It’s a Minion world, and we’re all just living in it. The little pill-shaped yellow critters have left an indelible imprint on the cultural mainstream, for better (footage not found) or for worse (try googling “minions memes,” I dare you). Kids and adults alike have latched onto the phenomenon with an uncommon enthusiasm, and now the numbers reflect the totality with which the Despicable Me universe has permeated modern life. In the seven brief years since Illumination Entertainment loosed the original Despicable Me on an innocent populace, the franchise has grown into the largest of its kind — the highest-grossing animated franchise of all time.
With the arrival of San Diego Comic-Con last week, the major announcements started flying fast and furious. After the avalanche of release date announcements, trailer releases, and other first-look headline-generators, the news broke that the gears of progress had begun turning for James Bond’s next cinematic outing. The official Twitter account posted that the still-untitled James Bond 25 would hit American theaters on November 8, 2019 after an earlier release in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, and also presumably after shiploads of online pirates have gotten their mitts on it. Americans do not tend to take delayed release dates lying down.
Christopher Nolan doesn’t do small movies — if he’s going to mount a war picture, you can bet it’s gonna be one of the biggest (and priciest!) to date. He’s seemingly spared no expense for his new film Dunkirk, reportedly corralling thousands of extras, destroying vintage planes, and dominating the land, sea, and air all for a grand new vision of combat. And in order to fully convey the enormity of his ambitions, Nolan went all-in and mounted his production on 70 millimeter film. For laymen, that means he used a larger film strip while shooting to capture more brilliant colors, richer sound, and a greater sharpness of detail. For those who don’t give a hoot, it means this film will rattle your bones.
Will The Emoji Movie be horrible? We just don’t know. The premise of “Toy Story, but with the little pictorial icons that live inside your smartphone” sure sounds like something that an executive with an analytics page for a heart would come up with, but it’s the critic’s responsibility to reserve judgement until the film can be seen in full. At least today brings us a bite-sized sample of The Emoji Movie with a new trailer that contains both a painfully out-of-fashion “Bye, Felicia” reference and a sincerely humorous joke about forgotten phone passwords. So it’s really anyone’s guess, at this point.
The news that Ron Howard would take the directorial reins on Han Solo from Chris Miller and Phil Lord was met with a mixed reception by the ardent Star Wars fanbase. Some remembered Howard as the director behind Apollo 13, a movie partially set in outer space (the same location as much of Han Solo, presumably!), and figured he’d be right for the job. Others had fresher recollections of Ron Howard’s Inferno, a.k.a. Bad Tom Hanks Hairpiece 3, and expressed some misgivings. But today, one ardent supporter of Howard‘s has made a statement from the shadows on why he’s a perfect fit for the franchise, though he may have some rubbery, alien skin in the game.
Here’s how thoroughly Batman’s influence has permeated the mainstream: he’s claimed tacit ownership of the very notion of shining a light into the sky. The Bat-Signal, introduced in the comics as Gotham City’s method of summoning the Dark Knight, has been endlessly parodied in the annals of pop-culture — just earlier this month, the poster for Captain Underpants paid homage to the iconic (a word I mean here literally, and not in the ‘a photo of the Kardashians’ sense) design of the skyward spotlight. And all too appropriately, the Bat-Signal will now be used to give one former Batman, the dearly departed Adam West, a proper send-off.
Netflix has been notoriously secretive about their data, whether that’s subscription demographics or the all-important individual streaming figures for specific titles. Though they’ve grown into a major player in the world of entertainment, we really have no earthly idea whether Netflix is successful or not. (They almost definitely are, unless this is the single most brazen bluff in showbiz history.) The only knowledge we have of Netflix’s inner workings comes from the occasional missive issued by content head Ted Sarandos, who made one such announcement in a recent letter to shareholders. Among the financial jargon and quarterly earnings reports, Sarandos dropped the chilling detail that Netflix’s 100 million-strong user base has collectively streamed over 500 million hours of Adam Sandler movies since The Ridiculous Six opened. Today, ScreenCrush invites you to consider the brain-collapsing enormity of that number.
Rick Moranis: the guy Woody Allen calls a nebbish, a nervously tittering lead of family films (he lit up millennial living rooms with his Honey, I... trilogy) and bluer comedic works (Ghostbusters, Little Shop of Horrors, Spaceballs) alike. He was everywhere in the ’80s, but took an eminently understandable hiatus from acting beginning in the ’90s after his wife Ann succumbed to breast cancer. He did a noble and difficult thing by focusing all his energies on dutifully raising his motherless children, turning his back on fame and his public. Though he’s still taken the occasional job — he gave his kids something to love by contributing voice work to Brother Bear — he’s shied away from highly visible gigs. Until now!
Is Pixar losing their touch? They’re no longer the coolest animation house, having ceded some of that street cred to the international curators of GKids and the stop-motion prestidigitators at Laika. They’re not the most profitable, either, as their box office receipts are regularly dwarfed by the money factories erected by parent company Disney or Illumination. (Last year’s mega-smash Finding Dory was sorely needed after the underperforming The Good Dinosaur.) Pixar’s rep as the industry’s most creativity-driven, unfailingly excellent studio has faded as they’ve leaned a little harder on moneymaking sequels — Cars 3, coming soon! — but today brings the news that they’ve taken a significant step into regaining supremacy over the industry.
Nearly two decades out from his first film, and the viewing public hasn’t gotten any closer to answering the philosophical quandary of what, exactly, a Sam Mendes film is. He’s hopped from an accented dramedy about suburban malaise to a grim-and-gritty graphic novel adaptation to an off-kilter war drama to a pair of coolly-received literary adaptations to James freakin’ Bond. The most effective method of predicting the subject of a new directorial outing from Mendes involves dartboards, tea leaves, and cloud-reading, and today’s announcement of a new project for the esteemed Brit helmer adds yet another baffling left turn to his eclectic oeuvre.
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