Hollywood in Review

  • 29 Dec - 04 Jan, 2019
  • Farheen Jawaid
  • Reviews

Another year has come and gone, and like last year, again we are at the threshold of another. As usual, we look back at what the year was, reminiscing some great monuments of success, and on the other hand looking at disasters better left forgotten. In the year, some candles are blown out by mortal realities, and others are events that stayed with us for the whole year that sculpted the identity of the year.

This year had special meaning, as movies starring racial minorities made headlines as top earners. It will not be wrong to call it the year of the Black Panther, the biggest earner with a predominating black cast. It showed its mettle by earning $700 million in the US,and at the foreign markets made $646 million, rounding up the figure of $1.3 billion worldwide.

Despite astronomical number, another Marvel movie – Avengers: Infinity War – take the cake as the biggest earner at the box-office. The ensemble superhero adventure has made $678 million domestically and at the foreign markets $1.3 billion, rounding up the figure to $2 billion.

After Infinity Wars and Black Panther, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom isn’t that faraway at $1.3 billion, falling a few tens of million short of Black Panther, followed by The Incredibles 2 $1.2 billion, making the latter the second highest earning animated movie after Frozen.

A sneaker in the list is the year end release Venom (another Marvel character, used by Sony under a production deal), that beat out heavy-hitter Mission Impossible: Fallout, getting to the spot of the fifth biggest earner at $852 million (Fallout made $791 million).

When we talk about earners, let’s not forget the flops. All movies have to earn thrice the amount of their budget to be called a hit, and some movies below fall far short in that criteria.

This year had its biggest burned toast with Solo: A Star Wars Story that had a whopping budget of $275–300 million, making $392.9 million. With a production filled with re-shoots and director changes, the bad hype attached to this solo Star Wars movie made it the most disappointing earner of the Star Wars franchise.

A Wrinkle in Time with an estimated budget of$100 to 130 million, this gargantuan flop made 132 million. A Wrinkle in Time, with its diverse women-led cast didn’t bring the sparks to the children adventure genre, even with the added hype. The Happy time Murders was another highly disappointing release that only made 27 million on a budget of 40 million; this Melissa McCarthy starrer was not liked by the critics or the audiences.

Next up, the Rob Cohen directed and Toby Kebbell starrer The Hurricane Heist, made 4 million on a cost of 35 million. The movie is about a bank heist in midst of a big hurricane that blows everything to smithereens.Its not that old-school formulas don’t work anymore. They would, if they are well-made. This wasn’t the case here.

Gotti, a biopic about the New York crime boss starring Travolta as the lead, is directed by Kevin Connolly (of Entourage). Produced in 10 million, it only made 4 million at the box-office.

While Robin Hood and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms are still running at a few screens, they both deserve a special mention in this flop list. The new Robin Hood tried to be trendy is a financial bomb (the budget is 100 million, and it is brining 67million home). The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is, relatively, just as big of a flop, making 120 of its 152 million budget. Both titles don’t show any sign of improving their numbers.

Crazy Rich Asian along with Black Panther showed the power of racial diversity from tinsel town: Hollywood. Like Panther, Asians also had a dominating women-cast, and the perfect mix of the two movements – women empowerment and racial equality – turned the tide in Hollywood.

Things seem to be picking for more women-led mainstream movies, with the successful Oceans 8, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, A Simple Favor, I Feel Pretty and Halloween.

Other titles that were less successful monetarily still made their presence felt. The titles included: Annihilation (Natalie Portman), Red Sparrow (Jennifer Lawrence), Tomb Raider (Alicia Vikander), The Girl In The Spider's Web (Claire Foy) and A Wrinkle in Time (Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling); this list also has other smaller budgeted fares like Eighth Grade, The Hate U Give, The Darkest Minds, Can You Ever Forgive Me? – and female-led the revenge thrillers Acrimony, Peppermint, Widows.

The Me Too and Time’s Up movement that brought to light sexual harassment women and men suffered had a good day when Bill Cosby was – at last – put behind bars.

Cosby, it should be noted, was not convicted for his cases,because numerous cases of sexual harassment, rape and other crimes were well-over the limit of the statutes of limitations; he was,however, convicted for aggravated indecent assault charges that has him serving three to 10 years in prison.

In other related developments, Harvey Weinstein gave himself up to the police, standing trial for his molesting and harassing of women who worked with him. The women he preyed came from all walks of life: from power house actresses to countless others.

Kevin Spacey was removed from the House of Cards, because of his sexual harassment and rape charges. The last season of the House of Cards is back on Netflix with Robin Wright taking the lead.

Another controversy relating to the small screen is that of Rosanne Barr. The lead actress of the once loved show Roseanne, which ran from 88-97, had returned to the small screen with rave review and views, but after few racially-insensitive comments from Barr raised an uproar on social media which resulted in the show’s cancelation. A new spinoff of the show, The Conners, will continue on without Barr.

People who left this us this year, are still in our heart. The most devastating of the blows came from comic icon Stan Lee (95 years young), director Bernardo Bertolucci (77), writer William Goldman (87), once iconic actor with the heavy mustaches, Burt Reynolds (82),the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin (76) and actress Margot Kidder (69).

This has also been the year of Hollywood weddings. While it is not a story right out of fairy tale, the royal wedding of former-actress Meghan Markle became the talk of the town because she is a first woman of racial-minority to be wedded in the royal family. Markle is now the Duchess of Sussex with Prince Harry. Other celebs who said their I do’s were Justine Beiber, Priyanka Chopra, Kit Harington and Rose Leslie, Amy Schumer and Chris Fischer, Quentin Tarantino and Daniella Pick, Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Falchuk, Hugh Grant and Anna Eberstein.

All in all, 2018 was a good year of more ups than downs. Changes that were once-coming, is finally here to stay. •