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Here is a list of movies opening Aug. 18-25:
Documentary about a new factory built by a Chinese billionaire in a former General Motors facility in Ohio. Directed by Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert. (1:55) NR.
Ready or Not
A new bride is forced by her eccentric in-laws to play a twisted and deadly game. With Samara Weaving, Mark O’Brien, Adam Brody, Henry Czerny, Andie MacDowell. Written by Guy Busick, Ryan Murphy. Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett. (1:35) R.
An awkward teen spends the summer in New York City with his older sister, a lesbian and trans activist. With Nicholas Alexander, Bobbi Salvör Menuez, Margaret Qualley. Written by Ariel Schrag, based on her book. Directed by Rhys Ernst. (1:35) NR.
A teen graffiti artist from Coney Island flees to Colorado with his abusive stepfather’s girlfriend. With Seann William Scott, Raquel Castro, Tyler Dean Flores, Shiloh Fernandez. Written and directed by Christopher Kenneally. (1:59) NR.
Angel Has Fallen
Gerard Butler’s Secret Service agent returns, this time framed for the attempted assassination of the president. With Morgan Freeman, Jada Pinkett Smith, Lance Reddick, Tim Blake Nelson, Piper Perabo, Nick Nolte, Danny Huston. Written by Matt Cook, Robert Mark Kamen, Ric Roman Waugh; based on a story and characters created by Creighton Rothenberger, Kate Benedikt. Directed by Waugh. (2:00) R.
Asako I & II
A young woman meets a man who looks exactly like another she fell in love with two years earlier before he disappeared. With Erika Karata, Masahiro Higashide. Written by Sachiko Tanaka, Ryusuke Hamaguchi; based on a novel by Tomoka Shibasaki; directed by Hamaguchi. In Japanese with English subtitles. (1:59) NR.
Brittany Runs a Marathon
A 20-something party girl in New York City takes up running as part of an effort to get her life together. With Jillian Bell, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Michaela Watkins, Lil Rel Howrey, Micah Stock, Mickey Day, Alice Lee. Written and directed by Paul Downs Colaizzo. (1:43) R.
An unstable woman and her convenience-store co-worker are confronted by an armed robber. With Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Josh Hutcherson, Harry Shum Jr., Suki Waterhouse. Written and directed by Mike Gan. (1:28) NR.
Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles
Documentary recalls the creation of the beloved 1960s Broadway musical “Fiddler on the Roof.” With Hal Prince, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Chaim Topol, Harvey Fierstein, Fran Lebowitz, Calvin Trillin. Directed by Max Lewkowicz. (1:32) PG-13.
A veteran encounters the brother he believed had died a year earlier when both were in Afghanistan in this remake of the 1990 supernatural thriller. With Michael Ealy, Jesse Williams, Nicole Beharie, Karla Souza. Written by Jeff Buhler, Sarah Thorpe; story by Buhler, Jake Wade Wall; based on a screenplay by Bruce Joel Rubin. Directed by David M. Rosenthal. (1:30) R.
Documentary profiles Austyn Tester, a Tennessee teen turned live-streaming star with a large following on social media. Directed by Liza Mandelup. (1:39) NR.
Just a Friend
A man and a woman struggle to keep things casual between them. With Drew Sidora, Trae Ireland, Erica Hubbard. Written and directed by Annette Galloway. (1:30) NR.
A high-school coach and family man in an economically struggling town finds inspiration in a young girl who tries out for the cross-country team. With Alex Kendrick, Aryn Wright-Thompson, Shari Rigby, Priscilla Shirer. Written by Alex Kendrick, Stephen Kendrick. Directed by Alex Kendrick. (1:59) PG.
A young violin prodigy is pressured to succeed by her pianist father. With Rachel Ann, Bjorn Johnson, Laura Kirk. Written and directed by Catherine Dudley-Rose. (1:38) NR.
This Is Not Berlin
A misfit teen in 1980s Mexico City finds sanctuary in the city’s underground club scene. With Xabiani Ponce de León, José Antonio Toledano, Ximena Romo. Written by Rodrigo Ordoñez, Max Zunino, Hari Sama. Directed by Sama. In Spanish with English subtitles. (1:55) NR.
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Dark fantasy fable about children orphaned by Mexico’s drug wars. With Paola Lara, Juan Ramón López, Hanssel Casillas. Written and directed by Issa López. In Spanish with English subtitles. (1:23) NR.
Seeking a reset after losing her job and seeing her latest relationship fail, a young millennial rents a country house from a deranged widower. With Robert Patrick, Amanda Crew, AnnaLynne McCord, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Ray Wise, Kim Delaney. Written and directed by Richard Bates Jr. (1:27) R.
Documentary profiles blind and visually impaired artists including a photographer, a dancer, a writer and a filmmaker. Directed by Rodney Evans. (1:18) NR.
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Arena Bowl: Philadelphia at Albany 8 p.m. ESPN2
Monster Energy Cup: Consumer’s 3 p.m. NBCSN; Energy 400 102.5-FM
Angels at Red Sox 1 p.m. TBS
Braves at Marlins 1 p.m. FSF
Rays at Mariners 4 p.m. Fox Sun; 95.3-FM
Diamondbacks at Dodgers 4 p.m. MLB
Phillies at Giants 7 p.m. ESPN
Basketball, Jr. NBA Global Championship
Girls: U.S. champ vs. international champ 3 p.m. Fox
Boys: U.S. champ vs. international champ 4:30 p.m. Fox
Pan American Games 10 a.m. ESPNU
Pan American Games 8 p.m. ESPNU
LPGA: Scottish Open 8:30 a.m. Golf
PGA: Northern Trust noon Golf
PGA: Northern Trust 2 p.m. CBS
Women’s U.S. Amateur 2 p.m. FS1
Korn Ferry: Portland Open 6 p.m. Golf
U.S. Championships 8 p.m. NBC
High School Baseball
Perfect Game All-American Classic 8 p.m. MLB
PLL: Archers at Atlas 7:30 p.m. NBCSN
EPL: Arsenal at Newcastle United 9 a.m. NBCSN
EPL: Chelsea at Manchester United 11:30 a.m. NBCSN
Mexican: America at Toluca 1 p.m. Univision
NWSL: North Carolina at Portland 3 p.m. ESPNews
MLS: Atlanta at New York FC 3:55 p.m. ESPN
MLS: L.A. Galaxy at D.C. United 7:30 p.m. FS1
MLS: New York Red Bulls at L.A. FC 10 p.m. FS1
Rogers Cup 4 p.m. ESPN2
Seattle at New York 3 p.m. NBA
Connecticut at Las Vegas 6 p.m. ESPN2
Corel PaintShop Pro 2020 is inexpensive, subscription-free, easy to use and has plenty of tools to help you perfect your photos. Will all photographers find the new/improved tools useful? Perhaps not, but those who have used PaintShop Pro for a while will probably welcome the updates and be happy to see that Corel has listened to their feedback, too. We're not massive fans of the new Photography workspace, however we're sure a novice will find it useful and the new 'Copy & Paste Layer Styles' function is pretty cool. It's good to see that Corel is sticking with a subscription-free format, too.
We'll walk you through what's new before we put the new features to the test to find out if Corel Paintshop Pro 2020 is a piece of software photographers should be investing in.
Corel PaintShop Pro 2020 Features
On test, we have the Ultimate version of Corel PaintShop Pro 2020 which comes bundled with 5 add-ons: AfterShot 3, Painter Essentials 6, PhotoMirage Express, Parallels Toolbox and GRFX Studio, but you can also just get Corel PaintShop Pro 2020 without the extras should you so wish. You can also access brushes, textures, backgrounds and more, both free of charge or for a small fee depending what you choose, within the software.
As well as general fixes, Corel has introduced new tools, RAW camera support, Layer Style options and a new area, for photographers who want to apply quick edits, called the 'Photography Workspace' which is also touch-ready for those working on devices with this function built-in.
What's New At A Glance:
Touch-Ready Photography Workspace
What's Improved At A Glance:
Quite a lot of what's new/improved has actually come from user feedback which is pretty cool, too.
See the entire list of what's playing in theaters now and this upcoming week:
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Amazon has applied for a license to open a liquor store in San Francisco selling beer, wine, and spirits.
The storefront would allow consumers to buy alcohol directly from the business, and also give the company a location from which they could deliver alcohol to Prime Now customers in San Francisco. Applications for the liquor license and for approval to open a brick-and-mortar business are still pending with the city and the state of California.
Amazon plans to open a 200-square-foot storefront at the site of its current warehouse in San Francisco's Dogpatch neighborhood, according to filings to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors obtained by The Mercury News. The storefront would only be operational from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, but alcohol deliveries from the store would be made after-hours, from 8 a.m. to midnight.
However, Amazon's liquor license application shows that the primary reason for opening a storefront in San Francisco would be so the company could add wine and alcohol to the long list of items available for delivery through Prime Now, Amazon's two-hour delivery service for everything from groceries to electronics.
Through Prime Now, Amazon already offers alcohol for delivery in cities including Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York (only in Manhattan and Brooklyn), St. Louis, and Washington, D.C.
Strike & Techel, the company that filed the license for the liquor storefront, did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment. Amazon responded only to say that the storefront will be used for Amazon Prime Now deliveries of alcohol.
More recently, Amazon filed an additional application this week for a state-issued liquor license allowing it to deliver wine in San Francisco purchased online.
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Lilith Fair — the all-female festival founded by Sarah McLachlan — hasn’t been held since 2010. But the “Angel” singer-songwriter is still making her presence felt on this summer’s concert circuit with a symphonic minitour that will string her together with the New York Pops at Forest Hills Stadium on Friday.
Here, the Vancouver-based Grammy winner, 51, dishes on Lilith Fair, her Broadway prospects and why Canadians do it better.
How does playing with an orchestra change the game for you?
The feeling of having a symphony play with me is like this huge, warm, enveloping pillow that just takes the music to a completely different place. It’s like being in one’s own cinematic picture. It’s so powerful and beautiful, there are no words for it really.
This is music festival season, so what’s the state of Lilith Fair? Would you ever revive it?
All I can say is never say never. I always used to say “not a chance,” and you never know. It would take so many things lining up in the right way to make something like that happen again. There are no immediate plans, I will say that.
If you were having Lilith Fair this summer, who are the Top 5 female artists you’d want there?
Lizzo. That’s all I’ve been listening to right now; I love her so much. Lorde would be great. Alessia Cara. Billie Eilish for sure. And Meghan Trainor. There’s a s - - t-ton of great artists.
What’s the best festival that you’ve been to lately?
I’m 51, honey, come on! The idea of standing in a hot field all day does not really appeal to me. [Laughs.] What happens for me in the summer is I go up to the beach, and I surf and I hide. I live in the middle of nowhere all summer, so I don’t tend to be in places where I can go to festivals.
Would you ever do a Broadway musical, like Sara Bareilles (“Waitress”) and Alanis Morissette (“Jagged Little Pill”)?
Absolutely. I’d be honored to write some music for Broadway. It would just take the right project. It’s funny, ’cause some of the songs I write feel sort of like Broadway. It’s a big leap of faith as a musician, because we tend to work in a microcosm in pretty controlled environments . . . But I think, given the right circumstances, it’d be an amazing challenge and opportunity.
Is there any song that you’re sick of singing?
“Push” [from 2003’s “Afterglow” album]. It’s just not very good. [Laughs.] And I wrote that about my husband, but times have changed. We’ve been divorced 11 years. We’re great friends, we’re co-parenting fantastically, and it’s all good.
What do you think of the wave of Canadian artists — from Drake to Shawn Mendes — who have been taking over the US pop scene?
We have a lot of amazing musicians writing great music. Borders become less and less important these days, with the Internet and with music being able to flow way more freely with Spotify and Pandora and all these streaming [services] . . . And it’s cold up here! Sometimes those long, dark winters make great music, because there’s not a lot else to do.
The first Fast & Furious spinoff Hobbs & Shaw is set to land this week to a relatively low $60 million domestic debut and is predicted to pull $195 million—or possibly more—worldwide.
Previous installments have seen considerably larger openings. Deadline reports that the film isn’t expected to take off immediately like the franchise’s last chapter, 2017’s The Fate of the Furious, which saw a record-obliterating $532 million worldwide debut—$98.8M of which came from the U.S.—and became the second-highest-grossing entry to date with $1.2 billion.
Still, Hobbs & Shaw is unlike other spinoffs: there aren’t too many films that bring back two vital characters—Dwayne Jonhson’s Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw—in a standalone story. According to Variety, if estimates hold up, H&S could thwart the sequel slump, and positive word-of-mouth could boost the predicted revenue. This summer has seen tepid openings and total earnings for follow-ups and reboots like Men in Black International, Shaft, Child’s Play, Dark Phoenix, and Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
Overall, the Fast & Furious series has collected almost $5 billion worldwide across eight films. Furious 7 saw the biggest American debut with $147 million in 2015, and went on to become the highest-grossing installment with $1.5 billion globally. The previous film, 2013’s Fast & Furious 6 grossed $788.7 million internationally. The franchise debuted in 2001 to $40M in the U.S. and a $207.3M total gross.
Fifteen years ago, Raymond Ayala sat listening to the sounds of the streets in the tiny apartment he shared with his wife and three children in Villa Kennedy, a housing project in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“Cómo le gusta la gasolina!” shouted the voices beneath his window, taunting the pretty girls who accepted rides from the guys with the flashiest cars. She really likes gasoline!
“A mi me gusta la gasolina,” Ayala began chanting rhythmically, “dame más gasolina.” I like gasoline, give me more gasoline. The refrain got stuck in his head.
“I had the phrase, I had the chorus,” says Ayala, a.k.a. Daddy Yankee, the Puerto Rican reggaetón star who at the time was little-known outside the island. “I sat in my studio there in Villa Kennedy and started to harmonize the flow.”
With help from producer friends Luny -- of production duo Luny Tunes -- and Eddie Dee, they finished the track, adding rapid-fire verses, a thumping, aggressive beat under the almost childish chorus and the sound of gunning motors in the introduction.
It was an eminently commercial take on what was then an underground, subversive genre shunned by major labels. “The verse was so simple and easy to remember,” says Yankee. “The word gasolina -- everyone in the world knew what it meant. And I think part of the success of the track was people looking for some hidden meaning: Was I talking about alcohol, about drugs?”
Yankee laughs. “That track is completely literal,” he insists. “It’s one of the most innocent songs I’ve ever written.”
“Gasolina” exploded 15 years ago this month, irrevocably altering the business, sound and aesthetic of Latin music. It was the first single off Barrio Fino, the hits-packed Yankee album that blended reggaetón with other tropical beats from the likes of Wisin & Yandel and salsa star Andy Montañez.
The set debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart July 31, 2004, the first reggaetón album to hit that spot. It eventually became the top-selling Latin album of 2005 and the entire decade. Because so few Spanish-language stations played urban music at the time, “Gasolina” never rose past No. 17 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart. It did, however, get played on mainstream stations --peaking at No. 32 on the Hot 100 -- and its unique dembow beat allowed it to catch on not only in Latin America but throughout Europe and the Far East.
As a result, Daddy Yankee was suddenly the Messiah of reggaetón. The genre would revive sales of Latin music, usher in a new radio format in the U.S. (Latin Rhythm) and establish the urban base responsible for many Latin radio hits today.
Collaborations in Latin music were a rarity when “Gasolina” first came out, until reggaetoners began routinely teaming up with their peers. Today, the Latin musical landscape is dominated by urban collaborations; in fact, this week, 14 out of the 15 top songs on the Hot Latin Songs chart are urban collaborations.
The fact that this music has evolved while meshing with other genres -- such as tropical, pop and bachata -- only underscores its uniqueness, not to mention its danceability. Once thought to be a passing fad, reggaetón is here to stay.
And it harks back to a large degree to Daddy Yankee.
“Daddy Yankee and ‘Gasolina’ triggered the explosion of urban Latin music worldwide,” Nestor Casonú, president for Kobalt Music Latin America, told Billboard five years ago, when “Gasolina” turned 10. Fifteen years ago, as MD for EMI Music Publishing Latin America, he signed Daddy Yankee’s publishing.
“Puerto Rico was living a tremendously creative moment,” he recalls. “It was a cauldron of activity with many, many people developing their own musical culture. When ‘Gasolina’ exploded, it made us all look to them for talent.”
Yankee was at the tip of the iceberg. With him came the likes of Don Omar, Wisin & Yandel and Tito El Bambino, and the genre’s clout online and in social media remains indisputable.
Most important, what was once an eminently Puerto Rican genre has bled into other countries and bred autonomous, urban movements, ensuring its longevity. Farruko, one of the genre’s biggest stars, spoke with Billboard 10 years ago about Yankee’s legacy. “I’m seeing a generational change,” he said. “And that’s because the acts on top -- like Yankee -- gave us the opportunity [to collaborate with them]. “In other genres, like pop, it’s still the same old names, because the big guys never helped the little ones come up the ranks.”
Reggaetón, instead, emulated the mainstream rap movement in its mentoring of new acts.
Through it all, Yankee has remained a constant force. This week, his hit “Con Calma,” featuring Snow, sits at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart. In fact, he is on three of the top five tracks on the chart (the other two are Anuel’s “China” and “Soltera” with Lunay and Bad Bunny.
For Yankee, even back then, it was never just about the music but also his image, branding and cultural impact. Even in the “Gasolina” days, “I had a really different vision,” he told Billboard in 2014. “I could feel the impact reggaetón was having in the streets in South America and the United States. I knew we were close to exploding. So I said, ‘Ok, I’m going to be the one to do it.’ And all the money I had, I invested in Barrio Fino.”
Yankee was one of the first Latin acts to actually shell out money both to record (to this day he retains ownership of all his masters) and market. For Barrio Fino, he worked with video director and designer Carlos Pérez -- founder of design house Elastic People -- whose client list today includes Romeo Santos, Wisin and Ricardo Arjona.
“We wanted to position him as one of the founders of the movement and portray him on a sophisticated note,” says Pérez. He suggested a black and white cover, taking his cues from historic Muhammad Ali shots, to strike a sophisticated but “monumental” note. “The main challenge was, regardless of whether anyone knew him outside Puerto Rico, to make his marketing materials as good as those of any Anglo artist. And I think he accomplished that.”
Yankee paid $30,000 for the “Gasolina” video, a fortune at the time. To date, he still invests on his videos.
“I knew it was a homerun,” he says now, of his “Gasolina” gamble. “It wasn’t just the song, it was a movement. Barrio Fino brought glamour to the barrio. And it gave kids the possibility to say, man, if Yankee can, I can.”
And they did.
This story is an update of the original that ran in Billboard on July, 2014.
Oscar bait biopics and prestige dramas aren't the only things on the menu in November. Terminator: Dark Fate and Charlie's Angels bring the action sequel bombast, with Midway giving the Roland Emmerich big-budget spectacle treatment to World War II. The Shining sequel Doctor Sleep arrives hot on the heels of It: Chapter 2 with horror indie The Lodge also on tap for those who like a little post-Halloween darkness.
You may be wondering how exactly you're supposed to see all of these highly anticipated movies while saving up for Thanksgiving groceries and Christmas gifts. Well we've got your solution: the fantastic new program at Cinemark called Movie Club.
Stuff your November full of must-see movies for ten bucks or less (depending on where you live) with a Movie Club at Cinemark membership that gets you a movie ticket, 20 percent off concessions, and the chance to grab two tickets per transaction at the Movie Club price of $8.99 or $9.99, without any online fees. Movie Club members enjoy those special prices all month long. Plus, if you don't use your first ticket during that month (which seems crazy, but hey, things happen!), the ticket rolls over to the next month.
Best of all, Cinemark is offering a FREE month-long trial membership for all of you movie fans lucky enough to find this offer right here, on MovieWeb. With Movie Club you can catch everything on our list of November's Must See Movies.
Terminator: Dark Fate (Nov 01)
Toss out everything you remember about Terminator: Rise of the Machines, Terminator Salvation, and The Sarah Connor Chronicles (we've already forgotten Terminator Genisys), because Terminator: Dark Fate picks up the story after Terminator 2: Judgment Day as if none of the other sequels, TV shows, or comics ever happened.
Terminator and Judgment Day director James Cameron didn't return to direct (he's making a zillion Avatar sequels, remember?) but he does serve as a producer, with Linda Hamilton and (of course) Arnold Schwarzenegger returning to the franchise.
Hamilton, who was once married to Cameron (they have a daughter, Josephine, together) hasn't starred in a Terminator movie in nearly 30 years. Cameron hasn't worked on Terminator in as many years either, but he's got a story credit on this one. Edward Furlong returns as well, though the extent of his role remains to be seen.
Harriet (Nov 01)
The first trailer for this biopic about 19th Century icon Harriet Tubman, the abolitionist and activist personally responsible for freeing several slaves via the Underground Railroad, arrived with some controversy earlier this month. (Some folks decried the casting of a British actress in the lead role of what is a quintessentially American hero.)
Harriet was directed and co-written by actress and filmmaker Kasi Lemmons, whose films Eve's Bayou and Talk to Me earned trophies like the Independent Spirit Award, Black Film Award, Director's Achievement Award, and the Image Award, among others.
Arctic Dogs (Nov 01)
Arctic Dogs, previously titled Arctic Justice: Thunder Squad, is a computer animated comedy with an environmentalist bent. The movie's villain, voiced by John Cleese, has an evil plan to accelerate global warming and melt the ice caps in order to flood the world and become its ruler. Jeremy Renner voices the movie's hero, Swifty, an arctic fox who works in a mailroom but dreams of a bigger and more important life.
The voice cast also includes Heidi Klum, Omar Sy, Michael Madsen, Laurie Holden, Anjelica Huston, Tommy Lee Jones, Alec Baldwin, and James Franco, in his first major feature film since The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. (Indie drama The Pretenders, which Franco directed, opens in September. It debuted at an Italian film festival last year.)
Doctor Sleep (Nov 08)
Stephen King's sequel to The Shining gets the big screen treatment courtesy of Mike Flanagan, the creator, director, writer, editor, and producer of the anthology TV series The Haunting of Hill House who previously adapted King's Gerald's Game in 2017.
The success of 2017's It helped secure financing for the project which has gestated since the novel was published in 2013 (several decades after the 1977 original).
Ewan McGregor stars as a grownup Danny Torrence, the big wheel riding and psychic powered boy bedeviled by Jack Nicholson's Jack Torrence in Stanley Kubrick's classic 1980 film (an adaptation King hated so much, he remade it as a mini-series in 1997).
Grownup Danny, er "Dan," now struggles with alcoholism, just as King himself did early in his career. Actor Carl Lumbly plays Dick Hallorann, the Overlook Hotel cook made famous by Catman Carruthers. The character, who calls his psychic ability "the shining," is killed by the elder Torrance in Kubrick's film but survived in King's book. (Dick makes a brief appearance in Pearl, a novel by King's wife, Tabitha, and is mentioned in It.)
Midway (Nov 08)
Roland Emmerich delivered bombastic big screen action like few other big budget filmmakers in Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow. The director puts his eye for spectacle on World War II with Midway, set during the Battle of Midway.
Midway stars Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Aaron Eckhart, Nick Jonas, Mandy Moore, Dennis Quaid, and Woody Harrelson. Filming took place in Honolulu, Hawaii and Montreal, Quebec. November 8 is the Friday of Veterans Day Weekend.
Charlie's Angels (Nov 15)
It's been almost 20 years since music video director turned filmmaker McG adapted the hit '70s "investigative agent" show Charlie's Angels for the big screen with Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, and producer Drew Barrymore as the iconic action trio. Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle followed in 2003, but a third film took another 16 years to materialize.
Directed by Elizabeth Banks, who also wrote the screenplay (based on a story from two writers) and stars as one of many "Bosleys" in the new film, 2019's Charlie's Angels is not a remake. Rather, it's said to acknowledge events from the TV show and McG films.
The newest Angels are played by Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska.
Ford v Ferrari (Nov 15)
It's a greenlight for Oscar time! Award season magnets Christian Bale and Matt Damon play automotive rivals in a story based on real life events. Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt were rumored to star originally, before James Mangold came onboard. It's the Walk the Line director's first film since 2013's The Wolverine and 2017's acclaimed Logan.
Mangold (and if we're counting that Thor: Ragnarok cameo, Damon) aren't the only Marvel movie veterans involved with Ford v Ferrari. The Walking Dead veteran Jon Bernthal, who starred as Frank Castle in season two of Marvel's Daredevil and both seasons of The Punisher spinoff on Netflix, plays famous Ford executive Lee Iacoca.
The Lodge (Nov 15)
Halloween will have come and gone but horror has no season. The Lodge debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January and was acquired by Neon, the production and distribution company co-founded by Alamo Drafthouse Cinema CEO Tim League.
The Lodge incorporates mystery, trauma, and religious zeal. The cast includes Jaeden Lieberher, Lia McHugh, Alicia Silverstone, Richard Armitage, and Riley Keough.
Frozen II (November 22)
The excellent Rickroll (Ralphroll?) in Ralph Breaks the Internet, which promised an early look at Disney's Frozen II only to deliver John C. Reilly's hamfisted video game antihero singing Rick Astley's 1987 hit "Never Gonna Give You Up" instead, was but one indicator of the massive excitement surrounding Frozen II.
Ever since elementary school kids and their parents started humming "Let it Go" to themselves back in November 2013 a sequel to the $1.27 billion dollar box office hit seemed all but assured. The long wait will finally be over, six years after Anna and Elsa first dazzled audiences in Disney's wintery 3D computer-animated musical fantasy.
Codirectors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee return for Frozen II, which is set three years after the events of the original. Lee was the first woman to direct a Walt Disney Animation Studios feature film and the first female director with a billion dollar hit. Lee co-wrote Wreck-It Ralph and was Executive Producer on Ralph Breaks the Internet.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Nov 22)
Could Tom Hanks be any more perfect for this role? The one-time sitcom actor turned Academy Award winning powerhouse adds Fred Rogers to the list of real like folks he's portrayed on the big screen, a distinguished list that includes his roles in Philadelphia, Apollo 13, Catch Me if You Can, Captain Phillips, Sully, and Saving Mr. Banks.
The biopic focuses on the relationship between reporter Lloyd Vogel, played by Emmy Award winner Matthew Rhys from TV's The Americans, and the host of the beloved children's program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Vogel is based on real-life Esquire writer Tom Junod, who wrote this excellent piece called "Can You Say... Hero?" in 1998.
The Rhythm Section (Nov 22)
Reed Morano is an accomplished director and cinematographer who has won an Emmy and a Directors Guild Award for her work on the first season of The Handmaid's Tale, making her the first woman to win an Emmy and a DGA for directing a drama series.
Morano directs The Rhythm Section from writer Mark Burnell's adaptation of his own novel by the same name, a revenge thriller starring Blake Lively and Jude Law. James Bond franchise mavens Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli are producers.
In December 2017, production was halted temporarily after Lively injured her hand filming an action sequence on location in Dublin, Ireland.
Knives Out (Nov 29)
The world's love affair with Chris Evans is so all consuming that gifs of his scene-stealing jokes sprang up on Twitter within minutes of the first trailer for Knives Out, faster than Captain America put his life on the line to save others.
A murder mystery caper that will most certainly be better than Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston's lazily titled, um, Murder Mystery (Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 38%), Knives Out's ensemble cast includes Evans, Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, and Christopher Plummer. Movies like Murder on the Orient Express, Clue, Murder by Death, and Death on the Nile served as inspiration.
The neo-noir black comedy also promises a cameo from one of writer/director Rian Johnson's recent Star Wars collaborators, Frank Oz. It's Johnson's first film since The Last Jedi, arriving less than a month before JJ Abrams' The Rise of Skywalker.
The 45 year-old Johnson is no stranger to neo-noir. His first feature film was the critically-acclaimed hardboiled detective story Brick, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It subverted many of the genre's tropes by making most of its characters modern high school students, while strictly adhering (with loving faithfulness) to noir-ish dialogue. (Incidentally, Brick was the first movie this writer ever ordered from Netflix, circa 2006.)
Like Ford v Ferrari, Knives Out will make its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival. Can't afford a trip to Canada to see a bunch of movies? Remember, Movie Club at Cinemark has you covered. Grab their spectacular one month trial membership and see as many movies as you like at low prices, plus a big discount on concessions.
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It's safe to say that Tom Cruise is one of the few genuine movie stars left working in Hollywood. In an age when that personal distinction is becoming an obsolete concept, replaced by reliances on pop franchises and recognized IPs, Tom Cruise is one of the few stars left in the business who can sell a project based solely on his involvement. There's a good reason why Cruise earned that clout throughout nearly four decades of acting experience: he's as hard-working as they come.
It's difficult to think of many actors who are as committed and dedicated to Hollywood's insanity as Tom Cruise. The A-list actor thrives on wild productions, giving audiences death-defying stunts, a multitude of thrills and a variety of dramatic moments throughout an eclectic variety of movies. But as dedicated as Cruise is to his craft, both as an actor and producer, there are a similar number of films — certainly more so — that he's turned down over the years for any number of reasons.
Tom Cruise may be a hard-working actor, the likes of which are often unparalleled in Hollywood (especially when it comes to practical stunts in a CG-invested cinematic landscape), he can't do everything. There are always going to be movies that have to get turned down, and some the films Cruise didn't make will probably surprise you, though maybe they shouldn't. Because we're talking about Tom Cruise here, ladies and gentlemen, one of Hollywood's last genuine stars. Now let's go over some of the roles that Cruise backed out of.
Iron Man (2008)
It's hard to imagine many actors other than Robert Downey Jr. at the forefront of Iron Man, Jon Favreau's trendsetter of a superhero movie that would pave the way for what we now know to be the Marvel Cinematic Universe, i.e. the MCU. The actor was cocky, witty, animated and willing to dig into his emotions, in a way that made the role a natural fit for the formally-troubled A-lister. The narrative arguably worked so well because it mirrored the road to redemption taken by its hard-wrought actor, and it's one of the many reasons why it wouldn't be the same if RDJ wasn't inside the suit.
But in 2008, Robert Downey Jr. was far from a guarantee when it came to being a potential box office draw. The working actor was still plagued by his reputation, and the studios were trying to explore different options for who could be a good fit for the part. Naturally, Tom Cruise's name came up. Here's how he explained it in 2005 to IGN, three years before the film's release.
It's not happening. Not with me, no … They came to me at a certain point and, when I do something, I wanna do it right. If I commit to something, it has to be done in a way that I know it's gonna be something special. And as it was lining up, it just didn't feel to me like it was gonna work. I need to be able to make decisions and make the film as great as it can be, and it just didn't go down that road that way.
The actor wasn't quite at the height of his box office powers in 2008, but he was still a big name. But alas, while Cruise was interested in starring and also producing an Iron Man movie, things didn't work out for the superstar.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
According to some folks, especially on Internet forums like IMDb, The Shawshank Redemption is not only one of the best movies ever made, but it might possibly be the best movie ever. It's a hard distinction to make, but there are a lot of people willing to take that stance for this particular film. It's a moving, sweeping character study with great performances, terrific direction and much more to celebrate.
But would it be the same highly praised film if Tom Cruise had taken on one of the lead roles? It's hard to know for sure, but there was indeed once a point in time when Cruise was considered.
As it was reported by the director of the film himself, Frank Darabont, there was a time shortly after A Few Good Men when Rob Reiner wanted to return to set with Tom Cruise. And he believed Shawshank Redemption would benefit both of their talents. He was willing to pay Darabont a "shitload of dough," as he claimed to Vanity Fair, in order to turn over the directing reigns to him. And while Frank Darabont was tempted, he ultimately declined, thinking the opportunity was too good to pass up.
Frank Darabont then cast Tim Robbins in the role of Andy Dufresne, the film's imprisoned protagonist, and it certainly worked out for the first-time director. The film received seven Oscar nominations, including one for Darabont himself, and as it was noted before, the movie is quite widely considered one of the best movies ever. There's a good chance that Rob Reiner's version might've worked, especially considering how some of his best movies were other adaptations of Stephen King's work, though it's hard to imagine Reiner's Shawshank Redemption being quite as well-regarded (and constantly on TNT) as this version.
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
One of Tim Burton's seminal films, Edward Scissorhands is arguably among the prolific director's top-tier masterpieces, and it benefitted enormously from the wonderfully sullen performance by young Johnny Depp. The role fostered a long-standing (and often joked about) working relationship between the filmmaker and the future A-list actor. But there was one point in time where Tom Cruise was considered for the emotionally stunted title character.
Since Edward Scissorhands was an early effort in Tim Burton's career, he still had to listen to the studio's whims and notes. Producers were interested in Tom Cruise playing the lead role, and so Tim Burton met with the actor. While Cruise was "interesting" for the part, Burton felt that it wasn't the best fit.
The reason? He thought Tom Cruise asked too many questions about the role of Edward Scissorhands, and Burton felt "you either do it or you don't do it." And because of his rabid curiosity, Cruise didn't do it.
Tom Cruise memorably cut a rug in his tighty-whities for Risky Business, but there was one point in time when the A-list performer was sought to lose his blues on the dance (or grain mill) floor in the beloved teen movie Footloose. In fact, it was Cruise's work in that aforementioned coming-of-age drama Risky Business that made the producers of 1984's Footloose believe that he could play the lead teenager that convinces the "no dancing" town of Bomont, Utah to strut its stuff once more.
Regardless of whether or not Tom Cruise was genuinely interested in playing the part, it doesn't sound like it was going to be a possibility for the popular talent. At the time, Cruise was in production on Michael Chapman's sports drama All The Right Moves, which was yet another movie centered around a high school student. The actor's contract ultimately didn't allow him to make another movie at this time. In fact, you could probably say that they didn't let Cruise, ahem, cut loose.
Ultimately, however, the lead role of Ren went to up-and-coming star Kevin Bacon, and there are many folks out there who consider it among the most pivotal roles in the actor's career. If we didn't have Bacon in Footloose, would we be able to figure out how many degrees Tom Cruise is from other actors? I don't believe so. It'd break the connection.
Among the late actor Patrick Swayze's most iconic roles was playing Sam Wheat, the deceased husband of Demi Moore's Molly Jensen, in Jerry Zucker's 1990 hit Ghost. But according to Swayze's autobiography, he was far from the first choice for the romantically charged role. In fact, the director's response to Swayze's potentially being cast in the romantic drama was the memorably blunt, "Over my dead body!" Whether or not that joke was intentional or not was a bit unclear.
In response to his dismay over Patrick Swayze being in this romantic role, a variety of other actors were being considered, including Kevin Bacon, Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, Alec Baldwin and, you guessed it, Tom Cruise. The actor was coming off of Barry Levinson's Oscar magnet Rain Man, and had already filmed Oliver Stone's Born on the Fourth of July, which was released months after Ghost went into production.
Alas, for reasons that are left unclear, Tom Cruise and all of the other hopefuls were all passed over. It took a lot of pushback, but director Jerry Zucker eventually agreed to let Patrick Swayze audition for the role, and that audition evidently must have gone over well. Still, just picture Cruise in Ghost's iconic pottery wheel scene and try not to giggle.
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
In the early '00s, Russell Crowe almost won his second Oscar in a row for his leading role of the troubled real-life Nobel Prize-winning mathematician John Nash in Ron Howard's A Beautiful Mind. While it is one of Crowe's most well-regarded performances, this part of a highly troubled genius nearly went to Tom Cruise.
Indeed, before Ron Howard jumped into the director's chair, another actor-turned director, Robert Redford, was set to helm the film with Tom Cruise in the lead role. Ultimately, Cruise passed on this opportunity to reunite with his Jerry Maguire director Cameron Crowe and make the critically divisive film Vanilla Sky instead.
A short time later, Ron Howard became A Beautiful Mind's director, Russell Crowe became the star, and then the rest became history, as they often note. Though Crowe didn't win his Academy Award, Ron Howard won for Best Director, Akiva Goldsman won for Best Adapted Screenplay, and the film won for Best Picture. Vanilla Sky, meanwhile, got a Best Original Song nomination for Paul McCartney's titular track.
Donnie Brasco (1997)
Believe it or not, there was another noteworthy Johnny Depp character which almost went to Tom Cruise instead: the title role of Donnie Brasco. (On the opposite end of the spectrum from Edward Scissorhands, right?) At one point, Mike Newell's 1997 biopic was going to be helmed by Stephen Frears instead, and he was interested in having Tom Cruise play the role of the FBI agent who infiltrated the Mafia Bannano crime family by befriending a hitman played by Al Pacino.
While it seems that Tom Cruise was interested in the project, the pre-production process for Donnie Brasco was simply taking too long for Tom Cruise. He inevitably ended up dropping out of the drama that was loosely based on a true story, thus depriving the world of a potentially meaty Cruise-Pacino pairing.
Instead of making Donnie Brasco, which brought Johnny Depp in, Tom Cruise perhaps understandably opted to work on Stanley Kubrick's final film, Eyes Wide Shut. The fact that Eyes Wide Shut's 15-month production earned a Guinness World Record should be lost on no one. Whether this decision is for the better or for the worse in the long run. depends on how you feel about both Donnie Brasco and Eyes Wide Shut. (Personally, I love Eyes Wide Shut, but I know that's not a common opinion, especially against the broadness of Kubrick's oeuvre.)
Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood (2019)
In the 2019 release Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood, Brad Pitt reunites with director Quentin Tarantino ten years after their first collaboration, the war dramedy Inglorious Basterds. But there was one point when Pitt's character, stuntmen Cliff Booth, was possibly going to be portrayed by Tom Cruise, according to Tarantino himself. On a recent appearance on the podcast Happy Sad Confused, the director explained that there was a point where he reached out to Cruise.
We talked about it. He’s a great guy, and we really hit it off, and it could happen on something else.
Quentin Tarantino didn't make it explicitly clear why Tom Cruise wasn't able to star in the movie, though it quite possibly had something to do with his scheduling commitments for Top Gun: Maverick. In any case, Brad Pitt is currently garnering great reviews for his newest acting work in this new film, and Tarantino seems to be keeping an open mind about working with Cruise in the future.
Actors are extremely busy people, and when one is as big a star as Tom Cruise (which is admittedly rare), it's important to be selective when choosing career paths. It is clear that Cruise has been asked to play a multitude of roles in his career, and he has been seriously considered for more than a handful of big parts. Ultimately, these are some of the roles that could have been played by Tom Cruise in an alt-reality. If you know of any others that didn't get mentioned here, jot them down in the comments.
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Lizzo Revealed She Nearly Quit Music After ‘Truth Hurts’ Didn't Get Much Recognition Upon Its Release
Lizzo has risen to stardom in recent months. Her hit song, “Truth Hurts,” reached number one on the Billboard radio charts for the first time Saturday— two years after its initial release. While the singer is pleased about the song’s popularity, she revealed in a recent interview that she became depressed and considered leaving the music industry entirely after “Truth Hurts” barely gained recognition upon its debut in 2017.
Lizzo spoke with People about why she was ready to give up her dream after “Truth Hurts.”
“The day I released ‘Truth Hurts’ was probably one of the darkest days I’ve had ever in my career. I remember thinking, ‘If I quit music now, nobody would notice. This is my best song ever, and nobody cares. I was like, ‘F*ck it, I’m done.’ And a lot of people rallied; my producer, my publicist and my family, they were like, ‘Just keep going because this is the darkest before the dawn.’”
“Truth Hurts” broke into mainstream culture when it was featured on the Netflix original movie Someone Great, starring Gina Rodriguez. Lizzo said she never would have thought a movie could do so much for her career. “Who would have thunk?” she said. “What a moment in a movie can do for an artist is crazy. I had everything else: the hard work, the good music, touring — but then there’s that extra-special magic that nobody really knows what it is that can really change your life.”
The singer reflected on her strength and perseverance. “Now the song that made me want to quit is the song that everyone’s falling in love with me for, which is such a testament to journeys: Your darkest day turns into your brightest triumph.”
“Truth Hurts” is truly a triumph for the singer. The song will be eligible for a Grammy despite the fact its release was two years ago.
Lizzo, born Melissa Jefferson, has been working in the music industry for ten years. Born in Detroit, she began as a classically trained flautist and moved to Minneapolis, where she worked under and recorded with pop icon Prince before his death.
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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (Source: Reuters) - A renovation of the house seen in classic TV show “The Brady Bunch” meticulously replicates the famous wood-paneled living room, the orange and green kitchen and even Greg’s groovy attic, actors from the series said on Thursday.
Cast members from "The Brady Bunch" Maureen McCormick, Eve Plum, Susan Olsen, Mike Lookinland, Christopher Knight and Barry Williams participate in a panel for the HGTV show "A Very Brady Renovation" during the Discovery portion of the Television Critics Association (TCA) Summer Press Tour in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., July 25, 2019. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
Cast members who played the six Brady children reunited to remake the home for a series called “A Very Brady Renovation,” which will debut on Discovery Inc’s HGTV network in September.
HGTV bought the house outside of Los Angeles that was used for exterior shots of the Brady family home. The network’s celebrity design experts worked with the actors to make the interior look like it did on TV. In real life, the inside shots were filmed miles away on Hollywood soundstages.
“It is almost a perfect replication, from fabrics to carpeting, to furniture, to decorating,” Barry Williams, who played oldest brother Greg, said at a Television Critics Association meeting where networks preview upcoming shows.
The authenticity extended all the way to “the fake grass in the back yard,” he said.
Williams worked on recreating the attic that teenage Greg had decked out in 1970s style. “Yes, the beaded curtains are there!” he said.
“The Brady Bunch” originally aired from 1969 to 1974 on the ABC network and still runs in syndication. One of the first shows to focus on a non-traditional family, it centered around a widowed father of three boys who married a single mother with three daughters and served up invariably cheery storylines.
Renovators on the HGTV show added 2,000-square feet of space to the home evoke the original design and include everything from the kids’ shared bathroom to architect Mike’s den and housekeeper Alice’s little-seen bedroom.
Each cast member was given a different room to work on and took part in everything from demolition to installing cabinets and hanging artwork.
Christopher Knight, who played middle brother Peter, said he asked to work on the kitchen in part because of his famous “porkchops and applesauce” line in one episode. “I had to be close to the food,” he joked.
HGTV has not divulged what will happen to the home after the series ends. Because it sits in a residential area, it cannot be opened to tours as a commercial museum, cast members said.
All of the actors said they welcomed the chance to help preserve a piece of TV history.
When the house came up for sale in 2018, Susan Olsen, who played youngest daughter Cindy, said she “worried the wrecking ball might come to it.”
“It would kind of be like wrecking the American family,” she said.
Maureen McCormick, who portrayed eldest daughter Marcia, added: “I had such an affinity for this house. In some sort of way, I’m a fan of it just like America loves it.”
Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Sam Holmes
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July 23 (UPI) -- Pop superstars Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift lead the pack of the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards nominees.
MTV announced the list of nominations Tuesday, which also includes such acts as Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, Cardi B and K-pop groups BTS and Black Pink.
Grande and Swift are up for 10 awards each, including Video of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Pop for "thank u, next" and "You Need to Calm Down," respectively.
Eilish and Lil Nas X follow with nine and eight nominations, respectively. The pair will compete for Best New Artist with Ava Max, H.E.R., Lizzo and Rosalia.
In addition, the 2019 awards show will feature two new categories, Best K-pop and Video for Good. BTS featuring Halsey, Black Pink, Monsta X featuring French Montana, TXT, NCT 127 and EXO are up for Best K-pop.
The 2019 MTV Video Music Awards will air Aug. 26 on MTV. Sebastian Maniscalco will host the awards show live at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Fans can vote in 14 categories until Aug. 15.
The 2019 MTV Video Music Awards nominees include:
Video of the Year
21 Savage ft. J. Cole - "a lot"
Billie Eilish - "Bad Guy"
Ariana Grande - "thank u, next"
Jonas Brothers - "sucker"
Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus - "Old Town Road (Remix)"
Taylor Swift - "You Need to Calm Down"
Artist of the Year
Song of the Year
Drake - "In My Feelings"
Ariana Grande - "thank u, next"
Jonas Brothers - "Sucker"
Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper - "Shallow"
Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus - "Old Town Road (Remix)
Taylor Swift - "You Need to Calm Down"
Excitement. Raucousness. Pandemonium.
As if the “rock concert” atmosphere that accompanied Marvel’s return to Comic-Con on Saturday wasn’t evidence enough of the franchise’s power — its news-making panel, held inside the San Diego Convention Center’s famed Hall H, drew such a large crowd that even journalists couldn’t make it inside — Disney co-chairman Alan Horn released a near-simultaneous statement announcing that Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” had surpassed “Avatar” as the highest-grossing film of all time, not adjusted for inflation.
“Marvel owns Comic-Con,” said “Single Parents” actor Jake Choi, who read about the highlights via texts from a friend who was at the panel. “I’m not just saying that because I’m on an ABC show.” (Disney is the corporate parent of both ABC and Marvel Entertainment.)
Brand-friendly boasting aside, when it came to non-Marvel movies, the convention’s 50th edition felt downright sleepy. It threw into sharp relief an ongoing trend at Comic-Con and throughout the industry: the proliferation of scripted television, and of serialized film franchises that in many ways resemble television. The silver screen’s smaller footprint is likely the result of multiple factors, from Marvel’s dominance and the rise of streaming to the fact that most films come to such gatherings long before they hit cinemas. Whatever the reason, many fans met the movies’ reduced presence with a shrug.
At a double-header of panels for “The Walking Dead” and spinoff “Fear the Walking Dead,” AMC’s announcement of multiple additional TV series and three feature films within the franchise — the latter starring former “Walking Dead” lead Andrew Lincoln — elicited a muted response from fans and skepticism from the press. On Twitter, Hollywood Reporter television critic Daniel Fienberg tweeted that the “Walking Dead” movies, to be released by Universal Pictures and available only in theaters, constitute “a dramatic miscalculation” of what he’d be willing to spend to see the films: “That amount of money is ‘nothing.’”
By comparison, fans roared with cheers and applause for each of the 10 films and Disney+ series that Marvel President Kevin Feige announced as part of the studio’s upcoming fourth phase, an enthusiasm matched by multiple journalists covering the event.
Stephanie Wu, 29, a reporter for Chinese media outlet M Time, even cosplayed as Captain Marvel. She stood behind another reporter, dressed as a mash-up of Thanos and Spider-Man.
“This is my favorite female superhero character because, as you can see, everything’s covered up,” said Wu. “It’s practical, it makes sense. If you’re fighting, you’re covered up. I’ve been struggling to [find] a female character to dress up as for Comic-Con until Captain Marvel came along so I’m wearing this costume proudly.”
Though she’s been to Comic-Con only twice, Wu posited that movies aren’t abandoning the convention, but rather branching out beyond the convention floor.
“Instead of talking to fans [at panels], they’ve actually built things from the shows and the movies in experiential [activations],” said Wu, referring to the immersive branding opportunities that have become increasingly popular here and at other pop culture festivals in recent years. “This year, Comic-Con is like a huge carnival for me.” But these, too, included precious few movie tie-ins — “The Dark Knight,” “Pokémon Detective Pikachu,” “Shazam!” — against a raft of TV titles.
Besides the Marvel slate, the only other major movie to have a Hall H panel this year was “Terminator: Dark Fate.” Instead, suggesting an interest in gaining the attention of audiences through more intimate means, Warner Bros. promoted high-profile sequel “It: Chapter Two” by holding a ScareDiego event at the Spreckels Theater on the eve of the convention, a strategy it’s employed for three consecutive years. Plus, as Los Angeles resident Heather Horn, 30, pointed out, the studios’ penchant for holding one panel to introduce an entire slate of films can skew one’s impression of the absolute numbers.
“I feel like movies seem to get bundled into larger studio initiatives,” Horn said. “I did go to Hall H last year and I was there for the Warner Bros. panel. I mean, they talked and made a bunch of movie announcements, but it felt like it was part of a … larger Warner Bros. thing — ‘and here’s the movies, by the way.’”
Marvel’s splashy, star-studded announcement of its “phase 4" plans, beginning with Scarlett Johansson in “Black Widow” next spring and continuing through “Thor: Love and Thunder” with Natalie Portman in late 2021, also included “a bunch” of announcements — 10, to be exact. It’s a scale, and pace, that seemed tailor-made to grab the attention of the experienced Hall H audience, not to mention those awaiting news at home.
For 44-year-old Edward Pettis III, who’s been coming to Comic-Con for about 15 years, the emphasis on spectacle isn’t only Marvel’s doing.
“Having seen the rush, I can say that the market change came with the crossover of ‘Twilight,’” he said. “‘Twilight’ changed the culture quite a bit here and that was where you saw the rise of people camping out and the focus being more on movies as popular culture.”
But the overall lower number of films holds out the promise of a return to the convention’s roots. Pettis would like to see panels once again explore the craft of filmmaking, rather than serving as big-budget marketing for the studios. “If there was more of a focus on the technical aspects, as they used to have at the panels, that would more than compensate for the lack of exclusive content,” he said.
“Right now you’re getting a very impressive corporate style, but sometimes going back to the simpler effects and having to use your imagination [is better],” agreed Matthew Clemmons, 37, a safety officer and media advertiser from East L.A. “I love that about reading books and I would love to see more imagination brought back to the screen.”
Clemmons believes attendees are flippant about movies having a smaller footprint in Hall H because of the lack of originality on display there.
“There has been a sea change at Comic-Con but the main thing that we’ve been missing is original content,” he said. “They’ve all been remakes, re-imaginings or ‘I’m going to take this series and adapt it.’ And that’s the thing that upsets me the most … the fans deserve better. You’ve had 20 years, Disney. Come up with something new.”
Though the phenomenon may have intensified of late, the sometimes awkward relationship between Comic-Con and the movies dates back to the convention’s origins.
Most celebrities that came to the show in its earlier years “were strictly comic book,” recalled Bud Plant, founder of Bud’s Art Books, who exhibited at the first 48 Comic-Cons, beginning in the early 1970s.
“Once in a while, maybe the odd movie star [came], but they’d usually be stars of serials,” said Plant — referring to the multi-part movies, often geared toward children, shown at matinees in the 1940s and ’50s. “Back in those days, those were the big celebrities at a comic book show. It’d be whoever starred in the Captain Marvel serial or the Superman serial.”
Then in 1976, an upcoming movie that nobody had heard of came to Comic-Con to unveil a first look, along with some exclusive merchandise.
“They actually had a preview of ‘Star Wars’ at Comic-Con,” said Mike Towry, who co-founded San Diego Comic-Con as a teenager. “Of course, nobody knew that was going to be so big.”
“Star Wars” marketing director Charles Lippincott, comic book artist Howard Chaykin and story adapter Roy Thomas brought a presentation that year in hopes of building buzz. In addition to talking about the movie and showing some production stills, they brought a limited-run poster illustrated by Chaykin. (The poster now commands as much as $7,250.)
That year, the convention was held at the El Cortez Hotel and was attended by around 3,000 people. That’s a fraction of the crowd of 135,000 that convenes for Comic-Con these days, and less than half of the capacity of Hall H alone. Even so, the “Star Wars” panel wasn’t exactly standing room only.
Yes, even “Star Wars” had trouble filling a room before it became the franchise it is today — after all, a community of fans is easier to build around ongoing stories, such as comic books and TV shows.
Television has found a place at Comic-Con because like comics, TV shows unfurl their narratives episodically. Those with relationships to the existing characters and knowledge of past storylines gather at a convention to celebrate what they love about a particular series and await news of what’s to come. For many, it’s a love that grows over each additional installment.
“The longer narratives [of TV] fill a lot of the same niche that the weekly issues of a comic book used to fill, meaning there is a long arc,” said Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro, at this year’s convention with his new horror film, “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.” “On the other hand, the largest franchises already have that built-in massive audience that want to see the next installment of that ‘comic book’ — they want to see how it ends.”
In part, this explains why Marvel makes the splash that it does at Comic-Con. Its cinematic universe so far includes 23 interconnected films in three “phases,” released over the course of more than a decade — and it’s set to expand further. Coupled with the fact that its films and TV shows feature popular comic-book characters, Marvel has positioned itself to drum up excitement at Comic-Con like nothing brand new can.
Ultimately, whether hoping to nab a spot at the Marvel panel or eager for a glimpse of “Steven Universe,” “Star Trek: Picard,” or an array of YouTube stars, convention-goers acknowledged that Comic-Con’s TV-heavy programming is a reflection of the wider culture, in which the sheer volume of television dwarfs that of film. Asked about what she was most excited to see at this year’s edition, Marisol, a 25-year-old volunteer from Chula Vista who declined to give her last name, cited “What We Do in the Shadows” — another microcosm of an industry in flux.
“It was a movie that got made into a TV show,” she said. “Does that count?”
Times staff writers Ashley Lee and Jevon Phillips contributed to this report.
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The Nashville Film Festival is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and to kick off the festivities, they have announced their initial lineup of music documentary features.
The festival, which will take place Oct. 3 to 12, will include screenings of Brian Loschiavo's Bluebird -- which tells the story of the city's Bluebird Cafe and includes performances by Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks, Maren Morris and more -- and Imogen Putler and Monika Baran's Cool Daddio: The Second Youth of R. Stevie Moore, as well as the world premieres of Jon Brewer's Chuck Berry, Jason Ressler and Matthew Woolf's The Sheriff of Mars and Kate Davis and David Heilbroner's Born Into the Gig.
Born Into the Gig follows the children of legendary artists like James Taylor, Carly Simon, Bill Withers, Stephen Stills and the Marleys as they pursue their own musical careers while trying to avoid being overshadowed by their parents.
"We are thrilled to announce these music documentary titles for our 50th Festival," programming manager Lauren Ponto said in a statement. "Each film truly complements Nashville's wide variety of musical and artistic roots. We are looking forward to presenting these powerful music documentaries as just one part of our amazing full slate of films."
The 2019 Nashville Film Festival will feature over 250 films. Official selections across all categories will be announced throughout the year. For more information, visit the NashFilm website.