BREAKDOWN: Marvel Studios’ new ‘Captain Marvel’ trailer

Rejoice, Marvel fans! We have received a gift from the almighty Disney-gods.

Far be it from me to comment on the lazy, derivative franchise reboots, or the blatant hypocrisy on display over at Disney – be it firing James Gunn over offensive material or hard-dicking small theater-chains into showing Star Wars seven months of the year. Today, I ignore all of that because we have this, the brand new trailer for Marvel Studios’ upcoming Captain Marvel.

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Clocking in just shy of two minutes, we’re given plenty information. I’ll leave it to the Angry Joes of the world to decompress every individual frame, but there’s enough left for the layman and woman to enjoy. Before we break it down, though, let’s talk basics. The synopsis on IMDb is as follows:

“Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.”

Captain Marvel is helmed by two directors, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck – both known for Ryan Gosling teacher-feature, Half Nelson – working off a screenplay by Boden. Currently in post-production, the film is slated for release March 8, 2019 and stars Academy Award winning Brie Larson (Room) as the titular hero. Disney and Marvel are probably hoping to tap into the fervor created last summer by Wonder Woman, and their best course of action has been to emulate its production. Marketing and material are similar. We have the fish-out-of-water narrative and a war going on, one in which our heroine plays a pivotal role. Here, however, Marvel has a much deeper well to draw from in order to flesh out its narrative. To see exactly how Captain Marvel plays into the larger universe, we’ll have to wait and see, but the trailer gives us some hints.

Let’s break it down.

We open with an explosion and an escape pod headed toward Earth.

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Then, we get Danvers/Marvel crashing through the roof of a Blockbuster video store. Proof positive that this movie takes place in a time when, if something were to fall from space and crash-land in America, it was likely to land on one of the old rental stores.

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Then we have Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury in narration, “War is a universal language. I know a renegade soldier when I see one. Never occurred to me that one might come from above.”

Hints of the intergalactic conflict and Danvers’ role within it – perhaps a hint at what sent her to Earth. Star Force?

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Brie Larson, ladies and gentlemen. It’s about god damn time Marvel gave us a female-led adventure. Here’s hoping that Black Widow stand-alone can finally happen.

Her suit changes throughout the trailer. This green suit here looks to be the uniform of wherever she came from, or an early version of whatever she’ll be wearing once she fights for Earth and humanity.

We also get a brief glimpse of her abilities, something Nick Fury refers to as a space invasion and an epic car and train chase. Oh, and she has flaming arm-beams.

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Bad ass.

We then see Fury and Danvers team up, as well as some Marvel de-ageing magic on the sixty-nine-year-old Jackson. They’re driving down old dusty roads and talking in phone booths, being buds and getting to know one another in a serious, “We need to protect humanity” kind of way. Fury seems to be a jaded cop. Judging by the quick shots we get of him, he’s wearing a white buttoned shirt and from his shoulders hangs a worn leather holster for, ostensibly, a service pistol. I’m getting serious Danny Glover / Roger Murtaugh vibes.

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Then, we’re quickly given some images of a ship approaching a planet – most likely the alien world she traveled from. If reports are correct, it all has to do with Star Force.

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Then, an over-the-shoulder shot of an alien cityscape with adequate contemplative brooding, delivered with precision by Larson.

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Danvers is half-remembering a life on Earth, a human life in the military by the looks of it. Then we have quick cuts of her falling to the ground at various points in her life.

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“I can’t tell if it’s real.”

Neither can we.

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Then we’re – WAIT IS THAT JUDE LAW.

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That’s Jude Law. He’s credited as playing Walter Lawson / Mar-Vell. Who we can presume is the original Captain Marvel character, or at least one more representative of the earlier comic book iteration. We may see a passing-of-the-torch moment, hopefully not one as painfully overt in its “D’oh them women-folk can’t do nuthin’ like us men” subversion as in the bar scene in Wonder Woman. 

We get another shot to show us this takes place in probably-the-eighties.

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We see some reboot-era Klingon looking aliens, Danvers punches an old lady, we see her in a mask, and Nick Fury is warning against all kinds of danger over a montage of Danvers lifting herself off the ground after every one of the falls she took earlier.

She’s a fighter, a soldier, and she’s here to kick some ass.

Here, look.

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In this post-Infinity War phase of the MCU, we could be seeing the one character – and one positive fraction of Doctor Strange’s calculations – who can save our band of merry superheroes from their dusty graves. Or otherworldly dimension. Whatever.

This is an origin story, no doubt about it, but the most interesting one in ages – especially if it lives up to the hype these trailers invariably cause. Still, Marvel has been nothing if not consistent with its stand-alones. In fact, they’ve been getting better – Doctor Strange and Thor: Ragnarök are prime examples. Brie Larson has the chops, Sam Jackson has the chops, Marvel studios has the chops, and Disney has the money to put it all together.

Count me in.

BOX OFFICE: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ owns Labor Day weekend; ‘M:I-6’ opens in China

Commentary pieces are longer, stream-of-consciousness style essays about a particular topic. They can and will take many forms, are randomly organized, and are deeply saturated with personal bias.


 

It’s Wednesday, my dudes [aaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!], so let’s get to talking about the weekend box office.

BUT WAIT – a disclaimer.

It was Labor Day weekend here in the states, so the totals I’ve pulled from stat-daddy Brad Brevet and BoxOfficeMojo.com represent a four-day total as opposed to the normal Friday through Sunday. I’ll add in the Fri-Sun totals for comparison. You’re welcome.

Now, were there any major releases over the weekend? Meh. Searching opened in the top five, as did a movie I had literally never heard of, Operation Finale. I need to read more news – these films keep sneaking up on me. There was also the teen sci-fi Kin and Pantelon’s Ya Veremos, neither of which opened to much enthusiasm, but I’ll get into that in a second.

Last week we were treated to a vulgar puppet-movie with The Happytime Murders and it bombed, Mark Wahlberg and dogs (both feral and robotic) weren’t appeasing audiences, and a few other films hit the scene in limited release.

This past weekend, however, the box office is still in decline. Total receipts are sitting at $98 million across the board, a few million below the previous weekend. Even with the extra day it’s proving difficult for studios to coax us out of our living rooms and into the theater. Might it have something to do with studio monopolies? The vanishing middle class? Stagnant wages? The Last Jedi? Colin Kaepernick? Who knows. It certainly doesn’t have to do with the rock-bottom standards of modern filmmaking. Anyone else wish we’d get a year as good for film as 1994? Anyone, at all?

Moving on. Let’s take a look at my domestic predictions from last week. You’ll notice that Operation Finale is absent:

  • Crazy Rich Asians continues to earn well, pulling in another $15-20 million.
  • Searching rides its early buzz and opens wide at number two, earning $15-20 million.
  • Kin debuts with $15-20 million.
  • The Meg stays in the top five, earning $10 million.
  • Mission: Impossible – Fallout earns another $6 million.
  • Christopher Robin proves it has legs and earns another $5 million.
  • BlacKkKlansman pulls in $4.8 million.
  • A.X.L. disappears from our collective attentions.
  • Slender Man falls further down the chart, earning $1.5 million.
  • Hotel Transylvania 3, The Equalizer 2, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Mamma Mia! 2, and Incredibles II all make $1-1.7 million.

As you can see, I had some high hopes for the new releases. Let’s see if they panned out. Cue the ironic stock photos.


The Numbers

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Photo by David McBee on Pexels.com

[Dr Benjamin Bitcoin, inventor of the dial-up modem and credited with introducing syphilis to silicone valley]

Alright, as I mentioned above, the box office has been down recently, but a few movies continued their dominance in North America. Here’s the top ten over the three and four-day weekend.

Crazy Rich Asians continues to defy expectations. Its Friday – Sunday earnings represented an 11.5% drop from the previous weekend. That’s insanity. Very, very rarely does a studio film perform like this. Clearly Warner Bros. has tapped into the cultural zeitgeist here. It’s traditional weekend gross was $21.9 million, and its four-day total was $28.5 million. That’s a $6 million Labor Day. Just awesome. It’s domestic gross now sits at $117.3 million, way beyond studio estimates and that $30 million budget.

In second place is, still, The Meg, which dropped a stellar 17.8% to bring in $10.5 million. Its four-day take was $13.8 million, a $3.3 million Labor Day. Its domestic total is a respectable $123.8 million, about $10 million shy of its budget. Not that that matters, as its worldwide gross is north of $467 million.

Retaking third place from lesser films is Mission: Impossible – Fallout with a 13% drop, three-day total of $7 million, four-day total of $9.3 million, $2.3 million Labor Day. It’s domestic total is sitting pretty at $206.6 million – SO CLOSE TO TOPPLING M:I:II. The film also opened in China, finally, to a wonderful $77.3 million – 84% higher than Rogue Nation’s debut in the territory. Rogue Nation went on to earn $135 million in China, so this is huge news. We could be looking at the first Mission: Impossible to creep within spitting distance of $1 billion worldwide, but for now it’s sitting pretty at $668 million worldwide.

In fourth place, Searching broke wide to a $6.06 million three-day. However, it fell to fifth place on Labor Day, with a four-day total of $7.6 million – $200k behind our next film. Its domestic total is $8.1 million.

In fifth is a movie I’ve never even heard of  MGM’s Operation Finale, a thriller set fifteen years after the end of World War II. It debuted to a three-day of $6.02 million, and a four-day fourth-place ranking $7.8 million. It simply had a better Labor Day than Searching – considering the audiences each of those films cater to, it makes sense.

Staying put in sixth place is Christopher Robin, which dropped a tiny 15.7% (sensing a pattern here in the late-year doldrums?) to earn $5.2 million Fri-Sun and $7.2 million Fri-Mon. Its domestic earnings may finally cross the $100 million mark if it holds up like this. As of right now its total sits at $87 million.

In seventh place is Alpha, holding firm with a 24.2% drop and making $4.5 million Fri-Sun and $6.04 Fri-Mon for a domestic total of $28.9 million – a little over half the film’s production budget.

In eighth / ninth is The Happytime Murders, the puppet movie starring Melissa McCarthy. It dropped five places and earned a Fri-Sun total of $4.3 million off of a 54% drop. A drop like that is actually pretty normal for big movies. It would’ve placed much higher had it legs like the other films on this list. It had a Fri-Mon total of $5.3 million, falling a slot behind BlacKkKlansman on Labor Day. Its domestic total sits at $18 million, less than half the budget. A flop, ladies and gentlemen.

In ninth / eighth is BlacKkKlansman, Spike Lee’s recently controversial film about a black cop infiltrating the Klan. It earned a Fri-Sun of $4.2 million, a 17.6% drop, and a Fri-Mon of $5.6 million for a domestic total of $39.8 million.

Rounding out the top ten in both the three-day and four-day lists is Mile 22, the latest Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg collaboration. It dropped a better-than-it-deserves 40.8% for a $3.7 million Fri-Sun and a $4.8 million Fri-Mon. Its domestic is around $33 million and it’ll sink from our attention soon don’t even bother.

Outside the top ten are some surprises. I’ll list them:

  • Disney added like 1,800 theaters to Incredible II to push the domestic total over $600 million – which worked. It surged from 15th place to 11th and $4.7 million over Labor Day weekend. It’s at $602.5 million domestic and $1.16 billion worldwide.
  • Hotel Transylvania made $2.9 million over the four-day. Woo. $162 million domestic total.
  • Slender Man is still alive after it added another $2.2 million. $28 million domestic total.
  • Kin opened to $3.8 million domestic. I literally laughed when I saw that, considering my prediction.
  • Universal added 800 theaters to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom probably just to spite me, allowing that travesty to earn another $1.6 million. $414 million domestic and fuck-all worldwide.
  • Mamma Mia! 2, A.X.L, Ant-Man and the Wasp, and The Equalizer 2 each earned $1.6 million, $1.8 million, $1.8 million, and $1.8 million respectively. Equalizer 2 passed $100 million domestic, which Ant-Man and Mamma Mia! did ages ago, and A.X.L. doesn’t have a shot at breaking $10 million. I’m serious. It’s Monster Trucks all over again.

Those are pretty much all the movies I’m worried about, nothing else made over a million save for Juliet, Naked. Do you know what that film is? Neither do I.

So how did my predictions pan out? Kind of all over the place. Not my best week.

  • I accurately predicted that Crazy Rich Asians would continue to do well, but had it dropping 25%, which it clearly did not. It earned $8 million over my high estimate at close of business Monday.
  • I expected better of the newcomers, Searching and Kin. The former of which had a stellar per-theater average when in limited release. Searching opened $8 million less than my low estimate, and Kin opened $12 million below. Shame.
  • I saw The Meg finally taking a substantial hit, but it refuses to lay down and die, much to Warner Bros.’ excitement. I predicted $10 million and it delivered $13 million.
  • I had Mission: Impossible – Fallout at $6 million, but again I was low-balling. Here’s hoping it passes M:I:II in the coming week.
  • I didn’t even know what Operation Finale was….
  • Christopher Robin is another pesky film that’s rooted itself in the top ten. I had it earning $5 million and it delivered $7 million.
  • Alpha earned $6 million while I predicted $4 million.
  • I was close with BlacKkKlansman. I predicted $4.8 million and it showed up with $5.6 million.
  • A.X.L. didn’t quite disappear, like I wanted, but give it another week.
  • I was a little short on Slender Man.
  • Lastly, I nailed Equalizer 2, Mamma Mia!, and Ant-Man with each earning north of $1.5 million. I did not expect Disney to squeeze theater owners into showing Incredibles II until it broke its record, or for Hotel Transylvania to keep chugging along, but whatever. There’s always next week.

Speaking of….


Speculation

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Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

[He’s a thinker, I’m a thinker, we’re all thinkers. Don’t you think?]

Alright, just like last week, I’m aiming for expediency. We have some notable releases coming our way. The Nun will debut in 3,700 theaters; Peppermint will see Jennifer Garner kick some serious ass across 2,850 screens; and God Bless the Broken Road will open in over 1,200. I’ve never heard of that film, but Brad Brevet put it in his weekend recap so, there you go.

My predictions:

  • The Nun will kick The Meg from its second place slot, earning a respectable $20-25 million.
  • Peppermint will earn maybe $8-12 million. It’s been too long since anyone has seen a prominent Jennifer Garner film – not to mention the fact it’s opening in less than 3,000 theaters and its name is *Peppermint*. Come on.
  • I don’t know what God Bless the Broken Road is and I’m too lazy to look it up so, uh, $4 million?
  • Crazy Rich Asians drops around 15% for a cool $16-18 million.
  • The Meg drops to $8 million.
  • Mission: Impossible – Fallout finally surpasses M:I:II and adds another $5 million.
  • Searching and Operation Finale both earn around $4-5 million.
  • Christopher Robin takes in $4 million.
  • Alpha takes in $3.2 million.
  • The Happytime Murders is accidentally deleted from the STX servers and can no longer be shown to paying audiences. $0 million.
  • BlacKkKlansman keeps its sturdy legs and pulls in $3.5 million.
  • Mile 22 over-pronounces its “wh”s and falls to $2 million.
  • I don’t know if Disney is keeping the theater count high, but if it does expect Incredibles II to earn another $2.5 million.
  • Kin is going to crash and burn. No one’s interested, apparently. $1.5 million.
  • I’m done talking about Hotel Transylvania and Mamma Mia! and all of those. They’ll pitter out over the next few weeks, but it’s time to focus on the newcomers. If they pass a significant milestone I’ll keep you guys updated.

Alright everyone! That’s all I have / care to write about. These pieces are too long as it is. I have some interesting stuff in the works regarding video games so please, keep your eyes peeled. And of course, like and share using the widgets and social platforms. It helps me somehow.

Until next time!