After several weeks of limited movement, a handful of new releases prompted a pretty thorough shakeup of the Box Office Top 10. While Beauty and the Beast continued its unstoppable assault on the domestic box office, we also said hello this weekend to three new movies and goodbye to a handful of old favorites from the first few months of the year. Let’s start with the estimated numbers as of Sunday afternoon.
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.
If nothing else, the announcement that Warner Bros. is working on expanding the universe of The Matrix really makes me want to revisit the original films. Like most people, I was enamored with the first and disappointed by the sequels; the now-outdated CGI character modeling and frequent technobabble written by the Wachowski Sisters caught me a bit by surprise, and I was unnecessarily tough on the movies as a result. Now, though, I wonder if I might see the sequels with different eyes. When was the last time a blockbuster movie franchises so clearly marched to the beat of its own drum? Maybe this time around I will fully embrace the weird.
It’s probably time to admit that we take Ridley Scott’s films more seriously than Scott himself. While we argue over cinematic universes, director’s cuts, and unnecessary sequels, Scott is out there having a good time making whatever movies pop into his mind at any given moment. Sometimes that means promising another half-dozen Alien movies before his newest one has even been released. Sometimes that means producing a Blade Runner sequel that few people wanted. And sometimes, just sometimes, it means bringing back a Roman warrior from the literal dead.
Right now, at this very moment, there are people in Austin, Texas who have seen Edgar Wright’s new film Baby Driver. And yes, I’ll admit it, I’m insanely jealous. It’s not just that Baby Driver is the first film by Wright since 2013’s The World’s End; it’s also not that Wright has assembled one of the more effortlessly cool heist film casts in Jon Bernthal, Jon Hamm, Lily James, and Kevin Spacey; it’s also that the first trailer for Baby Driver seems to show Wright pushing his own stylish sense of rhythmic editing to the max, going all in on his visuals in a way we still haven’t seen in one of his movies. You thought you liked Wright before? Try him with a couple of machine guns a few really fast cars.
With Hugh Jackman’s Logan opening in theaters this weekend, the top spot of this list was never in doubt. The questions were always whether audiences would respond well to the first major R-rated superhero movie. Was the big opening of Deadpool an abberation or a sign of things to come? If today’s numbers are any indication, the answer is, maybe a little bit of both.
One of the side effects of CGI is our inability to appreciate the effort that goes into a good movie scene. A few decades ago, you could look at a shot from a movie and instinctively know how much time and energy went into it. You could see the production design, the costumes, the makeup, the lighting, all of which required people to make real things with their hands and put them in front of the camera. These days, we just chalk everything up to computers without thinking much about what that means.
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.
The Razzies are a tough award show to love. Oh, I’m sure plenty of people probably read the headline to this article and — depending on their opinion of both Dinesh D’Souza and the DC Cinematic Universe — found great comfort in the public mockery of Hillary’s America and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. But while awards shows in general might serve the noble purpose of raising awareness about powerful films, the annual Razzies Awards often feel like you’re kicking someone when they’re already down. They’ve already flopped with audiences and critics; throwing a Razzie award at them is the Hollywood equivalent of kicking them when they’re down.
Casting rumors come in two major flavors. On the one hand, you have concrete news about actors meeting with executives and filmmakers to discuss their participation in upcoming productions. On the other hand, you have the echo chamber of social media, where casting rumors can materialize out of thin air and then be given credibility during an interview or social media exchange with an actor. Not all fan rumors end up at the first stage, but it is true that some social media rumors have actually ended up with the actor being offered the role.
It’s amazing how much difference a song makes. We’ve been treated to several teasers for Guy Ritchie’s upcoming King Arthur: Legend of the Sword movie, and to this point, I would have described them all as just OK. Ritchie’s particular brand of historical fiction and modern action aesthetics — including his signature fast-slow-fast brand of fight choreography — is something I’ve gone back and forth on a little bit in the last few years. I’m not a big fan of Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes movies, but I did rather enjoy The Man From U.N.C.L.E., meaning King Arthur was kind of a net zero in my book.
Sometime over the last couple of months, writer-director Shane Black slipped onto Twitter without very many people noticing. While admittedly a bit of a neophyte when it comes to social media, Black has immediately grasped the most important aspects of the platform. You know, sharing funny tweets, complaining about politicians, taking pictures of his dogs, and, oh yeah, throwing out exclusive content from the set of his long-anticipated Predator sequel. You know, just normal, everyday Twitter stuff.
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