2014 Holiday Movie Pool - Final Report | The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 | The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies | Big Hero 6

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2014 Holiday Movie Pool - Final Report

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Big Hero 6
Into the Woods
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
Dumb and Dumber To
The Penguins of Madagascar
Exodus: Gods and Kings
Horrible Bosses 2
Top Five
Beyond the Lights
Big Eyes
The Pyramid

The snow is melting, the frost has bitten, and the ice is all that's left at the bottom of your soda cup. That chill in your heart must be the end of the 2014 Holiday Movie Pool!

While I must apologize for completely flaking on the last month of the pool, please take comfort in knowing that I took a pay cut to compensate for my lack of service. Instead of getting paid nothing, I got nil.

With a lot to catch-up on, there's also a ton to put to bed (and, hopefully, it's a fluffy bed with lots of blankies). Before we get to final Top Five movies of the season, let's say good-bye to some nightmares that thankfully never lasted long enough to haunt us.

- Beyond the Lights should've never gotten beyond the Lifetime Channel Movie-of-the-Week. Here's a hint if you want any success as a movie about music, you need to have an actual song from the movie to become a hit. 8 Mile, The Bodyguard, UHF (OK, maybe not that one), all owe a lot of their success to having tunes people wanted to hear.

- You want to know what's dumb about Dumb and Dumber To? Mr. Bean's Holiday made almost three times more worldwide than this flick. When Americans can't even make dumb movies better than the rest of the world, that's when it's time to throw in the towel... The towel that was in the Molotov Cocktail that you didn't realize was sitting in gasoline and act surprised when it lands on an open flame.

- While we might never know exactly how much The Interview would've made if it was actually released without all the controversy, we did conclude that these adult comedies seem to be mistimed in the holiday season as Horrible Bosses 2 making only 40% of the original's gross can attest. The Horrible Bosses here were the ones who scheduled a November release.

- The Penguins of Madagascar was the lowest grossing DreamWorks animation film since 2002's Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. I can't A) Even remember anything about that film or B) Believe that film made $73.2 million. Neither of these was good news for our fine tuxedo wearing friends.

- According to legend, The Pyramid did open in early December... and stop showing in early December. I guess opening the scary movie before the Christmas release schedule blitzkrieg was its own horror story.

- $25 million for Top Five was good enough for #16 in Chris Rock's list of moneymakers. Believe it or not, Beverly Hills Ninja is #13 on his filmography with $31 million. I'm not sure if I feel worse for Chris Rock, Chris Farley, or the Ninja.

- Exodus: Gods and Kings was banished from all sides: critics and ticket-buyers. It's always hard for a film buried under the Red Sea to end-up in the black.

- The sun might come out tomorrow for Annie, but it's was pretty cloudy during its theatrical run. While I don't mind Hollywood doing musicals, when all of the actors besides Jamie Foxx say it was the first time they professionally sang, that's not a great sign for, you know, a musical!

- Night may finally have fallen on the Night of the Museum franchise. Secret of the Tomb unearthed $70 million less than the second film, which itself was $70 million less than the first film. By the fifth film, they'll be paying us $30 million just to go see it.

- When Tim Burton made an Art House film 20 years ago with Ed Wood, it earned rave reviews and awards. When he made Big Eyes this year, everyone turned a blind eye... Well, except for the Golden Globes where Amy Adams won against a 10 year-old who'd never sang before in Annie. Not sure I'd call that a win.

- Unbroken broke all of my conceptions for how a war movie would do over the winter break. Angelina Jolie's film rode inspirational vibes and a Rose Parade promotion to a gross well above her own hubby's WWII film Fury. While it just missed making the Top Five, the movie hit in about every way possible.

With all that said (and said, and said), let's take a look at the Top Five movies of the 2014 Holiday Movie Pool because yesterday was, Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Observance!!!

#5. Into The Woods - $114.5 million
See, now this is the movie that had actors that have sung before, you know, like in other movies! Meryl Streep carried the way and made sure Pierce Brosnan was nowhere to be found on the set. Anna Kendrick brought her Pitch Perfect ways, Johnny Depp was as sharp as Sweeny Todd, and Chris Pine... Well, when you're Chris Pine, you're just there to look like Chris Pine. I did not guess Disney could make a Sondheim musical into an Enchanted-size hit. I bet Amy Adams still would've won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy if she'd been in this film instead of Big Eyes.

#4. Interstellar - $185.8 million
Christopher Nolan's ambitious, operatic, head-scratching ode to 2001: A Space Odyssey turned-out to be pretty successful in the long run. While not nearly the juggernaut of Inception or his Dark Knight trilogy, the film still drew moviegoers for weeks on end. Maybe it was to try and put the plot pieces together or maybe it was trying to catch all the delicious ways people prepare corn. Regardless, Nolan gets to keep his "mainstream, intelligent, movie-making" crown while Matthew McConaughey can keep looking for films where he can go, "Alright, alright, alright."

#3. Big Hero 6 - $216.1 million
Disney's Iron Giant-meets-super heroes flick worked wonders for the Mouse-House. Besting even their numbers for Tangled and Wreck-It-Ralph, the animated adventure set-up another potential franchise for the studio that loves to franchise. Given the lack of other sure-fire family flicks, Baymax and Co. cleaned-up, up, and away. Though it may have lacked a "Let It Go" moment, I'm sure Disney is going to let all of the Big Hero 6 characters "go" onto every t-shirt, toy, and video game it can find.

#2. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies - $244.6 million
The Battle to Stay Relevant was won as the third Hobbit movie managed to make about as much as the second Hobbit movie. While neither came close to the first Hobbit (or the Lord of the Rings tallies), there should be some comfort to be found in that. Besides, with all the DVD/Digital releases, remastered releases, and director's cut releases that are certain to be coming, it's better to have two films make $500 million combined than one film make $300 million. Maybe the question is what will director Peter Jackson do now since five of his last seven films have all been based on Tolkien books. Is he up to the challenge of making some Encyclopedia Brown movies? Turn to Page 58 for the solution.

#1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 - $332.5 million
While The Hobbit 3 at least held pace with its predecessor, Mockingjay mocked the success of the previous films by dipping much lower. Was this a one-film blip or a sign that Hunger Games fatigue has begun to set in? We won't know for sure until next year's big Part 2 finale. If it's like Harry Potter, it should be the biggest hit in the series. If it's like Twilight, it might only be the same gross as Part 1. If it's like the Narnia series, then there definitely won't be a Mockingjay Part 3. Oh wait, that's already off the table. Either way, at least Jennifer Lawrence can still have her spoken poetry music career to look forward to. The good news for the series, it wins again! The bigger question: Can it win against James Bond 24 and Star Wars VII in the 2015 Holiday Movie Pool?

by Matt Neuenburg on 01/19/2015

Movies Mentioned in this Post: Annie, Beyond the Lights, Big Eyes, Big Hero 6, Dumb and Dumber To, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Horrible Bosses 2, Interstellar, Into the Woods, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, The Penguins of Madagascar, The Pyramid, Top Five, Unbroken
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