Hawkeye

STREAMING REVIEW:

Disney+;
Action;
Not rated.
Stars Jeremy Renner, Hailee Steinfeld, Tony Dalton, Fra Fee, Brian d’Arcy James, Aleks Paunovic, Piotr Adamczyk, Linda Cardellini, Simon Callow, Vera Farmiga, Alaqua Cox, Zahn McClarnon, Florence Pugh, Vincent D’Onofrio.

With 2021 bringing both a Black Widow movie and a six-episode limited series about Hawkeye, each of the original six Avengers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have finally received their own solo project.

Given how much the stories of Black Widow and Hawkeye are intertwined, it makes sense for the movie and show to arrive within months of each other, as the show carries on a pretty important story thread from the film.

Hawkeye picks up several months after the events of Avengers: Endgame, as the world has more or less returned to normal following the final battle to defeat Thanos. The archer Hawkeye, aka Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), is vacationing with his family in New York just before Christmas. But his past comes back to haunt him when a black market auction gets a hold of the outfit he wore as Ronin, the persona he adopted to hunt down criminals who survived Thanos snapping half the population away when Clint’s family did not.

Caught up in the plot is Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), a world-class archer in her own right who worships Clint and hopes to become an Avenger like him some day (and is known as the second Hawkeye in the comics). The local mafia comes to believe Kate is Ronin and responsible for attacking them, so they start to hunt her down, forcing Clint to protect.

It turns out Kate’s mother (Vera Farmiga), CEO of a security firm, has her own connection to the local crime lords, which embroils Clint and Kate in a murder mystery that only complicates his efforts to get back to his family by Christmas.

Hawkeye takes a couple of episodes to find its footing, but by part three has all the pieces in place for a solid action-adventure, fueled by the tremendous chemistry between Renner and Steinfeld, as well as a strong supporting cast and a few notable guest stars from other Marvel properties.

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Disney Announces ‘Eternals’ Streaming Date

Disney’s latest Marvel Studios feature Eternals will be available exclusively on the studio’s Disney+ streaming service starting Jan. 12.

Eternals joins 13 other Marvel Cinematic Universe movies now streaming in Imax Enhanced on Disney+ (content availability varies by region).

Eternals follows a group of heroes from beyond the stars who have been protecting the Earth since the dawn of man. When monstrous creatures called the Deviants, long thought lost to history, mysteriously return, the Eternals are forced to reunite in order to defend humanity once again.

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The ensemble cast includes Gemma Chan as humankind-loving Sersi, Richard Madden as the all-powerful Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani as cosmic-powered Kingo, Lia McHugh as the eternally young old-soul Sprite, Brian Tyree Henry as the intelligent inventor Phastos, Lauren Ridloff as the super-fast Makkari, Barry Keoghan as aloof loner Druig, Don Lee as the powerful Gilgamesh, Kit Harington as Dane Whitman, Salma Hayek as the wise and spiritual leader Ajak, and Angelina Jolie as the fierce warrior Thena.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Disney/Marvel;
Action;
Box Office $224.54 million;
$29.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $43.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences o violence and action, and language.
Stars Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Tony Leung, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Michelle Yeoh, Florian Munteanu, Andy Le, Ben Kingsley, Benedict Wong.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe meets Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, a sweeping fantasy epic with bold action and breathtaking visual flair.

For some perspective, the film centers on a character whose primary comic book was called Master of Kung Fu and was created to cash in on the martial arts movie craze of the 1970s. As the particulars of his origin and portrayal would be seen as highly problematic today, Shang-Chi’s backstory has been modified to better fit within the MCU, bringing together a few story threads introduced in earlier films to shine a light on a new corner of the franchise.

In the film, Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) is the son of Xu Wenwu (Leung), leader of a global criminal empire called the Ten Rings, an organization that appeared in 2008’s Iron Man, the very first MCU movie (Shang-Chi is the 25th).

Wenwu has survived for centuries thanks to 10 mysterious bracelets that imbue him with great power and aided him in building his fortune. In his journeys he learns of a mythical land called Ta Lo that supposedly houses magical beasts. In attempting to enter the village, he is bested in combat by its guardian, Ying Li (Fala Chen), and falls in love with her.

Years later, following his mother’s death, Shang-Li has turned his back on his father’s criminal ambitions and is living in San Francisco, where he goes by the name Shaun and tries to live a normal life with his best friend, Katy (Awkwafina). Those efforts are shattered when he and his sister, Xialing (Meng’er Zhang), are attacked by his father’s thugs and summoned back to the Ten Rings. Wenwu believes their mother’s soul is trapped in Ta Lo, and he wants their help accessing the village so he can save her.

The film also serves as a sequel of sorts to Iron Man 3 and the short film All Hail the King in continuing the story of Ben Kingsley’s Trevor Slattery character, the actor who posed as the terrorist leader The Mandarin and in doing so inadvertently appropriated Wenwu’s identity. Kingsley is a great source of comic relief and a welcome addition to the festivities.

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The Blu-ray includes a nice audio commentary with director Director Destin Daniel Cretton and writer Dave Callaham, who discuss developing and making the film. There are also two featurettes, the nine-minute “Building a Legacy” about the making of the film, and the seven-and-a-half-minute “Family Ties” about the characters and their role in the MCU.

The disc also includes 15 minutes of interesting deleted scenes, including an explicit tie-in to the original Iron Man movie, plus some additional moments of character depth.

Rounding out the package is a two-minute gag reel.

In the combo pack that includes both the regular and 4K Blu-rays, there are no extras on the 4K disc.

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‘Eternals’ Tops Weekend Box Office With $71 Million

Marvel Studios’ latest superhero movie, Eternals, topped the domestic weekend box office (through Nov. 7) with $71 million in estimated ticket sales — below expectations ranging from $75 million to $80 million, but among the top five openings in the pandemic era. The Chloe Zhao-directed ensemble surpassed $160 million in global revenue thanks to more than $90 million generated overseas.

Marvel-themed IP continues to resonate with moviegoers despite the pandemic, with Sony Pictures’ Venom: Let There Be Carnage ($90 million), Disney’s Black Widow ($80 million), and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings ($75 million) leading the box office. Universal Pictures’ F9: The Fast Saga ($70 million) rounds out the top five.

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Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures’ box office chart topper Dune sold $7.6 million worth of tickets to bring its domestic total near $84 million; $330 million globally.

MGM’s No Time to Die generated another $6.1 million to up its domestic haul past $143 million and $667 million globally. Daniel Craig’s last run as Agent 007 is expected to release on PVOD Nov. 9.

Let There Be Carnage added $4.4 million in the No. 4 spots to bring its domestic haul near $200 million, while 20th Century Studios’ Ron’s Gone Wrong sold another $3.6 million worth of tickets to up its North American haul near $18 million, $47 million globally.

Will the Weekend Box Office be Eternally Grateful?

Disney/Marvel Cinematic Universe’s newest superhero movie, Eternals, got off to a strong start, generating a reported $9.5 million in Thursday (Nov. 4) pre-screenings. The 26th Marvel Studios theatrical release opens nationwide tonight (Nov. 5) across more than 4,000 North American screens, including Imax.

Written and directed by Oscar-winner Chloé Zhao (Nomadland), the ensemble cast release, spearheaded by Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Salma Heyak and Kit Harington, among others, is set to complete a trio of Marvel titles that includes Black Widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and has resonated with moviegoers during the pandemic.

Similarly to Shang-Chi, Eternals will be shown exclusively at theaters, bypassing Premier Access VOD distribution to Disney+ streaming subscribers.

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Black Widow generated an impressive $60 million in first-weekend retail sales to go along with an $80 million opening box office. Critics, however, contend PVOD undermined the film’s long-term theatrical business, while lead star Scarlett Johansson sued Disney, claiming the early in-home retail access deprived her a greater percentage of theatrical compensation.

Meanwhile, Eternals has generated the lowest Rotten Tomatoes critics score of any Marvel movie since Thor: The Dark World in 2013. That film, featuring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston and Stellan Skarsgård, went on to open at $85 million domestically and generate $645 million in total worldwide box office.

Eternals is reportedly projected to generate about $75 million this weekend, and won’t have a new tentpole competitor until Sony Pictures’ Ghostbusters: Afterlife on Nov. 19. The other notable new release includes Neon’s Spencer, starring Kristen Stewart.

Ongoing weekend competitors include Warner Bros. Pictures’ Dune, MGM’s No Time to Die, Universal Pictures’ Halloween Kills, Sony’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Searchlight Pictures’ The French Dispatch, and Disney/20th Century Studios’ Ron’s Gone Wrong.

Movies entering their second weekend of release include Searchlight’s Antlers, Focus Features’ Last Night in Soho, and Funimation’s My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission.

What If…?

STREAMING REVIEW:

Disney+;
Animated;
Not rated.
Voices of Jeffrey Wright, Benedict Cumberbatch, Hayley Atwell, Lake Bell, Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Chris Hemsworth, Kurt Russell, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson.

This Disney+ animated series explores what could have happened to the Marvel Cinematic Universe had certain moments gone differently.

The nine episodes are narrated by Jeffrey Wright as The Watcher, an omniscient being of immense power who observes the various worlds of the multiverse (which was supposedly created by the events of “Loki”).

Most episodes offer the creators a chance to indulge themselves with references to the comics they couldn’t make before, or just have fun with character confrontations that haven’t been seen before (such as an epic battle between Thor and Captain Marvel when the Asgardian wants to turn Earth into a 24-hour party planet).

The first episode offers a fun twist on Captain America: The First Avenger, as Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) ends up as the super soldier, while still-skinny Steve Rogers gets a massive Iron Man-type suit of armor.

Another episode is a dark tale about a man’s inability to let go, as it shows how dangerous Doctor Strange can be if he turns his powers toward selfish interests.

Other episodes feature alternate versions of The Avengers, and of course there’s an episode (based on a popular comic book storyline) that basically turns all the heroes into zombies.

Among the most bittersweet episodes are those that feature Chadwick Boseman in his final performances as T’Challa, recorded prior to his death from cancer. One speech in particular hits hard as he discusses the afterlife as a new beginning.

The animation style is crisp and colorful, though not always the best in capturing the appearance of the actors who play them in live-action.

Overall, the show is mostly a love letter to longtime MCU fans, who should appreciate the mostly fun but often dark chance to see the franchise in a different light.

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Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi’ Available for Digital Purchase Nov. 12, on Disc Nov. 30

After dominating the September box office, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the 25th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is hitting retail channels in November.

Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution will release the superhero actioner for digital purchase Nov. 12, and on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Nov. 30.

Nov. 12 is also the date the film becomes available for streaming on the Disney+ SVOD service for no additional cost to subscribers.

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Shang-Chi stars Simu Liu in the title role, who must face the past he thought he left behind and confront his father, Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung), leader of the dangerous Ten Rings organization. The film also stars Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Florian Munteanu and Michelle Yeoh.

The film has earned more than $366 million at the worldwide box office, and is the top-grossing film domestically during the pandemic with $200 million.

The Shang-Chi home video editions will include an audio commentary from director Destin Daniel Cretton and c0-writer Dave Callaham; 11 deleted scenes; a gag reel; and two featurettes — “Building a Legacy,” about the making of the film, and “Family Ties,” about the history of the film’s characters.

‘Black Widow’ Tops U.K. Home Entertainment Chart for Second Week

Disney/Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Black Widow remained atop the Official Film Chart in the U.K. for the second week, ended Sept. 29, driven by packaged-media sales, including DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K UHD Blu-ray.

The Scarlett Johansson starrer held off Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Monster Hunter, which climbed two spots to No. 2.

The week’s highest new entry was John Carpenter’s 1982 sci-fi horror The Thing, which made its chart debut at No. 3 thanks to a brand-new re-issue on 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc. The movie knocked Lionsgate’s Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard down to No. 4, and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Nobody to No. 5.

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Warner’s The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (No. 6) and Paramount Home Entertainment’s A Quiet Place Part II (No. 7) both fell one spot, while Sony Pictures’ Peter Rabbit 2 (No. 8) and Warner’s Zack Snyder’s Justice League (No. 9) held onto their positions from the previous week. Rounding off the top 10 was Godzilla vs. Kong (Warner), which climbed 11 spots.

Rank Previous Week Movie, Studio Peak
Position
Week on Chart
1 1
BLACK WIDOW, DISNEY/MARVEL
1 2
2
MONSTER HUNTER, SONY PICTURES
2 3
3 NEW
THE THING, UNIVERSAL
3 1
4
HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD, LIONSGATE
1 3
5
NOBODY, UNIVERSAL
2 4
6
THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT, WARNER
2 5
7
A QUIET PLACE PART II, PARAMOUNT
1 6
8 8
PETER RABBIT 2, SONY PICTURES
1 10
9 9
ZACK SNYDER’S JUSTICE LEAGUE, WARNER
1 23
10 21 
GODZILLA VS. KONG, WARNER
1 18

 

‘Shang-Chi’ Passes ‘Black Widow’ as Top 2021 U.S. Box Office Release

The Disney/Marvel Cinematic Universe release Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has surpassed Marvel Studios’ Black Widow as the top-grossing domestic movie with three months left in the 2021 box office.

Shang-Chi, starring Chinese-born Simu Liu, generated $3.59 million across 3,952 theaters Friday night (Sept. 24) to reach $186.7 million. That figure tops the previous polesitter, Marvel’s Black Widow, with $183.4 million. Shang-Chi is expected to dominate the domestic box office for the fourth consecutive weekend.

Widow, starring Scarlett Johansson, still leads the global box office with $378.3 million, compared to $330.8 million for Shang-Chi.

Both titles, along with other major Hollywood releases, have not yet been released in China, the world’s No. 2 box office market. While no official reason has been given, reports suggest that with the 100th anniversary of the ruling Communist Party occurring this summer, the Chinese government is reluctant to showcase Western movies.

Despite Shang-Chi featuring a largely Asian cast, including Liu, the actor emigrated to Canada with his parents at the age of five — a move, media reports suggest, was largely due to his parents’ opposition to communism.

Regardless, the success of the two movies heralds back to Disney’s triumphant pre-pandemic 2019 box office, when it tallied more than $11 billion in global ticket sales — largely on the back of Marvel superhero movies, and the Chinese box office.

Marvel’s ‘Black Widow’ Enters U.K. Home Entertainment Chart at No. 1

Disney-owned Marvel’s Black Widow entered the Official Film Chart in the U.K. at No. 1 for the week ended Sept. 22, thanks to DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K UHD Blu-ray unit sales.

Bob Odenkirk actioner Nobody (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment) climbed three spots to No. 2, pushing the previous week’s chart-topper, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (Lionsgate) to No. 3. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Monster Hunter finished No. 4, due in large part to being the week’s largest digital transaction.

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Further down, Warner Home Video’s Dream Horse climbed 19 spots to No. 7, crossing the finish line in the top 10 for the first time.

Starring Toni Collette and Owen Teale, the film shares the true story of an unlikely racehorse, Dream Alliance, funded by his owners’ neighbors chipping in what little earnings they had. With grit and determination, Dream rises through the ranks of the horseracing elites, proving that despite a humble background, you can have the heart of a champion.

The Official Film Chart Top 10 – Sept. 22, 2021

Rank Previous Week Movie Distributor
1 NEW BLACK WIDOW DISNEY
2 5 NOBODY UNIVERSAL
3 1 HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD LIONSGATE
4 3 MONSTER HUNTER SONY PICTURES
5 2 THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT WARNER
6 4 A QUIET PLACE PART II PARAMOUNT
7 26 DREAM HORSE WARNER
8 6 PETER RABBIT 2 SONY PICTURES
9 10 ZACK SNYDER’S JUSTICE LEAGUE WARNER
10 7 CRUELLA DISNEY

© Official Charts Company 2021