There’s a bizarre narrative floating around the internet: Avengers: Age of Ultron is already a disappointment because it didn’t open higher than The Avengers in its first weekend. This seems to be ignoring the fact that The Avengers had the biggest opening of all time and Avengers: Age of Ultron now has the second biggest opening of all time, which is nothing to scoff at. Sure, the sequel may not match the numbers of the first movie in the end, but it’s already well on the way to becoming one of the biggest movies of the year. And of all time.
If there were any lingering doubts about the popularity of Star Wars in the year 2015, Star Wars Celebration killed them. Ruthlessly. When the the live-streamed panel for Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiered the second trailer for J.J. Abrams’ wildly anticipated sequel, you could feel the internet quiver and shake underneath the weight of the hype. It was a staggering event that made the next few geek-friendly trailers released in the following days feel like small potatoes in comparison. And yes, this hyperbole is backed up by raw numbers: the second trailer for The Force Awakens shattered the record for most trailer views in 24 hours.
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.
Ever since the Hulk stole the show back in 2012’s The Avengers, fans have been clamoring for a solo adventure for Mark Ruffalo and his big, green alter-ego. And yet, we’ve heard nothing and aside from a tiny cameo in Iron Man 3, Bruce Banner has sat out Marvel’s Phase 2. However, Ruffalo himself has spoken out about the matter and it sounds like Earth’s mightiest green rage monster is being constrained by the most powerful force in the universe: rights issues.
Avengers: Age of Ultron has already begun screening for critics and it has been receiving very positive responses, which is definitely not doing anything to deter our personal hype from reaching unfair and dangerous levels. Thankfully, Marvel has thrown the rest of us a bone with this new clip from the film, which features enough of that typical Joss Whedon wit and enough big action to satiate us for, oh, another day or so.
Vanessa Bayer’s Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy has been a regular character on SNL’s Weekend Update for quite some time now, so it was about time for us meet the family of everyone’s favorite awkward, overly prepared Jewish kid. Coinciding with the end of Passover, the show brought the great Billy Crystal onto the show as Jacob’s equally awkward father.
The early estimates for the opening weekend gross of Furious 7 are all over the place and we probably won’t have a definitive number until tomorrow, when the dust finally settles and everyone gets a chance to breathe. However, this one thing we know for sure: the seventh film in the Fast and Furious series didn’t just shatter in-franchise records, it shattered records for any April release.
Since The Walking Dead just ended its fifth season and it’s still one of the biggest shows in the history of television, it makes sense that SNL would pause to talk about it. After all, what good is the “Weekend Update” segment if the anchors don’t occasionally stop to talk about what’s big in popular culture? And what good is SNL if it can’t get one of the most popular actors from The Walking Dead to stop by for a minute-long cameo?
Most of the time, the SNL opening monologue is a formality and a tradition, a road bump on the way to the actual good parts of an episode. It feels like something the guest host does because he has to, not because anyone on the writing staff actually had a good idea. And that’s why last night’s monologue was such a joyous surprise: it was not only the best monologue of the season, but the best sketch of the whole night.
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