One year ago was the last semi-true box office weekend of the pre-pandemic era. Tom Hanks announced he was COVID-positive on March 10, the NBA shut down, and soon theaters were to follow. The weekend was won by Pixar’s Onward for the second straight week, but with a 72.9% drop from its opening, earning only .6 million. New openers that weekend suffered, too: Bloodshot (.17 million), I Still Believe (.10 million), and The Hunt (.3 million), which had once been removed from the schedule indefinitely from the previous September. Bad Boys for Life had already crossed the 0 million line on March 7. Along with Onward (.5 million overall), two other films were destined to be stuck in the million category: The Invisible Man (.91 million) and The Call of the Wild (.34 million). Nearly every theater in the country was shut down by the next weekend.Full List of Box Office Results: March 12-14, 2021
It s been nearly two years since the second season of Westworld premiered to HBO and a lot has changed. When we last checked in with the series, which was created by Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan and inspired by Michael Crichton’s 1973 film of the same name, Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Maeve (Thandie Newton), two robot characters who were initially programmed to bend at the whims of the park s uber-rich clientele, had become fully sentient with violent results.Blind with vengeful rage, Dolores went on a murderous rampage. Before ultimately escaping the confines of the Westworld theme park, the killer host pillaged The Forge, the supercomputer holding all of the guest data the Delos corporation had been secretly stealing. She caused a flood, deleted a whole lot of those data pearls in the process, and installed her consciousness into the host replica of new Delos boss Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) before heading into the Valley Beyond.(Photo by John P. Johnson/HBO)Things for former brothel owner Maeve went a different direction, entirely. After her glitch woke her up, the sentient host infiltrated the inner-workings of the park, enlisting Hector, Armistice and the rest of their outlaw gang, as well as Head of Narrative Design, Lee Sizemore, to help in the search of her long lost daughter. Unfortunately for her, as she closed in on reuniting with the girl, Delores and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) rained hell upon the park, leaving Maeve shot. As she bled out, she watched her daughter exit the park for greener digital pastures with Native American host Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon).Discovering they were just pawns in a greater reality out-of-their reach is ultimately what drove each character s journey after their awakening was complete. For Bernard, the right-hand to park-creator Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins), his realization that he was a synthetic being this whole time — one who was created by Ford in the image of his former partner — was one of the show s big reveals in its first season. This twist (and there were many) led Bernard to enable Dolores on her bloody journey all while attempting to pick up his own mental pieces, while he fell into an identity crisis, of sorts.(Photo by John P. Johnson/HBO)The HBO series delved further the white hat vs. black hat morality play originally introduced in season 1. It also filled in the blanks regarding the political drama unfolding behind the scenes within Delos. Less-than-savory struggles lie behind the character motivations of Charlotte, Dr. Ford s tenacious young replacement, and Delos investor William (Jimmi Simpson) who evolved into the Man in Black (Ed Harris), the coldhearted gunslinger hell-bent on burning the whole park to the ground.The series, which puts the concepts of free will, corporate greed, and a towering god complex in a blender, gave viewers plenty of answers in the season 2 finale, only to lead us to many more questions once it all ended. Needless to say, ahead of its highly-anticipated return, which takes the story outside of the confines of the park and adds Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) to the mix, expectations are running high. Does the new season live up to the hype? Here s what the critics have to say:SEASON 3 IS A SLICK-LOOKING CYBERPUNK REBOOT(Photo by John P. Johnson/HBO)Ironically, the best part of Westworld Season 3 might be those overwhelming visual tableaus: the spectacular shots of a copter floating over a metropolis, the romantic European vistas of Maeve’s WWII world, and even the intimate hell that Caleb is going through. Westworld doesn’t just try to show us a haunted vision of the future, but it immerses us in it. — Meghan O Keefe, DeciderTime has passed since the end of season 2, and we find Dolores dealing with her new life in the outside world. In Los Angeles, everything looks like Tesla s version of Blade Runner, with Cybertruck police cars carving up a clean, Japan-inspired city. — Jennifer Bisset, CNETIronically, the best part of Westworld Season 3 might be those overwhelming visual tableaus: the spectacular shots of a copter floating over a metropolis, the romantic European vistas of Maeve’s WWII world, and even the intimate hell that Caleb is going through. Westworld doesn’t just try to show us a haunted vision of the future, but it immerses us in it. — Meghan O Keefe, DeciderTHIS NEW COAT OF PAINT CAN T COVER UP SOME CLUNKY STORYTELLINGWestworld wants to generate another existential conversation in Season 3, but even as the show swaps settings and introduces new faces, the details that make it come to life are perfunctory. — Brandon Katz, ObserverAction scenes are slick and easy-to-track, but they’re also detached, lacking the gleeful turns and grand lines that punctuated similar thrills from previous seasons. Backstory that used to be unveiled with a flourish is delivered sans showmanship, which can be refreshing when the new intel doesn’t warrant a whole to-do, but only contributes further to the new season’s straightforward execution. — Ben Travers, IndieWirePerhaps the flatness of its new setting might have served, or might eventually serve in the season’s second half, as ironic counterpoint: The peculiarity of the robot uprising exists against a backdrop so flat and familiar as to make it all the more intriguing. But what tends to happen instead is that the flatness inflects every corner of the story and sucks away the vibrancy. — Daniel D Addario, Variety Westworld returns with the batteries charged in an energetic start.— Alberto Carlos, EspinofDOLORES IS A VENGEFUL ROBOT WORTH ROOTING FOR(Photo by John P. Johnson/HBO)Season 3 Dolores is a vast upgrade. She s pissed off, but not blindly ruthless. She s bent on giving humans what she thinks they deserve, but smart enough to know this world doesn t operate like Westworld did. This is the kind of Dolores she should have been all along: a victim you feel empathy for with a cause worth fighting for — she s seen the worst that humans can be and believes her kind is the next step in evolution. She s not a one-note horseman of the robo-apocalypse. — Tim Surette, TV GuideDolores has often been a difficult character to track thanks to her regular identity crises, veering between damsel-in-distress and utterly unsympathetic villain, but in the third season, she finally seems to have hit a pleasant and steady middle-ground. We don’t fully know Dolores’ endgame, but we do know the ruthlessness with which she’ll pursue it and the remarkable capabilities she possesses to see it through. — Haleigh Fouch, ColliderAARON PAUL S PERFORMANCE IS FINE(Photo by John P. Johnson/HBO)Adding Paul as a new main character seems novel at first, but he quickly takes a backseat to everything else. — Chris Evangelista, SlashFilmAaron Paul walks sadly around a skyglass futuretropolis waiting for a popular smartphone app to assign him ATM robberies. — Darren Franich, EWIT S STILL COOL AND QUITE CONFUSING(Photo by John P. Johnson/HBO)There’s still plenty to be confused about. Westworld is 100% back on its bullshit and, depending on how much you like your TV to be a rug-yanking crash course in skepticism, still presents beautiful illusion after beautiful illusion for you to doubt. — Jacob Oller, Paste MagazineAll of the standard questions Westworld brings up in viewers remain: Is this person real or a host? Is this something happening now, or a flashback or flash forward? What exactly is reality, anyway? If something feels real, and affects someone like a real trauma, does that mean it’s real even if it takes place in a virtual playground? — Ron Hogan, Den of GeekExpect the passions around “Westworld” to erupt once again when Season 3 arrives, confusion reigns and the series’ fans and detractors face off to defend their side. — Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles TimesWestworld season 3 premieres on Sunday, March 15 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
Endgame vs. the MCU: After three days, the Fifth Biggest MCU Movie – and Coming for the CrownAt 0 million, Avengers: Endgame immediately becomes the 50th highest-grossing domestic film of all-time. That is already more than Aquaman grossed in 105 days. It also took Captain Marvel 24 days to gross what Endgame did in three; and Endgame is now the fifth highest-grossing film in the MCU. In a remarkable bit of solidarity, Captain Marvel moved up to second place at the box office this weekend, dropping just 11% for an eighth-weekend haul of million. That’s the 10th best eighth weekend of all time (up from last week’s 15th best seventh weekend) and the fifth best this for the current century, behind Avatar (.8 million), Frozen (.7 million), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ( million), and Black Panther (.7 million).And let s get super math-y for a minute. If we were playing the Take Two game from The Price is Right – where you have to pick the cost of two prizes that add up to a specific amount – the only MCU title one could pick to combine with another for a total less than Endgame’s opening weekend is The Incredible Hulk. Take that movie s 4.8 million, match it with Captain America: The First Avenger (6.6 million), Ant-Man (0.2 million), Thor (1.0), or Thor: The Dark World (6.3 million) and you have the only pairings that come up less than Endgame’s 0 million start. Only eight films in the MCU have grossed more in their entire run than Endgame did in three-and-a-third days.There has been no fatigue with the MCU, as frequently as that myth has been told. Endgame had already grossed 5 million outside of the U.S. before even opening here. Through Sunday, Endgame has grossed 9 million internationally (14th all-time) and .2 billion globally (the eighth MCU film to reach that milestone and the fastest ever to pass it). Those numbers make Endgame the 18th highest-grossing film of all time internationally. And it s done that since Thursday.Records on the Horizon: Endgame Sets its Sights on Avatar, The Force Awakens(Photo by @ Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, @ Marvel Studios)Domestically, Avengers: Endgame is now beyond targeting the totals of the two mega-grossing James Cameron films, Avatar and Titanic – because it is going for the big dog. Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the highest-grossing film ever domestically, earned 6.7 million here and Endgame is already blowing past all of its early records. Avatar is the all-time world champ with .78 billion – and that s going to be a tough number to beat, even for a film expected to become just the fifth film ever to gross billion worldwide. Other records that Endgame has its eye on for next week include:Biggest 10-Day Gross: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (0 million)Biggest Second Weekend: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (9.2 million)Smallest Drop For A Film Opening To Over 0 million: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (-39.8%)Fifth Highest Worldwide Gross Ever: Jurassic World (.671 billion)It would take a drop of more than 57.4% for Endgame to not break the second-weekend record held by The Force Awakens. Thirteen of the 21 previous MCU films had drops lower than that. We predict that at least two of the records above will fall next week. Though highly unlikely, it would be remarkable if it bests the 39.8% drop of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And if it does, one should expect just about every record to fall after that.This Time Last Year: It All Began With a Record-Breaking First Weekend for Infinity War(Photo by @ Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, @ Marvel Studios)Getting a sense of déjà vu? On this same weekend last year, Avengers: Infinity War grossed 7.6 million, breaking the record for the highest opening weekend ever – a record that lasted officially one year minus a day. Its per-theater-average of ,599 was still second to The Force Awakens, and it would not go on to outgross the all-time champ, nor its Marvel counterpart, Black Panther. That film got a similar boost to what Captain Marvel got this week, dropping just 4% from the previous weekend and finishing in the top five. The rest of the Top 10 grossed a combined .31 million for a grand total of 3.01 million, and the films averaged 59.3% on the Tomatometer. This year’s Top 10 grossed an estimated 7.5 million and averaged 69.5% on the Tomatometer.On the Vine: Long Shot Set To Top Newcomers, At a Distant SecondJoel MearesIt takes a brave rom-com to go up against a juggernaut, but next week s has the critics on its side. Jonathan Levine’s Long Shot, with Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen, is at 84% on the Tomatometer after its SXSW premiere in March. Look for it to lead the newcomers handily. Among those newcomers are STX’s first foray into animation with UglyDolls, based on the line of plush toys. In The Intruder Dennis Quaid pulls a reverse Cold Creek Manor as the previous owner of a home terrorizing the new couple (Michael Ealy and Meagan Good) who have moved in.The Full Top 10: April 26-28Avengers: Endgame (2019) 94% – 0 million (0 million total)Captain Marvel (2019) 79% – .05 million (3.58 million total)The Curse of La Llorona (2019) 28% – .5 million (.28 million total)Breakthrough (2019) 63% – .30 million (.11 million total)Shazam! (2019) 90% – .52 million (1.15 million total)Little (2019) 46% – .44 million (.85 million total)Dumbo (2019) 46% – .24 million (7.01 million total)Pet Sematary (2019) 57% – .29n (.61 million total)Dumbo (2019) 46% – .14 million (2.84 million total)Penguins (2019) 92% – .05 million (.72 million total)