Here’s a quick question for you, who is the most important actor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? We all know who the highest-paid actor is — that would be Robert Downey Jr. — but is he still the most important actor in the franchise as well? Has Chris Evans or Chris Hemsworth surpassed him? How about one of the characters from Guardians of the Galaxy or a newcomer like Tom Holland? Is anyone in the MCU so irreplaceable that Marvel couldn’t introduce another version of their character? It’s a very interesting question, and one that the studio and actors are no-doubt struggling with internally.
In a summer where most raunchy comedies seem to be flopping at the box office — Rough Night and Baywatch have certainly disappointed with their reviews and box office ratings — it looks like it might all come down to The House. The Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler comedy certainly has what it takes to win over fans; Ferrell and Poehler are both comedy stars in their own right, and the supporting cast features a mix of comedy veterans and rising stars who can and should sell every joke in the film.
For the past week, fans have been doing their best lawyer impressions and trying to figure out how movies like Venom and Spider-Man: Homecoming will connect in the broader Marvel universe. It wasn’t that long ago that Sony producer Amy Pascal hinted that Venom would be somewhat connected to the Spider-Man of the MCU, which confused the heck out of all of us and started the rumor mill working overtime on how Sony and Marvel’s properties might work together. Of course, as is always the case with the particularly juicy rumors, there was always the chance that someone misspoke.
Does anyone else think that Dwayne Johnson’s blockbuster movies are starting to blur together a little bit? Given that Johnson tends to play variations of the same character — the tough-as-nails and compassionate ex-military whatever — while things blow up around him, what matters most is the type of thing that’s blowing up. Sometimes they’re cars (The Fate of the Furious), sometimes parts of California (San Andreas), and sometimes monsters (Rampage). Don’t worry, though, because Johnson will really show off his range with his next film: this time, it’s a building that blows up. Oscar, please!
Look, I’m no stranger to college acapella groups. When I was an undergraduate, a ragtag group of choir kids — myself most definitely included — organized the first men’s acapella group in the modern history of the university, and a quick Google search shows that the group is still alive and well to this day (no, I won’t tell you the name of the university or the name of the ensemble, so don’t bother asking). So am I pretty much as cool and influential as the Bellas in the Pitch Perfect movie series? Why, yes. I’d like to think so, yes.
According to census estimates, there are currently 325.3 million people in the United States, which means there has to be dozens — maybe even hundreds! — of people who remain blissfully unaware that a new Spider-Man movie is hitting theaters this summer. The rest of us, however, have lived through the past several months of production rumors, trailers, teasers, teaser trailers, toy reveals, interviews, commercials, specials, features, articles, social advertising, news items, and just about any other form of audio or visual media that Marvel could commercially or organically slap a Spider-Man: Homecoming logo on. In fact, we’ve reached that point in the hype cycle where most fans are completely exhausted with marketing. Can’t we just start talking about the movie itself?
It’s a pleasant Sunday afternoon in the world, which means it’s time for your weekend box office updates! While this was a disappointing weekend overall for a handful of new releases, there’s good news to be had: after a disappointing $144 million total gross last weekend, the box office bounced back to $187 million total over the past few days. That takes some of the pressure off Wonder Woman to, you know, save the summer blockbuster as we know it. Here’s the totals as of Sunday afternoon:
For months now, we’ve assumed that any possible Spider-Man spinoffs would exist in a world separate from that of Spider-Man: Homecoming. With Sony and Marvel weaving a complicated web of licensed properties and revenue sharing, the safe bet was that Sony would choose to build up its own parallel world independent of Marvel’s, giving them complete ownership of those characters and their events without having to plug into a larger established canon. This seemed to be confirmed by Marvel boss Kevin Feige earlier this week, when Feige said in no uncertain terms that Venom would not be invited to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Disappointing for some, curious to others, but on the surface, it did make sense.
It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for: Deadpool 2 is officially underway! Even though we’ve spent more than a year analyzing and talking about Ryan Reynolds’ merc with a mouth, the success of the original Deadpool movie is still kinda hard to believe. A $58 million R-rated superhero movie that went on to gross $780 million worldwide? A comic book movie that broke the mold so thoroughly that now every major studio is openly courting the R-rated crowd? Deadpool was a phenomenon, and none of us can wait to see if Reynolds and company are capable of avoiding the sophomore slump.
If we’re lucky, a few times each year we’ll be treated to a $100 million blockbuster that manages to wow critics and audiences alike. This was the case with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which managed to pull in both a 90% on RottenTomatoes — normal caveats about RottenTomatoes aside — and grossed over $700 million at the global box office. When Hollywood finds just the right balance of magic and money, we catch a glimpse at the potential of the right filmmaker with a ton of money at his or her disposal. It’s what has so many fans excited for War for the Planet of the Apes. Can Matt Reeves and 20th Century Fox team up for a second incredible blockbuster movie?
Is Tom Hardy doing OK? I mean, financially? After years of alternating between prestige films (The Revenant, Dunkirk) and more idiosyncratic projects (Legend, The Drop), Hardy seems to have accepted a streak of surprisingly mainstream blockbuster roles. After being attached to Ubisoft’s video game adaptation Splinter Cell for several years, Hardy recently shocked fans by accepting the title role in Sony’s Venom spinoff. And now, perhaps most surprising of all, is the rumor that Hardy is very close to signing on for the role of Jafar in Disney’s live-action Aladdin remake. At this point, maybe we should create a GoFundMe for whatever gambling debt Hardy seems to have racked up.
There are two diverging narratives surrounding Paul Feig’s 2016 Ghostbusters remake. On the one hand, fans of the original films were irrationally upset to see Hollywood give their (suddenly untouchable) films an all-female cast. For them, the film was a deserved flop. On the other hand, countless stories were written about a new generation of female Ghostbusters fans who were thrilled to see the movie reach out to new audiences. These fans believe the movie did more than enough to warrant sequels. And while the box office numbers and critical scores didn’t signal the slam-dunk hit that most fans were looking for, it sounds like the producers side in the second camp, with Ivan Reitman promising earlier this year that he was hard at work weaving together a cohesive universe from the games, movies, and animated films.
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