As expected, Avengers: Age of Ultron dominated the box office for the second weekend in a row, pulling in numbers that would be the envy of most summer blockbusters’ opening three days. And while the only new release of the week faltered, it was a surprisingly strong week overall, with many of the films in the top 10 faring well despite facing one of the biggest movies of the year.
Last night’s generally unremarkable episode of SNL peaked early when it took advantage of its proximity to Mother’s Day to do something kind of remarkable. As part of her opening monologue, guest host Reese Witherspoon declared that the show was going to mark the occasion by bringing each cast member out with his or her mother...and then forcing them to apologize for their childhood transgressions.
There’s a bizarre narrative floating around the internet: Avengers: Age of Ultron is already a disappointment because it didn’t open higher than The Avengers in its first weekend. This seems to be ignoring the fact that The Avengers had the biggest opening of all time and Avengers: Age of Ultron now has the second biggest opening of all time, which is nothing to scoff at. Sure, the sequel may not match the numbers of the first movie in the end, but it’s already well on the way to becoming one of the biggest movies of the year. And of all time.
If there were any lingering doubts about the popularity of Star Wars in the year 2015, Star Wars Celebration killed them. Ruthlessly. When the the live-streamed panel for Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiered the second trailer for J.J. Abrams’ wildly anticipated sequel, you could feel the internet quiver and shake underneath the weight of the hype. It was a staggering event that made the next few geek-friendly trailers released in the following days feel like small potatoes in comparison. And yes, this hyperbole is backed up by raw numbers: the second trailer for The Force Awakens shattered the record for most trailer views in 24 hours.
For the third week in a row, Furious 7 took the top spot at the box office and made it look easy. Not even a trio of newcomers could slow down the latest entry in the crowd-pleasing action series, which has become the fastest film to reach $1 billion worldwide. On the domestic box office, it’s equally impressive. It’s a juggernaut. A cultural event. At the end of the day, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 may make some money, but it’s making that money in the shadow of a genuine phenomenon.
It may not have a number in its title, but Mad Max: Fury Road is the fourth film in a series stretching back to 1979. And while original star Mel Gibson has been replaced by Tom Hardy, director George Miller is present and accounted for, still wrecking cars in the post-apocalypse for your amusement. The newest trailer for the Fury Road, labeled the “legacy trailer,” uses footage from the past films build up to the newest entry to remind potential viewers this isn’t just another action franchise. This is Mad freaking Max.
The early estimates for the opening weekend gross of Furious 7 are all over the place and we probably won’t have a definitive number until tomorrow, when the dust finally settles and everyone gets a chance to breathe. However, this one thing we know for sure: the seventh film in the Fast and Furious series didn’t just shatter in-franchise records, it shattered records for any April release.
In one of the strongest box office weekends of 2015 so far, both Home and Get Hard opened strong while Insurgent and Cinderella continued to perform well. This was the rare weekend that literally offered something for everyone, with R-rated comedies and animated family fare exceeding expectations.
Suddenly, Disney’s upcoming live action version of Beauty and the Beast is looking like a very wise move. After all, their new take on Cinderella shook the box office out of the doldrums, launching with numbers that feel more at home with the summer than March. Yes, it even took down that might spring movie season titan Liam Neeson.
With Taken, Liam Neeson became an unlikely action star, with his quiet, solemn masculinity lending gravitas to even the silliest dialogue and story beats. But rather than use the success of that instantly meme-able film as an excuse to pursue more period dramas and British weepies, Neeson embraced his newfound action hero identity. Now, after seven years of snapping necks and gunning people down across several continents, it looks like he’s ready to retire from the action hero game for good.
With Star Wars: Episode 7 less than a year away, Disney and Lucasfilm are facing a conundrum: just how many billions do they want to make from ancillary merchandise? Get ready for Star Wars bedsheets and Star Wars lunch boxes and, of course, countless new Star Wars action figures. You will be able to fight other adults in the toy aisle at Target like never before! However, Star Wars aficionados hoping to celebrate their fandom in a quieter way will also have their fair share of options, namely 20 new books bridging the 30-year gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.
Long before he was an internet meme, Chuck Norris was a genuinely skilled martial artist whose ass-kicking abilities were put on display in dozens of action movies. Running the gamut from massively entertaining (The Delta Force) to totally baffling (The Octagon), Norris’ films all have one thing in common: each one sees him kicking a whole bunch of people. So, in honor of the man’s 75th birthday, let’s all take a moment to enjoy a video supercut of Norris kicking people and things.
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