Who Could Be Nominated For the Best Director Oscar?Quentin Tarantino, Bong Joon-ho and more these are the directors who already have a shot at the Oscar.Posted by The Rotten Tomatoes Channel on Friday, September 20, 2019Continuing with our Ridiculously Early Oscar Predictions series, we move on to the visionaries who occupy the director s chair. The Best Director Oscar category has always been one of the most hotly contested races of the season. It goes without saying that filmmaking is a director s medium; as television is the medium of writers. Under the guidance of producers though many on our list act as producers, too directors sculpt the script and project the
King of the Crop: Shazam! Could be the Ant-Man of the DCEU(Photo by @ Warner Bros. Pictures)DC’s Shazam! led the box office with .45 million this weekend, on top of the .3 million it earned in early preview screenings. That was higher than projections. Even though that is the lowest opening in the DC Extended Universe, knocking the film for that fact would be like giving Ant-Man a hard time for not living up to the numbers of Captain America or Iron Man. Shazam! is a different beast than the mostly darker offerings from the DCEU, something that critics appear to dig. Shazam! has scored a 91% on the Tomatometer, just shy of the 92% of Wonder Woman. That is also higher than two of the Christopher Nolan Batman films – Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises – which are a universe apart from the current DC crop.Shazam! now currently owns the ninth-best opening weekend ever in April; that will be knocked back to 10th on April 26 when Avengers: Endgame opens. Among the 10 films that had the biggest ever April openings, the low bar for ultimate totals has been set by Fast and Furious (5 million) and 2010’s Clash of the Titans (3.2 million). The two best multiples among April’s top 10 were earned by A Quiet Place (3.74 times its opening weekend) and 2016’s The Jungle Book (3.52). Their Tomatometer scores were both 95%. Audience word-of-mouth looks to be solid for Shazam!, which bodes well for its future. The R-rated Hellboy is unlikely to eat into the DC hit s core audience, and if it can maintain a drop less than 45% it should be on track to earn at least 2 million, and potentially out-earn the original Ant-Man’s 0 million.Rotten Returns: Best Of Enemies Struggles to Find Allies (Photo by @ STX)The Best of Enemies opened with .5 million from 1,705 theaters, representing STX Entertainment s seventh-lowest opening per-theater-average. Critics were mixed on the the movie – it has a 52% Tomatometer score – and audiences didn t show up in impressive numbers. STX had a better month back in January with their Weinstein Co. pickup, The Upside, which remains one of the five highest-grossing films of the year with 7 million. That was the second-best tally (behind Bad Moms) for the studio in its nearly four-year history.The Rest of the Top 10 and Beyond: Stephen King Continues to Draw Crowds, but Can Sematary Match the Original?(Photo by Paramount Pictures)A smart bit of counter-programming from Paramount Pictures saw the newest take on Stephen King s Pet Sematary land in second place with million, despite a less than stellar response from critics. The movie received glowing reviews after its premiere at the South By Southwest Film Festival, but is now just barely Fresh with 61% on the Tomatometer. That is better than the reviews for Mary Lambert’s 1989 verion of Pet Sematary (48% with 31 reviews), but without strong word-of-mouth there may now be some doubt that the new movie can reach the .4 million that the original film made 30 years ago. (That is about 7 million in today’s dollars.)There seems little hope that directors Kevin Kölsch Dennis Widmyer’s version can match those inflation numbers off of a million weekend. Among eight horror films that have opened between million and million, only The Visit and 2005’s The Amityville Horror managed to pass million. (Each actually made .2 million.) Another two films – the 2013 s Evil Dead and 2015 s Poltergeist – appear to be more in line with audience response and dropped a respective 63.2% and 64.4% in their second weekends. Tune in next week to see which way Pet Sematary goes.(Photo by @ Universal)Meanwhile, another horror film is climbing the charts of the all-timers. Jordan Peele’s Us is now ahead of 2018’s Halloween after 17 days, with 2.3 million vs. the latter film s 0.2 million total. That’s the second-highest ever for a horror film. It also bested Halloween’s third weekend (.8 million to .8 million). Pet Sematary took some viewers away from Us this weekend but more people will still be talking about Us next week as it continues to forge a path towards 0 million. Its international total is 6.5 million.One film not headed to 0 million – at least not on the domestic front – is Tim Burton’s Dumbo. It is the 13th film from Disney released in over 3,000 theaters to drop 60% or more in its second weekend. With million after 10 days that puts Dumbo behind 1999’s Tarzan, Lilo Stitch, and Wild Hogs on the Disney charts. The film has made an additional 7.5 million internationally for a total of 3 million to date. It is going to need more than half-a-billion to break even.Good thing that Captain Marvel’s numbers are still looking super. Its 4 million domestic take is the 19th highest gross ever after 31 days of release. And the .6 million it earned this weekend is the 21st best fifth weekend ever. It is now the 37th film to cross the billion mark globally (and the seventh Marvel Cinematic Universe film to do so) and it continues to climb both of those charts. This weekend it also become the 30th highest-grossing film ever.This Time Last Year: A Quiet Place Began Its Record-Breaking Run(Photo by Jonny Cournoyer/Paramount)John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place opened to .2 million, beginning its run towards becoming one of the biggest horror films of all time. The Universal comedy Blockers came in third with .5 million and the Ted Kennedy drama Chappaquiddick opened in seventh with .7 million. Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One was just two days away from passing 0 million domestically. That movie s .6 million second weekend helped the top 10 films gross a total of 0.86 million with an average Tomatometer score of 60.9%. This year’s top 10 grossed an estimated 8.59 million and averaged 64.7% on the Tomatometer.On the Vine: Hellboy Offers Darker Fare, Little Riffs on Big(Photo by Eli Joshua Ade /@ Universal)If Shazam! was too family-friendly for you and you cannot wait until Avengers: Endgame, then Lionsgate’s reboot of Hellboy with Stranger Things’ David Harbour might satisfy your hunger for R-rated comic-book fare. Once there was Tom Hanks in Big, now Universal presents Regina Hall in Little, a modern reversal in every respect that sprung from the mind of 14-year-old black-ish star Marsai Martin. Laika Animation is back with its latest, Missing Link, and Aviron releases the adaptation of young adult novel, After. Then for one night only on Wednesday, April 10, you can see Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, a film 21 years in the making.The Full Top 10: April 5-7Shazam! (2019) 90% – .45 (.45 million total)Pet Sematary (2019) 57% – million ( million total)Dumbo (2019) 46% – .22 million (.27 million total)Us (2019) 93% – .81 million (2.4 million total)Captain Marvel (2019) 79% – .69 million (4.13 million total)The Best of Enemies (2019) 53% – .5 million (.5 million total)Five Feet Apart (2019) 53% – .7 million (.59 million total)Unplanned (2019) 42% – .2 million (.47 million total)Wonder Park (2019) 34% – .04 million (.98 million total)How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) 90% – .99 million (6.69 million total)
But as Lindelof told reporters in August, “It is definitely not supposed to be a world that you recognize. We’re using alternate history, science fiction, [and] popular fiction to Trojan Horse themes that are prevalent in the real world in a fictional one.”The essence of Watchmen, both the comic book and the television series, at least in his view, is to use the superhero tropes to examine “institutions and culture and politics and the things that inform our society, and that’s the rich mix that makes the show the show.”So what is it actually about? To start with, it’s about white supremacy. A group known as the Seventh Calvary adopts the Rorschach mask and begins targeting police officers in Tulsa, Oklahoma. To protect themselves, the police are forced to take on masks of their own. To the producer, the issues of race and policing felt like “the equivalent of the nuclear standoff between the Russians and the United States” in 2019.(Photo by HBO)Click for full image (new tab)Of course, with protagonist Angela Abar (Regina King) – a wife, mother of three, and lead detective in Tulsa Police Force – taking part in masked law enforcement, the issue of institutionalized white supremacy may not seem as clear-cut as it otherwise might be, but Lindelof said “those contradictions … were things that we were very aware of in the storytelling, and tried to square to the best of our ability, but there are no easy answers.”As in the Watchmen comic, complex social issues cannot be solved with a faked alien invasion.“There’s no defeating white supremacy,” Lindelof added. “It’s not going anywhere, but it felt like it was pretty formidable foe.”The series will also examine what it means to wear a mask. As executive producer and episode director Nicole Kassell put it in a recent featurette, Watchmen “explores the complexity of who you are when you wear a mask, who you are when you’re not wearing a mask.” With characters directly stating opinions like “masks save lives” and “masks make men cruel,” it is tempting to see the costume accessory as a metaphor for the gun control debate. But looking back at the Watchmen comic, we’re tempted to say the mask — and the anonymity it offers — is more a metaphor for the use of force itself regardless of the tools involved.But as Irons says in the featurette, “Like all good stories, the truth unwraps itself slowly,” so our understanding of the program may be very different by the end of its first season.”Other details we know include the lack of an internet in Watchmen’s 2019 and the president who shut down the entire concept: Robert Redford. As Lindelof explained, the Nixon of Watchmen remained in office until his death. Vice President Gerald Ford replaced him, but lost to Redford in 1992. The former actor remains in power in 2019. While the notion contains a satirical jab – just as Nixon’s life-long presidency did in the comic book – Lindelof said he plans to use the Redford presidency to explore another powerful idea: a well-intentioned liberal who stayed in power too long.The CastBesides King, the cast includes Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Adelaide Clemens, Andrew Howard, Jeremy Irons, Tom Mison, Frances Fisher, Jacob Ming-Trent, and Yahya Abdul-Mahteen II.Other cast members include Jean Smart, Sara Vickers, Hong Chau, Dustin Ingram, and James Wolk, as well as child actors Dylan Schombing, Lily Rose Smith, and Adelynn Spoon.In November 2018, word broke that Iron would be playing Adrian Veidt, confirming Lindelof’s intent to include at least one familiar character from the comic book. In the teaser, he can be seen mediating on a desk, recalling the Veidt of the comic book. In that story, he was the ultimate perpetrator of the conspiracy the Comedian and Rorschach uncovered. But in defiance of all comic book bad guys, his monstrous plan would ultimately better the world. Well, at least for a time. Rorschach sent his journal detailing Veidt s crime to an extreme right-wing publication – no doubt the reason he becomes a hero among the Seventh Cavalry – its publication seemingly prevented Veidt’s utopia from surviving the Nixon Administration.Meanwhile, Clemens will play Pirate Jenny, a clear reference to the Tales of the Black Freighter comic strip inside Watchmen, which is itself a reference back to the song “Pirate Jenny” from The Threepenny Opera. Smart is playing FBI Agent Angela Blake, who in a former life was the hero known as Silk Spectre. Also, as evidenced from the Comic-Con trailer, Dr. Manhattan will be returning to Earth, though it is still unclear who is playing him.(Photo by HBO)Also, the earlier teaser suggested a new mirror-masked Rorschach will be on the scene. This appears to be Nelson’s character Looking Glass, whose name underscores the anonymity he tries to utilize. In fact, that theme of obscured identity is strong across the television series as the police, militia members, and potential vigilantes alike use masks to hide themselves from opponents and the public at large. Clearly, privacy is on Lindelof’s mind. And in a 2019 where both Apple and Facebook trade on their ability to keep user information safe (but don’t always succeed), it serves as a good underlying panic in the same way the original comic book traded on the fear of nuclear annihilation.The Reznor/Ross Sound(Photo by HBO)Proving the series will be very different from other superhero shows, the musical score will be provided by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of The Social Network and Gone Girl. Unlike the often rousing themes of superhero films or even the pulse-pounding tracks of The Flash or Arrow during its action scenes, Reznor and Ross are known for quieter, deliberate work. Fitting for a show that will no doubt eschew the usual superhero fights for something more graphic, harrowing, and pointed. Of course, they are capable of the bigger sweep as well, but one look at the teaser indicates bombastic music will be used in a more ironic way than, say, Avengers: Endgame.The Original Writer Is Not InvolvedUnlike many comic book adaptations these days, Watchmen will not feature input or even the approval of writer Moore. The notoriously cantankerous author had a bad run with Hollywood thanks to projects like V for Vendetta and League of Extraordinary Gentleman, leading to him refusing credit on subsequent films and even the money owed to him from those adaptations and sending the profit participation off to artists like Watchmen’s Dave Gibbons.Lindelof told TCA reporters that he tried to reach out to Moore, but was met with the ire the author reserves for all Hollywood types trying to adapt his work. But as the original comic book itself appropriated older ideas from the Charlton Comics, Lindelof felt he was right to follow in Moore’s footsteps and appropriate Watchmen for himself.“I do feel like the spirit of Alan Moore is a punk rock spirit, a rebellious spirit, and that if you told Alan Moore in 1984 or ’85 or ’86, ‘You re not allowed to do this because Superman’s creator or Swamp Thing s creator doesn t want you to do it,’ he would say, ‘F you, I m doing it anyway,’” he explained. “I m channeling the spirit of Alan Moore to tell Alan Moore, ‘F you, I m doing it anyway.’”Release Date(Photo by HBO)The nine-episode series will debut at 9 p.m. on Sunday, October 20. Considering the sort of passion Watchmen inspires from its fans – look at any discussion thread about Snyder’s film version or DC’s decision to make Watchmen prequel comics in 2010 – it is likely the series will become one of the most talked about comic book–based projects of 2019.Watchmen will premiere Oct. 20, 2019 on HBO.Updated Sept. 3 with release date.Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.