Summer Blockbusters — 00:40
Julia Furlan: Summer blockbuster season is upon us. Which means that it’s peak time for people to watch the film equivalent of junk food. I’m talking rom-coms, I’m talking car explosions, I’m talking superheroes, that kind of stuff. So senior film reporter Adam B. Vary and film and TV reporter Alanna Bennett are here to divulge us what is getting butts in seats in film theaters around the country.
Alanna Bennett: Hi.
Adam Vary: Hi.
JF: So Adam, you wrote a wonderful piece that sort of like lays out what is going on at this moment in time in the film commerce, trade. And one of the things you focused on is that representation is actually powerful commerce, trade. Can you divulge us a exiguous bit more approximately that?
AV: Well, yeah, I mean first and foremost the biggest film of the year in the United States is nearly certainly going to be Black Panther.
TAPE: “The Black Panther lives. And when he fights for the fate of Wakanda I will be right there beside him.
As will I.
I’m in too. What? You’re going to need sum the succor you can accumulate.”
AV: And uh, I just I just want to repeat that: the biggest film in the United States in 2018 is going to be Black Panther.
JF: Wakanda forever!
AV: Yeah. I mean that is an incredible stereotype-shattering accomplishment. Uh, Black Panther is going to do 700 million dollars just in the United States and Canada and for the longest time Hollywood didn’t reflect that that was possible with a film with a predominantly black cast. So like this is a powerful example of the huge, immense amounts of money that Hollywood has been leaving on the table for decades under-serving audiences of color. And also giving just general audiences something that they’ve never seen before and that clearly was something that really resonated with a lot of people.
JF: Alanna how many times did you fade see Black Panther?
AB: Uh three, I believe? I would like to fade see it again. They should establish it back in theaters.
JF: And what accomplish you reflect from where you sit?
AB: I reflect that people hold been proving over and over again for many years that diversity sells. And I feel like we might hopefully, cross your fingers knock on wood, be approaching a time when Hollywood perhaps, possibly hears that lesson, because the numbers hold been there for a lot of the TV shows and movies in the past, but they’ve always been treated as anomalies, and I’m hoping that this doesn’t just fade absent that they actually bewitch a lesson from it. But they hold not taken that lesson in the past, so hopefully we actually drag forward from here.
AV: I mean the thing approximately Black Panther that makes it so remarkable is that it’s also one of the I reflect in some ways the first time that Hollywood has invested this amount of money, not just in the budget but in the marketing, globally for a film with mostly black faces. Uh, it just this is not been an investment that Hollywood has been interested in making in uh years passed and it paid off enormously. So the opinion that this is something that can’t happen was in some ways untested until Black Panther and I and I really reflect that Hollywood is paying very close attention to just how enthusiastically that film was received.
JF: And Adam your piece also touches upon a couple of other pieces of representation that are meaningful. Like the film Book Club, which had three women over 60 as the stars.
AV: Four women, actually. Four women over 65.
JF: Wow, over sixty-five gaze at that!
AV: …As the starting roles. And that’s been a nice tidy hit.
TAPE: “I would like to introduce you to Christian Grey. No, we started this book club to stimulate our minds. From what I hear this book is fairly stimulating.”
AV: Oceans 8. You know with the cast of sum of these incredible actresses,
TAPE: “In three and half weeks the Met will be hosting its annual ball and we are going to rob it.”
AV: There’s fancy Simon, which is the very first studio film approximately a homosexual teenager.
TAPE: :So I’m just like you apart from I hold one huge ass secret. Nobody knows I’m homosexual.”
AV: And that did really well, particularly for a teen film. So, you know, there’s a lots of different dimensions in which it’s very clear that it isn’t just that representation things. It’s that it’s really splendid commerce, trade.
JF: Which ultimately is the way that Hollywood learns anything right is capitalism.
JF: So there hold been some films that weren’t fairly as successful that were reaching for this thing that I feel is everywhere is nostalgia. Adam, divulge us approximately those.
AV: The biggest real flop of the year so far has been Solo: A Star Wars account, which is an astounding thing to say that a Star Wars film has been approximately office disappointment, but I reflect it’s made something like just over 200 million dollars domestically and that’s less than the preceding two mammoth Star Wars movies made in their opening weekends. That’s just like huge audience rejection there. And there’s a lot of different possible culprits; they replaced the directors very well into production and that got a lot of press, and there’s some chatter among some of the fanboys that there’s disappointment approximately Star Wars: The final Jedi and to a certain degree that’s affecting Solo. I reflect the bigger issue is that people weren’t that interested in a Han Solo origin account. What accomplish you reflect, Alanna?
AB: Yeah, I reflect that we saw this year that you can hold successes with stale IP and stale ideas like Oceans 8 or continuing Star Wars, but it needs to be an element of that account that gets people excited and feels like they’re seeing something original. So Oceans 8 it wasn’t, “oh, here’s here’s another heist film with George Clooney and sum of them again.” It was here it is with sum of these women who are A-listers who you’ve loved in sum of these movies before—
JF: And Rihanna!
AB: And Rihanna, um, but with Solo we know the basics of Han Solo’s account, we picked up at the most exciting portion of his account already. We’ve seen that and there’s not as much original ground in that past time.
AV: Yeah, and it wasn’t just the only film that had that issue too. Um, there was a film called Rampage with Dwayne Johnson that was based on that corny, tacky sort of 80s video game where it was like a giant lizard and the giant gorilla and a giant crocodile. I don’t even know; it was a bunch of giant animals and they were fighting each other in the middle of a city and this film sold itself as, “it’s the video game, but with the Rock and it cost a lot of money!”
TAPE: “Is he the only one? Oh, you didn’t know approximately the 30-foot wolf?”
AV: No one really cared. And even worse was this original Tomb Raider film with Alicia Vikander, which is based off of a reboot of the video game that was really favorite in the 90s that was rebooted as a gritty video game this decade, and I’m already exhausted by just saying that out loud. And clearly audiences were too. I remember when that film came out, my cousins were sum talking approximately how they were so excited to fade see this film, “tom-B hider,” and they were like “tom-B hider tom-B hider” and I had no opinion what it was and then when I showed up at the film theater, I was like, oh Tomb Raider?! besides, we’re getting off the point. But the stories hold to be lively too which I reflect is something people sometimes overlook shockingly.
AB: I reflect studios underestimate the power of word of mouth that goes into sum of this. I reflect Black Panther was so huge partially because it did gaze really splendid versus Solo: A Star Wars account you’re like, well this seems like any other film. The account didn’t seem like it was as punchy or as there.
AV: It just is just such a very basic opinion that is so often overlooked which is you know, giving audiences something that they just haven’t seen before. You haven’t seen a film like Black Panther before, and you certainly haven’t seen a film in which a bunch of really awesome actresses sum steal diamonds together. But you hold seen Han Solo a bunch of times. So why would you want to fade see him as a kid? You know the film and the marketing for that film never really answered that question. Obviously.
JF: Another trend that you noticed Adam that I reflect is very indicative of these times is that people are dead inside and don’t want to laugh.
AV: Well, I mean I was being when I wrote that I was being a exiguous facetious. The bigger issue is that there’s just no like comedies are not really resonating right now. In years past you would hold a few movies every year that were truly blockbuster comedies and there hold been movies that hold done okay, but not any of them are really runaway hits. And then there were several movies like Melissa McCarthy’s Life of the Party and Amy Schumer’s I Feel Pretty that didn’t really resonate at sum and people just sort of shrugged approximately. Um, there’s also the comedy Tag that is a bit of a shrug and the original Johnny Knoxville film Action Point.
JF: Wow, a original Johnny Knoxville film. A thing I didn’t even reflect existed.
TAPE: “What this location needs is an excitement enema. We’re gonna do this location hasty and loose!”
AV: It made five million dollars in its first 14 days and then disappeared from theaters sum together. It just was around for two weeks and then poof gone! And I don’t know why precisely other than perhaps, possibly people just didn’t reflect that they were going to be droll. It could be just that basic.
JF: accomplish you guys reflect that it’s also because there’s so much on streaming? That like Hulu and Netflix are working so tough to accumulate audiences with intelligent comedies and like lively casting and “gaze at this person who you’ve never seen before but should be a huge star.” accomplish you reflect that that’s a portion of it? That these streaming services are really eclipsing the audiences?
AB: I reflect that could be portion of it. I reflect also it’s like final year we had Girls Trip. Which looked so mammoth that you kind of wanted to see it in a theater with a bunch of people screaming at the screen. But these don’t seem to require that. It’s like what is actually yeah, I reflect it’s like there’s streaming; what is going to accumulate me in the film theater seat with sum those people having this communal experience?
AV: I totally agree and the other thing is that the two movies that I’ve laughed the hardest at this year were Incredibles 2 and Deadpool 2; neither of which really sold themselves as comedies but both had really droll really really droll sequences in them. So I reflect like in some ways people got what they needed out of that sort of audience laughter experience from these bigger, sort of more crowd-pleasing superhero movies instead.
JF: People are into superheroes right now. It is happening: capes and superpowers and webs from your fingers or whatever, are sum the deciding factors in whether or not people accumulate up and fade to see your film. divulge me more approximately that Adam.
AV: Well, I mean it’s it’s it’s happening… I reflect much to the chagrin of people who would fairly not see superhero movies, but it’s just sort of indisputable the top four movies domestically so far this year were Black Panther, Avengers Infinity War, Incredibles 2, Deadpool 2, sum movies that we’ve already talked approximately, and that’s because those are the movies that people hold hasten out to see.
JF: And so Disney is dominating. Incredibles 2 is doing extremely well and Black Panther was also a Disney film?
AB: Yep through Marvel.
AV: Black Panther was done by Marvel Studios, which is owned by Disney, as was Avengers Infinity War. The box office is way up, attendance is way up. It should be a really exciting year for sum of sum of Hollywood, but really sum of that success is concentrated in just a very small handful of movies. Most of which were released by Disney. And it sort of makes you wonder precisely what kind of future we’re heading into. Over 30% of the domestic film market this so far this year has been Disney movies. The next studio, uh, the next highest studio is 20th Century Fox which released Deadpool 2, and Disney is trying to buy Fox right now. So there is you know, whether that had happened final year there would hold been one company responsible for nearly half the domestic box office market. That’s just an insanely high degree of power for one company to hold.
AB: I also feel like superhero movies are kind of going to be this mega microcosm of sum of these other things we’ve talked approximately. The movies that don’t rise to the standards of storytelling or representation are going to be the ones that don’t stand the box office and the test of time.
JF: What would be a film that you would recommend people going out and going to see, Alana and Adam?
AB: Can I pick three or should I pick one?
JF: You can pick three.
AB: Okay, um Black Panther is no longer in theaters, but see that whether you haven’t. Otherwise you’re lost out on a lot of things.
AB: Um Oceans 8, I really enjoyed. And upcoming is Crazy Rich Asians, which is going to feature the first sum Asian cast since the delight Luck Club.
AB: It’s also a very high budget rom-com, the highest budget rom-com I’ve seen in years, and I reflect it’s going to be a mammoth event. It’s going to be lively to see what the turnout is for a rom-com, for a cast of sum Asian people; It’s going to be lively to see how it sum pans out. I reflect it’ll be splendid.
JF: Adam what accomplish you recommend for people?
AV: Other than the ringing endorsement I made earlier for Incredibles 2, I’d actually recommend two documentaries: one is called RBG and it’s approximately Ruth Bader Ginsburg the Supreme Court Associate Justice and feminist trailblazer.
TAPE: “Ruth Bader Ginsburg changed the way the world is for American women.”
AV: And the other is Won’t You Be My Neighbor which is a biographical portrait of Fred Rogers who was the late host of the PBS point to Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.
TAPE: “whether you bewitch sum of elements that do splendid television and accomplish the exact opposite, you hold Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. Low production values, simple set, unlikely star. Yet, it worked.”
AV: Both movies are sort of really powerful examples of deeply moral people. Taking a very gentle but firm approach to the world, and fitting icons of their chosen professions. And they’re by the way, two of the biggest documentary hits of the year, but beyond that they’re just really powerful movies that do you feel much better approximately humanity when you’re done with them.
JF: You two do me feel splendid approximately the world. Alana, Adam, thank you so much.
AB: Thank you.
AV: Thank you for having us.
JF: That was Adam B. Vary and Alanna Bennett, entertainment reporters for BuzzFeed News.
JoJo! How you living my friend? So whether you don’t know JoJo, they are the star of the point to actually. JoJo helps sum of us learn a exiguous bit more approximately the stories we’re talking approximately. So here’s how it works:
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Fake News You Can consume — 16:35
JF: And now we bring our stale pal Jane Lytvynenko back! Jane is the official BuzzFeed News person responsible for wading through the trash on the internet. You know, fake stuff. Hi Jane!
JL: Hi Julia. I’ve really missed doing the fake news quiz with you and our terrible metaphors as well.
JF: I’m so glad you’re back! apart from for your terrible metaphors. I’m not glad those are back.
JL: The mugginess in the air is like walking through the fake news, uh stench. And so we’re gonna we’re gonna fan that sum absent. That’s gonna be the air-conditioning.
JF: Wow bless you Jane. OK. What accomplish you got for us?
JL: Um, sum right, here we fade. The head of a Russian advertising agency, which was tasked as decorating Moscow ahead of the World Cup, used it as an opportunity to commission a 12-account high mural of his wife. Is that real or fake?
JF: I’m gonna say that this is just because the way that World Cup money is spent is like Monopoly money nearly, and FIFA is such a corrupt organization that I got to believe that like whether you accumulate World Cup money, it’s like pretend money that you can accomplish whatever you want with. And I want to support romance alive in this world, you know, perhaps, possibly this guy just really loves his wife. And a 12-account high mural was the way that he decided to point to it.
JL: So you’re right, it’s real.
JF: Are you kidding me?
JL: Um, it is a 12-account high mural of his wife in sports gear. Um, this very elegant blond tall clearly, very tall lady.
JF: Well, um she’s 12 stories tall.
JL: 12 stories. Um, and she’s surrounded by birds. Um, she’s holding a soccer ball. And I guess this is just now forever portion of Russia’s art landscape. sum right, here’s the next one: A priest in France slapped a baby during a baptism ceremony Is that real or fake?
JF: Okay, I’m gonna say it’s real because of stale cartoons where they smack the baby and the baby comes out.
JL: stale cartoons? What cartoons are you watching here?!
JF: In the in the 50s? I don’t know! These like stale—
JL: How stale are you Julia!?
JF: I’m a hundred! I’m a hundred.
JF: Yeah, I’m gonna say that the priest definitely slapped the baby, which should be illegal and the priest should hold some consequences for that. But you know, the Catholic Church isn’t powerful approximately consequences.
JL: honest enough. Uh, wow, really, uh, pessimistic nowadays. Um, yeah you’re right this is real. Um, this was verified by a French fact checker and uh, essentially the baby just kept crying and the priest lost his patience and started shaking the baby and then eventually just slapped the baby. Um, the baby was still baptized but the parents were not very tickled that this ceremonious occasion was kind of tarnished.
JF: I am both not surprised and also totally shocked that this is just. Wow, that French priest should fade to some sort of French priest jail thing.
JL: sum right, here’s one. So as you know, Mexico just had its election and elected a original president and the claim is that Mexico’s original president called for the invasion of the US. Is that real or fake?
JF: So AMLO, the Mexican president who is like a super populist, I can imagine somebody making a lot of claims, but I reflect that … An invasion of the US is probably where I’m gonna say that’s fake. I don’t reflect he wants to care that much approximately the United States frankly.
JL: You’re once again right! Well done, you’re really nailing it. Time absent has not uh, negatively impacted your fact-checking.
JF: My instincts are sharp Jane.
JL: Well done. Um, so this account was published on a very reliable, uh website called wesupporttrump.com
JF: Oh wow of course, my my my favorite homepage.
JL: My fade-to. And what it did is it took a quote from the original Mexican president out of context. What essentially he said is that he will defend, the migrant movement and the right of people to um, enter original countries whether there’s danger in the countries where they live. And of course this got immediately misconstrued as “original Mexico president calls for migrants to invade America,” which of course is not just. Um, so I reflect we’re gonna be seeing a lot more fake news approximately this guy and we’ve actually seen a lot of fake news during the Mexican election as well. So this is something to support an eye on.
JF: Okay, I feel I feel like cleansed with your knowledge, Jane. Thank you so much.
JL: Like a cold shower and a spicy day, huh?
JF: It is! precisely!
JL: I’m gonna just support running with this metaphor here.
JF: It’s perfect. It’s very just though. You are wonderful Jane.
JL: Sometimes you need to sweat out the fake and just wash it off.
JF: Jane thank you so much as always.
And whether you’re like, wow I feel like the people on this episode are probably smart and lively and I’d like to know more approximately them. Just text Jojo the word WHOMST and once you accomplish, Jojo will send you a liste of everyone who appeared on this week’s episode. Text JoJo the word “”WHOMST”” — that’s W-H-O-M-S-T — And once you accomplish, JoJo will send you a list of everyone who appeared on this week’s episode.