Will Thor: Ragnarök Join the Billion Dollar Club?

img_0536I think it’s very, very likely.

Reason being, Thor earned just $449 million in 2011.  It’s sequel, Thor: The Dark World, earned almost $645 million in 2013.

Notice the upward trajectory?  And do you know what those prior movies didn’t have?

A Hulk!

So, while Thor: Ragnarok has yet to released in North America it’s already earned over $109 million and has yet to be released in the United States, Canada, China, Japan, Germany, Russia and Mexico

So, it’s expected to just earn just under $300 million from all those countries!?  Let’s see…it’s likely to earn over $100 domestically, meaning that it would be pulling in just under $200 million from Canada, China, Japan, Germany, Russia and Mexico.

And that’s HIGHLY unlikely.  I expect a more reasonable estimate is somewhere in the $500-$600 million ballpark, which considering it has no competition till Justice League comes out November 17th, I expect that it will have earned at least $700 million by that time, well on it’s way to a billion dollars.

 

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Thor: Ragnarok – Teaser Trailer

I have no idea why they’re calling the new trailer for Thor: Ragnarok a ‘teaser’ because it definitely has all the goods.

Ironically, what makes it such a joy to watch was that the prior movie in the series, Thor: The Dark World–while by no means terrible–was a bit underwhelming.

Director Taika Waititi looks like he’s hit his first feature for Marvel Studios out of the park.

 

Thor: Ragnarok And The New Kit

While Marvel Studios has probably one of the most enviable hit-to-miss ratios in Hollywood–14 and 0, including the upcoming Doctor Strange–that’s not to imply that some of their features weren’t weaker than others. 

The first movie based on Thorpatterned loosely on a character from Norse mythology–was surprisingly effective, taking a fairly outlandish character and imbuing him with depth and humor. 

The followup, 2013’s Alan Taylor-directed Thor: The Dark World, while no means bad, didn’t particularly move Thor (Chris Hemsworth) forward as a character, either. This would be less of an issue if it weren’t for the fact that other Marvel Studios characters, like Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) seemed to possess a momentum that Thor seemed to lack. 

What’s also interesting is I felt–at least initially–that Thor was a much more interesting superhero than Captain America, who felt a bit one-note to me.

That is, till Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

The sequel to Thor: The Dark World, Thor: Ragnarok will be directed by the idiocyncratic Taika Watiti(on Hemsworth’s left), who in the image shows his allegiance to the Native Poeple who are protesting an oil pipeline through their sacred lands. 

Though what’s also interesting about this photo is that it shows a new look for Thor that’s less ornamental than previous costumes, and more in line with a warrior esthetic. 

Postmortem: ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’

Have you ever seen a movie, like “Prometheus,” for instance, in which you were blown away when you first saw it in the theaters, only to see it again and wonder what the whole point was?  In this edition of ‘Postmortem’ I take another look at “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” a movie that I enjoyed the first time around, though I wanted to see it could stand repeated viewings.

I divided it up into six areas:  3D, Violence, Acting, Villains, Heroes and Story.

  • 3D

When I caught the 3D version of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” having already seen the non-dimensionally enhanced version two weeks earlier, I did so primarily to see if it holds up to repeated viewings though I was also curious as to whether the 3D was necessary.  And for those individuals that haven’t seen it in 3D, don’t worry about it.  It isn’t necessary and doesn’t add much in the way of value, though in scenes where large machinery was in play, like with the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarriers, or when there are explosions with lots of debris it was very interesting.

Other scenes, in other words most of the movie, not so much.

Verdict:  “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” isn’t markedly different–with the exception of a few scenes where it really pops–in 3D.  Check it out if you’re curious, but your money could be better spent elsewhere.  

  • Violence

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is without a doubt an action movie.  There’re numerous fight scenes early on, and they tend to be very visceral and physical.  Is it as violent as “Man Of Steel,” which for me sets the benchmark for superhero movie violence (including movies like “Kickass” and “Kickass 2,” though they differ in that gratuitous violence is what they’re selling to an extent.  Both are bloody and so over-the-top that they play more like a cartoon than anything else, which is their whole point)?

I’d have to say, No.  Captain America is violent, without a doubt, but that violence is of a more “realistic” nature and focused on individuals, as opposed to hundreds or thousands of people.  The scale of the violence in ‘Winter Soldier,’ as well as the way it’s edited,is focused less on the destruction itself and more on the athleticism of armed and unarmed combat.

Verdict: “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is an action film, but one that’s on a very human scale.  As a result, comes across as thrilling, as opposed to gratuitous.

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Warner Bros/DC Entertainment Has To Blink Against Marvel Studios/Disney

Batman Vs. Superman

image courtesy of Den Of Geek

Have you ever dealt with someone who was so set in their ways that they ignored any common sense response to their predicament?

That’s what i feel about what’s going on with Warner Bros. scheduling their upcoming “Superman Vs. Batman” against the currently untitled Captain America 3.  Disney had originally had that space staked out for an unnamed Marvel Studios movie, and Warners put their upcoming blockbuster on the same spot.

It’s a very bad move on their part for five reasons, off the top of my head.

  • “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” Is Doing Really, Really Well.  Shockingly Well, In Fact

“Man Of Steel” earned just over $668 million during its theatrical run.  That’s a lot of money, though you have to put it into context.  Superman was created in 1933 and eventually became one of the most popular characters in comic history.  He’s an American icon, but prior to “Man Of Steel” he appeared in “Superman Returns,” which underperformed at the box office, earning just over $391 million on a $270 million dollar budget.

“Man Of Steel” almost doubled those figures, but not remarkably so (it helped that it was also slightly cheaper to produce, at $225 million).

Now, Captain America was never as popular as Superman, and interest in the character has ebbed and flowed.  But the thing is the latest film, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” has earned almost $604 million after less than a month (twenty days, as of this writing).  It also cost less to produce, at $170 million, which seems to me to say that it is close to being as profitable as “Man Of Steel” RIGHT NOW, despite the fact that its theatrical run is no where close to being over (as evidence I should add that it’s been the number one film in the United States for about three weeks now).

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Five Reasons That Will Contribute To Guillermo Del Toro Directing Doctor Strange

This post is entirely speculation, though it is based upon logic as well as current news.

Notice that in the title of this article I sad “could” as opposed to “would” because the last I heard was that Del Toro was busy working on Legendary Pictures’ upcoming fright-feature “Crimson Peak,” as well as executive producing the FX series based upon the trilogy he wrote with Chuck Hogan, “The Strain,” “The Fall” and “The Night Eternal.”

But I have been reading the tea leaves and checking the entrails regularly, and here’s what I have seen:

1.  Despite Rumors To The Contrary, Guillermo Del Toro Will Not Be Doing “Justice League Dark” Anytime Soon

Why?  Because NBC is working on “Constantine,” a series not based on the Francis Lawrence movie of the same name, but the DC (formerly under their Vertigo imprint) series, also of the same name.  While it’s possible that the character could appear in both places at the same time (this is, of course assuming that the television series has a long life), it’s probably not going to happen.  The character of John Constantine is the lynchpin that the team revolves around, and without him the concept is pretty much dead in the water, besides being somewhat esoteric.

Matt Ryan/John Constantine

Matt Ryan as John Constantine

And that’s even considering how much Warner Bros would have to invest from the budget end of things, which would probably be huge (though they could do it with a partner, as long as it’s not Legendary Pictures, since they and Warner Bros. somewhat acrimoniously parted ways.  That being said, they still work with Village Roadshow Pictures).

2.  DC/Warner Bros. Doesn’t Seem To Have Much Of A Plan Toward Developing Their Characters

Whether or not someone likes what Marvel is doing with their characters, you have to admit that they not only have a plan, but they are executing it really, really well.  This is primarily because the head of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, has apparently developed a plan to develop their characters, and is following it.  Marvel’s roadmap is divided into Phases:  Phase One consisted of “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2,” ” Captain America: The First Avenger,” and “Thor” and culminated in “The Avengers.”

Notice the pattern:  First there’s an introduction of the characters–which may or may not have more than one film in the future–and a film that brings them all together.

Phase Two consists of “Iron Man 3,” “Thor: The Dark World, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “The Guardians Of The Galaxy,” and “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

Phase Three will consist of “Ant-Man,” “Captain America 3,” “Thor 3” and “The Avengers 3.”

As I said, you don’t necessarily have to like what Marvel is doing, but what you can’t deny is that there is a plan at work.

Warner Bros/DC?  Not so much.  What seems to be driving them is profit above all, which I understand, but that’s not a plan.  Though it didn’t exactly start that way because for awhile it appeared that DC was building toward a Justice League feature–and probably still are–which began with “Green Lantern.”

Oh, but wait!  Green Lantern?  Don’t I mean Batman?  No, I don’t because Christopher Nolan’s Batman films aren’t necessarily part of DC’s greater cinematic plans because Nolan quite deliberately kept them separate from the rest of the DC Universe, which was probably not a great decision in retrospect.

Though that’s why “Green Lantern” was so important:  It was the beginning of DC/Warner Bros. establishing a larger canvas on which to display their properties.  If Green Lantern had worked they could have brought Ryan Reynolds back as the character in other DC films, such as the Justice League, or even the upcoming “Batman Vs. Superman” feature.

But it was not to be because Green Lantern was unable to recharge either his lantern or the box office, where it earned almost $220 million on a $200 million dollar budget; not enough to make a profit.

So DC rebooted Superman, in “Man of Steel,” without a doubt the most violent Superman film ever made.

Which could perhaps explain why that film made “only” $668 million dollars.  It’s a lot of money, but for a character as iconic and as firmly established in the public consciousness as Superman, it actually wasn’t that great a performance.

For the sequel, “Superman Vs. Batman,” DC will not only feature Superman and Batman, but Wonder Woman and Lex Luthor as the villain.  It seems apparent that they are trying to follow a strategy similar to Marvel, except more compressed.

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‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Trailer

I know, trailers always look good, after all, they’re showing the best of the movie.  That being said, the new trailer for “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” sets all sort of standards for awesomeness.

From what I can see there appears to be a traitor (or perhaps signs of a power struggle) within S.H.I.E.L.D.

I know this because early on you see one of the agents with Captain America is actor Frank Grillo, who is supposedly playing Crossbones, who has ties to the Red Skull in the comics.

Image courtesy of Marvel.com

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