Over the past few years, the 'Paranormal Activity' series has established itself as one of the most inexpensive and reliable horror franchises around. Produced for (non-literal) pennies, they've consistently opened strong at the box office, ensuring a fast and efficient turnaround. The latest film, 'Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones,' has already accomplished that goal, but it did so without grabbing the number one spot. Sure, people may love found footage demons, but it turns out that they love animated singing princesses more.
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.
The weekend following a major holiday is always a little slow. The boost from vacationing moviegoers is gone, so everyone tends to take a major dip. Some films end up okay. Some die on the vine. This weekend saw two films weather the storm perfectly fine and one new release collapse on the starting line.
In one of the biggest holiday weekends of all time, the combined might of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' and 'Frozen' proved that yes, ladies can star in major blockbuster movies. We'll see if this lesson sticks (it won't), but between those two and the surprisingly female-friendly 'Thor: The Dark World,' this was a great weekend if you were looking for quality family entertainment that didn't treat its woman characters like crap.
There was no question of whether or not 'Thor: The Dark World' was going to open at number one this weekend. Of course it was. The big question was whether it would get a post-'Avengers' bump, or if it would do similar business to its 2011 predecessor. Question answered: it got a bump and a pretty good one, too.
If you were wondering what it would take to finally shove 'Gravity' out of the number one spot at the box office, the answer is Johnny Knoxville as an elderly man with a foul mouth and penchant for sustaining groin injuries. After nearly a month at the top, Alfonso Cuaron's science fiction spectacle fell to number two, dethroned by 'Bad Grandpa.'
Despite a few new releases, this weekend was all about last week's champion. 'Gravity' held on to the number one spot with all of its might, showing that Alfonso Cuaron's space thriller may have some of the strongest legs of any major 2013 release.
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.
September may traditionally be a wasteland of half-baked films unfit to open in a proper month, but the lack of competition can actually be a good thing. Could 'Prisoners,' a film made specifically for an adult audience, have opened as well as it did if it was released in a busier month? Probably not.
James Wan has done it again. For the second time this year, a horror film that he's directed has opened to over $40 million, securing his position as the reigning king of mainstream horror cinema. He may be taking a break from the genre to direct 'Fast and Furious 7,' but after the jaw-dropping success of 'The Conjuring' and now 'Insidious Chapter 2,' you just know he'll be back. No one is bringing the audiences in quite like Wan.
Oh, and there were some other movies that made some money, too.
Despite a bunch of new releases with all kinds of wide and varied appeal, this weekend's box office top 10 looks suspiciously like last week's. Apparently, none of the newcomers could match Lee Daniels' 'The Butler,' which effortlessly claimed the top spot once more.
The last time we saw Indiana Jones, he was encountering aliens and disappointing millions of movie fans all over the world with 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.' Although we're just now washing the taste of that disastrous production out of our mouths, talk of an 'Indiana Jones 5' has long persisted, and now there may be enough distance for us to actually be a little interested. What does series star Harrison Ford have to say on the matter?
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