Well, this was unexpected. After a few years of development, Warner Bros. is officially moving forward with a big screen adaptation of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One and they’re doing so with the director most likely to break the brains of the novel’s biggest fans: Steven Spielberg. Yes, Spielberg is going to direct a science fiction story powered by raw ‘80s nostalgia for the same studio where he produced Gremlins and The Goonies.
What does a movie studio want out of its sequels? Is a sequel a failure if it simply matches its predecessor or does it need to make more money? That’s the big question that’s swirling around Insurgent, which made almost exactly as much as Divergent did one year ago. Seriously: there’s only a $500,000 difference in their opening weekends. So is Insurgent a success or a disappointment?
Suddenly, Disney’s upcoming live action version of Beauty and the Beast is looking like a very wise move. After all, their new take on Cinderella shook the box office out of the doldrums, launching with numbers that feel more at home with the summer than March. Yes, it even took down that might spring movie season titan Liam Neeson.
With some of the year’s biggest movies only a month or two away, the box office seems to have entered a holding pattern. Some of the new releases are minor hits. Others crash and burn. Right now, Hollywood just seems to be crossing their fingers and hoping for the sweet, sweet summer movie season to come along and save them (or at least the April release of Furious 7). In other words, every new release underperformed this weekend.
Last year, John Travolta took the Oscar stage to introduce Idina Menzel so she could perform “Let It Go” from Frozen. What should have been a very simple, teleprompter-aided introduction quickly became a Big Deal when Travolta stumbled over his words. Instead of “Idina Menzel,” Travolta said “Adele Dazeem.” An internet meme was born and everyone added another great John Travolta joke to their repertoire. The 2015 Oscars decided to revisit that memorable flub and the results were weird, awkward, and yeah, pretty funny.
The Oscars may not carry the same amount of commercial clout as the Super Bowl, but it still offers advertisers an opportunity to appeal to a very specific audience. In this case, it’s Apple and legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese teaming up to sell the cinematic potential of the iPad. And yes, this commercial wants to tug on your heartstrings.
When it was revealed that director Paul Feig was going to reboot Ghostbusters with an all-female cast, the general assumption was that Ghostbusters 3 was dead and buried. Gone forever. Kaput. Never to be mentioned again. But, Dan Aykroyd never got that memo. Aykroyd, who co-wrote and starred in the original films, has spent years talking up Ghostbusters 3 and he’s not going to let silly little things like an actual, official, studio-sanctioned remake with a cast and release date get in the way.
We all watch the Oscars for different reasons. Some watch for the sheer spectacle. Some watch to see if the movies they like actually win something. Some watch so they can drunkenly criticize what everyone is wearing. But in the end, it all comes down to all viewers doing the exact same thing: watching people thank other people for upwards of three hours. But which people have been thanked the most in 86 years of Oscar history? Someone with a lot of time on their hands decided to figure that out.
In news that should surprise approximately no one, a new study from the University of Texas at Austin has discovered that “binge-watching” has been linked to depression, loneliness, and the inability to make wise decisions, like getting off the couch and doing anything else. Researchers Wei-Na Lee, Yoon Hi Sung and Eun Yeon Kang surveyed 316 people between the ages of 18 and 29, asking them about their mental and emotional states while they marathoned TV shows on Netflix (the study defined binge-watching as at least three episodes in a row).
In most years, January tends to be the most boring month of the year for the box office. This is where Hollywood typically sends the movies in which it has the least faith. This is the dumping ground, the place where movies go to die so the studios can concentrate on their Oscar campaigns. However, thanks to ‘American Sniper,’ this January has bucked every trend. It may technically be a 2014 release, but Clint Eastwood’s war film has made the first chunk of 2015 interesting, shattering expectations and threatening to become the highest grossing film of last year in only a few weeks.
‘Breaking Bad’ may be completely, definitively over, but that doesn’t mean Walter White is ready to leave popular culture alone. Oh, no. As long as Bryan Cranston is alive and as lone as insurance companies are prepared to back dump trucks full of cash up this house, we’ll get to see America’s favorite meth dealer pop up every so often. So while it’s weird to se Cranston play Heisenberg one more time in an Esurance commercial, it’s not that surprising.
Super Bowl commercials are still a big, huge, massive, crazy deal, with major corporations shelling out absurd amounts of money on ads designed to win over the most reliably large and receptive audience in all of televised sports. So of course ‘SNL’ was going to contribute its own commercial parody to the mix...but man, no one was expecting something this mean, scathing or on-point.
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