Film Codex

Box Office Report: Weekend of 4/23 – Mortal Kombat Opens Strong as Demon Slayer Comes in Close Second

By @HolocronJosh for @FilmCodex

Warner Bros’ Mortal Kombat debuted to strong domestic numbers in its opening weekend in the U.S. From Friday to Sunday, the film adaption of the famous video game franchise took in $22.5 million, a big number during the pandemic.

The film benefited from the largely favorable reviews which praised the action and directing, and currently holds a 55% on Rotten Tomatoes, a good number for a video game adaption compared to some of the others.

Meanwhile, ‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train’ came in second place, but came close to Mortal Kombat with a surprising $19.5 million. The overall box office in take from these top two films of the weekend made it the largest since the pandemic began. Good news for studios who plan to increase their rollout of films as the summer looms.

Internationally, Godzilla vs. Kong continued its impressive box office performance as it hit the $400 million mark worldwide. Of that total, $320 million came from international markets, where the film has been embraced especially warmly by audiences.

Meanwhile, Demon Slayer’s success has brought its total gross to a whopping $456 million. Studios are bound to be impressed by Mortal Kombat and Demon Slayer’s numbers this weekend.

Stay tuned to Film Codex for more news, reviews, and box office numbers!

Film Codex

Box Office Report – Weekend of 4/16 – ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Is Number One Again

By @HolcronJosh for @FilmCodex

Godzilla vs. Kong’ has topped the domestic and international box office once again this weekend. After surpassing expectations with pandemic high totals so far, the latest in the monsterverse franchise took in another $7.7 million domestically, taking its total to $80.5 million. This is an impressive total given rising COVID-19 cases amidst a global pandemic.

Worldwide, the film has accumulated $390 million worldwide. According to Deadline, the film is poised to make a profit, a rarity in the pandemic movie market. Although no numbers have officially been released, the film has certainly brought subscribers to HBO Max, adding to the total brought in through theaters. Warner Bros. are certainly happy.

Elsewhere, Nobody came second once again with $2.52 million to a total of $19.05 million. The film was recently released on VOD, which has brought in more money for the Bob Odenkirk project. Rounding out the top 5 domestically are, once again, The Unholy, Raya and the Last Dragon, and Tom and Jerry.

Mortal Kombat will release next weekend and is expected to see good box office returns. More theaters are open now than ever since the start of the pandemic, a fact that could see the latest Warner Bros./HBO Max release rake in a large amount of money.

Stay tuned to Film Codex for our review of Mortal Kombat next week, along with next week’s box office report!

Film Codex

Box Office Report: Weekend of 4/9 – ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Continues to Rise as ‘Mortal Kombat’ Opens Internationally With $11 Million

By @HolocronJosh for @FilmCodex

Warner Bros.’ ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ opened to record pandemic numbers last weekend, both domestically and internationally. One week later, the latest in the Monsterverse franchise had another solid showing at the box office, taking in $13.3 million domestically, a drop off of 58%. This takes the domestic tally to $69.5 million.

What makes this showing even more impressive, beyond the fact that pandemic cases are rising and could lead to more hesitancy around returning to theaters, is the fact that GvK is available to watch HBO Max. Despite that availability, many audiences are still opting to go to the theater, a good sign for cinemas returning to normal soon.

The film added another $24.1 million to its tally overseas, a drop off of 66%. The biggest of the international markets was, once again, China, with another $12.9 million this weekend and a total gross of $165.4 million. Once again, the film was also very popular in Australia, Mexico, and Russia, with $16 million, $15.8 million, and $11.1 million respectively.

Elsewhere, ‘Mortal Kombat’ debuted in some international markets over the weekend. The latest Warner Bros. film, which comes out on April 23 in theaters and HBO Max domestically, earned $10.7 million from 4,596 theaters. The biggest of the 17 overseas markets was Russia, where the film took in $6.1 million.

Back to the domestic box office, Universal’s ‘Nobody’ came in second again this weekend with $2.65 million. Rounding out the top 5 are ‘The Unholy’, ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’, and ‘Voyagers’, earning $2.4 million, 2.14 million, and $1.35 million respectively.

When looking at the growth of the domestic box office in recent weeks, as demonstrated by these numbers this weekend, there is hope that Mortal Kombat could have a strong debut. The film certainly has the potential to be the latest sign that the domestic box office, and movie going, is returning to some sort of normalcy. However, the film’s simultaneous release on HBO Max gives viewers the option to watch the latest video game adaptation from home, a smart move given everything that’s happening at this moment.

Stay tuned to Film Codex for next week’s box office numbers, as well as news, reviews, interviews, and more.

Images Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Film Codex

Phoebe Waller-Bridge Joins Indiana Jones Sequel, with John Williams Returning to Score

by @holocronGeorge for @FilmCodex

Phoebe Waller-Bridge will join Harrison Ford in the upcoming Indiana Jones sequel, reports Deadline and later confirmed by Lucasfilm.

Waller-Bridge, famous for her award-winning work on Fleabag, will play the female lead opposite co-star Harrison Ford, who will be picking up the fedora and whip for a fifth film in the franchise. Waller-Bridge is no stranger to big franchises, having a scene-stealing role as L3-37 in Solo: A Star Wars Story and co-writing the new James Bond film No Time to Die. No further details about Waller-Bridge’s character are known at this time.

Also coming back to the Indiana Jones franchise is the legendary John Williams. Williams has composed the score of all four previous films in the franchise and is due to return for his fifth go-around with the character.

Not returning (at least in a directorial role) is Steven Spielberg, who vacated the position and handed the mantle to James Mangold. The director of Logan and Ford vs. Ferrari is in the process of rounding out the cast for his Indiana Jones film, with production due to start this summer ahead of its July 2022 release.

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm & Amazon

Film Codex

Box Office Report: Week of 3/31 – ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Heads to Pandemic Record Debut with $48.5 Million 5 Day Opening

By @HolocronJosh for @FilmCodex

Godzilla vs. Kong’ is heading to a pandemic record debut this holiday weekend. The film, which released in theaters and in HBO Max, earned $48.5 Million from Wednesday to Sunday. On Saturday alone, the latest chapter in the monster-verse franchise took in $11.6 million from 3,064 locations.

On these record domestic numbers, Warner Bros. Domestic Distribution Boss Jeff Goldstein stated:

“Monstrous results all across the United States. Audiences are excited to see movies in theaters on the big screen with big sound.”

Goldstein is right: audiences seem to be returning to movie theaters more and more each week, and even though Godzilla vs. Kong can be watched at home, there’s a definite appetite to experience it on the biggest screen possible.

These numbers are impressive for various reasons. For one, COVID-19 cases are rising in many states, an obstacle that could have proven to be too much for this film to have any sort of substantial numbers, yet one that ‘GvK’ overcame. And although LA and New York state theaters have reopened, they are at a limited capacity like most in the country, which could have hindered their box office results. Yet, Godzilla vs. Kong persevered, taking in a massive total that is sure to give studios hope for the future.

Abroad, the film had incredibly impressive numbers as well. From 38 international markets, Godzilla vs. Kong earned $123.1 million. In China alone, the film made $69.2 million. It also did well in Mexico, Australia, and Russia, earning $6.5 million, $6.3 million, and $5.9 million respectively. Again, the film was facing capacity restrictions overseas as well, yet it still managed to take in quite a bit of money.

Elsewhere, Bob Odenkirk’s ‘Nobody’ earned $2.78 million domestically to take its overall tally to $11.5 million. Sony’s horror film ‘The Unholy’, produced by Sam Raimi and starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, took in $2.755 million from 1,850 theaters. ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ made $800,000, and ‘Tom and Jerry’ rounded out the domestic top 5 with $500,000.

Stay tuned to Film Codex for next week’s box office numbers, as well as exclusive interviews, reviews, and more.

Images Courtesy of Warner Bros. and Legendary

Film Codex

REVIEW: Godzilla vs. Kong

by @holocronGeorge for @FilmCodex

If you watch Godzilla vs. Kong to see (as the title suggests) Godzilla fight Kong in a movie full of unhinged destruction and mayhem, you’re likely to enjoy the newest installment in the Monsterverse. Buildings are destroyed, punches are thrown, Titans butt heads, plots don’t really matter, and human characters don’t do much in a film that, at best, looks stunning and feels epic, yet, a worst, is a dull and semi-interesting crossover event.

The Monsterverse has been met with mixed reception after its three initial films. Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla was an unexpectedly nuanced film, gorgeously shot by Seamus McGarvey, but disappointed some for its titular character’s lack of screentime. Godzilla: King of Monsters addressed this criticism by pitting Godzilla against King Ghidorah, Rodan, and more. Unfortunately, the gorgeous looking film was marred by messy plotting and disposable human characters. Kong: Skull Island marks this burgeoning cinematic universe’s high-point so far as Jordan Vogt-Roberts delivered a lavish project that was the perfection, uncanny intersection of a monster flick and Vietnam War film. So, needless to say, the Monsterverse has been a mixed bag so far and, for better or worse, that pattern continues.

Godzilla vs. Kong sees Godzilla unexpectedly wreaking havoc on the world and Apex Cybernetics assembling a team, including Kong, to combat this threat by traveling to Hollow Earth. The vast majority of film is split in two halves, as we follow the team of scientists carrying out the mission (Alexander Skarsgård, Rebecca Hall) and, on a separate mission, Millie Bobby Brown’s Madison join forces with a friend and a conspiracy theorist to investigate Apex’s duplicitous plans. It’s a shame that, ultimately, the human characters in this universe continue to be a weakness. No one is particularly charismatic or likable or interesting, with Kaylee Hottle’s Jia being a rare highlight. Now, I know no one goes into a film called Godzilla vs. Kong to be consumed by the human characters’ arcs. That being said, Adam Wingard’s film spends an excessive amount of time with these characters in many scenes that mindlessly drone on as we eagerly await the next battle between Titans.

And it’s the battles between Titans where Godzilla vs. Kong really excels. Adam Wingard expertly handles these action sequences, making them the best of the Monsterverse so far. The lighting of a Hong Kong city or ships on the ocean are stunning. Unique camera decisions, like placing the audience’s view on the side of a Titan’s arm as he throws a punch, add an epic, visceral feel to the film. And epic is a perfect way to describe these fights. They are grand, loud, and high-stakes, so much so it makes it difficult to watch without a massive smile on your face. As I said, if you want Godzilla vs. Kong, you will not be disappointed.

Without delving into spoiler territory, Godzilla vs. Kong makes several intelligent narrative decisions that really further the film. The battle between Godzilla and Kong doesn’t seem thrown together, but, rather, each Titan’s place in the story is meaningful and understandable. Although the film struggles with some of the convoluted world-building it attempts, the final conflict is brilliantly crafted and helps take your mind off some of the dull moments and characters in the film.

Verdict: 6.5/10

Godzilla vs. Kong more than lives up to its title with fantastic action sequences brilliantly crafted by director Adam Wingard. Although the film is hampered by dull human characters and convoluted attempts at world-building, the fourth installment in the Monsterverse is a thrill ride that won’t disappoint fans of these classic characters. 

Images courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment and HBO Max

Film Codex

Box Office Report: Weekend of 3/26 – ‘Nobody’ is No. 1 Domestically as ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Debuts to Big Numbers Overseas

By @HolocronJosh and @HolocronGeorge for @FilmCodex

Bob Odenkirk’s ‘Nobody’, an action movie about a timid father who unleashes his inner rage on a group of Russian enemies who wronged him and his family, debuted to top of the domestic box office this weekend, heavily boosted by the reopening of Los Angeles theaters. In its opening weekend, Nobody took in $6.7 million from 2,460 theaters. Of that total, $1.1 million came from L.A. theaters, a market that was up 5% from last weekend. Directed by Ilya Naishuller, Nobody was received well by critics and audiences, receiving an A- CinemaScore and currently holding a solid 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film is being praised for the performance of its unlikely star, comedian Bob Odenkirk, and not taking itself too seriously.

Raya and the Last Dragon came in second place domestically, taking in $3.5 million to add to its $28.4 million running total. The numbers for this film are bound to be higher when adding in the Disney+ premier access rentals, which cost $30 each and numbers for which have yet to be released by the studio. Tom and Jerry, Chaos Walking, and The Courier rounded out the top 5.

Another big talking point at the box office this weekend is the overseas performance of Godzilla vs. Kong, the latest chapter in the Monster-verse that pits two iconic characters against each other. Although it doesn’t come out in U.S. theaters till next week, this film took in $121 million overseas from Friday-Sunday, a pandemic high total that shows that cinemas are starting to return to normalcy. China contributed the most to this total, with $70.3 million.

This is good news for studious that are looking for hope at the box office. Regardless of what happens domestically, overseas theaters are seemingly becoming much more reliable once again. Still, there is reason for optimism in the U.S., especially as films such as Fast 9 and Black Widow seem to have landed on what will be their final release dates. Although Black Widow will premiere on streaming at the same time, Disney doesn’t seem to be in the mood for making a habit of this hybrid model, which is welcome news for the theater chains worried by Warner Bros and HBO Max’s 2021 release plan.

Stay tuned to @FilmCodex for next week’s box office numbers, more reviews of all the latest films, news, and more.

Images courtesy of Universal, Warner Bros, and Disney

Film Codex

REVIEW: Nobody

By @HolocronGeorge for @FilmCodex

In recent years, there has been an influx of grounded action movies starring a middle aged star in which the lead character systematically fights and takes down seemingly everyone around him. There is no greater example of this than the John Wick franchise, as Keanu Reeves seeks revenge, and to protect himself, as he encounters hundreds of enemies (and counting). This weekend, a film shares many parallels with John Wick was released, titled Nobody. With the unlikely Bob Odenkirk in the lead role, Ilya Naishuller directing and Derek Kolstad, a writer on the John Wick films, penning the script, Nobody proves to be an entertaining and surprising film that is most certainly worth the watch.

Odenkirk stars as Hutch Mansell, a husband and father who is shaken by a burglary at his house. Mansell feels as if he let his family down after he failed to protect them during this robbery, and this sense of shame is only added to by the judgement coming from neighbors, police, and even his wife and son. Odenkirk’s character eventually puts this feeling to good use as he attempts to make amends for his earlier mistake, seizing the second chance to protect his family. Out for revenge, Mansell channels an inner anger that he had seemingly kept in for years in order to take down a group of Russian adversaries that did him and his family wrong.

Odenkirk is front and center of this movie, perhaps unexpectedly given his prior roles. Best known for comedy, Odenkirk only really ventured into more serious dramas with Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, his most famous role as Saul Goodman/Jimmy McGill. Still, even in those shows, Odenkirk proves to be the source of comedic relief at times, and rarely (if ever) gets into an action style situation as he does in Nobody. This isn’t to slight Odenkirk, as his performance as Saul is one of the best on TV this century. In Nobody, Odenkirk’s performance is unexpected and makes the movie, as he channels his inner action hero just as his character does an internal anger and violence that he lets out on enemies. Odenkirk is the reason why most audiences will go to see this movie, and for good reason.

The directing of the action in this film is also solid. Ilya Naishuller, who previously helmed the first person action flick Hardcore Henry, handles the action well in this film. Given how action heavy this film it is, these sequences are make or break in terms of determining if this movie actually works, and Naishuller is up to the task. The supporting cast of Nobody also hand in good performances, particularly Christopher Lloyd and Aleksey Serebyrakov.

Nobody does prove to feel a little unoriginal at times, particularly with its clear parallels to John Wick and other action centric films of the past decade. Given the premise, this was seemingly inevitable, yet it still feels as if more could be done to set it apart from that film. Despite that, Nobody does do a good enough job to stand on its own, with the tone, largely set by Odenkirk, proving to be the difference between this and the Taken films, for example. Nobody doesn’t take itself too seriously, a refreshing aspect of this movie that makes it a lot more enjoyable for the audience.

Verdict: With a stellar performance from Bob Odenkirk, Nobody proves to be a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable watch, and, despite feeling a little too similar to other films at times, sets itself apart through its tone and lead actor.

Score: 8/10

Nobody is now playing exclusively in theaters.

Images courtesy of Universal and AMC.

Film Codex

Box Office Report: Weekend of 3/19 – Raya and The Last Dragon Retains Top Spot as LA Theaters Reopen

by @holocronJosh for @FilmCodex

Raya and the Last Dragon, the latest Disney film that opened with a hybrid theaters/streaming model, topped the box office once again this weekend. Raya dropped 9% from last week to earn another $5.2 million from 2,261 theaters. Overall, Raya has now taken in $23.4 million domestically, not including the rentals on Disney+, the numbers of which have not been officially released.

In second place was, once again, WB’s Tom and Jerry, which added another $3.8 million to it’s domestic total of $33.6 million. Tom and Jerry is arguably the biggest box office surprise of 2021, coming in above expectations and proving to many that movie theater attendance is on the rise once more. The Courier, Chaos Walking, and The Croods: A New Age round out the top 5, with $2 million, $1.925 million, and $620k respectively. 

This was a big weekend for the box office and the film industry. After months of closures, LA movie theaters finally reopened, yet another sign that things are starting to return to some sort of normalcy. Coupled with the return of New York cinemas, and more theaters that are poised to open up soon, the box office is showing signs of life for the first time in over a year.

This is a good sign for Black Widow, the Marvel Studios film that is currently slated to release on May 7. The rise in vaccination numbers and a decrease in COVID-19 cases means that movie theaters will, in all likelihood, remain open from now on, barring an unexpected surprise. From this, one can deduce that movies like Black Widow could be set for release in some form. Disney CEO Bob Chapek said this week that the company are looking to “remain flexible” and “make the call [on Black Widow and other films] probably at the last minute”. Chapek is clearly hinting at the possibility of a hybrid model, akin to Raya and the Last Dragon, and all signs are pointing to this form of release for the long awaited Marvel film.

Images courtesy of Disney and Warner Media

Film Codex

REVIEW: The Courier

by @holocronJulie for @FilmCodex

Movie theaters are beginning to reopen. Recently, theaters in Los Angeles, California, and New York state opened for the first time, albeit this year under limited capacity restrictions. Because of this, more films are making their debut theatrically, instead of the VOD model that was used for the majority of 2020. This weekend, Dominic Cooke’s The Courier was released, a Benedict Cumberbatch-led spy thriller about a businessman that gets wrapped up in the Cold War. 

Cumberbatch’s businessman, Greville Wynne, is a traditional English man who meets with two individuals to discuss a potential business deal. From this meeting, however, Wynne gets roped into a dangerous Cold War scheme, as he begins to do business in the Soviet Union, meeting with a Russian intelligence officer who wants contact with the English government to reveal nuclear secrets in an attempt to prevent all at war. The director, Cooke, attempts to make this situation to be as intense as it sounds, as Wynne gets deeper and deeper into a situation that only becomes more dangerous.

Cumberbatch is the highlight of this film, as he is in most of the projects he appears in. His portrayal of Wynne, a real person (the entire film is based on true events), is stellar and incredibly convincing. Merab Ninidze, Rachel Brosnahan, and the rest of the cast also put in good performances here. Cooke’s directing is also solid as he adds excitement to the film with his use of the camera. 

Ultimately, however, this movie suffers from a lack of intensity. The real life true story feels better suited as a novel or even a limited series rather than a film. Despite the best efforts of Cooke and Cumberbatch, who both attempt to give the movie the kick that it needs, it still ends up being a relatively slow, unenthusiastic thriller. It’s hard to label this as anyone’s fault, given that the story is told through a series of procedural meetings. 

Still, The Courier is still worth the watch. Cumberbatch excels yet again and the film tells an interesting story that isn’t often talked about, albeit one that lacks intensity and struggles to grab the viewer’s attention. 

The Courier is in select theaters now. 

Verdict: 7/10