Category: Hollywood Movies
Chinese audiences powered “X-Men: Apocalypse” to the top of the foreign box office charts over the weekend.
The mutant adventure picked up $59 million from the People’s Republic, becoming the second-highest opening in China for Fox, the studio behind the superhero franchise. The latest “X-Men” earned a leading $84.4 million overseas from 66 markets including South Korea ($4.5 million), Brazil ($2.2 million) and the United Kingdom ($2 million). So far, “X-Men: Apocalypse” has earned $402.5 million globally.
In second place, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” picked up $34 million overseas from 40 foreign markets. The sequel disappointed in its domestic debut, opening to $35.3 million, a more than 40% drop from the first film’s $65.6 million launch in 2014. Paramount, the studio behind the $135 million film, hopes that the film can make up ground overseas. China, where the first “Ninja Turtles” earned $62.1 million, will be a critical test. “Out of the Shadows” opens in the country on July 2.
“Warcraft,” an adaptation of the hit video game series, is facing fierce headwinds as it braces for its domestic debut next weekend. Tracking has been soft, and it will have to hold off competitors such as “Now You See Me 2” and “The Conjuring 2.” Still, the fantasy adventure has done respectable business overseas. It earned $29.9 million from 28 territories last weekend to take fourth place on the charts.
The results bring “Warcraft’s” total to $70 million after two weeks of release. The film opened in first place in Spain with $2.5 million, debuted to $2 million in Italy, enjoyed a $3.8 million second weekend in Russia, and topped charts in Germany for a second weekend with $3.1 million. The Universal and Legendary release still represents a big gamble. It carries a $160 million price tag and is on pace to open to less than $25 million in the U.S.
Disney’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass” and Sony’s “The Angry Birds Movie” snagged third and fifth place on the foreign box office charts, earning $30.9 million and $16.7 million, respectively. The big screen adaptation of the “Angry Birds” game has done solid business, earning $283.5 million worldwide. Not so “Through the Looking Glass.” The “Alice in Wonderland” sequel is shaping up to be one of the year’s biggest bombs. It has earned $176.3 million worldwide, but will have to fight its way into the black given its $170 million price tag and the tens of millions spent to market and distribute the film.
The first leg of the USS Enterprise’s five year mission takes them into uncharted territory. There the Enterprise is nearly destroyed and strands Kirk and his crew on a remote planet with no means of communication. Kirk must then work with the elements to reunite his crew and get back to Earth.
Star Trek Beyond is an American science fiction film directed by Justin Lin from a screenplay by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung, based on the series of the same name created by Gene Roddenberry. It is the thirteenth film in the Star Trek film franchise and the third installment in the reboot series after Star Trek Into Darkness (2013).
Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto reprise their roles as Captain James T. Kirk and Commander Spock, with Pegg, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, and Anton Yelchin reprising their roles from the previous films, and Idris Elba and Sofia Boutella joining them. Principal photography began on June 25, 2015, in Vancouver with the film scheduled for a July 22, 2016, release.
While the film is still in pre-production, Universal Pictures has decided to push back the release of “Pitch Perfect 3” from July 21, 2017 to December 22, 2017.
In its place Universal has put its other female-centric comedy “Girl Trip” starring Regina Hall, bowing on July 21. The pic was originally set to open Aug. 11, 2017.
Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow and Rebel Wilson have already closed deals to return, with Kay Cannon on board to pen the script and Elizabeth Banks set to direct.
No plot details have been released. The original film was adapted from Mickey Rapkin’s book “Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory.”
Paul Brooks of Gold Circle Entertainment and Banks and Max Handelman of Brownstone Productions are returning to produce.
“Girl Trip” will be directed by Malcolm Lee and follows four lifelong friends who travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, where sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there’s enough dancing, drinking, brawling and romancing to make the Big Easy blush. Will Packer will produce.
What superhero fatigue? Disney and Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War,” the 13th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has strong-armed its way to becoming the fifth-highest domestic opening ever according to comScore estimates Sunday.
The film grossed a massive $181.8 million this weekend, bumping “Iron Man 3” out of the top five all time debuts. “Civil War” now ranks right below “Marvel’s The Avengers” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which hold the third and fourth place spots.
It’s nearly double the opening of the previous “Captain America” film, “The Winter Soldier,” which opened to $95 million in April 2014, but that is at least partially attributable to the fact that “Civil War” is basically an Avengers movie in disguise.
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, “Civil War” sees an ideological showdown between Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Captain America (Chris Evans) and is packed to the brim with Avengers old and new. It’s been very well-received by critics and, now, audiences, who gave the film a promising “A” CinemaScore, which should bode well for the film’s longevity. Audiences were 59 percent male and mostly adults. Teens made up only 11 percent of the audience.
After a $75 million first day, the opening was right in line with expectations, and according to comScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian, is well on its way to becoming a $1 billion movie.
“We’ve become so accustomed to these massive numbers, now we’re putting up single day numbers that would be very noteworthy opening weekends on their own,” Dergarabedian said.
“Civil War” cost a hefty $250 million to produce but has already far-surpassed that thanks to a healthy international debut last weekend and a big bump from China this weekend. In sum, the superhero showdown has earned $678.4 million globally to date.
Great reviews and word of mouth will surely distinguish “Civil War” from “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which, by comparison, opened to $166 million in late March but fell sharply over the subsequent weekends. That film has earned $327.3 domestically million to date and this weekend placed 10th with $1 million.
US Two-day Ticket Sales to Sunday from Friday
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
- “Captain America: Civil War,” $181.8 million ($220 million international).
2.”The Jungle Book,” $21.9 million ($24.1 million international).
3.”Mother’s Day,” 9 million ($3 million international).
4.”The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” $3.6 million ($4.2 million international).
5.”Keanu,” $3.1 million.
6.”Barbershop: The Next Cut,” $2.7 million.
7.”Zootopia,” $2.7 million ($5.7 million international).
8.”The Boss,” $1.7 million ($510,000 international).
9.”Ratchet and Clank,” $1.5 million ($500,000 international).
10.”Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” $1 million.
Black Widow never has it easy. Onscreen, Natasha Romanov has an agonizing backstory and is working like hell to do enough good to erase the red from her moral ledger, redeeming a history of bad deeds that we are only allowed to imagine with acts of heroism that defy belief.
Offscreen, much of what Scarlett Johansson’s character does is scrutinized through the lens of gender politics. As one of the few female protagonists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (until recently), some view her not just as an individual character but as a representative for all womankind. That’s heavy lifting even for a superhero.
Amid accusations that her story arc in Avengers: Age of Ultron was stereotyped and offensive — because, like Tony Stark, she expressed a desire to step back from saving the world (and maybe find someone in it to love, and love her back) — Black Widow became a lightning rod.
Some accused writer-director Joss Whedon of sexism for a storyline that involved Widow developing romantic feelings for Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner in the comic-book version of the Beauty and the Beast folktale. Others were outraged that Widow expressed regret over the juvenile assassin program that forced her to be sterilized. Still others took offense at that complaint, saying the desire to have a family doesn’t mean a woman can’t have a career (beating the hell out of evildoers, or otherwise).
NPR’s pop culture critic Linda Holmes astutely noted that even if you swapped out Widow’s story in Ultron with the arcs of any of her male co-Avengers, each would still “raise questions of whether the story was influenced by gender stereotypes.” If she was Iron Man, she’d be the problem-causer. If she was Captain America, she’d be the uptight one. If she was Hulk, she’d have out-of-control emotions. And so on …
Add to that the scarcity of Black Widow toys, which caused universal uproar, even from Ruffalo, who tweeted about the need for Marvel merchandising to do a better job of inviting young girls to play in this universe, and Natasha Romanov starts to emerge not just as a warrior but a battlefield.
Which brings us to Captain America: Civil War. Where does Natasha’s fifth appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe find her?
This time, she’s on the side of order, aligning — at least for a while — with Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man in trying to get Captain America to honor the global Sokovia Accords that force “enhanced individuals” to operate under government control.
In one scene EW watched being filmed this summer, she and Tony Stark have a quiet moment after being given an ultimatum to bring down the rogue Cap — or else the U.S. government will do it in permanent fashion.
Stark rubs at the center of his chest, where his ARC reactor was once embedded. “You know the problem with a fully functional heart…? It’s stressful,” he tells Natasha.
Scarlett Johansson Interview
During a break in filming, we caught up with Johansson, and asked what she thinks of the tug-of-war over her character.
During a break in filming, we caught up with Johansson, and asked what she thinks of the tug-of-war over her character.
Where is Natasha’s head these days? In what state do we find her after the events of Age of Ultron?
Scarlett Johansson: My gosh, this is like a therapy session! When we last saw her I think the stakes were astronomical. And she basically had to make this choice between [duty] and what she probably deserves. I think up until this point, she has put the hours in and is ready for…
To be, or not to be, an Avenger?
[Laughs] You know, I don’t think she’s ever aspired to become an Avenger. That’s not really a choice that she made. It’s kind of like the events in her life led her to that point and when we see her [in Civil War], she’s finally capable of making a choice for herself. Which is kind of a milestone in someone’s life when they’ve not really participated in the decisions that were made for them. She’s finally at a place where she’s going, “Okay, I actually kind of know what I want. And I think I kind of deserve it.”
But she’s still in the fight. So is that what she wants?
Unfortunately the events that took place … she has this kind of greater calling and this huge pull towards doing what’s right for the greater good. And she chooses that, and it’s a really heroic thing that she does, I think.
Widow appeared to be leading the team of new Avengers we saw at the end of Ultron, gathered at their headquarters.
Yeah, I don’t know if she’s leading this team but she’s certainly, she’s — I think Natasha’s a very strategic thinker and that’s her strongpoint. Her superpowers, if you want to call them that, are her experience, her ability to make usually the right decision in a quick moment, in a tight minute. And she’s not personally invested. I mean, that’s what she tells herself anyway. And so that keeps her head kind of level and clear.
She seems to be leaning strongly toward Iron Man’s side of things.
I think when you find her in Civil War, she’s looking to strategize her position, putting herself in a place where she is able to let the powers that be fight it out or whatever amongst themselves. She’s always a little bit on the perimeter so she can have a better perspective of what’s really going on.
Collider recently spoke with Captain America: Civil War directors Anthony and Joe Russo and they chatted about doing a standalone Black Widow film. They both endorse it, with Anthony saying, “It’s a no-brainer, right?” and Joe adding, “I don’t think [it’ll take] much. I think it’s just a function of where on the slate it goes. She’s a badass.”
Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow first arrived in theaters in Iron Man 2 and since then has become a mainstay of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yet, despite other Avengers stars like Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and even Ant-Man getting time to shine, it appears Black Widow will get a decade of Marvel movies under her belt without ever getting her own spotlight. And she’s helped save the world, like, four times.
In Tales From the Script, X-Men writer David Hayter said he was working on a Black Widow movie, set into motion during a successful run of female action flicks like Kill Bill, Tomb Raider, and Resident Evil.
But when the studios followed this trend with a run of awful films, including Aeon Flux, they decided to pull the plug on a Black Widow film. Imagine if they stopped making male action hero films just because of Green Lantern or X-Men Origins: Wolverine?
Besides, Scarlett Johansson is a big moneymaker. Other than Samuel L. Jackson, she has by the far the best box-office totals of any other Avengers star. And she has already proven that she can headline an action film by herself — Lucy opened on the same day in 2014 as Dwayne Johnson’s Hercules and earned $15 million more, despite being R-rated. Moviegoers have proven they are happy to see a good action movie with a female lead — Mad Max: Fury Road, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Sicario, and Spy are just a few recent examples. And The Hunger Games franchise has made more than $2 billion.
Putting aside the business of moviemaking, there are artistic reasons to make a Black Widow film, not least of all: She’s an interesting character. There are various origin stories, but basically she was trained to be an assassin and is a villainous character before she finds redemption through the Avengers — a story that would be a nice addition to Marvel’s slate.
We’re going to have to wait until 2018 to get a movie with a female hero in the title, and even then the Wasp is sharing it with Ant-Man. It won’t be until 2019 that we get our first true female lead, Captain Marvel. Yet a character we all know and like played by a huge movie star who has already stated interest in giving it a go, only gets to be a supporting character.
There is a wild gender imbalance in comic book movies, and while one Black Widow movie won’t solve this problem, it’s a step in the right direction.
“We have a character — the Black Panther — that they’re going to do as movie. I think he’ll be very popular.”
That was what Stan Lee told me a year ago when talking about his roster of classic comic-book characters being adapted to the big screen. This week, Black Panther makes a spectacular entrance into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain America: Civil War.
Played by Chadwick Boseman (42, Get On Up), Black Panther is the formidable alter ego of T’Challa, prince of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. He is a compassionate diplomat with a righteous streak who inherits the mantle of the Panther from his father, King T’Chaka, and becomes a key ally of Iron Man in the confrontation between Avengers factions.
While Panther might be new to casual fans, the character is considered an iconic figure in comics history, who’s in the midst of a renaissance as he marks his 50th anniversary. With the hero playing such a key role in Civil War and with his own stand-alone film looming in February 2018, it’s worth taking a brief look at T’Challa’s curriculum vitae with insight from those who know him best.
Created by Lee and illustrator Jack Kirby, Black Panther was the first mainstream black superhero, debuting before Falcon or Luke “Power Man” Cage. “I had some super characters before [that were black], but the Black Panther was the first one we devoted an entire book to,” Lee recalled. “He first appeared in Fantastic Four and then he became an Avenger. Then we gave him his own book.”
Billed, in typical Lee understatement, as the “surprise sensation of the century,” T’Challa made his Marvel premiere in issue 52 of Fantastic Four in July 1966. He immediately established himself as one of the great intellects in Marvel-dom, matching wits with fellow brain Mr. Fantastic by putting the superhero quartet through a series of tests before deeming them worthy.
The Panther would eventually split his time between his homeland of Wakanda and his work alongside the Avengers. At one point, Black Panther became Black Leopard to avoid confusion with the nascent political party, which launched five months after the Panther appeared on the scene. (The Black Panthers’ name was completely coincidental and not based on the character.) But the new moniker didn’t stick because, according to Lee, fans and writers preferred “Panther.”
Those early comic books teased out the hero’s origin. The hidden country of Wakanda is ruled by T’Chaka and is the sole source of the prized metal Vibranium, the super-stuff Captain America’s shield is made out of. The sinister Ulysses Klaw murders the king in an attempt to score the precious element, but is driven off by the teenaged T’Challa.
The heir passes a series of tests to become the new Black Panther, wearing the signature black costume with the ritual toothed necklace and gaining possession of a special herb that enhances his already preternatural cat-like abilities. Under T’Challa’s rule, Wakanda flourishes and becomes an advanced technological society.
While the Marvel Cinematic Universe has done an amazing job of transitioning many of their characters from the page to the screen, several have gone through some significant changes in making the leap. The character who may have seen the most change from page to screen is Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch, who went through a fairly substantial physical transformation. The actress says the traditional look for the character was never going to happen. Joss Whedon promised her that from day one.
Appearing on Late Night with Seth Meyers in advance of this weekend’s Captain America: Civil War, the host asked Elizabeth Olsen about the more traditional look of the character. Apparently, Olsen was not previously familiar with the character when Avengers: Age of Ultron director Joss Whedon presented it to her, but he promised her one thing:
[Joss] said, ‘When you go home and Google her, just know you will never ever have to wear what she wears in the comics.’ Because I did ballet growing up, but that’s not a confident look.
While all of the characters in the MCU have their ornate and somewhat bizarre outfits, most of them tend to make some sense. A couple of the guys wear giant suits of armor. The guy with the shield is a soldier. It’s difficult to argue that Wanda Maximoff’s clothing choice was particularly functional. It looks amazing as a piece of art on a comic page, there’s no question about that, but they would have had to have come up with a pretty convincing argument for why the character would choose to dress like that. It’s just not the sort of thing one would wear on a battlefield.
Wednesday 27 April was Administrative Professionals’ Day, formerly National Secretaries Day – an annual celebration begun in the US in 1952. A heavily gendered date, it is traditionally an opportunity for florists and chocolatiers. But this year, a movie grabbed a slice of the pie. That movie was Ghostbusters, the forthcoming reboot of the beloved supernatural comedy that sees Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon don the jumpsuits once worn by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson.
In Ivan Reitman’s 1984 original, the secretary was Janine: goggle glasses, pixie cut, questionable telephone manner (“Waddya want?”). In Paul Feig’s version, it’s Kevin: a ditzy blond hired for his hunkiness not his shorthand. The clips released to coincide with Administrative Professionals’ Day – Kevin baffled by the phone, botching the tea run, eagerly drafting inappropriate logos (think busty ghosts) – brilliantly showcase the gender flip that is one of the movie’s key USPs.
The step-change can still leave you giddy. Twelve months ago, Chris Hemsworth, the actor who plays Kevin, was in every multiplex as Thor, he of the unreconstructed chivalry and massive mallet. Off screen, we were still in the early days of the gender inequality debate – sparked the previous winter by the revelation that Jennifer Lawrence was paid less than her American Hustle co-stars, and stoked by Patricia Arquette, who called for pay parity in her Oscar acceptance speech.
The debate faded a little as other industry inequalities took the spotlight, but it still smoulders on, , and reignited recently by Daniel Radcliffe and Scarlett Johansson. “The thing I can’t help but think,” said Radcliffe, “is what guy is sitting in a studio somewhere thinking, ‘Let’s fuck the girls out of some money?’” New studies revealed only one in five European films is directed by a woman – and all movies being made by two major Hollywood studios (Sony and Paramount) over the next two years will be directed by men.
Yet the schedules tell a different story: although most women may still be getting a rough deal backstage, at the cinema, female films are front-and-centre. Not just that. These are female-led films that don’t just feature women mopping up after one another’s heartbreaks, but exploring their own careers and, crucially, their friendships with each other.
So we have the return of Bolly bezzies Edwina and Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie; Tina Fey and Margot Robbie bonding beneath the bombs in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot; Kate Beckinsale and Chloë Sevigny cackling happily in Love & Friendship, Greta Gerwig snuggling with one-time love-rival Julianne Moore in Maggie’s Plan; Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell swapping horror stories in Bad Moms, and Bell (again) enjoying a slow-burn buddy-up with Melissa McCarthy (again) in The Boss.
That final film opened in the US a month ago. Despite tepid reviews, it still proved victorious over Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice at the box office. Tina Fey can get a farce set in a contemporary warzone greenlit. McCarthy has star wattage enough to put even superheroes in the shade.
The mother of these major summer movies is, of course, Ghostbusters. Anticipation for that reached fever pitch months ago, around the release of its first trailer, which has now been seen more than 60m times. This is a movie on which much rides. Its success would be a game-changer. Its failure would turn back the clock on much of the progress made so far.
So who ya gonna call to find out how this kind of responsibility feels? Down the line from Los Angeles, Feig doesn’t sound too fussed. He has been here before, after all: with box office-crushing Bridesmaids (2011) – still the best-performing Judd Apatow movie (he produced it) – and then at two-yearly intervals with The Heat (2013), the first truly funny female buddy cop movie, and Spy (2015), in which McCarthy out-ballsed James Bond.
Yes, Feig says, “managing and meeting and exceeding expectations” is a challenge. “But I would hope we weren’t being made the test case for whether women can star in tentpoles or not. That kind of litmus test just wouldn’t be fair to women. If a movie starring a man comes out and bombs, people just think the movie didn’t work. They don’t say: “‘Oh, well, OK! No more men in movies!’”
But the fact that the film business does still react like this stems, he thinks, from its creation of a mythology to support the status quo. “Which is: men won’t go to see these movies starring women. Hollywood’s always looking for a way to get out of a risky situation and if people are still considering movies starring women to be risky – well, that’s very unfair to the women.”
When he was starting out, Feig says, he would pitch a project with a female lead, only to be told it wasn’t an option because: “Men won’t go see that movie, and in foreign markets movies with women don’t do so well.” The only way to refute this, he says, was to prove them wrong. “It’s one thing to say there should be more great roles for women, but if you don’t create them it’s all lip-service. You gotta put your money where your mouth is and actually do it. Everybody in positions of power – especially men but women too – has gotta step up.”
The venom behind some of the reaction to the new Ghostbusters casting could be seen to confirm a sense that some men simply aren’t interested in stories about the opposite sex. Last year, Feig called some of the comments “vile, misogynistic shit”; today, he questions the relevance of that backlash. The bigger problem, he thinks, lies with the internet – “which puts a small minority of voices into a sort of bullhorn” – and the media, which amplify this negativity. “It makes me sad that informs every article now. There’s always some comment about how people are down on it. Well, somebody is down on everything. It’s very easy once you’re predisposed to be pissed about something to watch it and find fault.”
Plus, people are conditioned by what they see on screen. There is a duty to broaden that scope and try to persuade people out of such prejudice. “Hollywood has created a situation in which women come off as bad or subservient or unlikable or boring because those are the roles written for them. What character looks great telling the hero that he shouldn’t be saving the world, that he should be spending more time with his family? Nobody!
Related Link: View the full Production Notes for Ghostbuster 2016
Looks like Dominic Toretto and his racing crew are officially headed to Cuba for Fast 8.
It’s been decades since a Hollywood studio shot on the island, but as U.S. relations with Cuba warm, Hollywood has begun to dip its toes in again and test the possibilities. Conan O’Brien journeyed there in March to make Conan the first late-night show to shoot on the island post-embargo.
In 2014, Bob Yari’s Papa: Hemingway in Cuba became the first Hollywood indie to do the same. And now, another milestone arrives as tweets confirm that Fast 8 will be the first Hollywood studio movie to film on the island post-embargo. On Wednesday night, the Fast and Furious Twitter account shared a warm welcome from some of the latest installment’s local extras.
So, does this make Vin Diesel the American studio-film industry’s ambassador to Cuba? Is he ready for that kind of responsibility? From the looks of things, he’s chill as ever. And given how things are going, why shouldn’t he be? In addition to the film’s historic achievement, the movie will bring Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray into the mix.
On top of his recent critically and commercially successful biopic, Gray also directed 2003’s The Italian Job, which, on top of its awesome Mini Cooper chase scene, also starred Charlize Theron, who will also be starring in Fast 8. Following her recent turn as an action hero in Mad Max: Fury Road, Theron might be the most exciting element of the whole project—especially as she’s slated to play the villain.
In addition to Theron, Scott Eastwood will be the other new-coming actor to join all the returning alums when the movie comes out on April 14, 2017: Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, and Kurt Russell are all coming back. In an Instagram post, Diesel himself gave a hint about what’s to come in the new installment, saying, “We’re in Cuba, where the Torettos started. … It’s Dom Toretto, back in his homeland.” Welcome home, Toretto.