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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

'Twilight 2': Twi Harder

     The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 sucked even more life into the already lively box office this weekend. Breaking Dawn Part 2, Skyfall, Wreck It Ralph, Lincoln, Flight, Argo, and even the 7 week old Taken 2 helped propel last weekend into the 6th highest grossing and most attended weekend ever.
     Breaking Dawn Part 2 opened to $141 million and was only $1 million shy of setting the franchise record; nonetheless, it was the 2nd largest opening for November, even adjusted for inflation. Breaking Dawn didn't seem to have the finale factor that you see with franchise movies. Given that it is the last Twilight movie (at least starring Stewart, Pattinson, and Lautner) and how consistent Twilight plays, it should have opened higher than New Moon, but given Breaking Dawn's better reviews and more positive feedback from fans, it should end up grossing higher when it's all said and done. Through three, or technically four days for people picky about Thursday previews, Dawn has already brought in $340.6 million worldwide; Twihards are not confined to just America.
     It's hard for many fans to see the Twilight series (for now) end. The franchise through five movies has brought in so far $1.212 billion dollars in America and Canada alone. Of the top 10 opening weekends, Twilight occupies three spots- New Moon was at #3 before summer 2011. The franchise most likely would have also occupied a 4th spot if Eclipse had opened on a Friday. The series is known for being notoriously front loaded. Even though New Moon had the #3 opening ever, it failed to pass $300 million, which 31 movies had done, with only two opening above New Moon. Fans still show up for the series and that is the amazing fact. Twilight has stayed remarkably consistent. Twilight 2-4 ended up between $280-$300 million, and Dawn 2 will likely do the same. Even the biggest franchises such as Shrek, Spider-Man, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Chronicles of Narnia have seen in-steady inclines and declines. Congratulations to Twilight and Summit for accomplishing that- even though they couldn't accomplish a fresh rating for any of the movies.
     Maybe Abraham Lincoln really is America's favorite president and always will be- though Bill Clinton beats him in saxophone. Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, opened to an impressive $21 million, above mid-teen projects. Lincoln currently holds 91% on RT and is getting buzz for possible Oscar contentions. Lincoln should live on on our five dollars bills, and at the box office throughout the holiday season.
     Skyfall didn't fall from the heavens this weekend, only dropping 53.5% to $41.1 million. In 10 days, 007 has raked in $160 million domestically, and will pass the last 007 outing, Quantum of Solace, by mid-week. Skyfall is also being helped by great reviews, currently holding 92% on RT. Its a foregone conclusion that Skyfall will become the highest grossing bond- domestically and overseas, and most likely will rank #4 all time in attendance for James Bond. Quantum ranks 12th. Skyfall is also setting a blistering pace overseas; worldwide Skyfall has amassed $668 million, surprising audiences and analysts across the world.
     Wreck It Ralph is still keeping families, only dipping 47.3% to $18.5 million, bringing it's total $121.7 million. Ralph may lose some players when Rise of Guardians and Life of Pi open on Wednesday. Argo crossed the $90 million mark over the weekend, still playing strong with adult audiences. Flight landed with $8.8 million and Taken 2 is surprising everyone with its late legs.
     Like I said earlier, the Twilight series has brought in over $1.2 billion worldwide and they are Summit's most profitable movies by far, so it would be hard to imagine Summit to let this completely end until the Cullen's have sucked all life out of the public. Summit has talked about a TV series or possible spin off movie that won't include the main three actors. Will Twihards still show up? Will Stephanie Meyer write another book? Will Summit make anything else? Nothing is yet official, just speculation, but we shall see. If you're a loyal follower of Steph Meyer, her book The Host will be coming to the screen in March. Find the trailer here!
    

Monday, November 12, 2012

4 Is The New 3 and 3D Is The New 1 Billion

     There used to be a time where it was hard to predict what movie would number one for the year. Superheroes, sequels, and book adaptions weren't the biggest of the year. Movies about dinosaurs, toys, World War II, holidays, Beverly Hills, and Tom Cruise flying planes were the top attended, but by the turn of the century that has changed. Since 2002, 8 of the number one movies for the year were sequels. Another thing that used to be the norm was trilogies. It used to be 3 and out; seeing four movies in series was not too normal. That is changing as trilogies are becoming 4-quels.
     This year has seen the release of Ice Age: Continental Drift, Bourne Legacy, American Reunion, Underworld 4, Step Up Revolution, and Paranormal Activity 4. Last year it was Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Mission Impossible- Ghost Protocol, X-Men First Class, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1, Tyler Perry's Big Happy Family, Scream 4, and don't forget Shrek Forever After from 2010 and Terminator Salvation from 2009. Transformers 4, Last Friday, and Mockingjay Part 2 have been confirmed.
     So why? Why 4? It seemed like three was the perfect number. Well for some it had to happen- after Spider Man 4 was cancelled, Sony had to make The Amazing Spider Man in order to keep the film rights- yes it didn't have to be a reboot though, but it still made $752 million worldwide, so Sony doesn't really care. Some were planned from the beginning, like Shrek 4, and most, were for the surprise money aka Transformers and Pirates. Some also just don't make sense- yes we love Scream, but who asked for Scream 4? [chirps]. Twilight of course because their are four books- now is splitting it into two parts necessary though? No, but it's more money for the studio so Summit doesn't care either.
     3D may be slowly getting shunned domestically, but overseas audiences are embracing it like hugs. Avatar from 2009 started it all, making $2.7 billion, which wouldn't of been possible with 3D- though it would have still been a monster. Ever since, Hollywood has been backing the format full force, even to the point of forcing directors to slap it on there film. Before 2009, only 5 films made $1 billion WW, all 2D. After 2009, 8 more films have, with only 1 not in 3D. Grosses don't lie.
     Transformers 3 made a surpise killing overseas, $771 million with help from 3D, which is around what the original made with overseas and domestic combined. Paramount wasn't just going to let it end- even if the ending of TF3 made it seem that way. Disney too, once they saw how 3D had taken over and how Pirates was still strong, they made On Stranger Tides. Tides dropped majorly from At Worlds End domestically, but it did justice overseas. Alice in Wonderland was released in the right time. Coming three months after the 3D mammoth Avatar, audiences here and overseas yearned for more 3D. Alice grossed $1.024 billion worldwide and $690 million overseas which many believed was goodwill from Avatar. No non-sequel has broken the billion barrier since.
     There have been talks for Madagascar 4, Toy Story 4, Rush Hour 4 and Austin Powers 4 (forever), and if Iron Man 3 blows past that $1 billion barrier next year, or comes close, Iron Man 4 shouldn't be a surprise.
     Not a surprise is that 4th movies usually, but not always, fail to match the critical and financial success of their predecessors, but yet they're still made? Franchises may get tired here in the US, but again overseas, the next entry expands into a larger audience since the box office has been expanding wildly overseas. It's highly probable that sequels will make higher than theyre predecessors overseas. If Ice Age 5 is made, it won't be because kids in the US just cant fulfill their need for Scrat, it will be because kids in Latin America, Asia, and Europe can't. Animation has seen the biggest benefit; that is why Madagascar 4 and Ice Age 5 are on the table even though their franchises are growing old. Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, and Blue Sky- all animation companies- have also practically made it a rule that ALL their future releases will be 3D. Until 4D comes out of course. At least you won't expect this from live action movies. Ted 3D anyone?
     It's safe to say now that 4-quels will become more common practice. This is not necessarily a bad thing- Mission Impossible 4 and X-Men 4 were considered one of the best in their franchises. Though Pirates 4, American Reunion, Terminator 4, and Scream were seen as disappointments and/or cash grabs. Transformers doesn't really need to go on, but if there's a high probability that it will make $1 billion worldwide again- it will.
     As long as the 4th movie brings fourth (pun intended) good quality and it actually makes sense to make, then the extra number on the title won't matter. If Hollywood keeps churning out fours though just to keep the money train going and the fourth movies keep sucking, then the public may take notice of the extra number- and may skip it. Here's hoping Transformers 4 can finally break "fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes!