Fast & Furious 6 (#110 of 4)

Box Office Rap Kick-Ass 2 and the Hollywood Reporter Snafu

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Box Office Rap: Kick-Ass 2 and the Hollywood Reporter Snafu
Box Office Rap: Kick-Ass 2 and the Hollywood Reporter Snafu

Neill Blomkamp's Elysium topped the box office this past weekend, though its lead over the competition ended up being less than anticipated. However, if one were following The Hollywood Reporter's coverage on Friday, that margin was said to be even less, as writer Pamela McClintock claimed that “strong matinee business” suggested Planes was headed for a $30 million weekend, which was set to match that of the Matt Damon actioner. The actual for Planes ended up in third place with $22.2 million, over 25% less than initially reported. More troubling than the inaccurate figures, which are understandable given the unpredictability of internal weekend multipliers and whatnot, is the article's headline, which claims that Planes's performance is “breaking [the] animation curse,” allegedly created from underwhelming box-office openings by Turbo and The Smurfs 2. An animation curse? It's hard to argue for any curse, given the almost $640 million made worldwide by Monsters University and the $745 million made worldwide by Despicable Me 2, the latter of which is second to only Iron Man 3 as the highest-grossing domestic release of 2013.

Box Office Rap The Wolverine and Post-Comic-Con Malaise

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Box Office Rap: The Wolverine and Post-Comic-Con Malaise
Box Office Rap: The Wolverine and Post-Comic-Con Malaise

While DC and Warner Bros. stole headlines this past weekend with plans to integrate Batman into Man of Steel 2 (a.k.a. Batman vs. Superman, or vice versa, as writer David S. Goyer confirmed), it's Marvel and 20th Century Fox that look to immediately capitalize on all the geekdom hoopla this weekend with The Wolverine, the second standalone film for Hugh Jackman's titular X-Man, which has made him one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood. What's changed since the release of X-Men Origins: Wolverine just four years ago? For starters, it appears that Fox has abandoned plans to make standalone films for each of their comic-book properties, instead offering X-Men: First Class as a means to reboot the entire franchise, while anchoring Wolverine on his own for two films until…wait for it…X-Men: Days of Future Past, which will finally bring all of our favorite mutants together again, marking four X-Men films in just six years.

Understanding Screenwriting #112: Before Midnight, Iron Man 3, Fast & Furious 6, Stories We Tell, Mad Men, Behind the Candelabra, Graceland, The Fosters, & More

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Understanding Screenwriting #112: <em>Before Midnight</em>, <em>Iron Man 3</em>, <em>Fast & Furious 6</em>, <em>Stories We Tell</em>, <em>Mad Men</em>, <em>Behind the Candelabra</em>, <em>Graceland</em>, <em>The Fosters</em>, & More
Understanding Screenwriting #112: <em>Before Midnight</em>, <em>Iron Man 3</em>, <em>Fast & Furious 6</em>, <em>Stories We Tell</em>, <em>Mad Men</em>, <em>Behind the Candelabra</em>, <em>Graceland</em>, <em>The Fosters</em>, & More

Coming Up In This Column: Before Midnight, Iron Man 3, Fast & Furious 6, Stories We Tell, Some Late Spring and Early Summer 2013 Television, but first…

Fan Mail: A month or so ago a comment was posted to US#68. The original column ran on January 24, 2011 and included an item on Slave Ship. The comment was from Greg Lehman, whose grandmother, Gladys Lehman, was one of several screenwriters on the 1937 film. The story he got from her deals with Darryl Zanuck's suggestion on the script. At first glance it makes Zanuck sound racist, but after studying him and his career for 45 years, my judgment is that he wasn't, or at least he was less of one than most of his fellow studio heads. He may well be thought to be treading the fine line between being racist and accepting the potential audience's racism. Also keep in mind he did not insist on not having blacks in the film; it was simply a suggestion that the writers did not follow. Read Lehman's comment and make up your own mind.

Of the two comments on US#111, the most interesting one was from “A Very Bemused Commenter,” who thought that the example I gave of 42 dealing with racism in a subtle way wasn't all that subtle. Reading the item over I can see why he thought that, since it sounds rather blatant the way I wrote it. In the context of the more horrendous scenes in the film, however, it plays as more subtle than I made it seem.

And David Ehrenstein and I are agreeing yet again, this time on what a wonderful actor Fabrice Luchini is. Well, David and I can't disagree all the time.

Before Midnight (2013; written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke; based on characters created by Linklater and Kim Krizan; 109 minutes.)

Checking in with Jesse and Celine. It all started 18 years ago. Jesse, a young American, persuaded Celine, a young Frenchwoman, to get off the train in Vienna and spend the night with him seeing the city. They walked and talked. Boy, did they walk and talk. And fell in love. And the next morning agreed to meet each other back in Vienna in six months. They were young, in love, and stupid enough not to get each other's addresses or phone numbers. Ah, well, it would make a good memory for each of them, and a nice minor film called Before Sunrise.

Poster Lab: The Call and Fast & Furious 6

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Poster Lab: <em>The Call</em> and <em>Fast & Furious 6</em>
Poster Lab: <em>The Call</em> and <em>Fast & Furious 6</em>

It's nothing but amusement in the Poster Lab today, folks. The Call and Fast & Furious 6 may not be 2013's most nuanced releases, but their posters pack in plenty of mixed messages, most of them unintentional. The one-sheet for the former employs the age-old thriller standby of a fear-gripped woman's face, in this case the ageless mug of Halle Berry. Berry plays a dedicated 911 operator, and, yes, that headset is meant to accentuate her well-carved jawline. The Call is, in all likelihood, a mere March throwaway, but as its trailer is quick to remind you, Berry is an Academy Award winner, whose post-Oscar track record is among history's most bizarre (remember Perfect Stranger?). While we're at it, let's not forget that Berry's co-star, Abigail Breslin, is an Academy Award nominee, however irrelevant Little Miss Sunshine's breakthrough may seem to a random suspense movie.