Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials tops Weekend Box Office!


While the box office is still doing pretty decently for September, two of the weekend’s widest new releases didn’t fare as well as hoped and expected while a number of more moderate and limited releases took business away from both of them.

The sequel to last year’s $100 million young adult hit The Maze Runner, 20th Century Fox’s Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, reunited director Wes Ball with Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario and Thomas Brodie-Sangster, as they were joined by the likes of Giancarlo Esposito, Aidan Gillen, Nathalie Emmanuel, Rosa Salazar and more for the adaptation of James Dashner’s second novel in the series.

It opened with $11 million on Friday including $1.4 million from Thursday previews, which in both cases was less than the opening for The Maze Runner a year ago this weekend, and according to Sunday estimates, it will end up with $30.3 million, which is less than the $32.5 million opening of its predecessor. While this might be surprising since The Maze Runner is one of the better received young adult adaptations (even though it didn’t quite achieve the numbers of The Twilight Saga or The Hunger Games), it’s also continuing the current trend that audiences just aren’t into sequels as much as they have been in the past. It also had a lot more competition for any potential male audience from a number of new releases mentioned below and its reviews and “B+” CinemaScore weren’t as strong as the original movie either.

The other big movie opening on Thursday night was Warner Bros.’ crime-drama Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp as notorious Boston criminal “Whitey” Bulger. Directed by Scott Cooper (Out of the Furnace) and co-starring Joel Edgerton, Dakota Johnson, Julianne Nicholson, Rory Cochrane, Kevin Bacon and many more, it opened with an estimated $23.4 million in 3,188 theaters. That was below most expectations and projections for the weekend that thought it would open closer to $30 million and possibly give “The Scorch Trials” a run for the top spot, but it was still able to average $7,327 per theater. According to estimates, that’s still less than Ben Affleck’s Boston-based crime-thriller The Town opened with on the same weekend in 2010, but it received a respectable CinemaScore of “B” with 56% of its audience being male and 89% over the age of 26, according to exit polls, and it could sustain its business from opening weekend buzz despite having direct competition in the coming weeks.

Dropping to third place, M. Night Shyamalan’s low-budget horror flick The Visit took in $11.4 million in its second weekend, down 55% from its opening weekend as the highest-opening horror movie of 2015. It has grossed $42.4 million so far, which isn’t bad for a movie that was produced for $5 million with low-budget masters Blumhouse Productions.

Screen Gems’ thriller The Perfect Guy, starring Sanaa Lathan, Michael Ealy and Morris Chestnut, also took a tumble in its second weekend, dropping 63% from its #1 opening to fourth place with $9.7 million and $41.4 million total to date.

Universal’s ensemble adventure-drama Everest, directed by Balthasar Kormakur (Contraband) and starring Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emily Watson and Keira Knightley, opened in 545 IMAX 3D and other large format theaters and had an estimated opening weekend of $7.6 million, a strong $13,736 per theater, to take fifth place, which bodes well for its nationwide expansion on Friday. $6 million of that amount was grossed in 366 North American IMAX theaters surpassing The Equalizer‘s September IMAX opening record of roughly half that amount.

Internationally, Everest opened in 36 territories and brought in $28.2 million on 4,690 screens as the #1 movie in 12 of those markets, including Australia, Argentina, India, Mexico and Kormakur’s home country of Iceland. Next week, it will add 22 more territories on top of its North American expansion.

The hit faith-based family drama War Room (Sony/TriStar) is now the 5th-highest grossing faith-based film with $49.2 million after adding another $6.3 million in 1,945 theaters. It dropped from third to sixth place despite having a negligible drop-off of 19% in its fourth weekend.

The rest of the Top 10 grossed less than $3 million, with Broad Green Pictures’ A Walk in the Woods, starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte, taking seventh place, followed by Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (Paramount Pictures) and Universal’s rap biopic Straight Outta Compton, holding onto its Top 10 spot as it became the highest-grossing film by a black director with $159 million, surpassing Keenen Ivory Wayans’ Scary Movie, which grossed $157 million in 2000.

Sony Pictures Classics expanded Paul Weitz’s Grandma, starring Lily Tomlin and Julia Garner, into a nationwide release of 1,021 theaters on Friday, and it ended up with $1.6 million or $1,557 per theater for the weekend, showing another weak expansion for the indie film subsidiary.

Paramount Pictures’ attempt to capitalize on the success of recent faith-based films backfired (maybe because that audience was well-sated by War Room), but they still released the drama Captive, starring David Oyelowo and Kate Mara, into 806 theaters, where it grossed $1.4 million or just $1,737 per theater, which wasn’t enough to get into the Top 10.

Although The Scorch Trials opened lower than last year’s The Maze Runner, the box office was still up from this weekend last year as the Top 10 grossed an estimated $97 million, which was up roughly $7 million from the Top 10 last year.

Lionsgate decided to give Denis Villeneuve’s Mexican cartel crime-thriller Sicario, starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro, a platform release ahead of its wide release on October 2, and it did quite well, grossing an estimated $390,000 in 6 theaters in New York and Los Angeles. That’s a location average of $65,000 per theater, which is probably one of the best per-theater averages this year.

As far as other limited releases, Alchemy’s Meet the Patels from Geeta and Ravi Patel opened in 34 theaters on Friday where it grossed $253,000, or $4,707 per theater. Bleecker Street’s release of Pawn Sacrifice, starring Tobey Maguire as chess master Bobby Fischer, co-starring Liev Schreiber, Peter Saarsgard and Michael Stuhlbarg, opened similarly in 33 theaters where it grossed slightly less with $207,000 but with a higher $6,269 per theater.


MTV VMA 2015: Miley’s Insane Outfits, Bieber Cries, Swift wins Big!


The 2015 MTV Video Music Awards are being held Sunday, August 30, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and hosted by Miley Cyrus. Awards will be handed out in 16 categories, and Kanye West will be presented with the Vanguard Award.

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 30: Host Miley Cyrus in the audience during the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images)

Taylor Swift leads the nominations for the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, boasting 10, mostly for her “Bad Blood” video, which is nominated for Video of the Year.

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 30: Host Miley Cyrus speaks onstage during the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/MTV1415/Getty Images For MTV)

Ed Sheeran boasts the second most nominations with six. He is also nominated for Video of the Year for “Thinking Out Loud.” Kendrick Lamar also boasts four nominations.

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 30: Host Miley Cyrus attends the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

The record for most awards won by an artist over their career is held by Madonna, who holds 20 trophies. Even if Swift swept all of her categories, she would not catch up.

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 30: Host Miley Cyrus speaks onstage during the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)

She could, however, tie Peter Gabriel’s record of 10 wins in a single year. He won those awards in 1987 — nine for his famous “Sledgehammer” video and the Video Vanguard Award in addition.

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 30: (EDITORS NOTE: Image contains nudity.) Host Miley Cyrus attends the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Justin Bieber: 

His performance on the VMA stage was as straightforward as the VMAs get, even ending with laser lights and Bieber floating upward toward the ceiling. The rest of the set, including both “Where Are U Now” and Bieber’s new single “What Do You Mean?” showed off Bieber’s falsetto and dance moves (which apparently exist!).

By the time the performance was done and Bieber was safely back on the ground, the pop star was hunched over on his knees, breathing hard — and sobbing. Clearly of all of us, Bieber needed this performance the most.

Here is the full list of winners from the 2015 MTV VMAs (winners in bold):


Beyoncé – “7/11″
Taylor Swift – “Blank Space”
Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”
Sia – “Elastic Heart”
Ellie Goulding – “Love Me Like You Do”

Fetty Wap – “Trap Queen”
Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”
Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”
Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth – “See You Again”
Big Sean ft. E-40 – “I Don’t F–k With You”

Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”
Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”
Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”
The Weeknd – “Earned It”
Nick Jonas – “Chains”


Beyoncé – “7/11″
Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”
Taylor Swift – “Blank Space”
Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”
Maroon 5 – “Sugar”


Hozier – “Take Me to Church”
Fall Out Boy – “Uma Thurman”
Florence + the Machine – “Ship to Wreck”
Walk the Moon – “Shut Up and Dance”
Arctic Monkeys – “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”

Beyoncé – “7/11″
Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”
Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood”
Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”
Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”

Fetty Wap – “Trap Queen”
Vance Joy – “Riptide”
George Ezra – “Budapest”
James Bay – “Hold Back The River”
FKA Twigs – “Pendulum”

Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood”
Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”
Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth – “See You Again”
Ariana Grande & The Weeknd – “Love Me Harder”
Jessie J + Ariana Grande + Nicki Minaj – “Bang Bang”

Jennifer Hudson – “I Still Love You”
Colbie Caillat – “Try”
Big Sean ft. Kanye West and John Legend – “One Man Can Change the World”
Rihanna – “American Oxygen”
Wale – “The White Shoes”


Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Charles Infante)
Snoop Dogg – “So Many Pros” (François Rousselet, Jason Fijal)
Jack White – “Would You Fight For My Love” (Jack White, Jeff Peterson)
The Chemical Brothers – “Go” (Michel Gondry)
Skrillex & Diplo – “Where Are U Now” with Justin Bieber (Brewer)

Beyoncé – “7/11″ (Beyoncé, Chris Grant, Additional choreography: Gabriel Valenciano)
OK Go – “I Won’t Let You Down” (OK Go, air:man, and Mori Harano)
Chet Faker – “Gold” (Ryan Heffington)
Ed Sheeran – “Don’t” (Nappy Tabs)
Flying Lotus ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Never Catch Me” (Keone and Mari Madrid)

Flying Lotus ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Never Catch Me” (Larkin Sieple)
Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud” (Daniel Pearl)
Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Christopher Probst)
FKA Twigs – “Two Weeks” (Justin Brown)
Alt-J – “Left Hand Free” (Mike Simpson)

Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Joseph Kahn)
Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk” (Bruno Mars and Cameron Duddy)
Kendrick Lamar – “Alright” (Colin Tilley & the Little Homies)
Hozier – “Take Me To Church” (Brendan Canty and Conal Thomson of Feel Good Lost)
Childish Gambino – “Sober” (Hiro Murai)

Beyoncé – “7/11″ (Beyoncé, Ed Burke, Jonathan Wing)
Ed Sheeran – “Don’t” (Jacquelyn London)
Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Chancler Haynes at Cosmo Street)
A$AP Rocky – “L$D” (Dexter Navy)
Skrillex & Diplo “Where Are U Now” with Justin Bieber (Brewer)

Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Ingenuity Studios)
FKA Twigs – “Two Weeks” (Gloria FX, Tomash Kuzmytskyi, and Max Chyzhevskyy)
Childish Gambino – “Telegraph Ave.” (Gloria FX)
Skrillex & Diplo “Where Are U Now” with Justin Bieber (Brewer, Gloria FX, and Max Chyzhevskyy)
Tyler, the Creator – “F****** Young/Death Camp” (Gloria FX)


Taylor Swift slams Apple for not paying artists, Apple reverses policy!

In case you haven’t heard about it yet, Taylor Swift wrote an open letter to Apple regarding their iTunes store policies, specifically regarding the new iTunes streaming service that Apple is about to launch soon.

The letter, published on Swift’s personal Tumblr, talked about why she is not allowing her new album ’1989′ to be streamed on iTunes. She mentioned how Apple is not paying artists for first three months of the launch of the service.

With streaming services, artists get paid according to the plays on their songs. If Apple is giving the service for free to its customers, it should reimburse the artists for the three months of lost revenue, which they don’t. (Worth noting is that Swift also does not have her entire discography on Spotify for similar monetary reasons.)

Swift further talked about how people in the music industry were dissatisfied with this move but were afraid to speak up publicly “because we admire and respect Apple so much.” She later finished her post saying “We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”

It didn’t take long for the post to go viral and get people talking about it even on a Sunday. But before it escalated further, Apple quickly stepped in and tried to make amends. Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President, Internet Software and Services, personally called Swift. In an interview with Billboard he said, “When I woke up this morning and saw what Taylor had written, it really solidified that we needed to make a change. And so that’s why we decide we will now pay artists during the trial period.” He then confirmed Apple will be paying the artists out of its own pockets for the first three months of the service, and that it was never their intent to not compensate artists.

Swift later tweeted out saying she was “Elated and relieved”, although she didn’t confirm if she will be making her album available for streaming on iTunes.


‘Jurassic World’ Becomes the Fastest Film to Cross $1 Billion Globally!

“Jurassic World” is poised to cross $1 billion at the global box office more quickly than any film before it.

The dinosaur blockbuster should eclipse that mark on Monday after 13 days in theaters, trumping the record set earlier this year by “Furious 7,” which took 17 days to pass that barrier. Currently, the Universal release’s worldwide total sits at $981.3 million, after topping foreign charts this weekend with a $160.5 million haul from 66 territories.

The film has shattered expectations. Going into the summer, analysts expected that the picture would be overshadowed by “Minions” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Now, it has a chance of being the highest-grossing release of the year, potentially giving “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” a run for its money when it debuts this December.“It’s destroying box office records,” said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations. “It will be interesting to see how well it continues to perform. Can ‘Star Wars’ even compete with this film?”

The picture isn’t just a domestic smash. “Jurassic World” has done massive business in China, where it has earned $167.1 million, more than double the amount it has racked up anywhere else save for the United States.

Disney and Pixar’s “Inside Out” also put up big numbers at the foreign box office, though its international rollout is more staggered than that of many summer blockbusters. The critically adored family film earned a robust $41 million from 41 territories, the biggest of which were Mexico ($8.8 million), Russia ($7.7 million) and France ($5.2 million). The Russian debut ranks as Disney’s biggest animated opening in the country, while Mexico represented the best ever kickoff for an animated film that isn’t a sequel. The film still has much of Europe left to open and won’t land in China until July 30.

Foreign audiences got an early look at “Minions,” the “Despicable Me” spinoff that is expected to be one of the summer’s biggest hits. The Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment release bowed in four international territories this week, a quartet that includes Singapore, Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia, where it generated a sizable $12.3 million in receipts.

Among milestones, Warner Bros. and New Line’s “San Andreas” crossed $400 million at the global box office, pushing the $110 million movie squarely in profitable terrain. The disaster film added $18.8 million to its $414.2 million bounty.

The rest of the top five was rounded out by “SPL II: A Time for Consequences,” the sequel to the hit 2005 Hong Kong martial arts film “SPL: Sha Po Lang,” which earned a sizable $29 million.