News & Updates
August 30, 2020
Led by ‘The New Mutants,’ U.S. Theaters See Less Than $16 Million Box Office Weekend
About 62 percent of U.S. locations were open this weekend, with what looks like a total gross of around $15 million-$16 million. Figure if all theaters were open, $25 million or above would have been the total. The same weekend last year (which included the three days before Labor Day) totaled $92 million.
Obviously, the lack of ongoing films is a key factor, but in 2019 there were no new films that weekend. Aided by more theaters being open and a handful of new releases, this weekend’s numbers are about double last weekend. However, they suggest that a substantial part of the moviegoing public is, so far, not going.
Long-delayed “X-Men” offshoot “The New Mutants” is #1 with $7 million estimated. The 20th Century Fox film saw its release delayed until long after the Disney merger; this is actually its fifth scheduled release date, and only one of those change stemmed from COVID-19. In a world without COVID, perhaps $20 million would have been possible — but as a $70 million production, it would still be a dud. It played 2,412 theaters, with a per-theater average of $2,902.
United Artists has not yet reported on “Bill & Ted Face the Music,” but sources suggest it will total around $1.2 million in 1,007 theaters. However, it’s shining in its simultaneous debut on Premium VOD ($19.99), where initial reports show it leading in transactions at multiple sites. With that alternative, the three major circuits (which comprise about two-thirds of the gross) did not play the film.
What if it had gone theater only? There’s little doubt it would have easily been the top grosser, but at how much? Under current conditions, figure over $10 million, with an ultimate potential of perhaps $30 million-$40 million for a film with a pre-marketing budget of $25 million. Initial figures show that where theaters played both “Bill & Ted” and “Mutants,” “Bill & Ted” grossed more at 25 percent of the outlets — even with the home alternative.
The #2 film is “Unhinged” (Solstice) in its second weekend, with $2.6 million in 2,331 theaters (up 508). That’s down 35 percent. Holdover theaters declined somewhat over 40 percent. That’s not a bad performance when, unlike last week, it had actual competition.
Searchlight’s attempt to recover what once was a specialized platform release with “The Personal History of David Copperfield” did not work out. In 1,360 theaters, it managed only $520,000, with a PTA of under $400. It was a nice gesture to theaters, but feels unkind to the film. It won’t be available on VOD until November, assuming normal windows; give the Disney-owned Searchlight credit for backing theaters.
The Canada-only “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” (Paramount) took in $400,000 in its third weekend. That’s a good hold, down only 27 percent, with now a nearly $3 million total. This debut on home platforms in the U.S. next year.
Roadside Attractions’ “Words on Bathroom Walls” took in $453,000 in 1,356 theaters. That gross is slightly up over last weekend, with the help of 432 new theaters. It’s still is a weak result.
“Fatima” (Picturehouse), which also is on VOD, has grossed around $100,000 in 218 theaters. That would be a PTA of about $460. How it fares at home will be the true gauge of its success.
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Source: IndieWire film
August 30, 2020
How Chadwick Boseman Committed Himself to Mainstreaming Stories of the Diaspora
In a world consumed by celebrity culture and stardom, Chadwick Boseman was a selective and consummate method actor. He rarely gave interviews, or allowed the public access to his personal life. Boseman, who died August 28 at the age of 43, never spoke publicly about his colon cancer diagnosis, which he received four years ago. “His parents are very humble and private people. It does not surprise me that he decided to be very private about his illness and through the stages of death,” said Terence Roberts, mayor of Anderson, S.C., Boseman’s hometown. “It speaks to his character. His values were instilled by them.”
As a performer almost obsessively dedicated to the details of his craft, tributes will surely praise Chadwick Boseman’s diligent preparation. While that indicated the commitment he brought to his characters, the pleasure in watching him on screen didn’t lie in his homework; it was his uncanny ability to disappear.
While an undergrad at Howard University, Boseman earned a slot in a summer theatre course at the University of Oxford’s Balliol College in England. His Howard University professor, actress Phylicia Rashad, arranged for his costs to be paid for by her celebrity friends. Later, he taught acting at the Schomburg Centre for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, and spent years in single-episode bit parts on shows like “Third Watch” (2003), “Law & Order” (2004), and “ER” (2008) before landing recurring roles on “Lincoln Heights” (2008-09) and “Persons Unknown” (2010).
Leading roles for Black actors were still few and far between when Boseman entered mainstream consciousness with his solemn yet stirring portrayal of Jackie Robinson in Brian Helgeland’s 2013 biopic “42.” There was a wonderful synchrony to his casting as the history-making rookie infielder and baseman, and the rookie actor’s own debut in Hollywood’s major leagues. They possessed a similar hunger to succeed, and Boseman exuded intelligence and charisma to spare.
In 2014, Boseman gave James Brown new life in “Get On Up,” bringing the whole of the character — Brown’s stage performances, his voice (with Boseman contributing some of his own singing), and his temper to vibrant life. It was a magnetic central performance that elevated an otherwise pedestrian biopic of one of pop culture’s most complicated figures.
©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection
Beyond his own talent — which put him in an elite group of leading Black actors like Denzel Washington and Will Smith — Boseman chose to play larger-than-life characters with a palpable nobility and commitment to racial emancipation. As Hollywood began to face a racial reckoning with movements like #OscarsSoWhite and Black Lives Matter, it gave his performances an even greater sense of gravitas. Then, in late 2014, Marvel announced that Boseman signed on to star as Black Panther.
This was a watershed moment in Hollywood history. “Black Panther” offered a narrative that stepped into the vast and mostly ignored mythology within the African diaspora. Never before had such a racially specific work of speculative fiction received a rich budget and worldwide attention, and Boseman more than carried the load. Confirming his achievement was the film’s record-breaking worldwide gross of $1.3 billion.
Many actors can convincingly shapeshift, but he was one of a few capable of remolding himself entirely. He had to be athletic to portray Jackie Robinson. He had to have quick feet, flexibility, and amazing coordination to pull off some of the most famous dance moves of all time in “Get on Up.” And in “Black Panther,” he had all of that while exuding supreme confidence as he assumed the throne as Wakanda’s king.
©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection
Yamma Brown Alexander and Deanna Brown Thomas, daughters of James Brown, praised Boseman’s mastery of their father’s mannerisms and dance routines. “His splits were spot on, and he should have gotten an Oscar just for that,” Deanna Brown said. “The scene where he is walking down the hallway and they were chanting his name and you just saw the back of him, with that red suit on. Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God. I walked behind my father a lot on the road. That walk, he just had it. It touches me every time I see it.”
For “Black Panther,” Boseman developed the Wakandan accent himself, according to “Captain America: Civil War” co-director Joe Russo, and used it on- and off-camera during the production. South African thespian John Kani (who plays T’Challa’s father T’Chaka) taught him the Wakandan language, which is based on the African Xhosa language.
In a tribute on South African radio station 702FM, Kani said of Boseman, “The urgency in his demeanor was almost like the Creator was giving a signal that he hadn’t got enough time.” Boseman might have suspected as much. His battle with the emperor of all maladies began before production started on “Black Panther,” and his subsequent years were his most prolific.
Ten of his films were released on or after 2016, the year he would have been first diagnosed with colon cancer. After “Black Panther” was released in 2018, Boseman starred in smaller films like the action thriller “21 Bridges,” in which Boseman played an embattled NYPD detective thrust into a manhunt for a pair of cop killers, and Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods,” playing Stormin’ Norman, the leader of a group of African American soldiers during the Vietnam War. It’s Boseman’s character who commits to redistributing their re-appropriated gold to Black neighborhoods — not unlike Black Panther’s decision to share Wakandan technology with people of African descent around the world, to help them conquer their oppressors.
In his final film, Netflix’s adaptation of playwright August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Boseman portrays hot-tempered trumpet player Levee Green. He was also attached to star in an adaptation of the legendary true story of Yasuke, regarded as the first Black man to set foot on Japanese soil. He was brought to the nation in the 16th century as a slave to Jesuit missionaries, and served under Japanese warlord Oda Nobunaga.
We don’t know what else he would have done, but we do know Boseman had the talent, charisma, and work ethic to continue surprising audiences for decades. As the host of the April 7, 2018 episode of “Saturday Night Live,” he proved he could handle comedy. In 2014, he sold an untitled pitch to Universal. “Being a complete artist is what I’m interested in,” he said.
“There’s a plethora of stories in our culture that haven’t been told, because Hollywood didn’t believe they were viable,” he told the Associated Press in 2018. “It would be cool to see slices of history that you haven’t seen with African figures.”
Source: IndieWire film
August 30, 2020
Ryan Coogler on Chadwick Boseman: ‘He Was an Epic Firework Display’
“Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler has issued a statement on the unexpected death of Chadwick Boseman, who led the Marvel movie as King T’Challa. Two years after making his Marvel debut in “Captain America: Civil War,” Boseman took on the leading role for the standalone “Black Panther” movie with the “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed” filmmaker, delivering a superhero movie that transcended the MCU to emerge as one of the defining blockbusters of the 21st century. Read Coogler’s statement in full below.
Before sharing my thoughts on the passing of the great Chadwick Boseman, I first offer my condolences to his family who meant so very much to him. To his wife, Simone, especially.
I inherited Marvel and the Russo Brothers’ casting choice of T’Challa. It is something that I will forever be grateful for. The first time I saw Chad’s performance as T’Challa, it was in an unfinished cut of “Captain America: Civil War.” I was deciding whether or not directing “Black Panther” was the right choice for me. I’ll never forget, sitting in an editorial suite on the Disney Lot and watching his scenes. His first with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, then, with the South African cinema titan, John Kani as T’Challa’s father, King T’Chaka. It was at that moment I knew I wanted to make this movie. After Scarlett’s character leaves them, Chad and John began conversing in a language I had never heard before. It sounded familiar, full of the same clicks and smacks that young black children would make in the States. The same clicks that we would often be chided for being disrespectful or improper. But, it had a musicality to it that felt ancient, powerful, and African.
In my meeting after watching the film, I asked Nate Moore, one of the producers of the film, about the language. “Did you guys make it up?” Nate replied, “that’s Xhosa, John Kani’s native language. He and Chad decided to do the scene like that on set, and we rolled with it.” I thought to myself. “He just learned lines in another language, that day?” I couldn’t conceive how difficult that must have been, and even though I hadn’t met Chad, I was already in awe of his capacity as actor.
I learned later that there was much conversation over how T’Challa would sound in the film. The decision to have Xhosa be the official language of Wakanda was solidified by Chad, a native of South Carolina, because he was able to learn his lines in Xhosa, there on the spot. He also advocated for his character to speak with an African accent, so that he could present T’Challa to audiences as an African king, whose dialect had not been conquered by the West.
I finally met Chad in person in early 2016, once I signed onto the film. He snuck past journalists that were congregated for a press junket I was doing for “Creed,” and met with me in the green room. We talked about our lives, my time playing football in college, and his time at Howard studying to be a director, about our collective vision for T’Challa and Wakanda. We spoke about the irony of how his former Howard classmate Ta-Nehisi Coates was writing T’Challa’s current arc with Marvel Comics. And how Chad knew Howard student Prince Jones, who’s murder by a police officer inspired Coates’ memoir “Between the World and Me.”
I noticed then that Chad was an anomaly. He was calm. Assured. Constantly studying. But also kind, comforting, had the warmest laugh in the world, and eyes that seen much beyond his years, but could still sparkle like a child seeing something for the first time.
That was the first of many conversations. He was a special person. We would often speak about heritage and what it means to be African. When preparing for the film, he would ponder every decision, every choice, not just for how it would reflect on himself, but how those choices could reverberate. “They not ready for this, what we are doing…” “This is Star Wars, this is Lord of the Rings, but for us… and bigger!” He would say this to me while we were struggling to finish a dramatic scene, stretching into double overtime. Or while he was covered in body paint, doing his own stunts. Or crashing into frigid water, and foam landing pads. I would nod and smile, but I didn’t believe him. I had no idea if the film would work. I wasn’t sure I knew what I was doing. But I look back and realize that Chad knew something we all didn’t. He was playing the long game. All while putting in the work. And work he did.
He would come to auditions for supporting roles, which is not common for lead actors in big budget movies. He was there for several M’Baku auditions. In Winston Duke’s, he turned a chemistry read into a wrestling match. Winston broke his bracelet. In Letitia Wright’s audition for Shuri, she pierced his royal poise with her signature humor, and would bring about a smile to T’Challa’s face that was 100% Chad.
While filming the movie, we would meet at the office or at my rental home in Atlanta, to discuss lines and different ways to add depth to each scene. We talked costumes, military practices. He said to me “Wakandans have to dance during the coronations. If they just stand there with spears, what separates them from Romans?” In early drafts of the script. Eric Killmonger’s character would ask T’Challa to be buried in Wakanda. Chad challenged that and asked, what if Killmonger asked to be buried somewhere else?
Chad deeply valued his privacy, and I wasn’t privy to the details of his illness. After his family released their statement, I realized that he was living with his illness the entire time I knew him. Because he was a caretaker, a leader, and a man of faith, dignity and pride, he shielded his collaborators from his suffering. He lived a beautiful life. And he made great art. Day after day, year after year. That was who he was. He was an epic firework display. I will tell stories about being there for some of the brilliant sparks till the end of my days. What an incredible mark he’s left for us.
I haven’t grieved a loss this acute before. I spent the last year preparing, imagining and writing words for him to say, that we weren’t destined to see. It leaves me broken knowing that I won’t be able to watch another close-up of him in the monitor again or walk up to him and ask for another take.
It hurts more to know that we can’t have another conversation, or facetime, or text message exchange. He would send vegetarian recipes and eating regimens for my family and me to follow during the pandemic. He would check in on me and my loved ones, even as he dealt with the scourge of cancer.
In African cultures we often refer to loved ones that have passed on as ancestors. Sometimes you are genetically related. Sometimes you are not. I had the privilege of directing scenes of Chad’s character, T’Challa, communicating with the ancestors of Wakanda. We were in Atlanta, in an abandoned warehouse, with bluescreens, and massive movie lights, but Chad’s performance made it feel real. I think it was because from the time that I met him, the ancestors spoke through him. It’s no secret to me now how he was able to skillfully portray some of our most notable ones. I had no doubt that he would live on and continue to bless us with more. But it is with a heavy heart and a sense of deep gratitude to have ever been in his presence, that I have to reckon with the fact that Chad is an ancestor now. And I know that he will watch over us, until we meet again.
Source: IndieWire film
August 30, 2020
Colin Farrell’s Penguin Transformation Confused Jeffrey Wright on ‘The Batman’ Set
Last weekend, the internet was set ablaze by DC FanDome, the virtual comic event touting a new slate of superhero films, and so much more. But perhaps the hottest topic was the first look at Matt Reeves’ 2021 DC tentpole “The Batman,” starring Robert Pattinson as the Dark Knight in his early days.
One aspect of the trailer that left fans stunned, and even a little perplexed, was the first footage revealing Colin Farrell’s transformation into the Penguin. The actor, as you can easily see in the shots provided, is almost totally unrecognizable. And that double-take moment many fans had was also shared by Farrell’s co-star Jeffrey Wright, who plays Commissioner Gordon in the new movie.
Speaking on SiriusXM’s “The Jess Cagle Show” — via Comic Book — Wright said he didn’t recognize his co-star thanks to the astonishing prosthetic makeup work of artist Mike Marino.
“I’ve worked with that makeup artist before and it’s just incredible. Colin walked on to set one day and I walked right passed him [laughs] I was like, ‘OK, hey dude what’s happening, where’s Colin? Are we going to shoot?’ It was, it’s pretty remarkable,” Wright said.
Marino’s previous makeup credits include “The Irishman,” “Black Swan,” “The Dead Don’t Die,” and “I Am Legend” on the big screen, as well as “Boardwalk Empire,” “I Know This Much Is True,” and “True Detective” on the small screen.
“The Batman” marks the first live-action take on the Penguin since Danny DeVito’s macabre, black-ink-spewing iteration in Tim Burton’s 1992 “Batman Returns.” Also featured in “The Batman” are Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as The Riddler, Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth, and John Turturro as Carmine Falcone.
Writer and director Matt Reeves said during the panel that “The Batman” is decidedly not an origin story, but it is a return to Batman’s roots. “The thing I related to in the Batman story is that he isn’t a superhero in the traditional sense,” Reeves said. “If he has a superpower, it’s the ability to endure. … He’s a very alive character, and to tell a version of Batman that wasn’t about how he became Batman, but the early days of being Batman… to see it in new ways, that was a way to do something that hasn’t been done.”
Source: IndieWire film
August 30, 2020
Werner Herzog’s Advice to Filmmakers During COVID: Don’t Shoot Unless You’re on an Arctic Island
Werner Herzog is back with a new documentary “Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin,” an interrogation of the work of his friend, the late travel writer who died from AIDS complications in 1989. While Herzog isn’t out in the field shooting, where he would normally be now, quarantine hasn’t at all stymied his productivity.
In a recent video conversation with IndieWire’s Executive Editor and Chief Film Critic Eric Kohn, Herzog discussed his new film and what he’s been working on, as well as his advice for filmmakers trying to work during COVID-19. Watch the video above.
“I do not explore glaciers and jungles and whatever. So you have to do what is possible and at the moment I cannot move out with my camera, but I do writing. Prose, and some poetry. Bruce Chatwin would have liked it. He was actually a great fan of my prose book, ‘Of Walking in Ice,’ where I traveled on foot from Munich to Paris,” Herzog said.
As for what he thinks filmmakers should do in the current moment, Herzog advised not to go out shooting until there is a vaccine.
“You do not go out unless you go out to an Arctic island, where there’s only a few penguins,” he said, while noting that Antarctica is suffering amid the pandemic due to the halting of scientific projects. In terms of production, he also added, “It’s a collective responsibility. You cannot be an employer of a large crew and send them out in a football stadium with lots of people. You just don’t do it. It’s a no-no, and you have to accept it. Actually, it’s a no brainer.”
Herzog also talked about his character on the Disney+ series, “The Mandalorian,” a role that remained shrouded in secrecy until the series premiered on the platform in November 2019. “It’s a new and weird experience,” Herzog said. “By saying something casually, half a sentence, all of a sudden there are tens of millions of responses on the internet, just saying something about Baby Yoda! Half a sentence triggers an avalanche of responses on the internet. That’s of course something new and I have to be cautious, and in a way, these sorts of things distract a little bit too much from what I really do.”
Source: IndieWire film
August 28, 2020
David Fincher's Longtime DP Jeff Cronenweth Has Advice, Insight, and Stories
I am Jack’s acclaimed cinematographer.
Oscar-nominated camera wizard Jeff Cronenweth sat down with us to talk about his origins in the film industry.
As a young man, Cronenweth spent time on the set of Blade Runner as his father, Jordan Cronenweth shot it. He walks us through the next chapter of his career, starting out as an AC for legendary DP Sven Nykvist and how his longtime working relationship with David Fincher began when shooting pickups for a Madonna music video.
We discuss his experiences crafting the look of Fight Club, The Social Network, and Gone Girl, among other great films. Now in 2020, he is up for an Emmy for his work on the Amazon series Tales From The Loop.
As always, send us any questions and leave a comment!
August 28, 2020
Atomos Unlocks ProRes RAW on the Fujfilm GX100 and Sigma fp
A pair of simultaneous Ninja V updates have been unleashed by Atomos.
Atomos’ popular 5″ 1000nit recorder and monitor, the Ninja V, is back with two notable updates.
First up, the company has added RAW over HDMI recording for the Fujifilm GFX100 allowing the Ninja V to record 12-bit 4K ProRes RAW up to 30p. This is big news for those looking to add a RAW workflow to the large format camera. Alternatively, shooters can record 10-bit 422 ProRes and DNx up to 4K 60p on the GFX100.
If you haven’t already, be sure to update the GFX100 with firmware 2.01 to unlock the features. Pairing the Ninja V with the GFX100, a large format mirrorless camera, makes for a solid RAW combination for shooters.
Additionally, Atomos is now offering RAW image capture with the Sigma fp. No Film School reported on Blackmagic Design’s update with its Video Assist recorders that support the Sigma fp at 120p using BRAW, and now, Atomos is following suit with ProRes RAW.
August 28, 2020
What 'The End of the F***ing World' Can Teach Us About Simplistic Cinematography
DP Benedict Spence details the cinematic rules behind the popular Netflix series.
Visuals are an integral part of any show, but for the series The End of the F***ing World, it’s the inconvertible lifeline to the story.
Season 1 was utterly perfect thanks to the brilliance of creator Charlie Covell’s writing. It’s based on Charles Forsman’s graphic novel of the same name which follows two teens, James (Alex Lawther) and Alyssa (Jessica Barden), and wraps the feelings of loneliness, uncertainty, and the pulse of falling in love into a palpable, dark allegory. Its finale: crème de la crème. But it left audiences clamoring for more. Aptness can be one’s own detriment.
In the follow-up, cinematographer Benedict Spence, who shot the first four episodes of Season 2, lensed a simplistic visual style that subliminally spoke to the weight of the narrative. By creating rules, like center framing, avoiding establishing shots, not moving the camera during dialogue or tilting it unless it was to show perspective, it created a motif of absolute minimalism visually.
August 28, 2020
Glide into Smoother Footage with This Super Portable Slider
The SliderMini 2 is one of the best pocket-sized sliders available.
Who wouldn’t want buttery smooth footage? Smartta has released the SliderMini 2, its next-generation ultra-portable slider with new features and an affordable price. The new model offers improved stability, 4 specialty modes, and 10 built-in time-lapse modes with variable speed options. Plus, an option for stop-motion animation.
The big draw is its size. It’s tiny and weighs only 1.26 lbs (0.57 kg). Better yet, the travel length is 8 inches (200 mm), so you can pretty much put it anywhere. In terms of payload, it can hold a camera weighing up to 33 lbs (about 15 kg) for both horizontal and vertical movements.
August 28, 2020
Laowa Keeps Crushing Wide Angle Full-Frame Options with New 11mm F4.5
The Laowa 11mm F4.5 FF RL is available for L-mount, Nikon Z, and Sony E mount.
Venus Optics is on a tear lately releasing new lenses. After debuting its first cine zoom lens, expanding to L-mount, and releasing a juicy 50mm 2X MACRO, the company now has a new Laowa 11mm F4.5 FF RL, a prime lens designed for full-frame mirrorless cameras.
The 11mm F4.5 features a wide 126° angle of view and is optically designed from 14 elements in 10 groups, including 2 aspherical elements and 3 extra-low dispersion elements to improve sharpness and reduce chromatic aberration and distortion. The manual focus lens has a 7.4” (19cm) minimum focusing distance and a 62mm filter thread for any compatible screw-in filters.
With a 5 aperture blade design, the lens is lightweight, weighing 254g (8.9oz) and measures 2.5″ (6.3 cm). It’s tiny yet robust.