It’s a battle of the science fiction blockbusters this weekend, with Alien: Covenant and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 giving us a photo finish at the box office. The two movies couldn’t be more different in style, tone, and aesthetics, but they equally captured audiences’ attention and shined a light on what the future has in store for both franchises. Here’s the box office numbers as of Sunday afternoon:
Throughout the years, the one constant in the Terminator franchise has been Arnold Schwarzenegger. Even after director James Cameron quit the franchise, Schwarzenegger kept on chugging along, appearing in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machine, Terminator Genisys, and even having his likeness pop up in Terminator Salvation while he was still the governor of California. So with the news that James Cameron would be taking the helm of the franchise again after Genisys flopped, fans have been wondering if the actor had one last showing in him as everyone’s favorite compassionate death machine.
Hold onto your (well-toned) butts, ladies and gentlemen, because Zac Efron’s career is about to kick into high gear. After a few years spent as a teenage heartthrob — and a few more years spent revamping his image in movies like Neighbors and Baywatch as everyone’s favorite ‘sex idiot’ — it looks like Efron is gearing up to pivot yet-again into the dramatic stage of his career. What type of dramatic turn, you ask? A troubled artist? A struggling musician? You’re close! How about infamous serial killer Ted Bundy?
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:
With two high-profile films premiering at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Netflix is hard at work proving to filmmakers and financiers alike that it deserves to be taken seriously as both a commercial and artistic distribution platform. And while fans might be excited to watch Bong Joon-Ho’s Okja or Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories from the comfort of their own home, Netflix’s success may have run afoul of French law, putting its relationship with both the film festival and the entire French marketplace in a precarious position.
While the words “period action” and “Guy Ritchie” don’t always go over well with critics, there’s no denying that Ritchie’s 2015 film The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is a cut above the rest. Led by an all-star cast that included Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, and Alicia Vikander, U.N.C.L.E. runs with its Cold War setting and creates a stylish and — dare I say — sexy story of international intrigue and the dapper spies who saved the world from nuclear annihilation. Unfortunately for its fans, the movie didn’t do particularly well at the box office, only grossing about $110 million worldwide against a $75 million budget. That’s not exactly money that screams sequel, if you know what I mean.
It may seem strange to describe the eighth film in a blockbuster franchise as a transitional moment in the series, but then again, few franchises have had to deal with the death of an actor as essential as Paul Walker. The Fate of the Furious was always going to be a bittersweet affair for those involved; while the movie promised to push new characters and new relationships to the forefront, fans wondered how exactly they would choose to address the loss of Walker’s beloved Brian. The solution screenwriter Chris Morgan came up with should leave diehards and newcomers alike very pleased.
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 been nearly 17 years since Bryan Singer’s X-Men movie ushered in a new era of superhero movies, and in that time, we’ve seen studios crank through actors with alarming frequency. We’ve seen three Spider-Man, a handful of Batmen, three Punishers across the big and small screens, and dozens of big-budget Marvel and DC movies break records at the box office. In the midst of all this chaos has been Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, the one actor-character combination that seemed immune to bad reviews and flagging box office numbers. And with Jackman set to take one final turn as Wolverine in Logan, the actor is taking a little time to stop and reflect on his impact in Hollywood.
There’s just a few months left until Wonder Woman hits theaters, which means it’s time for Warner Bros. to get down to the business of promoting the crap out of this movie. When I saw Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in theaters, the crowd greeted her character during the climactic fight scene with wild cheers and applause, suggesting to me that audiences are ready to embrace the first standalone superhero movie. We’ve had the first two rounds of movie trailers; now it’s time to open the floodgates on teasers, TV spots, and production rumors. Let the games begin!
Here’s something I’ve never been able to fully understand about myself: I find haunted house movies terribly boring and haunted space station movies absolutely terrifying. Take your typical spooky movie — with old buildings, dark hallways, and moving shadows — and I could fall asleep right there in the theater. But kick that spooky movie up into space and give the characters some space suits? As far as I’m concerned, that makes anything an instant classic — and I’ve got the Event Horizon ticket stubs to prove it.
While the Academy Awards may leave a sour taste in the mouths of those who think artists shouldn’t be forced to compete, there’s no denying that an Oscar nomination is still a powerful piece of validation for a lot of filmmakers, especially those from other countries. Filmmakers like Asghar Farhadi — whose 2016 film The Salesman will be seen by many Americans due to its Best Foreign Language Film nomination — should be able to take this time to engage with audiences about the importance of this work. Instead, Farhadi will have to watch the Academy Awards on television like the rest of us.
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