Rocketman Villain John Reid Is In Bohemian Rhapsody Too, Here’s The Full Story

Rocketman Richard Madden as John Reid, enjoying champagne

In director Dexter Fletcher’s musical-fantasy biopic Rocketman, the story of Elton John’s origins, triumphs, and struggles in the music industry are shown in connection to his relationship with then-manager John Reid. Played by Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden, Reid is played off as basically the villain in the story of Elton John’s rise to fame, and his attempts to cope with its pressures through drugs and drink.

What makes for even more of an interesting note is the fact that last year, another big ticket biopic highlighted the contributions of John Reid to the music industry. In the case of Bohemian Rhapsody though, there’s a big difference with John Reid’s depiction in the very same film that Dexter Fletcher helped direct not too long before jumping into Rocketman.

Comparing the two versions of John Reid is an interesting exercise, especially when discussing how both films tackle their very similar subject matter. With that in mind, here’s the full story of why John Reid is in both Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody, and how he’s portrayed in both films.

Rocketman's Elton John and Bohemian Rhapsody's Freddie Mercury

John Reid’s Connection To Both Elton John And Freddie Mercury

As a musical manager, John Reid handled two of the hottest clients anyone could have ever gotten their hands on in the 1970s: Elton John and Queen. In the case of Elton John, despite Rocketman’s sentiments that John was free from his manager’s grasp by the end of the film, the truth is that John Reid actually managed Elton John from his signing in 1970 until 1998, just a year short of his retirement from music management.

His tenure with Queen was shorter lived, and apparently not as dramatic as his firing in Bohemian Rhapsody was depicted. Serving as the manager to the band between 1975 and 1978, the parting between the band and John Reid was mutually friendly. Though these portraits of John Reid and his service to the music industry do draw interesting contrasts to how both Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody use him for their narrative purposes.

Rocketman John Reid standing in a hallway, sharply dressed

How John Reid Is Portrayed In Rocketman

In Rocketman, Richard Madden’s John Reid is initially shown as a romantic figure whom Taron Egerton’s Elton John falls naively in love with. Eventually, their relationship sours as Reid turns into a character more focused on his business empire who enjoys making money off of representing John’s career, rather than truly loving Elton. By the end of the film, Elton John seems to have made peace with their relationship not being an authentic one, and learns to love himself again.

Were a biopic to have a need for a villain, Rocketman’s John Reid definitely qualifies as one. With his seemingly cold-hearted demeanor when dealing with Elton John, particularly as his excesses and insecurity consume him in the film, he’s made out to be the big bad of the film’s story. While his portrayal in Bohemian Rhapsody isn’t all sunshine and rainbows either, it certainly paints him to a lesser degree of villainy.

Bohemian Rhapsody John Reid sitting down outside, talking with Queen

How John Reid Is Portrayed In Bohemian Rhapsody

Portrayed by fellow Game of Thrones alum Aiden Gillen, Bohemian Rhapsody’s John Reid is a gentler figure than shown in Rocketman. Meeting the band in the now infamously edited pub scene, Reid seems to get the cut of the band’s jib. For most of the film, John Reid is seen as sort of a yes man to the band, as he defends their artistic vision in front of Mike Myers’ Ray Foster, as the latter tries to stifle the vision of both “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the album it called its home, A Night At The Opera.

Though when the time comes to pick an alternate single when Bohemian Rhapsody’s titular track is in danger, this version of John Reid doesn’t shy away from throwing out other options. Then, of course, there’s the big firing scene, where Rami Malek’s Freddie Mercury fires John Reid for even suggesting he go solo in the name of a lucrative offer. Which, as was pointed out previously, was debunked by Queen’s following manager Jim “Miami” Beach. The parting, according to Beach, was on really friendly terms.

Rocketman Elton John and John Reid meeting at a party

Why Rocketman And Bohemian Rhapsody Never Crossed Over

Now some of you may be thinking about how fun a crossover between both Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody could have been. Two huge musical biopics, with John Reid adjacent to the action and taking place during the same era, might have been a shoo-in for at least one crossover scene. Even more so when accounting the fact Dexter Fletcher worked as a director on both. But that prospect was dismissed by Fletcher himself for a pretty sound reason. He noted:

There was an idea I had one point, where Elton’s in a restaurant with his mother. I thought John Reid and Freddie could be at another table and they wave at each other! That would have been amazing, [but] it didn’t come to pass.’ It would’ve been a little too knowing. I’m not looking to set out to make a cinematic universe!

As much of a musical fantasy as Rocketman is supposed to be, a wink and a nod cameo by Rami Malek reprising the role of Freddie Mercury would have been just a hair too much. Even Fletcher himself stated that he didn’t want the audience to think that he was all of a sudden creating a musical biopic cinematic universe. Just as easily as the thought of Mercury and John Reid toasting Elton John in one of the film’s dour restaurant scenes had occurred, the concept was dashed, and history took its natural course.

With two varying depictions of his career in the ‘70s on screen, John Reid’s legacy as a musical manager means very different things depending on which film you’re running with. In terms of Bohemian Rhapsody, he was a bit of an overly ambitious man who knew how to play both sides so as to smooth over negotiations on both sides. While Rocketman shows Reid as more of an icy businessman who isn’t afraid to push Elton John to his limits and has him performing shows even shortly after a heart attack.

Biopics show their subjects in the best light possible to tell their story, and both films have done just that. So while neither may adhere solely to the letter of history, they’ve used the real events that John Reid was a part of, and turned them into box office victory.

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6 Reasons To Be Nervous About Robert Pattinson’s Batman

Robert Pattinson Cosmopolis

Robert Pattinson has officially secured the role of Batman. Opinions have and will likely continue to fly out about whether he’s right for the role all the way up until The Batman‘s release. Fan reaction to the casting has been far from universal acclaim, but there’s been a fairly strong show of support from within the film community, encouraging audiences to be excited for this big move.

Now, does this mean that everyone’s fears should immediately be put to rest and folks aren’t allowed to be worried? I don’t think so, and I think that while it’s great that there’s plenty of people pumped and confident he’ll succeed, it’s also completely fine to have reservations as well. For those who may not understand or are looking for a kindred spirit, here’s a handful of reasons to be nervous for the RBatz debut.

Batman Ben Affleck

Robert Pattinson Is Following Ben Affleck

Though he never had a solo film, people were pretty excited for Ben Affleck’s Batman to have one. His Bruce Wayne was one of the shining pieces in Batman v Superman and Justice League, which is saying something given both movies’ various problems. His Batman was hardened, gritty, and had an edge to him that showed that even if he’s lost a step in old age, he wasn’t going down without a fight.

People liked that Batman, and now it’s been confirmed that we’re going to see Robert Pattinson’s Batman in an entirely new interpretation of the character. He’s going to be younger for sure, and chances are there will be a handful of other aesthetic and character changes to reflect age and all that. The big shift might cause some apprehension on behalf of fans and cause them to falsely believe Pattinson is to blame for the change.

Robert Pattinson Cosmopolis

Robert Pattinson Has Expressed He Doesn’t Like The Commitment Behind Superhero Films

For those already excited to see Robert Pattinson’s Batman in a trilogy followed by a potential Justice League 2, just pump the brakes for a bit. While it’s possible he’s changed his position since, long commitments and multiple movies was a part of the reason why Pattinson told Howard Stern in 2017 he wouldn’t want to be involved in one.

In fairness, he added after it would depend on the character, so Batman may have been an exception to that role. Either that, or he’s ensured this jaunt as Batman is an in-and-out adventure or one that allows him some breathing room between appearances. It would really suck if he knocks this role out of the park and has already negotiated a quick exit leaving DC high and dry and in search of another Dark Knight.

Robert Pattinson Twilight

Robert Pattinson May Encourage Hollywood To Pursue A “Twilight” Batman

Robert Pattinson has established himself as a reputable actor in the years since he appeared in the film adaptations of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga. With that said none of his films since have been nearly as commercially successful as those have, which may encourage producers and decision makers to lean on the fact that Edward Cullen is now Batman. Does Batman have a new audience in former Twilight fans?

It’s something I’d wager Hollywood is willing to test and could warp the development of The Batman perhaps to allow more scenes where Pattinson’s face is visible, or there’s some sort of love triangle. None of that is necessarily bad, provided it’s upheld that this is a Batman movie above all else and not a test to see if the hero can find a new audience. It may work but alienate a lot of classic Batman fans in the process.

Robert Pattinson

Robert Pattinson Found Comfort In Being An “Arthouse” Actor

Robert Pattinson did an interview with IndieWire not long ago, and essentially confirmed what his supporters have said since rumors first surfaced about him playing Batman. He’s changed since Twilight, and he’s found comfort in doing more “arthouse” features and smaller roles. In his words, these types of roles are more interesting and give him more freedom to explore the characters he plays.

Now, compare that to Twilight where he was almost fired because he stubbornly refused notes from producers on his performance. He’s going to run into those types again while playing Batman, and chances are there’s an expectation for how he’ll play the role even if Robert Pattinson isn’t aware of it yet. How he’ll respond to that will be interesting given the point in his career. Will there will be issues with higher ups on how he plays the role?

Robert Pattinson Twilight

Robert Pattinson Already Has People Rooting Against Him

Haters are gonna hate. That’s a universal truth that’s especially pronounced in the age of the internet. With that said, superhero and sci-fi genres can attract an intense and particularly awful form of hatred, which can do anything from cause a studio to back out of a previously announced decision or cause an actor to leave social media to escape constant negativity.

Robert Pattinson being cast as Batman certainly has the attention of the most ardent of critics and trolls, who can wear down the most positive people. It’s the kind of stuff that makes actors avoid these genres entirely or drop out after a short run as a character. We can only wait and see how Pattinson will cope with trolls as the countdown to The Batman begins, but one can imagine the constant negativity could affect him in some way.

Batman DC Comics

Robert Pattinson Is Portraying A Batman Never Seen In Movies

Matt Reeves has explained that The Batman‘s Dark Knight will be different than all Batman live-action films that have come before, in that it will be a noir driven adventure. It’ll also lean heavily on the Dark Knight’s detective skills, which is one of his greatest assets. We still don’t know exactly what that will look like, but it could mean this Batman is more analytical than action.

We won’t speculate too far on this, but there’s something to be said towards Robert Pattinson getting a Batman role that will be disconnected from Batman performances we’ve seen in movies before. That means it’s on Pattinson and the powers that be to shape this performance, which would be daunting for even the most well-liked of actors. It’s a challenge that may define his career should he succeed or fail, so hopefully he’s up for the challenge.

Bottom line, it’s fine to root for Robert Pattinson and hope he’ll knock it out of the park, but those who are nervous about his performance have justification and are allowed to voice their opinion without being told they’re wrong. No one has even seen him suit up. Unfortunately, we have no idea when that day will be, although we do know The Batman will premiere in 2021. Stick with CinemaBlend for relevant updates in the meantime on Pattinson, movies, and television.

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A Hunger Games Prequel Is Coming, So Bring On The Movie Deals

The Hunger Games was incredibly popular young adult book series that got adapted into an incredibly popular film series. Ever since the last movie hit screens, we’ve heard that the possibility for more movies was being considered, and now it seems almost certain that another movie will be on the way before too long, because a new book has just been announced.

While the new novel from Suzanne Collins has no official title as yet, it is set to be released in May of next year, and it will be a prequel set 64 years before the events of the first Hunger Games novel. This will take the story to the years following the “Dark Days,” the failed rebellion in the nation of Panem, which was referenced in the original trilogy of books.

More to come…

Todd Phillips Confirms His Joker Movie Will Be Rated R

The upcoming Joker movie starring Joaquin Phoenix looks to be as dark and disturbing as anything we’ve ever seen containing a character out of DC Comics. From all outward appearances, it seemed quite likely the new movie was going to be for adult audiences only. However, the official rating from the MPAA has yet to be released, so we didn’t know for certain until now. Joker director Todd Philips has now confirmed that the film will receive an R-rating.

In response to fans asking the director to confirm the rating on Instagram, Philips said…

On the one hand, it’s somewhat understandable why Todd Philips would assume people knew that Joker would be rated-R. From the time the movie was first announced it was being portrayed as something unlike most comic book movies that we are familiar with. While we’ve had our share of “dark and gritty” superheroes, this was looking like it was going to be something else entirely.

From the point that we saw the first trailer, it was clear that Joker wasn’t just going to be dark, it was going to be somewhat twisted, fitting considering the character.

Having said that, you can never be quite sure how a studio is going to handle any given movie. Ever since Deadpool proved that an R-rated comic book movie still works, fans have wanted to see some of the more mature or violent characters handled in that way, but it hasn’t always happened.

Many fans were expecting to see an R-rated Venom movie, and for a time it seemed like such a thing was a possibility, but in the end, we got the more audience friendly PG-13 rating. Until we knew for sure, there was always the possibility that something similar could happen with Joker.

In the case of Venom, the right choice was probably made, at least from a box office perspective, because that film did massive business. There’s no indication that there anything was cut from the movie or that the filmmakers had their hands tied to get the PG-13 rating.

Since Todd Philips just sort of assumed everybody knew his movie was rated-R, then it’s clearly the case that was always the plan. There was always an expectation that the material would be too much for anything else. If nothing else, this is good news because it means that the version of the movie that we’re getting is the one Philips wanted to create. As long as that happens, the rating is less important.

Joker isn’t set to hit screens until October, so it may still be a while before we get the official word from the MPAA on the rating,. It will likely give us some additional details that explain why the film was given the rating it was. The trailer doesn’t make the movie look particularly bloody or violent, more disturbing, though it’s possible the trailer is leaving those details out.

Men In Black International’s Stars Reveal Who Among Their Past Collaborators May Be Aliens

SPOILER WARNING: While the following article does not get into major plot details from Men In Black International, it does feature details you may not want to know about prior to seeing the film. If you wish to not know about these details, proceed at your own risk!

Men In Black International continues many traditions of the original Men In Black trilogy – from neuralyzers, to the cameo from Frank The Pug – but one of the legitimate highlights is revealing celebrities who are actually extraterrestrials. Danny DeVito, Steven Spielberg, Sylvester Stallone, Martha Stewart, Michael Jackson, Bill Gates, Lady Gaga and more have been “outed” by previous chapters in the franchise, and the F. Gary Gray film adds a few additional names to that list: including Donald Glover, Elon Musk, and Ariana Grande.

I had this in mind earlier this month when I had the pleasure of sitting down with the stars of Men In Black International during the movie’s London press junket, and it led to a question: who among their past collaborators do they think could possibly be an alien? It got some fun responses from Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, and Kumail Nanjiani, and you can watch them in the video embed below!

As has been noted a lot in the run-up to the release of Men In Black International, this is the second time that Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson have collaborated after the hit 2017 blockbuster Thor: Ragnarok – and the first name mentioned in that conversation was the ringleader of that particular circus: Taika Waititi. In defense of the choice, the actor/writer/director does certainly have an eccentric sense of style, and a wonderfully weird sense of humor. Would anyone really be entirely shocked if he was just a rock creature like Korg hiding out on Earth in a human costume?

Kumail Nanjiani didn’t even leave the cast of Men In Black International for his choice, as he namedropped a co-star who, at the time, was sitting approximately 100 feet away from him in another hotel room. Of course, Chris Hemsworth is another good choice, as there’s something unearthly about his dramatic talent, comedic timing, and effortless charisma being brought together inside such a handsome package. And when I relayed the information to Hemsworth, he didn’t seem to object.

For her choice, Tessa Thompson referenced her role on the hit HBO series Westworld and highlighted the tremendous talent of Evan Rachel Wood. The actress most certainly has an impressive track record, including her Emmy-nominated work on the sci-fi/western series, and it’s even more impressive when you remember that she’s been professionally performing for more than half of her young life. “Otherworldly” is a nice word to describe it.

This Rotten Week: Predicting Toy Story 4, Anna, Wild Rose, And Child’s Play Reviews

We’ve got a week packed with movies this time around, and it’s a selection that should offer something for everybody. The big news is the return of Woody, Buzz and friends, ut there ars also assassins, country singers, and killer dolls. Get ready for Toy Story 4, Anna, Wild Rose, and Child’s Play.

Just remember, I’m not reviewing these movies, but rather predicting where they’ll end up on the Tomatometer. Let’s take a look at This Rotten Week has to offer.

Toy Story 4 poster

Rotten Watch Prediction

After a perfect run of 100% Tomatometer scores for Toy Story and Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3 had a disappointing dip when it only hit 98%. But I don’t see that happening for Toy Story 4. These movies are as perfect as flicks get (animated or otherwise), and not only do I bet that all critics will ultimately feel this way, thus far the postings on Rotten Tomatoes are proving me correct.

After a nine year gap, we get the fourth installment in the Toy Story franchise, and it is currently sitting at 100% with nearly 100 reviews counted. From the trailer it looks like Toy Story 4 is using a formula similar to previous installments (a compliment), and from it alone I looked up and said to Mrs. Rotten Week, “I’m not crying, you’re crying.” The Pixar team looks like they’ve done it again with a story about love and loss, coming to grips with who you are (toy or otherwise) and what it means to truly live for others. It looks beautiful and, again, has a real shot to finish with a perfect score.

Anna Luc Besson

Rotten Watch Prediction

You might say director Luc Besson has a thing for making movies about assassins – and also sometimes assassins who are also gorgeous women. His career kicked off thanks to La Femme Nikita (88%), and he’s since followed that up with The Professional (72%), scripts for the Transporter and Taken franchises, and, more recently, Lucy (67%). So yeah, the dude likes to come out guns blazing – and we are about to see him do what he does again with the release of Anna.

This “new” eponymous character is a Russian agent/contract killer who appears to spend most of this film breaking necks and cashing checks. It looks like an over-the-top romp with a massive death toll and enough of a story to piece the thing together. While it might be entertaining, however, I don’t see it doing much to try and go above-and-beyond in the story department, and critics tend to dislike that kind of thing.

Wild Rose

Rotten Watch Prediction

“An ex-con Scottish woman wants to become a country music star” sounds like the premise of a faltering comedy movie. But that isn’t the case with Wild Rose, a musical drama that is already crushing it with critics – praising it for both its humor and jagged story about fulfilling your dreams while coming to grips with your demons.

While the story and script seem to fire on all cylinders, critics are also lauding the performance of relative newcomer Jessie Buckley in the lead role. She’s playing a woman fresh off a jail stint, with two kids being raised by grandma, working a dead end job and struggling with the pull to become a famous singer. It looks both funny and painful at the same time. It’s already sitting at 89%with 64 reviews posted, and I doubt it drops much over the course of the week.

Child's Play Chucky reveal

Rotten Watch Prediction

What is old being new again is something of a theme this week, with Chucky also making his return to the big screen. It’s been a few years since we’ve seen the little guy action and this marks 21 years since the original Child’s Play hit the big screen. This is a brand new version of the classic horror franchise, however, as Chucky is now brought into the modern world as a cloud-connected doll that is marketed as being able to control devices in the smart home. It’s not enough you’ve purchased a homicidal doll that will butcher anything in sight; now the little fucker has full network access.

This new version of Child’s Play looks like your standard horror fare, with a bunch of innocents slow to come around to the evil that’s terrorizing the town around them. Each of them pay the price for their horror naivety until we probably get some kind of final battle between kid and doll. It appears entertaining if not all that original, and I don’t ex[ect many professional reviewers will respond to it well.

recapping last rotten week this rotten week

It was merely an okay week for the Rotten Watch last time around, with both predictions missing the mark, but one coming darn close to a win. I should have been a bit more bearish on Men in Black International (Predicted: 51% Actual: 24%) considering the trailer really didn’t look all that promising. But a new cast and some decent visual effects ended up swaying me more toward the middle rather than in the basement. It finished closer to the latter, with critics panning the script and its inability to add to the movie’s potentially expansive universe.

Shaft (Predicted: 24% Actual: 35%) was a near-miss, and with one more negative review it could end up falling within 10% and be called a win. It was very easy to see that critics would give this mostly thumbs down. The trailer gave the suggestion of hamfisted writing bent on one-liners and an out-of-touch narrative, and that ended up being the case.

Next time we’ve got Yesterday and Annabelle Comes Home. It’s gonna be a Rotten Week!

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Zack Snyder Has Revealed His Vision For Young Darkseid

There was a lot of talk for many years about Darkseid appearing in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, but that proved to all be gossip by the version of the movie that hit theaters in November 2017. While the legendary DC villain was mentioned by name once in the dialogue, he did not actually appear on screen, and instead simply had his bidding performed by Ciarán Hinds’ Steppenwolf. Of course, we all know that there are many elements of that blockbuster that never made it to release, and now its director has revealed a big one: young Darkseid, a.k.a. Uxas.

Russo Brothers Just Got Anthony Mackie This Cool Captain America Action Figure

Anthony Mackie has yet to play Captain America on the big screen, but the Avengers: Endgame directors already know what he looks like in his suit. Or at least they know what Sam Wilson looks like as Cap in an action figure they scooped up in Japan:

Nice! The Russo Brothers posted two photos from Tokyo, kind of spoiling what could’ve been a cool surprise gift for Marvel star Anthony Mackie, but that’s OK. In addition to the action figure, they picked up a Marvel Avengers Series book on Sam Wilson as Captain America.

How do you think that action figure compares to the Sam Wilson as Cap fan art that quickly sprouted online after Falcon was named the new Captain America?

Avengers: Endgame ended with old man Steve Rogers asking Sam Wilson to step forward. With Bucky’s apparent approval, Steve passed Captain America’s Vibranium shield on to Sam. Sam went from Falcon to Captain America.

Most fans expected Avengers: Endgame to be Chris Evans’ final film as Captain America, but many fans also expected Steve’s BFF Bucky Barnes to be the next Cap. Marvel Comics has had both Bucky and Sam suit up as the next Captain America, and this time they went with the story where Steve retires and Sam picks up the shield.

Besides, Bucky has his own new title — after The Winter Soldier, he became The White Wolf in Black Panther. Disney+ has a series coming up with both Sam and Bucky, so we can look forward to more stories from those two characters. They’ve only had a few scenes together in the Marvel films, but even when they weren’t on the same page, they both still had love for Steve Rogers.

Actors Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan are also a blast together on the press tour. They usually have fun at Tom Holland’s expense, and they’ll probably find a way to continue that when promoting the new Disney+ show. Maybe throw Gwyneth Paltrow in there somehow too, so Sebastian Stan can introduce himself.

Anthony Mackie has a lot going on, beyond becoming the new Captain America. He’s also the new Takeshi Kovacs for Netflix’s Altered Carbon Season 2, which is expected in 2020. Plus, he just starred in a bold and brave episode of Black Mirror Season 5 called “Striking Vipers.” And he has several movies listed as in the works, including Point Blank, Against All Enemies, The Woman in the Window, and The Banker.

Meanwhile, the Russo Brothers don’t currently have any more Marvel movies on the books after Endgame, but they both produced and Joe Russo wrote Dhaka, starring Chris Hemsworth, which should be coming fairly soon to Netflix.

Men In Black Box Office: International Gets The Number One Spot, But Still Disappoints

Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth as Agent M and Agent H in Men In Black International

Folks, the domestic box office is in a rut. In preparing to write up the latest numbers, I looked back on headlines from the last couple weeks, and rediscovered the used phrases “tepid opening” and “slow weekend” to the way things had gone. Sadly that’s a trend that we are seeing continue as we slide past mid-June. This weekend saw the return of two well-known franchises hit the big screen, but on the whole nobody really cared about them, as both F. Gary Gray’s Men In Black International and Tim Story’s Shaft failed to inspire a lot of ticket sales.

Check out the results in the full Top 10 rundown below, and join me after for analysis!

June 14-16, 2019 Weekend Box Office Men In Black Inernational
1. Men in Black International*

$28,500,000 Total: $28,500,000


THTRS: 4,224

2. The Secret Life Of Pets 2

$23,800,000 Total: $92,044,390

LW: 1

THTRS: 4,564

3. Aladdin

$16,712,000 Total: $263,446,314

LW: 3

THTRS: 3,556

4. Dark Phoenix

$9,005,000 Total: $51,767,350

LW: 2

THTRS: 3,721

5. Rocketman

$8,800,000 Total: $66,142,725

LW: 5

THTRS: 3,021

6. Shaft*

$8,315,000 Total: $8,315,000


THTRS: 2,952

7. Godzilla: King Of The Monsters

$8,105,000 Total: $93,688,172

LW: 4

THTRS: 3,207

8. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

$6,100,000 Total: $148,626,905

LW: 7

THTRS: 2,033

9. Late Night

$5,136,734 Total: $5,449,553

LW: 17

THTRS: 2,220

10. Ma

$3,610,000 Total: $40,349,995

LW: 6

THTRS: 1,794

For what it’s worth, the foreign numbers for Men In Black International should keep the brand a viable property for Sony Pictures going into the future – as the release has already surpassed $100 million globally – but things definitely did not go well for the movie here in North America. The trouble started mid-week with a modest-sized wave of negative buzz, as critics at large were left feeling underwhelmed by what the blockbuster had to offer. This lowered expectations to the point where prognosticators were estimating at least a $30 million three day start for the film, but as you can see above, it wasn’t even able to get over that bar (and keep in mind that there were once suggestions of a possible $50 million opening).

This is most definitely a bad start in the age of the $350 million opening, but what truly makes the performance look bad is when the figures are compared to the numbers generated by previous titles in the sequence. From 1997 to 2012, Men In Black as a brand could be relied on bringing in at least $50 million in its first Friday-to-Sunday – and this latest chapter barely eclipsed half of that. And certainly not helping anything is the fact that it’s received a rather tepid audience response – as represented by the “B” that it received from CinemaScore. So don’t expect this to be a release that gets a late swell of support because of folks telling all of their friends how good it is.

So what went wrong? Well, most critics seem to agree that it has nothing to do with stars Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth – who reunite after Taika Waititi’s effortlessly delightful Thor: Ragnarok – but instead the fact that they are given nothing to do by the film’s script. Should there be future sequels, this is fortunately something that can be remedied with talented individuals taking proper care and attention when it comes to the story being told, but Sony might now also feel a bit gun shy about greenlighting any future chapters in this continuity.

Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth as Agent M and Agent H riding a hovercycle in Men In Black Intern

What about Shaft? To turn a phrase, people didn’t dig it.

Clearly the latest film in the legendary blaxploitation franchise didn’t cost nearly as much as Men In Black International, but even still there can’t be anybody at Warner Bros. who is smiling because of these results. Opening under $10 million is bad; opening in sixth place is worse; and earning a mere fraction of the opening weekend numbers for John Singleton’s 2000 sequel ($21.7 million) is pure insult to injury. The critical responses doesn’t even earn it a modest cherry on top either, as multiple write-ups have included words like “homophobic” and “misogynistic.” All of that together, along with the number of anticipated releases set to come out in the next few weeks, should guarantee that Shaft‘s stay in the Top 10 won’t be long – even with the reported support of audiences that has manifested in contrast to professional critics.

Of course, it wasn’t exactly a banner weekend for everything else out in circulation either. Illumination Entertainment’s The Secret Life Of Pets 2 had a solid 49% drop from week one to week two, but its domestic gross is still about $10 million less than what its predecessor was able to bring in during its first three days. And as I mentioned in my box office report last Sunday, the audience for it is likely going to totally disappear next weekend when Pixar’s Toy Story 4 lands in theaters nationwide. The drop won’t be massive, but the numbers are definitely going to sink.

At the very least one can say that the animated dogs and cats movie did a hell of a lot better than Simon Kinberg’s Dark Phoenix. It was a rough state of affairs last time around when the latest/last chapter of the X-Men series earned the “Weakest Opening In The Franchise” title, and things now aren’t exactly better. The news cycle made note of the fact that both Brightburn and Godzilla: King Of The Monsters recently experienced massive drops in their second weekends (68.7 percent, and 67.7 percent, respectively), but the Marvel comics movie actually managed to outpace both of them in that regard. The $9 million earned from Friday to Sunday means that the blockbuster’s numbers sank 72.6 percent, and that’s significant. At this rate, making $100 million domestically will likely be impossible, and that will make it easily the worst performing chapter in the history of the big screen brand.

How will things turn around for Hollywood? Well, Disney seems to have the magic touch so far in 2019 (note that Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin may soon be nearing $300 million domestically), and as mentioned above, the studio has another hotly anticipated title arriving in just a few days. Lee Unkrich’s Toy Story 3 was a crazy big hit when it came out in 2010, making $110 million in its first weekend, and it wouldn’t surprise many to see its follow-up perform similarly. Throw in some interesting question marks like Lars Klevberg’s Child’s Play reboot, Luc Besson’s new action flick Anna, and Tom Harper’s musical drama Wild Rose and you have all the ingredients for some interesting Top 10 shake-ups.

Be sure to come back next Sunday to see how everything plays out.

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Toy Story 4 Will Be The First Pixar Movie Since 1995 To Run Without A Short Film

What the Forky? Pixar is taking a short break this year. It’s not clear why yet, but it appears Toy Story 4 will break the streak of running an animated short film before the feature.

Running a cute short film before a feature has been a Pixar tradition since A Bug’s Life came out in 1998. The only other Pixar movie to skip a short in the theatrical run is the first Toy Story movie back in 1995. That was Pixar’s first-ever feature and it only included a short film, Tin Toy, in its home release.

Toy Story 4 is the 21st Pixar film, and Slate got confirmation from a Disney rep that the 2019 movie will release in theaters without an animated short. It’s not like the movie is extra long, it’s reportedly 1 hour 40 minutes, which would be a few minutes shorter than Toy Story 3.

That’s slightly surprising, at least to me, since Pixar is hot off an Oscar win for Best Animated Short Film with Bao, which played before Incredibles 2 last year. Pixar shorts are regularly nominated in that category, and the studio has wins for Tin Toy, Geri’s Game, For the Birds, and the adorable Piper short that played before Finding Dory.

There was controversy over the short that played before Coco, mostly because it wasn’t really a short. It was a full Frozen featurette called Olaf’s Frozen Adventure and it lasted for more than 20 minutes. That had a limited run before Coco, but it was around long enough to irritate many people.

It’s possible Toy Story 4 will still get a short for its home release, maybe even something feature-related. It doesn’t sound like that has been announced yet.

Don’t go thinking no Pixar short means Toy Story 4 will get you out of the theater under two hours, since there will still be the usual trailers and ads before the movie. One of those trailers will probably be for Disney’s Frozen 2, which is opening on November 22, but rest assured that they’ll cap it off after a couple of minutes and not go for a full 20-minute featurette.

Toy Story 4 opens in theaters Friday, June 21. Early box office tracking suggests the movie could open as high as $130 million. But many franchise movies have been underperforming this year, so we’ll have to wait and see. Keep up with everything heading to theaters in 2019 with our handy guide.