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:
If the early buzz is to be believed, fans couldn’t get any more excited for the upcoming adaptation of Stephen King’s It. Not only does the film have one of the most-watched movie trailers of all time, and is also projected to make over $60 million in its opening weekend, it’s also coming into theaters riding a wave of impressive reviews. And somehow, the movie has done all of this without tipping its hand on some of the most impressive scares. All of this for an R-rated horror movie about children being jeopardized. We’ve come a long way since the original miniseries, America.
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.
One of the underrated elements of the horror community is how many of them have the opportunity to meet their heroes. When famous actors and filmmakers die, they tend to be remembered at a distance on the quality of their work; when horror icons like George Romero or Wes Craven pass, however, people have first-hand accounts of meeting them at festivals and conventions. So as word spreads today about the death of legendary Texas Chainsaw Massacre director Tobe Hooper, you’ll hear more than a few first-hand accounts of what it was like to talk about the genre with Hooper. That’s the power of the horror community.
I’d like to think I’m not prone to hyperbole, so believe me when I say I’m putting all my remaining Marvel eggs in the Thor: Ragnarok basket. Sure, I’ve more-or-less enjoyed most of the movies in the franchise — this year’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, for example, might be one of their best yet — but superhero movies are like anything else: the more you ingest, the less you enjoy it the next time around. If Marvel is going to continue making these movies until the sun explodes, then I’m ready for things to get a little bit weird, and Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi is the right person to deliver.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of The Dark Tower isn’t that it failed to live up to expectations decades in the making, or even that it mangled Stephen King’s source material in a way that die-hard fans found unforgivable. No, the most frustrating aspect of The Dark Tower is that it’s just… fine. Despite the plethora of negative reviews, it isn’t some disastrous flop a movie, nor is it an ambitious mess that reached for the stars and came crashing back to earth. It’s just sorta there, a Young Adult action-fantasy film that limps through its paces before ending with a thud. Really, how do you even make a King adaptation that doesn’t have a little bit of ambition?
Welcome to Augusts, where overall weekend grosses can decline for three consecutive weekends — $122, $116, and $95 million, respectively — and a new action-comedy can be the surprise winner of the weekend. Audiences might still be interested in creepy dolls, but it was a hyper-violent buddy film about professional killers that took home the gold. Here’s the box office projections, as of Sunday afternoon:
Today the world of comedy lost one of its brightest stars. Jerry Lewis was no stranger to controversy during his decades-long career, but his impact on both Hollywood and comedy in general cannot be denied. From his early days as Dean Martin’s partner-in-crime to his career-capping turn in Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy — and countless box office success in the interim — Lewis’s impact on Hollywood will be a source of much discussion for years to come.
Ever since he took over as the director on the standalone Han Solo movie, Ron Howard has been endlessly toying with Star Wars fans on social media. From set photos suggesting new characters to behind-the-scene looks at hyperspace travel, Howard seems to be doing his best to pivot the narrative surrounding Disney‘s latest Star Wars prequel from, “Wow, I can’t believe they fired those directors!” to “Wow, I can’t believe Ron Howard is being such a jerk on Instagram!” Seriously, Ron, would it kill you to show something up close for once?
As long as there have been horror movies, there have been attempts to mix together horror movie characters in crossover films. Who can forget Freddy vs. Jason, the critically reviled — but financially successful — 2003 film that pitted the stars of the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street franchises against each other? Not to mention those years where it was rumored that Evil Dead’s Ash might get thrown into the mix for a sequel; no matter how many middling reboots these franchises go through, there will always be someone who pitches a project where Hollywood just slams ’em all up together.
If you only pay attention to blockbuster movies, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Geena Davis was no longer active as an actress. You’d be wrong. Davis has been anything but quiet, continuing to act full-time on shows like The Exorcist while serving as a force for gender equality in Hollywood. The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, created by the actress in 2004, has worked with creators to help improve the representation of women in Hollywood films and television shows. Davis has also launched her own film festival, the Bentonville Film Festival, with the stated mission of selecting film celebrating diversity.
With the exception of technical honors, there’s still probably no Academy Winner as surprising as Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny. To be fair, Tomei’s performance is absolutely delightful — funny at times, forceful at others, and the perfect counter for Joe Pesci’s endless barrage of conversation — but movies like My Cousin Vinny don’t typically take home Academy Awards for anything, least of all performances. That award speaks to the soft spot everyone has in their heart for that film; it may not be the most prestigious work of either Tomei or Pesci’s careers, but it’s a hard movie to say no to after a long day at the office.
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