Nothing says Christmas like another cheesy addition to Netflix’s bottomless well of holiday movies. Holiday Rushhas everything you expect of a Netflix holiday movie: impeccably groomed actors, a sweet romance, twinkle lights, and lots and lots of scarves. But Holiday Rush, which stars Romany Malco and Sonequa Martin-Green brings in one more holiday staple: Christmas music. Or at least, the radio stations that endlessly replay the holiday music you know you have been singing along to since November started. Watch the Holiday Rush trailer below:
Romany Malco and Sonequa Martin-Green are the impossibly good-looking couple at the center of Holiday Rush, which follows a handsome widowed radio DJ Malco and his producer Martin-Green after he is abruptly fired from his cushy job at a popular radio station. Left to take care of his four spoiled children, Malco’s Rush Williams must downsize and reconnect with the spirit of Christmas.
Leslie Small directs Holiday Rush, which also stars Deon Cole, Amarr M. Wooten, La La Anthony, Andrea-Marie Alphonse, Selena-Marie Alphonse, Alysia Livingston, Deysha Nelson, Roscoe Orman, Malika Samuel, Tamala Jones, and Darlene Love
Popular New York radio DJ Rush Williams Romany Malco has been spoiling his four children since they lost their mom. Unfortunately, the kids share their pricey Christmas lists right when he loses his job. To keep Rush on the air, his producer Roxy Richardson Sonequa Martin-Green and his Aunt Jo Darlene Love plan to help him buy another station — if the Williams family can downsize fast and embrace a simpler life. In this heartwarming film, a loving father reconnects with his children and opens his heart to love when they all learn that true joy comes from not what you have but who you have around you.
The Real Housewives franchise is expanding to a new city.
Andy Cohen made the announcement Saturday during his “Ask Andy” panel at BravoCon in New York City, revealing The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City is coming to Bravo in 2020.
“You didn't see it coming but I have to tell you, in Utah, you have the majesty of the mountains, the Mormon religion, an exclusive community of people who have very successful businesses who live in their own universe,” said Cohen, who serves as executive producer of the franchise. “It is gorgeous and I think you're going to be really surprised and intrigued by the group of women we've found.”
The group of women on the show wasn't announced, but Bravo said on Instagram the serieswill offer “High hopes. High altitudes. High drama.”
The franchise launched in 2006, with the premiere of The Real Housewives of Orange County. Salt Lake City will be the tenth location, and follows The Real Housewives of New York City, The Real Housewives of Atlanta, The Real Housewives of New Jersey, The Real Housewives of D.C., The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, The Real Housewives of Miami, The Real Housewives of Potomac, and The Real Housewives of Dallas.
The shows have a loyal fan base, some of whom are attending BravoCon, the cable network's first annual fan convention. The three-day gathering kicked off on November 15, and includes panel discussions, live performances featuring Bravo personalities, and photo-ops.
Another popular “Joker” fan theory has been solved, kind of. In a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, Joaquin Phoenix shares his belief that his version of the Joker character is the real Joker that ends up becoming the infamous Batman villain. Many fans have questioned whether or not Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck is the Joker as seen in decades of Batman mythology. “Joker” director Todd Phillips stoked the fan theory earlier this year by telling the Times, “Maybe Joaquin's character inspired the Joker. You don’t really know.”
“Joker” fans took Phillips’ comment and searched for clues in the film to figure out whether or not Arthur Fleck actually becomes the Batman villain. Some follow-up theories claim the “real Joker” was part of the violent riot that broke out in Gotham after Arthur shot Robert De Niro’s Murray Franklin dead on national television. Other theories allege the real Joker arrives years later as a copycat admirer of Arthur. These theories are not true as far as Phoenix is concerned, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable.
The LA Times reports: “For the record, Phoenix says, he does personally believe that Fleck is the actual Joker. ‘But I don't know,’ he adds with a wry smile. ‘It's just my opinion.'”
For Phoenix, watching “Joker” fans dive into the story’s ambiguities has been one of the best parts about the movie’s overwhelming reception around the world. “It's been super interesting how people react to the movie and what they see — and to me, all of those answers are valid,” he said. “Normally you have to answer those questions. But this really is participatory and interactive. It's up to the audience.”
Phoenix continued, “That's so rare, especially with a big studio movie, and I don't want to ruin that by saying, 'No, this is what it is.' To me, there are so many different ways to view this character and his experience that I don't think you can come up with a particular meaning.”
“Joker” is nearing the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office and has already become both the highest grossing R-rated release in box office history and the most profitable comic book film ever made. Phoenix says he didn’t expect the movie to be this successful with audiences.
“I don't know if I had any expectation,” Phoenix said. “Honestly, Todd and I were just trying to make something that didn't end our careers.”
“Joker” continues to play in theaters nationwide. Head over to the LA Times’ website to read Phoenix’s latest interview in its entirety.
In 2014, Disney came up with a fairly novel idea of centering blockbuster family film on a female villain played by Angelina Jolie. It was a huge hit, opening with almost $70 million on its way to a $241 million domestic haul and over $750 million worldwide. That movie opened right after Memorial Day in the heat of the summer when all the kids were out of school.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil was originally scheduled to roll out on the same weekend in 2020, but Disney moved it ahead seven months into the Halloween movie window but during a time in which most kids were in school. The results weren't exactly disastrous, but they weren't great for the second Maleficent movie, either. It opened to the tune of $37.7 million, which would be a great opening for most family film sequels. But this is Disney, and Maleficent 2 cost $185 million to produce, a figure that the film is unlikely to surpass domestically.
It's hard to say exactly what went wrong with Mistress of Evil. An October release may not have helped matters. Reviews certainly didn't 40 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but reviews weren't great for the original, either 53 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences who did turn out to see both movies loved them they both received an A Cinemascore, and the RT audiences score for this one was significantly better than the original 96 percent to 70 percent for the first one. I think it is purely a matter of release date, and to Disney's credit, they probably also realized that Mistress of Evil will be the only game in town for family movies until another Disney movie comes out over Thanksgiving, Frozen 2, and this also allowed the Mouse House to stick Artemis Fowl in the old Maleficent 2 release date. Poor Disney: Too many blockbusters, and not enough release dates to avoid cannibalizing themselves.
Meanwhile, Joker continues to put up healthy numbers in its third weekend, earning $29 million, as it approaches $250 million domestic $247 million, to be exact. The worldwide numbers now are an eye-popping $737 for a movie that only cost $55 million to produce.
Zombieland 2: Double Tap opened with good but not great numbers, earning $26.7 million, slightly better than expectations. It's been ten years since the original opened, and the sequel not only had a tough act to follow but a decade of expectations with which to contend. It was alright, as reflected in the 67 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes and the B+ from Cinemascore. I love zombie movies, Zombieland is my second favorite zombie movie ever behind Shaun of the Dead and I thought Double Tapped was a little disappointing, to be honest. I had hoped for more from Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the screenwriters not only for the original Zombieland, but the two Deadpool movies.
The remaining entries in the top ten were all holdovers. Addams Family had a surprisingly decent 53 percent hold despite the arrival of Maleficent, earning another $14.2 million to bring its total to $55 million. Gemini Man, on the other hand, dropped 60 percent, earning only $8.5 million to bring its ten-day total to only $36 million it cost nearly $150 million to make.
The numbers get much smaller beyond that. Abominable earned $3.37 million, good enough for sixth place. It's earned $54 million, which is decent. It has also earned $115 million worldwide on a $75 million budget and should do well on digital platforms over the holidays. Downton Abbey scored $2.9 million to bring its total to $88.4 million as it makes a long-shot push toward $100 million.
Hustlers, meanwhile, did cross the $100 million mark this weekend, which is a big deal for a film that only cost $20 million for STX Films to produce it's earned $125 million worldwide. It is also worth noting that Lorene Scafaria becomes the second female director this year to have movie earn $100 million behind only Anna Boden, who co-directed Captain Marvel.
In its 6th week of release, STX's HUSTLERS was granted access to the exclusive $100M+ VIP room this weekend, raining down w/ another 2 million dollar billz, $101M total. pic.twitter.com/mAnF4iygXB
— Exorcist Relations Co. @ERCboxoffice October 20, 2019
Judy is not going to make $100 million, but it's doing remarkably well, too. It's the sleeper hit of the fall, earning almost $2 million in its fourth week to bring its total to $19 million for Roadside Attractions. IT Chapter 2 closes out the top ten this weekend, earning $1.4 million to bring its total to $209 million. It's also earned over $450 million worldwide. I would be remiss, too, if I didn't mention number 11 on the list, Parasite, which earned a whopping $1.2 million in only 33 theaters.
Next weekend sees three new releases. If you're into Tesla/Edison wars, or Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon, The Current War looks great. It will open against STX Films' teen thriller Countdown and Black and Blue starring Naomie Harris and Tyrese Gibson.
Dario Argento hasn’t directed a film since 2012’s rather awful Dracula 3D, but it looks like he’s ready to get back behind the camera – for TV. Argento is set to direct a TV series called Longinus, and while specifics about the show are unknown at this time, a new Argento project is always something worth paying attention to even though it’s been a long, long time since he’s directed a genuinely worthwhile film. More on the Dario Argento TV series below.
Dario Argento is a legend. He’s the filmmaker who gave us Suspiria, Inferno, Tenebre, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, and so much more. His giallo-style work has influenced countless horror filmmakers, and that influence can still be felt today. And now he’s returning from a hiatus to direct a TV series. According to Variety, the show, titled Longinus, will be an “auteur series for the international market” that will be “suspended between the real and the supernatural” and is set “between the French Alps of Grenoble and the Siena of the Palio.”
And that’s really all we know! No plot details, nor any idea where the show will even air. Though the site does say it will include “mysterious murders, esoteric elements and ancient enigmas.” But the title might provide some insight into what the show is about. In some Christian traditions, Longinus is the name given to the Roman soldier who pierced Jesus’ side with a lance while Jesus was dying on the cross. When Jesus finally expired from his wounds, Longinus is said to have been the one Roman soldier who somehow knew for certain that Jesus was the Son of God. Per Wikipedia, he is traditionally venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, and several other Christian communions. Of course, that character could have nothing to do with what this show is about. But it’s worth keeping in mind.
Argento hasn’t made a good movie in a long, long time. Personally, the last movie of his I consider to be “good” is 1992’s The Stendhal Syndrome. Everything after that has been a bit of a misfire, particularly his last movie, 2012’s Dracula 3D, which is one of the worst versions of Dracula you’ll ever see. It features a scene where Dracula turns into a giant CGI praying mantis, for reasons we may never understand.
Still, it’s hard not to get at least a tiny bit excited about the prospect of Argento directing a TV series. Maybe the television medium will rejuvenate his creative output and result in something worth paying attention to.
The upcoming semi-holiday Columbus Day weekend will see three new competitors, none of which are likely to present a serious challenge to the second stanza of “Joker.” Ang Lee’s “Gemini Man” with Will Smith and the animated “The Addams Family” are headed for healthy starts, with cellphone-addiction comedy “Jexi” far behind.
More significant this weekend is the platform launch of “Parasite”: Not only is it launching a serious awards run, it’s also the rare foreign film with breakout potential.
Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros.
‘Joker’ Will Set Another Record
The controversial movie grossed $96 million over the weekend, even better than initial estimates of $93.5 million. Monday and Tuesday added another $23.6 million, but this weekend will tell us much more about its appeal: 50% down would give it $48 million, putting this around $185 million in 10 days. That’s unprecedented for October.
One Week, Three Original Releases
While June and July saw a total of just four wide-release original films, we’ve seen 10 in the last five weeks. “Hustlers,” and possibly “Downton Abbey,” could reach $100 million, and at least five others will pass $50 million. As with the recent “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” and “Good Boys,” there has been a healthy return for originals to supplement the franchises. A few weeks ago, “Downton,” along with “Ad Astra” and “Rambo: Last Blood” all opened over $19 million — very rare. This weekend, two originals should top $20 million.
Don’t Underestimate “Gemini Man” or “The Addams Family”
Ang Lee’s “Gemini Man” is the director’s latest effort to experiment with higher frame rates, but the real hook is having Will Smith play both a veteran assassin and the 21-year old clone who’s pursuing himself. Although Lee has dipped into studio commercial efforts before “The Hulk”, this is at an extreme end. And while Lee won the Best Director Oscar for “Brokeback Mountain” and for “The Life of Pi,” his “Gemini Man” reviews have been terrible. It stands at 36 on Metacritic, and faces the daunting task of recouping a reported cost of over $130 million — about double that of “Joker.”
“Gemini Man” it should see $25 million or more for the three-day weekend, and could wind up in third place, behind the animated “The Addams Family Movie.” Timing its release with a school holiday and Halloween makes sense. All three “Hotel Transylvania” films opened to over $40 million; don’t be surprised if this edges “Gemini.”
A Sad Farewell to CBS Films
CBS Films will go out with a whimper: “Jexi” stars AdamDeVine in a comedy about a young man obsessed with his phone. It will likely take in less than $5 million. Directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore “Bad Moms”, it’s expected to be the distributor’s last theatrical feature as corporate owner CBS transitions to streaming.
CBS Films had a lot going for it. It mostly made original films including “Last Vegas,” “Woman in Black,” and recently “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” as well as specialized releases “Inside Llewellyn Davis” and “At Eternity’s End.”
“Parasite” Enters the Bloodstream With a Bong
One week after very encouraging initial results for “Pain and Glory” $152,000 in four theaters, high end of late for subtitled releases, Bong Joon-ho’s highly anticipated “Parasite” should easily exceed that; the question is by how much. It could be staggering; it’s opening in New York and Los Angeles, in three theaters, and anything much over $80,000 would set a record for a two-city specialized subtitled release.
After winning the Palme D’Or at Cannes, followed by screenings at the Telluride, Toronto, and New York film festivals, it already has multiple sold-out shows at its three locations IFC Center in Manhattan, Arclight Hollywood and The Landmark in Los Angeles, many of which include Bong Q&As.
Bong gained wider visibility with his English-language “Snowpiercer” and “Okja.” This film is set in Korea and taps into the zeitgeist with its story about an impoverished family scamming a wealthy one. It feels more like something Jordan Peele might do than the foreign-language films that typically attract older audiences.
Neon has built a reputation along the lines of A24 in finding edgy titles that expand the specialized audience. Its top release was “I, Tonya,” at $30 million; can Neon find similar success here? Too soon to project; we’ll get into that, along with the rosy prospects for “Pain and Glory,” next week. But this could be the headline coming out of the weekend.
Netflix debuts “The King” and “El Camino”
Success for “Parasite” and “Pain and Glory” would be particularly gratifying as this week sees multiple titles with concurrent or near-term home viewing. Netflix opens “El Camino: Breaking Bad” in more than 125 across the country this weekend, mostly for evening shows — although audiences also have the option of watching it at home. It is the widest Netflix play since “Roma” last year. Still lacking any showings by top national chains, of note is, unlike “Roma”, Arclight and the Arizona-based Harkins will screen “El Camino.” This could portend openings for “The Irishman” as it struggles to get placement in even 400-500 theaters.
Netflix also has “The King” with Timothee Chalamet and Robert Pattinson in David Michod’s historical drama. Its limited release includes Landmark locations in New York and Los Angeles, ahead of its November 1 streaming debut.
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