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Comi-Con 2015: May The ‘Hall H’ Audience Be With You!

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The major buzz at Comi-Con 2015 was focused on the auditorium known as Hall H, which has become an iconic launching pad for the next run of Sci-Fi films waiting for commercial release.

This year at Hall H, a panel discussions included cast members from X-Men: Apocalypse and Fantastic Four and where Ryan Reynolds made as surprise appearance to plug the upcoming Deadpool.

Fantastic Four

This is already a start-studded line up. The next X-Men romp, due out May 2, 2016, includes in its cast James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Olivia Munn, Evans Peters, Kodi Smit-McPHee, Sophia Turner, Tye Sheridan, Axexandra Shipp, Lucas Till, Josh Helman, Lana Condor, Ben Hardy and Hugh Jackman — not so easy to say in one breath. The third Fantasy Four adventure, due out June 2017, stars Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey and Tim Blake Nelson.

In terms of whoops and hollers, it appears to be unanimous. Deadpool with its R-rating and its comedic approach was the year’s biggest response from the crowd. Due out Februery 2016, it features Ryan Reynolds as the snarky anti-hero Deadpool with help from Morena Baccarin and Ed Skrein.

Deadpool poster 2

Of course, all things Sci-Fi lands on its feet at Comi-Con. One critic wrote, “It is safe to say that everyone at Comi-Con is a Star Wars fan.” That probably includes those who named their dogs “Chewie.” In any case, no one will argue with that statement.

A smattering of Comi-Con reviews includes a detailed appreciation for Brianna Hildebrand’s eye-catching spandex X-Men costume, a yellow and black number that was met with approval, despite the point that she’s a “superhero in training,” the critic said.

Deadpool’s R-rating, it is safe to say, caused more than a few Sci-Fi eyebrows to lift. The movie is peppered with four-letter punch lines and an up against the wall love scene that looks fully nude in the trailer. (Who knows; one of them might be wearing socks.)

Not due for release until August 2016, Suicide Squad also created quite a stir in Hall H. The film is chalk full of anti-hero types, which means super-villans who band together for a suicide mission, more or less a retake of The Dirty Dozen, who were bad-ass military prisoners promised release if they towed the line and participated in one against-all-odds mission in World War II.

Suicide Squad cast

Yes, this probably sends the clear signal to the public that movie studios are trying to squeeze every last drop of income they can out of the world of DC and Marvel Comics. Basically, it was Batman and Superman with some Cat Woman and Wonder Women appearances to provide the sex appeal. But now the floodgates are open and films will never be the same.

Last but not least, of course, The Force Awakens, the seventh feature out of the Star Wars series, is due out in December, which gave Lucasfilm a chance to take a bow at Comi-Con. The return of the Great Ones: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford all on one stage certainly got the tweets a’tweetin’, even though the triumvirate are well past their prime almost 40 years passed the release date of the first Star Wars film – May 25, 1977.

Star Wars poster

Talk about changing history. The futuristic Star Wars series did just that, light-sabers swinging and The Force, if not awakened, at least put on high alert.

The other Sci-Fi offerings that year, Empire of the Ants (giant ants in Florida) and Tentacles (about an over-reaching octopus).

Here are some Comic-con videos you HAVE to check out!

X-Men cast at Comi-Con:

The Fantastic Four:

Deadpool:

Star Wars:

 

Box Office

“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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Review: “Captain Marvel” is a Solidly Sensational Sci-Fi Adventure

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Captain Marvel joins the ranks of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a much different way. She slides into the MCU via a twisty sci-fi adventure of the 1990s, before the Avengers were formed. And though the film does serve as a strong bridge picture that answers a few more questions about the Marvel universe, the film quickly becomes its own thing and gives its hero a real identity as the powerful addition to the superhero ensemble.

Brie Larson plays Carol Danvers, a woman not sure if she’s a human pilot of Earth or a soldier of the Kree empire’s Starforce. There’s little time to explore these conflicting visions she’s having when there’s special energy powers to control and a war being waged against the shape-shifting Skrull alien creatures. A detour to 1990s Earth gives her a bit of time to find out more while also hunting down some more Skrulls, leading to some interesting scenarios when combatting aliens that could look like old ladies.

Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL..Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) ..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019

Carol’s landing on Earth leads to treading down familiar Marvel timeline territory as well as evoking plenty of dated 1990s bits. What started drawing me into the picture was how the film holds itself back from the obvious. The 1990s setting is used for some gags of video stores and Windows 95, sure, but never goes the extra mile of becoming an aggravating reference fest, keeping a certain vibe the way Guardians of the Galaxy embraced the 1970s and 1980s. And just like that film, there’s a nostalgic soundtrack to boot, with choice tracks for just the right cue.

Samuel L. Jackson pops up in the film as a younger Nick Fury with his two eyes still intact. He teams up with Carol in her intergalactic spy adventure and thankfully never goes to the booming lengths he was known for that decade. And the filmmakers could have easily made this younger Fury go full Die Hard 3 or Pulp Fiction but he never does, always keeping that cool persona he has been known for in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL..L to R: Att-Lass (Algenis Perez Soto), Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Minn-Erva (Gemma Chan)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019

But the one aspect that is never shunned and built up grandly is the aspect of female empowerment. Danvers is established as a woman who doesn’t have a clear identity or mindful nature of galactic politics and has to build herself up when she realizes she may be a very powerful pawn in a big game of intergalactic chess. Her memories are that of always being told to back off from non-traditional activities for girls and, sure enough, she rises up to become the smirking and energy-shooting hero when the final piece of her character puzzle is pieced together. It’s just unfortunate that the film spends so much time doing the building amid a twisty sci-fi spy story that Brie never gets a moment to shine as brightly as she could, despite a very enthusiastic third-act closer.

If we’re being blunt, no, Captain Marvel doesn’t quite have the same gravity to be a cultural milestone of a comic book movie. Where others have pointed to Black Panther as not the first the most insightful and cultural of black-led superhero movies, I doubt many will look towards Captain Marvel as the grandest of female-led comic book movies, making its motives known with the power and subtlety of a supernova. But, in terms of what the film is aiming towards, it doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone and that’s perhaps the point. I just wish that Captain Marvel’s astounding powers to destroy starships and aliens had a much bigger punch for a picture that wants to obliterate the glass ceiling and merely cuts a narrow hole within the MCU. It’s a nice hole, mind you, and still weaves a capable and compelling sci-fi adventure with a surprisingly more engaging finale than most Marvel solos.

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