It took a movie about adorable talking dogs and cats to dethrone the movie about the adorable talking fish. The Secret Life of Pets dominated the box office this weekend, making it the third 2016 family movie about chatty animals to make a huge splash. If this concept wasn’t as old as the animation medium itself, we could call this a trend.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Finding Dory opened at number one at the box office this week and did enormous business, but the folks at Disney and Pixar must be breathing a sigh of relief. After all, last year’s The Good Dinosaur was the first film to come out of the venerable animation studio that could be considered a legitimate box office disappointment, especially since it came in the wake of the massively successful Inside Out. The massive opening weekend for the sequel to Finding Nemo repositions Pixar in its rightful place on the top of the animated movie food chain.
The 2016 summer box office hit another speed bump this week as two major releases — a sequel and a potential franchise-starter — opened to disappointing numbers. However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Despite the poor starts for Warcraft and Now You See Me 2, The Conjuring 2 opened at number one with the kind of debut that proves modestly budgeted horror movies with R ratings still have a place in the blockbuster months.
Despite the arrival of two major films, this Memorial Day weekend was ultimately a disappointing affair, as X-Men: Apocalypse and Alice Through the Looking Glass both underperformed. The former should ultimately emerge untarnished in the long run, likely making enough money to keep the X-Men franchise breathing. However, the second Alice adventure only confirms what everyone outside of Disney already knew. People don’t like the first Alice in Wonderland and they had no interest in a sequel.
That sound you hear is the folks over at Disney popping a couple dozen bottles of champagne — Zootopia didn’t just open at number one at the box office, it had the biggest opening of any film in the history of Walt Disney Animation Studios, beating out 2014’s Frozen. Unfortunately, the rest of the newcomers didn’t fare quite as well, with London Has Fallen and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot limping into second and fourth place, respectively.
Deadpool topped the box office for the third weekend in a row, which is an impressive feat for any movie…but it helps when all of your competition arrives with a thud. Gods of Egypt, Eddie the Eagle, and Triple 9 all flopped in their opening weekends, making the continued box office victory of Ryan Reynolds’ foul-mouthed superhero all the more staggering.
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.
With Star Wars: The Force Awakens star Adam Driver hosting 2016’s first episode of SNL, a Kylo Ren sketch of some kind was inevitable. After all, you don't get the actor who plays the villain in one of the biggest movies of all time to appear on your comedy variety show and not have him reprise that character. And we'll give the show this much: we never would have predicted a faux episode of Undercover Boss set on Starkiller Base, with the angry, murderous Kylo Ren going undercover amongst his troops as a radar technician named Matt.
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.
It’s a testament to the staying power of certain public figures that they’ve been played by more than one SNL cast member over the years. People like Hillary Clinton, the former First Lady turned former Senator turned former Secretary of State turned current Democratic Presidential frontrunner, linger on long past Saturday Night Live cast rotations. So what is the show to do when one of its guest hosts used to play a vital and very much in the public eye politician back in the day? Put her on stage with the current version, of course.
While traditional live sketches are still the backbone of any given episode, modern SNL is frequently at its best in the pre-recorded segments. The past few years have seen an interesting evolution as the silly “digital shorts” of a decade ago have matured into full-blown filmmaking, with sketches that feel more like short films than just a comedy bit. Last night’s Ryan Gosling-hosted episode peaked with a pre-recorded sketch titled “Santa Baby,” which let both SNL and Gosling himself turn the weird up to 11.
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