Friday, January 26, 2018

Paddington 2 becomes best reviewed film ever

In the lineup of the most critically acclaimed films, Citizen Kane and The Godfather have been bested by a bear from “darkest” Peru. The aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes has declared Paddington 2 to be the best reviewed film in the site’s history.

The comedy – which is directed by the British film-maker Paul King and stars Hugh Grant, Sally Hawkins and Hugh Bonneville, – has received 164 consecutive positive reviews from critics.

Rotten Tomatoes classifies reviews of a film as either “fresh” or “rotten” and awards a percentage rating based on its aggregate score. The website had previously declared another film, Greta Gerwig’s comedy-drama Lady Bird, to be the best reviewed ever after it overtook a record long held by Toy Story 2. But Lady Bird later received a negative review, breaking its positive streak and losing its “best reviewed” crown.

Paddington 2, which was released in UK cinemas in November, has also proved popular with audiences. To date, the film has earned £41m at the British box office and more than £101m worldwide.


However, Paddington 2 has some way to go before it outdoes its predecessor film, which earned more than £190m globally.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

As 'The Last Jedi' Tops $800M In Two Weeks, Is 'Star Wars' Doomed?

Star Wars: The Last Jedi has earned over $400 million at the North American box office after 12 whole days of domestic release, or the same amount of time it took The Force Awakens to cross $600m. That makes the film the third fastest such sprinter behind The Force Awakens (eight days) and Jurassic World (ten days). Oh, and the $200m+ sci-fi actioner has soared past $844m at the global box office after about two weeks of global play, the same amount of time it took The Force Awakens to nab $1.228 billion. It will probably end the year just over/under $500m domestic and $1 billion worldwide. Say it with me now, #CanThisFranchiseBeSaved?
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A lot of breathless, eye-grabbing headlines are out there proclaiming the death of Star Wars at the hands of the evil Rian Johnson. After all, The Last Jedi upset a certain corner of fandom, so any way to reel in the anger and outrage of that very vocal, very online-all-the-time crowd is a safe bet. And besides, the film pulled down $220 million domestically its first weekend and then plunged harder than any film ever had before it for its second weekend, nabbing just over $68 million before Christmas---the first motion picture to fall over $150 million in its first two weekends.
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In the weeks since The Last Jedi’s premiere, much has been made about how the film turns the Force from the province of a particular family (high midi-chloriansor not) to something available to anyone—even a nobody from the desert planet of Jakku like Rey. But in some ways this turn of events is hardly surprising: If many religious narratives are bound up in anticipating a chosen one, others teach that spiritual leadership can emerge from the least likely of places.

There may yet be a day when Disney's Star Wars movies cease to become events. Maybe it'll be Solo, maybe it'll be the first installment of the next trilogy, or maybe it'll be well into the future. But that The Last Jedi isn't pulling in the numbers of The Force Awakens or the legs of The Phantom Menace is no reason to argue that the franchise is in any real peril. In this case, very good is still good enough.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Kevin Feige Explains Thor 3 Infinity Gauntlet Retcon

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige explains how they solved the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s big Infinity Gauntlet issue in Thor: Ragnarok. In Kenneth Branagh’s first Thor film from 2011 – back when the shared universe was just getting off the ground – the studio added several easter eggs to tease what was to come in the future, including placing the Infinity Gauntlet inside Odin’s vault on Asgard. However, they unwittingly cornered themselves by doing so.

“As we learn in this movie, he vanished his firstborn daughter because he sort of got what he needed, he got to the top of the Nine Realms and it was like oh, this is much too violent. And Hela says, glad to have it, ashamed of how we got it. And we see that mural in the movie of [how] it was not a pleasant history of how Asgard got all that gold. So Odin has a history of doing what he wants to do to maintain power. And going back, I mean, now it’s probably five years ago we started again just in our internal creative group saying, ‘Well, it’s fake.’ Because if the Asgardians knew that there was something that had that kind of power, that could theoretically wipe out Asgard and whatever else with a, in the comics, a literal snap of the fingers. They might question Odin’s ability to protect them.

The gauntlet’s inclusion in 2011’s Thor was the first major tease to Starlin’s universe-altering storyline and seeing the sudden appearance of the second gauntlet – which could have been chalked up to fan-service at the time – brought about one of the MCU’s biggest unanswered questions, especially since everything is supposed to be connected. Without the retcon, the only other opportunity for the studio to address the issue would have been Anthony and Joe Russo’s Avengers: Infinity War, but now, that film can focus solely on Thanos and his loyal Black Order obtaining the six Infinity Stones.


At the moment, one Infinity Stone is still unaccounted for and it seems its location may not be revealed until Infinity Warhits theaters next summer. Then again, Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther could always surprise audiences with the Infinity Stone’s inclusion.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

China Box Office Forecast to Surge to $8.3B in 2017

China's movie box office is expected to surge 20 percent-plus in 2017, hitting a record total of $8.31 billion (55.0 billion yuan), the country's media regulator said Friday.

In yuan terms, the figure would be up 20 percent, while the growth in dollar terms would hit 26 percent.

The sizable expansion would mark a major turnaround from 2016, when tickets sales grew by just 3.7 percent to $6.58 billion (45.7 billion yuan) after averaging 35 percent yearly gains for a decade.

The 2017 forecast was made by Zhang Hongsen, vice minister of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, during a press conference on the sidelines of China's 19th Party Congress, Reuters reported.

"The rapid development of the film industry has been a big bright spot for China’s culture industry,” Zhang said.

The return to double-digit growth would put China back on track to overtake North America as the world's largest box-office territory within a handful of years. North American box office revenue grew by 2.1 percent in 2016, settling at $11.36 billion.
A sizable chunk of China's gains were driven by the historic success of local action flick Wolf Warrior II, which brought in $863 million over the summer. No Chinese film has ever earned more, and only J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens exceeded it in a single market, grossing $936.6 million in North America in 2015.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

'The Good Place' Builds on Last Season’s Twist, Emphasizing the Need to Connect

There are few genuine surprises left to reveal anymore on television, but The Good Place pulled off a brilliant twist at the end of its first season. By upending the premise of the show to create a world in which almost everything we thought to be true was actually false, the series immediately created excitement for the new season, while never abandoning its commitment to finding the funny in the ridiculous. It’s important to note that the major revelation from last season wasn’t a cheap ploy or an unconvincing shift; rather, it was the kind of clever development that reminds viewers smart and skillful writing isn’t just for prestige dramas. Michael Schur is an especially excellent example of a showrunner and writer who understands world building and character development in comedy.

Eleanor’s search for Chidi (“Okay, Chidi, where are you? Or what are you? A type of soup, maybe?”) quickly upsets everyone’s specific roles, and the ways they attempt to right the failing experiment isn’t only funny, but also offers real stakes. What only Michael knows is that his boss, Shawn (Marc Evan Jackson), is giving him just one more chance to make his idea work. When Michael’s plan is foiled for the second time, he hides that failure, and his now third attempt, from Shawn. This not only increases the pressure on Michael, but also drives home the point that this fake Good Place is an outlier that no one really understands or believes in.