After much speculation, it’s been announced that Selma‘s Ava DuVernay will direct Marvel Studio’s forthcoming Black Panther movie, scheduled for a summer 2018 release. It is thought that by hiring DuVernay this early in the process, Marvel can have her on the set and benefit from her input during the filming of Captain America: Civil War, where Black Panther will… Read More
Here are two recent stories of entertainers and social media — one you probably heard, one you might not have. One involves Rose MacGowan, and the other Taylor Swift.… Read More
Actress and fashion muse Tilda Swinton is currently in talks with Marvel Studios to join fellow Brit Benedict Cumberbatch in… Read More
Michael B. Jordan’s Human Torch, Furiosa’s Feminism, and the New Identity Politics of Super-Mainstream Cinema
Arguments over identity politics are familiar on the Internet and in classrooms, but now they’ve made inroads from message boards to the previews and actions sequences of major blockbuster films. Today, different ideological groups are duking it out over individual characters in super-mainstream pop culture, either using them as avatars of their points of view or rejecting them as avatars of an insidious progressive agenda. Whether it’s MRAs freaking out about the feminism of “Mad Max” or racists reading a black Human Torch as a symbol of the ultimate affront of the Obama era, inclusive strains in new films have outraged social conservatives. Yet simultaneously, progressives are pushing hard for directors and studios to continue making their big-budget films even more accurately reflective of their devoted fandoms, in all their diverse glory.
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What’s fascinating about the trouble that’s swirled around
To add insult to injury, Scarlett Johansson’s Widow isn’t even… Read More
The word “slut” has already been reclaimed, repurposed, turned inside out, and analyzed ad nauseam since the ’90s. In the past few decades we’ve encountered Kathleen Hanna’s stomach “slut” scrawl, were Slutwalks, The Unslut Project, Slut! The Play, as well an entirely new term for an old concept: “slut-shaming,” a phrase that has become increasingly common shorthand for something that shouldn’t be done but is done so often that it leads to bullying and worse. Even Monica Lewinsky is fighting back against slut-shaming, while discussions about race, gender identity, and slut-shaming flourish on the Internet.
And then there’s Marvel superhero slut-shaming.
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The Sony hack continues to present a conundrum for those of us with an interest in the “business” half of the movie business equation — yes, it’s stolen property, and a violation of privacy, and we’re all going to hell, and so on. But these emails also provide a rare unguarded (and thus valuable) look at how the sausage is made; they’re a guide to exactly how Hollywood’s most powerful people view matters of race and the pay gap (and, in the latter case, said emails have provided artillery for demands of parity). And now, a bit of newly unearthed correspondence reveals just how dense the folks who make your comic book movies are about who wants to see them, and who they should be about.
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On Film Twitter — as, I suppose, on Twitter in general — the speed with which prevailing opinion and contrarianism appear and invert can give the casual reader whiplash, and the reactions to the opening weekend of Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron were a prime case study. It opened big on Friday, as everyone expected — and then dropped off sharply, taking in less in its second day than its first, which is (to put it mildly) a rarity among giant opening weekends. It closed out the weekend with $187.7 million in the bank domestically — a giant number, and a number roughly $20 million shy of the first Avengers’ debut three years ago. Some observers pointed out that this could be perceived as a bit of a backslide (particularly since industry experts were expecting it to shatter the first film’s record by anywhere from $3-$23 million). And as soon as that opinion was out there, it was dismissed; as Vulture’s Bilge Ebiri asked, “Is anybody actually calling Ultron’s box-office a disappointment, or is this yet another hot-take-friendly straw-man?” Well, I guess this is that hot take.
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