Hold onto your (well-toned) butts, ladies and gentlemen, because Zac Efron’s career is about to kick into high gear. After a few years spent as a teenage heartthrob — and a few more years spent revamping his image in movies like Neighbors and Baywatch as everyone’s favorite ‘sex idiot’ — it looks like Efron is gearing up to pivot yet-again into the dramatic stage of his career. What type of dramatic turn, you ask? A troubled artist? A struggling musician? You’re close! How about infamous serial killer Ted Bundy?
On Thursday evening, plenty of executives went to bed with dreams of big opening weekend numbers in their head. Could the movie about a magical king unseat the movie about a talking tree? Or would a mother-daughter comedy with just the right release date unseat a pair of battling sisters? Now that we’ve reached the end of the holiday weekend, we finally have the numbers, and it turns out the answer was no and no, respectively. Here’s this past weekend’s grosses as of Sunday afternoon:
Turn off your proton packs and fire up your Fleetwood Mac, it’s time for the latest edition of the ScreenCrush Weekend Box Office Report! There were few surprises to be found at the top of the list this weekend, but with a few big films nearing the end of their theatrical run, it’s a good time to take stock and see how things shook out. Here’s the projected grosses as of Sunday afternoon:
While decades of film journalism has taught us to treat Hollywood insiders as the sole source of movie rumors, there are plenty of places to go for production updates if you know where to look. Movie studios are businesses, after all, and business have to do things like file for copyrights, pull permits, and, sometimes, submit films and trailers to government agencies for review. That’s how we are able to bring you today’s update on the long-anticipated trailer for Columbia Pictures’ The Dark Tower adaptation. It didn’t come from some studio executive sending text messages on the sly; it came from the Consumer Protection agency of British Columbia.
No Marvel movie is complete without a rousing game of “Spot the Stan Lee.” In a nod to many of the iconic superheroes Lee helped create, each movie — often regardless of studio — has budgeted a small portion of its running time to one of Lee’s prominent background characters. He’s played a security guard, a playboy, a librarian, and a military general, and as long as Lee’s health permitted, fans could expect Lee to pop in without any broader connections to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At least, that was the case until Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
In a week devoid of any major releases, we still saw some major changes at the box office, with familiar faces like Kong: Skull Island, Power Rangers, and Get Out (RIP) all falling from the Top 10 in favor of new releases or aggressively expanding art films. Of course, not everything was different; if you read these box office reports every weekend, I’ll bet you can name the top three movies (in order) with minimal effort. Here’s the weekend box office projections as of Sunday afternoon:
Despite being supported by a blindingly charismatic cast and some of the best action directors in the business, Paramount’s Star Trek franchise has somewhat been an exercise in diminishing returns after 2009’s big screen reboot. Last year’s Star Trek Beyond may have captured some of the fun of a standalone episode of the series, but it was a surprising disappointment with audiences: the film’s $158 million gross was nearly $100 million less than the first entry in the series and failed to break even on the studios $185 million investment. Those are the kind of numbers that make a studio think long and hard about investing in a sequel.
While fans have mostly been enthusiastic about the expanded role of Jason Statham in The Fate of the Furious, there is one thing that has stuck in their collective craw. While Statham’s character has the movie’s best moments, he never stops to address the elephant in the room: Shaw did kill Sung Kang’s Han, perhaps the most beloved character in the franchise and (we assumed) an unforgivable offense for a movie built on family. Will the filmmakers address this in a future installment of the Fast and the Furious films? Or, perhaps more intriguing, could Sung Kang find his way back into the franchise?
It’s been nearly eight years since James Cameron’s Avatar took the global box office by storm, and while it’s become très chic for some corners of the internet to endlessly bash Avatar, I still maintain my stubborn affection for Cameron’s movie. Very few filmmakers can create action-driven science-fiction that operates at Cameron’s level; just look at how many times people have messed up Cameron’s Terminator franchise, a near-flawless formula for blockbuster movies that studios have nevertheless run directly into the ground. We may laugh at Cameron’s planned sequels, but they are both original (technically!) and creator-driven movies. Isn’t that what we claim to want from Hollywood?
Audiences don’t turn their back on family. That’s the lesson to be learned from this past weekend, anyways, when The Fate of the Furious proved that this is one franchise showing no signs of slowing down. It was never a question of whether The Fate of the Furious would take the top spot this weekend, but even the most optimistic of projections couldn’t have expected the global domination that this movie undertook. Here’s the box office estimates as of Sunday afternoon:
It may seem strange to describe the eighth film in a blockbuster franchise as a transitional moment in the series, but then again, few franchises have had to deal with the death of an actor as essential as Paul Walker. The Fate of the Furious was always going to be a bittersweet affair for those involved; while the movie promised to push new characters and new relationships to the forefront, fans wondered how exactly they would choose to address the loss of Walker’s beloved Brian. The solution screenwriter Chris Morgan came up with should leave diehards and newcomers alike very pleased.
One of the most debated plots points of Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been the lineage of Daisy Ridley’s Rey. Could she be the daughter of Luke Skywalker? The daughter of Obi-One Kenobi? The daughter of… actually, come to think of it, those are the only two human Force-users we’ve met since the original Star Wars movie, so it’s either a very familiar face or someone totally out of the blue. Regardless, fans have now spent two years not knowing something about their favorite character, and that’s a long, long time for knowledge to be withheld in 2017. They’re ready for answers.
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