Just because you can count on a lot of Hollywood blockbusters showing in many countries across the world doesn’t mean those movies have the same title in other territories. Take the upcoming Fast & Furious spinoff Hobbs and Shaw, for instance. If you see the movie in Japan, you’ll need to make sure you’re buying a ticket for Wild Speed: Super Combo.
Yes, rather than highlighting the two main protagonists of this spinoff, Dwayne Johnson’s Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw, or even mentioning the Fast & Furious franchise at all, Japan is retitling by harnessing the core energy of this movie. And why not? Like the other Fast & Furious movies, Hobbs and Shaw will be filled with wild speed thanks to car/vehicle shenanigans, and those two definitely make for a super combo.
It should be clarified that in Japan, the Fast & Furious franchise has always gone by Wild Speed, with the last entry, The Fate of the Furious, being called Wild Speed: Ice Break. So at least it’s clear for Japanese moviegoers that Super Combo is part of the same franchise. Still, as Paste Magazine noted, if Hobbs and Shaw gets a sequel, will it be called Wild Speed: Super Combo 2 or get another subtitle?
Wild Speed: Super Combo is also a great title for the latest installment in a franchise that’s grown increasingly over-the-top with each new story. The early Fast & Furious movies revolved around street racing and heists, and now we’re at Hobbs and Shaw, where the main villain is a genetically-enhanced super soldier and Luke Hobbs is trying to pull down a helicopter. These movies have basically become live action cartoons, but at least that approach provides a lot of entertainment.
Whether you call it Hobbs and Shaw or Wild Speed: Super Combo, the Fast & Furious spinoff will see Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw joining forces yet again, despite the fact that they still don’t like each other one bit. This time around, their mission is to prevent Idris Elba’s Brixton Lore from releasing a deadly virus onto the world.
This adventure will see both men’s families being deeply explored, with Helen Mirren reprising Deckard’s mother, Magdalene Shaw, and Vanessa Kirby playing Decker’s sister, Hattie Shaw, while in the Hobbs clan we’ll meet Luke’s mother, Sefina, and his many brothers, including Roman Reigns’ Mateo. Hobbs and Shaw… sorry, Wild Speed: Super Combo’s cast also includes Eiza González and Eddie Marsan.
Directed by Deadpool 2’s David Leitch and written by longtime Fast & Furious franchise contributor Chris Morgan, Hobbs and Shaw races into theaters on August 2, so stay tuned to CinemaBlend for continuing coverage. In the meantime, be sure to look through our 2019 release schedule to learn what other movies are coming out later this year.
News came out recently that Ryan Reynolds is joining Red Notice, the action heist film from Skyscraper writer-director Rawson Marshall Thurber that stars Dwayne Johnson and Gal Gadot. In that same report, it was revealed that the star-studded film was leaving Universal Pictures and will instead be distributed by Netflix. Red Notice represents a huge financial commitment on the part of the streaming service, and in a statement, Dwayne Johnson praised Netflix’s dominance, saying:
Dwayne Johnson personifies ambition, with his own driving him to become the biggest movie star in the world, so he appreciates Netflix’s aims to become its own massive movie studio and not just a distribution service. Netflix seeks to dominate and is doing so with critically acclaimed original content meant to entertain subscribers around the globe. Red Notice will now be a part of that stable.
In his statement to Deadline, Dwayne Johnson also praises Netflix’s enthusiasm for Red Notice, an enthusiasm that didn’t start recently. Red Notice was at the center of a fierce bidding war last year with Netflix, the runner-up to Universal Pictures. When Rawson Marshall Thurber completed his screenplay, complete with a budget for the film, the filmmakers reportedly sensed hesitation on the part of Universal.
Due to a clause in the original deal, a window opened up and they were able to show the script to Netflix. The streaming service agreed to everything the filmmakers needed, showing that enthusiasm for the international action thriller that Dwayne Johnson spoke of and scooping up the project.
The initial pitch deal included a $20 million salary for Dwayne Johnson and an eight-figure salary for Thurber, and I imagine Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds don’t come cheap either. Red Notice’s production budget is reportedly in the $130 million range. Netflix found a way to make the numbers work in what is perhaps its biggest commitment to date. This speaks to the company’s confidence in the film and its ability to become a franchise with worldwide appeal.
This investment runs contrary to the recent report that Netflix would be cutting back on risky big-budget projects like Triple Frontier. Maybe this newfound frugality doesn’t apply to a project like Red Notice, which stars Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds, and therefore seems about as safe a bet to attract eyeballs as you could make.
A lot of actors and filmmakers have been flocking to Netflix to make content for the service in recent years and some of that may have to do with the collaborative production process that Dwayne Johnson praises here. This will mark Dwayne Johnson’s first big project at Netflix and the superstar seems to be excited for the possibilities for Red Notice.
Red Notice is described as a globetrotting action-adventure film that centers around the pursuit of the world’s most wanted art thief. Netflix has set a 2020 production start date for the film. Red Notice was originally slated to release on November 13, 2020 under Universal, but there’s no word as of yet when it might arrive on Netflix.
Stormtroopers have been a part of the Star Wars franchise since the beginning. The white-clad soldiers were some of the first characters we ever saw in Star Wars: A New Hope and since then the characters have always been a part of Star Wars. That’s not to say they haven’t evolved a great deal over the decades, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will bring us the newest iteration of the Stormtrooper, the Sith Trooper.
StarWars.com revealed the first look at the red and black Sith Trooper today as part of an announcement of a special exhibit spotlighting the history of the Stormtrooper at San Diego Comic-Con next week. Fans will get to see many of the different Stormtroopers designs from the last 40 plus years, including this brand new addition to the Stormtrooper family.
Beyond the reveal of the look and the name, little else was revealed about this new character, beyond the fact that there will be a ton of Sith Trooper merch available at SDCC for those who want to take home this new character sooner rather than later.
Of course, we can surmise a few things based on what we know. If it’s a Sith Trooper, then these soldiers must serve the Emperor. Palpatine is the only living Sith as far as we know, unless Kylo Ren has been his apprentice this whole time, or becomes one during Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Or maybe Palpatine has another apprentice we’ll be meeting at some point in the new film.
The red color has always been associated with those in charge. The Emperor’s personal guard from The Return of the Jedi as well as Supreme Leader Snoke’s Elite Praetorian Guard all wore a similar shade of red.
Of course, if the Emperor has his own Stormtroopers that raises a bunch of interesting questions. Where did they come from? Who trained them? The First Order? How many people have known that Palpatine was alive (assuming, of course, that “alive” is the right word for whatever state the guy us in) this whole time? Does Finn, a former Stormtrooper know that Sith Troopers are a thing?
Still, whatever the deal, the Sith Trooper looks pretty awesome. One also has to wonder who will be under the helmets of these things when we see them. Stormtroopers have been the primary place where the new trilogy has hidden cameos of celebrities who wanted to become part of the franchise.
I’d expect that the Stormtrooper exhibit at SDCC will reveal a few additional details about these new troopers, though likely nothing too spoilery. We’re only five months away from the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and it seems unlikely anybody is looking to give away too many details about characters with links to the Sith.
While it was previously speculated that Marvel Studios wouldn’t be at San Diego Comic-Con, it was then confirmed that the studio would indeed be making a presentation. That’s lead to quite an interesting turn, as while The Russo Brothers are done with their time in the MCU, they seem to be teasing new footage in the following, cryptic tweet:
In recent years, the lines have blurred between actors and the behind-the-scenes filmmaker creatives. Few actors’ careers have become synonymous with their directorial efforts. Think about Clint Eastwood’s best work: helming Best Picture winner Million Dollar Baby is just as iconic as his acting roots in ‘60s spaghetti westerns. Now the likes of Bradley Cooper and Angelina Jolie are following in his footsteps.
More and more of Hollywood’s leads have turned to the director’s chair. They’re producing blockbuster hits and critically-acclaimed works too! Having the knowledge of both sides of the fence must come in handy. So with that in mind, let’s go over these impressive actors-turned-directors.
She got her start at the turn of the 21st century on Wet Hot American Summer, Spider-Man and Catch Me If You Can, and has since become a regular in big comedies and James Gunn’s occasional horror projects, as well as been a peppy persona in Hunger Games, Pitch Perfect and the LEGO franchises. But in recent years, Elizabeth Banks has turned to directing as well.
She made her debut on the 2015 sequel to Pitch Perfect after contributing her eye to ensemble comedy Movie 43, where she directed a segment called “Middleschool Date” featuring Chloe Grace Moretz and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. Next, she’ll bring back the Charlie’s Angels franchise (along with starring as Bosley herself) with Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska coming this November.
This two-time Oscar winner has one of the most illustrious acting careers in Hollywood. It’s almost impossible to talk about his accomplishments in the biz without bringing up at least 10 of his roles. Glory (which actually inspired Black Panther’s Killmonger!), Training Day, Malcolm X, The Equalizer… the list goes on! But it goes even further because Denzel Washington has also helmed some incredible features as well.
He made his debut in 2002 with Antwone Fisher, a “based on a true story” drama about a troubled navy man and his psychologist (played by Denzel Washington). Five years later, he also starred in and directed The Great Debaters (also rooted in fact) before adapting the August Wilson play Fences with Viola Davis in 2017, for which she won her first and so far only Oscar.
The 35-year-old actor has continually showed audiences new tricks up his talented sleeves throughout his career. His time in Hollywood began with David O. Russell’s I Heart Huckabees alongside Lily Tomlin, Jude Law and Mark Wahlberg in 2004 before breaking out in bro comedies with the likes of Seth Rogen, Steve Carell and Jason Segel, most notably with the now classic Superbad.
Jonah Hill then made a memorable shift to dramatic work in Moneyball and The Wolf of Wall Street, earning him Best Supporting Oscar noms. In 2018, he made his directorial debut with Mid90s, based on his own raw and relatable script about a 13-year-old skater kid living in LA in the ‘90s. The indie film got major acclaim, making him an intriguing director to watch out for.
Jon Favreau early acting work included 1996’s Swingers, playing one of Monica’s boyfriends on Friends, and the disaster film Deep Impact but quickly made a name for himself as a director at the same time. He’s simultaneously made some hefty contributions to modern cinema, such as the Christmas classic Elf, while frequently starring in comedies with Vince Vaughn such as The Break-up, Four Christmases and Couples Retreat.
He’s had a key role to play in the MCU since he directed the first entries: Iron Man 1 & 2. Jon Favreau’s role of Happy in the franchise has also seen him participate in arious other Marvel films, most recently Spider-Man: Far From Home. The director has also led Zathura, Cowboys & Aliens, Chef and two huge CGI-heavy Disney remakes: The Jungle Book and The Lion King.
Captain Marvel has also established herself as an actor/director as well! The 29-year-old has been on film sets since she was nine years old. As a child actress, Brie Larson had roles in 13 Going on 30 (news to the rom-com’s Matty, Mark Ruffalo) and Hoot before really breaking out in Hollywood with Scott Pilgrim, 21 Jump Street and Short Term 12.
The actress won an Oscar in 2015 for her leading role in Room, before nabbing the role of the MCU’s Carol Danvers and starring in Kong: Skull Island. On the latter projects, she found a friend in Samuel L. Jackson, who she enlisted for her directorial debut, Unicorn Store. The 2019 Netflix dramedy also led by her acting chops showed she has a quirky, unique eye to share behind the camera.
James Franco has always been a versatile actor, from playing Harry Osborn in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, performing alongside Seth Rogen on movies such as Pineapple Express, becoming an Oscar contender on Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours, or being the leading man in 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Franco has also tried his hand at directing many times around, dabbling in shorts, docs and feature length films.
His first directorial project was a comedy called The Ape, which he starred and wrote about a man who finds out a Hawaiian-shirt-wearing ape lives in his place. (Really, it exists!) He’s also helmed indies titled As I Lay Dying, Child of God and The Pretenders. His most celebrated and memorable directorial movie is 2017’s The Disaster Artist, which is about the best ‘bad movie’ The Room.
Bradley Cooper also got his start in comedy with his first credit: a guest starring role in Sex in the City, before nabbing roles in Wet Hot American Summer (like Elizabeth Banks), Failure to Launch and Wedding Crashers. He really became a recognizable lead with The Hangover and Limitless, and his collaboration with Jennifer Lawrence and David O. Russell on Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle and Joy.
It was after Bradley Cooper worked with Clint Eastwood on American Sniper when his director seed was planted. Eastwood was supposed to direct and star in a remake of A Star is Born, but after dropping out, Cooper took it on, working on the screenplay, learning to sing and transforming into Jackson Maine. Paired with his steamy chemistry with Lady Gaga, the 2018 remake was nominated for eight Oscars and a box office hit.
He may have kickstarted his acting resume with roles in School Ties, Dazed and Confused and Kevin Smith’s Mallrats, but writing and starring in Good Will Hunting with his college roommate Matt Damon when he was 25 was the real ticket to stardom for him. After starring in films like Armageddon, Shakespeare in Love and Pearl Harbor, he headed to directing in between.
His first film was 2007’s Gone Baby Gone, where he cast his brother Casey, Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris. Ben Affleck also helmed The Town, Best Picture winner Argo and Live By Night. He was also signed on to write and direct the DCEU’s The Batman, but has since stepped away as Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson stepped in as director and Caped Crusader, respectively.
Since her start in Hollywood in the ‘90s, Angelina Jolie has maintained an essential leading woman. Between her early work in Girl, Interrupted, Lara Croft, Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Wanted, to her recent role as Disney’s Maleficent, she’s proved she can dazzle in just about every role.
In 2007, she first showed off her talents and powerful voice as a filmmaker with her documentary A Place in Time, which tracked the daily lives of people in dozens of countries to raise awareness of global issues. Angelina Jolie also helmed the Bosnian War-set drama In the Land of Blood and Honey and the Oscar-nominated biopic Unbroken. She and her husband Brad Pitt starred in By the Sea, which she also wrote and directed, and First They Killed My Father in 2017, about a Cambodian activist’s childhood struggles.
He was first known as Jim Halpert in The Office for nine seasons. He started juggling a film career in films such as Away We Go, It’s Complicated and Something Borrowed. In recent years, he has become a certified action star with roles in 13 Hours and Amazon Prime’s Jack Ryan series.
On top of that, John Krasinski kicked off a directing career with his debut in 2016’s The Hollars, a family dramedy he also led. In 2018, he wrote, directed and starred in A Quiet Place, a horror hit that also received rave reviews. His wife Emily Blunt joined him in the film about a family living in silence in hiding from sound-sensitive monsters. Krasinski’s currently working on a sequel for a 2020 release.
George Clooney first became famous for being a TV heartthrob on ER before becoming a respected film actor known for O Brother, Where Art Thou, the Ocean’s trilogy, Michael Clayton… oh and those Nespresso commercials! He’s consistently chosen high-profile drama roles as an actor with other notable gigs like Up in the Air, The Descendants and Gravity.
George Clooney first took his career behind the scenes with 2002’s Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, a crime-drama starring himself, Sam Rockwell, Julia Roberts and Drew Barrymore. He then moved to helming Edward R. Murrow biopic Good Night, And Good Luck, 2008’s Leatherheads, The Ides of March with Ryan Gosling, The Monuments Men, and Suburbicon, and will soon move to Netflix for his upcoming sci-fi project Good Morning, Midnight.
Before making her directorial debut earlier this year, Olivia Wilde got her start on TV with The O.C. and House. She then nabbed supporting roles on Year One, The Next Three Days and TRON: Legacy before taking on more meaty roles in Drinking Buddies, Ron Howard’s Rush and the HBO series Vinyl.
Olivia Wilde made her case for an impressive director in Booksmart, a hilarious teen comedy about two by-the-book best friends who realize all the partiers are going to the same prestigious schools they are and decide to cram their lost time letting loose in one night. The film received a near-perfect score of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, though it was overshadowed by other summer releases at the box office.
These actors/directors have not only balanced two sides of filmmaking, but developed some memorable movies as well with their work! Did you know all these A-list actors were also directors and which are you most impressed with? Let us know in the comments below.
Many of the best horror movies of all-time have been based on books and often those novels are even scarier than the movies they inspired. The difference in the mediums makes a huge difference in the level of terror inherent. What makes a scary book great is that the reader’s imagination is often far scarier than anything a director can present in a movie.
It’s not all about Stephen King either. Even though King is the king of the novel-turned-horror movie, including the recent versions of IT and Pet Semetary, there are plenty of other terrifying books by other great authors that are worth checking out. Honestly, they are all terrific films, but as is so often the case, the books are even scarier.
Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
Thomas Harris’ third book The Silence Of The Lambs, released in 1988, came seven years after his first book about the serial killer Hannibal Lecter, Red Dragon. Both books are completely terrifying, especially Silence Of The Lambs. The movie, of course, was a huge hit and was only the third (and most recent) film to win all five of the “Big 5” Academy Awards.
Director Jonathon Demme’s adaptation is faithful to the novel, with the Lecter character, played by Anthony Hopkins in one of the Academy Award-winning performances, being just as scary as he is in the book. What is lost though, is an uneasy sense of dread that readers of the novel find throughout the book in regards to Lecter’s intentions.
The scariest books are the ones that ask open questions and leave them lingering and Thomas Harris does this wonderfully in the book. The movie almost makes an anti-hero out of Lecter, and audiences may almost forget how evil the character is. There is no question that Anthony Hopkins’ brilliant performance as the horrifying, yet weirdly charming psychopath is a major reason why audiences get to that point, but it also makes the lingering fear far less palpable than it is throughout the novel.
The Exorcist (1973)
The Exorcist is, without question, one of the most terrifying movies ever made. Even almost 50 years after its release, the movie still manages to thrill and scare audiences today. The novel on which it is based, like the others on this list, allows the reader to use his or her imagination so much that is it almost certain to keep that reader awake at night, thinking about the book and fearing the Satanic demons that haunt it.
William Peter Blatty’s novel of the same name, released two years before the movie, was inspired by the supposed exorcism of a real-life teenage boy from Maryland that took place in St. Louis in 1949. By combining religion with suspense and horror, Blatty conceived the kind of story that terrifies everyone who reads it.
William Peter Blatty also wrote the screenplay for the 1973 movie, starring Max Van Sydow as the priest brought in to perform the exorcism, so it follows the book closely, as you would expect. Like the other movies on this list, the book allows for the readers own minds to conjure up the most terrifying moments of the story. The book leaves readers questioning everything they have known about Christianity, God, and the Devil and, frankly should leave them at least a little petrified of all three.
After Robert Bloch wrote Psycho in 1959, one of the reasons Alfred Hitchcock chose the novel for his next film in 1960 was Bloch’s use of a “false protagonist.” In the novel, Bloch repeatedly introduces characters who seem to be main characters, only to quickly kill them off.
Alfred Hitchcock takes this one step further, beginning the film by immediately following star Janet Leigh’s character Marion as she steals money from her boss and attempts to make a break for it, only to be murdered in the famous shower scene at The Bates Motel. This happens not even halfway through the movie.
The influence of that technique of tricking the audience into believing a character is the protagonist of the story only to have them killed off suddenly has been used many times in books and movies since, including in Scream in 1996 and, of course, more recently in Season 1 of Game Of Thrones with the death of Ned Stark.
The movie Psycho is mostly faithful to the book, though a lot of the details of Norman Bates, the troubled killer in both, are changed. In the book, he is immediately scummier and more obviously scary than in the movie. In the novel, Bates is also a slovenly drunk who immediately makes readers wary of him, whereas in the movie, he is presented as somewhat clean cut and normal before being revealed as the killer. This changes the nature of the terror in the book. It works very effectively, scaring readers with his potential and allowing imaginations to run wild, as a book should do.
The Ring (2002)
When The Ring, starring Naomi Watts, was released in 2002, it set a new standard in horror. It was a different kind of horror film than most of what had been released in the genre for decades, which had been mostly slasher flicks. The Ring is totally and completely psychologically terrifying, so it’s no surprise to learn it’s based on a book.
The book, originally written in Japanese by author Koji Suzuki and first published in 1991, was a huge hit in Japan and spawned not only the American film series, but Japanese and Korean versions as well. The American version of The Ring actually remade the Japanese movie, not the book, so quite a bit is different; in fact, it’s like a copy of a copy.
Some of the changes are quite big, like changing the protagonist from male to female in the American movie and there is far more foreshadowing in the movie after Naomi Watts’ character views the cursed tape. Regardless, at their hearts, the fear factor is the same. Watts is in a race against time to discover how viewing the cursed tape leads to certain death is the same as the book and the terror relies less on gore and more on the psychological effects of the tape, just like the book. The movie completely matches the book in its intensity.
The Shining (1980)
We couldn’t go the whole list with an entry from the king, Stephen King. While there were any number of movies we could have picked, The Shining seemed like the obvious choice, not only because both the book and the movie are really scary, but they are also great examples of just how different a movie can be when compared to its source material.
In the novel, Jack is haunted by the ghosts within the hotel he and his family are caretaking for the winter, high in the remote mountains of Colorado, while in the movie, the demons that Jack fights are internal as well as external. Instead of the ghosts driving him insane, as in the book, the film version is already insane and the hauntings push him over the edge. The book helped solidify Stephen King as the premiere horror novelist of his generation and is now on the Mt. Rushmore of scary storytellers partially because of this book.
I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
Many people are shocked to learn that 1997’s I Know What You Did Last Summer, the campy slasher film featuring a ‘90s-era “brat pack” including Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze Jr., and Ryan Phillippe was based on a 25-year-old novel. Well, it’s loosely based on the novel anyway, the creators of the movie took quite a bit of liberties and unlike Kubrick in The Shining, these changes weren’t for the better.
The novel, by Lois Duncan and first published in 1973, tells the same basic story. Four teenagers are involved in a hit and run and kill a man. That’s pretty much where the similarities end. In the book, instead of a fisherman, the teens strike and kill a biker. The major difference, though, is the movie is basically a slasher flick and the book is most definitely not. In the movie, the four teens are haunted by the fisherman, who did not die in the accident, and who stalks and attacks them with his hook for a hand.
The movie follows many classic slasher film tropes and relies on lots of jump scares and gory images. The book, on the other hand, is completely different as the four teens did actually kill the biker they struck, but they are stalked secretly (and effectively) by the brother of the man they killed, who puts in motion a complicated plan to get revenge for what the teens did to his brother. The terror and suspense in the book comes from the mystery of who is stalking them, not the gore, and it’s much scarier for it.
The honorable mention of this list is World War Z, which sort of falls in a difference category, being that it is a zombie story, but it’s definitely worth mentioning since it has many scary moments. The movie, which took years to finally get made after fans of the popular novel clambered for it. When the movie, starring Brad Pitt, was finally made in 2013, it was nowhere near as scary as the book.
World War Z is proof the source material doesn’t always mean a book can be turned into a great movie and that usually a person’s imagination is what makes stories the scariest. Nothing does more to stir the imagination than well written ghost story and these books prove it!
I always like checking a movie’s CinemaScore — along with an occasional peek at the Rotten Tomatoes audience score, IMDb user ratings, and social media reactions. CinemaScore is handy, though, because it gives a quick grade from moviegoers polled on the film’s opening night. They watch a movie, get a ballot, and give a grade.
CinemaScore has been doing this since 1978, and grades are all over the map. Since people who see a movie on opening night tend to be excited about it, you might expect higher grades than usual. Still, an A+ is fairly rare.
As of today, only 84 movies are listed as having A+ CinemaScores. (And 19 got Fs, but that’s a topic for another day.)
I don’t agree with all of the A+ scores that have been given out since E.T., Gandhi, and Rocky III got top grades in 1982, but here are 10 recent A+ films that are worth a watch.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
The 2018 animated Spider-Man movie is the only Spider-Man movie so far to get an A+ CinemaScore. Spider-Man: Far From Home just got an A, which matches Tom Holland’s previous Spider-Man: Homecoming. Before that, the 2002 Spider-Man and 2004 Spider-Man 2 both got A- scores, followed by a B+ for Spider-Man 3 in 2007. The Amazing Spider-Man got an A- in 2012, followed by a B+ for The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
The computer-animated movie introducing Miles Morales as Spider-Man became the first non-Disney or Pixar movie to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature since Rango in 2011. (Interestingly enough, Rango got a C+ CinemaScore.) Into the Spider-Verse was a deservedly huge hit with critics and fans, and a sequel and spinoff are in the works.
You might think every Disney/Pixar movie would get an A+ CinemaScore, but that’s not quite the case. Incredibles 2 sealed the deal in 2018, keeping the same A+ that the first movie got in 2004. Before that, Coco also got an A+, along with Frozen, Tangled, Up, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., Toy Story 2, Mulan, and the animated versions of The Lion King, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast.
That’s a lot of Disney/Pixar love, but there are some notable exceptions. Only one Toy Story movie got an A+, and Inside Out and WALL-E only got As. It doesn’t look like the 1989 Little Mermaid was polled, and earlier classic Disney movies predate CinemaScore. No “live-action” Disney remake has gotten an A+ so far, but it’s possible the new 2019 Lion King will change that.
This is the reigning Best Picture Oscar winner, but it was a surprise winner and still a controversial one. I’m slightly surprised it got an A+ CinemaScore, but not surprised that it was given at least an A. It’s more of a fan movie than a critics’ movie. You can challenge the historical accuracy, in terms of the real-life people involved, but the storytelling is pretty mainstream-friendly, with strong performances. It’s the kind of feel-good movie that tends to get a high CinemaScore.
Best Picture winners don’t always or even often get A+ CinemaScores. More often, crowd-pleasers like sports films, military movies, or faith-based movies get a high score. Disney movies and blockbusters occasionally break through, but the previous Best Picture winner to get an A+ before Green Book was Argo.
Greg Berlanti directed this 2018 teen dramedy, based on the popular novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Alberta. The charming crowd pleaser has a 92% fresh rating from critics and an 88% audience score. Heartwarming movies with a deeper meaning about timely issues and social justice tend to get high CinemaScores, with opening night moviegoers most likely being drawn to the subject and wanting to support the message. That was the case as well for The Hate U Give, which was also adapted from a popular novel and came out in 2018 and received an A+ CinemaScore from moviegoers.
Queen of Katwe
This Disney biodrama co-starred Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo in the story of Phiona Mutesi (Madina Nalwanga), a Ugandan girl from a slum in Katwe who learned to play chess and became an international chess champion. It’s the kind of heartwarming feel-good movie that was made for A+ CinemaScores, and that’s what it got in 2016. Queen of Katwe has a 93% fresh rating from critics, and an audience score of 87%. The people who saw it really seemed to love it. Unfortunately, not that many people saw it in the theater. The movie made $10.3 million worldwide from a reported budget of $15 million.
Peter Berg collaborated with Mark Wahlberg for a third time for this movie about the Boston Marathon bombing. One of their previous movies, Lone Survivor, also got an A+. (Deepwater Horizon got an A-.) Opening night moviegoers tend to love patriotic and/or war films. Another one that made the A+ cut was Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper in 2014. Other historical dramas like Selma and Hidden Figures also got A+ scores. Interestingly enough, if you go way back to 1998, Saving Private Ryan did not get an A+ and instead “only” received an A.
I Can Only Imagine
Christian dramas tend to score high, which makes sense since you’re talking about opening night moviegoers asked to grade the film, and those moviegoers are most likely heading into a movie that will be preaching to the choir. I Can Only Imagine came out in 2018, telling the story behind the song of the same name by MercyMe. That was actually the best-selling Christian single of all time. The movie tells the story of Bart Millard, the lead singer, who wrote the song about his relationship with his father (Dennis Quaid).
The film was a major hit, making $83.4 million off a reported project budget of $7 million, per Box Office Mojo. Critics were down the middle on the movie, giving it a 61% rating, with viewers giving it a 91% audience score. It’s the kind of movie that might not be for everyone, but it has a wide enough appeal to be a crowd-pleaser. Another more faith-based movie that recently got an A+ Cinemascore is Unplanned, and past A+ movies include Miracles from Heaven, Woodlawn, Courageous, War Room, and Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.
Before we knew him as Marvel’s Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman played Jackie Robinson in this 2013 sports drama about the racial integration of professional baseball. Harrison Ford co-starred as Branch Rickey in the Brian Helgeland film, which earned an A+ CinemaScore. It’s another feel-good movie that critics appreciated — 80% — but found a bit safe and old-fashioned. Fans were into it — 85% audience score — and the movie made $95 million off a reported budget of $40 million. Polled moviegoers love biodramas, sports films, and anything inspirational. Cinderella Man also benefited from that in 2005 with its own A+.
Instructions Not Included
You may not remember this movie, but the Mexican dramedy — also known as No se aceptan devoluciones — surprised at the box office in 2013 with the biggest domestic opening ever for a Spanish-language movie, per Yahoo. The offbeat family comedy didn’t charm critics, who only gave it a 57% rating, but audiences loved it and gave it an 89% RT audience score and an A+ CinemaScore. The movie was reportedly made on a budget around $5 million and made just under $100 million. So, yeah, that’s a hit. Comedies don’t always get A+ CinemaScores, but some do break through — including When Harry Met Sally… and Girls Trip.
Perhaps you’ve heard of this one? Most superhero movies and blockbusters do not get A+ CinemaScores. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse was the only Spidey story to make the cut. Interestingly enough, The Avengers in 2012 is the only previous MCU movie to get an A+ before Black Panther in 2018 and then Avengers: Endgame in 2019. In terms of blockbusters, with the exception of Disney/Pixar movies, there aren’t many on the A+ list. The only Star Wars movie to make the cut was the 1997 re-release. (The original movie came out before CinemaScore started polling fans.)
E.T. and Rocky III also made the A+ blockbuster cut, along with Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Lethal Weapon 2, Dances With Wolves, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, A Few Good Men, The Fugitive, Forrest Gump, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
What will be the next movie to get an A+ CinemaScore from polled moviegoers? Well, it’s unlikely to be Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. But it could be The Lion King. We’ll have to wait and see.
Last night, Hollywood legend Rip Torn passed away at the age of 88, leaving a legacy of performance and personality that will live forever. Today, in the wake of this loss, members of the Hollywood community have taken to social media to honor Torn’s life and times.
Among those people have been some of his most notable contributors, such as comedian Albert Brooks. With his 1991 film Defending Your Life, Brooks served as writer, director, and co-star to Rip Torn, who played the role of afterlife defense attorney Bob Diamond to comedic perfection.
Albert Brooks’ remembrance of Rip Torn was as follows:
While many people may not see Freddy Got Fingered as a film that deserves even being mentioned in the same breath as Defending Your Life, it’s still very much a notable entry in Rip Torn’s filmography. Especially when his co-star Tom Green, who was also the film’s co-writer and director, took the time to remember their collaboration with the following condolence:
Even actor/raconteur Mara Wilson, who starred with Torn in the Disney made-for-TV movie Balloon Farm, has a story from when she got to meet the man herself:
Not only co-workers of Rip Torn’s illustrious career are paying tribute to him, as there are performers who fondly remember roles from throughout his storied, decades long career of work. One such fan is The Lion King’s Seth Rogen, who not only is a fan of Defending Your Life, but also remembers Rip Torn’s work on The Larry Sanders Show quite fondly, as you’ll see in this tweet:
Meanwhile, actor Dana Delaney dove into the deep cuts of Rip Torn’s catalogue in a simple, but heartbreaking tweet honoring his career:
But perhaps one of the most bittersweet tributes to see after Rip Torn’s death has to be the very simple one that his Men In Black co-star Will Smith left on his Instagram:
There’s a lot of things to remember Rip Torn for after his passing, and it’s truly wonderful to see that the community he worked within and supported as an actor knows that very fact for themselves.
In order to brighten things up a little, and since it’s been mentioned so many times in the stories above, we’d like to close things out with a clip from one of Rip Torn’s definitive performances; that of Bob Diamond from Defending Your Life.
Our condolences go out to Rip Torn’s family and friends who are in mourning at this very moment; and we’re thankful for the legacy of work that he’s left behind.
It’s been over 40 years since Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker first sipped blue milk on screen for Star Wars: A New Hope. Now it may be a trendy beverage for Disneyland guests to enjoy for $7.99 at the newly-opened Galaxy’s Edge, but Hamill still remembers its less-than-glamorous origins.
One fan asked the actor on Twitter if he remembered how blue milk tasted like in the galaxy’s introduction to the drink in 1977… and he went into grave detail. Check it out:
Disney should hire him for Galaxy Edge commercials… if they never want anyone to buy blue milk again! Mark Hamill recalled how the first version of the beverage was extended shelf life milk typically brought along for camping trips. The scene was filmed in the primarily outdoor setting of Luke’s home, so they probably didn’t have fridges handy. He stuck to the bit and drank it on camera, but it was a memorably unpleasant experience for him. Take a look at the scene below:
What’s crazy is they are drinking them from white cups, making the presence of blue milk less obvious! You’d think there had to be some alternative instead of torturing young Mark Hamill? Of course, it’s paid off since as the drink is now an iconic part of the Star Wars universe. The blue milk available at Disneyland has evolved into a much more appetizing refreshment since the rice and coconut based milkshake has a blend of pineapple, dragonfruit and melon flavors.
As fans rush to Disneyland’s popular new Star Wars-themed land, their thirst for a conclusion to the Skywalker saga will also soon be quenched with Rise of Skywalker. The ninth episode will see the return of Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac and Kelly Marie Tran, along with Billy Dee Williams’ Lando, Ian McDiarmid’s Palpatine and the late Carrie Fisher’s Leia also returning to the cast. New characters will be played by Keri Russell, Richard E. Grant, Dominic Monaghan and Naomi Ackie.
Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20, 2019.
Director Andy Muschietti had an enormous responsibility on his plate with his 2017 film IT. For one thing, he was taking over for another director, True Detective and Bond 25’s Cary Joji Fukunaga, who left the project over creative differences. Andy Muschietti was also tasked with adapting Stephen King’s beloved and terrifying tome, which had already been adapted with an iconic 1990 TV miniseries. Fortunately, the success of Andy Muschietti’s IT meant that the director was “more comfortable” directing Chapter 2, as he explained:
Just the experience of getting through the first film likely made Andy Muschietti more comfortable with the material and the process for the second go-around, but it sounds like a lot of his comfort came from having more to work with. That is due to the incredible success of the first movie.
The first IT was made on a budget of $35 million and went on to make $700.3 million, becoming the most commercially successful horror movie of all time and a critical hit to boot. Hitting a grand slam like that would instill a level of comfort and confidence in anybody for their next at bat.
It also apparently gave the studio more confidence, and while we don’t know the exact budget on IT Chapter 2, it sounds like the moneymen were more willing to loosen up the purse strings.
As Andy Muschietti told Entertainment Weekly, he didn’t have to fight to get a Technocrane for the production of IT Chapter 2 when he needed it. Instead, it was always on set and available to him. Not having to struggle as much sounds like it made for a generally more comfortable filming experience for the director. What a difference $700 million dollars makes!
With the Technocrane there when he needs it and a greater level of comfort, Andy Muschietti is looking to up the ante in IT Chapter 2. He said:
For people who loved the first IT, this is great to hear. Andy Muschietti knows what worked about the first film and he is comfortable incorporating those elements into the sequel, which is really just all part of one big story. The emotions between the Losers’ Club, the jump-out-of-your-seat horror and the laughs between the screams will all be present in IT Chapter 2.
These elements that made IT such a hit will actually be taken up a notch in IT Chapter 2 as well. Andy Muschietti has said that he intends for the sequel to be even scarier, and Bill Skarsgård, who plays Pennywise, has promised that the clown will be more vicious this time around. Bill Hader, who plays the adult Richie Tozier, has also spoken about being surprised by how emotional the sequel was.
A more comfortable director and a sequel that elevates the first film’s best elements bode quite well for IT Chapter 2. We’ve still got a couple of months to go until this sequel arrives, but IT Chapter 2will be present at the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con as part of Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema’s ScareDiego panel. With any luck, we’ll get another new trailer then.
IT Chapter 2 opens in theaters on September 6. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to prep for all the biggest movies coming in the second half of this year.