A long time ago I tried to get into providing box office results every weekend, but I found this to be a bit cumbersome especially when I do most of my reviews during that time. So considering this is Cinema SPOTLIGHT I figured I’d do a better job at putting a spotlight on what’s going on in the world of movies and Hollywood with a new weekly news roundup called Spotlight on Cinema. Every Wednesday, or most Wednesdays at least, I’ll be posting news from the past week of film including trailer releases, box office notes, movie announcements and maybe some neat stories about actors and actresses to help keep you caught up on the world of movies and entertainment. Each news roundup will provide brief summaries of the stories and contain five or six stories to keep you up to date. This is not a move to embrace tabloid journalism. These are real stories from around the world of cinema. So let’s shine a spotlight on the past week of cinema news.
AVENGERS SPEEDS TO $1 BILLION WORLDWIDE
I don’t think anyone expected “Avengers: Infinity War” to be a flop of a film, but even by the highest expectations its massive success has continued to impress. No surprise it held the top spot at the American box office for a second week in a row fighting off minor competition from the comedy remake “Overboard” and the parental drama “Tully”. This success has made “Infinity War” one of the biggest money earners in cinematic history in such a short time as the film crossed the $1 billion mark worldwide in only 11 days. At this pace “Infinity War” could very well be the highest grossing film ever (not adjusted for inflation) within a few weeks. “Avatar” currently holds the worldwide record at $2.7 billion and “Infinity War” sits fourteenth after only two weeks time. Still, the film has to more than double it current worldwide gross to hit that mark, but if there was ever a film in the modern day to challenge that position this would be one to do it.
BILL & TED OFFICIALLY RETURNING TO THE SCREEN
Like many nostalgic series it appears that the “Bill & Ted” franchise will get its long awaited sequel with the announcement that “Bill & Ted Face the Music” will be released in the coming years. The surprise reveal by stars Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter comes 27 years after the previous film, “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey” and sources say the script was written by the original creators Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon so there’s a lot of promise in this comedy follow-up. It also has an accomplished director in Dean Parisot who directed “Galaxy Quest”, one of my personal favorites in the genre. The film will follow the now middle-aged Bill and Ted as they try to write the greatest song ever written but they soon discover that their song is actually a key piece to saving the world and preserving the fabric of time itself. Sound kooky? Well what do you expect from “Bill & Ted”? Details on a release date have yet to be solidified and announced.
APRIL TURNS IN RECORD BOX OFFICE NUMBERS
Back to the box office for a minute, April turned out to be quite a month for films with box office grosses topping $1 billion for the first time ever. According to Box Office Mojo, both February AND April have been record months for cinema due mostly to the success of Marvel’s projects “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War”. Disney, who owns Marvel, has now made over $1.2 billion itself alone in only four months of 2018 which is a record pace for a studio and with “Solo: A Star Wars Story” and “The Incredibles 2” on the way Disney’s success in 2018 doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. However this isn’t due just to Disney. Other big successes like “Ready Player One” and “A Quiet Place” have helped draw audiences to theaters as well showing that a big-budget epic with good word of mouth seems to be the winning formula for modern box office success. With surefire hits like “Deadpool 2” and “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” also on the horizon we may see one of the biggest years for ticket sales to date based on sequel-driven sales alone.
COMCAST TRYING TO OUTBID DISNEY FOR FOX
It’s been big news the last year that Disney is looking to add yet another giant studio to its lineup in possibly purchasing Fox’s film and entertainment television properties. This would allow Disney ownership of most Marvel characters as Fox is one of the few left with any rights to the studio’s list of comic book heroes and eliminate a big source of competition for Disney’s own studio projects. This week it appears the Fox deal could be in jeopardy as Comcast is reportedly looking to put in its own bid to absorb the studio. Comcast, which currently owns the likes of NBC Universal, is considering a major bid for 21st Century Fox and appears willing to go into a bidding war with rival Disney for the rights to the Fox properties. Disney initially offered $52 billion for 21st Century Fox and it appears Comcast is preparing to go as high as $60 billion. You may ask if this is a reliable report. Well it should be because it was reported from, of all sources, NBC News. The offer would reportedly be a cash offer which might work in the company’s favor. However, NBC News also reports that Comcast may be waiting to see the eventual outcome of the Justice Department’s bid to block AT&T’s $85 billion buyout of Time Warner which could be a landmark decision that determines the limitations of potential monopolies in the United States. What makes the potential Comcast versus Disney bidding war even more interesting is that Comcast once tried to buy Disney back in 2004, but the deal was rejected and Disney soon rekindled its magic and became one of the biggest competitors against Comcast as a result.
“ANT-MAN” SEQUEL GETS FULL TRAILER
In the wake of “Avengers: Infinity War” we got yet another Marvel film sneak peak with the full-length trailer for “Ant-Man and The Wasp” set to be released this July. We had received a teaser trailer before but with many wondering where Hawkeye and Ant-Man were during “Infinity War” Marvel wasted no time giving us a full look at their third and final MCU film of 2018. Starring Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly the film will pit the two bug-based heroes up against a new enemy called Ghost, a female villain who can phase through objects. The trailer gives us a pretty good look at the comedy and action we can expect to see as well as our first good look at the villain and a pretty entertaining size-themed joke in the closing seconds. Overall the trailer promises a much more lighthearted film than what Marvel has provided us so far this year and it will be neat to see how Ant-Man’s life has changed since “Captain America: Civil War” and how this adventure will connect to the conclusion of “Infinity War”. Both Ant-Man and The Wasp are slated to appear in “Avengers 4” next May. You can watch the full trailer for “Ant-Man and The Wasp” above.
KEN JEONG SAVES SPECTATOR AT SHOW
Finally lets end of a high note today. Comedian Ken Jeong hasn’t shown up much on the big screen over the past few years but many still remember him as Leslie Chow from the “Hangover” trilogy which made him a household name in the early 2010s. Well he hasn’t disappeared. He’s been on tour and doing his comedy thing and recently he actually put another expertise of his to good use when he helped a spectator in need at one of his shows. Jeong is an actual physician and surgeon who hasn’t practiced for several years but, as you might imagine, retains his knowledge and many years of education. TMZ was one of the first to report that during a recent show in Phoenix Jeong actually stopped his show to help a fan who was suffering a seizure. He originally thought the fans were heckling him until he realized there was a real problem and he jumped into action. After the incident and making sure the patient was in good hands Jeong reportedly returned to the stage to finish his act. This is a feel good story I just had to share and it’s a perfect place to end this first edition of Spotlight on Cinema. Come back each week for another weekly roundup of cinema news, rumors and surprises.