Clark Gregg has gone from babysitting the Avengers to child actors. Gregg, aka S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Coulson, took a break from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to write, direct and star in his second feature Trust Me , in which he plays another kind of highly specialized agent — the Hollywood kind, for kids. more »
In March, I wrote about how Robert Downey Jr. is about as close to indispensable as you can get to Marvel Studios' lucrative superhero movie franchise — and now here's proof from the man himself. In a very entertaining profile of the Iron Man 3 star in the May issue of GQ, Downey confirms to writer Chris Heath that his payday on The Avengers was in the $50-million ballpark. The exchange between the actor and the writer is a thing of beauty: more »
A few weeks ago I wrote about the importance of Robert Downey Jr. to the future phases of Marvel's superhero film rollout. With Tuesday's release of the limited edition Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One – Avengers Assembled Blu-ray box set comes some corroboration, plus a cool scene of Iron Man doing some acrobatic hot-dogging just to put on his mask. more »
I'd love to see a Venn diagram of the intersection of two subsets: moviegoers who saw The Avengers, directed by Joss Whedon, and those who plan to see his interpretation of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. I wouldn't be surprised if there was no intersection at all, just one big circle (The Avengers) and one little circle (Much Ado) sitting next to each other, but I give Whedon credit for taking time out of his blockbuster career — 12 days, to be exact — to make this labor of love and present the Bard in a contemporary setting. more »
There's an interview with Robert Downey Jr. in Collider that's got me thinking about the actors in Marvel's very lucrative superhero stable. When the website's Steve "Frosty" Weintraub asked the actor if he's going to sign on for several more Marvel movies or take them "one at a time", Downey responded that he wasn't sure but then added candidly: "Let’s just say that me, the agents and the lawyers are having a bit of a ball right now." more »
Good news, everyone! 2012 has been a pretty great year for the film industry. Ticket sales were up worldwide by 5% over 2011, and a record box office haul of $10 billion means plenty of celebrating at studio holiday parties. Of course, Biggie wasn't lying when he preached the harsh truth that with mo' money comes mo' problems, and so it is that while bootleg film watching didn't quite rival ticket sales, with hundreds of millions of illegal downloads piracy is nothing to sneeze at.
Year on year, Hollywood's box office receipts rise. And while the 2012 numbers came in higher than 2011, the year marked a specifically good turn for the movie industry: the number of actual tickets sold went up for the first time in three years.
The year's big numbers come despite a generally slow summer blockbuster season.
The number of admissions have had a general decline for a decade, with the number of tickets sold flat lining in 2011 with 1.29 billion, which was the lowest number since 1995, according to A.P. Dollar amounts typically rise despite the decline of audiences numbers due to the rise in ticket prices. But for 2012, ticket sales rose 5.6 percent to 1.36 billion by December 31.
The number is still significantly below the peak of 1.6 billion sold in 2002. On the overall revenue side, the domestic box office should top out 6 percent ahead of the $10.2 billion figure last year and also top Hollywood's previous $10.6 billion record set in 2009.
Leading the list of box office hits was Disney's The Avengers with $623 million domestically ($1.5 billion worldwide) and Warner Bros.' third Batman installment The Dark Knight Rises with $448 million domestically ($1.1 billion worldwide). Lionsgate's The Hunger Games grossed over $408 million ($686.5 million) while Sony's James Bond pic Skyfall reached nearly $280 million as of Sunday (and will likely surpass $1 billion this week); The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 has a domestic total so far of nearly $282 million ($759.1 million worldwide); The Amazing Spider-Man topped out at just over $262 million in the U.S. ($752 million worldwide). Other big 2012 titles included Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted ($216 million) and Ice Age: Continental Drift ($161 million).
And Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has totaled $157 million domestically since opening December 14th in the U.S.
While it's good news for Hollywood, the future of the box office dollar continues to like overseas. International audiences used to amount to less than half of a typical release, but that figure has swelled to two or even three times dollars spent domestically. Even pics such as Battleship and John Carter which tanked in the U.S. came out decently overseas ($209.7 million abroad for John Carter and $237.6 million for Battleship).
The domestic market has also been hampered with the advent of ever-sophisticated home entertainment systems, portable devices and video games. Still, most agree the big screen experience with an audience is the best way to see a movie.
"Every home has a kitchen, but you can't get into a good restaurant on Saturday night," Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros told A.P. "People want to escape. That's the nature of society. The adult population just is not going to sit home seven days a week, even though they have technology in their home that's certainly an improvement over what it was 10 years ago. People want to get out of the house, and no matter what they throw in the face of theatrical exhibition, it continues to perform at a strong level."
In our pre-Mayan apocalypse era, when you want to ensure that whatever you say is disseminated far and wide faster than the time it takes to tweet 'DID YOU SEE THIS ###$$!!!' the best advice is to master the subtle art of trolling with useful facts. Case in point: Joss Whedon, who screened The Avengers and afterward, sat for one of Jeff Goldsmith's Q&As Tuesday night at the Director's Guild of America in Hollywood.
Also in Wednesday morning's new round-up: In the run-up to the election, a major cable company is offering its customers a free viewing of an anti-Obama doc; Details on Peter Jackson's The Hobbit and a book deal for a Spider-Man creator.
They were two of the biggest movies in terms of box office this summer - and likely for all of 2012, yet the battle between The Dark Knight Rises and Marvel's The Avengers opened a new front in the artistic sphere. TDKR made just over $1.07 billion worldwide (with a $250 million production budget), while Marvel's The Avengers roared on with a $1.511 billion worldwide gross (and a production budget reportedly at $220 million). One cinematographer offered up his own impressions about the rival's merits, calling it "appalling."
With this week's release of The Avengers on DVD/Blu-ray and Marvel's Kevin Feige entertaining all sorts of speculative queries as to the future of the superhero franchise, let's put it to the people: Which Avenger do you want to see step into the spotlight in a standalone sequel after Thor and Captain America?
High And Low: The Avengers Save Earth With Subtlety & Wit, Wong Kar-Wai's Characters Swoon With Style
This week’s Low(brow) choice may have been a box-office-record-smashing mass-appeal hit, but it’s also a genre classic that sneaks a healthy dollop of wit and even subtlety into its comic-book storyline. On the High side: two swoony love stories from a modern master. With movies this good, labeling almost seems beside the point. more »
Also in Thursday's round-up of news briefs, the Academy approves some new rules for the next Oscars. A crime thriller gets a North American home and is headed to theaters. And, Charlize Theron is teaming on a story about a recently slain war journalist.
Those of you who were hoping for a slightly darker, more emo Avengers instead of the big, fun, dumb superhero spectacle Joss Whedon delivered to overwhelming enthusiasm are in luck — that's exactly what a newly unveiled deleted Captain America scene and alternate opening sequence provide. Feel Steve Rogers' existential PAIN as he walks the streets of modern New York City, doomed to a rudderless time-jumping existence filled with dead friends and free wifi! Such is life, Steve. Welcome to the 21st century.
Lizzy Caplan As She-Hulk? Actress Considers A Marvel Superhero Future — Alongside a Familiar Party Down Co-Star
Although the short film Item 47, which stars Caplan, hasn't officially debuted yet — it's one of the many Avengers Blu-ray extras, due out September 25 — the actress had fun riffing on the possibilities if her appearance in the one-shot S.H.I.E.L.D adventure could lead to to her suiting up as a Marvel superheroine. more »