When we last left the caped crusader, things weren’t looking all that bright. Sure, he had a new super-friend in the form of Diana Prince, but Superman — the complete-stranger-turned-mortal-enemy-turned-best-friend in Batman’s life — has sacrificed his life to protect Earth (or something) and now the weight of protecting our planet rested heavily on the shoulders of Bruce Wayne. If Wayne could organize others like him, then maybe Earth could stand a fighting chance.
It might be a tale as old as time, but audiences have proven there’s still a few petals left on that old flower. Despite being projected to open at somewhere between $214–245 million worldwide, Beauty and the Beast knocked the pants off those projections, eclipsing $350 million at the international box office and setting a March record for domestic releases along the way. Let’s take a look at how things shook out this past weekend with some of the expected grosses.
For franchise movie fans, nothing grates on the nerves quite like the lull between the day production wraps on a new movie and the day the first teaser drops. Production has been finished on Star Wars: The Last Jedi for a few months now, and since we’re not quite sure when Disney will be releasing the first trailer for the film, we’re latching onto any piece of information we can get about the new film or any new Star Wars content, period. In short, we’re in the business of reading too much into Mark Hamill’s Twitter account.
As ScreenCrush managing editor Matt Singer recently noted, March is now the beginning of the summer movie season. That means saying goodbye to all the middling horror movies, low-concept boutique pictures, and genre films we used to see in March and cutting straight to the $100 million dollar blockbusters that are looking for any competitive edge. Last year, the big release at the end of March was the gloomy Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; this year we’re going to get the gentler kid’s version of that movie in Power Rangers, a film about people in bulky suits and flying machines fighting CGI monsters. It’s kind of a nice parallel.
With Hugh Jackman’s Logan opening in theaters this weekend, the top spot of this list was never in doubt. The questions were always whether audiences would respond well to the first major R-rated superhero movie. Was the big opening of Deadpool an abberation or a sign of things to come? If today’s numbers are any indication, the answer is, maybe a little bit of both.
As people weigh in on the popularity of Marvel and DC movies, they sometimes neglect to mention the opportunities these films create for non-superhero comic books. For every Logan, there’s a handful of smaller titles — movies like American Splendor, Ghost World, and Scott Pilgrim — that benefit from the overall popularity of the medium. Ryan Gosling, for example, recently signed on to produce a film adaptation of independent graphic novel The Underwater Welder, a melancholy story of fatherhood and mortality. Any filmmaker or actor seeking out their next comic book movie need only spend a few hours at their local library branch to see the full scope of the medium.
For a lot of casual moviegoers, the Independent Spirit Awards are just the weird little awards show that takes place in a big tent the night before the Academy Awards. Maybe, as you’ll see in the opening monologue above, the comedy is a little raunchier and more NSFW than we expected. Maybe the audience seems a bit more drunk than we’re used to. But for those of us who only catch snippets or highlights of acceptance speeches on social media, it can be hard to understand its place in the overall award scene.
As a teenager in the ’90s, no actor better represented blockbuster movies than Bill Paxton. Although Paxton wasn’t typically a leading man in those movies — he would often play the brother, the second-in-command, or the comic relief — he served as a kind of talisman of quality. If you saw Paxton’s name in the opening credits of a movie, you knew that the film was going to be better for it.
Casting rumors come in two major flavors. On the one hand, you have concrete news about actors meeting with executives and filmmakers to discuss their participation in upcoming productions. On the other hand, you have the echo chamber of social media, where casting rumors can materialize out of thin air and then be given credibility during an interview or social media exchange with an actor. Not all fan rumors end up at the first stage, but it is true that some social media rumors have actually ended up with the actor being offered the role.
This past weekend, fans from around the world flocked to the Javits Convention Center in New York City to attend the annual conference put on by the Toy Industry Association, Inc. In recent years, Toy Fair New York has become a hot spot for movie fans as well, with new action figures and toy sets offering first looks at the comic book adaptations of the following summer. One of the big hits of this year’s conference was Spider-Man: Homecoming, with a few new character designs and even a potential look at the film’s final battle.
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if art house cinema had the same weird toy leaks as blockbuster movies. These days, we’re more likely to see a character’s design leak thanks to a brand new action figure than a behind-the-scenes photo; what if the same thing happened in the world of independent cinema? What if we’d encountered Moonlight spoilers thanks to a new line of beach toys? Or if La La Land’s third act was spoiled due to a fully posable Ryan Gosling action figure? Come to think of it, I’d probably buy the heck out of a Moonlight bath toy. No shame there.
Listen. I love Batman as much as the next guy. Like many high school nerds with a chip on their shoulder, I argued passionately that the darkest Batman stories were his true self, not the goofy camp of the 1960s Adam West series. That being said, is anyone in worse need of a little levity than the Dark Knight? Batman’s gloomy personality finally reached a tipping point with Zack Snyder’s gun-happy take on the character in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. As Jack Nicholson’s Joker said in the 1989 film, this town needs an enema.
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