Another weekend TidBits to catch up…
Marvel’s Blank Panther is devouring the box office, likely looking at $150 million this weekend, and possibly opening the window to the entire Marvel universe for a shot in the films. A beautifully visual movie superbly acted – expect a review shortly.
In the meantime, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle has been keeping to the top of the charts, winning most weeks since Star Wars: The Last Jedi died down, and provided a lighthearted movie among the more intense competition. It will cross $900 million world-wide today. See what we thought of the film.
Disney Channel has ordered up a third installment of The Descendants, their teen-centric fantasy musical TV movie series. The Kenny Ortega-produced franchise follows the teen descendants of Disney’s well-known princesses and villains and stars Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson, Cameron Boyce, Booboo Stewart, Mitchell Hope and China Anne McClain. The teaser (see below) has Mal (Cameron), the descendant of Maleficent, indicate that the new villain will be – her dad.
The Umbrella Academy, Netflix’s upcoming series based on the Gerard Way graphic novels about a dysfunctional academy/family of superheroes, named a number of regular and recurring cast this week. Regular cast announced incclude Cameron Britton (Mindhunter) will be Hazel, an infamously ruthless and efficient time-travelling hit-man; Colm Feore (House of Cards, The Chronicles of Riddick) is Sir Reginald Hargreeves, a wealthy entrepreneur and world-renowned scientist and the adopted father of the academy students; and Adam Godley (Breaking Bad), will portray (via voice/motion-capture) Pogo, a genetically-engineered chimpanzee. Ashley Madekwe (Revenge) will appear in a recurring role as Detective Patch, a fast rising, by the book detective of the police department. Previously announced as starring in the show are Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Ellen Page, Robert Sheehan and Aidan Gallagher.
The third movie in the Maze Runner trilogy, Maze Runner: The Death Cure, had a strong opening weekend, taking in $23.5M domestically and $62.6M internationally, and $105.5M overall including some openings a week earlier. The movie appears to have retained the fans, after a lackluster Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials and a long delay in production due to star Dylan O’Brien’s injuries sustained on set.
Still going strong is the deserved Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, taking in another $16.1M and totaling $338M domestically, making it one of Sony’s biggest movies ever.
Another movie that has emerged out from the shadow of Star Wars: The Last Jedi is The Greatest Showman, a catchy musical (and very fictional) account of how master showman P.T. Barnum got his start. Facing tough competition through its run, it still gained $9.5M this weekend and $126M total. If you like musicals, give this movie a shot.
It’s time to come out of our holiday-induced coma and get caught up on the news, so here is some rapidfire TidBits…
Sadly, we have learned that actress Heather Menzies-Urich, wife of late actor Robert Urich and best known as Louisa in The Sound Of Music, passed away on December 24th at the age of 68. Obscure SF TV fans may also known her for playing Jessica in the TV series version of Logan’s Run.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi added another $99 million over the holiday weekend, although analysts expected more from the weekend. Fans seem to be greatly debating the merits of the movie…from our point of view it was a good movie but with a slew of technical problems. Expect a spoiler-laden review later this week.
In the meantime, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle appeared to get a big turnout from holiday audiences looking for something lighthearted, getting $72m since the Wednesday open and including $2m from the Amazon Prime Members preview earlier in the month. It’s definitely a good movie for audiences looking for a laugh. The Greatest Showman, which appears to be fighting critical reviews as well as the competition, only made $19m for the same six days, but we think is a great musical film with several Oscar-worthy songs.
Lastly, Quentin Taranino’s R-rated Star Trek has named a writer – The Revenant‘s Mark L. Smith.
Color me surprised…if you are looking for a movie to see other than Star Wars: The Last Jedi before the end of the year, you should consider Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. It was a very enjoyable, laugh out loud funny film. And I didn’t expect that at all.
What did I expect? Ever since it was announced with the cast, I was thinking it would be worth watching maybe when it came to cable. Not because I didn’t like the cast – I’ve enjoyed watching Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in most everything, and of course there’s Karen Gillan, and throw in the comedic talents of Jack Black and Kevin Hart – but it was going to be a sequel to the original Jumanji film that starred the late Robin Williams, and I couldn’t see how anyone could do a film in the style of Robin Williams without him. But I was able to attend an advanced screening of the movie (a rare thing since I don’t live anywhere near where movies traditionally premiere), and what I saw was a different style of film that paid tribute to the original and Williams himself, but stood on its own playing on the different strengths of the cast members.
Quick plot description – these are not spoilers of you’ve seen the trailers…in 1996, there is another disappearance in the town of Bratford. A teenager found a copy of Jumanji, but it transforms itself into a video game cartridge, which he begins to play and disappears.
20 years later, four high school teens (of a somewhat stereotypical “Breakfast Club” group – a nerd, a jock, a hot girl, and an awkward girl) while serving detention come across a game console with the Jumanji cartridge still in it, and turn it on. They select their game characters (of generally opposite characteristics to themselves), and are transported into the game and into their chosen characters. They then must figure out and win the game – before they run out of lives.
The plot itself was generally predictable, as was some of the dialog. However, it was the execution that really made this movie good. It was the actors, playing video game characters that you could see each playing, but playing them as the complete opposite – Johnson playing a geek playing the strong, smouldering hero-type, Gillan playing an awkward girl playing the Tomb Raider-esque martial artist, Hart playing the jock playing the hero’s valet, and Black playing the hot girl playing the (male) archaeologist – is what really made this movie. Of course, that last part also allowed for some humorous dialog revolving around the male anatomy, but it IS rated PG-13.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle opens Wednesday, December 20th – just 5 days after Star Wars: The Last Jedi. So to help you recover from the shock of that movie, catch this film to pick you back up.