Gadzooks. There are four movies opening in wide release today, and three of them were not screened for critics. I already mentioned Babylon A.D., but it wasn’t until I checked the release schedule last night that I realized I had heard nothing — absolutely nothing — about screenings for College and Disaster Movie. And next week, of course, brings us only one new wide release, Bangkok Dangerous, and that film, too, is not being screened for critics, as I mentioned last week. No wonder I’ve been spending more time at home lately. I can’t say I’m complaining, mind.
There’s been a lot of buzz lately about the fact that Charles Ferguson’s by-now-somewhat-out-of-date Iraq War documentary No End in Sight (2007) will be made available in its entirety on YouTube next month. But I don’t see what the big deal is; the film has been available on Google Video for almost a year:
Click here if the video file above doesn’t play properly.
And if this is all about the election… Well, hyping this movie at this point in time could go in any number of directions. If you opposed the invasion of Iraq five years ago, as Obama did, you may feel vindicated by the fact that things were so bad there a year or two ago. And if you thought the Bush administration was doing a less-than-ideal job of running the invasion five years ago, as McCain did, you may feel vindicated by the fact that things went as badly as McCain predicted, and that things have improved since this film was made, since Bush took McCain’s advice and went ahead with the surge. To hear some people talk, though, you’d think the film could be interpreted in only one direction.
For those who like to speculate about how far the new Star Trek movie will go with its rumoured exploration of alternate timelines, check out this interview with Zachary Quinto, and his response when he is asked, around the 3:25 mark, how his performance as the young Spock was informed by his knowledge of what the character would become in the existing TV shows and movies:
Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Warner Brothers had finally figured out what to do with the DC Comics superheroes: Instead of making a Justice League movie that would compete with the existing Batman and Superman franchises, they will do what Marvel Comics is doing, creating franchises around individual heroes but with an eye towards possibly bringing them together somewhere down the road:
The studio is set to announce its plans for future DC movies in the next month. For now, though, it is focused on releasing four comic-book films in the next three years, including a third Batman film, a new film reintroducing Superman, and two movies focusing on other DC Comics characters. Movies featuring Green Lantern, Flash, Green Arrow, and Wonder Woman are all in active development.
This sounds more promising, I think, but a part of me wonders how the Batman franchise, in its current state, could possibly exist in the same world as super-powered extra-terrestrials (Superman, Green Lantern) and figures with ties to characters from Greek mythology (Wonder Woman). For all their high-tech gadgetry and superheroic stylings, there is a palpable, street-level realism to Chris Nolan’s Batman films that these other films would presumably lack.
I mean, the fans and the filmmakers are currently debating whether there is room for Robin in Nolan’s universe. If a character as central to the Batman mythos as that would feel out of place next to Christian Bale’s Dark Knight, just imagine how a character like Superman would look.
That said, the studio has figured out at least one way to keep all these characters on the same page:
Like the recent Batman sequel — which has become the highest-grossing film of the year thus far — Mr. Robinov wants his next pack of superhero movies to be bathed in the same brooding tone as “The Dark Knight.” Creatively, he sees exploring the evil side to characters as the key to unlocking some of Warner Bros.’ DC properties. “We’re going to try to go dark to the extent that the characters allow it,” he says. That goes for the company’s Superman franchise as well.
For me, the thought of exploring Superman’s “evil side” brings to mind one of the lamer subplots in Superman III (1983), quite possibly the worst Superman movie of them all — although Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) does give it a run for its money, in that regard.
At any rate, this last detail has garnered a fair bit of attention and generated a fair bit of discussion. Today, the MTV Splash Page spoke to several comic-book writers — including Kevin Smith, Jeph Loeb and Mark Waid, among others — to see what they had to say about a darker Superman, and their comments are certainly interesting.
Me, I think there is definitely room for the Last Son of Krypton to brood. I have always loved that moment in John Byrne’s Man of Steel where Pa Kent discovers Clark sitting in the shadows, muttering, “They all wanted a piece of me.” But you can only do so much of that if you want to stay true to the character.
Little birdies are telling me that there will be no press screenings for the futuristic action movie Babylon A.D. before it opens in North America three days from now. However, the film, which is based on a French novel and was directed by a Frenchman, opened in France six days ago, so a few reviews have popped up already, in Variety and elsewhere. The critics who have seen the film say it’s a disappointment, and they aren’t the only ones. Director Mathieu Kassovitz told AMC yesterday that he, too, is “very unhappy with the film” because the studio, 20th Century Fox, interfered with it “from A to Z” and reduced it to “pure violence and stupidity”. Make of all that what you will.
Here are the figures for the past weekend, arranged from those that owe the highest percentage of their take to the Canadian box office to those that owe the lowest.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 — CDN $4,970,000 — N.AM $38,257,000 — 13.0%
Mamma Mia! — CDN $14,900,000 — N.AM $124,458,000 — 12.0%
Death Race — CDN $1,280,000 — N.AM $12,293,000 — 10.4%
Tropic Thunder — CDN $6,290,000 — N.AM $65,668,000 — 9.4%
Pineapple Express — CDN $6,820,000 — N.AM $73,928,000 — 9.2%
The Dark Knight — CDN $45,050,000 — N.AM $489,179,000 — 9.2%
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor — CDN $8,180,000 — N.AM $93,812,000 — 8.7%
Star Wars: The Clone Wars — CDN $1,790,000 — N.AM $24,998,000 — 7.2%
Mirrors — CDN $1,400,000 — N.AM $20,075,000 — 7.0%
The House Bunny — CDN $1,040,000 — N.AM $15,100,000 — 6.9%
A couple of discrepancies: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 was #8 on the Canadian chart (it was #13 in North America as a whole), while The Longshots was #8 on the North American chart (it was #16 in Canada).