When it comes to comic book movies, the market has been largely dominated by the heroes of Marvel and DC. However, there are actually many more heroes, and anti-heroes, out there, and Vin Diesel is bringing one of them to life to see if it can make a claim on the genre’s box office success. And now we have our first look at Bloodshot.
The first trailer for the new film has all the action that you’ve come to expect from your average comic book movie, but this one is looking to differentiate itself by being a bit more bloody than your average comic book movie. It’s also looks to have a story that might be a bit more compelling than the standard hero versus villain dynamic. Check out the trailer below.
The story sees Vin Diesel as a soldier who was killed, but has been brought back to life through cutting edge nanotechnology. When he wakes up his focus is on killing the person who killed his wife. It’s a fairly standard story, which makes the trailer’s twist that much more interesting. It turns out Diesel’s character is having his memories intentionally manipulated so that he can be used a weapon, killing whomever his creators deep necessary.
It’s a nice twist on a standard formula that might make Bloodshot a bit more compelling. We’ll have to wait and see.
October is coming to a close with the upcoming weekend, and there’s a nice diverse slate of movies coming out that offer a little something for everyone. We’ve got a biopic, a cop thriller, and a campy horror film. Get ready for The Current War, Black and Blue, and Countdown.
Just remember, I’m not reviewing these movies, but rather predicting where they’ll end up on the Tomatometer. Let’s take a look at This Rotten Week has to offer.
The Current War hasn’t followed what you would call an optimal path to theaters. It actually finished shooting and premiered two years ago, but because of the Harvey Weinstein situation messing up distribution, and planned reshoots, it took an extra minute to be released. These kinds of issues around a flick are often a death knell making it all but certain the movie will bomb. And I’m not super confident that this will be a trend-breaker.
The premise, a bio-pic centered on the race towards functional electrical systems between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla, should be compelling cinema. But early critical response says otherwise. Through 45 reviews, the Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Me, Earl and the Dying Girl – 81%) film is sitting at 31%. A movie that goes through this kind of production hell usually makes for an easy prediction. Even without the early reviews I would have gone super low with the score.
In Black and Blue, a rookie cop is waiting not-so-patiently in the car for her partner to meet a CI, gets out, stumbles on a bunch of other cops shooting someone, and then gets shot herself. So kind of bad first couple of days on the force for sure. The whole thing is caught on her body cam, and now she’s in a race against time with the a corrupt police force and every active criminal in the city trying to hunt her down. If the plot sounds a bit hokey, it’s because it is, but also this movie looks like it could be an entertaining watch that also includes some social commentary.
Black and Blue looks like your standard action drama, with a nice pace, plenty of shooting, a little bit of a moral message, and plenty of “close calls.” I suspect it’s a fun flick, easy watch and really nothing more. A few early reviews are in and they are already trending toward the wrong side of the scale. I think this finishes below 50%.
In Countdown, the world is introduced to an app that can accurately predict when someone is going to die… but in this case it’s not just some fun random number generator. Instead the app proves to be stunningly accurate, with some kind of evil presence ensuring the when the clock hits zero, you are done. The premise is intriguing if a little silly.
It sure looks like the flick is mostly tongue-in-cheek, having some fun at everyone’s expense and really not taking much all that seriously even if there are some legit scares mixed in there. I won’t finish well with critics, but will have some fans for sure. Maybe at the very least Countdown will be seen as a nice Halloween adventure.
I had one hit and one miss last week with my predictions, though the latter was a close one. To start with the success, Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil (Predicted: 45% Actual: 41%) came well within range, as critics were completely underwhelmed with the follow up to Angelina Jolie’s original turn as the evil witch in the Sleeping Beauty story. While fairy tale retellings have been big this year, this one really didn’t succeed in connecting.
Zombieland: Double Tap (Predicted: 54% Actual: 67%) was the miss as I shot too low on what I thought would be an underwhelming sequel to the hilarious and creative original. Where I went wrong was that critics agreed the original movie’s crew is more than enough to sustain a quality film, even if there was nearly universal agreement the second wasn’t nearly as good as the first. That being said, it still finished certified fresh because of the strong leads and more than enough laughs.
James Gunn has become a leading voice to defend Marvel movies, which is a wee bit ironic considering he was briefly fired from one, but never mind. The Guardians of the Galaxy director was saddened when Martin Scorsese said Marvel movies weren’t cinema and theaters shouldn’t be invaded by them. Now Francis Ford Coppola has jumped into the debate, not only agreeing with his fellow cinema icon Scorsese but adding the word “despicable”:
That’s what 80-year-old Francis Ford Coppola told reporters (via AFP) in France where he was receiving an award for his contributions to cinema.
From The Godfather to Apocalypse Now, no one is arguing about Francis Ford Coppola’s contributions to cinema. Same with Martin Scorsese, who just added a new movie to cinematic history with the highly lauded The Irishman.
In his response, James Gunn never mentions Francis Ford Coppola by name. He simply argues in favor of superhero movies as worthy of being judged individually. He also seems to argue there’s a generation gap in play. Here’s what he tweeted, referencing the “despicable” comment so fans knew to what he was referring:
He linked to an Instagram photo of Guardians of the Galaxy‘s Groot and Rocket, with this caption:
He ended his post with a heart emoji.
I agree with the idea of Superhero as its own genre, like Drama or Comedy or Sci-Fi. There are some great sci-fi movies out there, and then there’s crap. To judge them all by the overall genre isn’t fair. Not all superhero movies do well — just ask Dark Phoenix and Fantastic Four — so you have to give the audience credit for judging each film on its own merits.
For his part, Francis Ford Coppola is still hard at work doing what he loves. He said Megalopolis, a film about a utopia, is his biggest and most ambitious project yet, which is why it’s taking so long. Meanwhile, James Gunn is busy working for DC at the moment with The Suicide Squad, but he must know that “Marvel movies” has become shorthand for all superhero movies, including DC. After The Suicide Squad, Gunn will return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
In the years since the Twilight franchise came to a close, Robert Pattinson has proven that he’s capable of fully immersing himself in some complex characters. For his latest role in the psychological thriller The Lighthouse, he found himself taking some extreme measures to make sure he was convincingly portraying a man on the brink of insanity. He recently discussed the hard work he put into his performance, and revealed one particularly bizarre trick he used: vomiting before an emotional scene.
The film centers on two men who lose their minds while looking after a lighthouse on a remote island. In one sequence, both Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe’s characters are drunk and losing their grip on reality, so they’re incredibly emotional. To prepare for the scene, the Cosmopolis actor found himself calling on a pretty surprising bodily function. He shared the anecdote with Mr Porter, explaining:
Robert Pattinson previously revealed that The Lighthouse’s director Robert Eggers pushed him so hard during the film’s “miserable” shoot that at one point he wanted to punch him. But now, the director is vouching for the actor’s strangely effective way of getting into character. He told the magazine:
Despite his reservations on set, Robert Pattinson’s extreme acting methods don’t seem to have scared Willem Dafoe away. In fact, he even praised the actor, saying:
For all the trouble he went to, Robert Pattinson’s commitment to nailing The Lighthouse’s most emotional scenes seems to have paid off. The actor is earning excellent reviews for his performance, and A24 even submitted him as a candidate for this year’s Academy Awards. There’s no word yet on whether he’ll utilize his newfound puking skill when he has to handle Bruce Wayne’s highs and lows in The Batman.
Coming out a full five years after the original, there was little chance that Joachim Ronning’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil was going to make as much money in its first three days as its predecessor. Robert Stromberg’s Maleficent had a much stronger release date, hitting theaters in late May 2014, and released as part of the summer blockbuster season, and so there was really no way that the sequel was going to hit close to $69.4 million. Still, though, the new film wound up disappointing. While Disney had hopes of numbers closer to the $50 million range, the fantasy adventure feature only managed to pull in $36 million.
Check out the full Top 10 below, and join me after for analysis!
Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil*
Zombieland: Double Tap*
The Addams Family
IT Chapter Two
While Maleficent: Mistress of Evil can say that it’s currently the biggest movie in North America, it’s more of a consolation prize given the context. It’s never great when your sequel makes only about half of the business that its predecessor was able to do, so the studio really can’t be too happy about these numbers. The reality is that the film was barely able to surpass the total made by Todd Phillips’ Joker over the Friday-to-Sunday, and that particular title was in its third weekend (albeit benefited by yet another shocking low week-to-week drop-off of less than 50 percent.
So what was the problem here? It’s actually kind of hard to say. The first Maleficent didn’t exactly ride into theaters on a tidal wave of positive buzz, so there isn’t exactly a massive contrast between the two titles in terms of critical reaction (the original earned a 53 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, while the follow-up scored only a 40 percent). It should also be noted that audiences are actually really digging it, as evidenced by the fact that it earned an “A” overall from surveys taken by CinemaScore. It really just seems like there was a limited amount of interest in the film, so it didn’t earn a lot of money.
Certainly also not helping its image is how the release compares to the slew of other Disney movies we’ve seen this year based on the studio’s classic animated properties. There were admittedly probably zero people in the word who thought that Maleficent: Mistress of Evil was going to make anywhere near as much as either Jon Favreau’s The Lion King ($191.7 million) or Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin ($91.5 million) did in their opening frames, but one would have at least expected it to make more than Tim Burton’s Dumbo. That movie was able to only bring in $46 million during its opening weekend, which was considered a huge disappointment, and so another release making $10 million less than that is definitely bad news.
The good news for Disney is that while Maleficent: Mistress of Evil may not have cast a spell on North American audiences, the movie is doing more than just fine all around the world. In fact, the domestic numbers account for less than 24 percent of the film’s global grosses thus far, a number that currently stands at $153 million. By the time its done in theaters it probably won’t be anywhere near the $758.5 million made by its predecessor, but it still will probably make a profit.
While Maleficent: Mistress of Evil‘s box office performance was a bit of a bummer, though, we actually saw some very positive developments unfold for the other new major wide release this week: Ruben Fleisher’s Zombieland: Double Tap. Audiences had to wait twice as long for a Zombieland sequel as a Maleficent sequel, but the numbers suggest that fans were happy to wait. Sony prognosticators thought that the new movie would probably earn around $23 million, and while that’s not exactly a high bar, it’s still one that the release was able to clear by more than $3 million.
It should also be noted that without accounting for inflation, Zombieland: Double Tap actually made more in its debut weekend than the first movie, which made $24.7 million in October 2009 (which was also considered a big win). The big difference between the two movies is that the original was the number one feature in America, while the follow-up had to settle for third place. But in the film’s defense, the OG Zombieland also wasn’t dealing with any major competition (the second biggest new wide release during that particular frame was a 3D double bill of Toy Story and Toy Story 2).
As far as milestones go, we also saw a couple of big ones coming out of this weekend at the box office. The first is the aforementioned Joker, which added nearly another $30 million to its awesome big screen run. Along with money from abroad, that means that the feature has now made over $700 million in just three weeks, with nearly $250 million of that coming from North America. That’s enough to make it now the eighth biggest film of 2019 worldwide (behind the $758.8 made by David Leitch’s Hobbs & Shaw), and there still remains a very real possibility that it could wind up being the seventh billion dollar hit of the year.
The folks at STX Entertainment also have a reason to celebrate this week. While it’s true that Lorene Scafaria’s Hustlers had the biggest ranking drop of any movie in the Top 10 this weekend, they money it made was able to push it into the nine-figure club. That makes it only the third STX release to accomplish that feat, following both Jon Lucas and Scott Moore’s Bad Moms, and Neil Burger’s The Upside.
Coming up, we have a very diverse slate of features getting ready to hit the big screen on Friday, with an assembly of titles that includes Deon Taylor’s cop drama Black And Blue, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s historical drama The Current War, and Justin Dec’s horror movie Countdown. It will be interesting to see how audiences wind up reacting to these, so be sure to come back next Sunday to see how these new releases shake up the Top 10.
While Joker’s been making bank at the box office, there’s been a secondary drama brewing around the film’s inception. Earlier this week, a rumor emerged that Jared Leto was hurt that Warner Bros. was developing another Joker story without him, and that he tried to stop the film from being made. And now Suicide Squad director David Ayer has spoken up to try to set the record straight.
On October 18, The Hollywood Reporter published a story centering on these allegations. Then, on October 19, a fan responded to THR’s tweet about the story and mentioned David Ayer, bringing him into the conversation. “The article says you were unhappy about his performance so you cut him out,” the fan told the director. The fan then asked Ayer to “clear up this BS” for concerned fans. Ayer then offered his two cents by tweeting, “That is inaccurate information. Not my words or actions.”
David Ayer’s response adds another layer to the story, which has been unfolding since the 2016 release of Suicide Squad. Jared Leto featured prominently in early marketing efforts for the film. But when the final cut hit theaters, the actor was allegedly disappointed by how little his infamous character was on screen. Jared Leto later revealed that several of his scenes were cut from the film. And David Ayer has also expressed frustration over the edits he had to make to the final cut of Suicide Squad.
But until now, the director hasn’t clarified rumors regarding the Joker’s role in the film. His response, however, doesn’t fully clear up all the rumors in THR’s story. David Ayer can’t speak to how the actor felt when he learned Warner Bros. was moving on without him, nor whether Leto asked his team to make an appeal to the studio to stop Joker, as the story alleges. Still, it’s important to note that THR did reveal a source from Jared Leto’s camp refuted the claims made in their story.
Jared Leto’s future within the DCEU was tenuous, even after Warner Bros. greenlit Joker. In 2018, Variety claimed there were plans for the actor to reprise the role in a standalone film. But that’s the last we heard about that project. Fans wondered if we’d see Jared Leto’s Joker again in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. But though he enlisted several of David Ayer’s ensemble members, he is not including the Joker in his movie. If there are plans to ever bring Jared Leto back into the fold, all parties are keeping them under wraps for now. But at the very least, fans can rest a little easier knowing that the rumors about bad blood between David Ayer and Jared Leto are unfounded.
It feels like Will Smith and Ang Lee’s Gemini Man has already been forgotten just two weeks into its release. If it’s going to break even, or make a couple of pennies to rub together, it will need a lot of help from China and the rest of the international box office.
Gemini Man opened in third place in North America last week with only $20.5 million, which was even less than the modest initial estimates. This weekend it had to settle for #5 at the domestic box office with $8.5 million, a drop of 58.5%. It’s still playing on 3,642 screens but it only has a $2,334 per-screen average.
(Compare that to $9,499 for this weekend’s #1, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, or even the $37,616 per screen average for Parasite, which is only playing on 33 domestic screens.)
Gemini Man just opened in China this weekend. According to Forbes, Gemini Man made $8 million in China on Friday, the opening day there. Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk earned $30 million there three years ago, which may be a hopeful sign.
Gemini Man cost roughly $138 million to make, before marketing costs. THR had a story back in 2014 about soaring marketing costs, with some studios spending another $100 million to advertise blockbusters around the world. Without knowing the exact marketing money, it’s hard to gauge how much Gemini Man will need to make to break even, but at least $200 million worldwide? More? Will it reach whatever threshold it needs with help from international fans?
You can already see that Gemini Man is getting a lot more help from foreign markets than here in the U.S. and Canada. Will Smith usually does big business overseas, and Gemini Man has two of him. Smith just had his best box office win of all time in Aladdin, which topped $1 billion with $695 million of that coming from foreign markets. Suicide Squad had an almost even split — $325M domestic and $421M foreign.
Fans have mostly ignored Gemini Man to this point, but the people who have seen it gave it an 84% Rotten Tomatoes audience score and a B+ grade on CinemaScore. But if more people were actually watching the movie, it wouldn’t be in these dire financial straits.
Part of the point of Gemini Man, according to Will Smith, was Ang Lee trying to give fans an experience that was ideally suited to theaters rather than home viewing. Sounds like that has not worked so far.
Have you seen Gemini Man yet? If so, did you enjoy it? If not, any desire to see it in the theater or will you wait for it to start streaming on Netflix or wherever?
In 2008, after reacquiring the rights to the character, Marvel Studios introduced movie audiences to Bruce Banner with The Incredible Hulk. The film was pretty successful, and star Edward Norton was set to reprise his portrayal of the giant green superhero. But then after alleged disagreements with producers, he exited the franchise, making way for Mark Ruffalo. Some actors might be bitter about losing out on a role in such a successful franchise. But if you ask Edward Norton, he’s made peace with his exit. In fact, he’d be totally down to return to the MCU.
The actor-writer-director recently told Total Film that his decision to leave came down to a difference in his vision and Marvel’s for where the character should go. According to Edward Norton, he created a script that was much closer in tone to what Christopher Nolan did with The Dark Knight franchise. And when he realized that Marvel was going in a different direction, he chose to bow out.
His zen take on the whole experience is refreshing, but his relationship with those involved hasn’t always been this way. Back when he initially left the franchise, the studio released a statement in which they implied that Edward Norton’s exit was the result of his unwillingness to collaborate. That prompted a chilly response from the actor’s agent, who insinuated Marvel’s move had been financially motivated. Then, last year, the actor took a lighthearted dig at MCU scripts.
But these days, Edward Norton is making it clear that he harbors no resentment toward anyone involved with the MCU. He told Total Film, “I couldn’t be more happy to have been part of that whole tradition.” He was also sure to praise Mark Ruffalo’s “unbelievable” performance as Bruce Banner in the subsequent MCU films. And he left the door open for future appearances in the franchise. He would just want to do so under very different conditions:
The prospect of Edward Norton reappearing as a Marvel villain is definitely intriguing. He’s shown that he’s capable of a truly sinister side in films like American History X and Primal Fear. And after the success of Joker, we know there’s definitely still a market for dark and gritty superhero stories. The question remains where he’d fit. Phase Four of the MCU is just getting started, and it promises new chapters for Doctor Strange, Thor, Black Panther, and Spider-Man, just to name a few.
Do you want to see Edward Norton return to the MCU? Any suggestions for his Marvel role? Keep up with everything still heading to the big screen this year with our 2019 movie release date schedule.
Will it, could it, should it — what are Joker‘s chances of making $1 billion at the box office? What would’ve been laughed off just a few months ago seems potentially within reach three weeks into the release of star Joaquin Phoenix’s movie.
Joker will 100% become the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time very soon, but that would still put it more than $200 million away from The Billion Club.
Joker has been underestimated since it arrived, so I won’t rule anything out. However, there are some reasons why it’s unlikely Joker will reach $1 billion. Let’s consider both sides.
Why Joker Will Make $1 Billion
Joker has already made more than $737.5 worldwide after three weeks. That’s $247.2 million domestic and $490.3M international so far. Another $260M+ is nothing to sneeze at, but Joker has the potential to get there. (Sorry, Jared Leto.)
Joker is still playing on 4,090 domestic screens in its third weekend, which is a strong vote of confidence from theaters. It took #2 at the North American box office behind Maleficent: Mistress of Evil in Week 3, but $29,205,000 is still great for a third weekend, especially when it also faced new competition from Zombieland: Double Tap.
I’m not sure a comparison to Aquaman is fair, beyond both being DC movies, but just for reference, Aquaman had a not-too-impressive domestic opening of $67,873,522. Joker had a much more impressive opening of $96,202,337. Aquaman went on to become DC’s first $1 billion baby, with $1.148 billion worldwide. Granted, most of that came from the foreign box office, and that could be where Joker falls short.
Joker was inspired by the famous DC comic book character, but it’s definitely not a typical comic book movie. For one thing, the production budget was only around $55 million, per Box Office Mojo. But that Joker name value is definitely helping.
I’m not really trying to compare Joker to Avatar either, but it could potentially do something similar by just slowwwwly making a ton of money over many months. While Avengers: Endgame made huge money in a short burst, Avatar opened in December 2009 and didn’t leave theaters until August 2010 (and also had a re-release, but never mind).
Avatar also made A TON of money overseas, though — $2B there alone — and, again, that is potentially where Joker will fall short of any chance of a $1 billion total.
Why Joker Won’t Make $1 Billion
No R-rated movie has ever made $1 billion. That doesn’t mean Joker couldn’t — nothing would match this movie better than beating the odds — it just means the likelihood is lower. The highest-grossing R-rated movie worldwide is currently Deadpool 2 with $785,025,593.
Joker is going to destroy that record, for sure, but will it reach $1 billion?
Here’s another snag: Per Deadline, Joker is not expected to see a China release. China is the second-biggest theatrical market in the world after the domestic U.S./Canada North American market. If that China situation changes, I’d say $1 billion would essentially be a lock. Joker is doing extremely well in other places overseas. It was the #1 Hollywood movie in 73 of its 79 markets last week.
Joker already passed most of the DCEU movies — Shazam!, Justice League, and Man of Steel, with Suicide Squad‘s $746.8M to be defeated very soon.
The Billion Club has welcomed a lot of new members in the past few years, but we’ll have to wait and see if Joker manages to join it or just come closer than any other R-rated movie. It doesn’t “matter” if it reaches $1 billion or not — it’s a huge success either way — but it would certainly be a statement on R-rated movies, atypical comic book movies, and the 2019 culture at large.
What do you think? Will Joker make $1 billion at the worldwide box office or not? Vote in the poll below, or just laugh off the idea if you’re that way.
After the astonishing success of Avengers: Endgame this year, we can all expect to see plenty of Marvel-themed trick-or-treaters this year. But regardless of how creative these costumes turn out to be, one of the film’s stars has already pretty much won Halloween. Lexi Rabe, who plays Morgan Stark, found a way to pay homage to one of her on-screen parents in the sweetest way possible.
On October 15, the 7-year-old actress posted an adorable photo of herself striking a power stance in Pepper Pott’s Rescue armor on Instagram. And she made sure to shout out Gwyneth Paltrow in the accompanying caption, too. She told her fans she had “so much fun” dressing up as her Marvel mom for a Halloween party, before saying, “Mom doesn’t get enough love!! So I thought I would show her some!” Just in case anyone questioned her devotion to Iron Man, she called out Robert Downey Jr. and Tony Stark in her post, too, telling everyone, “I’m still a daddy’s girl!”
Lexi Rabe’s scenes as Morgan Stark in Avengers: Endgame led to one of the franchise’s most memorable moments. Her “love you 3000” exchange with Tony Stark has become a common term of endearment for fans all over the world. Another moment, when she briefly donned Pepper’s Rescue helmet, served more as foreshadowing than mother-daughter bonding. So it’s especially sweet that the actress chose to show some love for her MCU mom’s long-awaited heroic turn.
It’s also nice to see that Lexi Rabe still seems willing to embrace the Marvel fandom. Earlier this year, she weathered a wave of bullying after accusations that she was standoffish circulated online. Her mother took to social media to defend her daughter and remind fans that not only is she balancing the demands of an acting career, but she’s doing so at a young age. Her Instagram tribute is a perfect example of how she’s doing both those things, even after appearing in the highest-grossing film of all time.
As for Morgan Stark’s future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s too early to tell. We know that the Russos shot a scene where Tony Stark met an older version of his daughter in a cosmic waystation. The scene ultimately ended up on the cutting room floor. But since the franchise has already cast 13 Reasons Why’s Katharine Langford as the grown up Morgan Stark, it seems feasible that they could bring her into the fold eventually. That would mean, though, that Lexi Rabe’s days playing Tony and Peppers’ daughter have probably come to an end — which makes her costume choice even more poignant.