Dystopian cinema is all the rage right now. Not only is the release of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale only a few days away, we were also recently treated to a series of synchronized screenings of 1984, the film adaptation of George Orwell’s seminal novel. While some may view this as a collective piece of cinematic snark, plenty of others are using these projects as an opportunity to open the door for increased education and awareness about media literacy, politics, and art. And while HBO may only really be interested in art and politics, it is putting one foot firmly in the dystopian game, announcing an upcoming production of Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451.
For years, one of the internet’s dirty little secrets has been that people really enjoy The Fate of the Furious: Tokyo Drift. A healthy flop at the time of its release — the film’s $60 million gross is half that of 2 Fast 2 Furious, the second-lowest grossing movie in the Fast and the Furious franchise — Tokyo Drift has climbed steadily back into fans’ favor due to the lasting appeal of Sung Kang’s Han Lue and a bit of chronological trickery in a later film that boosted this one’s reputation. It’s amazing how much better a film gets when you stop being mad at it for failing to bring back any of the main characters.
What came first, the raunchy beach comedy or the Baywatch movie adaptation? Hollywood seems to have discovered in recent years that it can take an existing license — typically one associated with a semi-popular television series — and give it new life as a profane comedy for adults. Sure, there are probably a handful of Baywatch purists out there who have watched the sophomoric humor in the trailers with horror, but for everyone else? A vague recollection of the Baywatch brand and an appetite for 21 Jump Street-esque humor is all they need to be enticed.
Welcome to the calm before the storm. With a handful of blockbuster movies already released, and more on the way, the second weekend in April was a relatively quiet affair, with a few old favorites dominating the weekend yet again and a few new releases grabbing whatever box office they could before things get fast and furious at your local multiplex. Let’s take a look at the projected grosses through Sunday afternoon.
Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie seems to have developed a pretty strong working relationship with Tom Cruise. In addition to working with the actor on the highly regarded Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation movie, McQuarrie had previously directed Cruise in Jack Reacher while also serving as either a producer or screenwriter on Jack Reacher 2 and Cruise’s upcoming Universal Monsters movie The Mummy. When it comes to actor-director pairings, there’s no denying McQuarrie and Cruise are one of the more impressive duos at work these days.
F8Gate. The ‘Candy Ass’ Heard ’Round the World. Call it what you will, but last year’s unexpected beef between Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel on the set of The Fate of the Furious has resulted in a Hollywood blind item almost as interesting and epic as the movie franchise that spawned it. Forget about turning your back on family; watching Dwayne Johnson lose his legendary cool over one of his costars was like watching a couple you really admired go through a messy divorce. Were things really that out-of-control behind the scenes or was this all an elaborate ruse involving two men who understand the showmanship involved in a proper heel turn?
Would the horror genre work as the basis for a cinematic universe? It’s an interesting question. While horror films are certainly no strangers to sequels and prequels — there are eleven Friday the 13th movies, after all, and most of them are pretty much unrelated outside of their central villains — they are fairly reliant on individual characters to support the weight of new movies. There’s not enough depth to the Friday the 13th franchise to make a movie thatdoesn’t feature Jason Voorhees; for a horror film to truly inspire its own cinematic universe, you’d need a B-roll of characters who could each terrify audiences in their own right.
Earlier this week, a few little birdies spoke with /Film about Warner Bros. standalone superhero film The Batman being rewritten completely from scratch. According to the site’s sources, the studio has chosen to start all over again with input from director Matt Reeves; additional sources also noted that Reeves wouldn’t even meet with prospective cast members until sometime this summer. This came on the heels of comments from a Variety reporter that Reeves is still under contract for War for the Planet of the Apes through the end of June, meaning The Batman was unlikely to even enter production until 2018.
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.
With Sony being uncharacteristically quiet when it comes to The Dark Tower movie, fans have learned to take any new marketing material with a grain of salt. So when a fantastic new poster for the film found its way online last night, people who would normally be ecstatic about a new look at the upcoming release hesitated. Was this an official release from Sony or another piece of fan art masquerading as the real thing?
For franchise movie fans, nothing grates on the nerves quite like the lull between the day production wraps on a new movie and the day the first teaser drops. Production has been finished on Star Wars: The Last Jedi for a few months now, and since we’re not quite sure when Disney will be releasing the first trailer for the film, we’re latching onto any piece of information we can get about the new film or any new Star Wars content, period. In short, we’re in the business of reading too much into Mark Hamill’s Twitter account.
With the success of both Deadpool and Logan, 20th Century Fox has found a way to effectively differentiate itself from the other members of the superhero studio trifecta. Disney releases superhero films with broad appeal and a bright aesthetic; 20th Century Fox aims for more mature themes and isn’t afraid to incorporate both violence and profanity into its projects; Warner Bros…. well, they’re working on this, and when they figure out, it’s gonna be yuuuge. You’ll see.
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