It would seem that there are two stages every iconic musician must got through in the twilight of their career: induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a guest spot in one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Such was the case with Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, who — in a nod to Johnny Depp’s appropriation of elements of his persona — appeared in two films as the father of Jack Sparrow. And now the franchise has pulled in another iconic musician, with Beatles legend Paul McCartney sharing his slightly foppish character.
In the beginning, there was a messed up kid with an inside-out William Shatner mask, and it was good. And then, through countless sequels and reinterpretations and bigger budgets, the Halloween franchise became the story of an unstoppable killing machine. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to like about some of the later Halloween movies, but there’s a reason characters like Michael Myers have become a cliche in the horror genre. When everyone’s anticipating the “shocking” moment where it turns out the killer isn’t dead, how scary can your film really be?
We’ve reached one of my favorite times of the year: the annual announcement by the Social Security Administration of the most popular baby names from the previous year. Why is that such a big deal, you might ask? Because each year we get to shake our heads at the number of parents who jump on the pop culture hype train and name their children after movie and television characters. While this year’s list showed that old-fashioned names such as Liam, Mason, and Olivia are back in style, it also featured a predictable handful of names from popular 2015 franchises. Sorry, kids.
Turn off your proton packs and fire up your Fleetwood Mac, it’s time for the latest edition of the ScreenCrush Weekend Box Office Report! There were few surprises to be found at the top of the list this weekend, but with a few big films nearing the end of their theatrical run, it’s a good time to take stock and see how things shook out. Here’s the projected grosses as of Sunday afternoon:
You know how culture critics sometimes say you should stop being surprised when diverse films do well at the box office? They may be right, but even the most optimistic pundit probably couldn’t have seen this weekend coming
In hindsight, it seems kind of odd that we had two directors competing to make movies in the same franchise. Back in 2015, director Neill Blomkamp sort of bull-rushed Hollywood by releasing concept art from the Alien 5 sequel he had been working on for 20th Century Fox. This was despite the fact that Ridley Scott had already made Prometheus — a direct prequel to the events of the Alien universe — and was working on what would later become Alien: Covenant. After months of rumors and Blomkamp’s promise to bring back a few beloved characters, the project petered out, and Scott emerged the sole proprietor of the Alien franchise.
While decades of film journalism has taught us to treat Hollywood insiders as the sole source of movie rumors, there are plenty of places to go for production updates if you know where to look. Movie studios are businesses, after all, and business have to do things like file for copyrights, pull permits, and, sometimes, submit films and trailers to government agencies for review. That’s how we are able to bring you today’s update on the long-anticipated trailer for Columbia Pictures’ The Dark Tower adaptation. It didn’t come from some studio executive sending text messages on the sly; it came from the Consumer Protection agency of British Columbia.
No Marvel movie is complete without a rousing game of “Spot the Stan Lee.” In a nod to many of the iconic superheroes Lee helped create, each movie — often regardless of studio — has budgeted a small portion of its running time to one of Lee’s prominent background characters. He’s played a security guard, a playboy, a librarian, and a military general, and as long as Lee’s health permitted, fans could expect Lee to pop in without any broader connections to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At least, that was the case until Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
It’s funny how things work out. A while back, when Jason Momoa was announced as the actor for Justice League and Aquaman, I wasn’t sure he was the right guy for the role. Momoa may actually be a human-sized action figure, but his acting skills seemed a little rough around the edges, and the last thing that Zack Snyder needed was a mediocre performance from one of the core players in the DC Cinematic Universe. And now, months later, Momoa is one of the few parts of Justice League I’m not worried about. Like I said, funny how things work out.
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.
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