There's something thematically appropriate about a movie telling the story of a butler who quietly influenced the United States taking the number one spot at the box office over its flashy, bigger rivals. Lee Daniels' 'The Butler' took multiplexes by storm this weekend, taking down last week's competition as well as a handful of seemingly strong newcomers.
In a weekend with four new major releases but no definitive frontrunners, the Matt Damon sci-fi action flick 'Elysium' snagged the top spot over some seemingly powerful competition. Director Neill Blomkamp's film continues this summer's trend of R-rated fare opening big ('The Purge,' 'The Conjuring,' '2 Guns') and proves that there's plenty of box office success to be had in the typically slow final weeks of the season.
Ah, the continuing appeal of the one and only Denzel Washington. How much do people love this guy? They love him so much that they'll transform just about any movie he appears in into a respectable hit, even if that movie is a poorly marketed (but well-reviewed) action movie based on a comic book that no one read. We shouldn't be surprised that '2 Guns' shot to the top of the box office, but we are a little. Oh, Denzel Washington, you always catch us off guard.
The X-Men franchise may have kickstarted the superhero movie revolution, but it's lagged behind the competition in recent years, with 'X-Men: First Class' and 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' failing to match the business of the first three films in the series. So all eyes are on 'The Wolverine,' and its number one opening is certainly a reason to celebrate ... but is the opening big enough?
There was a lot of buzz surrounding James Wan's 'The Conjuring' going into this weekend. "Scariest movie of the year." "Best horror movie in a long time." And so on. But it paid off. 'The Conjuring' not only won the box office, it won the box office in a way that R-rated horror movies often don't. Between this and 'The Purge,' R-rated horror is officially back in a big way.
What's more powerful than a bunch of giant robots and giant monsters? What's more powerful than Adam Sandler and all his buddies? This weekend gave us a definitive answer: a lovable supervillain voiced by Steve Carell. 'Despicable Me 2' triumphed at the box office for the second week in a row, beating out newcomers like 'Grown Ups 2' and 'Pacific Rim' and making it look easy.
Which would you expect to win the Fourth of July weekend: the Disney-produced, Johnny Depp-starring revival of an iconic American hero or the sequel to a French-made, Steve Carell-starring animated movie about a lovable supervillain? Well, it looks like American audiences simply aren't interested in westerns, even the uber-expensive ones starring Captain Jack Sparrow with a bird on his head. 'Despicable Me 2' destroyed 'The Lone Ranger' over the holiday weekend. Like, totally wrecked it. Mercilessly.
What happens when two new releases that look like sure-things smash into the unstoppable wall that is a Pixar movie? Well, you get one second place hit and one severe disappointment. 'The Heat' still looks good next to the continued success of 'Monsters University,' but it made 'White House Down' stumbling at the starting line look all the more horrible.