‘Mulan,’ ‘Tenet’ Boost Global Box Office Ticket Sales

The Walt Disney Co.’s live-action Mulan remake opened at No. 1 in China this weekend with an estimated box office gross of $23.2 million, Disney announced Sept. 13 — bringing its total theatrical earnings to $37.6 million.

Domestically, the film bypassed theaters and instead premiered on streaming service Disney+ Sept. 4, at a premium access price.

Also this weekend, Warner Bros.’ Tenet crossed the $200 mark globally, but in the North American market — the United States and Canada — the film earned $6.7 million in its second week of release, a 29% drop from week one. While more than 70% of all U.S. theaters are now open, capacities are limited due to COVID-19 restrictions and in certain key markets, including Los Angeles and New York, theaters remain dark.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

In its third weekend, Disney’owned 20th Century’s The New Mutants earned an estimated $2.1 million domestically, bringing its domestic cume to $15.3 million, Disney reported.

Internationally, the thirteenth and final installment in the “X-Men” franchise expanded to 36 “material” markets, Disney said, including opening in Germany and Korea, earning an estimated $3.8 million over the weekend.

‘New Mutants’ Earns Global Weekend Box Office Gross of $10M as Theaters Gradually Reopen

The Walt Disney Co. resumed releasing box office data Aug. 30, reporting that 20th Century’s The New Mutants, the 13th and final installment in what had been Fox’s superhero “X-Men” franchise, earned an estimated worldwide gross of just under $10 million its opening weekend.

Disney noted that currently only around 62% of domestic screens are open, while the film’s international debut was limited to 10 “material” markets, including France and Spain.

The film’s domestic gross is estimated at $7 million, while overseas The New Mutants earned $2.9 million.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

AMC Theatres, the world’s largest exhibitor, began its domestic reopening process on Aug. 20, with 100 theaters. An additional 170 theaters were reopened Aug. 27, in time for the release of The New Mutants. Kansas-based AMC now has nearly 300 of its more than 600 U.S. theaters back in business, albeit at reduced capacities. A third wave is slated to reopen in time for the Sept. 3 theatrical debut of Warner Bros. Tenet. The remainder of AMC’s U.S. theaters will open only after authorized to do so by state and local officials.

AMC has more than 1,000 theaters in 15 countries, with a total of more than 11,000 screens.

No. 2 movie theater chain Regal Cinemas also began opening theaters Aug. 21. Regal has more than 800 theaters around the world, including 550 in the United States, and a total screen count of more than 7,000.

Disney says movie theaters in California, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Michigan, Maryland, and New Mexico remain closed, with Arizona a mixed bag.

“Next weekend sees the bulk of international openings when 20 material markets open up, including Italy, the UK, Russia, Australia and Mexico,” according to the Disney news release.  “Importantly The New Mutants launch helped markets concerned by supplying fresh, new product for them to screen and therefore encourage consumers to return to movie theaters.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Fox;
Action;
Box Office $65.85 million;
$29.99 DVD, $37.99 Blu-ray, $45.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action including some gunplay, disturbing images, and brief strong language.
Stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Evan Peters, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jessica Chastain.

With Dark Phoenix, the Fox era of “X-Men” movies comes to an end not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Of course, looking back at the franchise, while it has left its mark on the landscape of superhero cinema, the films have never really been the most consistent in terms of quality. And a lot of that might owe to the filmmakers’ dubious relationship with not just the source material, but the other films in the franchise as well.

Some have been standouts — X2, Days of Future Past, Deadpool and Logan being the biggest highlights on most lists — and some, such as X-Men Origins: Wolverine, were forgettable enough that even the film that used time travel to reset the timeline ignored it.

Going in, the 12th “X-Men” movie, Dark Phoenix, had a few factors to overcome. It would be following up the disappointing X-Men: Apocalypse with a first-time director, Simon Kinberg, albeit someone who was at least familiar with the franchise having written several of the previous films. And it would be coming out amid Disney’s takeover of the Fox studio, meaning that future “X-Men” movies would likely come from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and feature a whole new cast and creative team and have nothing to do with the Fox movies. That lack of a narrative future combined with the release date for Dark Phoenix getting pushed back further and further left an impression that it was more of a remnant of a bygone era than an entry audiences could really care about.

In that regard, at least it made it to theaters. Fox also left over a New Mutants film that still needs a final polish if it is to ever see the light of day.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Even so, the signs are evident within Dark Phoenix of a franchise on its last legs even without the intrigue of inter-studio transition (much of this carrying over from Apocalypse).

For his part, Kinberg wanted a second chance to take on the “Dark Phoenix Saga,” one of the most famous “X-Men” storylines from the comics, and one that was adapted somewhat in 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, which Kinberg co-wrote. But where it was just one of several storylines serving that muddied third “X-Men” movie, the reboot that came with Days of Future Past would allow Kinberg to spend an entire movie on it.

Dark Phoenix also picks up the tradition begun in 2011’s First Class of setting subsequent “X-Men” movies in a new decade. So the action picks up in 1992, nine years after the events of Apocalypse. Now seen by the world as heroes, the X-Men conduct a mission to rescue a space shuttle crew from a mysterious space cloud, which ends up being absorbed by Jean Grey (Sophie Turner).

The power contained within the cloud ends up unlocking hidden secrets involving Jean, which puts her at odds with Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and the rest of the X-Men. As she sets out on her own, she is pursued by an alien leader (Jessica Chastain) who wants the power for herself.

So in that description lies the elements for a big, sprawling epic — space adventure, mysterious superpowers, alien invasions. And yet, instead of going big, Kinberg chooses to go small, trimming the potential for more world-building in favor of focusing on Jean’s personal struggles to deal with her new abilities and what that means to Charles. And the aliens are treated as little more than another nuisance for the mutants to handle, rather than the film realizing that this is the first time these films have had to deal with cosmic matters.

This could have been the Avengers: Endgame of Fox’s “X-Men” franchise, but its scope is so limited it ends up feeling more like a direct-to-video sequel.

According to Kinberg in both the feature-length commentary and several behind-the-scenes featurettes, this was by design, as the constraints of a psychological drama more more appealing to the kind of director he wanted to be. So while it’s very much the film he wanted to make, and any director would still have had his script as a starting point, the question of whether his directorial sensibilities were the right fit will always loom over the final product. (And, to be fair, the question of who else they could have gotten to direct also is fair, especially considering how much of a Hollywood pariah franchise stalwart Bryan Singer turned out to be.)

A couple of other factors contribute to the film’s sense of disconnect from the rest of the franchise. First, despite the time jump from the previous film, there is very little sense of character development in the interim. The team is the same as it was at the end of the previous movie, and any new characters are reduced to little more than fan service cameos (a complaint that could be lodged against a number of the previous movies too). Kinberg in one of the featurettes mentions thinking of this film as more of a reboot with the same cast, rather than a continuation of previously established plot threads. This isn’t the first time this kind of approach seems to have been applied to the “X” movies, as numerous potential story points and character relationships are hinted at only to be ignored later, it does seem more in force with Dark Phoenix, which is a shame.

And while musical consistency has never been a strength of this franchise, the previous “X” movies at least demonstrated a musical progression through the themes that composer John Ottman originally introduced in X2. All of that is abandoned here though in favor of the generic synth tones of Hans Zimmer and his musical score factory. It serves Kinberg’s low-key approach but does nothing for sparking the sense of nostalgia this film could have used to send this particular iteration of the franchise out on a higher note.

Of course, getting pushed to a summer release date didn’t do Dark Phoenix any favors, as it simply invited comparisons to Endgame, which traded heavily on its sense of nostalgia for the characters, especially in how it presented the music for them.

The important lesson here is that in adapting a particular comic book storyline into a long-running series (films or TV), is that the ongoing storylines should be serviced by, not sacrificed to the adaptation. The movie, show or franchise still needs to stand on its own, and the best adaptations are able to appease both longtime fans of the material and new viewers unfamiliar with it, often by adhering to the spirit of the work if not a literal re-creation of it.

That doesn’t mean Dark Phoenix is unwatchable. Just the notion of revisiting the “Dark Phoenix Saga” makes the film a curio, if only to compare it to The Last Stand. And make no mistake, there are quite a few echoes of that previous film here.

In addition, there are plenty of dazzling visual effects when the film bothers with them, and the film looks great, particularly during the shuttle rescue sequence.

And it’s still good to see the cast return, even if the story isn’t quite sure how best to utilize them. Ultimately, the film does provide enough of a sense of closure to the Fox era, particularly the four films of the “First Class” continuity.

The Blu-ray is also fascinating in how the bonus materials demonstrate the clear disconnect between how the film unfolds in the filmmakers’ minds, and what it ended up being.

In addition to Kinberg’s commentary (shared with producer Hutch Parker), the Blu-ray also includes three-and-a-half minutes of deleted scenes that mostly offer redundant information to what’s established in the film, but also provide an alternate ending of sorts.

The centerpiece of the extras is the five-part documentary “Rise of the Phoenix: The Making of Dark Phoenix,” which runs about 81 minutes in total and offers a comprehensive view of the production. Supplementing it is a 13-minute scene-breakdown of the creation of a battle on New York’s 5th Avenue (re-created on a stage in Montreal).

Rounding out the package is a lighthearted two-minute video of Beast (Nicholas Hoult) teaching viewers how to fly the X-Jet.

 

 

‘Dark Phoenix’ Coming Home in September

X-Men: Dark Phoenix will be available through digital retailers Sept. 3, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Sept. 17 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The final installment of Fox’s “X-Men” franchise produced before the studio’s acquisition by Disney stars Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence.

The story involves Jean Grey (Turner) being transformed by a dangerous power during an X-Men mission into space.

The film earned $65 million at the domestic box office.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The Blu-ray and digital editions include deleted scenes. The Blu-ray and digital copies from iTunes and Movies Anywhere will offer optional deleted scenes commentary by writer-director Simon Kinberg and producer Hutch Parker.

Other extras include feature commentary by Kinberg and Parker, the five-part documentary “Rise of the Phoenix: The Making of Dark Phoenix,” and the featurette “How to Fly Your Jet to Space with Beast”

Digital versions will also include a scene breakdown of the 5th Avenue Sequence.

Deadpool 2

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Fox;
Action Comedy;
Box Office $318.37 million;
$29.99 DVD; $34.99 Blu-ray; $44.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for strong violence and language throughout, sexual references and brief drug material.
Stars Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Zazie Beetz, Julian Dennison, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller, Leslie Uggams, Karan Soni, Brianna Hildebrand, Shioli Kutsuna, Eddie Marsan, Rob Delaney.

In the age of the superhero movie, you can always count on Deadpool to take the utter piss out of the genre — and in doing so, provide a bit of the counter-balance to how seriously some of the films take themselves.

Sure, movies like “Ant-Man” or “Guardians of the Galaxy” might lighten the mood a bit with some jokes and irreverent characters, but Deadpool takes it to that next level, where there is no reference that can’t be made, and no gag that is out of bounds.

And what makes it work is that, just like the comic books that inspire it, the “Deadpool” movies are also the very thing they are making fun of — intense action, complicated plots, larger-than-life characters. It’s just a healthy dose of meta-humor can go a long way in setting it apart.

In this second film, Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) finds himself trying to protect a mutant teenager (Julian Dennison) from a mutant from the future named Cable (Josh Brolin) who wants to kill him before the kid fully unleashes his powers and becomes one of the world’s greatest villains.

To do that, and with the X-Men not available (thanks to one of several hilarious cameos), Deadpool forms X-Force, a team of marginal superheroes to help him rescue the kid and change the future.

With David Leitch taking over directing duties, the action is much more intense than the first film, and without the structural limitations of needing to tell Deadpool’s origin story, the script this time out doesn’t feel the need to follow any rules. (For example, with Brolin also playing Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, you can bet Deadpool 2 isn’t going to let that one slide without a comment).

Part of what makes the humor so effective is the commitment the filmmakers make to the material, putting absurd characters in the middle of a serious situation. The highlight is a pitch-perfect parody of a James Bond opening title sequence, complete with a haunting ballad sung to the hilt by Celine Dion.

The Blu-ray includes a 15-minute longer “Super Duper $@%!#& Cut” that, based on what some of the filmmakers say during the bonus materials, seems like it could have been the original version of the movie before it was trimmed for time and softened up a bit to hit the ‘R’ rating. This version has more violence, more guns, alternate jokes and some different music in parts. It’s an intriguing version but not a fundamentally different film.

The Super Duper cut is included on its own disc with no extras, as all the bonus materials are included with the disc containing the theatrical cut. And, as with the first film, the extras are a trove of Deadpool material from a hilarious marketing campaign.

This section includes several promotional spots and all the trailers, plus some international pieces such as Deadpool offering free tattoos to attendees of a Brazilian comic book convention. There are also a few music videos, including for Dion’s title-sequence tune, and a stills gallery.

The disc also offers a three-minute gag reel and a couple of deleted scenes, including the oft-mentioned scene in which Deadpool embarks on a quest to kill Baby Hitler (also included in the Super Duper cut).

The theatrical cut comes with a great audio commentary with Reynolds, Leitch, and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Warnick, who collectively discuss structuring the story and why they chose to include the gags that they did.

Finally, the Blu-ray includes about 75 minutes of behind-the-scenes featurettes.

“Deadpool Family Values: Cast of Characters” is a 15-minute profile of the characters; “David Leitch Not Lynch: Directing DP2” is a 12-minute look at the new director’s influence on the film and cast; “Deadpool’s Lips Are Sealed: Secrets and Easter Eggs” is a 13-minute look at how the film maintained secrecy while including a ton of surprises for fans; “Until Your Face Hurts: Alt Takes” is nine minutes mixing some of the alternate line readings with interviews about what makes a “Deadpool” film such a lively set; “Roll With the Punches: Action and Stunts” is a seven-minute look at the film’s action scenes; “The Deadpool Prison Experiment” is an 11-and-a-half examination of the film’s scenes set at a prison for mutants; “The Most Important X-Force Member” is a two-minute profile of Deadpool’s new pal Peter; “Chess With Omega Red” is a minute-long revelation of one of the other prisoners; “Swole and Sexy” is a two-minute profile of some of the film’s other characters; and “3 Minute Monologue” offers two minutes of Brolin’s ruminations as he gets into his Cable makeup.

 

 

Fox to Bow Seasons of ‘The X-Files,’ ‘The Gifted,’ ‘9-1-1’ and ‘The Resident’ on Disc This Fall

Television series seasons from “The X-Files,” “The Gifted,” “9-1-1” and “The Resident” are coming out on Blu-ray and DVD this fall from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The next chapter of The X-Files: Season 11 is due Sept. 18 on Blu-ray and DVD. The 10-episode installment of the series features David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson returning as FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully investigating unsolved cases rife with government conspiracies, unexplainable mysteries and alien cover-ups. Mulder and Scully’s pursuit of the truth continues with a search for their long-lost son. Blu-ray special features include the featurettes “Solve for X: Constructing Season 11” and “Implanted Memories: 25 Years of The X-Files.” Special features on both the Blu-ray and DVD releases include a gag reel, “Conversation on the Fox Lot,” “The Scully Effect,” “Green Production,” commentary on “Kitten” and commentary on “My Struggle IV.”

Season one of the procedural drama “9-1-1” comes out on disc Sept. 25. It explores the high-pressure experiences of police officers, paramedics and firefighters and stars Angela Bassett, Peter Krause and Connie Britton.

The Gifted Season 1 hits disc Sept. 25. The series tells the story of a suburban couple whose ordinary lives are rocked by the sudden discovery that their children possess mutant powers. Forced to go on the run from a hostile government, the family seeks help from an underground network of mutants. Set within the “X-Men” universe, the series stars Stephen Moyer, Amy Acker, Natalie Alyn Lind and Percy Hynes White.

The Resident Season 1, due Oct. 2 on disc, stars Matt Czuchry (“The Good Wife”) in a medical drama that focuses on the final years of a young doctor’s training.

Fox Releasing ‘Deadpool 2’ on Home Video in August With Extended Cut

The ‘R’-rated superhero comedy Deadpool 2 will be released through digital retailers Aug. 7 and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Aug. 21 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The film, which stars Ryan Reynolds as the merc with

a mouth, earned more than $314 million at the domestic box office.

In addition to the theatrical cut, the digital and Blu-ray editions will include the Deadpool 2 Super Duper $@%!#& Cut, which will include an additional 15 minutes of action and jokes.

The Blu-ray editions will include an audio commentary on the theatrical version from Reynolds, director David Leitch, and co-writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.

Additional Blu-ray extras include a gag reel, deleted/extended scenes, a stills gallery and several featurettes:
• “Until Your Face Hurts: Alt Takes”
• “Deadpool’s Lips are Sealed: Secrets and Easter Eggs”
• “The Most Important X-Force Member”
• “Deadpool Family Values: Cast of Characters”
• “David Leitch Not Lynch: Directing DP2
• “Roll with the Punches: Action and Stunts”
• “The Deadpool Prison Experiment”
• “Chess with Omega Red”
• “Swole and Sexy”
• “3-Minute Monologue”
• “Deadpool’s Fun Sack 2”

Fox will be taking preorders for the Blu-ray at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con International July 18-22, and will hold a world premiere screening of the”Super Duper Cut” at 9:30 p.m. June 21 at the Horton Grand Theatre in San Diego, in addition to several additional Deadpool 2 promotional activities.