‘Widows’ Breakout Cynthia Erivo On The ‘Harriet’ Casting Backlash: “Hopefully Some Minds Will Change”

Steve McQueen’s female-centric heist movie Widows might be packed with familiar and accomplished women like Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki and Michelle Rodriguez, but magnetic breakout Cynthia Erivo still jumped off the screen in her first ever feature…

Steve McQueen's female-centric heist movie Widows might be packed with familiar and accomplished women like Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki and Michelle Rodriguez, but magnetic breakout Cynthia Erivo still jumped off the screen in her first ever feature. Erivo is a storied stage actress, and has already won an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony for her turn as Celie in the Broadway musical of The Color Purple. With Bad Times at the El Royale also on release this year, and with the…

Are Movies Too Long These Days? — IndieWire Critics Survey

With “Burning,” “Suspiria,” and “Bad Times at the El Royale” all running close to 150 minutes, critics argue the merits of longer movies.

Every week, IndieWire asks a select handful of film critics two questions and publishes the results on Monday. (The answer to the second, “What is the best film in theaters right now?”, can be found at the end of this post.)

Last week, Uproxx published an article called “Attack of the Two Hour and 20 Minute Movies!,” in which writer Vince Mancini bemoaned a rash of supposedly overlong films at a time when many indies run 80-something minutes, and streaming services allow viewers to binge more extended content in the comfort of their own homes. This Friday, Lee Chang-dong’s 148-minute “Burning” and the even longer “Suspiria” will open in limited release, continuing what Mancini believes to be a nefarious trend.

This week’s question: Are movies too long these days?

Carlos Aguilar (@Carlos_Film), The Wrap, MovieMaker Magazine, Remezcla

Conventional notions regarding running times or attention spans don’t apply to the works of Filipino master Lav Diaz, who continues to tell expansive stories that make zero promises of mass appeal. He has liberated his artistic expression from commercial concerns, and in the process alienated many who find his lengthy, black-and-white, subdued films difficult to approach.

His 2016 entrancing effort “The Woman Who Left,” which earned him the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, is, at nearly four hours long, one of his shortest. It is a haunting social drama with undertones of a revenge thriller that is absolutely rewarding and compulsively watchable. No frame is unaccounted for as the story introduces new characters and conflicts at every step of the prolonged way to support its quiet roar against injustice and its compassion for the marginalized.

Released after several decades being incarcerated from a crime she didn’t commit, Horacia (Charo Santos-Concio) has no illusions of rebuilding the life that was ripped from her, but is determined to remind those responsible of their crime. In nearly four hours, Diaz’s most accessible production enraptures its audience like a high-octane thriller, but commanding the intriguing lives of morally flawed individuals instead of explosive set pieces.

Watching “The Woman Who Left” from start to finish in one sitting is a big ask for most, but it’s perhaps the most effective way to become aware of the Diaz’s masterful plotting, character construction, and seamless narrative consistency.

Ken Bakely (@kbake_99), Freelance for Film Pulse


What bothers me the most about the linked piece’s knee-jerk backlash against longer movies is that it comes with the presumption that all art should adhere to the same rules, and that the ideal length for one movie must automatically draw conclusions about what’s right for other movies. There are many movies that feel just right at three hours or more, and there are 80-minute movies that feel like they’re padding themselves out. People have always loved to joke about “Titanic” running 195 minutes when we know the boat sinks, but James Cameron’s emulation of classical Hollywood epics reminds us of the value of a well-conceived, long movie. It carves out impeccable senses of space and setting, carefully builds up its melodrama, and overwhelms us with a startling emotional power when the inevitable tragedy occurs. Each breathtaking image of the ship, from leaving the port to the sinking, further immerses us in its world and builds our knowledge of its geography.

Simply put, the “right” running time is dependent on each film’s objectives—the scope it wants to cover, the amount of detail it goes into, and how much of its world it chooses to explore—and there’s no one size fits all. Indeed, it’s when we start placing strictures on how long movies should be (like immediately viewing any movie that runs over 140 minutes with suspicion), that we also harm the artistry involved.

Richard Brody (@tnyfrontrow), The New Yorker


There are three main reasons for the sprawl afflicting recent movies. First, with tentpole-type movies, event-itis: the desire to offer huge helpings of movie to justify the night out (the cinematic equivalent of diners’ multi-course belly-busters). Second, with art-house movies, vanity: auteurism gone mad, the will and the power of name directors to make their signature very, very large (corollary: many of these nominal auteurs are also their own screenwriters whose direction protects and preserves their scripts in lieu of abstracting and transforming them). Third: so-called quality television has deluded viewers and critics into believing that more story is better story—because it offers masses of stuff for viewers to watch free and for writers to parse.

A shorter movie can get by on plain anecdotal pleasure; it takes bigger and better ideas to make good long movies than to make good shorter ones. In “Heaven’s Gate,” Michael Cimino’s colossal imagination for infinitesimal detail expands to heroic length scenes that lesser filmmakers would turn into mere clips. With “Jeanne Dielman,” Chantal Akerman creates a new form of cinematic time by fusing documentary, melodrama, and performance art. With “Li’l Quinquin”—made for TV but conceived as a feature—Bruno Dumont taps into his long-dormant cinematic unconscious and, from the newly intimate connection with the practical specifics of his home turf, unleashes a gusher of invention and fantasy. Kenneth Lonergan’s “Margaret” connects to and is powered by the city’s hidden grid of intellectual, professional, and cultural energy. In short, all bad long movies are alike; all good long ones are good in their own way, which is why so many filmmakers of the Oscarizable sort insist on trying to make them.

Christopher Campbell (@thefilmcynic), Nonfics, Film School Rejects


Honestly, I understand the issue. Between all my family commitments and my need as a freelancer for quantity assignments, which is best achieved with shorter films to review, I rarely have time for the longer form content. That goes for series as well as lengthy films. But yes, if something is good, it’s good, whatever the length, and deserves to play out as is necessary and seen as intended.

Some of the most important documentaries of all time, such as “Shoah” and “West of the Tracks” are over nine hours. Most of Frederick Wiseman’s essential films are, while not that extensive still longer than the usually accepted doc length of 90 minutes. Here’s where the other debate lies, though: is it okay to watch lengthy films in more than one sitting? Does that mean certain longer stories should now be presented as Netflix series, a la “Wild Wild Country?” (Ironically, we’ve been through binge culture thanks to Netflix, but binging a non-episodic lengthy film isn’t as favorable.)

For a Wiseman, the latest of which is a relatively short (for him) 143 minutes, you really need to view it all at once to get the proper effect. As someone who admittedly watches a lot of non-assigned films in segments over a few days as I work out, I can’t say breaking things up is never okay, but for the most part the chosen size and shape and format of the storytelling should be respected.

Robert Daniels (@812filmreviews), Freelance


At the moment, film is like baseball. In the digital age, baseball has tried every conceivable way to shorten a three-hour game to a 2 hour and 45-minute game. However, lost in baseball’s obsession with time, is a misunderstanding of a market. There isn’t 30% of the population who would go to a baseball game if only it were 15 minutes shorter. Baseball doesn’t realize that the ratings success of individual games are tied to a myriad of factors, not solely time. Instead, the game is being compelled to water itself down to make those who will never be fans into fans.

If we are to believe the same of film, if we are to bend editing too far to some audiences’ present lack of attention span, then film runs the risk of watering itself down for those who’d never run to its cineplexes anyways. Most audiences, who aren’t willing to sit through a 2 hour and 20-minute film not named Marvel or starring Lady Gaga won’t do so whether it’s five minutes shorter or has great word of mouth. That’s not to say that audiences are inherently incapable of sitting through drawn out cinema, but it is to say—much like with baseball—that the success of individual films are tied to a myriad of reasons not solely that of runtime.

In his piece, Mancini cites “First Man’s” B+ Cinemascore as compared to “Goosebumps 2” as a sign of tepid audience approval for a lengthy film. Last year, “Blade Runner 2049” was released to an A- Cinemascore. It couldn’t have asked for better word of mouth, yet even with Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford starring in it, it barely scraped to even. Was its 2 hour and 43-minute runtime the culprit, or much like “First Man” or “Bad Times at The El Royale” was it several other factors, such as a flag controversy, questionable marketing, or in the case of “Blade Runner 2049,” the reliance on a niche brand to bring big budget box-office success? Who knows. But I don’t think “Blade Runner 2049’s” gross would have drastically changed had it been 30 minutes less, especially if Gosling, Ford, and the “vaunted” Cinemascore couldn’t save it.

Could we imagine having one less Roger Deakins shot; one less moment of natural light mixed with the neon violet hues of a Joi hologram; one less note of Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch’s already minimalist brooding unnatural Vangelis inspired score, or one less moment of Gosling’s emotionally compact performance masquerading as tasteful apathy? Much like “Blade Runner 2049,” cinema is currently grappling with the postmodernist world, grappling with the nuance of humanity, death, family, existence, and often that includes the political, the ecocritical, and feministic, as well. It’s not self-indulgent pride, but self-exploration that if we wish to, we can embark on as well. “Fit audience find, though few,” as John Milton once stated. Because when we see K self-sacrifice and commit a bunt (back to the baseball metaphor), we experience the unease of humanity, the gap between the existential and the imaginary. In his struggle, we understand that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” And in that vain, moviegoers should always commit to longer films like “Blade Runner 2049” or “First Man” because they question every aspect of our complex, yet simplistic nature and instincts. They are journeys into our inner psyches, and if we are as multilayered as we purport ourselves to be, then the longer the film the better.

Is there a pernicious scourge of 2 hour and 20-minute films causing the mid-budget prestige market to collapse? Maybe, maybe not. But I do know, that you shouldn’t stop it in the editing room nor “hold the tide with a broom.”

Candice Frederick (@ReelTalker), Harper’s Bazaar, Teen Vogue, The Week


With respect to the fact that there are obviously some truly great long movies, when I really think about it there is no real reason for the extravagant runtime. If it’s 2 and a half hours, certainly 30 minutes could have been edited. If it’s even longer, there’s plenty of room to trim. “Suspiria” and “Burning” are two examples of films that don’t deserve their runtime for different reasons. “Suspiria” is an intoxicating film that sucks you in from the moment it starts. Still, the entire story could have been told within a 120-minute timeframe that doesn’t hold the audience hostage just because it can. On the other hand, “Burning” isn’t a good film and its story could have been summed up in even less time–90 minutes, to be exact–due to its often meandering and vacant narrative. I feel like too often filmmakers want to push the length because a long runtime carries an air of prestige carried down from the good ole days when Oscar-winning films like “West Side Story” and “Gone With the Wind” far exceeded the two-hour mark and included intermissions. Audiences can no longer seek solace with intermission and long films, even the great ones, just wreak of unnecessary indulgence.

Jesse Hassenger (@rockmarooned), freelance for The A.V. Club, Nylon, The Week


Even as someone who thought “Bad Times at the El Royale” was overlong in a particularly unearned, self-indulgent way, I’ve never had much time for the complaint that movies are too long these days (it’s always these days, which have now lasted for at least two decades if not three or four). There will always be movies that feel too long–and some of those movies will inevitably be as technically short as 105 or 88 minutes. And speaking of “these days,” Plenty of people complaining about spending an extra 15 minutes at a movie will gladly binge some mediocre Netflix show for five hours at a time. I’m not sure if there’s any convincing those hypothetical people, or anyone else who wants movies to be 88 minutes with credits, that they “need” to make time for something that, lord forbid, crests the two-hour mark. No one “needs” to watch any particular movie, and I’ve seen enough summer blockbusters that were laughably overlong to understand why higher running times cause skepticism at the outset.

But I will say that long (or long-ish; what kind of part-timer thinks of 140-minute movies as all that voluminous?) movies can cast a different sort of spell than, say, the 10-hour-movie model of television, which sometimes seems designed to keep you on the hook for more, rather than transporting you somewhere else entirely and then letting you go. I’m thinking of a movie like Andrea Arnold’s “American Honey,” which many supposedly reasonable people would say is to long. It goes on for about two hours and forty-five minutes, and there isn’t really a plot to speak of. It’s about a group of outcast and/or itinerant teenagers traveling around the middle of America, hawking outdated magazine subscriptions door to door. I’m positive someone could make an 88-minute movie about this subject, probably out of Arnold’s presumably endless footage. But it wouldn’t be this particular movie, which is so encompassing and immersive that I felt like I was watching an IMAX feature despite seeing it in a 27-seat screening room. Watching the movie puts you on the bus with these unruly kids, and its epic running time makes the process both exhilarating and exhausting. But if that sounds like torture, “Johnny English Strikes Again” is opening this weekend. It’s 88 minutes. Have fun.

Luke Hicks (@lou_kicks), Film School Rejects, Birth.Movies.Death., Bright Wall/Dark Room


The concept that the length of a film in any way pre-determines its value is downright silly. Many Kubrick films are proof of this, “Barry Lyndon” and “Eyes Wide Shut” being two of my favorites. If either of those films were shorter, they would be at a significant loss for what scenes/themes/character development might be shirked from them. You should seek them out because they have the potential to change you, the way you think, and the way this world works (see: Gilles Deleuze’s two cinema books). As do shorter films! There should be no sharp discrepancy in length and its reflection on quality. It’s as simple as scheduling your day to make sure you have enough time to watch whatever length film you’re engaging. The theory of it is probably less interesting from a pop perspective. But if you want to talk about, tweet at me. I love some good theory-tweeting.

Q.V. Hough (@QVHough), Vague Visages


With the right pacing and structure, a 120 to 150-minute movie will immerse the viewer into the experience. For a recent example, see Gareth Evans’ Netflix film “Apostle” (130 minutes). While the visuals may not be for everybody, the conflict escalates from scene to scene, thanks to the performances, direction and unique setting. On the flip side, a critically acclaimed film like Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s “The Endless” (111 minutes, Amazon Prime) feels disjointed at times due to unnecessary comedic relief, in my opinion. Moorhead and Benson may have a knack for comedy, but “The Endless” would’ve been tighter without clever jokes that probably got a few laughs during festival screenings.

Rather that complaining that two-hour plus movies are flawed by default, audiences should try to think more about the structure and the director’s perceived vision. How does this seemingly mundane sequence work or not work as a whole? Of course, many viewers simply want to be entertained rather than challenged, and so they disconnect when plot points don’t seem to make sense. Your friend that never has time for anything (while checking social media all day) likely doesn’t want to sit through an extended Tarkovsky sequence and then discuss concepts of time and memory.

Directors make the films they want to make based on their resources and imagination. Some are short, some are long. When audiences pay to see a two-hour movie, maybe it’s worth committing to the experience and thinking about the whys or hows before melting down about the runtime.

Kristen Lopez (@Journeys_Film), Culturess, Citizen Dame


I’m one of those who says if the world that’s created is interesting, a movie can be as long as needed to justify showing it off. That’s not to say packing in so much world-building and characters that it’s a messy television show on-screen, but creating a tight-knit group whose world is easily identifiable. Case in point, “Titanic.” The movie is over three hours with the actual crash happening in the final hour, and yet leading up to that you’re invested in the characters. Everyone is confined on one location so you get the dichotomies of class. The characters are colorful, but never overpower Jack and Rose. If anything, I could easily have enjoyed a movie focused on JUST the side characters referenced, and that’s the beauty of a length that is perfectly suited to the material: you become upset at the characters who aren’t focused on. Another lengthy movie I think does it right, “The Sound of Music.” Another nearly three-hour tale – with Nazis really taking hold in the final 30 minutes – what makes the movie work is the romance between Maria and Captain Von Trapp. The singing also helps.

This article continues on the next page.

James Corden Eats a Tarantula to Avoid Naming Least Favorite ‘Late Late Show’ Guest (Video)

Jon Hamm made his “Late Late Show” debut on Monday night, when James Corden sat his guest right down at the “Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts” table. It’s not nearly as comfy as the CBS show’s couch.

Early on in the recurring gross-out game, in which a player must answer a highly personal question that is usually either embarrassing or chock-full of consequences to avoid eating or drinking something atrocious, Hamm choked down a chili cheese-dog smoothie to avoid ranking “Batman” actors from best to worst.

Corden creeped out the entire audience by eating a tarantula and keeping secret his least favorite “Late Late Show” guest, though he let it slip that it’s a dude. You get how this game goes.

Also Read: Does Charlie Puth Puke on James Corden’s ‘Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts’? (Video)

During his next turn, to get out of drinking bird saliva, Corden names “Tag” as his least favorite Jon Hamm movie.

“Fair enough,” Hamm responds.

Well, it wasn’t going to be his new one, “Bad Times at the El Royale,” which Hamm was there to promote.

Also Read: Corden Tells Kim Kardashian Who Is His Least-Favorite Jenner: ‘F– Her, She’s the Worst’ (Video)

Later, Hamm doubles up on hot sauce shots to avoid naming his least-favorite co-star of his career, which has been a rather prolific one since AMC’s “Mad Men” took off.

Finally, everyone saved the best (or worst, depending how you look at it) for last: Hamm had to eat bull penis to get out of showing Corden just how big his human penis is. Sorry, Ma Corden.

Watch the video above.

Bad Times at the El Royale” is out in theaters now.

Related stories from TheWrap:

James Corden, Reggie Watts and Jenny Slate Made a ’90s Rap Video for ‘Venom’

Kaley Cuoco, Joel McHale and James Corden Turn Drake Bars Into a Soap Opera (Video)

Ariana Grande, James Corden Perform New ‘Titanic’ Soundtrack: 13 Songs, 9 Sets, 1 Take (Video)

Jon Hamm made his “Late Late Show” debut on Monday night, when James Corden sat his guest right down at the “Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts” table. It’s not nearly as comfy as the CBS show’s couch.

Early on in the recurring gross-out game, in which a player must answer a highly personal question that is usually either embarrassing or chock-full of consequences to avoid eating or drinking something atrocious, Hamm choked down a chili cheese-dog smoothie to avoid ranking “Batman” actors from best to worst.

Corden creeped out the entire audience by eating a tarantula and keeping secret his least favorite “Late Late Show” guest, though he let it slip that it’s a dude. You get how this game goes.

During his next turn, to get out of drinking bird saliva, Corden names “Tag” as his least favorite Jon Hamm movie.

“Fair enough,” Hamm responds.

Well, it wasn’t going to be his new one, “Bad Times at the El Royale,” which Hamm was there to promote.

Later, Hamm doubles up on hot sauce shots to avoid naming his least-favorite co-star of his career, which has been a rather prolific one since AMC’s “Mad Men” took off.

Finally, everyone saved the best (or worst, depending how you look at it) for last: Hamm had to eat bull penis to get out of showing Corden just how big his human penis is. Sorry, Ma Corden.

Watch the video above.

Bad Times at the El Royale” is out in theaters now.

Related stories from TheWrap:

James Corden, Reggie Watts and Jenny Slate Made a '90s Rap Video for 'Venom'

Kaley Cuoco, Joel McHale and James Corden Turn Drake Bars Into a Soap Opera (Video)

Ariana Grande, James Corden Perform New 'Titanic' Soundtrack: 13 Songs, 9 Sets, 1 Take (Video)

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Twentieth Century Fox claims the top spot in spending with “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Ads placed for the drama had an estimate…

In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Twentieth Century Fox claims the top spot in spending with “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Ads placed for the drama had an estimated media value of $6.19 million through Sunday for 847 national ad airings on 33 networks. (Spend […]

‘Venom’ Conquers Box Office Again as ‘First Man,’ ‘Goosebumps 2’ Open to $16 Million

October continues to be very good for Sony Pictures as “Venom” stays atop the box office charts with a strong $35 million second weekend. Combined with the $16 million opening for “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween,” that’s enough to push the studio’s total annual domestic gross past $1 billion for a second straight year.

After scoring the best October opening ever with $80 million, “Venom” has found a foothold with general audiences this weekend as it holds its drop-off to 55 percent, well within the range for many Marvel Studios films in their second weekend. Though the drop is likely to be steeper next weekend with the arrival of Universal’s “Halloween,” it won’t faze Sony at all. The $100 million blockbuster has already made its money with a 10-day total of $142 million and a global total of well over $300 million.

Also Read: How Far Can ‘Venom’ Go at the Box Office?

Sony’s “Goosebumps 2,” meanwhile, is in a tight race for the No. 3 spot on this weekend’s charts with Universal’s Neil Armstrong biopic “First Man,” with “Goosebumps” currently estimated for a $16 million opening from 3,521 screens. While the Jack Black sequel is looking at a start lower than its 2015 predecessor ($23.6 million), it also has a much lower $35 million budget. A domestic total run of $60 million is now within reach for this film as it tries to serve as a family alternative to “Halloween” and “Venom.”

Though Sony hasn’t had as many explosive hits as Disney, WB, or Universal, the last two years at the box office have been a dramatic turnaround for the studio’s fortunes.

After Sony Pictures Entertainment reported a loss of $719 million in 2016, hits like “Spider-Man: Homecoming” pushed 2017’s total back out of the red with a $376 million profit. That was followed by the $962 million global total of “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” as well as other hits like “Peter Rabbit” and “Hotel Transylvania 3,” leading to Sony extending the contract of their Motion Picture Group head Tom Rothman last month.

Also Read: ‘First Man’ Is One Giant Leap for IMAX’s Plans Beyond Blockbusters

Elsewhere on the charts, “First Man” is going to face a tough battle if it wants to leg out at the box office after earning an estimated $16.5 million start from 3,620 screens. The film earned a B+ on CinemaScore to go with its 88 percent Rotten Tomatoes score. IMAX, which provided cameras for the film’s lunar scenes, accounted for 22 percent of the movie’s revenue with $3.7 million from 405 screens. 

While all those results are solid and consistent with Universal’s projections, the studio wants the film to perform like the Oscar Best Picture winner “Argo,” which opened to $19.6 million in mid-October 2012 and showed incredible endurance with a $136 million domestic run. “Argo” earned an A+ on CinemaScore, though, so if “First Man” isn’t leaving as big an impression with early audiences, it might be difficult to build the word of mouth necessary to find long-term success in this competitive October market, even though reactions have been mostly positive.

But even if “First Man” ends up being one of those quality films that gets squeezed out by a crowded movie slate, Universal is still looking at a good month as it releases “Halloween” next week, with projections for that film sitting at a very strong $60 million launch.

Also Read: ‘First Man’ Fact Check: Was the Moon Landing Really That Close to Disaster?

Sitting in between “Venom” and this weekend’s newcomers is Warner Bros.’ “A Star Is Born,” which is proving to be the awards contender of choice for audiences right now with a $28 million second weekend. That’s just 35 percent down from its $42.9 million opening last weekend, giving it a 10-day total of $94.1 million and a global total of $135.3 million against a $36 million opening.

Finally, Fox’s “Bad Times at the El Royale” has flopped with a seventh place finish, opening behind third-weekend releases “Smallfoot” and “Night School” with a $7.8 million opening from 2,808 screens. The film had been projected for an $8-12 million start against a $30 million budget. Reviews were solid with 71 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but only earned a B- on CinemaScore.

Related stories from TheWrap:

How Far Can ‘Venom’ Go at the Box Office?

‘First Man’ Is One Giant Leap for IMAX’s Plans Beyond Blockbusters

‘First Man’ Fact Check: Was the Moon Landing Really That Close to Disaster?

October continues to be very good for Sony Pictures as “Venom” stays atop the box office charts with a strong $35 million second weekend. Combined with the $16 million opening for “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween,” that’s enough to push the studio’s total annual domestic gross past $1 billion for a second straight year.

After scoring the best October opening ever with $80 million, “Venom” has found a foothold with general audiences this weekend as it holds its drop-off to 55 percent, well within the range for many Marvel Studios films in their second weekend. Though the drop is likely to be steeper next weekend with the arrival of Universal’s “Halloween,” it won’t faze Sony at all. The $100 million blockbuster has already made its money with a 10-day total of $142 million and a global total of well over $300 million.

Sony’s “Goosebumps 2,” meanwhile, is in a tight race for the No. 3 spot on this weekend’s charts with Universal’s Neil Armstrong biopic “First Man,” with “Goosebumps” currently estimated for a $16 million opening from 3,521 screens. While the Jack Black sequel is looking at a start lower than its 2015 predecessor ($23.6 million), it also has a much lower $35 million budget. A domestic total run of $60 million is now within reach for this film as it tries to serve as a family alternative to “Halloween” and “Venom.”

Though Sony hasn’t had as many explosive hits as Disney, WB, or Universal, the last two years at the box office have been a dramatic turnaround for the studio’s fortunes.

After Sony Pictures Entertainment reported a loss of $719 million in 2016, hits like “Spider-Man: Homecoming” pushed 2017’s total back out of the red with a $376 million profit. That was followed by the $962 million global total of “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” as well as other hits like “Peter Rabbit” and “Hotel Transylvania 3,” leading to Sony extending the contract of their Motion Picture Group head Tom Rothman last month.

Elsewhere on the charts, “First Man” is going to face a tough battle if it wants to leg out at the box office after earning an estimated $16.5 million start from 3,620 screens. The film earned a B+ on CinemaScore to go with its 88 percent Rotten Tomatoes score. IMAX, which provided cameras for the film’s lunar scenes, accounted for 22 percent of the movie’s revenue with $3.7 million from 405 screens. 

While all those results are solid and consistent with Universal’s projections, the studio wants the film to perform like the Oscar Best Picture winner “Argo,” which opened to $19.6 million in mid-October 2012 and showed incredible endurance with a $136 million domestic run. “Argo” earned an A+ on CinemaScore, though, so if “First Man” isn’t leaving as big an impression with early audiences, it might be difficult to build the word of mouth necessary to find long-term success in this competitive October market, even though reactions have been mostly positive.

But even if “First Man” ends up being one of those quality films that gets squeezed out by a crowded movie slate, Universal is still looking at a good month as it releases “Halloween” next week, with projections for that film sitting at a very strong $60 million launch.

Sitting in between “Venom” and this weekend’s newcomers is Warner Bros.’ “A Star Is Born,” which is proving to be the awards contender of choice for audiences right now with a $28 million second weekend. That’s just 35 percent down from its $42.9 million opening last weekend, giving it a 10-day total of $94.1 million and a global total of $135.3 million against a $36 million opening.

Finally, Fox’s “Bad Times at the El Royale” has flopped with a seventh place finish, opening behind third-weekend releases “Smallfoot” and “Night School” with a $7.8 million opening from 2,808 screens. The film had been projected for an $8-12 million start against a $30 million budget. Reviews were solid with 71 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but only earned a B- on CinemaScore.

Related stories from TheWrap:

How Far Can 'Venom' Go at the Box Office?

'First Man' Is One Giant Leap for IMAX's Plans Beyond Blockbusters

'First Man' Fact Check: Was the Moon Landing Really That Close to Disaster?

How Director Drew Goddard Brought Out Chris Hemsworth’s Dark Side in ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’

Drew Goddard doesn’t write for actors, but the moment he finished “Bad Times at the El Royale,” his story about seven people colliding in a sketchy motel, he reached out to Chris Hemsworth. Hemsworth, who appeared in Goddard’s directorial debut “Cabin …

Drew Goddard doesn’t write for actors, but the moment he finished “Bad Times at the El Royale,” his story about seven people colliding in a sketchy motel, he reached out to Chris Hemsworth. Hemsworth, who appeared in Goddard’s directorial debut “Cabin in the Woods” just after his first turn as Thor, agreed to play the most […]

‘Venom,’ ‘A Star Is Born’ Continue Reign Atop Box Office Charts

Sony’s “Venom” and Warner Bros.’ “A Star Is Born” stay atop the box office charts for another weekend, with “Venom” holding on to the top box office spot with a $34-35 million second weekend.

That result for the Tom Hardy film would be a 57 percent drop from its opening weekend, consistent with the drop for most Marvel Studios films.  It’s also worth noting that the drop is somewhat inflated considering “Venom” scored the biggest October opening of all-time with $80 million. A total of $30 million or higher is what Sony is looking for, as it shows that the word of mouth from hardcore Venom fans is creating interest in general audiences.

Also Read: How Far Can ‘Venom’ Go at the Box Office?

“A Star Is Born” is definitely finding a steady audience, with estimates showing a $28 million second weekend, just a 34 percent drop from its $42.9 million opening. Much like last weekend, “A Star Is Born” is drawing in women and other moviegoers who aren’t interested in the campy, naughty charms of “Venom.”

But while the pair of films are continuing to push the October box office to new heights, they are creating heavy competition for this week’s new releases. “First Man,” the Neil Armstrong biopic from Universal, is in third this weekend with a current estimate of $16-17 million after making $5.8 million from 3,640 locations on Friday. That’s on the lower end of projections set by both Universal and independent trackers, who expected a $16-20 million start.

Also Read: ‘A Star Is Born’ Is a Legit Oscar Contender – And Here’s What Else Is

A bigger concern is that while “First Man” has done well with critics with a 88 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, audiences weren’t quite as enthusiastic with a B+ on CinemaScore. By comparison, other space films released in October like “Gravity” and “The Martian” — two films that take a more sci-fi approach to space than “First Man” — earned an A- and A respectively from audience polls.

Another comp is “Argo,” a film whose box office performance Universal was hoping to match here with a $19 million opening and a $136 million domestic run. But that too had a stronger CinemaScore with an A+. As the concept of seasonality at the box office comes to an end and quieter months become more competitive, “First Man” may be one of the films that gets solid reception but is squeezed out by tough competition.

Also Read: ‘First Man’ Is One Giant Leap for IMAX’s Plans Beyond Blockbusters

In fourth is Sony’s “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween,” which is currently estimated for a $15 million opening but could push that figure higher after Saturday estimates and possibly take the No. 3 spot from “First Man.” Friday results for the film were $4.8 million from 3,521 screens, with a B+ on CinemaScore an a 57 percent RT score.

Falling outside the top five is Fox’s “Bad Times at the El Royale,” a $30 million film from “Cabin In The Woods” director Drew Goddard. The film received solid reviews with a 71 percent RT score, but hasn’t won over audiences with a B- on CinemaScore and just under $3 million grossed on Friday from 2,808 screens. The film is estimated to make a $7.8 million opening, lower than tracker expectations and below third weekend releases “Smallfoot” and “Night School” on the charts.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘A Star Is Born’ Is a Legit Oscar Contender – And Here’s What Else Is

‘Venom’ Scores Record $10 Million at Thursday Box Office, ‘A Star Is Born’ Shines With $3.2 Million

‘A Star Is Born’ Film Review: Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga Reinvigorate a Classic

Sony’s “Venom” and Warner Bros.’ “A Star Is Born” stay atop the box office charts for another weekend, with “Venom” holding on to the top box office spot with a $34-35 million second weekend.

That result for the Tom Hardy film would be a 57 percent drop from its opening weekend, consistent with the drop for most Marvel Studios films.  It’s also worth noting that the drop is somewhat inflated considering “Venom” scored the biggest October opening of all-time with $80 million. A total of $30 million or higher is what Sony is looking for, as it shows that the word of mouth from hardcore Venom fans is creating interest in general audiences.

“A Star Is Born” is definitely finding a steady audience, with estimates showing a $28 million second weekend, just a 34 percent drop from its $42.9 million opening. Much like last weekend, “A Star Is Born” is drawing in women and other moviegoers who aren’t interested in the campy, naughty charms of “Venom.”

But while the pair of films are continuing to push the October box office to new heights, they are creating heavy competition for this week’s new releases. “First Man,” the Neil Armstrong biopic from Universal, is in third this weekend with a current estimate of $16-17 million after making $5.8 million from 3,640 locations on Friday. That’s on the lower end of projections set by both Universal and independent trackers, who expected a $16-20 million start.

A bigger concern is that while “First Man” has done well with critics with a 88 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, audiences weren’t quite as enthusiastic with a B+ on CinemaScore. By comparison, other space films released in October like “Gravity” and “The Martian” — two films that take a more sci-fi approach to space than “First Man” — earned an A- and A respectively from audience polls.

Another comp is “Argo,” a film whose box office performance Universal was hoping to match here with a $19 million opening and a $136 million domestic run. But that too had a stronger CinemaScore with an A+. As the concept of seasonality at the box office comes to an end and quieter months become more competitive, “First Man” may be one of the films that gets solid reception but is squeezed out by tough competition.

In fourth is Sony’s “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween,” which is currently estimated for a $15 million opening but could push that figure higher after Saturday estimates and possibly take the No. 3 spot from “First Man.” Friday results for the film were $4.8 million from 3,521 screens, with a B+ on CinemaScore an a 57 percent RT score.

Falling outside the top five is Fox’s “Bad Times at the El Royale,” a $30 million film from “Cabin In The Woods” director Drew Goddard. The film received solid reviews with a 71 percent RT score, but hasn’t won over audiences with a B- on CinemaScore and just under $3 million grossed on Friday from 2,808 screens. The film is estimated to make a $7.8 million opening, lower than tracker expectations and below third weekend releases “Smallfoot” and “Night School” on the charts.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'A Star Is Born' Is a Legit Oscar Contender – And Here's What Else Is

'Venom' Scores Record $10 Million at Thursday Box Office, 'A Star Is Born' Shines With $3.2 Million

'A Star Is Born' Film Review: Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga Reinvigorate a Classic

‘First Man’ Launches With $1.1 Million at Thursday Box Office

Universal Pictures’ “First Man” grossed $1.1 million in previews on Thursday from 2,850 theaters.

The studio is projecting an opening weekend of $15-18 million, with independent trackers pushing their expectations up to $20 million. In comparison, Tom Hanks’ “Bridge of Spies” took in $600,000 before it grossed $15.4 million its opening weekend. “Deepwater Horizon” earned $860,000 and finished with $20.2 million. “Arrival” grossed $1.4 million in previews before earning $24 million its opening weekend.

“First Man” is the followup for director Damien Chazelle after winning the Oscar for Best Director for “La La Land” last year, with Ryan Gosling from his “La La Land” team joining him.

Also Read: ‘First Man’ Fact Check: Did Neil Armstrong Really Leave That Bracelet on the Moon?

Based on James R. Hansen’s detailed recounting of the Apollo 11 lunar mission, “First Man” stars Gosling as Neil Armstrong and delves into the personal life and inner mind of the famous yet very reserved astronaut, particularly how the death of his infant daughter impacted him. Claire Foy also stars as Armstrong’s wife, Janet. Josh Singer, who co-wrote “Spotlight” and “The Post,” penned the screenplay.

Produced for $60 million, “First Man” holds a “fresh” score of 89 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

“First Man” will face off against Fox’s “Bad Times at the El Royale” and “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween” this weekend. The former is set to open in the low-to-mid teens, while the latter is looking at a $14 million opening after taking in $750,000 from 2,993 locations.

Also Read: ‘First Man’ Fact Check: Was the Moon Landing Really That Close to Disaster?

“El Royale” features an ensemble cast including Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Chris Hemsworth, and Nick Offerman as a group of individuals who check in to the seedy El Royale hotel on the border of California and Nevada. Soon, secrets are revealed and bullets fly as everything goes horribly wrong.

Drew Goddard wrote and directed the film. It is rated 75 percent “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Goosebumps 2” has Jack Black return to reprise his role as a fictionalized version of Stine, with “It” star Jeremy Ray Taylor, Caleel Harris and Ken Jeong also starring. Produced for $35 million, “Goosebumps 2” was directed by Ari Sandel and holds a score of 39 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘First Man’ Film Review: Ryan Gosling and Damien Chazelle Slip the Surly Bonds of Earth

‘First Man’ Lifts Off This Weekend to Steep Box Office Competition

Ryan Gosling Explains His ‘Mild’ Concussion Shooting ‘First Man’ Action Scenes

Universal Pictures’ “First Man” grossed $1.1 million in previews on Thursday from 2,850 theaters.

The studio is projecting an opening weekend of $15-18 million, with independent trackers pushing their expectations up to $20 million. In comparison, Tom Hanks’ “Bridge of Spies” took in $600,000 before it grossed $15.4 million its opening weekend. “Deepwater Horizon” earned $860,000 and finished with $20.2 million. “Arrival” grossed $1.4 million in previews before earning $24 million its opening weekend.

“First Man” is the followup for director Damien Chazelle after winning the Oscar for Best Director for “La La Land” last year, with Ryan Gosling from his “La La Land” team joining him.

Based on James R. Hansen’s detailed recounting of the Apollo 11 lunar mission, “First Man” stars Gosling as Neil Armstrong and delves into the personal life and inner mind of the famous yet very reserved astronaut, particularly how the death of his infant daughter impacted him. Claire Foy also stars as Armstrong’s wife, Janet. Josh Singer, who co-wrote “Spotlight” and “The Post,” penned the screenplay.

Produced for $60 million, “First Man” holds a “fresh” score of 89 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

“First Man” will face off against Fox’s “Bad Times at the El Royale” and “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween” this weekend. The former is set to open in the low-to-mid teens, while the latter is looking at a $14 million opening after taking in $750,000 from 2,993 locations.

“El Royale” features an ensemble cast including Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Chris Hemsworth, and Nick Offerman as a group of individuals who check in to the seedy El Royale hotel on the border of California and Nevada. Soon, secrets are revealed and bullets fly as everything goes horribly wrong.

Drew Goddard wrote and directed the film. It is rated 75 percent “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Goosebumps 2” has Jack Black return to reprise his role as a fictionalized version of Stine, with “It” star Jeremy Ray Taylor, Caleel Harris and Ken Jeong also starring. Produced for $35 million, “Goosebumps 2” was directed by Ari Sandel and holds a score of 39 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'First Man' Film Review: Ryan Gosling and Damien Chazelle Slip the Surly Bonds of Earth

'First Man' Lifts Off This Weekend to Steep Box Office Competition

Ryan Gosling Explains His 'Mild' Concussion Shooting 'First Man' Action Scenes

‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ Director Says the ’60s ‘Just Felt Fertile’ to Explore Today’s Turmoil

A priest, a vacuum salesman and a singer walk into a hotel — that could have been an interesting new take on an old joke, but instead it’s how writer, director Drew Goddard sets the stage for him latest film “Bad Times at the El Royale.”

From that set up, Goddard takes audiences on a journey to explore the evils of power, racism and toxic masculinity.

Set in 1969, the film follows seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, who meet at Lake Tahoe’s El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one fateful night, everyone is presented with one last shot at redemption — before everything goes to hell.

Also Read: ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ Director Hopes Chris Hemsworth Will Be in Every Movie He Makes

Though the time period is the 1960s, Goddard told TheWrap that more than anything the decade was simply a mirror of today’s turmoil.

“One of the things that’s depressing is the turmoil that we’re seeing in today’s world, when you start looking at history, a lot of this stuff is not new,” Goddard said during a phone interview with TheWrap. “These bigger evils of power and racism as a tool to achieve power, as well as toxic masculinity, these are issues that our country has been dealing with probably from inception, if we’re being honest. But certainly we’ve seen this in the last century time and time again and the ’60s just felt fertile for some of these issues.”

There’s a seediness and darkness in “Bad Times at the El Royale” that resembles Goddard’s 2012 feature directorial debut “The Cabin in the Woods.”

“Bad Times at the El Royale” isn’t intended to be a cynical film, Goddard said. In fact, the director considers himself a hopeful person and said “there’s a constrained hope that runs through this film.” But the darker side of humanity was certainly something Goddard was keen on exploring.

Also Read: ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ Film Review: Chris Hemsworth and Jon Hamm on a Dazzling ’70s Night

“It was certainly not my intent to make it a cynical film, but I also am interested in dealing with the darker side of humanity and exploring what that means critically in film,” Goddard said. “That darkness was very much something that I wanted to explore with this film.

“[The film] also sprang from a love of the music of the ’60s, love of the fashion of the ’60s, love of the style, love of the people and what they were going through, because they really lived through some intense political turmoil and they walked out of that and created some of the best music and art and cinema that we’ve ever seen. And I don’t think that’s a mistake. The turmoil led to some real beauty, at least I hope it did because that gives me comfort in today’s times.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Drew Goddard to Write and Direct ‘Deadpool’ Spinoff ‘X-Force’

‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ Film Review: Chris Hemsworth and Jon Hamm on a Dazzling ’70s Night

Watch Jeff Bridges Talk ‘Bad Times’ and a Brighter Future (Exclusive Video)

A priest, a vacuum salesman and a singer walk into a hotel — that could have been an interesting new take on an old joke, but instead it’s how writer, director Drew Goddard sets the stage for him latest film “Bad Times at the El Royale.”

From that set up, Goddard takes audiences on a journey to explore the evils of power, racism and toxic masculinity.

Set in 1969, the film follows seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, who meet at Lake Tahoe’s El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one fateful night, everyone is presented with one last shot at redemption — before everything goes to hell.

Though the time period is the 1960s, Goddard told TheWrap that more than anything the decade was simply a mirror of today’s turmoil.

“One of the things that’s depressing is the turmoil that we’re seeing in today’s world, when you start looking at history, a lot of this stuff is not new,” Goddard said during a phone interview with TheWrap. “These bigger evils of power and racism as a tool to achieve power, as well as toxic masculinity, these are issues that our country has been dealing with probably from inception, if we’re being honest. But certainly we’ve seen this in the last century time and time again and the ’60s just felt fertile for some of these issues.”

There’s a seediness and darkness in “Bad Times at the El Royale” that resembles Goddard’s 2012 feature directorial debut “The Cabin in the Woods.”

“Bad Times at the El Royale” isn’t intended to be a cynical film, Goddard said. In fact, the director considers himself a hopeful person and said “there’s a constrained hope that runs through this film.” But the darker side of humanity was certainly something Goddard was keen on exploring.

“It was certainly not my intent to make it a cynical film, but I also am interested in dealing with the darker side of humanity and exploring what that means critically in film,” Goddard said. “That darkness was very much something that I wanted to explore with this film.

“[The film] also sprang from a love of the music of the ’60s, love of the fashion of the ’60s, love of the style, love of the people and what they were going through, because they really lived through some intense political turmoil and they walked out of that and created some of the best music and art and cinema that we’ve ever seen. And I don’t think that’s a mistake. The turmoil led to some real beauty, at least I hope it did because that gives me comfort in today’s times.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Drew Goddard to Write and Direct 'Deadpool' Spinoff 'X-Force'

'Bad Times at the El Royale' Film Review: Chris Hemsworth and Jon Hamm on a Dazzling '70s Night

Watch Jeff Bridges Talk 'Bad Times' and a Brighter Future (Exclusive Video)

‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ Director Hopes Chris Hemsworth Will Be in Every Movie He Makes

Drew Goddard, who wrote and directed “Bad Times at the El Royale” for Fox, fulfilled one dream when Jeff Bridges agreed to take the role of Father Daniel Flynn, but it’s Chris Hemsworth, who plays charismatic and (of course) incredibly fit cult leader Billy Lee, with whom Goddard wants to work with for the rest of his life.

“[Chris Hemsworth] is such an extraordinary talent and an extraordinary person. He really is someone I could mix all the other actors around him he’s so conscious of everyone else, both cast and crew,” Goddard told TheWrap during a phone interview. “He’s just — he’s one of the radiant talents of our time… I hope he’s in everything I do for the rest of my life.”

This marks Goddard and Hemsworth’s second film together, the first being “The Cabin in the Woods” in 2012 — also the last time Goddard directed a feature film.

Also Read: ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ Film Review: Chris Hemsworth and Jon Hamm on a Dazzling ’70s Night

“Bad Times at the El Royale,” which hits theaters this weekend, follows seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, who meet at Lake Tahoe’s El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one fateful night, everyone is presented with one last shot at redemption — before everything goes to hell.

Along with Hemsworth andBridges, “Bad Times at the El Royale” stars Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Nick Offerman, Lewis Pullman and Cailee Spaeny.

Hemsworth’s character plays a vital role in bringing the cast of characters together on the fateful night, and on his character is where one of the film’s major themes lies.

“So much of this film is about toxic masculinity and how men use that toxic masculinity to achieve power,” Goddard said. “We see it with cults even today, these cults are still thriving and you see the same characteristics in these cults; they’re all, almost exclusively led by men and a singular man who is very charismatic and very dangerous in his charisma and I felt like exploring that darkness was sort of key to the understanding of this film and understanding what the women of this film were going through and what they had to deal with and so it started there.

Also Read: Rebecca Ferguson Joins Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson in ‘Men in Black’ Spinoff

“Chris sunk his teeth into that very quickly. He understood the darkness that came from the charisma of a character like Billy Lee and how seducing people, and the audience, makes them complicit in the darkness and so with Chris, he very much embodied that.”

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Drew Goddard, who wrote and directed “Bad Times at the El Royale” for Fox, fulfilled one dream when Jeff Bridges agreed to take the role of Father Daniel Flynn, but it’s Chris Hemsworth, who plays charismatic and (of course) incredibly fit cult leader Billy Lee, with whom Goddard wants to work with for the rest of his life.

“[Chris Hemsworth] is such an extraordinary talent and an extraordinary person. He really is someone I could mix all the other actors around him he’s so conscious of everyone else, both cast and crew,” Goddard told TheWrap during a phone interview. “He’s just — he’s one of the radiant talents of our time… I hope he’s in everything I do for the rest of my life.”

This marks Goddard and Hemsworth’s second film together, the first being “The Cabin in the Woods” in 2012 — also the last time Goddard directed a feature film.

“Bad Times at the El Royale,” which hits theaters this weekend, follows seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, who meet at Lake Tahoe’s El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one fateful night, everyone is presented with one last shot at redemption — before everything goes to hell.

Along with Hemsworth andBridges, “Bad Times at the El Royale” stars Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Nick Offerman, Lewis Pullman and Cailee Spaeny.

Hemsworth’s character plays a vital role in bringing the cast of characters together on the fateful night, and on his character is where one of the film’s major themes lies.

“So much of this film is about toxic masculinity and how men use that toxic masculinity to achieve power,” Goddard said. “We see it with cults even today, these cults are still thriving and you see the same characteristics in these cults; they’re all, almost exclusively led by men and a singular man who is very charismatic and very dangerous in his charisma and I felt like exploring that darkness was sort of key to the understanding of this film and understanding what the women of this film were going through and what they had to deal with and so it started there.

“Chris sunk his teeth into that very quickly. He understood the darkness that came from the charisma of a character like Billy Lee and how seducing people, and the audience, makes them complicit in the darkness and so with Chris, he very much embodied that.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Tessa Thompson Heads to 'Avengers 4' Set in Atlanta With Chris Hemsworth

Chris Hemsworth Says 'Avengers 4' Is 'Even More Shocking' Than 'Infinity War'

Chris Hemsworth's Impressive 'Body' of Marvel Work Analyzed With Shirtless Montage (Video)

‘Bad Times At The El Royale’ Review: Jeff Bridges & Chris Hemsworth Lead Cool Cast In Fun, Retro Film Noir Wannabe

The ads for the noirish new thriller Bad Times at the El Royale suggest that the plot revolves around seven strangers with a “secret to bury.” That certainly is truth in advertising as it seems to be exactly what writer-director Drew Goddar…

The ads for the noirish new thriller Bad Times at the El Royale suggest that the plot revolves around seven strangers with a “secret to bury.” That certainly is truth in advertising as it seems to be exactly what writer-director Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods) has in mind in a pic that recalls movies like Bogart’s Key Largo and film noirs of the 1940s but most recently the Quentin Tarantino oeuvre of blood-soaked multi-character flicks that bring a visceral edge to…

‘First Man’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Universal Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “First Man.” Ads placed for the dra…

In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Universal Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “First Man.” Ads placed for the drama had an estimated media value of $8.55 million through Sunday for 1,157 national […]

‘First Man’ Lifts Off This Weekend to Steep Box Office Competition

“Venom” and “A Star Is Born,” both hot off of very strong openings at the box office last weekend, will now serve as tough competition for this week’s pair of big releases, Universal’s “First Man” and Fox’s “Bad Times at the El Royale.”

“First Man” is the followup for director Damien Chazelle after winning the Oscar for Best Director for “La La Land” last year, with Ryan Gosling and several other Oscar winners from his “La La Land” team joining him. But while “La La Land” had a limited December release and a slow rollout through January, “First Man” will be released wide by Universal on 3,600 screens. The studio is projecting an opening weekend of $15-18 million, with independent trackers pushing their expectations up to $20 million.

Also Read: How Far Can ‘Venom’ Go at the Box Office?

With a $60 million budget, such a result wouldn’t exactly be the big start that “A Star Is Born” enjoyed with older audiences last weekend, and “First Man” will certainly face a challenge finding a foothold with the prestige crowd, with the Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga film being the talk of the film industry right now. But there is precedent for an awards contender finding success from an Oct. 12 release date: the 2013 Best Picture Oscar winner “Argo.”

Released in fall 2012 on 3,232 screens, “Argo” had a fairly modest opening weekend of $19.4 million, but went on to gross over $10 million for the next three weekends and finished with a domestic total of $136 million and a global total of $232.3 million against a $44 million budget.

That’s the path “First Man” will look to follow through a fall calendar that, in addition to “A Star Is Born,” includes upcoming films like “Bohemian Rhapsody.” One thing “First Man” has going for it is IMAX, which is heavily promoting the film as the company provided Chazelle with its cameras to screen the climactic scenes on the surface of the moon.

Also Read: October Box Office Returns Could Be So Good It’s Scary

Though only a few minutes of the film will be in the IMAX format, critics have praised the sudden transition from 35mm widescreen to 4K digital IMAX as one of the highlights of the film, and both Universal and IMAX are hoping that’s enough of a draw to get moviegoers to pay a little extra for the premium ticket.

Based on James R. Hansen’s detailed recounting of the Apollo 11 lunar mission, “First Man” stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong and delves into the personal life and inner mind of the famous yet very reserved astronaut, particularly how the death of his infant daughter impacted him. Claire Foy also stars as Armstrong’s wife, Janet. Josh Singer, who co-wrote “Spotlight” and “The Post,” penned the screenplay.

“Bad Times at the El Royale,” meanwhile, will try to peel off some of the younger moviegoers who went to go see “Venom” this past weekend. Tracker projections are spread out for this noir thriller, but average to a projected opening in the low-to-mid-teens. That result would match the $14.7 million start for director Drew Goddard’s 2012 cult horror classic, “The Cabin in the Woods.”

Also Read: ‘Free Solo’ Sets Documentary Record at Indie Box Office

“El Royale” features an ensemble cast including Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Chris Hemsworth, and Nick Offerman as a group of individuals who check in to the seedy El Royale hotel on the border of California and Nevada. Soon, secrets are revealed and bullets fly as everything goes horribly wrong.

Finally, there’s Sony’s “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween,” a sequel to the 2015 family horror comedy based on R.L. Stine’s YA book series. Unlike the other two major releases, this film won’t have to compete much for its main demographic, family audiences, as “The House With A Clock in its Walls” is expected to fall out of the top five on the charts this weekend.

The reported $35 million film is projected for an opening in the high teens this weekend, slightly below the $23.6 million that the first film grossed. However, the first “Goosebumps” had a much higher budget at $58 million and grossed $150 million worldwide, putting this sequel in a position to make a larger profit. Jack Black returns to reprise his role as a fictionalized version of Stine, with “It” star Jeremy Ray Taylor, Caleel Harris and Ken Jeong also starring.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Ryan Gosling Explains His ‘Mild’ Concussion Shooting ‘First Man’ Action Scenes

Damien Chazelle Aims to Show Neil Armstrong’s ‘Normalcy and Quotidian Reality’ in ‘First Man’ (Video)

‘First Man’ Gets Bigger and Bolder in Toronto IMAX Premiere

“Venom” and “A Star Is Born,” both hot off of very strong openings at the box office last weekend, will now serve as tough competition for this week’s pair of big releases, Universal’s “First Man” and Fox’s “Bad Times at the El Royale.”

“First Man” is the followup for director Damien Chazelle after winning the Oscar for Best Director for “La La Land” last year, with Ryan Gosling and several other Oscar winners from his “La La Land” team joining him. But while “La La Land” had a limited December release and a slow rollout through January, “First Man” will be released wide by Universal on 3,600 screens. The studio is projecting an opening weekend of $15-18 million, with independent trackers pushing their expectations up to $20 million.

With a $60 million budget, such a result wouldn’t exactly be the big start that “A Star Is Born” enjoyed with older audiences last weekend, and “First Man” will certainly face a challenge finding a foothold with the prestige crowd, with the Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga film being the talk of the film industry right now. But there is precedent for an awards contender finding success from an Oct. 12 release date: the 2013 Best Picture Oscar winner “Argo.”

Released in fall 2012 on 3,232 screens, “Argo” had a fairly modest opening weekend of $19.4 million, but went on to gross over $10 million for the next three weekends and finished with a domestic total of $136 million and a global total of $232.3 million against a $44 million budget.

That’s the path “First Man” will look to follow through a fall calendar that, in addition to “A Star Is Born,” includes upcoming films like “Bohemian Rhapsody.” One thing “First Man” has going for it is IMAX, which is heavily promoting the film as the company provided Chazelle with its cameras to screen the climactic scenes on the surface of the moon.

Though only a few minutes of the film will be in the IMAX format, critics have praised the sudden transition from 35mm widescreen to 4K digital IMAX as one of the highlights of the film, and both Universal and IMAX are hoping that’s enough of a draw to get moviegoers to pay a little extra for the premium ticket.

Based on James R. Hansen’s detailed recounting of the Apollo 11 lunar mission, “First Man” stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong and delves into the personal life and inner mind of the famous yet very reserved astronaut, particularly how the death of his infant daughter impacted him. Claire Foy also stars as Armstrong’s wife, Janet. Josh Singer, who co-wrote “Spotlight” and “The Post,” penned the screenplay.

“Bad Times at the El Royale,” meanwhile, will try to peel off some of the younger moviegoers who went to go see “Venom” this past weekend. Tracker projections are spread out for this noir thriller, but average to a projected opening in the low-to-mid-teens. That result would match the $14.7 million start for director Drew Goddard’s 2012 cult horror classic, “The Cabin in the Woods.”

“El Royale” features an ensemble cast including Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Chris Hemsworth, and Nick Offerman as a group of individuals who check in to the seedy El Royale hotel on the border of California and Nevada. Soon, secrets are revealed and bullets fly as everything goes horribly wrong.

Finally, there’s Sony’s “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween,” a sequel to the 2015 family horror comedy based on R.L. Stine’s YA book series. Unlike the other two major releases, this film won’t have to compete much for its main demographic, family audiences, as “The House With A Clock in its Walls” is expected to fall out of the top five on the charts this weekend.

The reported $35 million film is projected for an opening in the high teens this weekend, slightly below the $23.6 million that the first film grossed. However, the first “Goosebumps” had a much higher budget at $58 million and grossed $150 million worldwide, putting this sequel in a position to make a larger profit. Jack Black returns to reprise his role as a fictionalized version of Stine, with “It” star Jeremy Ray Taylor, Caleel Harris and Ken Jeong also starring.

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Watch Jeff Bridges Talk ‘Bad Times’ and a Brighter Future (Video)

Jeff Bridges knows you’re weary of Hollywood types telling people to save the environment. So he only tries to make small changes… which may lead to bigger ones.
But we’ll let him explain. You can watch the Oscar winner in our video, …

Jeff Bridges knows you’re weary of Hollywood types telling people to save the environment. So he only tries to make small changes… which may lead to bigger ones.

But we’ll let him explain. You can watch the Oscar winner in our video, above, or listen to our full interview for the “Shoot This Now” podcast. It’s available on Apple or right here.

Bridges narrates the new environmental documentary “Living in the Future Past,” directed by Susan Kucera, which looks at the subconscious motivations for our decisions, and how they may unintentionally hurt the world around us. The film opened last week. Bridges’ other new film, “Bad Times at the El Royale,” opens Friday.

In our interview, Bridges talks about “The Big Lebowski,” “Star Man,” his first acting job as a child — and architect Bucky Fuller.

As Bridges explains, Fuller introduced the metaphor of the “trim tab” to explain how small changes can force large ones. Fuller noted that the rudder of a massive ship has a rudder of its own, called a “trim tab,” that moves the larger rudder, and in turn the entire ship.

“Bucky Fuller says that this is a great metaphor for how the individual affects society — that we are all connected to other groups of people who are likeminded, want to go in that direction,” Bridges said. “And as a matter of fact on Bucky’s gravestone he’s carved in there ‘Call Me Trim Tab.’ And that’s always been an inspiration to me.”

Bridges tried to be a trim tab on the set of “Bad Times,” asking for a small, environmentally friendly change. It turns out he didn’t need to, as he explains on the podcast.

Bridges, who won an Oscar for his role on alcoholic country-music star Bad Blake in “Crazy Heart,” also talks with us about the Coen Brothers, White Russians — and why you should never drink one through a plastic straw.

You can learn more about “Living in the Future’s Past” here.

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‘First Man’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Universal Pictures claims the top spot in spending with “First Man.” Ads placed for the drama had an estimated media val…

In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Universal Pictures claims the top spot in spending with “First Man.” Ads placed for the drama had an estimated media value of $8.4 million through Sunday for 621 national ad airings on 24 networks. (Spend figures […]

Drew Goddard does the twist in Bad Times At The El Royale

After a lackluster close—Downsizing, which I skipped for a Takashi Miike movie because I believe in self-care—to last year’s festival, Fantastic Fest wrapped up its 2018 edition with a more on-brand title, the kind of buzzy Hollywood genre project the…

After a lackluster close—Downsizing, which I skipped for a Takashi Miike movie because I believe in self-care—to last year’s festival, Fantastic Fest wrapped up its 2018 edition with a more on-brand title, the kind of buzzy Hollywood genre project the festival has been increasingly courting over the past few years:

Read more...

‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ Review: Drew Goddard’s Fiendishly Clever Second Film Proves ‘Cabin in the Woods’ Was No Fluke

A piece of major studio entertainment so patient, artful, and thrilling that it might as well be a time machine to the mid-’90s.

IWCriticsPick

Drew Goddard likes to watch. As he made clear in his sly and self-reflexive 2012 debut “The Cabin in the Woods,” he likes to place his characters in a hall of mirrors that only he can see clearly, and he likes to make his audiences to shudder at their own reflections in the glass.

Of the many things his rollicking second feature has in common with his previous one, the most fundamental is that both films take a genre that’s grown painfully stale, step back until we’re looking at it from a god’s-eye view, and then — however damning it might be — force us reckon with what we love about them. With “The Cabin in the Woods,” Goddard deconstructed horror tropes from the inside out in order to explore how slashers and monster movies satiate the collective bloodlust that we bring into the theater. And with the clever, patient, and almost genuinely moving “Bad Times at the El Royale,” he vivisects post-Tarantino crime sagas in order to explore how these stories allow us to look through the heavy veil of morality that tends to fall over our eyes in the clear light of day.

Walking into the theater for “Bad Times at the El Royale,” it’s obvious from the pulpy title alone that you’re about to spend a long night with a sordid bunch of low-lifes, all of whom want to tease out a little sympathy for the devil. The fun of Goddard’s fiendishly unpredictable new film — a piece of major studio entertainment so patient and artful that it might as well be a time machine back to the mid-’90s — is that it compels you to give the devil the benefit of the doubt. Not only that, it lets you in on the trick until you stop asking if you should be forgiving these characters, and start questioning why you’re so eager to try.

It begins, as it must, with a premise so rote that it’s tempting to write the whole thing off. Shot like a diorama, even the curious opening scene — in which a criminal played by Nick Offerman buries a bag of loot under the floorboards of a seedy hotel room — is built around clichés. The story picks up 10 years later, in a stray pocket of time between the ’60s and ’70s, when a priest (Jeff Bridges), a slick vacuum salesman (Jon Hamm), and a lounge singer named Darlene Sweet (Cynthia Erivo, electric in “Widows” and even better here) converge on the semi-abandoned El Royale lodge and casino on the border of Nevada and California. And in this case, “on the border” is meant to be taken literally — the state line runs straight through the lobby, with gambling allowed on one side and drinking allowed on the other.  It’s a purgatory that’s somehow in two places at once, and also nowhere at all.

Once the hottest spot in Lake Tahoe, the El Royale is now a crumbling dump where a room costs $8 a night, but customers often rent by the hour. There’s only one employee left: A scrawny, nervous junkie named Miles (Lewis Pullman) who works as the concierge, the bartender, and whatever else. The kid seems a bit overwhelmed by the sudden influx of guests, even before rude hippie Dakota Johnson shows up with some precious human cargo in the trunk of her car. Aside from Miles, the only thing that still works in the hotel is the Wurlitzer in the back, and Goddard keeps the golden oldies spinning from start to finish.

It’s clear from the jump that everyone — everyone — is hiding something, and it isn’t long before you start to suspect that the movie itself is trying to disguise its true intentions. There’s something about the patter between Goddard’s characters as they meet each other for the first time. The dialogue is amusing, but not funny. The guests at the El Royale are all generic, but they’re all played by actors who are too interesting for such conspicuous roles (none of them can quite settle into their types, like they’ve each got a pebble in their shoes). The aesthetic is stylized, but never strong enough in one direction for the film to belong to any of its forbearers.

Even the influences feel out of focus. Curt title cards, frequent time jumps, and a predilection for period details reeks of Tarantino, but the premise owes more to Alfred Hitchcock, or Agatha Christie for that matter. John Huston’s “Key Largo” is the movie that comes to mind as night falls and the rains come with it. Really, it doesn’t matter what the references are — for Goddard, the important thing is that you’re trying to name them; that you’re a half-step removed from the story so you can clock how it screws with your expectations.

Once again, Goddard makes that idea literal, as Hamm’s character —  basically a Southern-fried parody of Don Draper — discovers a two-way mirror in his room, and follows it to find a corridor that allows him to spy on all of the other guests (someone will later describe the El Royale as “some kind of pervert hotel”). That’s when the movie shows us its voyeuristic soul, as Goddard crafts a bravura sequence that puts a fresh layer of distance between his audience and his plot. The turn is far less explicitly meta-textual than the big reveal in “The Cabin in the Woods,” but it delivers the same jolt of excitement. And this time, we get to hear Cynthia Erivo belting out a doo-wop classic over the whole, in the first of three killer scenes that let the Tony-winner sing at the top of her lungs. If only the rest of the movie were as emotionally involving as those scenes — if only the character work was as rich and layered as Erivo’s voice — maybe “Bad Times at the El Royale” could have worked as well as a story as it does as a thought exercise.

From that point on, the film is a series of delicious reveals and deadly reversals, each a bit more satisfying than the last. The film only becomes more fun as you get hip to what it’s doing, with Goddard’s big cast continuing to balloon over the course of this 140-minute epic. Chris Hemsworth as a shredded, dancing, Charles Manson-esque cult figure who triple underlines the Tarantino connection? Sure. Xavier Dolan as an evil British music executive? Why not. “The Good Place” star Manny Jacinto as a henchman without any lines of dialogue? Okay. All (or at least most) of these characters — stuck in the limbo between heaven and Las Vegas — are looking for some measure of forgiveness, and a few of them might even find it. A few more of them might get a shotgun blast to the back when they least expect it, because this is nothing if not the kind of movie where people get shotgunned in the back when they least expect it.

But we don’t want that for them. The more that Goddard upends our assumptions about who’s good, who’s bad, and who’s going to live through the night, the more we realize that we’re rooting for all of these fucked-up people to get right with the world. It’s massively didactic, but in a way that encourages us to dwell on how we feel about these characters, and how malleable those feelings are. We’re quicker to judge people in a movie than we are in real life, but we’re quicker to forgive them as well, and there’s a profound degree of wish fulfillment in that — if only we were that generous with ourselves or each other, then maybe we wouldn’t be so drawn to stories of dispossessed criminals, or so eager for them to get away with murder. Figuratively. Or literally. As Bridges’ character puts it so well: “I’m old. Shit happens. Get the whiskey.”

Grade: B+

20th Century Fox will release “Bad Times at the El Royale” in theaters on October 12th.

‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ Film Review: Chris Hemsworth and Jon Hamm Spend a Dazzling, Convoluted Night in the 70s

A mysterious group of strangers. An unusual location, filled with secrets. A flashback structure that reveals unexpected backstories for every major character. “Bad Times at the El Royale” plays a heck of a lot like the TV series “Lost,” and that’s probably not a coincidence: Writer-director Drew Goddard used to write for the show, and he’s filled this new crime thriller with many of the tricks that made “Lost” so great — and many the flaws that made it fall apart by the final season.

The El Royale Hotel is situated on the border of Nevada and California, and it’s a grand old place with lots of quirk and history. It’s the 1970s, and a priest named Father Flynn (Jeff Bridges), a salesman named Laramie (Jon Hamm), a singer named Darlene (Cynthia Erivo, “Widows”) and a drifter who signs the ledger as “F–k You” (Dakota Johnson) are all checking in for the evening.

Goddard lets the opening of “Bad Times at the El Royale” run much like a stage play, with witty, conversational dialogue and lots and lots and lots of exposition. He loves his characters, and he clearly loves letting them talk. So it’s amusing to watch as the film undermines everything this introduction tells us about everybody. Each chapter of “Bad Times” focuses on a different characters and explains that they aren’t who they say they are, or what anybody else thinks of them.

Also Read: Tessa Thompson Heads to ‘Avengers 4’ Set in Atlanta With Chris Hemsworth

Needless to say, they don’t all spend a quiet evening reading airplane novels and then going to sleep. “Bad Times at the El Royale” is a tale of intrigue, murder, kidnapping, blackmail and many other crimes that can’t be mentioned without spoiling the plot. (Chris Hemsworth is in the movie too, and saying any more than that is also a spoiler.) Half the fun of Goddard’s film is watching how he parcels new information out in visually intriguing and sometimes misleading ways.

The other half is watching the cast take a big juicy bite out of Goddard’s screenplay, which never met a page of dialogue it wasn’t afraid to double. Bridges plays a smiling man of God with dark secrets, and he has a sad story to reveal to Erivo, as a singer afraid of never quite making it, who gets to sing beautifully throughout the entire film. Johnson isn’t the vicious criminal she first appears to be, and the hotel’s sole employee, Miles (Lewis Pullman, “Battle of the Sexes”), is eager to please, eager to confess, and afraid of something truly scarring.

See Photo: Dakota Johnson Gives Herself to the Dance in Haunting ‘Suspiria’ Image

“Bad Times” may not be Goddard’s directorial debut — that would be the spectacular horror satire “The Cabin in the Woods” — but this is the work of an artist who acts like he’s still trying to prove himself. It’s a tide pool of a motion picture, filled with every kind of colorful life Goddard could think of, as though each denizen of the El Royale just stepped out of a completely different movie, and they all came crashing together over the course of an evening. There isn’t a single shot in the movie, no line of dialogue, that hasn’t been amplified for maximum impact.

It’s spectacularly photographed (by Seamus McGarvey, “The Greatest Showman”), every character is rich, and the soundtrack is spectacular. “Bad Times at the El Royale” is a heck of a lot of fun to watch, but it runs through its bag of tricks too soon. There aren’t enough flashbacks to play consistently through the entire film, so Goddard eventually has to settle down and let only one of the subplots take over the whole show when the final act rolls around.

Watch Video: Jon Hamm Would Be Interested in Playing Batman: ‘Why Not?’

And like “Lost,” the mysteries are arguably more appealing than the answers, and there’s a decent chance that the storyline Goddard thinks was the most interesting isn’t actually the one that audience members will have focused on.

“Bad Times at the El Royale” is vibrant motion picture, in a way few films are nowadays. One might even call it indulgent, although “decadent” is probably more accurate. It’s a giant of declaration of love for these characters and every genre they inhabit, warts and all. And although it’s long, melodramatic and messy — there’s one character who’s clearly important, and about whom the movie completely forgets about — it’s nevertheless kind of rapturous to visit. For a while.



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A mysterious group of strangers. An unusual location, filled with secrets. A flashback structure that reveals unexpected backstories for every major character. “Bad Times at the El Royale” plays a heck of a lot like the TV series “Lost,” and that’s probably not a coincidence: Writer-director Drew Goddard used to write for the show, and he’s filled this new crime thriller with many of the tricks that made “Lost” so great — and many the flaws that made it fall apart by the final season.

The El Royale Hotel is situated on the border of Nevada and California, and it’s a grand old place with lots of quirk and history. It’s the 1970s, and a priest named Father Flynn (Jeff Bridges), a salesman named Laramie (Jon Hamm), a singer named Darlene (Cynthia Erivo, “Widows”) and a drifter who signs the ledger as “F–k You” (Dakota Johnson) are all checking in for the evening.

Goddard lets the opening of “Bad Times at the El Royale” run much like a stage play, with witty, conversational dialogue and lots and lots and lots of exposition. He loves his characters, and he clearly loves letting them talk. So it’s amusing to watch as the film undermines everything this introduction tells us about everybody. Each chapter of “Bad Times” focuses on a different characters and explains that they aren’t who they say they are, or what anybody else thinks of them.

Needless to say, they don’t all spend a quiet evening reading airplane novels and then going to sleep. “Bad Times at the El Royale” is a tale of intrigue, murder, kidnapping, blackmail and many other crimes that can’t be mentioned without spoiling the plot. (Chris Hemsworth is in the movie too, and saying any more than that is also a spoiler.) Half the fun of Goddard’s film is watching how he parcels new information out in visually intriguing and sometimes misleading ways.

The other half is watching the cast take a big juicy bite out of Goddard’s screenplay, which never met a page of dialogue it wasn’t afraid to double. Bridges plays a smiling man of God with dark secrets, and he has a sad story to reveal to Erivo, as a singer afraid of never quite making it, who gets to sing beautifully throughout the entire film. Johnson isn’t the vicious criminal she first appears to be, and the hotel’s sole employee, Miles (Lewis Pullman, “Battle of the Sexes”), is eager to please, eager to confess, and afraid of something truly scarring.

“Bad Times” may not be Goddard’s directorial debut — that would be the spectacular horror satire “The Cabin in the Woods” — but this is the work of an artist who acts like he’s still trying to prove himself. It’s a tide pool of a motion picture, filled with every kind of colorful life Goddard could think of, as though each denizen of the El Royale just stepped out of a completely different movie, and they all came crashing together over the course of an evening. There isn’t a single shot in the movie, no line of dialogue, that hasn’t been amplified for maximum impact.

It’s spectacularly photographed (by Seamus McGarvey, “The Greatest Showman”), every character is rich, and the soundtrack is spectacular. “Bad Times at the El Royale” is a heck of a lot of fun to watch, but it runs through its bag of tricks too soon. There aren’t enough flashbacks to play consistently through the entire film, so Goddard eventually has to settle down and let only one of the subplots take over the whole show when the final act rolls around.

And like “Lost,” the mysteries are arguably more appealing than the answers, and there’s a decent chance that the storyline Goddard thinks was the most interesting isn’t actually the one that audience members will have focused on.

“Bad Times at the El Royale” is vibrant motion picture, in a way few films are nowadays. One might even call it indulgent, although “decadent” is probably more accurate. It’s a giant of declaration of love for these characters and every genre they inhabit, warts and all. And although it’s long, melodramatic and messy — there’s one character who’s clearly important, and about whom the movie completely forgets about — it’s nevertheless kind of rapturous to visit. For a while.

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Film Review: ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’

A line runs right through the middle of Lake Tahoe’s Cal Neva Resort & Casino, splitting the swimming pool between two states: Step into the shallow end on the California side, and the water gets progressively deeper as you cross over into Nevada. …

A line runs right through the middle of Lake Tahoe’s Cal Neva Resort & Casino, splitting the swimming pool between two states: Step into the shallow end on the California side, and the water gets progressively deeper as you cross over into Nevada. A tangled nest of mysteries and rumors in its own right, the […]

‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Twentieth Century Fox claims the top spot in spending with “Bad Times at the El Royale.” Ads placed for the thriller had…

In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Twentieth Century Fox claims the top spot in spending with “Bad Times at the El Royale.” Ads placed for the thriller had an estimated media value of $5.16 million through Sunday for 721 national ad airings […]

Jeff Bridges Approves of A ‘Big Lebowski’ Remake: ‘If I Was in It’

Jeff Bridges is open to a “Big Lebowski” remake, but only under one condition — he has to be in it. Variety caught up with the actor Saturday night at the premiere of his latest film, “Bad Times at the El Royale,” where Br…

Jeff Bridges is open to a “Big Lebowski” remake, but only under one condition — he has to be in it. Variety caught up with the actor Saturday night at the premiere of his latest film, “Bad Times at the El Royale,” where Bridges reflected on the 20th anniversary of the cult hit. The “Only […]