As someone who loves Kurt Russell more than I love my own wife (don’t tell her), nothing could have made me more excited for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 than the addition of Russell. Not only is Russell’s love of dim-witted characters a perfect match for the universe that director James Gunn has created, the film will also hopefully — and I cannot believe I’m saying this — introduce the actor to a generation of movie fans who have never seen iconic films like Escape From New York and, more importantly, Big Trouble in Little China.
It might be a tale as old as time, but audiences have proven there’s still a few petals left on that old flower. Despite being projected to open at somewhere between $214–245 million worldwide, Beauty and the Beast knocked the pants off those projections, eclipsing $350 million at the international box office and setting a March record for domestic releases along the way. Let’s take a look at how things shook out this past weekend with some of the expected grosses.
While the giant ape in Kong: Skull Island may not climb any New York skyscrapers this time around, he certainly did climb the box office charts. The latest Warner Bros. monster movie shot all the way to the top spot in its opening weekend, with Logan and the surprising hit Get Out both shifting one spot down to accommodate him.
While I don’t typically pay attention to the box office tracking numbers for upcoming releases, I’ll admit, I’ve checked in a few times on Ghost in the Shell. The blend of intriguing trailers and negative publicity surrounding the film make it a tough cookie to crack; those who would normally be excited by the prospect of a blockbuster action movie starring a woman have good reason to stay at home, while the fans who might normally boost its box office numbers may be disappointed that Paramount is tinkering with a classic. As of right now, Ghost in the Shell is estimated to bring home about $105 million domestically, a very poor showing for a project of this size. I’m fascinated by the whole thing.
With all eyes on the next entry in the DC Cinematic Universe, it’s hard to say what is under more pressure: Wonder Woman, the World War II-era superhero and savior of the modern world, or Wonder Woman, the first female-directed movie in the modern blockbuster era and a stab at social relevance for the beleaguered executives at Warner Bros. The first Wonder Woman trailer that debuted at Comic-Con hit all the right notes for an exciting and female-driven superhero movie; would additional trailers walk back that promise or deliver more of the same?
As a teenager in the ’90s, no actor better represented blockbuster movies than Bill Paxton. Although Paxton wasn’t typically a leading man in those movies — he would often play the brother, the second-in-command, or the comic relief — he served as a kind of talisman of quality. If you saw Paxton’s name in the opening credits of a movie, you knew that the film was going to be better for it.
If I were a Marvel sales rep, I would get down on my knees every day and thank Thanos for the series of events that led to Baby Groot. Baby Groot might just be the pinnacle of Hollywood marketing; not only is his cute visage the perfect thing to slap on every action figure, lunch box, and stuffed animal from here to the moon, it’s also a character that sidesteps typical customer cynicism. If fans felt for one moment that Baby Groot was a thinly veiled attempt to sell them more junk, they would push back on James Gunn and Marvel with all their strength. But instead, we are treated to one of the baddest killing machines in the galaxy who happens to be totally adorable, too.
It’s been nearly 17 years since Bryan Singer’s X-Men movie ushered in a new era of superhero movies, and in that time, we’ve seen studios crank through actors with alarming frequency. We’ve seen three Spider-Man, a handful of Batmen, three Punishers across the big and small screens, and dozens of big-budget Marvel and DC movies break records at the box office. In the midst of all this chaos has been Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, the one actor-character combination that seemed immune to bad reviews and flagging box office numbers. And with Jackman set to take one final turn as Wolverine in Logan, the actor is taking a little time to stop and reflect on his impact in Hollywood.
For someone just now having his moment, Dan Stevens has already accumulated a pretty diverse group of fans. Art house audiences already knew and loved his work thanks to a breakout role in Downton Abbey. Meanwhile, the genre crowd already declared his 2014 film The Guest as one of the best John Carpenter movies to not actually be made by John Carpenter. And now, with Legion, Colossal, and Beauty and the Beast all set to hit our screens in the next few months, Stevens is on an upward trajectory that few actors can match.
When you’re in the business of making movies as large as those in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even the first few days of production are a pretty big deal for fans. This is doubly so when you’re launching Avengers: Infinity War, a superhero crossover event unlike anything audiences have ever seen before on film. So last night, when Marvel released a brand new production video complete with new cast interviews and some key concept art, people rightfully lost their minds. You think you’ve seen movie hype? You ain’t seen nothing yet.
Since announcing that Ben Affleck would no longer be directing the upcoming standalone The Batman film, Warner Bros. has been in a full-blown crisis mode, working overtime to find a talented new director and prove all those “Is the DC Cinematic Universe doomed?” articles wrong. Back in January, Forbes reported that the Warner Bros. shortlist featured several interesting names, including George Miller, Denis Villeneuve, and Matt Reeves. And now, less than two weeks after The Batman lost its director, it appears that Warner Bros. has settled on its replacement.
With Oscar season just around the corner, now is the time for all the smaller award shows to announce their big annual winners. Earlier this weekend, we saw the Directors Guild of America give their biggest honors to movies and television shows such as La La Land, Game of Thrones, Veep, and O.J.: Made in America. And now it’s time for the animation industry to share their selections for the best animated films and television shows of 2016.
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