A Moment In History

Cut Down In Their Prime

We have all heard the news when one of our favourite actors suddenly and unexpectedly dies, often due to substance abuse, and we are struck by the tragedy and waste of a great light. This article takes a look at some of these events in the movie business.

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Mar 24

Box Office: Jordan Peele's 'Us' Opens to Terrifying $70.3M

A still from the current Box Office champ "Us" (image courtesy Universal Pictures)

by Pamela McClintock

Rare is the emerging filmmaker who delivers two box-office juggernauts - and profit monsters - in a row.

Jordan Peele did just that with Us, which debuted over the weekend to a terrifying $70.3 million at the North American box office to scare up the third biggest horror opening ever behind It ($123.4 million) and last year's Halloween sequel ($76.2 million), as well as the No. 1 launch for an original horror title.

Overseas, Us took in $16.7 million from its first 47 markets for a global bow of $87 million - more than four times the film's $20 million production budget (that doesn't include marketing).

Buoyed by an ethnically diverse audience, the critically acclaimed pic hits theaters a little over two years after Peele's first feature directorial effort, Get Out, turned into a cultural sensation.

Peele made both films for Universal Pictures, where studio chairman Donna Langley took an early interest in the writer-director. Get Out was a profit monster for all involved after bowing to $33.4 million domestically on its way to grossing $176 million in North America against a tiny $4.5 million budget.

Starring Lupita Nyong'o and Winston Duke, Us tells the story of Adelaide Wilson (Nyong'o), an African-American woman who returns to her beachside childhood home with her two children and husband, played by Duke (Black Panther). Soon, they come up against terrifying and uncanny opponents: doppelgangers of themselves.

Captain Marvel made headlines of its own in its third weekend as it crossed $900 million worldwide to become the No. 10 comic book adaptation of all time.

The first female-led superhero pic from Marvel Studios and Disney earned another $35 million in North America to finish Sunday with a domestic tally of $321.5 million. Overseas, Captain Marvel earned $52.1 million from 54 markets for a foreign tally of $588.8 million and $910.3 million globally.

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

Mar 23

Showrunners, Screenwriters Back WGA in Agency Battle, Sides to Meet Again Tuesday

by Dave McNary and Cynthia Littleton

More than 750 showrunners and screenwriters have backed the WGA's [Writers Guild of America's] battle against talent agencies taking packaging fees and other changes to the rules governing the business relationship between agents and writers.

The letter of support issued Saturday is significant because of the immense clout showrunners and prominent screenwriters possess in Hollywood. Several showrunners had recently expressed reservations about the WGA's hardball negotiating tactics and the potential disruption to business if a deal isn't reached - leading to a March 20 meeting with several dozen showrunners at the WGA West headquarters. But the new missive makes it clear that showrunners want WGA leaders to be able to claim they’re representing a united front.

The signers endorse the WGA's efforts to reform decades-old industry practices involving agencies taking packaging fees on film and TV projects as well as other issues such as the expansion of the parent companies of the largest agencies into the production arena. As described in the letter by the WGA, the goal of the franchise agreement reform push is to:

"Confront practices that constitute a conflict of interest: agency packaging fees and agencies functioning as producers. Require the agencies to work with the Guild to protect writers' interests by providing writer contracts, invoices and other information."

Continue Reading at: Variety

Mar 22

Disney Dumps Fox 2000 Label as Studio Restructuring Begins

Logo for Fox 2000 (image courtesy Disney / Fox)

by Ryan Scott

It's the end of the media world as we know it and nobody should feel fine. That may sound dramatic but with the Disney / Fox merger complete and the ramifications now coming to light, it's clear this isn't going to be sunshine and rainbows. Case in point, it's been revealed that Disney is shutting down the Fox 2000 label, a label responsible for making mid-budget movies that are already having a tough time finding a home in the marketplace these days.

According to a new report, Fox 2000, which has been run quite successfully by executive Elizabeth Gabler, is getting the ax as Disney starts their layoffs and restructuring. It's expected that 4,000 employees will be laid off as the now massive media empire tries to do away with redundancies within their corporate structure. Disney now owns 11 different studio labels and at some point, that may qualify as redundant. As such, Fox 2000 will soon be no more. The division is set to complete The Woman in the Window, which stars Amy Adams and Gary Oldman. After that, it's history.

Fox 2000 is responsible for movies such as Fight Club, The Fault In Our Stars, The Devil Wears Prada, The Thin Red Line, Marley & Me, Love, Simon (which was criminally underseen) and The Hate U Give, as well as the Best Picture Oscar nominee Hidden Figures. From Disney's perspective, there are likely other places within their now massive structure that these projects could happen, assuming they're interested. But therein lies the issue. For as many of the movies made at this label turned out to be big hits, many others were modest moneymakers, while quite a few others were outright misfires, like the Tommy Lee Jones action flick Volcano, a weird little personal favorite of mine.

Every studio has its hits and misses, but times are changing. Movies aren't as likely to be saved by supplemental revenue sources such as Blu-ray sales. Those markets are disappearing. A movie like Man on Fire may not have a place at Disney in the modern age, and that's the real shame. While there are reasons to be excited about the merger for certain moviegoers, most notably superhero lovers, given the X-Men and Fantastic Four are back with Marvel now, there are going to be a great many downsides that consumers may not be able to see as easily. It's hard to miss what someone never had, but the movie world will miss not having the next Walk the Line, Life of Pi or even Never Been Kissed. All made at Fox 2000.

Continue Reading at: Movieweb

Mar 21

'Once Upon A Time In Hollywood' Trailer Is A '60s Fever Dream With DiCaprio Dancing

by Cole Delbyck, HuffPost US

Once upon a time in Hollywood, writer and director Quentin Tarantino cast what seems like every big-name actor with a SAG card for his ninth and potentially penultimate film.

The first trailer for "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" arrived on Wednesday in full '60s flourish with leads Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio getting into the groove.

Set against the backdrop of the murder of Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) in the summer of 1969, the story follows Rick Dalton, an aging Western TV star, (DiCaprio) and his stuntman (Pitt) as they attempt to navigate the changing landscape of the entertainment industry. Dalton also happens to live next door to Tate and her then-husband Roman Polanski.

It's still unclear how Tate's murder factors into the "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" plot - we only see her happily dancing in the trailer - but the film reportedly uses a "tapestry–like" structure akin to Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" to serve its cast, which also includes Al Pacino, Timothy Olyphant, Damian Lewis, Luke Perry, Dakota Fanning, James Marsden, Emile Hirsch, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Danny Strong and Lena Dunham.

See the trailer here:

Continue Reading at: Huffington Post

Mar 20

New 'Toy Story 4' trailer introduces Keanu Reeves' Canadian character

by Mark Daniell

Toy Story 4 is adding some Canadian content.

Toronto-raised Keanu Reeves is set to voice Duke Caboom in the upcoming fourquel.

Caboom is a vintage 1970s-era toy, inspired by Canada's greatest stuntman. Perched atop his powerful Caboom stunt-bike, Duke flashes off his stunt poses with confidence and swagger, but he has one itsy-bitsy problem: he can't actually do the stunts advertised by his own commercial. Weighed down by the failures of his past, he has some serious identity issues when he encounters Woody (Tom Hanks) at an antique store.

"The first time [director] Josh [Cooley] and I talked with Keanu about the role, Keanu became Duke Caboom," says producer Jonas Rivera. "Keanu was asking great questions that dug deep to find the soul of the character. At one point he stood up on the table in the middle of Pixar's atrium and struck poses while proclaiming victory. It was so funny. It's all in the movie and it's all Keanu."

Reeves is the latest addition to the Toy Story 4 voice cast and joins other new characters including Christina Hendricks as Gabby Gabby, Ally Maki as Giggle McDimples, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele as Ducky and Bunny and Tony Hale as Forky, a homemade toy suffering an existential crisis ("I was made for soup, salad, maybe chili - and then the trash!," he laments in the new trailer).

Watch the trailer here:

Continue Reading at: Toronto Sun

Mar 19

There Are Now 7 MCU Movies Planned After Avengers: Endgame

Mash-up of upcoming Marvel movies (image courtesy Marvel / Movieweb)

by Ryan Scott

What movies are coming our way after Avengers: Endgame? A burning question with at least some answers. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been going strong for more than a decade now and has more than 20 movies under its umbrella. Captain Marvel has been racking up the dollars at the box office recently, which is already well on its way to crossing the $1 billion mark worldwide. With that, it would seem this grand experiment that started in relatively humble fashion with Iron Man back in 2008, is showing no signs of slowing down whatsoever.

Next up on the MCU roster is Avengers: Endgame. This serves as the conclusion to the tale being told within this interconnected universe thus far. Both Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and directors Joe and Anthony Russo have made as much clear. The question at this point is, what can we expect beyond Avengers: Endgame?

Infinity War left us with one of the biggest cliffhangers in cinematic history following Thanos' deadly finger snap. The resolution to that cliffhanger will contain many secrets and reveals, no doubt. Marvel Studios has been very cagey regarding their plans for the MCU beyond Avengers: Endgame. Still, certain projects have made themselves known to us and, with that in mind, here are the movies we know are coming during the next phase of the MCU.

Click the Continue Reading at link to see the list of upcoming MCU movies.

Continue Reading at: Movieweb.com

Mar 18

Suicide Squad Sequel Is A "Total Reboot," Not Called Suicide Squad 2

by Eddie Makuch

More details have come to light about DC's upcoming Suicide Squad sequel. Producer Peter Safran told Joblo that the sequel is a "total reboot," so it shouldn't be referred to as Suicide Squad. The name the studio is using is The Suicide Squad, though whether or not this is the final name or a working title remains unconfirmed.

"First of all, we don't call it Suicide Squad 2 'cause it's a total reboot, so it's The Suicide Squad and I think people should be extremely excited about it," Safran said.

Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, who was recently re-instated for Vol. 3, will write and direct The Suicide Squad. Regarding the script, Safran said, "It's everything you would hope from a James Gunn script and I think that says a lot and that promises a lot and I know that we will deliver a lot."

The intriguing angle of this story is that, now that he's back making Guardians of the Galaxy 3, Gunn is directing movies for both DC and Marvel. Safran said he and Gunn agree that the Marvel vs. DC rivalry is "absurd," and everything is going to be just fine.

"You know what I love about James directing for both Marvel and DC is he has always espoused the view that that which unites comic book and superhero lovers is much greater than that which divides us," Safran said. "Because, there's always been this Marvel/DC rivalry, which he has said, and I agree, is absurd. There's room for everybody and certainly that which unites us all is far greater than that which divides us, so hopefully they'll see that you can be both a Marvel and a DC fan and the world won't spin off its axis."

Continue Reading at: Gamespot.com

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