Newsbites: Sith Baer King, convert martyrs

Just a handful of news links here.

1. Oh, pooh. Looks like Revenge of the Sith went and broke another record by making $300 million in 17 days, thus beating the 18-day record set by Shrek 2 last year.

So it just might gross over $400 million in its initial run after all — and if it did, it would be only the fifth film to do so, following 1997′s Titanic, 1999′s The Phantom Menace, 2002′s Spider-Man and 2004′s Shrek 2; 1977′s Star Wars and 1982′s E.T. didn’t cross that line until their 20th-anniversary re-releases.

2. Slate has an interesting article on Max Baer, the boxing champ villainized by Ron Howard’s Cinderella Man, that focuses specifically on his Jewishness (or at least his claims thereto).

3. The Hollywood Reporter has a review of The King, which stars William Hurt as a married pastor with a family who discovers he has an illegitimate son (Gael Garcia Bernal); the son, who is initially rebuffed because he was conceived before his dad found Jesus, goes on to have a secret affair with the pastor’s daughter (i.e. his own half-sister) and to kill her brother when he threatens to tell all to their father. And thus, apparently, the film — co-written by Milo Addica (Monster’s Ball, Birth) — raises the question of whether we can truly forgive evil.

4. The Voice of America asks “Has Hollywood Had a Conversion Experience?” Nothing much new here, and some of the statements are a little off (e.g., Kingdom of Heaven, with only $46 million in the till since it opened a month ago, is widely regarded as a flop, and not as a movie that “has hit the box office jackpot”).

5. The Russian News & Information Agency reports that the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church will be collaborating on a series about the early Christian martyrs, to be called The Pilgrimage to the Eternal City, which is described as a “documentary” but will also evidently include the work of actors who have starred in films like Dersu Uzula (1975) and Burnt by the Sun (1994). No Catholic sources are quoted in the story, though.

6. The Vancouver Sun ran an article on Mennonite writers this weekend. One of the best-known right now is Miriam Toews, whose novel A Complicated Kindness is sitting somewhere in my pile of books, though I have not yet read it. The article also mentions one David Waltner-Toews, and then says: “no relation to Miriam”. Puh-leeze. They’re Mennonites. Similar surname or no similar surname, the question is not whether they’re related but how.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his film column, which won multiple awards from the Evangelical Press Association, the Canadian Church Press and the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005).

  • g chin

    Re. Sith’s (latest) record-breaking bit of news: a) the hype is good, brother b) no accounting for taste c) Batman Begins hasn’t opened yet.

    Watched Episode 3 for the second time yesterday and it improved with a second viewing – unlike subsequent viewings of the other two prequels, for me, which revised my opinion of them progressively downward! I’m referring to the original theatrical release versions – the IMAX version of Clones, with 15-20 minutes cut out of it to make the entire film fit on a single IMAX reel, was a marked improvement over the original theatrical cut. Hurrah Ben Burtt.