for 'The Hunger Games,' it looks like it succeeded. Although it didn't reach the absurd heights of Katniss' two movies, Shailene Woodley's dystopian adventure effortlessly nabbed the number one spot and, unless something bad happens next week, announced the arrival of a new big franchise.
In the first truly busy weekend for new releases in 2014, Ice Cube and Kevin Hart took the competition, bent them over the knee and gave them a good spanking. Okay, you probably didn't want the image of those two spanking animated squirrels, demonic babies or Chris Pine in your head, but how else are we going to talk about the opening weekend for 'Ride Along'?
Although you'd think people would spend the holidays in their homes catching up with their families and what-not, they actually tend to go to the movies after opening gifts and having awkward conversations. And Christmas Day moviegoers had a bunch of options this week, with recent releases (and not-so-recent releases) still going strong and a whole bunch of new releases arriving to coincide with the holiday.
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.
For the third weekend in a row, 'Gravity' dominated the box office, taking no prisoners in its quest to become one of 2013's most deserving blockbusters. However, its tremendous success has been at the expense of a handful of other films, which have been crushed in Alfonso Cuaron's titanic wake.
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.
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