If you know one thing about Blumhouse Productions boss Jason Blum, it’s that the man knows how to finance excellent horror movies. From Hush to Split to Get Out, Blumhouse has built a reputation as a destination for talented low-budget genre filmmakers, and the success of this past year — and the studio’s upcoming Halloween sequel — should only vault the studio to new heights. Part of what makes this formula work is the studio’s dedication to artistic freedom: while Blum is notorious for his rigid approach to production costs, as long as you are able to deliver under-budget, you’ll be given a chance to make something with your stamp on it.
It feels like we’ve been watching the same six or seven movies shift places on the charts for weeks now, which makes what happened this weekend such a breath of fresh air. With four new releases all cracking the charts, we’ve at least got a little bit of variety in the titles we’ll be discussing, and no The Emoji Movie near the list. I’ll put that down as a win in my book any day of the week. Here’s the estimated box office grosses as of Sunday afternoon:
Anyone familiar with the now-defunct Star Wars extended universe knows that characters like Emperor Palpatine are considerably less dead in the books than they are in the movies. With cloning a huge canonical part of the Star Wars mythology, it was only a matter of time before some adventurous writer decided to bring major villains back from the dead; that is how Luke Skywalker ended up facing off against the clones of a young Palpatine (not to mention an evil Luke Skywalker clone). And with Lucasfilm demonstrating a willingness to pick and choose from the extended universe as they see fit, you’d be forgiven for wondering if we’d eventually find out that Palpatine 2.0 was the one pulling all the strings.
Let’s brainstorm for a moment. A year ago, I tell you that Sony Pictures is giving $100 million dollars to the screenwriter of Pan and the director of Mama to make a blockbuster summer movie. Furthermore, this $100 million dollar movie will be based on a popular animated television series from the 1980s. What is your gut reaction? Are you surprised? Dismayed? Cautiously optimistic? Now what if I tell you the exact same thing, but instead of Pan and Mama, I mention Wonder Woman and It, two of the most critically and commercial successful movies of 2017? Just goes to show you how much things can change in Hollywood over just a few months.
Nothing piques my interest quite like a feature-length film based on a documentary. It’s something of a rare occurrence in Hollywood — movies that begin their lives as documentaries aren’t commercially successful enough to encourage further adaptation — but rare doesn’t mean impossible. A quick Google search will reveal plenty of documentary adaptations, including Man on a Wire and Grey Gardens, that went onto some semblance of success with critics and audiences alike. Every now and then, you come across a story so strange — so absolutely overwhelming — that you simply have to bring it to the screen a second time.
Here’s a fun question for you: how many evil droids have there been in the Star Wars universe? There was the interrogation droid that tortured Dr. Leia in the original Star Wars; IG-88 and the jet-black C-3PO unit in The Empire Strikes Back; and a handful of trade federation robots in the Star Wars prequels, as well as K-2SO (sorta) in Rogue One. Come to think of it, while both Death Stars have always had a bunch of R2 and MSE units wandering around in the background, the Star Wars series has always been a little short on recognizable droid baddies.
Today the world of comedy lost one of its brightest stars. Jerry Lewis was no stranger to controversy during his decades-long career, but his impact on both Hollywood and comedy in general cannot be denied. From his early days as Dean Martin’s partner-in-crime to his career-capping turn in Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy — and countless box office success in the interim — Lewis’s impact on Hollywood will be a source of much discussion for years to come.
Here’s a question for you: is it time to add Vin Diesel to the list of actors whose career is defined entirely by a single film franchise? Sure, Diesel has shown up in other successful movies throughout his careers — Saving Private Ryan, The Iron Giant, and Guardians of the Galaxy have all been critical and commercial successes, not to mention his more niche productions like Find Me Guilty and his Riddick movies — but none of this holds a candle to his work on the Fast and Furious franchise. He’s been producer, screenwriter, and star of those movies for over 16 years now… I mean, nobody goes up to William Shatner and praises him for his work in Judgment at Nuremberg, right?
I probably don’t need to tell you that Baby Driver is a good movie; odds are you’ve seen it in theaters - maybe more than once - and might even own have a copy of the soundtrack downloaded on your phone. As good as Baby Driver The Movie might be, Baby Driver The Soundtrack is even better, with a ton of really great songs from artists as diverse as Simon & Garfunkel, Blur, and Martha and the Vandellas. And until now, one of the better production stories has been all the hard work Edgar Wright and company put into securing the rights for each of these tracks.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a major movie market like New York or Los Angeles, you may have plans this weekend to see Taylor Sheridan’s Wind River, the latest entry in Sheridan’s ouevre of neo-westerns like Sicario and Hell or High Water. Our own review of Wind River called the film impressive-looking - if not a little familiar - and a project that bodes well for the future of Sheridan as a filmmaker. And while Sheridan may be the master at the contemporary western, it appears the writer-director also has a more traditional take in mind, working on a project with Wind River star Jeremy Renner about America’s most infamous gunslinger.
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