This past weekend, a seismic shift in box-office history took place and went largely unnoticed. The writing was on the wall for Star Wars’ legacy in the all-time top 10 highest-earning films, as noted on Reddit prior to the start of this past weekend. Box-office behemoth Beauty and the Beast continued to generate healthy grosses in its fifth weekend of release, ending the weekend with a princely (or should I say, princessly!) sum of $471.1 million. This gave the film a slight edge of the next-most-lucrative film on the list, which just so happened to be George Lucas’ original space opus. Star Wars and its lifetime gross of $461 million have now slid down to the #11 spot.
Shooting a movie’s not like performing a play. The theatrical process is primal, all rooted in emotion and immersion within the fictional moment. Production on a feature film requires far more on a technical level, to the point where actors will be ordered to pick up a spoon in the exact same way ten times, just to be safe. (David Fincher famously went through one hundred takes to nail the opening breakup in his magnum opus The Social Network.) For the typical actor, most of filmmaking is waiting around for stuff to happen — but that’s far less tiresome when you get to hang out with Carrie Fisher between calls of “ACTION!”
While the post-credits scene was once a surprise specially afforded to those superfans with the dedication to sit through the final frames of a film, it’s now become par for the course, a de facto advertisement for whatever a franchise might have up its sleeve next. Marvel Studios has turned this into standard operating procedure, to the point where viewers expect nothing less than another tasty morsel of footage, the cinematic equivalent of the delicious fries waiting for you at the bottom of your McDonald’s bag. How to continue taking audiences off-guard, then? Marvel could do no post-credit scene at all, that’d certainly throw people for a loop. Or... they could do five.
Sex with movies — until now, it’s been an impossible dream. But Netflix is a company of innovation, and they’re not going to stop at reshaping the home-entertainment industry top to bottom. Much ruckus was raised recently when Netflix announced that they would do away with their widely reviled star ratings and switch to a thumbs-up/thumbs-down system for recommendations, but a new video from the streaming giant released today clarifies the nature of this new recommendations engine. At long last, we can decide which movies we want to do it with, as if the film industry was one big textual Tinder. And that’s not my comparison, either — Netflix wants you to think of this like a dating app!
What exactly does the term “break the internet” mean? Web-surfers understand the definition as “causing a commotion of such great size and scale that the World Wide Web could shut down as a result of its enormity,” and yet the phrase only conjures one image to mind — that of Kim Kardashian on her notorious Paper Magazine cover, popping champagne directly onto a glass balanced atop her buttocks. So when Disney announced yesterday that their sequel to video game hodgepodge Wreck-It Ralph would bear the subtitle Ralph Breaks the Internet, we may interpret it one of two ways. Either Ralph’s going to go on an epic quest through the online wilds, or the 8-bit hero is about to blow our minds with the roundest ’donk in the history of animated cinema.
USA Today recently ran a new interview with Jon Watts, director of the upcoming re-re-reboot Spider-Man: Homecoming, far in advance of the film’s July 7 release date. Watts got the chance to explain the fundamental differences between his foray into the Marvel universe and the films that came before, stating that the fundamental regular-guyness of Peter Parker will set him apart from the likes of Thor and Iron Man: “My whole approach for this movie is that we’ve seen the penthouse level of the (Marvel) universe. We’ve seen what it’s like to be a billionaire inventor and to be a Norse god. We’ve seen the very top of this world. But we’ve never seen what it’s like to be just a regular joe.”
The Avatar franchise has turned into James Cameron’s Xanadu, a vanity project of staggering scale to which the public will seemingly never be permitted access. It’s kept him busy since 2009, as he’s concurrently scripted a whopping four sequels to the immensely lucrative 2009 sci-fi epic. Perhaps, one day, it shall be his tomb. But to us unwashed rabble in the general populace, the grand Avatar franchise is little more than an idea, and a weird idea at that. As our beloved Editor-in-Chief Matt Singer noted not too long ago, pretty much everybody has moved on from Avatar as a cultural touchstone. Cameron seems more jazzed about this plan than anyone else, but he’ll have to put his dreams on hold for a little while longer.
A new Batman vehicle demands, in a more literal sense, a new Batman vehicle. As Ben Affleck prepares to don the cape and cowl once more to reprise the role of Bruce Wayne in Zack Snyder’s upcoming Justice League movie, modifications have also been made to his singular whip, the teched-out Batmobile. Snyder applied his bigger-is-better filmmaking ethic to the Batmobile in last year‘s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, diverging from Christopher Nolan’s utilitarian, industrial look towards something a little more tanklike. And today, Snyder’s taken to his favored social media channel of Vero to offer fans an advance look at what the latest edition of the Batmobile has to offer.
In a refreshing change of pace, international tensions with Russia have increased due to something other than statements issued from the executive branch of the federal government. The latest subject of global controversy is none other than Beauty and the Beast, Disney’s new live-action remounting of the classic animated fantasy-romance. And rest assured, it’s not the sacrilege of revising the high-water mark of Disney’s ‘90s run that the Russkies are ticked off about. Not since the James Franco/Seth Rogen comedy vehicle The Interview nearly set off World War III with North Korea has Hollywood come this close to igniting a powder keg, and all because LeFou has come out of the closet.
With every new studio release, Ridley Scott likes to remind us all of his background in advertising. The director behind the canonized “Nineteen Eighty-Four” Macintosh commercial tends to mount an inventive promotional campaign for each of his motion picture efforts — both Prometheus and The Martian showed off their elaborate, space-ready production design through early faux-featurettes, and Scott has pulled the same move today. This morning saw the release of a “prologue” video titled “The Last Supper” in relation to the upcoming sequel Alien: Covenant, and while it gives viewers a chance to familiarize themselves with the crew of a major interstellar colonization effort, it’s also a chilling bait-and-switch unto itself.
[Taylor Swift voice] John Carpenter never goes out of style. The master filmmaker influenced a generation of movie nerds with his hyper-competent, crowd-pleasing genre pictures such as Halloween, The Thing, and They Live. His fingerprints are all over the modern horror canon, with his synths-and-neon aesthetic informing everything from Stranger Things to the widely under-appreciated The Guest. The latest film to kowtow to the Carpenter’s far-reaching legacy is The Void, a new chiller than many readily compared to The Thing when it debuted at Texas’ Fantastic Fest last fall. And with a new trailer available today, viewers can start to judge that for themselves.
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