While most fans walked away from Universal’s Fate of the Furious impressed by the movie’s use of New York City, it was the film’s use of Cuba that really opened the eyes of American audiences. Back in April, Variety sat down with Fate of the Furious director F. Gary Gray and discussed what it was like to be one of the first major studio films to be shot on location in Cuba. Gray recalled several logistical challenges — hotel rooms, location shoots, and the like — while also complimenting the people they had met on their trip. By all accounts, Fate of the Furious was to be the film that opened up the Cuban film market to the broader Hollywood community.
If you only look at the surface numbers, this was a pretty predictable week at the box office. Wonder Woman did well, The Mummy did not, and everything else shook out accordingly. That being said, there’s some pretty interesting narratives emerging in the how and why of this weekend’s box office report. Let’s take a look at the rankings as of Sunday afternoon and dive into some of the specifics:
As excited as we are for this summer’s Atomic Blonde — you can read our own glowing review from this year’s SxSW if you still need a gentle nudge — you’d think we’d be all over every new piece of footage from the movie. But it seems a few clips managed to slip through our fingers this past week, so I’m taking this opportunity to bring you back up to speed. Two new Atomic Blonde clips, each themed to a piece of period-appropriate music? Plenty of Charlize Theron kicking [expletive] and taking names? Yeah, that’s definitely worth circling back a little bit for those of you who may have missed these clips.
Rejoice, parents: you’ll soon have a new Christmas movie to add to your family’s holiday rotation. If your family was anything like my own, you probably grew tired of placating screaming nieces and nephews with the same ratty DVD copies of A Christmas Story, Elf, or Home Alone. That makes any new holiday movie — regardless of quality — a welcome change of pace. Arthur Christmas? Fine. Rise of the Guardians? It’ll do in a pinch. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale? Maybe save that one for the time in the evening when the uncles break out the adults-only eggnog. But a Melissa McCarthy Christmas comedy? That could be quite a boon for tired family members everywhere.
Based on how this weekend’s box office numbers shaped up, odds are good that you either saw Wonder Woman this weekend or you avoided the theater altogether. It was a record-setting few days for everyone’s favorite warrior princess — sorry, Xena — but things were decidedly less rosy if your movie was… well, literally anything else. Here are the box office estimates as of Sunday afternoon:
We’re less than a week away from Universal’s latest attempt to launch a Dark Universe, and fans are still uncertain as to what’s in store for their favorite iconic horror characters. With stars like Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe on board, will The Mummy be more action-packed than horrific? Does Cruise have another hit franchise on his hands — to go along with the Mission: Impossible and Jack Reacher films — or will fans wish that this particular mummy had remained dead?
Since 2003, HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher has been a divisive source of comedy and political commentary. If you believe the old adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, then the last few years have been particularly kind to the series; Maher has come under attack for his comments on an Ann Coulter protest at the University of California at Berkeley or his decision to give alt-right poster child Milo Yiannopoulos the chance to spread his message of intolerance to the masses. And while Maher has survived and even thrived at the center of controversy, his recent use of a racial slur on the show may be the final straw for even his most ardent supporters.
With Marvel, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Bros. each building out their respective superhero franchises over the past few years, we now expect every up-and-coming actor to eventually put on a pair of tights in a summer blockbuster. That’s led to plenty of arguments among fans and film critics about the superhero genre as a whole. Should we be worried that talented actors are locking themselves into a multi-movie contracts at the beginning of their careers? Are we losing out on original stories along the way? It’s an issue that everyone seems to have an opinion on, and certainly one that won’t go away anytime soon.
While fans might be a little cynical about a Transformers multi-verse, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about their planned Bumblebee prequel. For one, Christina Hodson’s script has widely been praised as a standout in the franchise thus far. For two, the film will serve as the live-action directorial debut of Kubo and the Two Strings director Travis Knight, whose visuals in that film — and whose overall body of work with animation studio Lakia — make him a name to remember in future projects. Oh, and there’s this small little tidbit: the movie may now be adding a pretty talented star as its (human) lead.
Have a week, Patty Jenkins. With Wonder Woman already a big hit with critics and a global blockbuster in the making — early projections suggest the film could earn as much as $95 million domestically in its opening weekend — now is the perfect time for Jenkins to start blowing the dust off some of the films she couldn’t get made before she was a big-time superhero director. And although one such project may sound like it belongs in the DC Cinematic Universe, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. To hear her say it, Jenkins might finally be teaming with Ryan Gosling to get one of her biggest passion projects off the ground
With all the new pieces in play in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it sure seems like Lucasfilm is setting the Star Wars universe up to go somewhere special. Once Kathleen Kennedy and company made the decision to blow up the preexisting Star Wars canon, we watched firsthand as they began the process of stitching together a new continuity. There were Star Wars books explaining the events that followed Return of the Jedi, new television shows that wove together the old and new trilogies, and even video games fleshing out some of the new planets and species we’d seen in The Force Awakens.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve quickly cycled through the various stages of superhero hype with Wonder Woman. First it was judging the trailers, then guessing at the potential box office, then responding to the initial buzz. And now, with fans and critics alike praising what Patty Jenkins and her team have put together, we can move to the final stage of the process: openly discussing the possibility of a sequel. Oh, those folks who haven’t seen the movie will catch up eventually. Right now it’s all about the next one.
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