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After Earth (#110 of 7)

Box Office Rap Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and the 2013 Wrap

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Box Office Rap: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and the 2013 Wrap
Box Office Rap: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and the 2013 Wrap

Adam McKay’s Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues opens on Wednesday and looks to become the eighth live-action comedy of 2013 to gross over $100 million in its domestic run. That’s a significant jump from only three comedies in 2012 which made that benchmark—a doubling in margin that suggests, by all conventional accounts, that it was a “good” year for comedies. Yet, upon further inspection, we find the titles of these moneymakers to be Bad Grandpa, Grown Ups 2, The Heat, and The Hangover Part III, which are among the laziest, if not the worst, Hollywood films of the year. Instead of “good,” we should say it was a profitable year for comedies and leave any such evaluative adjectives out of box-office summations.

If live-action comedy hits were aplenty, so were their animated counterparts, with Despicable Me 2, Monsters University, The Croods, Frozen, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 all meeting or exceeding financial expectations. The same could certainly be said for nearly every endeavor into superhero territory, as audiences still prefer cinema that transports them from the confines of reality and into a playground of fantasy-infused triviality, with a treatment of characters that ranged from tongue in cheek (Iron Man 3) to bombastic (Man of Steel) to hopelessly imitable (The Great Gatsby).

Box Office Rap You’re Next and the Rise of Horror Cinema

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Box Office Rap: You’re Next and the Rise of Horror Cinema
Box Office Rap: You’re Next and the Rise of Horror Cinema

This past week, Kyle Buchanan wrote an insightful, mostly spot-on piece for the Vulture about this summer’s box-office, and the overall takeaway is that, because of the “belly-flops” incurred by several original titles, combined with the highly profitable success of numerous sequels and franchise entries, studios will only be driven to make bigger budgeted films, almost all of them sequels, leaving little to no room for any kind of original, non-franchise venture. While Buchanan’s logic with regard to the summer tent pole is sound, there’s one glaring omission from his article: the outstanding box-office performances of The Purge and The Conjuring, two original works, both horror films. Not only did they debut at number one, each blazed past a $30 million opening. Several high-profile films failed to achieve such an opening this summer, including After Earth, The Internship, This Is the End, White House Down, The Lone Ranger, 2 Guns, and Elysium. Furthermore, The Conjuring is on pace to have a higher domestic gross than The Wolverine! Compare The Conjuring’s $20 million budget to The Wolverine’s $120 million, and suddenly sequelitis seems an equally dangerous proposition for Hollywood.

One Month Later: Catching Up with RogerEbert.com Editor-in-Chief Matt Zoller Seitz

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One Month Later: Catching Up with RogerEbert.com Editor-in-Chief Matt Zoller Seitz
One Month Later: Catching Up with RogerEbert.com Editor-in-Chief Matt Zoller Seitz

Around these parts, we’re pretty partial to Matt Zoller Seitz, the pop-culture-obsessed multihyphenate who founded The House Next Door, and either mentored or befriended a great number of House and Slant writers before moving on to develop sites like Press Play and become TV critic for New York magazine. But even for those without any Seitz biases, chances are it’s hard not to admire the guy’s pluck. On July 4, it will have been one month to the day since news officially broke that Seitz had been named editor-in-chief of RogerEbert.com. Of course, despite the massive loss we all suffered when Ebert passed, this job quickly seemed among the most coveted in all of entertainment journalism. And yet, it presented quite an intimidating challenge too. Though both Seitz and Ebert’s widow, RogerEbert.com publisher Chaz Ebert, have stressed that, naturally, no one could ever replace Roger, Seitz has accepted a torch-pass from someone who was rather inarguably the most popular film critic ever, and whose revered position is one of the hardest acts to follow in the history of the profession. But despite the hubbub, hurdles, and pressure that could unnerve even the steeliest pro, Seitz appears to have seized his role with grace and, indeed, guts, which is to say nothing of his recent championing of what might be the most widely-reviled flick of the year.