Sunday, April 30, 2017

Box Office: 'Fate of the Furious' Tops 'Latin Lover' and 'The Circle'

By Seth Kelley

LOS ANGELES, April 30 ( - It has become a familiar story -- "The Fate of the Furious" is, once again, the box office champ.

The massively popular eighth episode in the Fast and Furious franchise earned $19.4 million this weekend from 4,077 locations, placing it securely in first place during a sputtering weekend, anticipating the summer season. After winning the domestic box office for three straight weeks, the Universal movie's U.S. total stands at $192.7 million. Not only that, "Fate's" global total officially crossed the $1 billion mark, making it the 21st highest grossing movie of all time behind 2006's "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest." Its total global sum stands at $1.06 billion.

But while "Fate's" victory seemed inevitable, the rest of the weekend's top five reaped intrigue. Pantelion's "How to be a Latin Lover" slid into second over Tom Hanks and Emma Watson's not-so-distant future tech-thriller "The Circle." Led by Mexican star Eugenio Derbez, "Latin Lover" attracted $12 million from only 1,118 targeted locations. The opening weekend's audience domestically was 89% Hispanic.

In "Latin Lover" Derbez plays a man named Maximo who made a career seducing older women. When his now 80-year-old wife kicks him out for a younger man, Maximo goes to live with his sister (Salma Hayek) and attempts to remaster his art of seduction. Rob Lowe and Kristen Bell also star in comedic actor Ken Marino's directorial debut. Derbez has won over the domestic box office in the past. In 2013 "Instructions Not Included," which he directed in addition to starring in, earned $7.8 million in its opening weekend from only 348 theaters.

Despite screening in only 420 locations, the South Indian epic "Baahubali 2: The Conclusion" landed in third for the weekend with a hefty sum of $10.5 million. The movie, from Great India Films, is the sequel to "Baahubali: The Beginning" which made $3.6 million when it opened in 236 theaters in 2015. S.S. Rajamouli returned to direct the movie starring Prabhas, Rana Daggubati and Anushka Shetty.

"Baahubali 2" earned $1.8 million of its domestic total from 45 IMAX screens alone. Five domestic IMAX locations set new three-day weekend records, and the film also set records in India, making it the biggest domestic IMAX opening for a foreign language film.

Not every story from the weekend box office was quite so rosy. Slapped with a rare D+ CinemaScore and a 17% on Rotten Tomatoes, "The Circle" landed $9.3 million from 3,163 theaters, falling short of its double-digit projections. The $18 million movie was acquired by EuropaCorp for an estimated $8 million.

The film hoped to draw audiences by tapping into modern-day anxieties surrounding technology and privacy. In the movie, Hanks plays the CEO of a Silicon Valley social media company. His young employee, played by Watson, finds herself wrapped up in an experiment that tests ethical limits. James Ponsoldt directed the movie and co-wrote the script with Dave Eggers, who wrote the novel on which the movie was based.

Blumhouse's BH Tilt label released "Sleight" in 565 theaters, and saw a weekend gross of $1.7 million. The film tells the story of a young street magician in Los Angeles (Jacob Latimore) who uses magic and his mind to save his kidnapped sister. Seychelle Gabriel, Dule Hill, Storm Reid and Sasheer Zamata also star. The label's marketing and release strategy targeted a young, urban audience -- 72% of audiences fell in the 18-34 demo and 45% were African-American.

In its fifth weekend, Fox's "Boss Baby" held onto the fifth position. The animated film earned an additional $9.1 million from 3,739 locations, raising its domestic total to just shy of $150 million.

Next weekend marks the first summer frame, and should see "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" post huge numbers. The sequel earned over $101 million at the foreign box office in its opened weekend -- one ahead of the U.S. When the now-beloved first "Guardians" movie launched as a relatively unknown property in August of 2014, it made $94 million in its opening weekend.

from Moviefone News RSS Feed -

Saturday, April 29, 2017

From Mythic to Red-Hot: How 'American Gods' Became the Show of the Moment

AMERICAN GODSThe new Starz's new series "American Gods," adapted from the bestselling novel by fantasy author Neil Gaiman, would be epic, mythic, and frequently mind-blowing. They expected it would resonate. But the creators and cast of the eagerly anticipated adaptation had no idea, throughout the years-long development process to bring it to the screen, that by the time it was broadcast that it would be so relevant.

Despite the fact that Gaiman's book was published in 2001, somehow its central themes are at the center of recent American political discourse in 2017: issues of immigration; inequality; polarization; flasher, more dangerous, and more powerful new systems supplanting the old, weakening establishment; and the essential fabric of the American psyche. The material, 16 years after its introduction, was taking on a red-hot immediacy, a realization that only gradually dawned on executive producer and showrunner Bryan Fuller ("Hannibal").

"I think our first indication of that was when we were watching dailies from a scene that featured Orlando Jones, and his introduction as the African trickster god, Mr. Nancy," says Fuller. "It's relative in a Black Lives Matter sort of way -- he was in a slave hold with 30-40 slaves played by black actors. And after his first take, they all gave him a standing ovation. That was the first time we thought, 'Oh, this is more than just the fun show that we wanted to see.' There are themes in the book that really speak to people deeply."

"It was mind-blowing," says actress Yetide Badaki, who plays a Bilquis, a contemporary incarnation of the Biblical Queen of Sheba who lives in the modern world as a carnivorously worship-seeking prostitute, of the increasing prescience of the subject matter.Yetide Badaki in AMERICAN GODS"I woke up thinking, Who had the crystal ball all this time?" laughs Bedaki. "I guess Neil sees into the future. I'm absolutely stunned at how something that was written in 2001 and was filmed last year has become so incredibly topical. Every episode now I'm seeing through a new lens. It's possible that as artists we were tapping into the psyche, and feeling something that was on the horizon, because I think viewers are going to be absolutely fascinated by how relevant all of this is at this time."

"I would be very happy if it wasn't this relevant," admits Gaiman. "I'd be perfectly happy if it were not quite as timely. The headlines that say things like, 'Is "American Gods" the most political show of 2017?' 'Is "American Gods" the most important show of 2017?' They are wonderful. I would trade them for a slightly stabler world right now, and feeling like I understood what was going on."

Gaiman admits that the very notion for the novel was unique in the way that it first struck him, lingering in a way that typically unformed creative sparks don't. "It's weird, because most books you don't [remember when the idea first came to you]," says Gaiman. "They slowly congeal, and then suddenly you look down and this is a book.

"In this case, I was really tired, I was in Reykjavik, in Iceland," the author recalls. "I had not slept for about two days, due to it being the eternal summer. I looked down at a tabletop diorama of the voyages of Leif Erikson going from Iceland, to Greenland, to Newfoundland, which they call Vinland. I looked at it and I thought, I wonder if they took their gods with them?

"Then there was a beat, and then I thought, I wonder if they took their gods away when they went home. And suddenly I had a book. It was just like, 'This is a book.' A couple of days later, as soon as I had some down time, I wrote an essay and sent it to my agent and to my editor, and said, 'This is the idea, this is the story. By the way, I'm calling it "American Gods" right now. That's the working title, but I'm sure I will come up with something better.' And I never did."Orlando Jones as Mr. Nancy in AMERICAN GODSFor many of the actors in the series, the mythic nature of the material and the iconic gods that populate it provided an initial allure. Jones says that his role, Mr. Nancy, derived from the African deity Anansi, "has been a character my great grandparents and grandparents have been reading to me since before I knew what Neil Gaiman was. In that sense, I guess it's always been a part of my life."

"As it relates to mythology in general," adds Jones, "the prototypes are the prototypes, the gods are the gods. They shift from region to region, but by and large, they kind of remain the same. I think what's interesting about this exploration is the themes and metaphors that you find are at play with a book written before there was an iPhone that finds itself so relevant technologically. And also just in terms of how humankind seems to be moving. Those things make this incredibly special."Ian McShane, Ricky Whittle, Corbin Bernsen in AMERICAN GODSOthers, like Corbin Bernsen, who plays Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and, adapting contemporaneously, guns -- a character created especially for the series -- were attracted by what "American Gods" had to say about instantly relatable topics like generational change.

"The idea of what's going on, the old gods coming out and dealing with the new gods, that I very much am invested in on a daily basis," says Bernsen. "Trying to, like all people, figure out where the hell we are in our lives. I think this is really timely, if it can be reduced to somewhat metaphoric of where we are right now ... Going down the rabbit hole of the mythology is one thing, but going down the rabbit hole of humanity? I'm somewhere around mid-Earth right now."

"We shot our scenes primarily in a working penitentiary in Oklahoma, in the middle of that state," says Jonathan Tucker, who plays Low-Key Lyesmith, an incarnation of Loki, the Norse god of mischief. "It added an extraordinary amount of authenticity to our work there. And also, it felt very right that a show about America, about the themes of Middle America, of what we brought to this country as immigrants, what we worshipped when we came here, what we've left behind, all the new things that have been brought to the shores of this country by the immigrants that make up this beautiful nation."

"It felt very right that we were in Oklahoma," Tucker adds, "that we were in this area that is not Hollywood, that's not a backlot, it's not a studio, we're not in Toronto -- this was real, man. That was just something you can't quantify."Bruce Langley as Technical Boy and Gillian Anderson as Media in AMERICAN GODSUltimately for Gaiman, with all the increasing urgency and zeitgeist appeal that the show has accumulated, it was the simple pleasure of seeing characters he conceived and lines of dialogue he wrote come to life on the soundstage that resonated the most. "In Episode 2, watching Gillian Anderson playing Media, the new god of all of you [journalists and bloggers], having taken on the form of 'The Lucy Show,' and talking on a big screen to Shadow Moon, was just absolutely unbelievable for me," he says.

"It's not just as good as I imagined," he adds. "It's better than I imagined. You treasure those moments as an author."

"American Gods" premieres Sunday, April 30th on Starz.

from Moviefone News RSS Feed -

Friday, April 28, 2017

'13 Reasons Why' Inspires Ban, Warnings From Canadian Schools

There's no denying that Netflix's "13 Reasons Why" has struck a chord, but with some viewers, it is the wrong one.

The drama series has been been both praised and criticized for its depiction of a teen suicide and the events leading up to it, and the latter reaction is becoming more common among schools in Canada. In fact, at least one Canadian elementary school has banned students from even discussing the show at school, according to CBC.

St. Vincent Elementary School Principal Azza Ghali notified parents and guardians of grade six students of the situation via an email this week. She wrote that conversations about the show have been "troubling" and explained why the school does not want such discussions taking place on its grounds. Ghali referenced the show's mature and controversial content, which includes sexual assault and suicide, among other difficult issues.

"The discussion that is unfolding at school is troubling," she wrote. "Please let your child know that discussion of 13 Reasons Why is not permitted at school due to the disturbing subject matter."

Meanwhile, the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board also expressed concerns to families, as Variety reports. The board warns in a letter on its website that the show "may harm students who struggle with mental health challenges." The message noted the graphic content, as well as the "glamorization of suicidal behaviors" and "negative portrayals of helping professions" that may deter students from seeking help.

Such complaints have been levied at "13 Reasons Why" in the past, but there is no clear consensus on whether the show's message is positive or negative. One of the show's writers argued in an op-ed that "13 Reasons Why" inspires necessary conversations, but mental health professionals' opinions have been divided.

In spite of the controversy, Netflix is reportedly nearing a Season 2 renewal, so "13 Reasons Why" probably isn't going anywhere, much as some educators might wish it would.

[via: CBC; Variety]

from Moviefone News RSS Feed -

'Big Bang Theory' Stars Mayim Bialik, Melissa Rauch Score Big Raises

US-ENTERTAINMENT-PEOPLES CHOICE AWARDSThe whole "Big Bang Theory" gang has officially agreed to two more season of the show -- with huge paychecks.

Of the CBS series' lead actors, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch were the final two stars whose deals needed to be finalized after the show was renewed through Season 12 in March. Their contracts come weeks after their cast mates signed on the dotted line because the two were fighting for higher pay. Now, their efforts are paying off.

Bialik and Rauch were reportedly pulling in around $175,000 to $200,000 an episode prior to their new deals, but Deadlines sources indicate that they'll earn somewhere between $425,000 and $500,000 per episode in the coming seasons. As big of a jump as that is, though, it doesn't take an astrophysicist like Raj to calculate that they will still be making substantially less than their co-stars Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, Simon Helberg, and Kunal Nayyar. The other five will each command nearly $1 million per episode with their new contracts.

To be fair, both Bialik and Rauch joined the show later than the others, coming on as guest stars in Season 3. However, they earned series regular status in Season 4 and have become key members of the brilliant and nerdy group. Bialik, for example, has received multiple Emmy nods for her work as Amy, plus won a Critic's Choice Television Award.

In any case, the deals have been made, so now we can look forward to "The Big Bang Theory" Season 11.

[via: Deadline]

from Moviefone News RSS Feed -

'Twin Peaks' Revival Keeps the Mystery Alive With New Teaser

And so it begins ... again.

The first teaser is here for Showtime's "Twin Peaks" revival. The 30-second video only offers glimpses at the continuation, but it is exciting nonetheless. This is a new season that comes more than 25 years after the last.

When we finally get to welcome "Twin Peaks" back to the air, it is bound to enthrall us with more mystery. The new teaser, released Friday, shows familiar sights, including the Twin Peaks Sheriff's Department, the Double R diner, the Fat Trout Trailer Park, the fog-laden woods, and more. We don't know how any of these places will play into the latest season yet, but we can't wait to find out.

Written by show creators Mark Frost and David Lynch, the story picks up 25 years after where "Twin Peaks" Season 2 left off. Multiple stars from the original series are returning, including Kyle MacLachlan (Dale Cooper), Grace Zabriskie (Sarah Palmer), Everett McGill (Ed Hurley), and many others.

"Twin Peaks" premieres Sunday, May 21 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.

from Moviefone News RSS Feed -

John Boyega's Star Wars Fame Once Ruined a Date

Star Wars CelebrationBecoming famous hasn't necessarily helped John Boyega's love life.

The "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" actor recently appeared on "The Graham Norton Show," where he revealed how his role in the blockbuster once sank a date for him. It's a funny little tale, but the presence of Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, and Orlando Bloom made it even better. The fellow actors added to the fun with amusing commentary, especially Schumer, who couldn't resist a joke about reacting to "a guy with a huge saber."

As Boyega's dating disaster story goes, he had taken a woman out in New York City. Everything was going well until she asked what he does, just as they happened to be driving through Times Square, where his Star Wars promotional images were on display. He answered the question by showing her, and unfortunately, that put a damper on their date.

"That picture in itself just kind of affected her," he said, confirming that the relationship didn't go anywhere.

Alas, they were no Han and Leia (pre-split, that is).

Watch the hilarious group discuss the story, among other topics, below.

[via: "The Graham Norton Show"]

from Moviefone News RSS Feed -

Two 'Wonder Woman' Promos Tease Ares Fight

Her name is Diana, Princess of Themyscira. Eh, just call her Diana Prince. Or better yet, "Wonder Woman."

Two new TV spots are promoting the upcoming DC Comics superhero flick. Most of the footage has already been seen in the trailers, but the first promo does have the briefest glimpse of an epic duel between Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Ares. From off camera, he slashes at her with a sword — which she stops with her magical bracelets (around the 11 second mark):

Yeah, not much to see, but perhaps Warner Bros. will release more footage soon introducing Ares (David Thewlis in motion capture).

The second promo is a bit more light-hearted, as Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) awkwardly tries to introduce this otherworldly Amazon in 1940s London. Her name doesn't exactly roll off the tongue! It's kind of a brilliant way of explaining how Diana gets her last name.

"Wonder Woman" opens in theaters June 2.

from Moviefone News RSS Feed -