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Monday Morning Mixer: 'Gravity' weighs in heavily this weekend

Posted Monday, October 7, 2013 at 11:51 AM Central

by John Couture

This year has really flown by hasn't it? I had to do a double take this morning when I realized that it's October. It's not only October, but we're already a week in to the month to boot.

I guess I should have been able to read the signs. You know it's October when everything becomes pumpkin spiced. When did this happen by the way? I mean I like pumpkin pie as much as the next person, but I don't need to have pumpkin flavored cola, mouth rinse and shampoo.

Isn't it time to pull back on the pumpkin spice lattes, beers and the like? We get it, it's October. Now, leave the pumpkin for the pies and let's see what's going on in old Hollywood, shall we?

Because there's nothing quite like Hollyweird and Halloween mixing up. It's a match made in Heaven and we'll be here to comment on it all month long. So, grab your favorite pumpkin spiced morning drink and let's dive right into the MMM.

Box Office 411

I just don't understand the drawing power of Sandra Bullock. Sorry, I just don't get it. Now, George Clooney, I totally get. I'm a heterosexual man, but even I can't deny that whatever it is that attacks the fairer sex to us neanderthals, Clooney has it in spades.

As the old saying goes: women want to be with him, men want to be him.

And yet, for 90 minutes, Bullock and Clooney are the only actors that you see in Gravity and it works. How much does it work? To the tune of a $55.6 million opening weekend, which is an opening record for an October release.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Alfonso Cuaron fan, but even the most seasoned filmmaker would be weak in the knees at tackling a space tragedy with only two actors. To put it bluntly, it was a huge, massive risk, but it has seemingly paid off in spades thanks to wise marketing on Warner Bros.' behalf and tremendous acting by the two actors in question.

This film is an anomaly and it should play well into awards season, so a total gross surpassing $225 million would not be surprising. Of course, had you told me this time last year that I would be predicting such a thing, I would have called you crazy.

But, this unpredictability makes it so much more fun, doesn't it?

The Ben Affleck/Justin Timberlake starring film Runner Runner tripped and fell at the starting line only managing $7.6 million in third place this weekend. The online poker/gambling thriller really missed its mark for big bucks with a confusing marketing campaign that left audiences wondering just what the film was all about.

Had they simply presented it as a straight forward organized crime film with pretty stars, then I think they would have had much better success. As it stands, the film will struggle to break $25 million and will be Timberlake's lowest earner since 2007's Black Snake Moan.

In other box office news, Pulling Strings opened in ninth place with $2.5 million. While it's not quite up to surprise level of Instructions Not Included, it proves that Spanish language films (even partial Spanish films) can fill an under-served box office demographic.

Look for more Spanish-language fare coming from the big studios as early as next year. What's interesting is that we should really see a glut of Spanish-language films by 2015, which should only complicated the matter of the overcrowded box office that year.

Quick Hitters

So, the big buzz worthy event of the weekend was Miley Cyrus' hosting and performing on Saturday Night Live. Yes, she pretty much touched upon all of the high points of her controversial last month and yes, she pretty much knocked it out of the park.

The high water mark though was a video that they created in which various actors and actresses tried out for the sultry leads in Fifty Shades of Grey. Miley's impersonation of Scarlett Johansson was dead on, but really all of the impersonations and odd pairings were spot on.

Sorry, that's the best I could do since SNL changed their video service over from Hulu to Yahoo! this year and, well frankly, Yahoo! sucks and doesn't give you the option to embed videos. But if you want to see a better version of it, you can click here.

If you're a fan of Epic Rap Battles of History, then you know where I'm going next. If not, let me educate you on a hilarious YouTube video channel.

Basically, they take bigger than life characters in history/film and they rap battle each other. Come to think of it, the name pretty much is self-explanatory. They are up to three seasons of videos and one running through storyline has been the epic battle between two of the most evil beings there ever was, Darth Vadar and Hitler.

The third round is below and it's very NSFW with plenty of foul language and offensive rap lyrics. But, it is funny and worth sharing, but be warned.

I think I'll leave it there for now. Really, how do you follow Hitler getting Darth Mauled? You don't. Until next week, Mix Well!