Cinema Chat: 'Venom's' Big Weekend, Special 'Soul' Screening, 'No Time To Die,' And More
The leaves are starting to fall, and more movies are falling in to theaters! WEMU's David Fair checked in with Michigan Theater Foundation executive director, Russ Collins, to chat about the week's movie news and the new films hitting the silver screen.
"VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE" GROSSES $90 MILLION, THE BEST OPENING SINCE "STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER"
"Venom" sequel and "Addams Family 2" did better than expected, while "The Many Saints of Newark" underperformed.
Finally, we have the movie that saved cinema and it’s… “Venom: Let There Be Carnage”? No single film can possibly restore the box office to pre-pandemic levels, but the Sony title opened to $90 million in North America — in short, exactly what history tells us to expect from the Marvel character sequel.
Pre-opening estimates of $40 million-$60 million didn’t hint at this result. Instead, Andy Serkis’ film, with Tom Hardy reprising his role as a reporter with superpowers gained from aliens, became the biggest first weekend since “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” in December 2019. And with $130 million, this weekend also represents the highest box-office total since mid-February 2020. Beyond the grosses, here’s what could be a key indication that normalcy is in sight: “Carnage” grossed 12 percent more than “Venom” did when it opened exactly three years. On average, openings for Marvel characters’ first sequels have an 18 percent increase over the originals. However, “The Many Saints of Newark” was a great disappointment – simultaneously play at theaters and streaming on HBO Max. Streaming damages theatrical impact and sales, while not increasing the streaming businesses. Streaming for many films cuts out a revenue opportunity for filmmakers and studios. It is indeed a brave new world!
"No Time to Die" -- OPENS TONIGHT AT THE STATE AND AT THE MULTIPLEX
A 2021 British-American spy film and the 25th in the James Bond series stars Daniel Craig in his fifth and final outing as the fictional British MI6 agent. It is directed by Cary Fukunaga from a screenplay by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and others, including Fukunaga. Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz, Rory Kinnear, and Ralph Fiennes reprise their roles from previous films, with Rami Malek, plays a classic Bond adversary. The film’s release was delayed by over one year by the COVID-19 pandemic. The film received strong positive reviews from critics, who hailed it as a fitting and compelling sendoff to the Craig-era of Bond films.
"Lamb" -- OPENS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 8 AT THE MICHIGAN
A 2021 Iceland supernatural horror film starring Noomi Rapace ("The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"), and marks Valdimar Jóhannsson's feature-length directorial debut. A childless couple in rural Iceland make an alarming discovery one day in their sheep barn. They soon face the consequences of defying the will of nature, in this dark and atmospheric folktale.
SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN
"Soul" -- ONE NIGHT ONLY! TONIGHT AT THE MICHIGAN (AND IT'S FREE!!)
Featuring an in-person discussion with Co-director & Writer Kemp Powers!
What is it that makes you...YOU? Pixar Animation Studios’ all-new feature film introduces Joe Gardner (voice of Jamie Foxx) – a middle-school band teacher who gets the chance of a lifetime to play at the best jazz club in town. But one small misstep takes him from the streets of New York City to The Great Before – a fantastical place where new souls get their personalities, quirks and interests before they go to Earth. Determined to return to his life, Joe teams up with a precocious soul, 22 (voice of Tina Fey), who has never understood the appeal of the human experience. As Joe desperately tries to show 22 what’s great about living, he may just discover the answers to some of life’s most important questions.
Directed by Academy Award® winner Pete Docter (“Inside Out,” “Up”), co-directed by Kemp Powers (“One Night in Miami”), written by Kemp Powers & Mike Jones, and produced by Academy Award nominee Dana Murray (Pixar short “Lou”), the film also stars the voice talents of Phylicia Rashad, Questlove, and Daveed Diggs. It features original jazz music by globally renowned musician Jon Batiste, and Oscar® winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (“The Social Network”), from Nine Inch Nails, composed an original score that drifts between the real and soul worlds.
"One Night in Miami..." -- ONE NIGHT ONLY! FRIDAY, OCTOBER 8 AT THE MICHIGAN
Featuring an in-person discussion with Screenwriter Kemp Powers! Directed by Regina King.
On one incredible night in 1964, four icons of sports, music, and activism gathered to celebrate one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. When underdog Cassius Clay, soon to be called Muhammad Ali, (Eli Goree), defeats heavyweight champion Sonny Liston at the Miami Convention Hall, Clay memorialized the event with three of his friends: Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.), and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge).
LATE NIGHTS - Fridays at 10 PM
Winner of the 2021 Cannes Palme d'Or (Spike Lee, jury chair), from director Julia Ducournau ('Raw'), this thriller follows a series of unexplained crimes. A 2021 body horror thriller film written and directed by Julia Ducournau. It stars Agathe Rousselle as a female serial killer who becomes pregnant after having sex with a car. A review from the BBC called it "the most shocking film of 2021." The film had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on 13 July 2021, where Ducournau became the second female director to win the Palme d'Or, the film's top award.
Based on his 2015 best-selling book, renowned forester and author Peter Wohlleben discusses the life, death, and regeneration of trees.
Germany's entry to the 2022 Academy Awards for Best International Feature. In order to obtain funds for her research, Alma (Maren Eggert) is persuaded to participate in an extraordinary study. For three weeks she is required to live with Tom (Dan Stevens), a humanoid robot designed to be the perfect life partner for her, tailored to her character and needs. This film is a playful romance about relationships, love, and what it means to be human in the modern age.
The screening was arranged for University of Michigan students, faculty and staff by U-M graduates (from the acclaimed Musical Theater Program by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who wrote the music and lyrics for this award-winning Broadway hit. It opened at the Music Box Theatre (designed by C. Howard Crane, who designed our very own State Theatre) in 2016. It was nominated for nine Tony awards, winning six, including Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for Ben Platt, Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Rachel Bay Jones, Best Musical, and Best Score. The movie stars Ben Platt, who also stared in the Broadway production.
Based on the Marvel Comics featuring the character Shang-Chi, it is the 25th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi alongside Awkwafina, Meng'er Zhang, Fala Chen, Benedict Wong, Michelle Yeoh, Ben Kingsley, and Tony Leung. In the film, Shang-Chi is forced to confront his past after he is drawn into his father's Ten Rings organization.
This is the first Marvel Studios film with an Asian director (Destin Daniel Cretton) and a predominantly Asian cast. The film received positive reviews from critics, praising the film's fight choreography, its exploration and representation of Asian culture, and the performances (particularly that of Simu Liu and Tony Leung).
COMING SOON DOWNTOWN
"Dune" - OPENS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22 AT THE MICHIGAN WITH ADVANCED SCREENING ON OCTOBER 21!
From director Denis Villeneuve, a mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, this film tells the story of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence—a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential—only those who can conquer their fear will survive.
"The French Dispatch" -- WES ANDERSON'S NEW FILM OPENS FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 5
A 2021 American comedy-drama anthology film written, directed, and produced by Wes Anderson from a story he conceived with Roman Coppola, Hugo Guinness, and Jason Schwartzman. The film stars an ensemble cast featuring Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Jeffrey Wright, Mathieu Amalric, Stephen Park, Bill Murray, and Owen Wilson. Its plot follows three different storylines, as the French foreign bureau of a fictional Kansas newspaper creates its final issue. Filming took place between November 2018 and March 2019, with cinematographer Robert Yeoman, in the city of Angoulême, France. Following a delay, the film had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on July 12, 2021.
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