Wow, this week in film news is a good one! Lots of great – and bewildering – things going on.
In this week’s “How is this happening?” story, Batman V Superman is still raking in the money despite a drop of 65% in ticket sales after the opening week. On top of that, people on social media seem to be actually giving it praise. Fifty seven percent of the conversation on Twitter following the film’s debut has been positive, according to social media tracking service Fizziology. Less than 10 percent of the tweets about the film have been negative, with the rest falling under the neutral banner. Fizziology says that reaction is in line with the reception for blockbusters such as Furious 7 and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The positive Twitter reception is also counter-intuitive because “Batman v Superman” only received a mediocre B rating from CinemaScore. The tracking service is intended to measure audience sentiment, and in this case, the result signaled that fans enjoyed the movie far less than other Batman and Superman films such as Man of Steel and The Dark Knight. However, the CinemaScore improved with audiences under the age of 18 and under the age of 25, who handed the film an A- and a B+, a signal that younger, digitally engaged crowds like the film better. Well, what do kids know?
Despite the bad reviews, Batman v Superman has found success at the box office, earning $209 million in its first week of domestic release. The film was roundly dismissed by critics and yet it became the first film to gross over $150 million in its opening weekend with a RottenTomatoes score below 63%. Additionally, it became the only film to gross over $150 million with a CinemaScore below a “B+” and yet, online ticket seller Fandango.com reports it’s seeing strong, repeat ticket purchases, 30% higher than a typical blockbuster.
Well, that just seems wrong. All I can think is that these people just don’t really understand these characters or the mythology any more than director Zack Snyder seems to. Stupid statistics. And some people. Stop giving this movie money! For crying out loud, go see Midnight Special instead!
Sicario 2 is lined up and already in “full development”, and has Emily Blunt, Benecio del Toro, and Josh Brolin set to return. Actor Taylor Sheridan who wrote the first one has returned to write this sequel. That’s promising.
In this week’s “Another dubious remake” story, The Wrap reports that the excellent John Carpenter sci-fi drama Starman is getting a remake. Night At The Museum director Shawn Levy will helm. Michael Douglas is producing- after also producing the original. This modern take will be written by Arash Amel who wrote the screenplay for Grace of Monaco starring Nicole Kidman. With Levy directing, I’m not sure how to feel about this. And from what I’ve heard about the Grace of Monaco script, maybe they just shouldn’t do it. The original is so good, trying to update it seems like an act in futility.
In this week’s “If at first you don’t succeed, try again” story, Terry Gilliam gets the greenlight to restart his Don Quixote film! Jack O’Connell and John Hurt are to star in the long delayed Cervantes adaptation that was abandoned by Gilliam back in 1999 after a series of disasters struck the shoot. According to the Hollywood Reporter, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote will begin filming in September after financing was provided by Cosmopolis producer Paulo Branco. the budget is set at a decent 16 million Euros (12.8 million pounds). John Hurt and Jack O’Connell star in roles previously occupied by Jean Rochefort and Johnny Depp. Let’s hope Gilliam can get this in the can this time around.
Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons has joined the cast of the NASA drama Hidden Figures starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Jonelle Monae. Kevin Costner and Kirsten Dunst also star with Ted Melfi directing.
he film is based on the true story of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) — brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.
Elizabeth Gabler and Marisa Paiva are overseeing the project for Fox 2000. Parsons will play the head engineer at the Space Task Group at NASA.
Ladies and Gentlemen, prepare yourselves for John Wick: Chapter Two, in which the known synopsis includes the death of zero dogs. In this installment, Keanu Reeves returns as legendary hitman John Wick who is forced out of retirement by a former associate plotting to seize control of a shadowy international assassins guild. Bound by a blood oath to help him, John Wick goes to Rome to square off against the worlds most deadly killers. Lionsgate has set the release date for February 10, 2017. And I’ll be there with bells on!
In this week’s “Still wary of this one” story, actress Robin Wright is in final negotiations to join Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling in the cast of the Blade Runner sequel. Ford is reprising his role as Rick Deckard with Sicario helmer Denis Villanueve directing. The film is slated for a January 12, 2018 release. A January date is always a red flag, but we’ll see.
In this week’s “Huh?” story, Disney is once again looking to develop a live action film based on an animated classic. They are working on a live action film based on Snow White’s sister. The film is titled Rose Red, and follows the aforementioned Snow White’s sibling. Disney will use a pitch by Evan Daugherty to polish the original draft by Justin Merz. The latter’s script has been around for some time, but Disney recently picked it up after Daugherty came to execs with an updated pitch on the story. Tripp Vinson is producing the pic via his Vinson Films banner.
Rose Red is a character that appeared in “Grimms’ Fairy Tales” in an adventure that had no relation to the more well-known “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” fairy tale that inspired the classic Disney animated film.
In this week’s “awesome actor randomly does the weather” story, Tom Hiddleston popped by a Chicago news station loosely playing his Loki character from the Marvel movies to update viewers on the nasty weather they were to have this weekend. He blamed it all on his thunderous brother Thor, saying that his “brother from another mother’s been misbehaving.”
“The God of Thunder has brought his skill set to bare on the local weather,” Hiddleston added. In other words, the storm-front means that “Chris Hemsworth has taken his hammer and smashed it on the surface of the sky and it’s going to rain a helluva lot,” the actor said.
You can have a look at those shenanigans here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EBwfGdac7s#action=share
In this week’s “Wait, did I read that right?” story, Amy Smart and Burt Reynolds will star in the inspirational family drama, And Then There Was Light, along with Jack Griffo. Sweet Tomato Films and Character Brigade are producing the movie with Dori Rath and Joseph Restaino producing through Sweet Tomato Films. Castille Landon is directing from her own script. The story centers on a young girl who loses her eyesight after a traumatic accident. Her parents seek out various options to help her adjust, including enrolling her in a program for seeing-eye dogs, but she is unable to connect until the head trainer of Southeastern Guide Dogs trains a miniature horse to be her companion. Yes, you read that right, a miniature horse as a seeing eye companion.
Smart will play the mother of the girl, and Reynolds will portray the trainer. Hey, I just find the stories and tell ’em like I read ’em.
And finally, in this week’s “Maybe it’s time to rethink things” story, there’s been talk of a new Batman stand-alone film in the not-to-distant future. May be sooner than previously thought – like, the first half of 2018. On the latest episode of Heroic Insider, host Umberto Gonzalez passed along the rumor that the solo Batman movie is a “top priority” for Warner Bros, to the point that they’re fast-tracking it so that it’s released before Aquaman, which comes out on July 27, 2018. With the now current Batman character already in the crime-fighting game for 20 years, the film would focus on one or some of the events of those past years. Despite Ben Affleck’s Batman being relatively well received, perhaps Warner Bros should just maybe retool their whole plan of DC movies? Yeah, maybe that’s best. Sigh.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, really insisting you go see Midnight Special instead of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Nonsense.