A superhero box office crisis?
And longtime Marvel exec departs
What to know
Why did Shazam! Fury of the Gods flop?… It’s highly unusual to see a superhero sequel make just $30 million opening weekend (and just $4.3M in China) — but that’s exactly what happened. Shazam was never a main attraction of the DC universe, but the first film is sneakily good and you’d think some good will might have built up over the years. Instead it seems there wasn’t much interest in the character and as Deadline argues, its lack of connective tissue to the rest of DC didn’t help. You can then pair that with middling reviews and a B+ CinemaScore to get a superhero flick dead in the water. As for the movie itself, it was fine, bogged down by a convoluted plot and goofy, bloated special effects. They managed to still squeeze some heart and humor in there, but just barely. DC’s James Gunn reboot can not come soon enough for WB. ⚡️
Upgrade to a full Pop Culture Brain Daily subscription for $1/month or $6/year.
Longtime Marvel Studios exec Victoria Alonso exits… This is quite the shocker as Alonso has been with the studio since Iron Man. It’s unclear why she’s leaving and what impact her departure will have on the future of Marvel. It’s worth noting though that Alonso is a gay Hispanic woman and has long championed LGBTQ+ representation in Marvel movies. Hopefully Marvel’s inclusion efforts don’t suffer in her absence. 👋
Shazam and Ant-Man sequels show superheroes aren’t bulletproof at the box office… Hopefully Warner Bros. and Disney are learning that they can’t just force feed inferior product onto franchise fans and expect them to eat it up. I don’t think the super hero genre is going the way of the Western just yet, but I do think we’re at an inflection point that’s bordering on all out fan revolt. 🦹🏼♀️
Peter Dinklage criticizes Disney for its Snow White remake… He’s railing against the Mouse for claiming to be progressive by casting a Latina Snow White but still including the 7 dwarves in the story. He’s got a point. Snow White is antiquated in that way and Disney, which needs to protect its IP, isn’t doing much to truly modernize. 🤔
Normal People intimacy coordinator launches first-ever intimacy practice degree… Smart idea as this on-set role becomes more prevalent. Intimacy coordinators in general are becoming more accepted and necessary in modern productions, but not without controversy. Toni Collette recently went on record saying they make her “more anxious.” Quite the take. 🎥
Jordan Peele’s next movie to hit Christmas Day 2024… He’s not wasting any time getting back to work on another feature. The Christmas release date can mean two things, either Universal is aiming this at awards season or they think it’s a four-quadrant blockbuster. 🧐
Kate McKinnon to star in Andrew Stanton’s sci-fi epic In the Blink of an Eye… Let’s hope this science fiction story is kinder to her than those aliens she used to meet on SNL. 👽
Christian Bale turned down $50 million to return as Batman… Out of loyalty to Christopher Nolan, who didn’t want to make a 4th Dark Knight movie. That’s true friendship. 🦇
Eva Longoria’s Flamin’ Hot Cheetos movie to premiere on Hulu and Disney+ June 9… I wonder if this is a sign to come about Disney expanding the type of content on D+? 🔥
Mike Faist and Lucas Hedges to star in Brokeback Mountain stage adaptation in London… Surprising that the West End production will include two American actors. 🎭
Adam Sandler receives Mark Twain Prize for comedy… It’s about time. The ceremony will air March 26 on CNN and will surely be hilarious. 🎤
White Lotus star Will Sharpe to direct film adaptation of Michelle Zauner’s Crying in H Mart… Zauner herself is writing the script. 😭
Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell making Good Burger 2 at Paramount+… One double-double of nostalgia, please. 🍔
SNL strike averted as show reaches deal with editors… The crew members will be getting a 60% pay increase over time! 🗽
Digman! — Mar 22 | Comedy Central animated series | 🍅
Up Here — Mar 24 | Hulu musical drama series | 🍅
Great Expectations — Mar 26 | Hulu drama series | 🍅
John Wick Chapter 4 — Mar 24 | Action movie in theaters | 🍅 92%
A Good Person — Mar 24 | Drama movie in theaters | 🍅
Returning: Yellowjackets s2, Love Is Blind s4, Succession s4
What to watch
Trailer: BlackBerry — May 12 in theaters
Written and directed by Matt Johnson, starring Jay Baruchel, Glenn Howerton, Johnson, Rich Sommer, Michael Ironside, Martin Donovan, Michelle Giroux, SungWon Cho, Saul Rubinek, and Cary Elwes.
This looks pretty great. I’m getting some Halt and Catch Fire vibes, but any time you show engineers working on computer tech in the ‘80s it’s going to invite that comparison. The satirical tone, fast pacing, and general snark of this trailer do set it apart though, and lead me to believe the movie is not going to be a straightforward dramatization of real events. Then add in Jay Baruchel and Glenn Howertown, both employing some drastic wig and make up looks, applying their comedy chops to the world of cut-throat drama (or maybe dark comedy?) and you’ve got a winner.
For all past ‘what to watch’ recommendations, see the full list here!