Few people are as welcome on our televisions as Terry Crews and few felt creatures warm our hearts quite like the Muppets. In other words, if you want to sell us a Toyota, there are far worse spokespeople (and spokespuppets) to use. In the grand tradition of modern Super Bowl ads, the presumably very expensive spot starring these guys is online in advance of the big game, giving everyone who doesn't watch football a chance to remember how much they like the Muppets and that really funny guy who used to play sports-ball once upon a time.
And, of course, a chance to BUY TOYOTA BUY TOYOTA BUY TOYOTA.
Every year presents a new apocalypse for the film industry and every year sees movies and theaters evolving to match the increasingly strange age that we live in. However, Hollywood's evolution may not be happening fast enough to win back certain audiences. A new Harris Poll asked Americans about their moviegoing habits and the results are a fascinating combination of the surprising and the not-so-surprising.
'The Monuments Men' was one of our most anticipated movies of 2013, so when it got bumped to next year, it immediately became one of our most anticipated movies of 2014. Although the schedule change has moved it out of potential awards contention, the marketing train has kept on rolling and the latest trailer takes a slightly more unique approach than the others, stylizing itself as a period-appropriate newsreel.
The return of Ron Burgundy and his news team has been positioned as a big, huge deal. 'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues' has been marketed more than any major release this month and everyone just assumed that the film would effortlessly snag massive box office numbers thanks purely to saturation (on top of the fact that the original is quite beloved). So it must sting a little for Paramount to see the film open in second place and it must sting even more once they compare the opening numbers to the opening of the first film from 2004.
Few guest performers seem to get 'SNL' quite like Justin Timberlake, who has a wonderful habit of showing up on the stage and creating classic sketches and characters with seemingly no effort. In most cases, he would easily overshadow the actual guest host, but when that guest host is show alum (and current late night superstar) Jimmy Fallon, there is less overshadowing and more comedic awesomeness.
If it's set in Middle Earth, it's going to open at number one. That's common knowledge. The big question is always how big or how small it's going to open at number one. 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' did open at number one this weekend, but it's a number that's going to feel controversial for people who like to bicker about box office numbers. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it disappointing? Honestly, you could make a case for all of those.
The weekend following a major holiday is always a little slow. The boost from vacationing moviegoers is gone, so everyone tends to take a major dip. Some films end up okay. Some die on the vine. This weekend saw two films weather the storm perfectly fine and one new release collapse on the starting line.
In one of the biggest holiday weekends of all time, the combined might of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' and 'Frozen' proved that yes, ladies can star in major blockbuster movies. We'll see if this lesson sticks (it won't), but between those two and the surprisingly female-friendly 'Thor: The Dark World,' this was a great weekend if you were looking for quality family entertainment that didn't treat its woman characters like crap.
Everyone knew that 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' was going to do well this weekend, but the lingering question was always whether or not it was going to do "really, really well" or "stupidly, gobsmackingly well." We should know by now that you always bet on Katniss Everdeen defying the odds, because it was the latter and everyone made it look easy.
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