“‘Stars Wars’ and ‘Zootopia’ Just Helped Disney Reach $1 Billion at the Box Office”

“It’s the earliest that Disney has ever reached the milestone.

Propelled by Zootopia and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Disney DIS 0.34% is crossing the $1 billion mark at 2016’s international box office on Friday.

It’s the earliest that Disney has ever reached the milestone. Zootopia has hit $415.9 million so far in its international release, while The Force Awakens took in about $447 million this year from foreign markets after grossing $680 million during the last two weeks of 2015.

Zootopia has also totaled $217.4 million in the U.S., leading the box office for three weekends.

Zootopia is now the second-largest movie ever in Russia, behind only Avatar, with $26.5 million. In China, the animated comedy has brought in $184.7 million and is Disney’s second-highest grossing release in that market behind Avengers: Age of Ultron.

France is the third highest international market with $26 million, followed by Germany with $19.1 million, South Korea with $18.7 million, Mexico with $15.8 million and Spain with $12.5 million.

Zootopia is launching in the U.K. this weekend. Major markets still to come include Japan on April 23.

Zootopia has totaled $633 million worldwide, while Star Wars: The Force Awakens has a worldwide total of $2.06 billion.

Disney’s The Finest Hours has taken in about $23 million so far from international markets to go along with $27 million domestically.”

‘Stars Wars’ and ‘Zootopia’ Just Helped Disney Reach $1 Billion at the Box Office


“‘Supergirl’/’The Flash’ Crossover: What’s Next for Both Heroes?”

Supergirl and The Flash finally crossed paths in last night’s highly anticipated crossover event, “Worlds Finest.” The long-awaited episode was just as charming and heartfelt as you imagined, seamlessly bringing together two of the most earnestly likable heroes on TV. But though Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) finds a way to speed back to his Earth by the end of the episode, this may not be the last time that he teams up with Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist). The series producers recently discussed the possibility of future crossovers, as well as what’s next for both heroes.

In “Worlds Finest,” Barry accidentally speeds through the barriers of his world to the alternate Earth occupied by Kara and co. He arrives just in time to save her after she falls from the Catco building while unconscious. After a couple minutes of confusion and a brief introduction, the two become fast friends, teaming up to take down Livewire and Silver Banshee and to find a way to get Barry back home

So why was it Barry to make a trip to Supergirl’s National City instead of the other way around? Producer Greg Berlanti said it was a purposeful choice, having Barry share his experience with Supergirl the way that Oliver’s Arrow once did for him. “It’s maybe a little more fun at first to bring the veteran from that show to the chemistry of a new show,” he explained, per IGN. “You know, the first year of a new show is, for us, a steep, steep learning curve, and every episode you’re learning from. Sometimes you learn the hard way, and sometimes stuff works out. So I think [the crossover] was an opportunity to learn about the newer show.”

That being said, the trip won’t go entirely unacknowledged on The Flash. Audiences will learn more about how exactly Barry ended up in Supergirl’s universe in the March 29 episode of The Flash…”


“Hollywood: A Town Divided When It Comes to Race”

“Hollywood is a city where truth is fluid.

Biographical movies that take liberties with the truth are utilizing “creative license.” Why not? Hollywood is the land of reinvention, where you can be whomever you want to be.

It’s all about make-believe.

For some observers, that includes the illusion of inclusion when it comes to diversity.

“2013 was the year of black film, with ’12 Years a Slave’ and all those acclaimed films that year, and in 2014, it went right back to business as usual,” said Darnell Hunt, director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA. “(The slave rebellion film) ‘Birth of a Nation’ was the hot film at Sundance this year, but who knows what the rest of the (black) films in 2016 will be like?”

They’ll certainly be a topic of conversation. Thanks to #OscarsSoWhite, plenty of people are talking about diversity and the Academy Awards this year.

The hashtag debuted with the Oscar nominations in 2015 and reappeared in January after not a single person of color was nominated for any of the acting awards. Coupled with high-profile issues like the shootings of unarmed black men by police, it yet again provided fodder for discussions about race in Hollywood.

But the issue of the entertainment industry and race goes well beyond nominations. For that matter, it’s well beyond just black/white issues.  Lack of diversity, and the struggle for minorities to find equal opportunities and recognition, are very real national issues. Hollywood is just a microcosm.

Americans have been in love with the movies and television since each burst on the scene. Both have provided escapism and something for Americans to aspire to. But as the nation’s population has grown more diverse, the industry has been slow to catch up.

“The movie industry continues to ignore audiences of color, to its own detriment, given the box office success of movies that do feature diverse casts,” Roxane Gay wrote in a New York Times opinion piece headlined “The Oscars and Hollywood’s Race Problem.” “It continues to ignore the simple fact that people of color want to see their lives reflected in the movies they watch. Representation is not a lot to ask…”


“Bendis Discusses Miles Morales’ Story, “Civil War II” and Embracing Cynical Fans”

“Since launching “Ultimate Spider-Man” in 2000, Brian Michael Bendis has been a vital part ofMarvel Comics. Between bringing Miles Morales into the All-New, All-Different Marvel Universeand writing two different Iron Man titles, not much about Bendis’ importance to the publisher is different in 2016. But the world he plays a key role in his headed for war this summer when the massive “Civil War II” event arrives.

At WonderCon, Bendis sat down with CBR Executive Producer Jonah Weiland in the world famous CBR Tiki Room to discuss nearly everything on his plate at the moment, from the controversial “Spider-Man” #2 that saw Miles Morales take on race — a story Bendis assures neither he nor Miles is finished with — and explains why “Civil War II” is its own story and won’t repeat the beats or themes of the original. He also talks about his approach to storytelling, why it gets the reactions it does, and why he plans to keep telling stories that will get people talking, even if some of those people get angry at him…

On whether he was surprised that the online reaction to “Spider-Man” #2 seemed to be split down the middle:

Brian Michael Bendis: …So I have this character Miles and Miles — first you just gotta let the stories be told and then as the character finds its footing other things reveal themselves about the character and conversations that I find myself in and relationships that I find myself in in real life do inform my feelings about race and sexuality.

I was involved in a conversation with many of my friends of different ethnicities who were all expressing the double-edged sword of being a Black this or a Asian this or even a female this, the qualification was frustrating to some, who really took a lot of pride in their work. This is just an example, and again there is no universal truth to this.

I was watching this conversation unfold and some said something about, “No one ever says you’re the Jewish writer but if you were Black you’d be the Black Jewish writer…”


“How ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 Fits in the Marvel Universe”

Warning: This post contains major spoilers for season 2 of Daredevil.

Marvel’s gritty show about Hell’s Kitchen’s favorite blind ninja has found its footing, and the second season was rife with Easter Eggs and references to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. And with the first season of Jessica Jones already out,Daredevil has even more of a chance to expand its world beyond the 25 or so blocks of Hell’s Kitchen.

While Elektra and Punisher occasionally threatened to steal the show from Matt Murdock,Daredevil season 2 rarely felt overstuffed, and found time to set up some building blocks for the upcoming Luke Cage and Defenders series. The show even had a little fun, throwing in a random comic book panel allusion (see this video for the best ones). But to remind you of how #ItsAllConnected, here are all the big references that Daredevil had to the MCU.

Shielding the dogs

The first Easter Egg is a reference to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The Dogs of Hell, the biker gang that terrorizes Foggy and gets targeted by Frank Castle, first showed up in the 15th episode of Season 1 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. when the Asgardian Lorelai controls them with her man-seducing powers.

‘A lady by the name of Jessica Jones’

Foggy’s ex-girlfriend and rival lawyer, Marci Stahl, is having vigilante trouble of her own at her new firm. She name-drops Jessica Jones and later invites Foggy to join her firm Hogarth, Chao and Benowitz after his disastrous case with the Punisher. And guess who “Hogarth” stands for? That’s right, it’s none other than Jeri Hogarth…”


“When Bruce Lee Left Hollywood to Become ‘The Big Boss'”

“For decades, Hong Kong movie buffs have been perplexed by their city’s neglect of its most famous native son: Bruce Lee.

Hong Kong has no Bruce Lee museum, no Bruce Lee Boulevard, not even a proper Bruce Lee memorial. The city’s Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong’s version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, features a lone statue of the star, but its erection was the result of a global fan initiative, not the local government’s largesse.

In 2011, the owner of Lee’s former mansion in Kowloon Tong offered to donate the home to the city so that it could be made into a commemorative museum, but the project fizzled within the city bureaucracy.

Exactly why Hong Kong has declined to tap Lee’s enduring star power to serve as one of the city’s icons is still the subject of some debate — most suggest that the local elders never viewed Lee as a true native, given that he was born to Chinese immigrants in San Francisco, USA (even though he returned to Hong Kong when he was three months old and grew up there until he returned to California at age 18).

But this year, for its part, HKIFF is taking steps to right the oversight. The 40th edition of the fest is honoring Lee with screenings of restored, digital versions of four classic Bruce Lee kung fu flicks, beginning with The Big Boss, the film that brought him back to Hong Kong and launched him into superstardom…”



“Ken Burns Talks Jackie Robinson, Civil Rights, and His Latest Film”

“History remembers Jackie Robinson mostly as a myth, not a man. He was the humble ballplayer Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey used to break baseball’s color barrier, the secular saint who turned the other cheek when confronted with racism. White America has preserved this gleaming image of the icon, but the real Jackie Robinson was far angrier than history remembers, and he continued fighting fiercely for African-American rights long after his playing career came to an end.

This is the Robinson who filmmaker Ken Burns—along with daughter Sarah and son-in-law David McMahon—examines in his latest documentary, Jackie Robinson, which airs April 11 and 12 on PBS. Some myths need to be dispelled, especially in the case of a complicated figure like Robinson, whose work as an activist is just as important now as it was 50 years ago. Interviewing everyone from Robinson’s wife, Rachel, to President Barack Obama and the first lady, the Civil War and Baseball director does just that as he explores the misunderstood life of one of America’s greatest civil rights pioneers.

Have you always felt Jackie Robinson was underrated as an activist?

Yes. If you look at it, he represents the beginning of the modern age of the civil rights movement. As we say in the film’s introduction, quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, he was “a sit-inner before sit-ins, a freedom rider before freedom riders.” When he [made his major league debut] on April 15, 1947, there had been a lot of civil rights going on in the 20th century up to that point. But at that moment, Dr. King is still a junior at Morehouse College. Harry Truman hasn’t integrated the military yet. Brown v. Board of Education hasn’t happened. There are not organized sit-ins at lunch counters, although as a teenager Jackie had done that.

Rosa Parks is a decade away from refusing to give up a seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus—but Jackie did that in 1944. That’s what makes him so seminal…”