Furious 7 finally pulled to the side of the road in China to make way for JossWhedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, which opened to a record-breaking $33.9 million on Tuesday, the biggest weekday opening of all time.
It’s also Disney and Marvel’s biggest opening day ever in China, exceeding the first two days of The Avengers in May 2012. All told, Age of Ultron commanded nearly 96 percent of the marketplace. Read the rest of this entry »
Superheroes return in Marvel’s effects-and wit-filled sequel
John Anderson writes: Those truly committed to the Kremlinology of Marvel Comics will find “Avengers: Age of Ultron” a revelatory piece of 3-D entertainment. Who knew that the evil Baron von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann) had been working on the kind of robotics that would provide superhero/industrialist Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), the groundwork for developing an artificial intelligence that could threaten the existence of all human life on Earth? Who knew The Incredible Hulk could be a romantic lead?
For those more concerned with what “The Avengers” movies do best—outsize spectacle and wry comedy—“Age of Ultron” has to be declared a victory. “Victory should be honored with revels,” declares hammer-throwing Scandinavian elocutionist Thor (Chris Hemsworth). “Who doesn’t love revels?” answers snark specialist Stark. “Revels” is a good word to describe it all, if one tends to revel in effects-driven mass destruction for the good of mankind.
Director Joss Whedon, under the auspices of the almost supernaturally profitable Marvel-Disney alliance, has brought back the core of 2012’s “The Avengers”—Mr. Hemsworth, Mr. Downey, Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Mark Ruffalo (the Hulk), Chris Evans (Captain America), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye)—along with several subordinate supervillains and heroes to embellish the plot and set up the sequel (well on its way, to judge by the closing moments of “Ultron”). They include the brother-sister act of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen), whose superpowers are the result of Strucker’s experiments and whose antipathy toward the Avengers is rooted in the devastation visited upon their native Sokovia by now-reformed war merchant Tony Stark.
If any of this seems complicated—the fictional Sokovia, for instance, or that there was also a Quicksilver in “X-Men: Days of Future Past”—you really have to just let it go, the momentum of the movie being too much for cogitation. Read the rest of this entry »
A guide to the 19 Marvel movies and TV shows coming out in the next four years
Eliana Dockterman and Heather Jones write: Whether you love or hate Avengers: Age of Ultron, there are plenty more Marvel superheroes to come. Disney and Marvel are releasing 19 movies and TV shows between now and 2019, and they are all interconnected. All these titles are building up to Avengers: Infinity Wars, Parts I and II, out in 2018 and 2019. These films will focus on the villain Thanos, who will try to gather six powerful gems called Infinity Stones to create an Infinity Gauntlet with the power to destroy the universe.
The Avengers (and probably some other heroes, like Captain Marvel and Doctor Strange) will have to stop him. See how the heroes and villains connect to one another, and plan out your viewing schedule…
The success of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is a testament to the strength of the global market, which now accounts for 70% or more of a major film’s box office gross. Two decades ago, foreign ticket sales usually comprised less than half of a movie’s revenues.
“The bar was high, but this is a sign of unbelievable momentum in the marketplace. It all goes back to the strength of the brand and the incredible work the Marvel team does in telling stories in such a consistent way and creating these worlds.”
— Dave Hollis, Disney’s distribution chief
Disney and Marvel’s super team adventure was the highest-grossing film in everywhere it opened, and has now rolled out in 55% of the international marketplace, including such major locales as France, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, Korea and Australia.
“We are living in rarefied air with ‘Avengers’ to be even talking about these kind of numbers. A weekend like this is why a lot of people think it could be even bigger than the first one.”
— Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak
Going into the weekend, Disney was projecting a foreign debut of between $160 million to $175 million.
“The bar was high, but this is a sign of unbelievable momentum in the marketplace,” said Dave Hollis, Disney’s distribution chief. “It all goes back to the strength of the brand and the incredible work the Marvel team does in telling stories in such a consistent way and creating these worlds.”
The hotly anticipated superhero sequel opens next week in the U.S., where it is expected to earn north of $200 million and could top the first “Avengers” film’s record-breaking $207.4 million bow. Bringing Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and other costumed heroes together isn’t cheap, and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” carries a $250 million pricetag. Read the rest of this entry »
Imagine making your film debut in a movie that likely will gross more than $1 billion at the global box office. It sounds like a dream, but for South Korean model-turned-actor Claudia Kim, who has an important supporting role in Marvel‘s “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” it is reality.
“I’m just so grateful. I auditioned without knowing what kind of project it was,” the 30-year-old Kim told Speakeasy in a telephone interview earlier this month. “Really, I was excited that finally I could do a movie. I’m so happy how it turned out.”
Kim had previously appeared in Netflix’s “Marco Polo” series as well as several shows in her native South Korea, and now she is rubbing elbows with the likes of Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and James Spader. In “Age of Ultron, she plays Dr. Helen Cho, a leading scientist who hangs with the Avengers but ultimately becomes a pawn in the villainous Ultron’s (Spader) plan to dominate the world.
“I’m just so grateful. I auditioned without knowing what kind of project it was. Really, I was excited that finally I could do a movie. I’m so happy how it turned out.”
— Kim, in a telephone interview with Speakeasy earlier this month
Yet, while Kim is pleased to be involved in a project of this size and popularity, she tries to keep her career in perspective. ”It’s still just another step for me, and it’s not because of this that I have such high expectations for the next project,” she said. “I’m just going to continue to think about what kind of films I want to do and what’s out there for me to audition for, and I love trying.”
Kim also talked about how she discussed South Korean cinema with Evans, who starred in South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s “Snowpiercer,” and she revealed which “Avengers” cast member really went out of his way to make her feel comfortable on set. An edited transcript of the interview follows.
When you read the part of Dr. Cho, she is very involved with the Avengers, she’s hanging out at parties. Did you approach the part worried that you would be around all these big superhero types, or were you fairly confident in yourself?
Of course I was nervous and excited at the same time. I felt the same way on set, but everyone was so welcoming, they made me feel really comfortable. Personally, I loved the challenge.
What did you guys do on down time? Was there was a lot of talk? Did you have fun? Did you hang out?
What was so inspiring and something I wanted to learn was how comfortable they were on set. All together, they got along so well. They were just making jokes, and within that process they would think of something even more brilliant. I was just enjoying that process, really.
Was there any particular cast member that you felt you really connected with?
I can only say such nice things about everyone, but James Spader really — he’s such an established actor, and he has so much more experience, and I was so grateful because he would really take care of me. He would ask, “Where should Dr. Cho be in this moment?” Or, “How do you feel about this?” He would really talk to me from my perspective. He would really care for me, and I’m so thankful for that.
When you finally saw the movie, and you saw yourself in front of this 10-foot evil robot instead of James Spader, how did that make you feel? Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] ‘Are we Promoting a Movie?’ Robert Downey Jr. Walks Out of ‘Avengers’ Interview After Being Asked about Politics, Drug AbusePosted: April 23, 2015
Kipp Jones writes: A routine interview conducted by Krishnan Guru-Murthy of Britain’s Channel 4 News turned anything but, after questions regarding the latest action thriller gravitated toward aspects of Downey Jr.’s personal life, including jail time for past drug convictions, the actor’s relationship with his father, and whether or not he is a “liberal.”
“I couldn’t even really tell you what a liberal is… Are we promoting a movie?”
Video of the encounter was posted on Twitter by Guru-Murthy, who describes the end of the interview as “a steely moment from Ironman.”
“I’m sorry, I, I really don’t — what are we doing? …It’s just getting a little Diane Sawyer in here.”
Things became uncomfortable after the reporter connected the actor’s real-life persona with that of his Iron Man character, Tony Stark. Guru-Murthy then quizzed Downey about a quote from an old New York Times interview. Read the rest of this entry »
Zach Epstein writes: It seems like Marvel can do no wrong these days. Every movie the company releases is a smash hit at the box office, and the upcoming film Avengers: Age of Ultron should end up being one of the studio’s biggest blockbusters of all time. Now, with the new Avengers movie inching ever closer to its premiere less than three weeks from today, Marvel has once again teased fans with a brand new clip from the film.
We’ve seen several Avengers: Age of Ultron trailers at this point, and Marvel has released a number of clips as well. We even have some great behind-the-scenes footage to enjoy from the upcoming superhero flick. And now, we can toss yet another tantalizing clip onto the pile….(read more)
Graeme McMillan writes: Marvel has managed to convince audiences that raccoons, frozen WWII soldiers and aliens posing as mythical beings can be superheroes, but can it sell the movie-going public on the idea of a woman holding down her own superhero movie? With Guardians of the Galaxy‘s Nicole Perlman and Inside Out’s Meg LeFauve now in the running to write the 2018 Captain Marvel, audiences might be started to get excited about the company’s first female-led movie. For those looking for an entry point into the character, here are the comic books to look for.
Essential Captain Marvel Vol. 1
Carol Danvers, Marvel’s current Captain Marvel, actually debuted during the early days of the first character to use that name in the Marvel Universe. This collection of the first 21 issues of his — yes, his — 1960s series introduces Danvers as a competent USAF officer and security chief who nonetheless falls for an alien soldier’s romantic charms… only to end up in a terrible accident as a result. It’s okay, though; it’s an accident that’ll give her superpowers soon enough. Think of this as Phase 1 Carol: little more than a love interest in less-enlightened times, but worth checking out for historical interest and a crash course in the alien race called the Kree.
Essential Ms. Marvel Vol. 1
Going from being an air force officer to a magazine editor was just one of the surprising changes awaiting Danvers when she graduated to her own comic book in the 1970s. Now part-alien as a result of the accident in the Captain Marvel series, she decided to fight crime and convince comic book readers that bared midriffs were in. This is Carol Phase 2: more independent, but just a little bit more generic at the same time. Read the rest of this entry »
“He’s the boss. I just pay for everything and design everything. Make everyone look cooler.”
— Tony Stark, in a new trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron
With only 43 days to go before Avengers: Age of Ultron, we can expect a barrage of stuff like this after months of a tantalizing trickle….(read more)
‘Geekdom is a universal language’
Event producer ReedPOP is bringing Comic Con to China this spring.
“China is a massive frontier for ReedPOP, a huge market and boundless community of fans that we are eager and enthusiastic to build events for. Geekdom is a universal language and we’re sure that the Chinese people will celebrate fan culture in their own unique and amazing ways.”
— Lance Fensterman, Global Senior Vice President of ReedPOP
The Shanghai Comic Convention will take place on May 16 to 17 at the Shanghai Convention & Exhibition Center, ReedPOP announced Wednesday. The inaugural Chinese Comic Con follows on the company’s growth strategy of bringing its pop culture events to international markets, including India, Singapore and Germany.
“China is a massive frontier for ReedPOP, a huge market and boundless community of fans that we are eager and enthusiastic to build events for,” said Lance Fensterman, Global Senior Vice President of ReedPOP, in a statement. “Geekdom is a universal language and we’re sure that the Chinese people will celebrate fan culture in their own unique and amazing ways.” Read the rest of this entry »
Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters on May 1, 2015
The trailers for Avengers: Age of Ultron have so far given us hints of an epic, city destroying, to-hell-with-the-clean-up and insurance costs battle between the Hulk and Iron Man and a new TV spot teaser from Marvel gives us just that little bit more.
We still have no idea why Iron Man dons the Hulkbuster armor to take on his rage-filled fellow Avenger, but we do get to see more of Black Widow, Thor, Scarlet Witch, Captain America and Hawkeye and Nick Fury all look equal parts concerned, confused and a little afraid….(read more)
James Kakalios writes: These are exciting days for physics, with several recent experimental observations providing important information on some of the most important mysteries of nature. The Large Hadron Collider at CERN has found the Higgs boson, the last missing particle in the Standard Model, advancing our understanding of the origin of the mass of fundamental particles. The discovery by astrophysicists that the expansion of the universe is accelerating implies that 75% of the universe is composed of “dark energy.” And a recent trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron suggests an explanation for the long-standing open question: can the Hulk lift Thor’s hammer?
[Order James Kakalios’ book “The Physics of Superheroes: Spectacular Second Edition” from Amazon]
The scene in question aired Oct. 28 during an episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC. In this clip, the Avengers are relaxing in their street clothes in Tony Stark’s penthouse apartment, and are discussing the “enchantment” on Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, which stipulates that it can only be lifted by those “deemed worthy,” and whoever does so will “possess the power of Thor.” Thor places his hammer on a coffee table (actually, as shown below, it is resting partially on some books on the table), and various heroes attempt to pick up the hammer, to no avail. Thor then hefts the hammer and casually flips it into the air.
And thus one proposal for why the hammer is unliftable is put to rest. Astrophysicist and Director of the Hayden Planetarium, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, has speculated that, if Mjolnir is composed of neutron star matter, the densest material in the universe outside of a black hole, then it would weigh as much as three hundred billion elephants.
[Check out James Kakalios‘ other book “The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics: A Math-Free Exploration of the Science That Made Our World” at Amazon]
Water has a density of one gram per cubic centimeter, and lead has a density of eleven grams per cubic centimeter, but they pale compared to neutron star matter, which has a density of one hundred million million grams per cubic centimeter. In this case Mjolnir would weigh roughly twelve thousand trillion pounds. I know Tony Stark is rich, but even if he could buy a coffee table that could support such a weight, I can’t imagine any book, even an impenetrable physics text, that could bear up under this force. No, we must look elsewhere for an explanation as to why only Thor (and a few select others—more on this in a moment) can raise Mjolnir. Read the rest of this entry »
Marvel acknowledged the leak via a meta Tweet: