Despite being supported by a blindingly charismatic cast and some of the best action directors in the business, Paramount’s Star Trek franchise has somewhat been an exercise in diminishing returns after 2009’s big screen reboot. Last year’s Star Trek Beyond may have captured some of the fun of a standalone episode of the series, but it was a surprising disappointment with audiences: the film’s $158 million gross was nearly $100 million less than the first entry in the series and failed to break even on the studios $185 million investment. Those are the kind of numbers that make a studio think long and hard about investing in a sequel.
With Peyton Reed serving as a fine replacement for Edgar Wright on Ant-Man, fans are curious to see what the Marvel director can do with next year’s Ant-Man and the Wasp. Despite the smaller (get it?) stakes of the first film, it’s worth noting that the sequel will be the first Marvel move to have a female co-star named in the title. That’s both exciting and disappointing for fans, especially those who wonder why Scarlett Johansson still hasn’t been given her own le Carré-esque superhero spy story. Will Ant-Man and the Wasp live up to its promise, or will it be another supporting role for a female superhero?
When Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro aren’t busy trying to figure out ways to digitally de-age the latter in Netflix movies about professional hitmen, they do field offers from other studios. That seems to be the case now with Imperative Entertainment, the production house that recently snapped up the rights for David Grann’s non-fiction novel Killers Of The Flower Moon: The Osage Murders And The Birth Of The FBI. After spending a whopping $5 million dollars for the rights, Imperative immediately pivoted into convincing the two Hollywood stars — and their frequent collaborator Leonard DiCaprio — to accept the project on their behalf.
Cinephiles have film festivals, and audiophiles have music festivals, and never the twain shall meet. At least that was the case until Hans Zimmer took the Coachella Music Festival by storm twice in the last month. Just about a week ago, we shared the first video released by Coachella, a live performance of Zimmer’s soundtrack from Interstellar. And now the festival has followed up with a second performance, this time of Zimmer’s score for The Dark Knight (via Heroic Hollywood). If you’ve ever wanted to watch one of your favorite film composers shred like a rock star, well, here’s your chance (at least until John Williams decides to shock us all with his Mad Max: Fury Road-esque guitar gimp suit).
In a week devoid of any major releases, we still saw some major changes at the box office, with familiar faces like Kong: Skull Island, Power Rangers, and Get Out (RIP) all falling from the Top 10 in favor of new releases or aggressively expanding art films. Of course, not everything was different; if you read these box office reports every weekend, I’ll bet you can name the top three movies (in order) with minimal effort. Here’s the weekend box office projections as of Sunday afternoon:
Last week, 20th Century Fox teased the first footage from Kingsman: The Golden Circle via ten glorious seconds of accelerated action. There were gunfights, and Julianne Moore making burgers (I think), and plenty more blink-and-you’ll-miss-it looks as the exciting new world of Matthew Vaughan’s film. So, secure in the knowledge that studios never release trailer teases without the trailer following shortly thereafter, we all gathered around our computers the following day and waited for our first look at the highly anticipated sequel. And waited. Aaaaaaand waited.
Are we still doing #SquadGoals? Because if so, I think I’ve found mine. Earlier today, Mission: Impossible 6 director Christopher McQuarrie posted a photo of himself hanging out with series stalwart Tom Cruise and dashing newcomer Henry Cavill against the Eiffel Tower, raising the bar for family vacation photos everywhere. If I worked in the photo department at the local Walgreens and saw this in someone’s film roll, I would put a sign up on the door that said “No More Eiffel Tower Photos” for everyone to see. What’s the point? They’ll never be this cool.
Dystopian cinema is all the rage right now. Not only is the release of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale only a few days away, we were also recently treated to a series of synchronized screenings of 1984, the film adaptation of George Orwell’s seminal novel. While some may view this as a collective piece of cinematic snark, plenty of others are using these projects as an opportunity to open the door for increased education and awareness about media literacy, politics, and art. And while HBO may only really be interested in art and politics, it is putting one foot firmly in the dystopian game, announcing an upcoming production of Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451.
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.
Hollywood tends to operate with a little bit of a delay. A few years ago, it became public knowledge that the American government uses drone strikes to carry out attacks on enemy combatants from halfway around the world. As such, we’re now seeing a handful of movies that use those headlines to make a statement about the dangers of modern warfare. In 2014, IFC Films released Good Kill, a drama starring Ethan Hawke about a family man who begins to question the morality of killing people from halfway around the world. The latest film to tackle this issue is Drone, the new film starring Sean Bean with a similar premise but a decidedly more lurid execution.
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