A Moment In History

A Look at Ledger

Recently it was the tenth anniversary of the death of Heath Ledger. When he died a promising acting career had been cut short. However, even at the young age of 28, Ledger had quite the list of accomplishments that are worth noting.
A 2018 update has just been added, read on...

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Feb 18

Weekend Box Office: 'Black Panther' Bounds to Record-Shattering $218M-Plus Bow

A still from the weekend box office champ "Black Panther" (image courtesy Marvel / Disney)
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by Pamela McClintock

In a defining moment for Hollywood, Disney and Marvel Studios' Black Panther exploded at the Presidents Day box office, bounding to a record-shattering estimate of $192 million for the three-day weekend and a projected $218 million-plus for the four-day holiday.

The Ryan Coogler-directed movie - unprecedented in being a big-budget studio tentpole featuring a virtually all-black cast - secured the fifth-biggest domestic opening of all time after blasting past all expectations. It's also the best launch of any superhero film behind fellow Marvel title The Avengers, which earned $207.4 million in its first three days, not accounting for inflation.

However, the weekend isn't over and Black Panther could climb even higher. Many rival studios show a four-day total of $222 million-$225 million, as well as a higher three-day total in the $195 million range.

Other records broken include the biggest opening for an African-American director, the top-scoring superhero film on Rotten Tomatoes (97 percent) and biggest February bow, supplanting previous champ Deadpool, which took in $152.2 million over the four-day Presidents Day weekend in 2016.

Playing in 4,020 theaters, Black Panther was fueled by a diverse audience. According to comScore, 37 percent of ticket buyers were African-American. Caucasians made up the next largest group (35 percent), followed by Hispanics (18 percent). That sort of demo breakdown is unheard of for a marquee superhero tentpole. On average, African-Americans make up about 15 percent of the audience for such fare.

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

Feb 16

'Black Panther' will break box-office records. But could it change the movie business?

"Black Panther" director Ryan Coogler (image courtesy Invision / AP)
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by Steven Zeitchik

"Black Panther," Marvel's African-oriented comic book adaptation, is shaping up to be the most successful movie at the box office ever for a film with a primarily black cast.

And it's raising hopes for a new wave of broad-interest commercial films featuring black actors and stories.

"That a predominantly black-cast movie is getting this kind of traction finally shows what we all intuitively know: Make great art and people will respond," said the actor-musician Common, who like many African-Americans in entertainment has criticized the industry for ignoring the potential of black-oriented films.

But some in Hollywood also worry that "Black Panther" may prove more the exception than the rule. For all the enthusiasm over the movie, they say it has attributes – like Marvel's massive production and marketing machine – that will make it easy to be dismissed as an outlier by executives contemplating future projects. It also comes after decades during which films from black artists struggled to gain traction in Hollywood.

Hollywood has long underinvested in African-American movies. The movie industry makes assumptions about audiences that don't match their behavior, say both African-American and white critics of the current system.

For many years, they note, studios executives believed that white moviegoers wouldn't come out in droves to a black-driven film, a corollary to another longstanding trope: that black stars don't fare well internationally. As it turns out, minorities now help drive the box-office of many blockbusters.

Click the Continue Reading at link to read the rest of this interesting article.

Continue Reading at: The Washington Post

Feb 15

'Incredibles 2' Olympics Spot Is a Super-Powered Family Reunion

by Aaron Couch

The Incredibles are taking a family vacation to the Olympics.

Disney shared new footage of the anticipated Incredibles 2 during NBC's Olympics broadcast Wednesday, giving a new taste of director Brad Bird's sequel to the 2004 hit. The film reunites the super-powered Parr family, including Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) and their children, Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dashiell (Huck Milner) baby Jack Jack. Samuel L. Jackson also returns as Frozone.

The new footage showed off Bob Odenkirk's tycoon character and the familiar super Parr family dynamic. Baby Jack-Jack's powers were also highlighted, as the youngest Incredible teleported from room to room - much to the surprise of Frozone and Mr. Incredible. However, the biggest surprise came when Jack-Jack transformed into a Hulk-esque red monster when his father took away his cookie.

The film finds Elastigirl in the spotlight, while Mr. Incredible stays at home with their children, including baby Jack-Jack, whose family is still unaware of his emerging powers. After a new villain comes on the scene with a plot, the family and Frozone must join forces once more.

See the trailer here:

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

Feb 13

Michael Fassbender to Star in 'Kung Fury' Feature Film

Michael Fassbender, pictured here in 2017, to star in full-length sequel to 2015 'Kung Fury' short (image courtesy Getty)
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by Alex Ritman

he hotly anticipated feature-length follow-up to one of the biggest cult short film of recent years has lined up an Oscar-nominated star.

Michael Fassbender has been cast in David Sandberg's action-comedy Kung Fury, which Sandberg will also star in and produce under his Laser Unicorns banner, alongside Fassbender. David Hasselhoff, who appeared in the original Kung Fury and sang the theme song "True Survivor," will also join the cast.

Released in 2015, Kung Fury was a Kickstarter record-breaking success, was selected for the Directors' Fortnight in Cannes and has gained over 40 million views worldwide. The feature, which will be a sequel to the original short, is set to shoot this summer in Europe and the U.S. (Watch the original here.)

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

Feb 11

Weekend Box Office: 'Fifty Shades Freed' Climaxes With $137M Global Debut

Jamie Dornan (left) and Dakota Johnson in a still from 'Fifty Shades Freed' (image courtesy Universal Pictures)
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by Pamela McClintock

Universal's Fifty Shades Freed seduced audiences in its worldwide debut, grossing $136.9 million and propelling the female-fueled franchise past the $1 billion mark in global box-office ticket sales go become one of the most profitable series in the studio's history.

In North America, Fifty Shades Freed easily dominated the weekend, coming in No. 1 with $38.8 million, the top opening of the year to date. There were no signs that the #MeToo movement slowed down the threequel, which came in less than 17 percent behind Fifty Shades Darker, a small drop for a third installment, not to mention a third title in a franchise based on a book series that's faded from view.

Overseas, Fifty Shades Freed sizzled with $98.1 million from 57 markets, including a first-place finish in 54 of those. Germany led all countries with $10.8 million, followed by the U.K./Ireland ($8.8 million), France ($8.7 million) and Italy ($7.2 million).
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A CGI/live-action hybrid, Sony's Peter Rabbit came in No. 2 with an estimated $25 million from 3,725 theaters. The pic, from Sony Pictures Animation, earned an A- CinemaScore from moviegoers.

James Corden voices the iconic rabbit created by author Beatrix Potter. The voice cast also includes Domhnall Gleeson and Rose Byrne. The movie is the first title from former Sony exec Doug Belgrad's new production company, 2.0.
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Prolific director Clint Eastwood returned to the marquee with 15:17 to Paris, a recounting of the true story of three Americans who helped thwart an attack on a French train in 2016. Village Roadshow Entertainment and Warner Bros. partnered on the film, which took in a muted $12.6 million from 3,042 theaters after getting derailed by many critics.

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

Feb 9

Ron Howard Won't Reveal How Much of 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' He Directed

by Patrick Cavanaugh

Whether it's just out of curiosity or confirmation of an educated guess, when multiple filmmakers collaborate on one project, audiences want to know who was responsible for each scene. Last summer, Ron Howard took over directing duties on Solo: A Star Wars Story from Phil Lord and Chris Miller, handling not only the remainder of principal photography but also the film's reshoots. As far as who was responsible for what, Howard isn't likely to ever reveal that information.

"I don't really want to explain it. I don't really want to be specific about that because, again, I don't even want that to matter to fans," Howard shared with Entertainment Weekly. "I could understand why you'd ask, and some might even be curious, but look, everybody who has been involved in this has done nothing but love what this movie could be, and that's been the vibe around it. I think audiences are gonna feel that love and excitement."

Last fall, Justice League hit theaters, which was directed by Zack Snyder until a family tragedy caused him to step away from the project, with Joss Whedon taking over the production. One of the biggest complaints with the film was the uneven tone, possibly due to different creative approaches. By keeping the details about how much of the film is his vs. Lord and Miller's, hopefully those discussions are kept to a minimum with audiences.

Continue Reading at: comicbook.com

Feb 7

'Black Panther': What the Critics Are Saying

Chadwick Boseman as the titular superhero in 'Black Panther' (image courtesy Disney / Alamy Stock Photo)
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by Graeme McMillan

The future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is in Wakanda.

Reviews are in for Ryan Coogler's Black Panther, and they are easily the best for a Marvel Studios project to date, with almost everyone left in awe not only of the movie's ambition, but its success in achieving that ambition on the big screen. As of Tuesday morning, the film has a 100 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.

"There's no mistaking you're still in the Marvel universe here, but this entry sweeps you off to a part of it you've never seen: a hidden lost world in Africa defined by royal traditions and technological wonders that open up refreshing new dramatic, visual and casting possibilities," writes The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy in his review. "There are vistas, costumes and settings that keep the images popping off the screen, even though this Marvel offering is not in 3D."

"It's as if everyone enlisted to bring the project to life understood the magnitude of what Black Panther, the first comic-based studio movie with a black hero at the center since 1998's Blade, would represent," critic and writer Marc Bernardin wrote for Nerdist. "The chance to fill every corner of their fictional Wakanda with the same level of craft and detail usually reserved for British-star-studded period pieces. An opportunity to tell a story about black lives, which matter and are not defined by their pain but, instead, by their glory. An answer to a culture's question, ‘When will it be our time in the sun?'"

Rolling Stone's Peter Travers agreed, calling the movie "an epic that doesn't walk, talk or kick ass like any other Marvel movie - an exhilarating triumph on every level from writing, directing, acting, production design, costumes, music, special effects to you name it. For children (and adults) of color who have longed forever to see a superhero who looks like them, Marvel's first black-superhero film is an answered prayer, a landmark adventure and a new film classic."

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

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