Christopher Nolan might just be the most bankable Hollywood director this side of James Cameron. Whether shepherding the most successful comic book franchise DC has ever seen or trying his hand at dizzyingly high-concept original projects, Nolan has always met with a monster windfall at the box office. It’s almost as if his films never go out of style. That‘s supposed to be a joke about the song Taylor Swift wrote about Harry Styles. Who is in Christopher Nolan‘s new movie. This is very clearly not my wheelhouse, so let’s just push right ahead as if that never happened.
It’s been a long week — for you, me, ScreenCrush, America, and Earth. It’s nice to be able to take a moment on Friday to enjoy some more uplifting news, and today has happily obliged us with the announcement that Joe Manganiello went right ahead and wrote a Dungeons & Dragons screenplay. The man I assume must be the most ripped D&D nerd on the planet recently made a guest appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, where he informed host Josh Horowitz that he had co-authored a script based on the popular table-top roleplaying game with a “playwright friend from Carnegie Mellon” last year. Somewhere in the great dork beyond, Gary Gygax is looking down on Manganiello and smiling.
No bubble can last forever — it must eventually pop, as is the nature of bubbles. Marvel has built a vast media empire on the strength of such stars as Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, and Chris Hemsworth, but no actor would be content with playing and re-playing the same role forever. All good (and obscenely lucrative) things must come to an end, and Evans has begun the long and painful process of consciously uncoupling from Captain America’s star-spangled shield and cowl. But a new quote from the actor suggests that he may not be the first big name to make a departure from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Kyle Davies, the President of Domestic Distribution for Paramount Pictures, is not having a great week. The early eruption of a backlash to his studio’s newest release (the generously-budgeted Ghost in the Shell remake) and its whitewashed casting was cause for concern. But up until recently, he could assuage his shareholders’ worries by clinging to the notion that hackle-raising on the Internet would not have any tangible effects on the box-office receipts. That changed after this past weekend, when the Scarlett Johansson vehicle mustered a piteous $19 million in wide release. Left to answer for the film’s commercial failure, Davies has placed the blame on the controversy over tapping confirmed white woman Johansson to portray an Asian role, to which the whole of the Internet will now respond with a hearty “DA-DOY.”
Adam McKay’s establishing a reputation as Hollywood’s foremost chronicler of the biggest hot-button issues... of ten years ago. He made blackly satirical mince meat of the subprime lending crisis with The Big Short, stepping back into our recent past to expose the avarice still at play in the world of macroeconomics today. And for his next project, he’s going to take aim at a West Wing political player loathed and feared by liberals as a power-mad despot intent on destroying America. No, not him, we’re referring to a different wannabe fascist with the public graces of Darth Vader. To be specific, Dick Cheney.
Sex with movies — until now, it’s been an impossible dream. But Netflix is a company of innovation, and they’re not going to stop at reshaping the home-entertainment industry top to bottom. Much ruckus was raised recently when Netflix announced that they would do away with their widely reviled star ratings and switch to a thumbs-up/thumbs-down system for recommendations, but a new video from the streaming giant released today clarifies the nature of this new recommendations engine. At long last, we can decide which movies we want to do it with, as if the film industry was one big textual Tinder. And that’s not my comparison, either — Netflix wants you to think of this like a dating app!
Distinction is all relative. Sure, maybe Jordan Peele’s blockbuster horror film Get Out isn’t the highest-grossing movie of the year. And maybe it’s not the highest-grossing horror movie of all time. And maybe it’s not the highest-grossing directorial debut ever, or the highest-grossing February release ever, or the highest-grossing film from a black director. But gosh darnit, Get Out is too widely liked to pass through a theatrical run without setting some kind of record, so the showbiz bookkeepers of the internet did some research and found a title that they could rightly pin on Peele’s project.
After the release of the shocking Sausage Party racked up an equally shocking $140 million (far more than any of us expected a movie involving anal beads forcibly yanked out of an anthropomorphized hot dog bun to make), it was only a matter of time until more bawdy animation followed. Cartoons for grown-ups may be on their way to a moment in the sun, as today brings the news that Netflix has launched production on an R-rated project in a similar vein. But they won’t stop at desecrating the sacred space of the grocery store. This time, nothing short of our nation’s origin story will provide the canvas for whatever vulgarity they’ve got in store.
You may remember pop star Beyoncé Knowles from her stint in the late-’90s/early-’00s R&B girl group Destiny‘s Child with “Pretty Girl Rock” singer Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams (not the one from Manchester by the Sea). But did you know that the celebrated performer has cultivated an active solo career in the years since the group that made her famous broke up? Believe it or not, Knowles released a string of successful studio records over the past decade, starred in the music-video-compilation film Lemonade last year, and wed rapping man Jayson Z in 2008. And with that, I have completed my impression of someone who only heard of Beyoncé when scanning her Wikipedia page just now. We all know who Beyoncé is. She‘s Beyoncé.
Life was good for Jordan Peele — star of a massively successful sketch comedy show, a nice little recurring role on FX’s Fargo, and he’s married to Chelsea Peretti, one of the coolest, funniest women currently working. Then he sprung his directorial debut Get Out on an unsuspecting America and everything rocketed to the next level. The massive windfall he conjured with a paltry $4.5 million budget blew open the gates of Hollywood for him, and like all novice filmmakers, a high-profile sophomore feature can’t be far off. Today brings the news as to what that next step might be, and it appears that Warner Bros. has big plans for Peele.
After the fourth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean saga debuted to a critical shellacking, many believed the film would be a franchise-killer for the swashbruckling adventure series. (“Swashbruckling” is an industry term for Jerry Bruckheimer-produced films that include swordplay.) But because On Stranger Tides also raked in a cool billion dollars worldwide, yet another sequel was inevitable. Between the dire notices for the most recent film, the six-year gap between entries, Johnny Depp’s declining public profile, and the motivator of a financial imperative, fans braced to greet No. 5, Dead Men Tell No Tales, as more studio-mandated pap. What this article presupposes is... it might not be?
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