Box Office: ‘Maze Runner’ Sprints Past Liam Neeson With $32.5 Million
“The Maze Runner” showed that sometimes the weekend box office is a marathon, not a sprint.
Twentieth Century Fox’s adaptation of James Dashner’s post-apocalyptic novel took awhile to build up steam, but found its core audience by the weekend’s midpoint. It debuted to $32.5 million from 3,604 locations, in line with projections. That’s good news for the studio, which hopes to turn the story of a group of teenagers battling nasty creatures in a dangerous labyrinth into a franchise.
“All of the elements came together in accomplishing something that no one ever tried by launching a young adult film like this in September,” said Chris Aronson, Fox’s domestic distribution chief. “We like to stand out whenever we can and we selected this release date in order to be the first event film of the fall.”
The unique opening date allowed “The Maze Runner” to jet ahead of »
- Brent Lang
Ray Donovan Recap: “Rodef”
As has been Ray Donovan's trajectory all season, Ray's attempts to manage his family -- even under the guise of protecting them -- have finally unravelled completely. Though he spent much of "Rodef" covering his bases with Ezra, Abby, Avi, Lena, Cochran and others (should he end up in jail), in his final scene of anguish, he was unable to protect the two most important people in his life: Conor and Bridget. Yet, as always, it wasn't chance or fate that led to that outcome, but Ray's own choices. Hit the jump to find out how many Vietnam vets it takes to screw in a lightbulb ("You weren't there, man!") One thing Ray Donovan doesn't usually have a lot of is suspense. "Rodef" was an excellent exception to that. Shorty and his oxygen tank have been a disaster waiting to happen all season, and in a very Checkovian way, the »
- Allison Keene
Boardwalk Empire Recap: “What Jesus Said”
Even for someone who likes Boardwalk Empire's slowest and most meditative episodes, "What Jesus Said" necessitated the use of caffeine to get through it. The summation of its vignettes seemed to be that you can't escape who you are. In the end, almost everyone was haunted by the past, or faced with the reality of a life they preferred to keep hidden. Boardwalk's final season seems to be, in part, about consequence, and there's no better way to drive that home than to consider what it is that got you there. Hit the jump, boy! I'm still not entirely convinced that the weekly convention of Nucky's childhood flashbacks are working, but they do break up an otherwise dull parade of conversations. By working, I mean that if they are intended to make us feel closer to, or somehow sorry for Nucky because of the trials of his upbringing, it's not really connecting in that way. »
- Allison Keene
Box-Office: ‘Maze Runner’ Takes The Top Spot, Fox Schedules Sequel For September 2015
Well, a new young adult-franchise has been born. Made for a relatively low $34 million, 20th Century Fox took the #1 spot this weekend with their latest Ya-entry, “The Maze Runner.” On a whopping 3,604 screens, its $32.5 million opening didn’t break the bank, nor did it outperform opening-weekend numbers from 2014 Ya movies like “The Fault In Our Stars” or “Divergent,” but it did best Ya films like “Ender’s Game” and the last “Percy Jackson” movie. And so for this more modest picture with fewer well-known stars, “The Maze Runner” did solid business. Especially when you consider that its overseas totals made for an $81.5 million dollar opening weekend global total. The film also did well considering its season, early September when audiences aren’t flocking to theaters. And so “The Maze Runner” opening was the 6th highest September opening ever, and course without 3D surcharges. 52% of audiences were female and while Dylan »
- Rodrigo Perez
Film Review: ‘Song of the Sea’
In a worthy follow-up to “The Secret of Kells” (a surprise nominee for the 2010 animated feature Oscar), Moore applies his dazzling hand-drawn style to another tale inspired by Irish legend, only this time, he spins the magic-infused yarn against a present-day backdrop while digging farther back into pre-Pictish rock drawings for visual references. Indie distrib GKids came aboard early, backing this Cartoon Saloon production, a limited-release treasure whose long-term library value similarly hinges on high-profile awards attention.
Whereas American toons tend to be driven predominantly by plot and character, Moore’s work delivers on various other levels, asking formula-fed animation auds to open their minds to a more poetic experience. That said, the pic’s emotional core isn’t so different from that of a studio-made heart-tugger like “Brave.” Here, the story is centered on a lost mother figure — a half-human, half-seal creature known as a “Selkie” — who disappears into the waves one night, »
- Peter Debruge
Fantastic Fest Review: Horror Remake 'The Town That Dreaded Sundown'
The original "Town That Dreaded Sundown," released on Christmas Eve 1976 and based on actual events, was a minor cult classic that cast a long shadow. Its cinema verite aesthetic, which combined deadpan narration, publicly available music cues, and chilling reenactments, created a kind of true crime sensationalism that would be borrowed by everything from "Unsolved Mysteries" to the current "found footage" horror craze. Even if you've never seen the original movie, chances are you've felt its pull. So it's with some trepidation that we approached the new "Town That Dreaded Sundown" remake, a film that would not only have to live up to the boldness of the original, but also the countless imitators who approximated its sensibilities in the years that followed. And while "Town That Dreaded Sundown" is ambitious and supremely weird, it fails to cohere into something more resonant. For much of the movie it feels like what would have. »
- Drew Taylor
Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor Previews ‘Gone Girl’ Soundtrack
Reznor scored the David Fincher film with co-composer Atticus Ross, marking the trio’s third collaboration. Previously, Reznor, Ross and Fincher worked together on “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” as well as “The Social Network,” for which they nabbed an Academy Award.
Reznor put the preview of the soundtrack on the Nine Inch Nails website earlier this week.
- Alex Stedman
Film Review: ‘Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere’
A gauchely translated English title does little justice to the refined sensuality and sly strangeness of “Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere,” an immediately distinctive feature-length debut for Vietnamese femme helmer Diep Hoang Nguyen. Though it’s steeped in a rich, particular cultural and spiritual milieu, there’s a universal feminist resonance to this story of a pregnant teen whose plans for an abortion are repeatedly obstructed by financial and romantic complications. Diep’s unique take on a girl-in-trouble narrative made a strong critical impression at Venice and should continue to spread its wings on the international festival circuit. That mealy mouthful of a title, however, may be an apt description of its commercial prospects.
Leading Vietnamese auteur Tran Anh Hung is credited as a “special consultant” on “Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere,” and it’s not hard to imagine his own 1993 debut, “The Scent of Green Papaya,” as a formative influence on Diep. »
- Guy Lodge
Colin Farrell Confirmed to Star in True Detective Season 2, Offers Update on Show
The rumors have been swirling for a while that Colin Farrell was in talks for True Detective Season 2, but now the actor has confirmed that we will indeed appear. There's still no official confirmation that Vince Vaughn will be appearing (or Taylor Kitsch for that matter), but now that this piece of info is firmed up I would expect some more official announcements in the coming weeks. Season 2 of Nic Pizzolatto's show will reportedly take place in three different California cities with a plot that, to me, is beginning to resemble Chinatown via Zodiac in that it's about land deals but also how different law enforcement agencies intersect with each other. The casting news came with this semi-logline that this next stretch of episodes, "looks set to pick up on the vicious murder of a corrupt businessman found dead the night before he completes a deal." Hit the jump »
- Evan Dickson
Bart & Fleming: Are Studios Driving The Lazy Road Paved By Detroit Automakers?
Bart: I don’t want to sound nostalgic, but do you remember the days when working in the entertainment business was considered a good job? When I was first hired by a movie studio, my journalistic friends all said, ‘Man, you’ve got it made.’
Fleming: Since you take a vow of poverty to be a journalist, I’ve thought that about journalist pals who took studio PR jobs.
Bart: That’s definitely the past. Here’s the reality of the moment: Warner Bros. has started a new wave of firings. Sony is still in the middle of its cost cutting. Overall show biz employment (including music) is down 19 percent over five years. The big talent agencies are »
- Mike Fleming Jr
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