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PODCAST | We came to rank! Who are the best Jokers of all time? What are the worst Kevin Smith movies? And Vault E-I-C Adrian Wassel ranks the Vault comics YOU need to be reading right now before they hit the big screen!
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Segment 1: #Sire Bytes
Zoe Kravitz to Play Catwoman in ‘The Batman’
“Big Little Lies” star Zoe Kravitz has been tapped to play Catwoman, the antiheroine and sometime love interest of the Caped Crusader, in Matt Reeves’ upcoming “The Batman.”
Kravitz will star opposite Robert Pattinson as Batman.
In recent weeks, the role came down to Kravitz, Zazie Beetz of “Atlanta,” “Deadpool 2” and “Joker,” “Baby Driver’s” Eiza Gonzalez and Oscar winner Alicia Vikander. Ultimately, Kravitz won out, despite some worry about scheduling issues with “Fantastic Beasts.”
Pre-production on the Warner Bros.-DC Comics pic is expected to start this summer. No official start date has been set, although insiders tell Variety that filming could start in late 2019 or early 2020. “The Batman” is scheduled to hit theaters June 25, 2021.
Reeves, the filmmaker behind the last two “Planet of the Apes” sequels, took over “Batman” directing duties from Ben Affleck in January 2017. Affleck departed his role as Batman following “Justice League,” allowing Reeves to pick his own Bruce Wayne. Reeves’ “Planet of the Apes” collaborator Dylan Clark will produce.
Box Office: ‘Joker’ Goes Crazy With $55M; ‘Addams Family’ Buries ‘Gemini Man
Globally, ‘Joker’ has collected a staggering $544 million. Meanwhile at the specialty box office, ‘Parasite’ scored the biggest location average in three years with $125,421.
Todd Phillips’ Joker is laughing all the way to the bank, earning an outstanding $55 million in its sophomore weekend for a 10-day domestic total of $192.7 million and a massive global haul of $543.9 million.
Joker easily remained at No. 1, although MGM and United Artists Releasing’s early Halloween family pic The Addams Family came in a strong No. 2 with $30.3 million, ahead of expectations and more than enough to bury Ang Lee’s big-budget Gemini Man, starring Will Smith, which followed at No. 3 with an estimated $20.5 million.
Overseas, Joker remained a powerhouse for Warner Bros., grossing $125.7 million from 79 markets for a foreign cume of $351.2 million.
Gemini Man, conversely, took in a soft $31.1 million from 58 markets for an early $39 million offshore total and $59.5 million globally. Mexico and Russia led the weekend with $2.7 million each, followed by $2.2 million both in the U.K. and South Korea. The movie was beaten by Joker in many places; at the same time, in 25 territories, the pic marks Lee’s biggest opening. Gemini Man has big aims for China, where it launches Friday.
Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix as the twisted supervillain, fell only 43 percent in North America, one of the lowest drops ever for a superhero or superhero-related pic behind Aquaman. The latter debuted over the year-end holidays, when films generally have huge second weekends.
The CG-animated Addams Family, co-financed by Bron, features a star- studded voice cast led by Oscar Isaac and Charlize Theron, along with Chloë Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll and Bette Midler. The film’s opening is a big win for MGM and UAR — the joint distribution company owned by MGM and Annapurna Pictures — and there almost certainly will be a sequel.
“We always knew this piece of great IP was worthy of bringing back to the big screen,” says Jonathan Glickman, president of MGM’s Motion Picture Group. He added that launching the film close to Halloween was key. “Timing has as much to do with making a theatrical experience an event as the movie itself.”
The Addams Family cost around $50 million to produce before marketing.
Gemini Man, from Skydance and Paramount, reportedly cost $140 million to make after rebates and will need to do big business overseas if it isn’t to lose money. The two companies each have a 35 percent equity stake in the pic, while China’s Fosun has a 25 percent stake, followed by Alibaba with 5 percent.
Outside of the groundbreaking technology used to create a younger version of Smith, critics have ravaged Lee’s film. The story follows an elite assassin who faces off with a younger version of himself.
Joker no doubt is impacting Gemini Man, since both skew male. In North America, the latter pic played to an ethnically diverse audience: Caucasians made up 39 percent of ticket buyers, followed by African-Americans (26 percent), Hispanics (22) and Asians/Other (13 percent), according to PostTrak.
The VFX-heavy Gemini Man opens three years after Lee’s last movie, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, all-out bombed at the box office. Lee used cutting-edge technology to shoot both films in high frame rates for 3D screens, a format that has been on the decline.
Gemini Man, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and Addams Family received B+ CinemaScores.
Segment 2: Kevin Smith’s Movies, Ranked By Rotten Tomatoes
12 Cop Out (18%)
This is the first and last time that Kevin Smith has directed a movie that he didn’t write. It’s a buddy cop action comedy (scarce on both action and comedy) starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan as a couple of detectives on the trail of a rare baseball card.
RELATED: The 10 Best Characters Kevin Smith Created, Ranked
Smith and Willis famously clashed on the set, which resulted in a movie that felt very disjointed. On top of that, the script wasn’t very inspired. The characters didn’t feel like real people, the plot plodded along, and it didn’t end with a satisfying conclusion. The movie was a disaster from start to finish, on-screen and off.
11 Yoga Hosers (22%)
The second installment in what Kevin Smith is calling his “True North trilogy” (three vaguely connected horror-comedies set in Canada) is even zanier than the first – and the first involved a guy getting turned into a walrus!
Yoga Hosers stars Smith’s daughter Harley Quinn Smith and Johnny Depp’s daughter Lily-Rose Depp as a pair of convenience store clerks (both named Colleen) who have to fend off a horde of Nazi sausages. The movie was panned by critics, who felt that Smith’s downfall was self-indulgence and laziness, but let’s face it: a movie about Nazi sausages is never going to be boring.
10 Jersey Girl (42%)
This was Kevin Smith’s attempt to pivot his career towards more audience-friendly material. He’d built up a niche fan base with comedies that were crass, crude, and filled with expletives. Jersey Girl was an attempt at a heartwarming Hollywood romcom.
It stars Ben Affleck as a widowed single father who reluctantly dips his toe back in the dating pool when he meets an “it” girl played by Liv Tyler. The movie has its heart in the right place, but unfortunately, the most notable thing about Jersey Girl is that it was the first major motion picture to contain a joke about 9/11.
9 Tusk (45%)
One of the only movies to be adapted from a podcast episode, Tusk stars Justin Long as a podcaster who goes out to interview a crazy old man, played by Michael Parks, who wants to turn him into a walrus.
This was based on an episode of Kevin Smith’s podcast SModcast, in which he and co-host Scott Mosier discussed a Gumtree ad where a man had offered a room at his place rent-free to anyone who’d be willing to dress up in a walrus costume. The movie is as weird as it sounds, but unfortunately, that weirdness becomes excessive at a certain point.
8 Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (52%)
Jay and Silent Bob are sort of the R2-D2 and C-3PO of the View Askewniverse. They appear in every movie to provide lovable support. But there’s a reason why R2-D2 and C-3PO have never been given their own movie (well, not yet – give Disney some time and they’ll get there).
RELATED: Every Single Kevin Smith/View Askewniverse Movie (In Chronological Order)
They’re better party guests than they are hosts. The same goes for Jay and Silent Bob. They’re fun in small doses, but a little tiresome when they take center stage. Having said that, the upcoming Jay and Silent Bob Reboot does look like it’s going to be a lot of fun.
7 Mallrats (55%)
Kevin Smith’s sophomore effort failed to drum up the same critical acclaim as his directorial debut. Where Clerks was about a bunch of people talking in a convenience store, Mallrats was about a bunch of people talking in a mall. In theory, anyone who liked Clerks should like Mallrats.
It doesn’t have the rawness of Clerks as there’s a lot more wackiness, while the larger studio budget allowed by Clerks’ success actually became its successor’s downfall. However, it has the same zany New Jerseyan characters with New Jerseyan dialogue, as well as a hilarious Stan Lee cameo, so it’s not all bad.
6 Red State (60%)
The first non-comedy directed by Kevin Smith, Red State is a thriller with horror elements about a trio of high school students who are lured into a house with the promise of sex and end up getting captured to be sacrificed by a sadistic religious cult. As a firefight breaks out between the cult and the police, these kids struggle to escape.
It’s an exciting movie with a strong hook and plenty of action. It’s not perfect by any means – its climax is resolved disappointingly quickly and the stakes escalate rapidly at the start and stay at the same place for the rest of the movie – but it is an enjoyable thriller.
5 Clerks II (63%)
The sequel to Kevin Smith’s directorial debut swapped the black-and-white film for color and swapped the convenience store setting for a fast-food restaurant. It begins with the store from the first one burning down and Dante and Randall taking jobs at a fast food place called Mooby’s.
RELATED: 10 Funniest Quotes From Clerks
This time around, even worse things happen to the poor guys, but it leads them to even greater emotional resolutions than the first one, too. Sadly, it looks as though Clerks III has been called off for good and we’ll never get to see the Clerks trilogy concluded, but at least this one left the characters in a good place.
4 Zack and Miri Make a Porno (65%)
Kevin Smith hoped that Zack and Miri Make a Porno would be his first big box office hit because it had a high-concept premise and two members of the Apatow company of actors – Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks – in the lead roles.
Alas, thanks to a reserved marketing campaign and the fact that most theaters couldn’t even name the movie, it performed as well as Smith’s other movies (a middling response; not a bomb, but not a smash hit by any means). It’s a shame because the movie found the perfect balance between mainstream Hollywood comedy and idiosyncratic Kevin Smith romp for the first time in the director’s career.
3 Dogma (67%)
A passion project of sorts for Kevin Smith, who was raised a devout Catholic, Dogma tells the tale of two fallen angels who try to get back into Heaven based on a loophole in God’s rules, but since such a loophole would prove that God is fallible, their success could undo the history of all creation.
RELATED: The 6 Best And 5 Worst Kevin Smith/View Askewniverse Movies (According To IMDb)
The film inspired protests from Christian groups (some of which Smith attended in disguise as a joke). It takes on the subject of religion in a comical, but ultimately respectful way. Everyone in the ensemble cast – from George Carlin to Alan Rickman to Alanis Morrisette as God – is fantastic.
2 Chasing Amy (87%)
The premise of Chasing Amy makes it sound like a crass, juvenile, high-concept romantic comedy. It’s about a comic book artist who falls in love with a girl, only to be devastated when he finds out she’s a lesbian. However, in the hands of Kevin Smith, this is actually a poignant reflection on sexual identity and human relationships.
Holden and Alyssa are a proxy for any pair where one person wants to be with the other, but due to uncontrollable circumstances, they just can’t be. Chasing Amy introduced audiences to some key players in the View Askewniverse, not to mention some cult icons of the ‘90s.
1 Clerks (88%)
The movie that made Kevin Smith’s career remains his best-reviewed work. It’s a comedy set over the course of one really bad day in a convenience store clerk’s life, and the story behind the film’s production is almost as interesting as the film itself.
Smith maxed out ten credit cards to shoot it; he shot it on black-and-white film because it was cheaper than color; he used the convenience store he was working in as a location, and since he was working there all day, he could only shoot at night (hence a running gag about the shutter being stuck all day)
It premiered at Sundance to instant acclaim and made Smith a household name.