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.
It’s not coincidence that Scarlett Johansson guest hosted SNL on the same weekend that Avengers: Age of Ultron opened in theaters, so of course the show had to do a Marvel sketch of some kind. And unlike the previous Avengers sketches cooked up for Chris Hemsworth and Jeremy Renner, this one is actually a pretty effective dig at the Marvel movie machine. More importantly, it’s very funny.
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.
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.
When Paul Walker tragically passed away midway through the production of Furious 7, Universal and director James Wan faced a difficult task. Do they scuttle the film or charge ahead, using rewrites and body doubles to finish Walker’s performance? They ultimately went with the latter option but refused to go into any details. Now, a new report confirms that a digitally recreated Walker appears in the film and that he was brought to life by the same company that made Gollum in The Lord of the Rings and Caesar in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
What does a movie studio want out of its sequels? Is a sequel a failure if it simply matches its predecessor or does it need to make more money? That’s the big question that’s swirling around Insurgent, which made almost exactly as much as Divergent did one year ago. Seriously: there’s only a $500,000 difference in their opening weekends. So is Insurgent a success or a disappointment?
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 some of the year’s biggest movies only a month or two away, the box office seems to have entered a holding pattern. Some of the new releases are minor hits. Others crash and burn. Right now, Hollywood just seems to be crossing their fingers and hoping for the sweet, sweet summer movie season to come along and save them (or at least the April release of Furious 7). In other words, every new release underperformed this weekend.
It’s an undisputed scientific fact that Beauty and the Beast’s Gaston is the greatest villain in the Disney animated canon. After all, we’re talking about a guy whose theme song is all about how many eggs he eats and how every last inch of him is covered in hair. Sorry Maleficent, you have nothing on this guy. So, the news that Luke Evans has been cast as Gaston in Disney’s upcoming live action take on Beauty and the Beast has us feeling awfully judgmental. Sure, Evans is a good actor, but is he Gaston good?
ScreenCrush wraps up the latest in movies and TV you might have missed. Today, Frozen finally makes its move to Broadway, a Space Invaders movie (!) gets a writer, and a ranking of all of Djimon Hounsou’s sidekick roles.
Remember how so many Star Wars fans lost their minds when we first saw Kylo Ren’s bizarre hilted lightsaber in the trailer for Star Wars: Episode 7? Well, they’re about to lose ‘em all over again. Hasbro is introducing a new line of toys that will allow children (and their parents) to customize their own Jedi weapons. If you should a little hilt was crazy, then you probably aren’t prepared for what people will soon be able to create in their homes.
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