Channing Tatum’s a delight — fleet-footed dancer, lovably lunkheaded actor, and crooner of the occasional showtune, he’s got more of a claim to the title of America’s sweetheart than just about anybody. But while I may love Channing Tatum, and you may love Channing Tatum, he’s got one critic he just can’t seem to win over: his four-year-old daughter Everly.
Our children won’t believe us when we tell them that there used to be doubt over whether a female-fronted superhero movie would work at the box office. Even at present, the days of studio executive hand-wringing over whether audiences would deign to shell out their precious $11.75 to see a film in which a woman — who was not a man — did superhero things feel favorably remote. For director Patty Jenkins and her marble-carved star Gal Gadot have proven beyond all debate and rage-choked internet commenting that women are perfectly capable of making a whole mess of money during blockbuster season. And now it’s official.
Do you wanna build a snowman... again? Disney sure hopes so, as they announced in a new press release today that their mega-successful Frozen would gain a sort of mini-sequel in an upcoming short to be bundled with Coco. But Olaf’s Frozen Adventure is no ordinary lead-in to the main event; it sounds like quite a bit has gone into the short that Disney repeatedly refers to as a “featurette,” running at 21 minutes and including four new songs, as well as returning cast members Josh Gad, Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, and Jonathan Groff. Parents, batten down the hatches, for a new ‘Let It Go’ is close at hand.
When the Cannes Film Festival descends on the French Rivieira, movie billboards and banners crop up all around the Croisette area to catch the attention of industry big shots in town. One such poster advertised a little film called Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs, a new animated project out of Korea in which Chloe Grace Moretz voices the apple-eater of note Snow White. But the passersby at the festival were none too pleased with the advertisement, see if you can guess why: it displays two Snow Whites, one thin and tall, the other shorter and a bit plumper. The tagline? “What if Snow White was no longer beautiful and the 7 Dwarfs not so short?”
Beaming families, teary smiles, mortarboards in the air — it’s graduation season, which means that more importantly, it’s celebrity commencement address season. While some high-profile speakers have received a chillier reception than others, the A-lister speech has long been a reliably amusing diversion in between long-winded orations from dusty academic types. Maya Rudolph took plenty of artistic license with “The Star-Spangled Banner” at my graduation ceremony from Tulane a few years ago, an unforgettable experience that I was too drunk to currently remember. But today brings video of another movie star taking the stage before a mass of fresh-faced students blissfully unaware of how hard getting a job is. Ladies, gentlemen, Will Ferrell is in the house.
We‘ve only just entered May, but in the first few months of 2017, the year has yielded a surprisingly eclectic array of blockbusters. Survey the biggest earners to date, and you’ll see a socially critical horror flick from a first-time director, a spin-off based on a cross-property licensing deal within a corporate brand expansion, and a tough-as-nails superhero side project with post-apocalyptic Western overtones. The latest Fast and Furious installment looks most at home in the top five so far, but more unexpected still is that it’s been handily defeated by the year’s top earner, Disney’s handsomely mounted revival of Beauty and the Beast. And now, the unlikely box-office behemoth has claimed another record.
A few years ago, I wrote up a brief item about an incident taking place at Los Angeles’ AFI Film Festival wherein an irate woman maced a man in the face for having the gall to ask her to turn off her cell phone during a screening of Mike Leigh’s J.M.W. Turner biopic Mr. Turner. “Wow, being at the movies sure makes people do crazy things!” I thought to myself. “I wonder how long it’ll be until the next time I get to write about a violent movie theater conflict over petty nonsense.” That day has come at last, and this time [beat to let the moment breathe] the stakes are even higher.
Netflix, for all their diverting original series and Bong Joon-ho subsidization, has also been responsible for the introduction of a great evil into the world. I am referring, of course, to their seemingly infinite-picture development deal with chronic Phoner-of-It-In Adam Sandler. Netflix signed Sandler to a four-movie deal back in 2014, which has been going decidedly less-than-great so far — his Western spoof The Ridiculous Six was a big pile of donkey turds, and the trailer for his upcoming Sandy Wexler has not inspired much more confidence. When the news hit a few weeks ago that Netflix would re-up their deal with Sandler for four more movies, our coverage of the notice contained the words “oh no.”
Distinction is all relative. Sure, maybe Jordan Peele’s blockbuster horror film Get Out isn’t the highest-grossing movie of the year. And maybe it’s not the highest-grossing horror movie of all time. And maybe it’s not the highest-grossing directorial debut ever, or the highest-grossing February release ever, or the highest-grossing film from a black director. But gosh darnit, Get Out is too widely liked to pass through a theatrical run without setting some kind of record, so the showbiz bookkeepers of the internet did some research and found a title that they could rightly pin on Peele’s project.
Life was good for Jordan Peele — star of a massively successful sketch comedy show, a nice little recurring role on FX’s Fargo, and he’s married to Chelsea Peretti, one of the coolest, funniest women currently working. Then he sprung his directorial debut Get Out on an unsuspecting America and everything rocketed to the next level. The massive windfall he conjured with a paltry $4.5 million budget blew open the gates of Hollywood for him, and like all novice filmmakers, a high-profile sophomore feature can’t be far off. Today brings the news as to what that next step might be, and it appears that Warner Bros. has big plans for Peele.
Almost exactly a year ago, tech entrepreneur Sean Parker (better known as the guy who correctly identified a billion dollars as cooler than a million dollars in The Social Network) fronted a proposed business venture called The Screening Room, a potentially game-changing set-top box through which Hollywood studios would offer their biggest new releases to stream at home the same day they premiered in brick-and-mortar theaters. (With an astronomical price tag, naturally.) Though it gained some traction and support from significant voices in the film community, it ultimately sputtered and spun out. But with the rebirth of spring, so comes a rebirth for this impractical, frightening, cineplex-annihilating idea. (Kinda.)
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