fbpx

Tag: Birds of Prey

Editorials

Top 10 Films at the UK Box Office in 2020 (So Far)

May 22, 2020
The 2020 Box Office [Sources: Cineworld Cinemas,The Guardian; imdb]

With UK cinemas still closed we may as well run down 2020’s highest box office grossers so far. Today I’ll look at how much the highest earners took at the UK Box office (using Box Office Mojo and Google Money Converter). These numbers are rounded to the nearest hundred thousand and are correct at the time of writing (20/05/20)) and what critics; audiences thought of them.

10. Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (£9,400,000)

Cathy Yan’s DC Universe offering sees Harley Quinn teaming up with a group of female heroines to fight against the evil Black Mask.

Audience Thoughts: 78% – Rotten Tomatoes / 6.2 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “While watching Birds of Prey, it becomes clear that comic book movies are still going to dominate the box office for many years to come. If any of those could be as much fun…then we would be over the moon.

Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey
Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey swoop into 10th place at the UK Box Office [Source: Empire]

9. Parasite (£12,000,000)

Bong Joon Ho’s Best Picture winner sees the poor Kim family scam their way into working for the rich Park family. But do the Kim’s deserve our sympathy and what secrets are the Park’s hiding?

Audience Thoughts: 90% – Rotten Tomatoes / 8.6 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “It’s dark, funny, clever, surprising, and I’m sure I could use almost every adjective in my lexicon.

Parasite
Best Picture Winner, Parasite smashes into 9th place [Source: Americamagazine.org]

8. The Gentlemen (£12,300,000)

Guy Ritchie’s latest gangster films focused on an American marijuana emperor trying to leave the business. But various factions conspire to extort him for all he’s worth.

Audience Thoughts: 84% – Rotten Tomatoes / 7.9 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “It is a coarse, convoluted, comical caper that exults in the joys of genre.”

The Gentlemen
The Gentlemen swan into 8th place [Source: Den of Geek]

7. Jumanji: The Next Level (£16,100,000)

The gang from Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, along with new additions Danny Glover and Danny DeVito, return to Jumanji to face new challenges. 

Audience Thoughts: 87% – Rotten Tomatoes / 6.7 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “Jumanji’s next level is rather satisfying.

Jumanji
The Jumanji gang jump back into the UK Box Office [Source: Entertainment Weekly]

6. Dolittle (£16,700,000)

Robert Downey Jr. leads an all-star cast as the famous doctor who can talk to animals sets out to find a cure for an ailing young Queen Victoria.

Audience Thoughts: 76% – Rotten Tomatoes / 5.6 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “It really is horribly inert, and every time Downey opens his mouth to say something unintelligible, the film dies a bit more.

Robert Downey Jr as Dolittle
Despite a critical thrashing Dolittle soars into number 6 at the Box Office [Source: GamesRadar]

5. Bad Boys for Life (£17,000,000)

Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett must team up with a team of younger cops to take down the leaders of a violent drug cartel.

Audience Thoughts: 96% – Rotten Tomatoes / 6.7 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “Bad Boys for Life is … pure enjoyment and entertainment.

Bad Boys returns to the UK box office
The Bad Boys return in glorious fashion [Source: RogerEbert.com]

4. Sonic the Hedgehog (£19,100,000)

Sonic and his friend Tom race to San Francisco to find the rings to transport Sonic off-world before Dr. Robotnik catches them.

Audience Thoughts: 93% – Rotten Tomatoes / 6.6 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “The world contains many terrible video game movies. This isn’t one of them.

Sonic rushing into the box office top 10
Sega’s blue speedster rushes into the top 10 [Source: Hollywood Reporter]

3. Little Women (£19,400,000)

Greta Gerwig’s remake of the literary classic follows the March sisters as they experience career hardships, romance, tragedy, and triumph during and after the American Civil War.

Audience Thoughts: 92% – Rotten Tomatoes / 7.9 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “Though we can’t foretell whether time will be cruel or kind to Gerwig’s “Little Women,” it may just be the best film yet made by an American woman.”

Little Women stands tall at the box office
Greta Gerwig’s Little Women stands tall at number 3 [Source: Britannica]

2. Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (£20,100,000)

The Skywalker Saga concludes. Emperor Palpatine returns to threaten the galaxy. Rey and the remnants of the resistance must find a way to stop him. While contending with the rage of Kylo Ren.

Audience Thoughts: 86% – Rotten Tomatoes / 6.7 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “It doesn’t do anything new or even terribly distinctive, but maybe it didn’t have to. It just had to be good enough to stick the landing, and it does that.

Rise of Skywalker rises to number 2 at the uk box office
The Skywalker saga’s final swipe took the 2nd place in 2020 so far [Source: Deadline]

1. 1917 (£46,600,000)

Presented in a pseudo-continuous shot 1917 follows two soldiers tasked with physically delivering orders for a battalion to stand down before German forces kill them all.

Audience Thoughts: 88% – Rotten Tomatoes / 8.3 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “1917 will have you on the edge of your seat from the very first moment and will leave you breathless.

1917 is number 1 at the box office
1917 stands atop the box office [Source: Letterboxd]

This year’s top 10 collective taking may be comparatively low (over £188 million) but with a relatively diverse group of creative teams (including 2 solo female directors and a foreign-language film) and an interesting mix of tales (including three original properties not based on pre-existing work or part of larger franchises), 2020 is more interesting than 2019. Which was dominated by comic book adaptations, remakes, and sequels to popular franchises (mostly from Disney and their subsidiaries). Hopefully, the upcoming months will bare good tidings for UK cinemas.

Also Read: What Happens To Your Brain When Watching A Horror Film

Like this article? Get the latest news, articles and interviews delivered straight to your inbox.

Editorials

‘Birds of Prey’ & the Curse of Being Casually Queer

February 22, 2020

I’ve been burned before. The promise of queer representation dangled, cruelly, in front of me before it’s swiftly pulled away and edited out for China. Routinely, we’ve seen big studios get a lot of press by announcing the first ‘gay character’ in their particular franchise. It happened with Star Trek Beyond, Independence Day: ResurgenceBeauty and The BeastAlien: CovenantFantastic Beasts: The Crimes of GrindlewaldAvengers: Endgame, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker to name a few. First, a fuss is made in the gay media and mainstream news, people on Twitter cry that ‘WOKE PC CULTURE IS RUINING CINEMA’, and then the film comes out and… well, it was all for nothing. There’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kisses, hand brushing, suggestive looks, or single lines (or worse, jokes) that simply hint at a character’s sexuality. It all passes you by so discreetly that most people don’t even notice.  

In some ways Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) does better. Sure, it approaches the bisexuality of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn with an easy-to-miss millisecond in the film’s opening animation and the much-talked-about relationship between villains Black Mask and Victor Zsasz (played by Ewan McGregor and Chris Messina, respectively) is nothing to write home about (even if Zasaz’s bleach-blond dye-job screams ‘gay man in distress’.) All that being said, it does have Renee Montoya, played by Rosie Perez; a jaded queer cop with a penchant for speaking in 80s cop clichés. It’s revealed, in voice-over, that Montoya has an ex-girlfriend (played by Ali Wong) who works for the DA in Gotham. Montoya is far more rounded and substantially queer than anyone in those movies mentioned above but it still doesn’t quite feel like enough. I’ve seen countless muscled white dudes kissing different skinny white women in almost every superhero film ever. I’ve seen men and women, in all kinds of romantic scenarios, kissing while they run from volcanoes, spaceships, or supervillains. I was even recently subjected to Rey and Kylo Ren’s horrendously odd kiss in The Rise of Skywalker. It’s all there, right in your face, all the time. So why, when it comes to LGBTQ+ characters, does it all feel so, well, casual? 

Birds of Prey
Birds of Prey / Warner Bros. Pictures.

Whether it’s categorised as queerbaiting or seen as studios trying to ‘toe the line’ for the elusive and hard to define ‘Middle America’, it always comes down to money. If not for those in ‘the middle of the country’ then the problem is outsourced to other countries, like Malaysia or China, who won’t spend their hard-earned cash on LGBTQ+ content. It seems the big studios, and those in charge of franchises, want to have their Queer Cake and eat it too. A little deniable queerness please, they say, but not too much that it might genuinely mean anything. Mass appeal is the driving force but ultimately that means that queer people, who are so used to watching straight folks copulate on screen, get a whole lot of nothing.

LGBTQ+ relationships, romances, and experiences are frequently side-lined in this system. They’re never central to a film’s plot so it can be recut and still make sense. But what is the overall effect? A feeling of being second-class to heterosexuality? A lack of worth? When queer characters exist on the fringes, in fleeting moments, in the subtext, it sends a message: these stories, these people, are not worth the airtime compared to their straight counterparts. I mean, the most prominent TV show of the last decade, Game of Thrones, featured a substantial amount of straight sibling-on-sibling action. How does incest play in ‘the middle of the country’ I wonder? A whole lot better than a two-second gay kiss, I guess.

Is there hope for the future? Who can say? Patty Jenkins has been spotted filming scenes featuring the ‘Silence = Death’ protest signs for her upcoming Wonder Woman 1984 and Kevin Feige has promised an LGBTQ+ character in The Eternals, a story about God-like entities from space. While recent Oscar-winner Taki Waititi has teased that Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie will finally take flight as a fully-fledged, and explicitly acknowledged, bisexual woman in Thor: Love & Thunder.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie / (20th Century Fox/Twitter)

But hope, well hope is a dangerous thing for a queer like me to have. These promises, the big studios waving their rainbow flags on the horizon, don’t inspire much trust. I know we have Ryan Murphy on Netflix with his adaption of Boys in the Bandfeaturing an all-gay cast of actors. We also have Murphy’s grander adaption of the Broadway musical The Prom, with a (mostly straight) all-star cast including Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, Keegan-Michael Key, and Kerry Washington to name a few. Actual real-life queer woman Kirsten Stewart is also set to star in a Thanksgiving-themed lesbian Rom-Com from Clea Duvall, and Britain promises to unveil its film adaption of the drag based musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie this Autumn but who can say how big any of these films will hit. It doesn’t feel obtuse to suggest that it won’t be on the level of any major franchise.

At the 2020 Independent Spirit Awards, a clip of the Gay Men’s Choir of Los Angeles singing about ‘The Gayest Moments in Other Films You May Not Have Realised Were Gay’ went viral. Its appreciation of the queer lens, of Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers and Laura Dern’s entire career was funny, accurate, and unmistakably the product of Gay Twitter. Even so, it was a little sad to think that so many queer people are, out of necessity, watching and claiming things that weren’t made with them in mind. Of course, there is power in reclamations, in queering the narrative, in forcing yourself into a place that didn’t consider you and making it your own, but it shouldn’t have to be that way every time LGBTQ+ people watch a blockbuster. Will that ever change? I’m not holding my breath.

Also Read: Where Are All The Young Moviegoers?

Like this article? Get the latest news, articles and interviews delivered straight to your inbox.