Sunday, September 13, 2015

Box Office Sept 11-13: 'The Perfect Guy' Is Number 1. But Don't Celebrate Just Yet... - Shadow and Act

As expected (given Friday's numbers and estimates derived from them), "The Perfect Guy" took the number spot at the box office this weekend, beating out fellow newcomer, "The Visit," the latest from M. Night Shyamalan, which he both wrote and directed. As an aside, there was a time when opening weekend for an M. Night Shyamalan movie was a big deal; not so much anymore it seems. There doesn't appear to have been much fanfare for "The Visit" leading up to its opening, and even after.

But yes, "The Perfect Guy," despite terrible reviews, took home the crown this weekend, as fans of the film's 3 stars - Sanaa Lathan, Michael Ealy, and Morris Chestnut - turned out to support them, buying almost $27 million worth of tickets. That means over 3 million of you saw the film this weekend (given that the average cost of a movie ticket in the USA this year is around $8.12). 

Aramide reviewed it for S&A (read her thoughts here).
I did see it, and, in short, it was one of the least enjoyable, most disappointing theatrical experiences I've had so far this year. Not that I expected a lot from it (given all the media released before the film opened - trailers, clips, etc), but, at least, I hoped for something that would maybe provide some entertainment (even if it was in that "so bad it's good" kind of way). Instead I was just annoyed. Time wasted. 

But the "support black film" brigade was out, chastising any doubters, as is the case whenever any studio film with a black cast is released, no matter how good the film may be, and whether or not each of us is actually genuinely interested in it. None of that is apparently of any importance, because, you know, if we "support" each film, it'll show Hollywood that there's a black audience that wants to see itself on screen and, you know, they'll be encouraged to finance even more movies with black casts. Etc, etc, etc.
We've heard that story so many times before that it's become so rote. And, as is demonstrated each occurrence, what typically happens is that more of the specific kind of film that we're all being asked to blindly rally around, get made, until audiences tire of them (indicated by declining box office), and studios stop making them. That is until another kind of "black film" positively *surprises* at the box office, and the cycle repeats itself.
As a very recent example, consider what the box office success of "Straight Outta Compton" has meant thus far - talk of more hip-hop biopics, even a potential sequel to "Compton." I'm still waiting for Ernest Dickerson's film adaptation of Octavia Butler's "Clay's Ark" (a project that's been in Limbo for years) to finally attract studio financing, as a result of the many black films that have been financially successful over the years; films that we were repeatedly told that if we "supported" on opening weekend, would result in films like Dickerson's getting the production funds needed. 

So much for the so-called "black film renaissance" we've been hearing about for the last couple of years, that apparently happens every decade or so.

And when Oscar nominations are eventually announced for this year with very few, if any, black artists (actors, directors, writers, etc) honored, the usual cliché of articles, social media protests, and online petitions critical of the "absence of diversity" among the nominees, will dominated my email inbox, and various news feeds. And then I'll ask the most obvious of questions: did you really think "The Perfect Guy" was going to get a nomination?
I'm being jocular about all this, but, really, I laugh to keep from crying, as the saying goes.
We can't expect *them* to take us seriously if we don't take ourselves seriously, and, in essence, challenge their seemingly limited expectations of us as an audience.
I should note that "The Perfect Guy" was directed by a white filmmaker in David M. Rosenthal (I call attention to that because several mentions of the film I read, credited a black director), although it's scripted by a black writer in Tyger Williams, who also wrote the screenplay for "Menace II Society" 22 years ago.

The budget for "The Perfect Guy" was $12 million, so it's certainly on its way to becoming a reasonably profitable film for Sony/Screen Gems. I predict that it'll likely fall significantly next weekend, unless word of mouth is very strong (critical reviews certainly won't help, the way they played a part in "Straight Outta Compton's" success).
As for the rest of the story...

Shyamalan's "The Visit" came in a close second place, earning close to $26 million.
Rounding out the top 10, of note, the faith-based drama "War Room" which was last week's number 1, dropped to 3rd place, with $7.4 million, and a cumulative total of over $39 million to date (keep in mind that this is a film that cost just $3 million, so it's far surpassed its budget; and even if you considered marketing costs as well, it's probably still a very profitable movie for Sony/Tristar). 

Meanwhile "Straight Outta Compton" dropped down to 6th place (from #2 last weekend), adding to its total gross which is now at a hefty $155 million domestic, and over $180 million when you add foreign receipts. By the time its international run ends, this could very well be a $200+ million picture for Universal - a studio that's having a great year, owning 4 of the top 10 grossing films of 2015, including the number 1 film of the year (so far) in "Jurassic World."

Worth noting, another faith-based movie opened this weekend titled "90 Minutes in Heaven," starring Kate Bosworth and Hayden Christensen, directed by Michael Polish. It didn't perform as well as the other faith-based film in the top 10 ("War Room") when it opened, earning $2.1 million, taking the #9 slot. 

There are more of them coming, as it seems Hollywood has officially jumped on what it probably thinks will be another ephemeral gravy train in the faith-based film. With the box office success of recent works like "Heaven Is for Real," and TV ratings hits like “The Bible Series,” “Son of God,” and “AD,” it's probably a very good time for filmmakers/content creators with so-called faith-based projects primed for the big or small screen. Coming soon that I'm aware of: "Captive" with David Oyelowo and Kate Mara; and "Miracles From Heaven," which Queen Latifah and Jennifer Garner are attached to. 
"The Perfect Guy"   SGem    $26,700,000


"The Visit"   Uni.$25,690,000


"War Room"   TriS$7,400,000


"A Walk in the Woods"   BG$4,620,099


"Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation"   Par.$4,150,000


"Straight Outta Compton"   Uni.$4,090,000


"No Escape"   Wein.$2,879,000


"The Transporter Refueled"   EC$2,700,000


"90 Minutes in Heaven"   Gold.$2,160,911


"Un Gallo con Muchos Huevos"   PNT$1,900,000


Susan Sarandon Calls Timothy Leary a 'Prophet' in New (and NSFW) Clip From Her Burning Man Tribute - People

In a newly released video from Susan Sarandon's epic Burning Man trip, the actress honors the late Timothy Leary and talks about psychedelic drugs before leading a procession of the late psychologist's ashes.

"This is a ceremony, a very minimal ceremony, for Timothy Leary's ashes," Sarandon said to a group of fellow Burners in the lengthy clip. The 68-year-old brought some of Leary's ashes to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada and "re-cremated" them in artist Michael Galrington's "Totem of Confessions."

"He'll be there until it burns, he'll be doubly crispy on Saturday," she joked.

Sarandon eulogized "profit" Leary, who is regarded by many as the father of LSD and died back in 1996.

"For anyone who doesn't know who Timothy Leary is and you've taken acid, you should be ashamed of yourself," she told the group. "Timothy Leary, for those of you who don't know, was the leader of the whole thing to take LSD away from the CIA and make it a means of exploration for everybody."

The star explained that while most of Leary's remains were "jettisoned" into out space, an "hors d'oeuvres-y" size of the ashes were left to Sarandon and his other friends.

"The first time I went to Burning Man I thought, well, they should live here," she said of the ashes.

The actress said that Leary had an "enormous amount of faith" in both the future and youth, and then asked bystanders to share their "funniest or worst trip" on drugs.

Later in the video, Sarandon, wearing a wedding-like ensemble, leads a processional of costumed burners, musicians and bikers to the Totem.

Leary's ashes were left in the temporary structure, and burned when the structure was set on fire before the festival's end on Monday.

**Blessed Be!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The 5 Stages to Becoming a Fangirl (Superwoman ft. Grace Helbig)

“Harry Potter” Fans, J.K. Rowling Says It’s Officially “The Dawn Of The Age Of Hufflepuff” - Buzzfeed

**My daughter, the Hufflepuff, is excited. I, the Slytherin, as always is very disappointed!

Hufflepuffs are friendly, fair, patient, kind, tolerant, trustworthy, loyal as all hell, and seriously unafraid of some toil.
We’re, like, real loyal.

2. However, for some reason, many think of us as the leftover house. But believe you me, we’re nobody’s leftovers.

Warner Bros.

3. Need proof? J.K. Rowling has our back.


4. And according to Rowling — you know, the woman who birthed Harry Potter — it is now “the dawn of the Age of Hufflepuff.”

“This is starting to feel like the dawn of the Age of Hufflepuff… #FantasticBeasts.”

5. That’s right, everyone — it’s Hufflepuff time… and we’re comin’ at ya hard.

Warner Bros.

6. How hard? Star-of-a-trilogy hard.

ICYMI, the leading man of Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), is a proud and true Hufflepuff. He bleeds black and yellow.

7. So get ready because we’re bringing our kindness…

Warner Bros.

8. We’re bringing our humor…

Warner Bros.

9. We’re bringing our bravery…

Warner Bros.

10. …And, most importantly, we’re bringing our swagger.

Warner Bros. / Via

Nerdist Presents 'The Hive' Sept. 14, 2015

Date: Monday, September 14

Time: 7:30 p.m. (local time)

Run Time: 2 hours (approximate)

Ticketing: Tickets are available by clicking on the orange “Buy Tickets” button. If online ticketing is not available for your location, you can purchase your tickets by visiting the box office at your local participating movie theater. Theaters are setting up on a rolling basis. If your location does not have online tickets available yet, please check back soon!

Special Fathom Features: Shot in a digitally avant garde style with each camera shot shorter than ten seconds, the zombie-based Nerdist original event will also include exclusive extras featuring Steve Aoki, Chris Hardwick and more!
Fathom Events and Nerdist Industries are partnering up to bring Nerdist Presents The Hive, the premiere of new zombie-thriller, to select cinemas nationwide for a special one-night event on Monday, September 14 at 7:30 p.m. (local time).
At the height of summer, Adam and Katie find love for the first time. Fellow camp counselors Clark and Jess couldn’t care less about the kids they’re overseeing as long as they can hook up. But, when a plane crashes nearby, their investigation unleashes a mysterious plague, putting all campers in danger.
As Camp Yellow Jacket slips into chaos, Adam wakes in a boarded-up cabin with no memory of who or where he is. His only clues are the notes he’s scrawled for himself and memories that aren’t his own. As his friends turn into monsters around him, the key to surviving the apocalypse is locked in one infected counselor’s mind.
Uniquely shot with four different lens/palates to give each frame its own look, and set to the music of internationally renowned music producer Steve Aoki, Nerdist Presents The Hive is an event that sci-fi horror fans won’t want to miss!