The latest addition to the pantheon of mega-flops has been christened. Just as street hooligan Arthur instantly ascended to royalty when he pulled Excalibur from its stone, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword has descended to ignominy by pulling a turd out of the box-office. Perhaps not my best lede work, but it’s Monday. Cut a guy some slack.
Serious question: does any single entertainer have such complete dominion over their chosen field as Weird Al Yankovic wields over the song parody? Skeptics may scoff that musical spoofery is a stupid thing to become really, really, virtuosically good at, but the point stands that Yankovic has completely and totally mastered his preferred art form. So when the producers behind the upcoming film adaptation of the Captain Underpants chapter book series needed to find a talent for their theme music, of course their choice was obvious. In no insignificant way, Weird Al Yankovic was born to write a peppy pop tune about tightened-whiteys.
We owe a lot to scientists — they cured polio, got us on the moon, and they‘re doing their darnedest to stop us from methodically killing the planet. But man, what a bunch of nerds. It seems like every time biologists discover a new species of animal and need to give it a name, they take the opportunity to bust out a reference to their favorite bit of geek-approved pop culture. Lest we forget the velvet worm named after My Neighbor Totoro, and we’d be remiss to overlook the euglossa bazinga, a rare bee with a Big Bang Theory catchphrase as its namesake. And it appears that now the nerds are at it again.
We‘ve only just entered May, but in the first few months of 2017, the year has yielded a surprisingly eclectic array of blockbusters. Survey the biggest earners to date, and you’ll see a socially critical horror flick from a first-time director, a spin-off based on a cross-property licensing deal within a corporate brand expansion, and a tough-as-nails superhero side project with post-apocalyptic Western overtones. The latest Fast and Furious installment looks most at home in the top five so far, but more unexpected still is that it’s been handily defeated by the year’s top earner, Disney’s handsomely mounted revival of Beauty and the Beast. And now, the unlikely box-office behemoth has claimed another record.
In case you weren’t aware, a pretty major situation has been percolating in the entertainment industry over the past month. Unsatisfied with the conditions of their work and continued employment, the Writers’ Guild of America went to the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers to renegotiate the terms of their collective contract. A bitter standoff summarily broke out, with the possibility of another writers’ strike — you may remember the last freeze-out, which stretched from late 2007 into early 2008 — looming on the horizon. Today brings a resolution to the saga of the last few weeks, and in true Hollywood fashion, everyone’s getting a happy ending.
Pronouns — terrifying, right? At least when they don’t have antecedents, that is. There’s suspense baked right into the title of It Comes At Night, the upcoming feature from Trey Edward Shults, director of last year’s self-assured debut Krisha. So what is the ‘it,’ and why is it coming at night? The attendees of the Overlook Film Festival are keeping mum, having gotten the first glimpse at the film this past weekend when it popped up as the festival’s secret surprise screening. They offered rapturous but spoiler-free praise, but luckily for the rest of us, a new trailer and poster have surfaced to shed a little light on what’s going on while simultaneously compounding the mystery.
The Overlook Film Festival just began its inaugural proceedings last night, inviting cinephiles and horror enthusiasts to take in some film with a singular location for a backdrop: the Timberline Lodge in Mt. Hood, Oregon, better known to you as the Overlook Hotel and the setting of Stephen King adaptation The Shining. One could scarcely imagine a scene more apropos for the revelation that another big King remake is in the works, so Blumhouse (you know, the studio behind every horror blockbuster of the last few years) head Jason Blum and director-writer Akiva Goldsman took full advantage of their unique surroundings for a major announcement. And in the immortal words of Nelly, it’s getting hot in here.
And a very happy Alien Day to you, ScreenCrush readership! I trust you’ve already paid homage to the late John Hurt with the customary tense salad dinner and pantomimed death-spasms, and have refilled the ceremonial offerings at the Yaphet Kotto shrines we all keep in our closets. Today’s a day filled with wonders, many of which we outlined earlier this month, including various special screenings, a live trivia challenge, and plenty of exclusive merchandise to gussy up the mantle in need of something that says “expulsive viscera.” But one of today‘s surprise offerings dwarfs all pre-announced attractions, at least in terms of potential to give me nightmares.
In the ’70s, Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken starred in the seminal Vietnam War film The Deer Hunter. It ranks among the more harrowing entries in an already brutal genre, unflinchingly depicting the conditions of abject inhumanity in the war zone and then bringing the trauma home to spiritually gut a declining Pennsylvania industry town. A lot has taken place since then, however. We’re now living in a post-Dirty Grandpa world. The news of another collaboration between De Niro and Walken no longer heralds an intense drama with awards potential in its very DNA. They’re now the twin titans of Grandpa Cinema, and their latest project has to reflect that.
This past weekend, a seismic shift in box-office history took place and went largely unnoticed. The writing was on the wall for Star Wars’ legacy in the all-time top 10 highest-earning films, as noted on Reddit prior to the start of this past weekend. Box-office behemoth Beauty and the Beast continued to generate healthy grosses in its fifth weekend of release, ending the weekend with a princely (or should I say, princessly!) sum of $471.1 million. This gave the film a slight edge of the next-most-lucrative film on the list, which just so happened to be George Lucas’ original space opus. Star Wars and its lifetime gross of $461 million have now slid down to the #11 spot.
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