Let’s brainstorm for a moment. A year ago, I tell you that Sony Pictures is giving $100 million dollars to the screenwriter of Pan and the director of Mama to make a blockbuster summer movie. Furthermore, this $100 million dollar movie will be based on a popular animated television series from the 1980s. What is your gut reaction? Are you surprised? Dismayed? Cautiously optimistic? Now what if I tell you the exact same thing, but instead of Pan and Mama, I mention Wonder Woman and It, two of the most critically and commercial successful movies of 2017? Just goes to show you how much things can change in Hollywood over just a few months.
Well, that’s kinda awkward timing. On Thursday of last week, the New York Times published an article titled “Attacked by Rotten Tomatoes,” an in-depth look at the popular review aggregation site and the role it may have played in this summer’s disappointing box office numbers. The article ends with a prolonged examination of the various ways that studios are trying to “battle Rotten Tomatoes on multiple fronts,” seemingly accepting the idea that Rotten Tomatoes has been bad for the movie industry (despite the fact that Rotten Tomatoes is, in fact, owned by said members of the movie industry). The article may have been an interesting read for those unfamiliar with the controversy, but for those in the know, it was old news, part of an ongoing debate that tried to argue that critics were duping poor, easily misled moviegoers.
Oh, Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. When are those two crazy kids ever going to get together? There’s is a love story we can all relate to: she, the inexperienced college student and would-be journalist, and he, the millionaire Seattle playboy, willing to teach her in the practice of love. Would their shared appreciation for BDSM be enough to overcome their differences and help them find true love? I don’t know for sure, but based on this first teaser trailer for Fifty Shades Freed, I’m going to venture that the answer to that question is yes.
As we head deeper into September, two things have become pretty clear about 2017 box office numbers: one, Hollywood desperately needs to bounce back a little bit from the doldrums of August, and two, whoever decided to hedge their studio’s bets with a September release date for a movie about a killer clown is looking like a [profanity] genius right about now. We’ll get to all of that in a moment, but first, here are the box office numbers as of Sunday afternoon:
When shouldn’t you release a clip for a movie? I can understand releasing entire chunks of a movie on YouTube when you’re working with an unproven or questionable title; if you’re trying to entice audiences to see some mediocre horror film, then by all means, release one of the movie’s better jump scares in an effort to get them into the theater. But when you’ve got a title as recognizable as Blade Runner 2049, with several excellent trailers and a few smart television spots, why bother? How many people could possibly be on the fence at this point?
If you’ve never had the pleasure of encountering Halo Top ice scream, I’ve got some world-changing news for you: no longer will you need to feel bad for eating ice cream by the pint! The California ice cream company, which recently passed Ben & Jerry’s and Häagen-Dazs to become the highest-selling ice cream in grocery stores, is the current zeitgeist of low-calorie sweets. Sure, maybe the flavor is a little more bland than you’d prefer, and sure, maybe eating ice cream by the pint — regardless of its constitution — is probably not the best idea, but at only 240 calories a pop? You could do a lot worse with your stress-eating.
Here’s a fun question for you: how many evil droids have there been in the Star Wars universe? There was the interrogation droid that tortured Dr. Leia in the original Star Wars; IG-88 and the jet-black C-3PO unit in The Empire Strikes Back; and a handful of trade federation robots in the Star Wars prequels, as well as K-2SO (sorta) in Rogue One. Come to think of it, while both Death Stars have always had a bunch of R2 and MSE units wandering around in the background, the Star Wars series has always been a little short on recognizable droid baddies.
Despite the fact that Creed 2 remains very early in the pre-production process, Sylvester Stallone hasn’t shied away from providing fans with regular updates on his screenwriting process. That’s included photos of his handwritten Creed 2 script as well as a promise that his character would face off against Dolph Lundgren’s Ivan Drago in the much-anticipated sequel. And while star and studio have avoided giving us a firm timeline for the sequel’s release — I mean, other than a rumored 2017 release date that they, uh, are clearly going to miss — it sounds like Stallone is making a lot of progress on he film.
There are bad weekends, there are bad weekends, and then there are historically terrible weekends the likes of which haven’t been seen in decades. Guess which one applies to this past weekend? With the overall box office dipping more than $30 million from last week, and the overall numbers landing as historically bad, we seem to be ending August on a terrible note. Nevertheless, here are the box office numbers through Sunday afternoon:
How can we use classic films to teach history? It’s a more difficult question than one might think. On the one hand, early Hollywood classics are full of negative and — let’s face it — racist stereotypes that can be difficult for many people to watch. On the other hand, these movies provide a valuable opportunity to view a bygone era through its cultural artifacts and see what narratives were being pushed on the general public through film. An individual film in-and-of itself may not contain much value, but as a point of data on a timeline? It can be a very valuable window into how much things have (or haven’t) changed.
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