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Why have box office estimates at all 😆
And OK ad lib, Ryan Reynolds
What to know
Across the Spider-Verse webs epic $120.5M opening weekend… Remember when early estimates had it at $70M? Yeah, me neither. As I thought it would, Across blew expectations out of the water on the back of a beloved character and impeccable word of mouth. Sony was really underselling how well this movie would do — which is a good reminder to take estimates with a grain of salt. Check out these superlatives: A CinemaScore, 95% on RT, the highest rated movie on Letterboxd, highest rated superhero film on IMDB, and biggest opening day of 2023. Variety is saying it should be nominated for Best Picture, calling it the Dark Knight of animation. My thoughts are below, but needless to say, see this movie. It’s having quite the moment. I’m not sure if it will match Mario’s super-powered run, but we’ll see. 🕷️
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Producers address Across the Spider-Verse’s sound issues… There did seem to be one problem with the sequel’s rollout. A lot of moviegoers noticed sound mixing issues, myself included, in which the audio seemed a bit low. (I even asked an usher at my theater to fix it but I don’t think they did.) The movie’s producers seemed to have anticipated this and printed out stickers for projectionists praising them for playing the movie loudly “at a 7.” The filmmakers also encouraged audience members to make sure the theaters were doing this before the movie started. 🔊
Restarting the Pirates franchise is a priority for Disney… Makes sense as it was a very popular and reliable IP for a while there. Sean Bailey, the president of Disney’s motion picture production, says they even have “a really good, exciting story” that honors the past but charts new waters. DisInsider rounded up all the previously rumored and reported attempts at rebooting Pirates (including one script by Craig Mazin(!), the Margot Robbie spinoff, and a possible Disney+ project), but as of now, it’s unclear what form the restart will eventually take. 🏴☠️
Directors guild reaches tentative agreement with the studios… It includes “gains in wages and benefits, streaming residuals, AI protections and more.” (Hey, that list looks like what the writers would like too!) This means the DGA likely won’t be joining the writers on the picket line, avoiding an all-out work stoppage in Hollywood for now — it’s still possible SAG strikes. Meanwhile, the writers remain out there and deserve a fair deal too. 🪧
Ryan Reynolds will be able to improvise on Deadpool 3 — in the ADR booth… Deadpool’s comic creator tweeted that Reynolds will be able to let it fly in post production because the character wears a mask. They just better hope the writers strike wraps up in time for that. 🎤
Rumor says Andy Muschietti will direct The Brave and the Bold Batman movie for James Gunn’s DC… Muschietti is best known for directing It and the upcoming Flash movie, meaning his experience with clowns and DC makes him perfect for Batman. 🤡
The Super Mario Bros. Movie hits $1.3B, passes Frozen as 2nd biggest animated pic ever… This is like when you get to the end of a Mario game and you’ve stacked up hundreds of lives for no reason that you’re never going to get through. 🍄
Arnold — June 7 | Netflix documentary series | 🍅
Based on a True Story — June 8 | Peacock true crime drama-comedy | 🍅
Flaming Hot — June 9 | Hulu comedy film | 🍅 67%
The Crowded Room — June 9 | Apple drama series | 🍅 20%
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts — June 9 | Action movie in theaters | 🍅
The Tony Awards — June 11 | Broadway awards show
What to watch
2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse changed mainstream animation by ushering in an era of visual risk taking and nonconformity. We went from every DreamWorks and Pixar movie looking roughly the same, to getting wide varieties of styles as seen in things like The Mitchells Vs The Machines and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. But when you make a game-changing piece of art, is it even possible to do it again 5 years later and push the medium even further?
Phil Lord and Chris Miller said yes, and gave us Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, the best superhero movie since No Way Home and easily one of the best movies of the year, period.
Across the Spider-Verse is as breathtaking, boundary pushing, and stunning visually as it is emotionally. The sequel takes the original’s aesthetic ideas, its comic book palette and its post-modern stylizations and blows them out of the water. Not only does this movie deliver dozens of jaw-droppingly beautiful new worlds, character designs, and animation styles — it makes sure that each is reflective and in conversation with the characters and their stories therein. Be it Gwen’s world of running and fading water colors or The Spot’s barren, harsh, almost German impressionist no man’s land inside his own body. Camera, light, design, editing. There is nothing on the major studio level that’s as experimental, forward thinking, and electric as this movie.
Doing that would have been enough, but not an ounce is sacrificed in terms of writing and performance. The movie is really funny, maybe funnier than the first — and nimble enough to turn on a dime from laugh out loud humor, to tense action, to gut-punch emotional beats. Speaking of which, self identity and destiny remain a core theme but a lot of time is also given to parent-children relationships and sacrifice, in both subtle and overt ways that will touch almost everyone. Its voice actors are central to all of this working. Hailee Steinfeld really stepped up her game and Oscar Isaac brought so much weight and depth. The movie hinges on his commitment and it never waivers.
The one caveat is that the movie is an intentional middle installment of a trilogy. Its ending—or rather its ellipsis—might annoy some people. Yet it still felt like a whole and complete experience, and lived up to the great cliffhanger movies of the past like Empire Strikes Back and Infinity War. I could go on and on but the bottom line is get to a theater to see this.