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‘John Wick 3’ Dethrones ‘Avengers: Endgame’ With $57 million.



The box office has a new king and his name is John Wick. The third installment of the hyper violent Keanu Reeves franchise has taken the top spot at the North American box office and ended the three-week reign of “Avengers: Endgame.”

Studios on Sunday say “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum” has grossed an estimated $57 million in its opening weekend. Not only did it far exceed expectations, it’s a franchise best that nearly doubled the opening of the second film, which itself doubled the opening of the first film from 2014.

The audience, in other words, is growing exponentially for this series about a talented assassin who never seems to get a break. This time, there’s a $14 million price tag on his head.

Men made up the majority (63 of the “John Wick 3” opening weekend crowd. Overall audiences gave the film a rare A+ CinemaScore, indicating that word-of-mouth will be strong in subsequent weekends. According to Comscore’s PostTrack audience survey, 70% said they would “definitely recommend” to their friends and 21% said they would see it again in theaters.

“This is the best reviewed film of the series so far,” said Joe Drake, chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, in a statement. “We believe word-of-mouth will continue to drive strong business for the film all over the world.”

Internationally “John Wick 3” earned $35.2 million from 66 territories.

“Avengers: Endgame” slid to second place in its fourth weekend with $29.4 million. Domestically, where the film has grossed $711 million, it’s now second only to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ($937 million) and globally, with $2.6 billion, it’s still second to “Avatar” ($2.8 billion).

In its second weekend, “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” also continued to do well, placing third with $24.8 million. But with the high-performing trifecta of John Wick, the Avengers and Pikachu, there weren’t very many moviegoers left over for the less flashy newcomers like “A Dog’s Journey” and “The Sun Is Also a Star.”

“The marketplace was so dominated by ‘John Wick,'” said Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comscore. “It’s tough when one movie over performs by this kind of magnitude.”

Amblin Entertainment and Reliance Entertainment’s “A Dog’s Journey” opened in fourth with an underwhelming $8 million. The Universal-distributed film is a sequel to the 2017 hit “A Dog’s Purpose.” But unlike John Wick, the audience for this sequel was less than half of that for the first, which opened to $18.2 million. But audiences who did turn out gave it an A CinemaScore, which could point toward long-term playability.

Most disappointing, however, is the young adult adaptation “The Sun Is Also a Star” which grossed only $2.6 million from over 2,000 screens and landed in eighth place. Although modestly budgeted at a reported $9 million, and featuring popular television actors such as “Riverdale’s” Charles Melton and “grown-ish’s” Yara Shahidi, the Warner Bros.-released film failed to connect even with the audiences who turned out, 75% of whom were women. It got a poor B- CinemaScore.

It’s a far cry from the days of “The Fault in Our Stars'” $48 million debut in 2014, and even the last film based on a Nicola Yoon novel, “Everything, Everything,” which opened to over $11 million in 2017.

“As unpredictable and fickle as young adults are, so are the performances of films that target that audience,” Dergarabedian said.

In limited release, Joanna Hogg’s well-reviewed relationship drama “The Souvenir” did well with $85,851 from four screens.

Even with the success of “John Wick,” the weekend itself was down about 31% and the year to date is still down around 9%, but, Dergarabedian said that this is the calm before the storm. In the next few weekends theaters will see an influx of could-be hits such as “Rocketman,” ”Aladdin” and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.”

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1.”John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum,” $57 million ($35.2 million international).

2.”Avengers: Engame,” $29.4 million ($46.8 million international).

3.”Pokémon Detective Pikachu,” $24.8 million.

4.”A Dog’s Journey,” $8 million ($15.5 million international).

5.”The Hustle,” $6.1 million.

6.”The Intruder,” $4 million.

7.”Long Shot,” $3.4 million.

8.”The Sun Is Also a Star,” $2.6 million.

9.”Poms,” $2.1 million.

10.”Uglydolls,” $1.6 million.

Source: Associate Press.

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JUMANJI: The Next Level; An Upbeat, Frenetic Adventure. – [REVIEW]



No one was more surprised than I when Jake Kasdan’s 2017 romp Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle managed to squeeze smart new thrills from the premise of Chris Van Allsburg’s 1981 children’s book, first filmed in 1995. While Joe Johnston’s Jumanji (starring Robin Williams) had featured fantastical creatures escaping from the titular board-game to run wild in Brantford, New Hampshire, Kasdan’s “continuation of the story” sent four young players into a video game, where they battled a series of challenges in order to earn a safe passage home. The result was a crowd-pleasing romp that combined the school detention premise of The Breakfast Club with boisterous CG action in sprightly fashion.

With a worldwide box-office gross just this side of a billion dollars, a sequel became an industrial necessity – never an inspiring situation. It’s a relief, therefore, to report that Jumanji: The Next Level keeps things upbeat and lively, thanks in no small part to the introduction of two counterintuitively revivifying characters – curmudgeonly old codgers whose gripes and aches provide a jolly counterpoint to the teen angst that fired Kasdan’s previous instalment.

Danny DeVito and Danny Glover are, respectively, Eddie and Milo – former restaurateurs nursing a 15-year-old estrangement beef. When Eddie’s disillusioned grandson Spencer (Alex Wolff) ventures back into the Jumanji video game with dreams of once again becoming handsome adventurer Dr Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), his somewhat distant friends are forced to follow. Unfortunately, Eddie and Milo are unwittingly dragged along for the ride, swept into an alternative universe in which Jurgen the Brutal (Game of Thrones’s Rory McCann) has stolen Jumanji’s life-giving jewel, threatening its kingdoms with drought and darkness. “We’re in a ‘video game’,” the youngsters try to explain to the old farts, to little avail.

More confusing still is the randomness of the in-game avatar identities assigned to each player. This time, the body-swap choices of the first film are shuffled and multiplied, allowing our adult stars to experiment with a wider range of comically mimicked characters. Thus we get to enjoy the Rock doing a loopy impression of Danny DeVito, experiencing the thrill of huge biceps and fully mobile hips (“I’m back!”); and Kevin Hart channelling Glover’s laconic verbal delivery as Franklin “Mouse” Finbar, drawling: “Did I just kill Eddie by talking too slow – like he always said I would?”

Upping the ante is Awkwafina as new game-character Ming Fleetfoot, whose appearance poses both questions and answers as the narrative (penned by Kasdan with returning co-writers Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg) jumbles identities like T-shirts in a tumble dryer. Like some super-charged kaleidoscopic rehash of Freaky Friday, Jumanji: The Next Level takes polymorphous pleasure in its frenetic scrambling of age, gender and racial boundaries, yet somehow manages to keep us up to speed with who is in which body at any given moment – just about. It’s a credit to the film-makers that a one-sided conversation between a cat burglar and a hybrid horse can still pack an emotional punch, a feat of which Polish surrealist director Walerian Borowczyk would have been rightly proud.

There are a few false steps. Some of the bawdier gags about horse dicks and eunuch’s testicles strike a duff note, and there’s a bagginess to the third act that afflicts so many FX-heavy blockbusters. Yet for the most part the set pieces (which include giant ostriches chasing dune buggies and airborne encounters with snarling monkeys) have an enjoyable grandeur, emphasised by Henry Jackman’s score, which cheekily invokes Maurice Jarre’s Lawrence of Arabia theme during an early desert sequence.

As before, it’s the characters that shine through; from Karen Gillan’s ludicrously attired Ruby Roundhouse, whose ass-kicking new skills include nunchucks (once blanket-banned from UK screens by the British Board of Film Classification), to Jack Black’s map-reading Dr “Shelley” Oberon, delightfully reunited with Madison Iseman’s likable mean girl persona. We even get a reprise of Baby, I Love Your Way, a track that raised a big laugh in Welcome to the Jungle and provokes a knowing chuckle here.

Whether this winning formula can be repeated yet another time remains a moot point. An end-credits sequence invokes the “real world” adventures of yore, paving the way for further instalments, but I hope these characters remain true to their promise to “never go back again”. It’s a promise they’ve already broken once, and somehow managed to get away with it. Next time, I doubt I’ll be quite so forgiving.

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TATU ON NETFLIX: Nollywood’s Precursor To Black Panther



Tatu, a 2017 Nollywood film starring Desmond Elliot, Rahama Sadau, Sambisa Nzeribe, Toyin Abraham, Segun Arinze, Gabriel Afolayan, Saka, Kunle Idowu aka Frank Donga and Funlola Aofiyebi-Alimi, has so much in common with the blockbuster Hollywood film, Black Panther. You would be forgiven for thinking the producers saw Tatu in 2017 and quickly rushed to the studio to produce Black Panther in 2018. Both films are based on storylines that combine fantasy (juju in the case of Tatu and science fiction in the case of Black Panther), and constant switching between contemporary real worlds (schools, dating, shopping malls etc.) and a hidden world (Wakanda, a technologically-advanced African country) and current and past events in a village still tightly bound in century old tradition and religion (Tatu).

Black Panther is, of course, the far more popular film, grossing $1.347 billion in the cinema and winning 89 awards. Tatu is not even so popular in Nigeria despite its critical acclaim – it won in four categories: Best Soundtrack in a Movie, Best Makeup Artiste, Best Lighting Designer and Best Sound Editing at the 2018 AMVCA. Its real achievement is not its moderate commercial success, but its solid storyline, well-crafted plotting and high production value, qualities for which it won four AMVCA awards and for which the Producer, Don Omope, can credibly claim to be the inspiration behind the Black Panther. Indeed, Tatu, now on Netflix, is Black Panther without the production and marketing budget of Wall Street.

The first scene shows a young boy running in a forest while his name is being called by someone unseen. The boy grows up to become Kamani, who is destined to protect another “special” girl, Tatuma. Tatuma’s mother being in the know of their fate (both have to die on Tatuma’s 21st birthday to prevent the land from falling into chaos). So, the mother, with the help of a priest, spirited the girl to a convent in the city where she grows up away from Kamani, her spirit child twin and unaware of her fate to die in a sacrifice on her 21st birthday so as to save the village. This is the plot by which the movie runs.

As their 21st birthday approached, the chief priest sent Kamani, who has retained the supernatural powers of a spirit child, to bring Tatuma back to the village. There are detours and complications. Tatuma is protected from Kamani’s powers in the convent where she lived. But Tatuma is also a wayward trainee nun, prone to escape to night clubs and enjoy liaisons with her music producer boyfriend, Gabriel Afolayan. So, Kamani whose mission is to take her from the city to her death in the village, had to save her from being gangraped.

While most parts in the film are very well played, the tendency for histrionics, particularly on the part of Kamani and the village priest, Narimana (Segun Arinze), is a bit much. It is sometimes overblown and off-putting; picture the early scenes when Larayi is supposedly giving birth, and the whole things just seems overdrawn.

Another flaw of Tatu is the plot itself, which seemed to be finding its feet in the movie. Things just seem to take too long to get going, and it’s quite easy to lose interest in the proceedings. The desperation for comic relief as well – particularly the scene involving Saka and Kunle Idowu AKA Frank Donga – makes scenes look out of place, and perhaps that should have just been left to Gabriel Afolayan’s character – Wally – who does a good job in that scene.

Tatu is well-produced and quite well-directed. The use of sounds is great – you could easily tell or even viscerally feel when danger is imminent, that something is lurking and waiting to happen. Social themes are also adroitly embedded. The scene in which three thugs tried to seize the food which is being served to homeless children really denotes the dystopian society we live in. Also, Mother Supreme (Funlola Aofiyebi-Alimi) mirrors the streak of authoritarianism and dogma in Nigeria’s religious figures.

Yet, you could tell something is always missing; whether in terms of the scenes, plots, or characters. Every part and element of the film, if looked at individually, seems like at least a seven out of ten, but put them together and is that really good enough? In a purely Nigerian sense, perhaps; but with the movie on Netflix, it’s on a world scale, and is likely to get comparison along all other kinds of films. In that sense, it doesn’t seem quite good enough. To sum Tatu up; it is not bad, but it is memorable. So is the Black Panther.

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POTATO POTAHTO: Shirley Frimpong Manso’s Film To Stream On Netflix.



GREATER ACCRA, GHANA ( - Ghanaian film director, writer, & producer, Shirley Frimpong Manso has secured a streaming deal for her film productions, Sparrow Pictures as she's signed a pact with global movie streaming site, Netflix, to show herself produced romantic comedy film, "Potato Potahto" this December.

The movie which premiered at the Silverbird Cinema on 30th November 2017 garnered patrons to a successful premiere at Durban International Film Festival and the British Urban Film Festival; Cannes Film Festival will start streaming on the 15th December, 2019. It was also part of the official selection for the Film Africa Festival which ran from October 27 to November 5.

The Ghanaian Nigerian romantic comedy film tells a story of divorce in West African society and how tricky it is, in perspective, the movie is about a divorced couple (played by O.C Ukeje and Joselyn Dumas) who decide to still share equal space in their home after their split. They cannot agree on divorce terms and settle for co-ownership of their matrimonial home and other property

Alongside Ukeje and Dumas, the movie's all-star cast is rounded up by the impressive Joke Silva, Blossom Chuckwujekwu, Chris Attoh, Nikki Samonas, Adjetey Annang, Lala Akindoju and Victoria Michaels.

See official trailer below;

The film is a co-production by Nigerian companies Ascend Studios, 19 April Entertainment Virgo Sun Ltd and Lufodo Productions and was directed by Ghanaian film maker, Shirley Frimpong-Manso. It chronicles the chaotic events which take place when a divorced couple stay on together in the matrimonial home, each taking on young attractive help of the opposite sex.

However, taken this success to her social media platform, the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sparrow Productions, a film, television and advertising production company, expressed her excitement, stating that, the movie has been approved to stream on Netflix, urging her fans and movie lovers to set their reminder for the premiere on the streaming site.

Shirley Frimpong-Manso (born 16 March 1977) won the Best Director at the 6th Africa Movie Academy Awards. Frimpong-Manso is also a principal of Sparrow Station, a video streaming service for African entertainment from Sparrow and other African film producers. In 2013, she was ranked the 48th most influential person in Ghana according to Ghana.

Frimpong-Manso is described as one who "seeks to raise the standard of film production in Ghana and Africa by telling progressive African stories as seen through the eyes of Africans." Changing the way Ghana was portrayed also motivated her career choice. Her films are also known for their "fierce female leads," as they portray African women with agency who can be breadwinners and lead complex lives.

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MTN Ghana Customers To Enjoy Exclusive Pre-Screening Of ‘Jumanji – The Next Level’.



GREATER ACCRA, GHANA ( festive season promises to be exciting as the biggest telecommunication network, MTN Ghana will be giving customers a unique opportunity to watch the premier of ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’.

The prescreening of the movie will take place at the Silver bird cinema at the Accra Mall on Thursday December 12, 2019. This is the 5th time in the year MTN has given its loyal customers the opportunity to watch the premier of a highly sought after movie.

The Senior Manager for Consumer Marketing at MTN, Nana Asantewaa Amegashie, said, “Delivering a distinct customer experience is our hallmark and MTN Ghana is focused on brightening lives of our customers at various touch points”. “This movie is one of the much anticipated movies of our time and we want our cherished customers to enjoy it at no cost and on the same day that it is premiered in the US and Canada”.

MTN Movie Mania, which is making the pre-screening possible for customers, is an initiative of MTN Ghana in partnership with the Silverbird Cinemas for the business to engage its customers in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

Customers at the event will be treated to a red carpet session after which there will be a networking experience. The pre-screening of Jumanji: The next level by MTN follows the prescreening of block buster movies like: ‘‘Spiderman Homecoming’; ‘Black Panther’; ‘Avengers Infinity’ and Avengers Endgame etc.

Jumanji: The next level happens when Spencer goes back into the fantastical world of Jumanji. Pals Martha, Fridge and Bethany re-enter the game to bring him home. But everything about Jumanji is about to change, as they soon discover more obstacles and more danger to overcome.

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