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Monday Mixer: Al Pacino and Cobie Smulders highlight new indie trailers

Posted Monday, May 18, 2015 at 11:04 AM Central
Last updated Monday, May 18, 2015 at 11:07 AM Central

by Tim Briscoe

As you may have noticed from that byline above, I'm not your usual Monday Mixer host. As the British like to say, John is on holiday this week. He's enjoying the sandy beaches while I slave away over a carpal tunnel-inducing keyboard. Not that I'm bitter. Let's make the best of this, shall we?

I hope you had a relaxing weekend. I did. One of my weekend highlights was "play testing" a new card game my friend has developed. As fellow movie fans, you guys might be interested in following its progress. It's a movie-making card game named Buy The Rights. It's a bit similar to Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity except that you build a movie using four card types and then pitch it to the game's producer. It's pretty hilarious. I'm sure I'll be sharing more information on the game in coming weeks.

Thanks for letting us test out the game. It was fun! @buytherights

A photo posted by Tim Briscoe🍕 (@tmbr) on

Box Office 411

Wow, the Pitch Perfect franchise is stronger than I thought. In its first week Pitch Perfect 2 raked in over $70 million for first place. That's $5 million more than the first film made during its entire run. The other big film to debut this past weekend was Mad Max: Fury Road. It somewhat underperformed bringing in $44 million, enough for second place. This reboot of George Miller's post-apocalyptic action films is getting some of the best reviews of the year. It has a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, enough for their Certified Fresh designation.

Avengers: Age of Ultron fell to third with nearly $39 million. The sequel's domestic total is now over $372 million. The first Avengers film had made $457 million after three weekends on its way for a $623 million total.

This weekend sees the release of two dark horses, Tomorrowland and the Poltergeist remake. Predicting these films' performance is tough. Either could be big or fizzle. Tomorrowland, with the might of Disney behind it, has the most potential. It should knock off PP2 but I don't think it'll match $70 million. Cineplexes are starting to get crowded with summer films now. It's increasingly tough to have a big opening frame. Warmer weather doesn't help either.

Quick Hitters

John left me with a handful of Quick Hitters that he accumulated through last week. I have a few of my own. Between us we have a bounty of movie news tidbits for you to enjoy.

  • Yesterday marked the 35th birthday of The Empire Strikes Back. The second Star Wars film had its premiere in Washington D.C. on May 17, 1980. The beloved film then opened in theaters on May 21.
  • Speaking of Star Wars, filmmaker Jamie Benning made a mini documentary of the original movie's most famous cut scene. This 16-minute video reveals all about Biggs Darklighter (played by Garrick Hagon), Luke Skywalker's boyhood friend whose scenes were cut from the movie's beginning.

  • The Muppets are coming back to TV! ABC will have the felty favorites back for a new primetime series. Here is the show's trailer.

  • Also back, but this time on the big screen are the guys from Entourage, the HBO comedy series. The movie hits theaters on June 3. This part Cadillac commercial, part prequel shows agent Ari Gold (played by the great Jeremy Piven) getting back in the business saddle.

  • I vaguely remember sharing this clip previously but even if we did, the feeling is apropos. Check out this montage of recycled animation bits from Disney films. It goes to show that animation is hard and creators will do anything they can to reuse sequences. I certainly can't blame them. (This is the second video. Here's the first.)

  • A couple of new trailers to strike your fancy. First up is the latest from director David Gordon Green. The filmmaker dances the line between mainstream Hollywood stuff like Pineapple Express and more serious indie stuff like last year's acclaimed Joe. His new film is in the latter grouping. Manglehorn stars Al Pacino as a curmudgeon who has never gotten over the loss of his love Clara. Holly Hunter co-stars.

  • More indie fare for you. Unxpected is a tale of two women dealing with unexpected pregnancies. I look forward to seeing this story of two unlikely friends who face very different challenges from the worlds in which they live. Cobie Smulders and Gail Bean star.

  • From the "in case you missed it" file, more actors were added to the cast of the first Star Wars stand-alone film, Star Wars: Rogue One. Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, and Riz Ahmed join Felicity Jones aboard director Gareth Edwards' tale of the Rebels who steal the plans for the first Death Star. Variety has the details.
  • Lastly, check out the podcast John and I recorded on Friday before he went on break. We talk about the casting of Asa Butterfield in the next Spider-Man reboot. Also, we finally watched the 1982 classic Blade Runner and put it through its paces. For our next installment we will be watching and reviewing Ender's Game, a film that brings together both subjects, Butterfield and Harrison Ford. LISTEN NOW!

Until next week (or the week after, as it's a holiday for everyone next Monday) -- mix well!