‘Spider-Man’ Soars To $35m In Mixed Weekend: Box Office Report

Written by Dapo Olowu

After two weeks of no new major releases, we’d be forgiven for expecting ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ to open big this Box Office weekend, or at least break the $40m barrier.

Still, it swung in at $35.4m, meaning it takes the record as December’s biggest ever animated start anyway, beating out the likes of ‘Sing’ from 2016 ($35.3m). ‘Sing’ makes for an apt comparison – its $75m budget is just a shade under ‘Spider-Man’s $90m, and the musical’s eventual $270.4m domestic finish potentially signals a long, leggy ‘Jumanji’-like run for the Sony animation.

For such a run to be had, however, ‘Spider-Man’ must benefit from overwhelmingly positive word of mouth reviews – which it has in excess. Boasting 97% on the Tomatometer and an A+ on Cinemascore, the film, which stars the voices of Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld and others, could breakout in coming weekends, although heavy competition in the form of ‘Aquaman’ and ‘Bumblebee’ should definitely stifle its attempts.

Internationally, ‘Spider-Man’ earned $21m from 44 markets, yet won’t be making the front pages just yet, due to the continued runaway success of Warner Bros’ ‘Aquaman’, which brought in a whopping $126.4m in its second weekend overseas.

To date, its non-U.S. total stands at $261.3m, and includes a DCEU-record $190m from China. To put this into perspective, it’s already Warner Bros’ second biggest film there ever (after ‘Ready Player One’), and only ‘Age of Ultron’, ‘Venom’, and ‘Infinity War’ stand in its way of becoming the country’s biggest superhero movie of all time.

With its U.S. release perfectly timed for this coming Friday, we could genuinely see ‘Aquaman’ swim to levels never before seen by the DCEU, and could even hit the $1bn mark.

With much smaller ambitions comes Clint Eastwood’s crime drama ‘The Mule’, which opened to a solid $17.5m. It’s an opening that marks Eastwood’s 5th biggest as a director, and 3rd biggest as an actor (inflation aside), as well as his biggest of the year, comfortably seeing out his February effort ’The 15:17 to Paris’ ($12.6m).

While many may balk at its seemingly pricey $50m production cost, Eastwood and those over at WB will be quietly optimistic at the potential for it grow in coming weekends, as it looks to appeal to a crowd uninterested in upcoming (and current) major action blockbusters. Its A- on Cinemascore implies a film highly-rated among audiences that were practically all (88%) over the age of 25, so perhaps we may see a ‘Book Club’-type performance here.

It wasn’t all good news in the Box Office, however. Universal’s ‘Mortal Engines’, the YA steampunk dystopian adaptation of the 2001 novel, failed to get started at the domestic Box Office, spluttering in with a miserable $7.6m.

Two things of note here: firstly, that ‘Mortal Engines’ has somehow outdone ‘Robin Hood’ as the flop of the season, and secondly, that Universal and co. decided it wise to spend $100m+ on a YA dystopian, as if ‘The Darkest Minds’, ‘The 5th Wave’, and ‘Allegiant’ haven’t already put the struggling genre out of its misery in recent memory. Regardless, it’ll be a real surprise to see this one reach $30m, or even be around by early January.

Finally, in the battle for 10th spot between ‘Green Book’, Deadpool-lite ‘Once Upon a Deadpool’, and ‘The Favourite’, it was ‘Green Book’ who prevailed and kept its place in the ranks, earning $2.8m in its 5th weekend of release.

Next weekend sees ‘Aquaman’ come up against the might of ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ and ‘Bumblebee’. Can the latter cause an upset, or will Warner Bros earn its 10th chart-topper of the year? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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‘Creed II’ Goes For The Title Whilst ‘Ralph Breaks The Internet’ Remains Top In Slow Weekend: Box Office Predictions

Written by Dapo Olowu

As the tumbleweed rolls through this barren Box Office weekend, you may be forgiven for asking why just 1 film is opening wide on Friday (and none 7 days later). The post-Thanksgiving weekend is one of historical dryness – this time last year saw 0 films open in over 600 cinemas, although it did welcome the release of award-fodder ‘The Disaster Artist’ and ‘The Shape of Water’ in a few theatres each.

Why? The mid-December onslaught, which in 2018 includes ‘Aquaman’, ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’, ‘Bumblebee’, and ‘Mary Poppins Returns amongst many others, leaves studios in a difficult scheduling position, where they’re forced to contend with both the Thanksgiving’s leftovers, as well as the upcoming competition.

Leaving this release date alone is almost always preferred – the 2-week theatrical guarantee means that most big films have a fortnight in the cinemas before their screen counts drop. Of course, this would swallow up most releases in the upcoming weekend, leaving Sony’s low-budget horror ‘The Possession of Hannah Grace’ as the only new film to torment cinemagoers from around 2,000 theatres. The film follows the story of an ‘exorcism gone wrong’, and stars Shay Mitchell (‘Pretty Little Liars’), Shana Katic (‘Castle’), and Grey Damon (‘Aquarius’).

Much like 2016s ‘Incarnate’, which opened to $2.5m on its way to a $4.8m domestic finish, ‘The Possession of Hannah Grace’ won’t seriously trouble many in the top ten, and its forecasted $2.6m gross may even be too optimistic, as the strong Thanksgiving weekend holdovers will leave this supernatural thriller needing more than just some holy water.

Ralph Breaks the Internet’, last weekend’s winner, will remain on top, pulling in a solid $30m to bring its domestic total close to $120m. Although its ahead of both ‘Coco’ and ‘Moana’ at the same point in their runs, ‘Ralph 2’ will be lucky to finish close to the latter’s $248.8m total – sequel-itis can be unforgiving. The front-loaded nature of franchises can be seen with ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’, which will struggle to reach a $200m domestic total (while ‘FB1’ hit $234m). The ‘Harry Potter’ spinoff should earn around $15m this weekend for 4th place.

The same can’t be said for ‘Creed II’ however, who after less than 2 weeks of release is just $40m off ‘Creed’s entire domestic gross. The film stands currently bells in as the 10th biggest boxing film in U.S. history, and an $18m this weekend gross will see it leapfrog predecessor ‘Rocky Balboa’ into 9th spot. The fighter student has become the master trainer, it seems, but Michael B. Jordan and co. won’t be stopping here, as its sights are fittingly set on ‘Rocky IV’s record $127.9m total. Whether or not it’ll deliver that knock-out gross, we’ll see.

The DiCaprio-produced ‘Robin Hood’ gets an honourable mention here too, as it grasps to remain in the top ten. A film likely to litter many a ‘Box Office Bombs of 2018’ list (including ours), its $3.9m weekend should see it pass the $20m mark domestically but not much else, with a likely finish of $30m in store.

In a more uneventful Box Office weekend, ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ has the opportunity to extend its stronghold, while ‘Creed II’ has eyes on the title belt. Will the latter make it, and will ‘Ralph 2’ best that of ‘Coco’ and ‘Moana’? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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Weekend BO Predictions: ‘Ralph Breaks The Internet’ And ‘Creed 2’ To Feast On A Record-Breaking Thanksgiving Weekend

Written by Dapo Olowu

We’re in for a record-breaking Box Office treat this Thanksgiving weekend, with five (yes, five) new releases wetting the appetites of cinemagoers across the United States. The five-day holiday period kicked off on Wednesday and saw ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’, the sequel to 2012s ‘Wreck-It Ralph’, fight it out against ‘Rocky’ spinoff ‘Creed 2’ with a Thanksgiving record Tuesday preview gross of $3.8m, just ahead of ‘Creed 2’s $3.7m.

Questions were being asked about Disney’s decision to spend $175m on a sequel over 6 years after ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ flattered to deceive in the Box Office. Its so-so $49m opening in November 2012, followed by a $189.4m domestic finish (and $471.2m worldwide gross) off the back of a $165m budget leaves it just 46th on the all-time biggest domestic animated films, and doesn’t even crack the top 50 worldwide.

Ralph Breaks the Internet’s preview gross however shows an audience whose anticipation has sky-rocketed in the half-decade since, with critical reception equaling the lofty heights the first film set. The sequel sees the return of the beloved voices of John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman, alongside newbies Gal Gadot and Taraji P. Henson. Director Rich Moore returns to the chair and shares the credit with ‘Zootopia’ writer Phil Johnston.

Disney aims to top the Thanksgiving Box Office charts for the third year in a row, with ‘Moana’ ($56.6m) and ‘Coco’ ($50.8m) providing a glimpse into the potential Box Office prowess of ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’. A $60m 3-day gross, just $7m short of the Thanksgiving record set by Frozen in 2013, and an $84m 5-day total won’t necessarily see Ralph break the internet, but it’ll get mightily close to doing so.

Steven Caple Jr.’s ‘Creed 2’ won’t go down without a fight however. Its $3.7m Tuesday preview gross more than doubles the first’s $1.4m 3 years ago. The lack of Coogler isn’t dampening the excitement either – its Cinemascore of A is the best of the new releases this holiday period.

The film sees Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), son of deceased Apollo, facing off against the son of his father’s killer, Viktor Drago. Sylvester Stallone, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role as Rocky Balboa in the last film, returns alongside Tessa Thompson and Phylicia Rashad.

It won’t just be Adonis facing a title bid. ‘Creed 2’s forecasted $39m 3-day start will see it break ‘The Blind Side’s $34.1m opening record for a sports movie, and even drawing it close to ‘Creed’s 5-day $42m Thanksgiving start. While ‘Creed’ made a total of $109.8m domestically and $173.6m worldwide in 2015, its sequel has ambitions of breaking the $200m global mark, becoming studio MGM’s biggest hit since 2008s ‘Valkyrie’.

Not all films are eating well this Thanksgiving, however, with Lionsgate’s ‘Robin Hood’ feeding off of Box Office scraps. An estimated $14m 3-day gross doesn’t seem too problematic on the surface, but its bloated $100m budget means that any hopes of the film turning a profit remain as mythical as Robin Hood himself.

Being produced by one of the world’s greatest actors in Leonardo DiCaprio hasn’t seemed to aid the film critically either, as its paltry 11% on Rotten Tomatoes diminishes all hopes of a leggy Box Office run. Opening in just 2,800 cinemas is possibly the icing on the cake for the latest iteration of the British legend, which sees Taron Egerton play Robin of Loxley, Jamie Foxx as Little John, Eve Hewson as Maid Marian, and Ben Mendelsohn as the Sheriff of Nottingham.

The final two new releases this Thanksgiving holiday come in the form of Oscar hopeful ‘Green Book’ and Hugh Jackman-fronted ‘The Front Runner’. Both are coming off the backs of limited releases, but while ‘Green Book’ may break into the top ten with a 3-day gross close to $5m, ‘The Front Runner’ will be D.O.A., earning just $1m in its 3rd weekend.

We’re likely to see the biggest Thanksgiving weekend ever by Sunday night – propelled by the efforts of ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ and ‘Creed 2’. However, will ‘Robin Hood’ exceed expectations, or hinder this weekend’s potential record-breaking efforts? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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Weekend BO Report: ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’ Opens To A Franchise-low $62m In A Less-Than-Magical Weekend

Written by Dapo Olowu

This Box Office weekend saw ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ fall ill to the much rampant ‘sequel-itis’, an affliction affecting many other recent big-budget Hollywood follow-ups. Symptoms vary, but in the case of ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’, a mixture of an ordinary critical & moviegoer reception (40% on RT and a B+ on Cinemascore), and a packed film schedule, have seen the film suffer a $10m drop-off from its predecessor 2 years ago, to earn $62.2m – the lowest of the ‘Harry Potter’ films so far.

Of course, ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’s condition is nowhere near critical, but way under our $70m+ expectations. Two years ago, ‘Fantastic Beasts’ went onto finish at $234m domestically, and $580m overseas for a total of $814m worldwide. Its lop-sided domestic/international split is a precursor to Warner Bros’ cure for ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’; a focus on its international revenue.

Every ‘Wizarding World’ film has had its ratio somewhere in the 30:70 region, with ‘Fantastic Beasts’ and ‘The Deathly Hallows Pt. 2’ earning just 28% of their respective totals in the U.S. Warner Bros. have taken this into consideration with ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’, ditching the staggered international release option to open in 80 major markets across the globe at once.

We’re already seeing the treatment work: the film opened to over $191m overseas this weekend, eclipsing ‘Fantastic Beasts$145.5m international start. ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’s international gross from 79 countries included $37.5m from China and over $16m from the U.K, with Japan still to open at the end of the month.

Still, there’ll be many at WB who hoped for a better domestic start. ‘Fantastic Beasts’ earned a surprising opening weekend/domestic total multiplier of 3.15x when it grossed $234m back in 2016, while ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’, whose U.S. total seems destined to be the far more frontloaded, should end a domestic finish under $200m. It’s clear as the more U.S. audiences grow weary of a wider ‘Harry Potter’ universe (this is the second of five planned films), international moviegoers aren’t letting go just yet.

It also marks good news for ‘The Grinch’, as Illumination’s comedy remains the biggest opening of the month so far. Its second weekend gross of $38.6m gives it a $127m running total, ahead of Illumination’s last Seuss adaptation ‘The Lorax’ at the same time in its run.

Another of the new releases this weekend, ‘Instant Family’, failed to make an impact, grossing only $14.5m. The PG-13 comedy sees a similar opening to this year’s ‘I Feel Pretty’ ($16m) and ‘Tag’ ($14.9m), two comedies that finished at around $50m. ‘Instant Family’ boasts the best reception of the three, and its A on Cinemascore should grant it some staying power in coming weekends.

Staying power like ‘Daddy’s Home’ and ‘Daddy’s Home 2’, the previous collabs between director Sean Anders and star Mark Wahlberg, would be ideal, with a run like ‘Daddy’s Home’ in particular giving ‘Instant Family’ a $60m finish. Of course, this wouldn’t be anywhere near enough to guarantee profitability, raising the questions of firstly, who greenlit its $48m budget, and then, who forgot to call Will Ferrell to co-star?

If ‘Instant Family’ was neither here nor there, then ‘Widows’ is the flop of the weekend. With its $12.4m opening (from a $42m budget), the critically-acclaimed crime drama will likely finish on a domestic total around $35m.

Not the best news for director Steve McQueen, whose latest offering actually marks his biggest Box Office opening to date (overtaking ’12 Years a Slave’s $6.7m). It isn’t great news for studio 20th Century Fox either, as this marks another flop in a year where ‘Deadpool 2’ and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ have had to cover the losses of ‘The Darkest Minds’, ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’, ‘Red Sparrow’, and ‘The Predator’.

Widows’ ill-fortune may stem from an audience who didn’t connect with the film. Its B on Cinemascore and 65% audience RT score are just above-average, perhaps due to a marketing campaign that promoted a faster paced, heist-y film than the slower, character-driven story we ended up with. Regardless, it’s likely we’ll remember ‘Widows’ in the future for its award-season success, rather than its Box Office triumphs.

Thanksgiving weekend comes to town next weekend, with three more major releases – ‘Wreck It Ralph 2’, ‘Robin Hood’, and ‘Creed 2’ – looking to inflict damage onto this weekend’s three newbies, but who will hold up the best? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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REVIEW: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)

Year: 2018
Directed by: David Yates
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Depp, Ezra Miller, Katherine Waterston, Jude Law, Carmen Ejogo, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol

Written by Fiona Underhill

Unfortunately, before you can start talking about this film, there is so much that has to be discussed.

Firstly: Johnny Depp. I wrestled with even going to see this film, knowing that Depp would be in it. I’m pretty disgusted at the attitude of JK Rowling, The Davids – Heyman and Yates and Warner Brothers over Depp and I HATE that he casts a pall over what is probably my favourite film franchise. It is especially frustrating that in a world with polyjuice potions and metamorphmagus and setting the precedent of both Colin Farrell and Jamie Campbell Bower playing versions of the character, Depp could have been easily replaced and still could be. I would love to see the filmmakers finally do the right thing here. It is only because I am SO invested in this world that I went ahead and watched this film anyway. I struggled with this decision, I’m not proud of it and I fully understand people boycotting this film because of Depp. When watching and reviewing, I have tried to focus on the film around him and ignore him as much as possible.

Secondly: Rowling’s revisionism and queer-baiting. I am a HUGE Harry Potter fangirl but I and many of my fellow Potterheads are sick of Rowling coming out and saying “oh, by the way, Dumbledore was gay” or “Hermione could have been black” and trying to get points for diversity which were not apparent in the books or first films. The Cursed Child featured two teenage boys who were clearly in love with one another, but Rowling has rightly come under fire for queer-baiting because she won’t go the whole hog and make it explicit. Now that the Fantastic Beasts films have chosen to focus on young Dumbledore’s relationship with Grindelwald, Rowling should be forced to follow through with the statements she has been teasing. The extent to which The Crimes of Grindelwald does this, I will explore later in this review.

So, onto the film. I’m one of the few people who loved the first Fantastic Beasts film. Yes, it was packed with far too much plot, but the setting of 1920s New York was to die for, it had a really strong cast and stunning costume and production design (I still think about Colin Farrell’s haircut and coat all the time). One of the strongest aspects of the first film was Ezra Miller as Credence (a really compelling role and one which could be seen as a metaphor for being LGBTQ while growing up in a religious home and also for trying to live with and hide a mental illness). Credence’s scenes with Colin Farrell were electric, as Graves/Grindy took advantage of this broken, vulnerable young man who was desperate for love and a sense of belonging and set about grooming and manipulating him. I had been skeptical about Farrell’s casting beforehand, but he blew me away (yet another reason to be so angry about Depp). Samantha Morton was also reliably amazing. The world-building of Fantastic Beasts was so good, with Newt’s suitcase being the highlight. I’m not particularly a fan of Eddie Redmayne (especially when he seems to have filled his performance of Newt with tics left over from playing Stephen Hawking) or Katherine Waterston, but the supporting characters of Jacob and Queenie were amiable enough to provide enough hope for the sequels. I do like that Newt’s character is so sympathetic and caring to those who most of the world view as monsters, freaks or aliens and see them to be feared and controlled. When I heard that Miller would be returning for The Crimes of Grindelwald and that Jude Law would be young Dumbledore, I allowed myself to get excited. Add in Zoe Kravitz and Callum Turner and the cast just got extremely hot. I was just hoping that Depp would not overshadow all of the positive aspects.

The Crimes of Grindelwald moves from New York to Paris and continues the trend of being visually breath-taking. Even in ‘normal’ apartments, the attention to detail in the production design is astounding – there is just so much to take in from every corner of the frame. Even something as simple as Credence and Nagini entering an apartment via a corridor is shot and framed and designed so beautifully – the corridor lined with windows and the apartment hung with lace. The bigger set-pieces, such as the circus scene brought tears to my eyes – the thought of a magic circus, filled with fantastic beasts in the Potter universe is just so tantalising (a bit like the speakeasy nightclub scene in the first Fantastic Beasts). The costumes again are so appealing, with Kravitz’s Leta Lestrange purple outfit and Queenie’s pink shoes being particular highlights. The design of the ministries – in New York, London and Paris each have their own flavour – I never tire of seeing the green ‘London Underground’ style tiles in the British ministry. The use of a green copper statue which comes to life and shows the way into the magical world of Paris is ingenious. Being basked in the Potter universe and submerged in the sumptuous visuals is so enjoyable (for me, anyway), it makes up for a lot.

I have heard a lot of grumbling about the characters in the two Fantastic Beasts films and that no one cares about them. Yes, Redmayne is annoying, but Newt is a worthy central character to hang this franchise on. His morality is very much in keeping with the original series, he is loyal and values his friends (even if others don’t – like Neville, Luna and in the case of Fantastic Beasts; Jacob) just like Harry did. He is a protector of the downtrodden, the outcasts and there is a lot to be said for that. The new additions in this film (ignoring Depp for a moment) were successful. Law absolutely nails Dumbledore (with just the subtlest hint of an Irish lilt, as a nod to Harris) and this film does not shy away from the fact that he is morally grey, manipulative and is definitely that bitch. Leta Lestrange gets an interesting backstory and character arc and is played by the beautiful Kravitz to perfection – her English accent is a treat for the ears. Callum Turner is perfectly cast as Theseus Scamander (his physical resemblance to Redmayne is uncanny), however, the decision to make the younger Turner Newt’s older brother is perhaps unnecessary – the rivalry between the brothers may have actually worked better if Theseus was younger. I look forward to seeing where his character goes in future films. Nagini (Claudia Kim) has been a controversial character (yet another revision by Rowling) but I liked her relationship with Credence and also that her character was perhaps on an unexpected side – again, I look forward to seeing where her arc goes in the future. Nicholas Flamel was a welcome and humorous addition and this provided my favourite cameo – Jessica Williams in one of Flamel’s books. Jacob and Queenie’s characters and relationship certainly go in an unexpected direction in this film, not everyone is going to be a fan of this, but I thought it was interesting and means both characters will have plenty to do in the subsequent films. They are both fully invested and involved in this war and will not just be the light-hearted or comedic sideshow act they were in the first film.

Now we come to the plot and writing, which as with the first film, are going to be the most flawed aspects. I sincerely wish that, as she did with The Cursed Child, Rowling would give the writing reigns over to someone else on this franchise. I have heard the complaint that this film has “no plot”, but the problem is actually the opposite – it has far too much going on, as did the first film. By far the most glaringly negative aspect of The Crimes of Grindelwald for me was that in the second half of the film, the editing goes absolutely haywire as it tries to keep up with the plot. In a world in which characters can already apparate to new places in a split second, the editing makes characters just suddenly appear in new locations with no coherence. However, although plot-holes abound (once you start examining events too closely), there is a lot to enjoy here. The events return to Hogwarts and if you don’t get emotional hearing that music during the establishing shots, you must have a heart of stone. Seeing Dumbledore in Lupin’s role of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, schooling students on patronuses using boggarts is wonderful. The actors who play young Newt and Leta are exceptional – Joshua Shea (young Newt) has obviously studied Redmayne’s mannerisms in detail, because his portrayal is completely convincing. There are several spectacular set-pieces; the afore-mentioned circus scene and a scene at the French ministry involving moving towers of records and black cat protectors were particular highlights. Newt’s basement takes over from his suitcase as a land of magic and wonders – the new beasts in this film are glorious – including a kelpie, a Chinese dragon and an expanded roster of Nifflers. This film did lean into Newt being in love with Tina a lot more than I was expecting, which was not really needed. I found the Newt, Theseus and Leta love-triangle more compelling, although it did echo the Snape, Lily and James one a bit uncomfortably.

As for Dumbledore and Grindelwald – this film did address their (ahem) ‘relationship’ more than I thought it would. There are many strong hints that they were in love – Dumbledore sees his young self with Grindelwald in The Mirror Of Erised, they share a blood bond, they were “closer than brothers” – however, all of this will prove meaningless and empty if it isn’t directly and explicitly addressed in future films. I and many others are getting increasingly angry and frustrated at all of these teases (as I said, they were there in The Cursed Child as well), in this day and age you should be able to show a homosexual relationship in any kind of film – even YA, fantasy, family and/or blockbuster films. These films do not shy away from showing heterosexual crushes amongst teens and using heterosexual love as major motivating factors for characters’ decisions. It is absolutely in keeping with the Potterverse that Dumbledore and Grindelwald loving one another would provide complications in their rivalry and it is good and interesting, but these half-hearted hints are not enough and not acceptable. Do better JK and Warner Brothers.

So, an extremely mixed bag, but for me, the good outweighed the bad. Two hours spent in the Potter universe is always going to be preferable to just about anything else I could be doing. The visuals are overwhelmingly stunning, so many of my personal boxes are ticked by setting Potter in the 1920s, it is always going to be a good time for me. I completely understand some people’s frustrations with these Fantastic Beasts films and I entirely appreciate why many people are done with Rowling. I understand people being against these films because of Depp or because of how sexuality is potentially being mishandled, however, for me, the plot and the characters, for the large part, are successful. I am invested enough in these characters (new and old) to want to see where it’s going. I desperately hope that certain decisions are made (recasting Depp, allowing Dumbledore and Grindelwald to be fully gay) to make me feel not so uncomfortable about defending these films. Rowling has certainly made many decisions that are indefensible and she deserves to be called out on them unreservedly. But I cannot help but be succumbed by the positive aspects eg. making Newt and Credence complex metaphors for much of what is going on in the world right now, which shows what Rowling can get right. And Law’s Dumbledore was SO good, I want to see him again. I just hope that this franchise goes in a positive direction.

FIONA’S RATING:

3-5

Weekend BO Predictions: Poor Reviews Won’t Stop ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’s Magical $70m Opening

Written by Dapo Olowu

It’s a weekend of four wide releases, but only one will bewitch the Box Office. ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’, part of the ever-growing Wizarding World by J.K. Rowling, returns exactly two years after its predecessor opened to a stunning $74.4m. The Warner Bros. production sees the return of its all-star cast, including Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander alongside Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller, Zoë Kravitz, and Dan Fogler. The biggest news, however, lies with the newer recruits.

While the introduction of a young Dumbledore (Jude Law) will surely boost fan anticipation, the controversial addition of Johnny Depp’s Grindelwald could polarize a fair few. It’s a casting that’s already left some fans scratching their heads as to why Colin Farrell (from the first film) and a little hair bleach wasn’t deemed adequate enough by studio execs. Depp’s recent troubles have been well-publicised, but the 3-time Oscar nominee was still seen as a big enough star to warrant being cast.

Regardless, we can’t underestimate the loyalty of Harry Potter fans. Depp or no Depp, we expect the Potterheads to be out in their droves for this one, even with it being the first of the ‘HP/Wizarding World’ franchise to hold a rotten (44%) rating on the Tomatometer. A magical $71m domestic opening is likely, and with WB pushing this out to over 70 international markets, don’t be surprised to see the film get close to a spellbinding $300m worldwide by Sunday night.

Trailing in its wake is ‘The Grinch’s second weekend, which will put up a strong fight against its child-friendly rival ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’ with around $40m. By Saturday, the film will sit on a $100m+ domestic haul, outpacing the likes of the other Illumination-Seuss release ‘The Lorax’.

Now here’s a shock: Steve McQueen’s critically-acclaimed ‘Widows’ looks to suffer a loss against the surprise package of the weekend, Mark Wahlberg’s PG-13 comedy ‘Instant Family’. Directed by Sean Anders, the man behind Wahlberg’s previous festive comedies ‘Daddy’s Home’ and ‘Daddy’s Home 2’, ‘Instant Family’ won’t touch their $30m openings, but a $17m start puts it on-par with this year’s ‘Life of the Party’ ($17.9m) and ‘I Feel Pretty’ ($16m).

Instant Family’ follows Pete (Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne), who decide to adopt three siblings at the same time. The movie’s a relative hit with critics, holding a strong 74% on the Tomatometer and 58 on Metacritic. All looks good for the comedy, although an inflated $48m budget may threaten hopes of pre-digital release profitability.

Steve McQueen’s ‘Widows’, on the other hand, is being tipped for award season success, and stars Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, Daniel Kaluuya, Brian Tyree Henry, Colin Farrell, and Liam Neeson (alongside many, many others). Its all-star cast also saw a writing team composed of McQueen, previously of ’12 Years a Slave’ and ‘Shame’, and Gillian Flynn (‘Gone Girl’).

The R-rated crime-thriller, based on the 1983 TV show of the same name, sees a group of widowed women attempt to pull off a heist in order to repay a debt owed by their dead husbands.

Opening in just 2,800 cinemas may be a slight hinderance, especially in comparison to ‘Instant Family’s 3,300 and ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’s 4,200, but never discredit the allure of great film-making in the Box Office; ‘BlacKkKlansman’ opened to over $10m from just 1,500 cinemas in the summer. A $16m-ish opening will suit the $42m-budget ‘Widows’, which hopes to keep up a strong run in upcoming weeks.

The final release of the weekend sees biographical drama ‘A Private War, starring Rosamund Pike, Jamie Dornan, and Stanley Tucci open into 870 cinemas in its third weekend. It may not enter the top ten with a $900k weekend, but can take solace in strong reception within the festival-circuit and in theatrical release.  

With Thanksgiving weekend on the horizon, which of these films will need a holiday weekend the most? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

Reel Women: November UK Releases

Welcome back to Reel Women, the monthly feature that highlights the films being released in the UK that are written and/or directed by women. The clocks have gone back, it’s dark and cold outside, so what better way to spend the dark evenings than in the cinema?! This month there’s dramas, rom-coms and the start of the Christmas-themed releases. Oh, and there’s a little film about wizards and another small animated film featuring well-known Disney characters.

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2 November

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston
Written by Ashleigh Powell and Tom McCarthy

When Clara (Mackenzie Foy) is transported to a magical world of her mother’s making, she’ll do anything to protect it.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is Ashleigh Powell’s first produced screenplay. She’s attached to adapt the books The Paper Magician and The Hazel Wood into screenplays.

 

Juliet, Naked

Directed by Jesse Peretz
Written by Evgenia Peretz, Jim Taylor and Tamara Jenkins

After Annie (Rose Byne) breaks up with Duncan (Chris O’Dowd), she embarks on an unlikely romance with a famous singer-songwriter who happened to be Duncan’s favourite musician.

Tamara Jenkins is a writer-director who was Oscar nominated for her original screenplay The Savages (2007). Her latest film, Private Life, is a new Netflix Original. Evgenia Peretz is a writer and producer, Juliet, Naked is her second produced screenplay.

 

King of Crime

Directed by Matt Gambell
Written by Linda Dunscombe

The biggest player in British cyber-crime goes head to head against some Islamic extremists by playing the biggest scam of his life.

As well as writing King of Crime, Linda Dunscombe was also a producer on the film, and the films casting director.

 

 

6 November

Widows

Directed by Steve McQueen
Written by Gillian Flynn and Steve McQueen

Four women whose dead husbands’ criminal actives leave them in trouble, conspire to come together to survive the forces that are out to get them.

Gillian Flynn is an author and screenwriter who adapted her own novel, Gone Girl (2014) to critical acclaim earning her a Golden Globe nomination.

 

 

9 November

Wildlife

Directed by Paul Dano
Written by Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan

A boy witnesses his parents’ (Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal) marriage fall apart.

Zoe Kazan is an actress and screenwriter whose acting credits include What If (2013), Meek’s Cutoff (2010) and The Big Sick (2017). Her previous screenplay was Ruby Sparks (2012) in which she played the titular role.

Our review

 

Outlaw King

Directed by David Mackenzie
Written by Mark Bomback, Bathsheba Doran, David Harrower, James MacInnes and David Mackenzie

The story of how Scottish Robert The Bruce (Chris Pine) fought to defeat and repel the much larger occupying English army.

Outlaw King is Bathsheba Doran’s first feature film, but she’s written episodes of multiple TV shows including Broadwalk Empire and Masters of Sex.

Our review

 

The Other Side of Everything

Directed by Mila Turajlic

A documentary about Serbian filmmaker Mila Turajlic, who learns more about her family history and her country’s tumultuous political inheritance after opening a locked door in her mother’s apartment in Belgrade.

Mila Turajlic is a producer and director who was also the cinematographer for The Other Side of Everything.

 

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16 November

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Directed by David Yates
Written by J.K. Rowling

Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) tasks Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to take down Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) who believes wizards are better than muggles.

J.K. Rowling needs no introduction. After writing the Harry Potter book series that turned into a global phenomenon, Rowling is now the writing the screenplays for the Fantastic Beasts series.

 

The Princess Switch

Directed by Mike Rohl
Written by Robin Bernheim and Megan Metzger

Netflix’s first Christmas themed film of the year, The Princess Switch is about how one week before Christmas, Margaret, the gorgeous Duchess of Montenaro, switches places with Stacy, a “commoner” from Chicago, who looks exactly like her.

Robin Bernheim is a writer and producer of films and TV shows including Quantum Leap and Star Trek: Voyager. The Princess Switch is Megan Mertzger is first produced screenplay.

 

Hell Fest

Directed by Gregory Plotkin
Written by Seth M. Sherwood, Blair Butler and Akela Cooper

A masked serial killer turns a horror-themed amusement park into his own personal hunting ground.

Blair Butler is a writer, director and producer. Hell Fest is her first feature film. Hell Fest is Akela Cooper’s first feature film screenplay as well but she has written multiple episodes of the TV shows Grimm, Luke Cage and The 100.

 

 

23 November

Back to Berlin

Directed by Catherine Lurie-Alt

Documentary about eleven motor bikers have a mission to take the Maccabiah torch from Israel to the site of the infamous 1936 Berlin Olympics, for the first Jewish Olympic Games on German soil.

This is Catherine Lurie-Alt’s first film.

Nativity Rocks!

Written & Directed by Debbie Isitt

The fourth film about St Bernadette’s Primary School in Coventry and the staff and students there who audition for a coveted place in a spectacular Christmas rock musical competition.

Debbie Isitt has written and directed all four Nativity films – the first two films, starring Martin Freeman and David Tennant, are on Netflix if you fancy getting into the Christmas spirit early.

The Judge

Directed by Erika Cohn

Documentary about Judge Kholoud Al-Faqih, the first woman appointed to a Shari’a court in the Middle East.

Erika Cohn is a producer and writer and The Judge is her second feature-length documentary.

 

 

30 November

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Directed by Phil Johnston and Rich Moore
Written by Phil Johnston and Pamela Ribon

Ralph and Penelope discover the internet and go on a whole new adventure.

Pamela Ribon is an actress, producer and writer whose previous screenwriting credits include Smurfs: The Lost Village (2017).

 

Disobedience

Directed by Sebastián Lelio
Written by Sebastián Lelio and Rebecca Lenkiewicz

Ronit (Rachel Weisz) returns home to her Jewish community after being shunned by them years before for her attraction to a female friend. When Ronit and Esti (Rachel McAdams) meet again their passions reignite.

Disobedience is Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s second feature film. Her previous film was Oscar winner Ida (2013) and her next film is Colette starring Keira Knightley which is released in the UK early next year.

 

The Wild Pear Tree

Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Written by Akin Aksu, Ebru Ceylan and Nuri Bilge Ceylan

An aspiring writer returns to his native village, where his father’s debts catch up to him.

Ebru Ceylan is a writer and director whose debut short film Kiyida (1998) was nominated for the Palme d’Or for Best Short Film at Cannes Film Festival. The Wild Pear Tree is her third feature-length screenplay.


And that’s it for this month’s Reel Women. That’s 16 films from a wide range of genres that are released in the UK that are made by women in November. Do let us know what you think of any of these films if you get a chance to see them – some might be easier to find than others!

The Hunt For Grindelwald Is On In The Final ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ Trailer

“Grindelwald has made a dramatic escape from MACUSA custody. The villainous Grindelwald has been busy gathering more followers to his cause – elevating wizards above all non-magical beings. The only one who might be able to stop him is the wizard he once called his dearest friend, Albus Dumbledore. But Dumbledore will need help from the wizard who had thwarted Grindelwald once before, his former student Newt Scamander. Newt will again be joined by Queenie and Tina Goldstein in the next film, as well as his No-Maj friend, Jacob Kowalski. However, the mission against Grindelwald will ‘test their loyalties’ as the wizarding world becomes more divided and dangerous.”

Directed by: David Yates

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Jude Law, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Zoë Kravitz, Johnny Depp

Release Date: November 16th, 2018

Dumbledore And Newt Head To Paris In First ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ Teaser Trailer

Directed by: David Yates

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Jude Law, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Zoë Kravitz, Johnny Depp

Release Date: November 16th, 2018

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