‘Charlie’s Angels’ Takes a Box-office Tumble

mv5bmdfknza3mmmtytc1mi00zwnjlwjjmjctodq2zgi2owy0ymexxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymda4nzmyoa4040._v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_

When it comes to box office, Hollywood’s latest remake of an iconic TV classic recently experienced a fall from grace.

The latest “Charlie’s Angels” reboot has studio executives scratching their heads in search of an explanation as to how a popular franchise with a name director, notable cast, and $50 million production budget could fail to attract a decent-sized audience.

“Wokeness” in today’s left-tilted culture is the overarching theme that is mandating current PC standards. The hyper-liberal ideology is so accepted by Hollywood’s mainstream community it makes even the savviest power players repeatedly muck things up, financially and otherwise.

Shoehorning far-left politics into what are supposed to be entertainment projects, Hollywood studios are continuing the pattern of releasing loser reboots, prequels, sequels, and the like, including “Ghostbusters,” “Men in Black,” “The Last Jedi,” and “Terminator: Dark Fate.”

The reason the “Charlie’s Angels” franchise was viewed by insiders as a viable project for a reboot in the first place was its long track record of success. It all began with a hit television series that starred Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith, and Kate Jackson.

Fawcett lost her super hero battle with cancer in 2009. But at the height of her award winning career, she was a genuine cultural phenomenon, the pin-up girl of her era, setting trends for everything from a hairstyle that in modified form would live on to this day to a poster that would adorn bedroom walls and locker doors in untold numbers. The wildly popular “Charlie’s Angels” TV show dominated the airwaves from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s, garnering consistently high ratings. However, there was an innocent charm to the show that would be lost in the revisions to come.

As studios are so often prone to do, the television series became repackaged, and it emerged as a “Charlie’s Angels” movie in 2000, starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu in the lead roles. The film debuted with a $40 million box office.

In 2003, Diaz, Barrymore, and Liu teamed up for a sequel, “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle,” which took in almost $38 million in its first weekend. Left-wing propagandists had not yet infiltrated entertainment content to the degree that would ultimately come to fruition.

So here we are sixteen years after the “Charlie’s Angels” sequel. Sony brings in Elizabeth Banks to direct, star, and write, partially due to her successful directorial debut with Universal’s “Pitch Perfect 2,” but perhaps more importantly, for her having expressed her desire to redo “Charlie’s Angels” with a feminist overlay.

Opening up with a dismal $8.6 million box-office take, the current iteration of “Charlie’s Angels” makes it clear that the filmmaker had a different goal than that of making an entertaining action movie.

A montage of images from the world-over, featuring young women of supposed power, is meant to convey to movie-goers that they are in for something other than your average everyday cinematic diversion.

An opening scene features Kristen Stewart’s character subduing a male villain after he makes dastardly sexist remarks to her.

In a recent profile in WSJ Magazine, Banks evidently felt a need to highlight the film’s feminist bona fides, saying, “You’ve had 37 Spider-Man movies and you’re not complaining! I think women are allowed to have one or two action franchises every 17 years — I feel totally fine with that.”

However, “Charlie’s Angels” features a number of anemic action scenes, which end up being a major disappointment to viewers who came to see something more than an insipid “You go girl!” after-school special.

Even the hit song from the film, titled “Don’t Call Me Angel,” which features Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, and Lana Del Ray, couldn’t put viewers in theater seats.

The Hollywood Reporter extolled “Charlie’s Angels” for “unapologetically raising a feminist flag, championing female friendships and subtly making a point about the urgency of the ongoing climate crisis.”

That pretty much says it all, spelling it out in big bold letters why the November 2019 film turns out to be such a turkey.

‘Overcomer’ Lights Up the Box Office

79440

Executives at Sony Pictures and its faith-based unit Affirm are no doubt elated over the box-office performance of the big-screen release “Overcomer.”

Alex and Stephen Kendrick’s most recent film opened in 1,700 theaters this past weekend and brought in a higher than expected $8.2 million, the third largest opening for a movie from the faith-based filmmaker brothers.

The film secured a third place slot in the weekend box-office line-up, just behind the major studio releases “Angel Has Fallen” and “Good Boys.”

Surprisingly, “Overcomer” took in more than $3 million on its first day, with its best box-office showings being in theaters located in the Midwest and the South.

It is the Kendrick brothers’ sixth movie outing, and all of their films have been solidly in the faith-based genre. The current film’s opening numbers are actually higher than those of “Fireproof,” the movie in which the Kendrick brothers partnered with Kirk Cameron.

“Fireproof” ultimately garnered $33 million in total box-office revenue. If “Overcomer” is able to come close to reaching this figure, the profit margin will be enormous since the production cost is reportedly a modest $5 million.

“Overcomer” brings a tear-inducing tale to the big-screen, not only because there is a poignancy that underlies a portion of the story line, but also because the Kendricks have become adept at creating through their filmmaking artistry scenes that convey the universal emotions experienced on the journey from despair to hope, waywardness to redemption, and isolation to love.

High school basketball coach John Harrison, played by Alex Kendrick, is forced to deal with the loss of his team, but Principal Olivia Brooks, played by Priscilla C. Shirer, gives him a new assignment, albeit a less desirable one, that of coach of the cross-country team.

Harrison soon discovers that the cross-country “team” consists of a mere single member, a young girl named Hannah, portrayed by Aryn Wright-Thompson, who among other challenges in her life also suffers from asthma.

In getting to know Hannah, viewers come to find out that she had been told that her father, having succumbed to drug addiction years ago, left her in the care of her grandmother. Hannah has since grown to be an introverted person, yet one who has a compulsion to steal what doesn’t belong to her.

In her mind, Hannah believes that her father is dead. In reality, however, the man she will come to know as her dad lies in a hospital bed, stricken with diabetes and complete visual impairment. Coach Harrison acts as the bridge to the healing of this relationship and so much more. In ways unexpected and uplifting, a miraculous new life is in store for Hannah.

The film critic community has unfortunately panned the movie, as is often the case with faith-based fare. The movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes shows “Overcomer” with a paltry 38% rating. Critics predictably slammed the film, calling it “religious propagandizing,” “churchy,” and an “extended sermon.”

Another movie review aggregator Metacritic gave the film a rating of 17 out of 100, which according to the site indicates “overwhelming dislike.”

Interestingly, moviegoers have a distinctly different take. Those who viewed the film gave it a rare highest rating of “A+.” On average, two films a year earn the coveted A+ CinemaScore rating. Alex Kendrick is now the second director in history to have had three different films merit the score, the other director being Rob Reiner.

One remarkable back story to this film is worth noting. Not uncommon for believers who seek careers in the entertainment business, actor Cameron Arnett, who plays Hannah’s father, had to walk away from Hollywood in order to eventually be led back to a career in faith-based films.

Arnett was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and has starred in some high-profile television series including “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Meet the Browns.”

Arnett’s plans were fundamentally altered, though, when just prior to signing a contract, he was asked if he would be willing to appear in a project while partially clothed.

“Hollywood told me that in order for you to be an actor, you have to do partial body nudity, and I had to choose career or Christ,” Arnett said in a Facebook Live interview with Miami pastor Diego Calderon. “And I chose Christ, but when I did, I lost everything.”

Arnett found himself alone, as in his words, “Agents left. Everybody left. Friends left. I was left behind by the world and by everything that I had.”

Years later he decided to try acting again, this time choosing projects that reflect his deeply held beliefs, all of which culminated in an injection of new life into his career.

Arnett’s path led him to portray an essential character in “Overcomer” and graced him with the opportunity to be a contributor to the film’s success.

Looking out on the Hollywood horizon, the hope is that more stories of miracles that embody truth and light await a thirsting audience.

Liberal Rants Aren’t Silencing ‘Lion King’’s Box-office Roar

lionking-920x584

Editors at the Washington Post recently made the inane decision to publish the radical ramblings of Dan Hassler-Forest, assistant professor in the Media Studies Department of Utrecht University, which is located in the Netherlands.

In an entertainment world that produces excessively violent, sexually aggressive, and politically correct product to the max, Hassler- Forest makes the nonsensical assertion that the plot line of Disney’s current iteration of “The Lion King” is a fable that is riddled with fascist ideology.

“The Lion King” is a photorealistic computer-animated remake of Disney’s conventionally animated 1994 film of the same name. The movie’s plot line revolves around a young lion named Simba, who struggles to accept his place as the rightful king of his nation after his father Mufasa is murdered by his uncle named Scar.

Because the story involves a monarchy in which lions comprise a ruling class, Hassler-Forest concludes that the film depicts “a society where the weak have learned to worship at the feet of the strong.” Hassler-Forest also contends that the movie “presents a seductive worldview in which absolute power goes unquestioned and the weak and the vulnerable are fundamentally inferior.”

Using Hassler-Forest’s argument as a basis, one would have to conclude that a vast majority of folk legends, fairy tales, and classic fables featuring kings, queens, princes, and princesses will eventually be forced to face the chopping block.

In addition to the Washington Post piece, the metropolitan media critic community is generally slamming “The Lion King,” giving it a dismal 55% rating on the Rotten Tomatoes aggregation website. Critics thumbing their respective noses at the movie include those from the Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, and NPR.

Despite the Washington Post’s hit piece and the critics’ jabs at “The Lion King,” the public is giving it a whole lot of love, grading the film with an A rating on CinemaScore and additionally making it a record-breaking blockbuster at the box office.

“The Lion King” has taken the record for a July opening, with $185 million gross, an amount that not only outperforms pre-release forecasts but also bests the previous July record holder, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” which took in more than $169 million. The movie is also the second largest debut of the year so far, trailing behind only one film, “Avengers: Endgame.” “The Lion King” reboot has additionally topped another Disney live-action remake, “Beauty and the Beast.”

The idea for the story on which “The Lion King” is based first arose during a conversation between senior executive Roy E. Disney (son of Disney co-founder Roy O. Disney), Dreamworks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, and first president of Disney Animation Peter Schneider. (The conversation took place in the late 1980s on a plane to Europe to promote “Oliver & Company,” an early Disney animated musical film adaptation of Charles Dickens’s “Oliver Twist.”)

As “The Lion King” idea was being developed, Katzenberg added his own thematic material involving coming of age and death, and some ideas from his own personal life experiences. Katzenberg has stated that “The Lion King” “is a little bit about myself.”

Although he may be a died-in-the-wool liberal and has had his share of rotten political ideas, Katzenberg is no fascist.

The new live action reboot of the film seems to have been packaged so that it would escape the unfavorable judgments of left-wing gatekeepers. It features a predominantly African-American cast, with a story that takes place in Africa. The voices in the film include those of Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, John Kani, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, and James Earl Jones, who reprises his role of Mufasa from the original film.

It is preposterous that these celebrities would become involved with a movie that had fascistic undertones. The same for Elton John, who along with Tim Rice wrote several evergreen tunes for the original animated version and have contributed a new song for the reboot titled “Never Too Late.”

Thankfully, moviegoers are not buying the whole fascist meme. They are, however, expressing their delight with Disney’s fanciful remake by buying tickets in droves.

Superheroes Save Hollywood’s 2018 Box Office

marvel-movies

After a great deal of handwringing, Hollywood is breathing a sigh of relief.

The 2018 box office showed growth, and the movie business owes its positive performance to an aggregate of superhero films.

After hyper-anxiety over the possibility that streaming entertainment was going to kill the movie theater business, Hollywood ended up raking in a record $11.9 billion in revenue last year.

The 2018 domestic box office was up 7 percent over 2017 as well as being up 4 percent when compared to 2016. The audience has grown, and although the actual number of tickets sold remains below the high mark that was set in 2002, attendance for 2018 was higher than the previous year by 4 percent.

With more than 26 percent of all domestic box-office revenue in 2018, Disney commands an unprecedented portion of the market share. CEO Bob Iger’s strategy of buying franchises and rights to superhero characters paid off enormously, and the company’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets is expected to close in the first half of 2019.

Disney’s share of the market is likely to increase in 2019, with the planned release of another “Star Wars” film and the fourth and supposedly final “Avengers” movie, as well as two animated features and three live-action versions of classic Disney tales.

Based on the 2018 box-office performance, filmgoers can expect movie studios to continue to deliver two predictable types of entertainment product in 2019: 1) additional sequels; and 2) more cinema that features costumed crusaders with super-human powers.

Of the top five box-office films of the year, four were superhero films, and amazingly the ten highest-grossing films of 2018 were either superhero movies, sequels, or both.

The top film of 2018 was the superhero offering “Black Panther,” which earned over $700 million domestically making it the third highest-grossing movie in the history of cinema. Following close behind was another superhero flick, “Avengers: Infinity War.”

The biggest take from last year’s ticket revenue arrived courtesy of the superhero genre, with four out of the top five films bringing in more than $2.3 billion. The “Spider-Man” spin-off “Venom” and “Ant-Man and The Wasp” hauled in another combined $429 million. The newly released “Aquaman” and “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” added an additional combined $300 million to last year’s superhero gross.

The enduring success of comic book characters that come to life begs the question: What is it about these superhero movies that draws people to the multiplex?

Family films pay the bills for Hollywood, and since parents are on an eternal quest for places to take their little ones, superhero films provide a relatively wholesome type of fare that adults and appropriately-aged children are able to enjoy together.

That the superhero phenomenon has become so deeply ingrained into the fabric of our culture suggests something more significant is occurring within the public consciousness. People instinctively long for stories in which moral tensions in plot lines are ultimately resolved in a fundamentally fair manner. Similar to the mythological gods of antiquity, superheroes possess powers and abilities that can rectify unjust situations. Superheroes also travel through storylines in which forces of good and evil have clearly marked boundaries and good generally triumphs over evil. In this fanciful realm, the universe is ordered and stability secured.

The successful releases in the superhero category typically feature characters with extraordinary powers, who, as they go about saving the world, must deal with ordinary relatable problems. When superhero characters possess an aura of authenticity, the stories surrounding them communicate a sense of hope that problems can be solved and obstacles overcome.

A study that took place in Kyoto, Japan, published in January 2017, explored attitudes of very young children toward heroic characters.

Six-month-old infants were presented with animations that depicted a character bumping into another character while a third onlooker watched from a distance. The onlooker intervened in one version and in a second version ran away.

When the infants were given the opportunity to select a real life replica of the intervening character or non-intervening character, the young subjects were more likely to choose the intervening character as opposed to the one who ran away.

The findings of the research indicate that pre-verbal six-month-old infants are able to recognize heroism, suggesting that the ability to identify a hero is an innate one.

This innate human attraction to heroism has been capitalized upon by the motion picture industry and explains, in part, the omnipresence of superhero characters in movies. Hollywood executives will soon debut even more superhero films. Scheduled for release in 2019 are Disney’s “Captain Marvel” and “Avengers: Endgame,” Sony’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” and Fox’s X-Men sequel, “Dark Phoenix.”

Disney Stunned as ‘Solo’ Stumbles at the Box Office

maxresdefault

The “Star Wars” franchise has been a sure winner for Disney, well worth the $4 billion the studio paid for Lucasfilm in 2012.

When a “Star Wars” movie is released, it is nothing short of a spectacular event accompanied by an interstellar performance at the box office, but not this time.

Box-office proceeds of the latest “Star Wars” installment, “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” has hit Disney executives hard, with a lower than expected three-day opening of $84.7 million and a projected four-day opening of $103 million; all this while the movie carried a production budget of over $250 million.

The “Solo” results were 46 percent lower than the previous “Star Wars” release, “Rogue One,” causing

Lucasfilm and Disney to reexamine the management of the “Star Wars” asset.

The overseas performance thus far for “Solo” has been an abysmal $65 million, including a tepid take of $10.1 million in box-office receipts in China. Since foreign box office can be up to 70 percent of a studio release’s overall gross revenue, “Solo” will likely bring in a far lower proportion of overseas money, so Disney has to be concerned that the film will not come close to the more than $1 billion in global gross that “Rogue One” delivered.

“Solo” tells the story of the younger days of iconic character Hans Solo, from the original “Star Wars” movie. The lead character was so deeply defined into the cultural memory by Harrison Ford that it posed an extremely difficult casting job.

Alden Ehrenreich has some very big shoes to fill, and it is safe to say that no actor could recreate the roguish character that the world came to love in the original “Star Wars” trilogy.

Movie experts cite a number of reasons for the latest “Star Wars” film’s lack of box-office energy, including politically correct plotlines, weak directing, poor casting, and “Star Wars” weariness.

As to the fatigue factor, it does not help that “Solo” was released a mere five months after another “Star Wars” movie, “The Last Jedi.”

Disney seems to have learned its lesson on the timing of releases and will probably avoid premiering “Star Wars” sequels, reboots, or spin-offs more than once per year.

The Mouse House is run by some of the most effective business people in the entertainment world. Last year the studio changed the release date of the upcoming “Star Wars” installment, “Episode IX,” from Memorial Day to December of 2019.

When it comes to the “Star Wars” series, year-end releases have been very good for the studio. “Force Awakens,” “Rogue One,” and “The Last Jedi” were all released during the Christmas season. Each movie brought in revenue in the $1 billion range and ended up being the top box-office performers during the year in which the movie release took place.

Disney execs also wisely brought back J.J. Abrams, who directed 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” to co-write and direct the upcoming “Star Wars: Episode IX.”

Ron Howard had been tapped by the studio at the production’s halfway point to direct “Solo” after Christopher Miller and Phil Lord left the project.

As an enterprise, Disney has so many other film irons in the fire that it will easily weather the “Solo” disappointment. The company’s Marvel franchise offering, “Avengers: Infinity War,” has at the time of this writing accumulated a box-office bonanza of $622 million domestically and $1.9 billion worldwide.

The family friendly “Incredibles 2” will be released June 15, 2018, and is projected to open in the $130 million range.

Most importantly for “Star Wars” fans, the next scheduled release of a “Star Wars” movie is not until December of 2019.

Like the proverbial football coach at the half, Disney will have the time to determine what went wrong with “Solo” and make the necessary adjustments to its strategic thinking regarding its revered “Star Wars” franchise.

Jennifer Lawrence’s Latest Film Gets ‘F’ Rating from CinemaScore

9f094c41b14783e3_gettyimages-497460426

By virtually every Hollywood measure, it would have to be said that Jennifer Lawrence has experienced more than her fair share of success over her compact career.

Having earned the title in 2015 and 2016 of highest paid actress in the world, her films have grossed over $5.5 billion worldwide.

The Kentucky born star has been known for possessing an uncanny ability to pick her projects well, while simultaneously nurturing the down-home accessible image that the public finds so appealing.

Things of late seem to have taken a turn for Lawrence, though. Her most recent film is tanking at the box office and her image seems to be suffering from a number of self-inflicted wounds.

Ironically, Lawrence’s box-office run and star status are the stuff of dreams for any Hollywood hopeful or entertainment industry devotee. In her budding career, she had the good fortune of becoming part of two lucrative franchises, with a portrayal of the mutant Mystique in the “X-Men” movies and a role as Katniss Everdeen in the “Hunger Games” film series.

Hollywood decision makers took special note of Lawrence for a role that she played in the 2010 movie “Winter’s Bone,” a film for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

She additionally garnered coveted critical acclaim and significant award nominations via her subsequent work with director David O. Russell, receiving an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in “Silver Linings Playbook,” which at the age of 22 made her the second-youngest winner of the award. (Twenty-one-year-old Marlee Matlin won the award in 1986 for her role in “Children of a Lesser God.”) She also received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Russell’s “American Hustle.”

The most recent vehicle in which Lawrence has chosen to star is a movie called “mother!” The film is produced, directed, and co-written by Lawrence’s latest romantic interest, Darren Aronofsky.

Unfortunately, the cinematic piece is pretentious, cluttered, and hopelessly self-indulgent.

The public seems to wholeheartedly agree, having given the film a dismal rating of “F” on the respected CinemaScore survey. The film’s box-office performance is considerably below expectations as well. As a result, Lawrence is experiencing her lowest opening ever, checking in at less than $8 million.

Prior to the lead-up of the film, Lawrence’s brand was well-honed, and she was frequently referred to in the media as “America’s Sweetheart.”

However, her image has suffered some blows of late as a result of having fallen victim to the Hollywood syndrome of believing that along with their entertainment fare folks actually want a heaping serving of celebrity sanctimony.

Most recently, while out promoting her new movie, Lawrence suggested that the devastation in Texas and Florida, which was caused by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, was “Mother Nature’s revenge and wrath” due to the sizable portion of the American people that had voted for President Trump and had failed to embrace the theory of man-caused global warming.

Lawrence had already alienated many would-be filmgoers with her avid support of Planned Parenthood and participation in a video this year against any de-funding for the abortion provider.

Her media image is also in the process of being further tarnished by the anti-Christian content in “mother!” The movie clumsily incorporates biblical themes throughout its storyline.

Aronofsky had previously shown his antipathy for faithful Christians and Jews in his 2014 attempt at biblical storytelling, “Noah,” a movie that he also produced, directed, and co-wrote.

Aronofsky himself revealed on Reddit that he had biblical themes in mind in creating “mother!” He wrote, “…when trying to think about mother earth’s relationship to people I decided to turn to the stories of the bible as a way of describing on [sic] version of people’s story on earth.”

In commenting on the “mother!” movie, Daniel Montgomery of GoldDerby wrote that the film is “being described as the Bible by way of Roman Polanski (‘Rosemary’s Baby’) and Lars von Trier (‘Antichrist’).”

Lawrence has never taken more than a few months between movie projects. In fact, the first trailer for her 2018 Russian spy drama, “Red Sparrow,” was just released.

After the paltry box-office performance of her latest star vehicle, Lawrence may actually be taking a leave from acting so that she can take up a new hobby.

“Today” host Savannah Guthrie asked the actress during a recent appearance on the morning show if she was planning to keep releasing back-to-back films or whether she would be taking a break.

“I’m taking one,” Lawrence replied. “I don’t have anything set for two years.”

Guthrie then asked her what she would do with her newfound time during her two year hiatus.

Lawrence answered, “I don’t know. Start making pots?”