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Horror Director Can’t Save ‘Shazam! 2,’ Latest Superhero to Tank at the Box Office



What used to be a sure-fire ticket grab is becoming just another unpopular station stop at the box office. We are talking of course about the MCU and DCEU. In particular, the latest perceived super-flop Shazam! Fury of the Gods.

Some of you may consider Shazam’s opening weekend of $30.5 million nothing to sneeze at, but consider Scream VI’s opening weekend totals of $44.5 million. A Scream movie out box-officing a comic book film? What world do we live in?! A horror one.

Given the dismal returns of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and its recent predecessors, the golden age of capes and superpowers seems to have died with Spiderman: No Way Home (no way home indeed).

There are many factors that could have contributed to its low ticket take. Critics weren’t really impressed with Shazam! and his friend’s latest adventure and its CinemaScore rests at a B+. Also, star Zachary Levi has been given some unpopular opinions on social media which may have led to him being soft-canceled.

Further, the whole DCEU is in the middle of a very public and tumultuous overhaul and a lot of these franchise characters are edging toward the chopping block. So viewers might be watching trailers, and muttering, “What’s the point?”

Still, Shazam’s weak opening may not be indicative of what it will do digitally. Home screens seem to be the catchall of failing franchises with subscribers squeezing out every penny of their hefty monthly membership prices instead of having to pay more for a “premium” theater seat.

But let’s talk about Shazam’s horror ties. Both the first movie and now its sequel was directed by someone who normally gets his money from jump scares. David F. Sandberg (Light’s Out, Annabell Creation). He gives the Shazam movies a slight horror feel with an emphasis on the supernatural, there is definitely some crossover.

But that doesn’t mean fans are likely to follow (remember The New Mutants?). In fact, legendary horror director Sam Raimi has some box office skin in the game this week with the diminishing sci-fi adventure 65, which he produced, starring Adam Driver. Not even an A-list star could pull this film out of the primordial muck as it sits sinking faster than a Tyrannosaurus in the La Brea tar pits. Raimi’s hand is also planted in the MCU with last year’s very successful Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness with a $185 million opening weekend.

Another horror director, James Wan, is hoping to raise the sinking DCEU ship with his sequel to Aquaman called Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom set to be released by this Christmas (we’ll see).

The bottom line is that Shazam! Fury of the Gods isn’t really a bad movie. In fact, it might outshine the original as far as VFX and story. But seats are sitting empty in the cineplex nowadays for men and women in super suits which may or may not be because of behind-the-scenes drama. It may also be because avid fans aren’t finding anything fresh to consume and pushing the product to the back of the fridge in lieu of something, like Scream, which respects its base and delivers on its promises while still being aware of its expiry date.

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Get a Look Inside ‘Exorcist: Believer’ in New Featurette



Perhaps the most anticipated movie in this third quarter of the year is The Exorcist: Believer. Fifty years after the original came out, reboot artists Jason Blum and director David Gordon Green are adding to the canon of one of the most beloved horror movies of all time. They even got Ellen Burstyn to return as Chris MacNeil, mother to demonized Regan (Linda Blair) in the first film!

Universal dropped a video today to give fans a closer look at the film before its October 6 wide release date. In the clip, Burstyn gives some insight into the character she created half a century ago.

“Playing a character that I created fifty years ago: I thought she has fifty years of living. Who has she become?” she says in the video.

She has more to say as does Green in this mini featurette. As with most of these videos, there might be light spoilers so watch at your own risk.

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Wild Stills of Upcoming ‘Toxic Avenger’ Reboot Become Available



What do you get when you add some Bacon to a little Wood and then add a generous helping of Dinklage? Why a Toxic Avenger reboot of course. And today, Legendary Pictures allowed us to have a little peek at the aforementioned cast members as they appear in the reboot of the 1984 original.

Kevin Bacon in ‘The Toxic Avenger’

This project has been trying to get off the ground for about 13 years and now it is finally getting to the big screen starting at Austin’s Fantastic Fest, running Sept. 21-28.

Director Macon Blair told Entertainment Weekly it is similar to the original “Toxie” via its storyline:

“There is a terrible industrial accident that renders him a mutant and an outcast, but also gives him some super strength and super abilities that sets him on a path of being an unlikely vigilante in this downward-spiraling society.”

He adds: “Similar to the original Toxic Avenger, he’s singularly unqualified to be a hero. He’s not especially brave, he’s not especially crafty, but he has his heart in the right place, and he starts taking it to the limit when he’s pushed into a corner.”

Elijah Wood in ‘The Toxic Avenger’

Kevin Bacon and Elijah Wood are the film’s antagonists. Wood playing the evil ganglord Fritz Garbinger who with his henchmen called Killer Nutz tries to upend our janitorial hero. Blair says Fritz is, “sort of Riff Raff from The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the Danny DeVito Penguin mixed together.”

Peter Dinklage in ‘The Toxic Avenger’

We’re going to do some lazy journalism here and let the PR release do the talking, but make sure to let us know what you thought of the movie if you are attending Fantastic Fest in Austin:

A fan favorite is reborn as filmmaker Macon Blair brings the iconic mop-wielding anti-hero
back to the big screen in The Toxic Avenger. The film from Legendary Entertainment is
a contemporary reimagining of Troma Entertainment’s 1984 comedic action hit, The Toxic Avenger, created by genre legend, Lloyd Kaufman.

Jacob Tremblay in ‘The Toxic Avenger’

Uniting an exciting critically acclaimed roster of beloved actors, the cast includes Emmy
Award winner Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones,” “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirdsand Snakes”), Critics Choice award winner Jacob Tremblay (“Room,” “Luca”), Independent Spirit Award winner, Taylour Paige (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “Zola”); BAFTA award winner Julia Davis (“Sally4Ever,””Nighty Night,” “Run Rabbit Run”); Jonny Coyne (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) with SAG Award winner, Elijah Wood (“The Lord of the Rings” franchise, “Yellowjackets”) and Kevin Bacon (“City on A Hill”, “Footloose”).

Taylour Paige in ‘The Toxic Avenger’

The film follows the story of struggling everyman-janitor Winston Gooze, who is
transformed by a horrible toxic accident into a new evolution of hero: THE TOXIC AVENGER! Now with super-human strength and wielding a glowing mop for his unconventional weapon, he must race against time to save his son and stop a ruthless and power-hungry corporate tyrant bent on harnessing toxic superpowers to strengthen his polluted empire.

‘The Toxic Avenger’ courtesy of Legendary Pictures

Blair directed the film from a screenplay he wrote based on Lloyd Kaufman’s “The Toxic
Avenger” (1984). The film is produced by Mary Parent, Alex Garcia, Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz. The executive producers are Andrew Pfeffer, Jay Ashenfelter and Macon Blair with casting by Mark Bennett and Julie Harkin. Blair’s collaborators behind the camera include Emmy Award winning director of photography, Dana Gonzalez; production designer Alexander Cameron; editors Brett W. Bachman and James Thomas; visual effects supervisor Chris Ritvo; costume designer Vanessa Porter; with music by Will Blair and Brooke Blair. A Toxic World Deserves a Toxic Hero.

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‘Saw X’ Filmmaker to Fans: “You Asked For This Movie, We’re Making This For You”



In a featurette probably being emailed to every horror pub out there, the producers of the upcoming Saw X movie say this one is a direct sequel to Saw II. You can watch that clip in the video below.

“It needed to look like early Saw,” says producer Mark Burg in the clip.

“They were shot on 35 (mm); they were scuzzy and gritty,” adds Saw X cinematographer Nick Matthews.

According to producers this entry really gives fans something to look forward to. “We really tried to pay them back for their loyalty and the fans that have been there since Saw I,” says Burg. “And that’s why there’s easter eggs, there’s throwbacks; we really just tried to say, ‘you asked for this movie, we’re making this for you,'” says producer Oren Koules.

Just weeks after the events in Saw (2004): John Kramer (Tobin Bell) is back. Set between the events of Saw I and II, a sick and desperate John travels to Mexico for a risky and experimental medical procedure in hopes of a miracle cure for his cancer – only to discover the entire operation is a scam to defraud the most vulnerable. Armed with a newfound purpose, John returns to his work, turning the tables on the con artists in his signature visceral way through a series of ingenious and terrifying traps. The most chilling installment of the Saw franchise yet explores the untold chapter of Jigsaw’s most personal game.

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