With Star Wars: The Force Awakens less than a month away from release and anticipation reaching a feverish level unseen in movie fans since 1999, the timing is right for SNL to gently skewer the upcoming sequel. The sketch is really just an excuse for the cast to break out a bunch of impersonations they’ve obviously been keeping in their back pockets while letting them interact with actual Star Wars cast members, but c’mon, that’s all the excuse you need, really.
After a slow start, September 2015 is shaping up to be a pretty solid month for the box office. After last week’s solid numbers, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials and Black Mass picked up the baton and ran with it, leading another strong weekend.
A few weeks ago, tracking for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation was supposedly in the toilet. Early reports suggested that Tom Cruise’s fifth outing as super-spy Ethan Hunt was not getting people excited. This would be the end, the experts said, of a franchise that has kept Cruise’s career surging forward for the past two decades. Well, that was apparently a big load of crap because Rogue Nation opened well and opened in the same ballpark as the rest of the franchise. Even with inflation differences, this series keeps on hitting the same box office sweet spot.
As expected, the Fourth of July holiday weekend saw a lot of people heading to the theater. Unfortunately for the new releases, those people gravitated toward films that have already been in theaters for a few weeks. Once again, Jurassic World and Inside Out dominated the top 10, leaving newcomers like Terminator Genisys and Magic Mike XXL out in the cold.
When Universal scheduled Ted 2, they surely had no idea that Seth MacFarlane’s swearing teddy bear sequel would be squaring off against one of the biggest box office juggernauts of all time...a juggernaut that they themselves had created. So it’s not surprising that Jurassic World topped the box office again and it’s not surprising that Pixar’s Inside Out held onto second place. What is a little surprising is how low Ted 2 opened, falling significantly short of its predecessor’s opening weekend.
Tomorrowland may have taken the top spot at the box office in its debut weekend, but things still look awfully grim for the George Clooney sci-fi vehicle. Not only did the film open far below expectations, it faced serious competition in Pitch Perfect 2, which continued to kick aca-butt in its second weekend. And it wasn’t the only new release to under-perform, with the Poltergeist remake also falling short of early predictions. If you were a new release this weekend, things were awfully rough.
Something has survived ... and it’s been packaged, licensed and sold to an audience of millions! No, we’re not talking about the Jurassic Park franchise or the new Jurassic World trailer, but rather the dinosaurs on display in the film, who are the star attractions in a fully functioning prehistoric theme park where nothing ever goes wrong! Until it does. And when things go wrong at dinosaur theme parks, things go really wrong.
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.
There are few impersonations on SNL we enjoy as much as Jay Pharoah’s President Barack Obama, the chief subject of the latest episode’s cold open. But in a nice twist, the leader of the free world soon finds himself transforming into a monster of a man. Did you really think SNL would get Dwayne Johnson to guest host and not bring back The Rock Obama?
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?
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