Box Office: JUSTICE LEAGUE opens with disappointing DCEU low $96M

For almost any other movie that doesn’t bare the names Marvel, DC, or Star Wars, a $96 million weekend at the box office is something to celebrate. Even for movies that cost around $100 million to make, such a performance would suggest a profitable movie with marketing factored in to boot. And yet the plain fact is that JUSTICE LEAGUE‘s $96 million take this weekend is a deafening disappointment, one that now maps out a extremely perilous road for whatever the future of the DC cinematic universe had planned for next.

The movie, directed mostly by Zack Snyder with some assistance from Joss Whedon, reportedly cost $300-350 million to produce if one counts marketing costs and reshoots into the overall bill. If that number is even vaguely correct, the movie has failed to make up even a third of its budget in its opening weekend, leaving over $200 million to be made up between decreasing weekend grosses and whatever the foreign box office has to offer. The latter option might just be the thing that saves the movie but with Pixar’s hotly anticipated COCO hitting domestic theaters in three days, that’s looking like its only real hope at this point.

Of course, JUSTICE LEAGUE was not the only opener this weekend. Wonder came in second place to the DC behemoth with $27 million, while THOR: RAGNAROK continued its red-hot streak by bringing in some $21.7 million to come in at third. Below that was DADDY’S HOME 2, which brought in $14.8 million in its second frame to place fourth and seemed to confirm that we’re all just going to forget the last ten years of Mel Gibson‘s actions in the name of a few bad jokes.

Lionsgate counterprogrammed with family title WONDER against JUSTICE LEAGUE, paying off with a reported $27M, which doubles as Participant’s best opening ever (beating THE HELP‘s $26M). A year ago when Warner Bros. opened FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM, STX recklessly programmed the R-rated, critically acclaimed female-skewing title THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN and that failed to get its audience with a $4.75M opening. Given the great reception to WONDER, they scheduled it so that it could benefit off the 5x-plus multiple play.

Depending on how Oscar contenders like DARKEST HOUR and CALL ME BY YOUR NAME do next weekend, this might be our last weekend with DADDY’S HOME 2, as well as MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, which came in at fifth with $13.8 million. JUSTICE LEAGUE, on the other hand, will likely remain in the top five until STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI descends on the box office. Even if the rest of the year was completely open, however, it’s unclear if this would help DC’s latest catastrophe get free of its own fiscal quicksand.

Here’s the top five for the weekend:

1. ‘Justice League’ $96M
2. ‘Wonder’ $27.05M
3. ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ $21.78M
4. ‘Daddy’s Home 2’ $14.8M
5. ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ $13.8M

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Teaser trailer for INCREDIBLES 2 arrives, film due June 15, 2018!

Disney-Pixar has released the first INCREDIBLES 2 trailer. The upcoming film will pick up after the events of the first movie, and will focus more on Helen Parr/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) as Bob/Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) stays home to raise Jack-Jack. And as this first teaser trailer reveals, Jack-Jack is going to be quite the handful.

INCREDIBLES fans probably saw that coming, especially if they saw writer-director Brad Bird‘s 2005 animated short ‘Jack-Jack Attack’. It’s hard to believe it’s been 13 years since that brief peek at the incredible powers of the pint-size Parr family member. Thankfully, the wait for the full story is just about over.

INCREDIBLES 2 opens June 15, 2018 and also features the voices of Samuel L. Jackson, Huck Milner, and Sarah Vowell. Here’s the official synopsis:

Everyone’s favorite family of superheroes is back in “Incredibles 2” – but this time Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is in the spotlight, leaving Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) at home with Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell) and Dash (voice of Huck Milner) to navigate the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life. It’s a tough transistion for everyone, made tougher by the fact that the family is still unaware of baby Jack-Jack’s emerging superpowers. When a new villain hatches a brilliant and dangerous plot, the family and Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) must find a way to work together again—which is easier said than done, even when they’re all Incredible.

Directed by Brad Bird (“Iron Giant,” “The Incredibles”) and produced by John Walker (“The Incredibles”) and Nicole Grindle (“Sanjay’s Super Team” short, “Toy Story 3” associate producer), “Incredibles 2” busts into theaters on June 15, 2018.

THE INCREDIBLES 2: Teaser for tomorrow’s trailer release is revealed, film due June 15, 2018!

With COCO about to hit theaters, I started to wonder if Disney-Pixar might start promoting their next movie, Brad Bird’s THE INCREDIBLES 2. Now it looks like we won’t have to wait much longer. Disney tweeted out an incredibly brief trailer tease announcing that the first trailer for the sequel will be released sometime tomorrow on ESPN (synergy!) during Game Day. That means that the trailer will likely be popping up online tomorrow as well and will almost certainly be attached to COCO when that movie opens next week.

As for the plot of the movie, details are still scarce although we know it will pick up where the first one left off and Bird says that the story will focus more on Elastigirl while Mr. Incredible stays home and tries to raise Jack-Jack. Additionally, since their home was destroyed in the first film, their new domicile is “a cross between a dream house and a super lair.”

Of course, the superhero landscape has changed dramatically since the first INCREDIBLES hit theaters, and even that movie doesn’t fit neatly into the superhero genre as there’s a generous helping of classic spy movies thrown in as well. But above all, it’s one of Pixar’s finest and I’m eager to see if Bird can rekindle the magic of that movie. We’ll certainly find out soon enough when we get our first glimpse of the film tomorrow.

THE INCREDIBLES 2 opens June 15, 2018 and features the voices of Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, and Samuel L. Jackson.

New A WRINKLE IN TIME poster reveals the story’s ‘celestials’, new trailer lands Sunday!

One of the most highly anticipated movie of 2018 is Ava DuVernay‘s adaptation of Madeline L’Engle‘s A WRINKLE IN TIME. The story follows Meg Murry (Storm Reid), her brilliant brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), and their friend Calvin (Levi Miller) on an unexpected journey into alternate dimensions to bring home their father (Chris Pine). Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, and Oprah Winfrey star as Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which respectively, three celestials who help Meg on her journey.

DuVernay told EW that,

“I saw so much beauty in it, but also so much meaning. [L’Engle’s] a very radical thinker and she embedded her sense of what society should and could be in this piece, and a lot of it I agree with. And through that, the story of this girl saving the world and being out there in the universe slaying the darkness, it also says a lot about slaying our own dragons.”

A WRINKLE IN TIME also stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Mrs. Murry, Zach Galifianakis as The Happy Medium, André Holland as Principal Jenkins, as well as Bellamy Young, Rowan Blanchard, and Will McCormack. The film opens on March 9, 2018. Here’s the official synopsis, check back Sunday for a new trailer:

From visionary director Ava DuVernay comes Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” an epic adventure based on Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless classic which takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light and, ultimately, the triumph of love. Through one girl’s transformative journey led by three celestial guides, we discover that strength comes from embracing one’s individuality and that the best way to triumph over fear is to travel by one’s own light.

Directed by Emmy(R) winner and Oscar(R) and Golden Globe(R) nominee Ava DuVernay from a screenplay by Oscar winner Jennifer Lee based upon the beloved novel by Madeleine L’Engle, “A Wrinkle in Time” stars: two-time Academy Award(R) nominee Oprah Winfrey, Oscar and Emmy winner Reese Witherspoon, Emmy nominee Mindy Kaling, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Peňa and introducing Storm Reid, with two-time Emmy winner Zach Galifianakis and Emmy nominee Chris Pine.

Sony acquires Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film, aiming for 2019 release date

Quentin Tarantino previously made all of his movies with Harvey Weinstein, first at Miramax and then at The Weinstein Company. When it was revealed last month that Weinstein had been sexually assaulting women for decades and that he would be kicked out of his company, Tarantino decided to take his business elsewhere, which led to a bidding war among all the major studios except Disney (which doesn’t release R-rated movies). Now the bidding war is over and Deadline reports that Sony has emerged victorious.

Sony will have the worldwide distribution rights to the movie, which will take place in the late 60s, early 70s. Although early reports claimed that the movie was about Charles Manson, it now turns out that Manson is a minor role similar to Adolf Hitler in INGLORIOUS BASTERDS. The film will be yet another unique, Tarantino-esque view on history, specifically Los Angeles in the late 60s. And because it’s Tarantino, major actors are lining up to land a role with Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and Leonardo DiCaprio all being mentioned for the two lead male roles. Additionally, Tarantino has his eye on Margot Robbie to play the late Sharon Tate, who was murdered by Manson’s cult.

So what gave Sony the edge? Deadline reports, “I’m told Tarantino sparked to [Sony head Tom Rothman’s] deep knowledge of film history. Few can hang with Tarantino in that regard, but Rothman held his own and the studio chased this one hard.” Okay then. It also probably makes good business sense since Sony has revamped its worldwide distribution, and Tarantino approved the marketing campaign presented by Josh Greenstein and his team.

Filming on the movie, which is going by the working title #9 for Tarantino’s ninth film, is set to begin in mid-2018 for a 2019 release. The budget will be similar to the cost of DJANGO UNCHAINED.

Comcast NBC/Universal is the latest studio to consider buying 21st Century Fox

Earlier this month, we heard reports that Disney was in on-again, off-again talks to purchase 21st Century Fox. That purchase would entail all of the company’s assets except for the Fox broadcast network, Fox News, and Fox Sports. Those talks are now off again, and it looks like another corporate behemoth has entered the fray. According to Deadline, Comcast, which owns NBC and Universal as well as telecommunications that make pretty much all of its customers miserable, is now interested in purchasing 21st Century Fox.

The deal is pretty much the same one that Disney was going after—all of 21st Century Fox’s assets except for Fox broadcast, Fox News, and Fox Sports. That means if a deal went through, Comcast would snap up 20th Century Fox, some of its cable networks (FX and FXX, for example), and its stakes in satellite TV provider Sky, Star India and the Hulu streaming service.

The big difference here is that for fans, there’s zero upside. Universal doesn’t own any comic book properties and a merger wouldn’t create any new opportunities for crossovers unless you’ve been hankering for a fever-dream ICE AGE/FAST AND FURIOUS team-up. What it would do is reduce the number of major studios down by one so creators would have one less place to pitch their ideas.

But corporate consolidation is the name of the game, especially as media companies try to meet an overwhelming demand for content. Comcast can release all the Universal and NBC stuff it wants on its Xfinity platform, but at the end of the day, they would be more competitive if they could also offer 20th Century Fox movies and programming from FX. Naturally, the big loser in all of this is the consumer who has fewer choices on where to spend their dollars and less competition to make companies better. If you thought Comcast was bad now, just wait until they own two movie studios.

That’s not to say a deal will happen or that the government would necessarily approve the merger (although unless the minions start saying Trump is a chump, I don’t see why this administration would block it), but if it does, that consolidation will benefit shareholders, not consumers.

RAMPAGE trailer delivers kaiju mayhem, The Rock one-liners; film due April 20, 2018!

Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema have released the first trailer for RAMPAGE, Dwayne Johnson‘s latest action adventure film, reteaming him with his SAN ANDREAS director Brad Peyton. Inspired by the 1980s video game, RAMPAGE stars Johnson as a primatologist who shares a close bond with George, a remarkably intelligent silverback gorilla, until a rogue genetic experiment transforms the ape into a gigantic, raging monster. Worse yet, there are even more of these genetically altered predators on the lose (including a 30-foot wolf), tearing across the continent, and Davis puts himself in the thick of the battle not only to save the day, but save the killer beast that used to be his best friend.

On the one hand, having Dwayne Johnson’s character want to save his gorilla friend adds a nice emotional undercurrent to a standard disaster pic. On the other hand, it also includes The Rock spouting one-liners about giant animals, which I think is an appropriate amount of seriousness for this kind of movie. This is certainly a case of having a suspension of disbelief in the name of “the rule of cool.”

RAMPAGE also stars Naomie Harris, Malin Akerman, Jake Lacy, Joe Manganiello and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, as well as P.J. Byrne, Marley Shelton, Breanne Hill, Jack Quaid, and Matt Gerald. The film is slated to arrive in theaters on in theaters April 20, 2018.