There's been a bit of confusion in the media as of late about the performance of this year's crop of summer movies. Pieces abound about the so-called dismal state of the season, and yet when you look at it purely from a numbers perspective, 2016 actually ranks as the second-best summer ever in terms of domestic box office (2013 remains firmly in first place). So why all the doomsaying? First, let's take a look at a list of this summer's out-and-out "flops" -- a designation that can roughly be judged by measuring a film's budget-to-gross ratio. Historically, for a title to be deemed "profitable" it has to have made at least two times its production budget, and by that measure, the last four months have produced a total of six outright box office failures. They are: Star Trek Beyond Budget: $185 million Worldwide gross: $285 million Ghostbusters Budget: $144 million Worldwide gross: $219 million Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles »
- Chris Eggertsen
We’ve never seen this before, multiple female characters open about ambition, power, and money. But representation alone does not make for a gripping tale. I’m “biast” (pro): desperate for stories about women
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
To say that Wall Street shenanigans are well storied onscreen is both an understatement and a misdirection. Sure, there have been lots of movies (and documentaries) set in the world of high finance… and as with nearly ever other human endeavor that gets depicted in film, most of them are about men. Even in movies about Big Money based on real-life events in which women played significant roles, women’s contributions tend to get glossed over or eliminated entirely; see The Big Short. We may think we’ve got a good grip on how Wall Street operates based on the movies we’ve seen, »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Hey, did you hear the one about the flashy blockbuster remake of the New Testament action movie that managed to attract neither the Game Of Thrones nor the Passion Of The Christ crowds? No? Us either, considering we barely even thought about Ben-Hur until the headlines started appearing this weekend calling it the newest big-budget flop in a summer full of them. What will hereafter be referred to here at The A.V. Club as “John Carter of Rome” came in at a disappointing No. 5 at the box office, recouping a mere $11.35 million of its estimated $100 million production budget (not counting money spent on ads and such).
So what were Americans going to see instead? The now officially critic-proof Suicide Squad, coming in at No. 1 for the third week in a row. (Somebody should tell audiences that these guys are supposed to be underdogs.) Further ...
- Katie Rife
Up until recently, when a movie turned out to be a major bomb — not just a financial failure but a symbol of waste, a legend, a stink bomb — there was usually a movie star’s name imprinted on it. The star became part of the movie’s infamy, and he also took on some of the blame. Just think of a folly like “Ishtar” (1987), in which the combined star wallop of Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty couldn’t add up to a hill of beans in the desert, or “Battlefield Earth” (2000), which proved that John Travolta in the middle of the Travoltassance couldn’t sell a sci-fi epic that was really an obsequious vanity project. “Heaven’s Gate,” the movie that brought down a movie studio, was the exception that proved the rule: No one really thought of it as a Kris Kristofferson film, but that’s because there was »
- Owen Gleiberman
An adaptation of Vince Flynn’s novel of the same name, American Assassin has entered pre-production at CBS Films and Lionsgate, with Michael Keaton and Dylan O’Brien – who is, thankfully, nearing a full recovery after the severe injury suffered while filming The Maze Runner – already on board.
Stephen Schiff is the scribe attached to adapt Flynn’s source material, chronicling the rise and rise of O’Brien’s Mitch Rapp, an “Arab linguistics who joins the CIA as an assassin after his girlfriend is killed in a terrorist attack. Keaton is playing his reluctant mentor, a Cold War veteran. When the two are enlisted by the CIA to investigate a wave of apparently random attacks on both military and civilian targets, the tracks lead to a mysterious operative intent »
- Michael Briers
In recent years, the war between movie fans and film critics — if, in fact, it is a war — has had its flare-ups. Remember what happened when “The Dark Knight Rises” was about to be released in 2012? It may seem like a tempest in a batcave now, but the collective desire to see that movie struck such a frenzied nerve of anticipation that a handful of critics who gave it negative reviews actually received death threats.
When director Christopher Nolan was asked to comment on the threats during an interview outside the film’s London premiere, he ducked the issue by saying, “I think the fans are very passionate about these characters, the way a lot of people are very passionate.” I’m sure that Nolan wasn’t, in any way, trying to lend passive-aggressive support to violence against critics. But he was clearly bending over backwards to look like he »
- Owen Gleiberman
Simon Brew Jul 28, 2016
Finding Dory swims (had to be done) into UK cinemas this weekend, with it already breaking records at the box office in the Us, and earning no shortage of acclaim too.
I think Finding Dory is important. The parent in me was delighted to find a film where the central character had something that really mattered about them. It brought back Vanellope in Wreck-It Ralph in that here you had this character with a flaw as such, but one tackled with positivity. What kind of reactions have you seen to the character of Dory specifically, and the core »
San Diego — As director Luc Besson and his wife Virginie Besson-Silla laid out in meticulous detail a vision for “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” — based on the French comic series “Valerian and Laureline” — their passion for the heavy genre material was certainly palpable. But it was difficult to ignore the specter of other attempted franchise launches from respected filmmakers that crashed on the rocks of “unproven intellectual property.”
“Finding Dory” broke Andrew Stanton out of director jail after his 2012 Edgar Rice Burroughs adaptation “John Carter” forced Disney to take a $200 million write-down. Warner Bros. took a hit on the titanically budgeted “Jupiter Ascending” last year from Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski, after holding it over from 2014 to delay the pain. Unless it’s tied to successful preexisting brands (“Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”), space opera just seems like a difficult sell these days. »
- Kristopher Tapley
DeHaan, who made his breakout in Josh Trank’s Chronicle before continuing that superhero streak in Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man franchise, will take point as the title character in Besson’s ambitious adaptation, one that mines inspiration from the eponymous comic book series.
Valerian is one half of a pair of special time-travelling operatives, a title DeHaan’s lead shares with Cara Delevingne (Suicide Squad), who is on board in the role of Laureline. Clive Owen, Ethan Hawke, Rihanna, 10 Cloverfield Lane star John Goodman and Rutger Hauer currently line the supporting roles.
While there’s no question that Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets harbors truckloads of promise, big-budget, fantastical science fiction that plays well with the »
- Michael Briers
Hollywood isn't taking many chances these days. In an era of reboots and remakes, original movies like Columbia Pictures' Pixels, Walt Disney Pictures' Tomorrowland and Warner Bros. Pictures' Jupiter Ascending both underwhelmed critics and underperformed at the box office. Revamped properties aren't sure bets either, as Universal Pictures' R.I.P.D. and New Line Cinema's Jack the Giant Slayer proved. Millions were spent making those blockbusters. Add in marketing costs, and the losses increase exponentially. On paper, films like 47 Ronin and John Carter seemed like good ideas. And every executive dreams of being the one to green-light the next billion-dollar franchise, à la Pirates of »
By John Lemay
For many years Tarzan was a staple of cinema—in fact from its very onset. The first Tarzan feature, Tarzan of the Apes, came out in 1918 and was followed by close to 50 other adaptations in the last century. His star started to fade in the late 1960s and there were no Tarzan features in the 1970s save for one. The 1980s somewhat provided his last gasp on the big screen with movies like the Bo Derek vehicle Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981) and- more impressively- the well-received Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. The 1990s saw only 1998’s Tarzan and the Lost City and the 1999 Disney animated version. In fact, for all many “youngsters” know Tarzan may as well have originated with the Disney cartoon. For the first time in many years, we finally have a new big-budget live-action iteration of one of the screen »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
With Independence Day falling on a Monday, the holiday weekend’s three-day totals so far took a sweet jump over 2015, when the 4th fell on Saturday. After a slow summer, the result is the best increase over the equivalent weekend in some time; three films topped $30 million for the three days, all better than any last year.
The top spot was nabbed both last weekend and in 2015 by a Pixar film in its third week. Incredibly though “Finding Dory” is now 50% ahead of “Inside Out” through the same period, with a clear path to the best total of the year, at least until December’s “Star Wars” entry takes its shot.
- Tom Brueggemann
“From the author of ‘John Carter’!” is a tagline that no studio would use to promote a movie, but “The Legend of Tarzan” — another dive into the pulpy output of writer Edgar Rice Burroughs — feels like another perfunctory attempt to breathe new life into a familiar property. There’s never a moment in this new film that comes off like anyone involved was driven or aching to put a new spin on Tarzan; instead, it’s a reflection of public awareness of the character, whose name gets a little registered trademark symbol in the opening and closing credits. If marketing-based. »
- Alonso Duralde
It would be fun to think that “Independence Day: Resurgence” is as godawful as a lot of people want to say it is — that it’s the “John Carter” of bombastically overscaled paramilitary ’90s-nostalgia alien disaster flicks. But seriously, it ain’t that bad. (And let’s be honest: The 1996 original isn’t that good.) It’s a greasy high-cheese blockbuster served up by people who know (mostly) what they’re doing — which is to say, director Roland Emmerich, in the 20 years since “ID4,” has not lost his touch for shamelessly grandiose and derivative sci-fi schlock spectacle. That said, a movie like this one wouldn’t be a movie like this one if it didn’t offer at least a few invitations to giggle at it. Viewers, of course, are free to choose their own, but just to get you started, here are the 5 most ridiculous things about “ID4: Resurgence. »
- Owen Gleiberman
One realm to rule them all. One realm to find them, one realm to bring them all and in the darkness bind them, in the land of Middle-earth where the shadows lie.
Now, far be it from me to ever describe Middle-earth as a dark shadow over anything, but for everyone else trying to make a mega-hit fantasy film, the very thought of competing with Peter Jackson’s adaptations of The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit must seem the equivalent of toppling literal evil on Earth.
It seems that any time a big-budget fantasy flick is released, they get sneered at as generic, lacking the richness of detail or story compared to Lord Of The Rings.
But if this sounds like I’m suggesting there »
Ever since Taylor Kitsch first stole our hearts as Tim Riggins on Friday Night Lights, the sexy star has had more than a few handsome onscreen moments. From the shirtless scenes in John Carter to the hot stares on True Detective, Kitsch continues to confirm his heartthrob status. Keep reading for a look at some of Taylor Kitsch's most swoon-worthy movie and TV moments, then see what he recently told us about his time on Friday Night Lights. »
- Laura Marie Meyers
Finding Dory, 2016.
The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish reunites with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.
Unforgettable, that’s what you are. Well not you fair reader (although we do love you greatly!), the reference alludes to Pixar, cinema’s almighty purveyor of animated delights that have catapulted us through oceans, toy barns, incredible feats of incredible-ness and the inner workings of the young mind. Unforgettable experiences all but none have been quite literally unforgettable than Finding Nemo or more specifically his friend Dory, the absent-minded blue tang that literally crashed into his and father Marlin’s life back in 2003. Thirteen years later (though just the one in ocean years), the threesome haven’t slowed down but is Finding Dory more Toy Story 2/3 than Cars 2?
A year has passed since Marlin (Brooks) and Dory (DeGeneres) fought off seagulls, sharks and countless other obstacles to rescue Nemo from a dentist’s waiting room fish tank and bring him home safely. No closer to remembering her life before meeting the father and son duo, Dory has settled into life with them even helping out with the school trips now and again as a pseudo-school mum but such activities see her soon yearn for her own parents and memories begin to flood back. Desperate to find them, she sets off back into the dark recesses of the Atlantic in search of father Charlie (Levy) and mother Jenny (Keaton).
What is always so true with any Pixar film is just how wonderful all the environments they create feel once you’re transported into them and none more so with both Nemo and now Dory with every element of the ocean floors and aquatic life brought to life with immense detail and beauty. It feels like we’ve never left when Dory kicks off, the blue-green sea rippled with the wonderful sunlight from above as the mesmeric colours of the cove’s are superbly rendered once again. Indeed Pixar has come a long way since the first adventure in terms of technical abilities (hell, even Nemo was leap years forward from their early beginnings) but now at their apex, it really feels as though you are looking into a glass tank or taking a scuba trip into the deep blue such is the majesty of the images.
With original director Andrew Stanton back to take the sequel reigns after his unsuccessful John Carter venture, everything feels like home both in terms of design and look but also in the story department. It would have been very easy to have made Finding Nemo 2, focusing again on the young clownfish as he explores the wonders of the deep but shifting the focus keeps everything as fresh and vibrant as its surroundings. But Pixar equally excels when dealing with the reality of its stories whatever the situation and Dory will pull at the heartstrings as much as tickle the funny bone. Stanton and co-writer Victoria Strouse beautifully balance the laughs with true and meaningful reflections of loss and separation and that our flaws, however, big or small, should inspire rather than suppress. That said, some moments don’t touch the heart as deeply as they should while the final act is perhaps a slapstick stretch too far but it’s never anything less than deliriously entertaining.
And of course, when you have the comedic brilliance of Ellen DeGeneres front and centre, half the battle is won. The comedian and talk-show host has been aching for a sequel to be made and having got her wish she tackles it with full force, filling the screen with both heart and humour. It’s easy to see why such talents as Eugene Levy, Diane Keaton, Ed O’Neill and the always superb Bill Hader when supporting characters such as these as wonderfully realised as everything else on show. Keep those ears peeled for a very funny cameo too.
Any fears that the long-awaited sequel to Nemo was never going to work are slain within minutes as Pixar hits another home run – you’d think they were getting tired by now. Joyous, touching and superbly realised, Finding Dory is a sequel worthy of the name and one that could easily be even bigger than its predecessor. Get the swimming cossies and goggles at the ready and just keep swimming.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★
Scott J. Davis is a Senior Staff Writer and Roving Reporter for Flickering Myth – Follow him on Twitter
- Scott J. Davis
Andrew Stanton had built his entire career on animation, with films like Finding Nemo and Wall-e, before making his live-action debut with 2012’s John Carter. This summer’s Finding Dory brings him back into the Pixar fold, but he’s already looking to mix things up again. In a new interview, Stanton revealed that he wants to take a break from […]
- Angie Han
It's been "years and years" since Taylor Kitsch reunited with his Friday Night Lights costars, and he can't wait to spend time with his former castmates this weekend. Thanks to Marriott Rewards, Kitsch is teaming up with Zach Gilford, Minka Kelly, and Aimee Teegarden to compete in Saturday's Spartan Race in Chicago, where the group will be tackling obstacles and, as Kitsch joked, possibly calling Kyle Chandler for a prerace pep talk, Coach Taylor style. Over the past few years, the 35-year-old actor has starred in movies like John Carter, Battleship, and Lone Survivor, and last year he was back on the small screen with True Detective. It was his breakout role as Fnl's Tim Riggins, though, that made him a household name, and to talk to Kitsch is to remember why his popular character is such a fan favorite. Like Riggins, Kitsch is charming and quick with the one-liners - which makes sense, »
- Laura Marie Meyers
Jaws, Back to the Future, Et … the list of blockbusters to have faced late-in-the-day tampering is a long and venerable one
The Oscar-winning director Andrew Stanton, on making the leap from Finding Nemo and Wall-e to the ill-fated space spectacular John Carter, was asked to name the biggest difference between live action and animated film-making. His reply: the cost of reshoots.
Pixar, Stanton said, might reconfigure a movie half a dozen times before considering it finished. With an entirely digital mise-en-scène, the studio’s greatest expense when trying to turn around a failing film was the re-recording of dialogue. Video could then be reworked to match remarkably cheaply, via not much more (figuratively speaking) than a few swipes of an animator’s mouse.
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- Ben Child
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