Will Smith took to Instagram this weekend as Aladdin, the Disney live-action remake of the 1992 animated classic, overtook Independence Day to become the star’s biggest film ever at the global box office (unadjusted). In a video post, a “humbled” Smith said, “To be in this game as long as I’ve been in this game and to have my biggest movie at this point in my career, I just want to say thank you.” Check out the video below in which Smith offers those thanks in myriad languages.
Through Sunday, Aladdin, which is also director Guy Ritchie’s biggest global hit, has cumed $568.3M at the international box office and $874.2M worldwide. Independence Day‘s unadjusted lifetimes were $511.2M overseas and $817.4M global. Domestically, Aladdin is just shy of Independence Day at $305.9M versus the 1996 film’s unadjusted $306.2M. For the moment, Suicide Squad remains Smith’s top-grossing movie in North America with $325.1M (also unadjusted).
Aladdin has been the surprise hit of the summer, riding its magic carpet past major milestones from early June. Strong word of mouth continues to bring a shine to the lamp and the pic has soared with audiences around the world (defying any early industry sniping which simply did not translate to moviegoers). Notably, Aladdin has made over $60M in Korea while it’s nearing $67M in Japan. Drops have been slight throughout the six weekends — this past frame was off by just 30% versus last — and there have been increases in some markets as the movie reaps holiday business. It should cross $900M global by the end of the run.
The Top 5 offshore hubs through Sunday are Japan ($66.6M), Korea ($60.2M), China ($53.3M), UK ($42.8M) and Mexico ($32.1M).
Domestically, Aladdin remained in the Top 4 in its 6th weekend, and this frame became Disney’s third release of 2019 to pass the $300M threshold. It’s the fourth of Disney’s live-action reimaginings to get to $300M domestically alongside Beauty And The Beast, The Jungle Book and Alice In Wonderland.
Here’s Smith offering up his domo arigato and more (also “pay attention” to the Aladdin musical number reference in the text):
YOUR EXCELLENCY: Film Marked Funke Akindele Debut As A Director
Funke Akindele has carved a niche for herself. Her Jenifa shtick will go down in Nollywood history as the single most exploited act in the industry’s history. I mean how many films – Yoruba as well as English – can an actor appear in as the same one-dimensional act (the gaffe-prone bush girl who refuses to be held down by social limitations) for almost 12 years since the original Jenifa was released? It was starting to look like Ms Akindele is destined to play that one role for life – imagine her when she is 70 playing Grandma Jenifa, unlettered chaos visiting her son Manhattan, New York. So, it is a huge relief to see her do something else in Nollywood as Director of the film, Your Excellency.
Your Excellency stars Akin Lewis as Chief Olalekan Ajadi, a man who has been the joke of several presidential campaigns in the country. Akin Lewis, in particular, deserves immense credit for playing this role with such panache. He is a character that doesn’t quite take himself seriously, he has no problem looking idiotic on television interviews or in public. The movie should be applauded for how it highlights Ajadi’s lack of seriousness – watch people look at him with sneers and sniggers, hear their remarks over him having yet another stab at the presidential position, see the social media comments and memes of derision.
But Your Excellency makes the mistake of assuming, to an extent, that this is all what we want – the admittedly truly hilarious portrayal of Ajadi, the clownish politician and the vicious public ridicule of this character. While this is enjoyable, that is also sadly almost all the film has to offer. There’s a bland and absurd presidential debate, palpable intellectual theft, and what seems like disbelieving naivety on the part of Ajadi, even for a character that could be seen as something of a joke. In the aspect of comedy for comedic sake, and a seeming inability to recognise when to stop and give us something solid, Akindele’s fingerprints are all over the movie.
Ajadi starts out having an obsession with Donald Trump, and the movie draws some form of comparison between both parties, especially in terms of media perceptions – both use social media frequently, both are repeatedly made fun of, and can’t be imagined as people capable of ruling a country or as we frequently say in Nigeria, a Agenebode Local Government Area. But Your Excellency fails to really exploit the thematic and dramatic potentials of a Trump in Nigerian politics. There isn’t much meat beyond taking photos near pictures of Trump, making references to his victory in 2016, and copying his campaign slogan. There is no Nigerian equivalent of Trumpism as a populist ideology, nothing that is really worth holding on to, not even a Trump quote.
Your Excellency can also be faulted in terms of characters, some of which were unnecessary. Take away Stephanie (played brilliantly by Toni Tones, it has to be said), and the film still basically runs on the same course. Remove Candy (also played brilliantly, by Osas Ighodaro) and her storyline, and the film still hardly loses a footing. If they exist to show the dark side of social media, that was a good job well done, but that’s already reflected in other aspects of the film.
Not that this movie doesn’t have areas of credit, though. Take Ajadi, again. He may exist mostly for laughs, but there’s a bit more to him. He exudes loyalty, and in a way manages to symbolise the average Nigerian, despite being rich; we don’t want to know the political nitty-gritties and babbles, we just want a decent life. Good roads, constant electricity, better standard of living. Ajadi’s political victory in the end, however unrealistic and absurd-looking, also signifies hope for the average Nigerian. It’s the kind of hope that bothers on the naïve and fantastical, but it allows a measure of comforting escapism.
Your Excellency also does a good job of highlighting the use of social media; its power, its reach, and also the fact that it never really tells the whole story. And the movie deserves credit for the genuineness of it all; the fan accounts, the quick memes, the captions with typos. The movie also manages to point at the religious fixation in this country; when Ajadi goes to church and his presidential stock rises on social media. Suddenly he is a presidential candidate who is ‘one with God’.
Yet, the movie’s shortcomings can’t quite be overlooked. You might excuse them because it’s Akindele’s debut as a director, and the fact that the ending seems to tease a sequel, which might probably make better use of its characters, and tell us some things it should have here, but there are obvious flaws nonetheless. To sum it up, Your Excellency makes for decent watch, but after everything, it is quite forgettable.
“I AM NOT A WITCH: Zambian Movie Debuts On Netflix
LUSAKA, ZAMBIA (www.georgebritton.com) - The award-winning Zambian film “I Am Not a Witch” will be the country’s first film to debut on Netflix. It joins other African films, such as “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” on the international streaming service. The film is about an eight-year-old girl, played by Maggie Mulubwa, earned the Outstanding Debut award at the 2018 BAFTA’s and will now debut on Netflix.
The film is based on the experiences of many women across the African continent. Zambian-born filmmaker Rungano Nyoni spent time at a “witch camp” in Ghana for source material, reports BBC Africa.
The film’s synopsis states: “Following a banal incident in her local village, eight-year old Shula is accused of witchcraft. After a short trial, she is found guilty, taken into state custody and exiled to a witch camp. At the camp she takes part in an initiation ceremony where she is shown the rules surrounding her new life as a witch. Like the other residents, Shula is tied to a ribbon attached to a coil that perches on a large truck. She is told that should she ever cut the ribbon, she’d be cursed and transformed into a goat.”
A review at the Sundance Film Festival described the film as “gorgeously photographed and performed with resolute confidence, Nyoni’s astounding work layers satire and social critique into a richly textured and refreshing take on institutional subjugation, and the film resonates with earth-shattering power.”
The Guardian newspaper stated, “Zambian-born Welsh director Rungano Nyoni has delivered a pulsingly odd and strikingly original debut: a tale of dogma, prejudice and corruption in the country of her birth. It’s a strange witches brew of deadpan farce and arthouse stillness that some will find exasperating, and it’s not without its missteps; but there’s a confidence and clarity of vision that’s hard not to admire, especially for a first feature.”
Just like The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, the film was shot in a country with little infrastructure to support the project but the filmmakers decided to stay true to the story and its setting regardless of these challenges. Nyoni’s aesthetic as a self-taught cineaste began when she was first introduced to the concept of arthouse filmmaking by Michael Haneke in his film The Piano Teacher. For her feature debut, Nyoni envisioned a Wales-based project, given that she grew up there. Instead she found herself in Zambia, making a low-budget film that “ticks all the wrong boxes for first-time filmmakers, working with multiple nationalities, animals, amateurs and children in a country with little in the way of infrastructure,” reported the entertainment news site Deadline Hollywood.
This Zambian fairytale is unique, beguiling and just strange enough to be magical. The entire process took four years, but Nyoni’s efforts bore fruit with the film first garnering awards and now debuting on a platform that has a viewership in the millions.
Keanu Reeves Talks About Upcoming Matrix 4 Script, Casting
The announcement for the fourth instalment of theMatrix saga has shook science fiction fans around the world, especially since they have managed to keep some of the original crew including Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss in particular, as well as Lana Wachowski as writer and director.
Lana made a comment regarding her involvement in the new chapter: “Many of the ideas Lilly and I explored 20 years ago about our reality are even more relevant now. I’m very happy to have these characters back in my life and grateful for another chance to work with my brilliant friends.”
Production is set to start any day now, slated to begin sometime in early 2020. Keanu Reeves sat down for an interview with Entertainment Tonightwhere he agreed to say a bit about what he thinks, without revealing too much.
‘It’s very ambitious. As it should be!’
The Matrix Franchise had brought in over 1.6 billion dollars in the global box office, this 4th chapter will surely help the franchise tip over the 2 billion dollar mark.
In addition to Neo and Trinity, a large part of the original crew will also be returning for Matrix 4. There have even been rumours about John Toll, the cinematographer renowned for his work in Legends of the Fall, joining the project.
Raquel Drops New Single Ahead Of Gold Coast Lounge Movie Première
GREATER ACCRA, GHANA (www.georgebritton.com) - Female vocalist, Raquel has released a single (movie soundtrack) to the award-winning movie she featured in, Gold Coast Lounge that has it première showtimes on Friday, Jan. 3rd at the Accra Mall and then Saturday, January 4th at West Hills Mall 7 PM & 9:20 PM each night.
Raquel amongst other things aside her music is also a professionally trained theatrical and screen actress. After featuring in multiple theatrical productions in Ghana like the internationally-famed 'The Sound of Music' Directed by Banna Rocco Consults playing the lead character of Maria and 'The Versatile Show' a theatrical musical directed by Okyeami Kwame and Uncle Ebo White in 2013 also featured as the lead actress she is back with an amazing movie featuring again as the lead actress.
The sensational award-winning Singer, Songwriter and Actress of BlackStar SR Entertainment has demonstrated her exceptional acting prowess in this award-winning movie called the Gold Coast Lounge written and directed by the award-winning Pascal Aka of Breakthrough Studios. The movie is an assembly of an amazing cast with multiple talents and on-screen magic. The cast features other award-winning actors and actresses like Alphonse Menyo, Adjetey Anang, Raquel Ammah, Zynnell Zuh, Pascal Aka, Cina Soul, Akofa Edjeani, and Gideon Boakye.
Get a ticket at a cool 40GHc cedis and enjoy this classic from the beautiful songstress and experience a movie that has swept 8x awards in the just ended 'Ghana Movie Awards' in December 2019. The movie (Gold Coast Lounge) swept the Best Original Song recorded by Raquel "Have You Seen My Love", Best Motion Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Production Design and Best Makeup.