Here’s how thoroughly Batman’s influence has permeated the mainstream: he’s claimed tacit ownership of the very notion of shining a light into the sky. The Bat-Signal, introduced in the comics as Gotham City’s method of summoning the Dark Knight, has been endlessly parodied in the annals of pop-culture — just earlier this month, the poster for Captain Underpants paid homage to the iconic (a word I mean here literally, and not in the ‘a photo of the Kardashians’ sense) design of the skyward spotlight. And all too appropriately, the Bat-Signal will now be used to give one former Batman, the dearly departed Adam West, a proper send-off.
We‘ve only just entered May, but in the first few months of 2017, the year has yielded a surprisingly eclectic array of blockbusters. Survey the biggest earners to date, and you’ll see a socially critical horror flick from a first-time director, a spin-off based on a cross-property licensing deal within a corporate brand expansion, and a tough-as-nails superhero side project with post-apocalyptic Western overtones. The latest Fast and Furious installment looks most at home in the top five so far, but more unexpected still is that it’s been handily defeated by the year’s top earner, Disney’s handsomely mounted revival of Beauty and the Beast. And now, the unlikely box-office behemoth has claimed another record.
In case you weren’t aware, a pretty major situation has been percolating in the entertainment industry over the past month. Unsatisfied with the conditions of their work and continued employment, the Writers’ Guild of America went to the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers to renegotiate the terms of their collective contract. A bitter standoff summarily broke out, with the possibility of another writers’ strike — you may remember the last freeze-out, which stretched from late 2007 into early 2008 — looming on the horizon. Today brings a resolution to the saga of the last few weeks, and in true Hollywood fashion, everyone’s getting a happy ending.
It was back in July that the news of an impending return from everyone’s favorite B-movie mockery program Mystery Science Theater 3000 first broke. Fans of Manos: the Hands of Fate and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians were atwitter with excitement for a revival of the long-running program last seen in 1999, breathlessly speculating on which schlock gems would get roasted this time around. And while the fodder for the upcoming eleventh season has yet to be named, Netflix has finally announced a release date and included a new press photo of the whole wisecracking robotic gang.
Chances are, you’re currently reading these words on a phone, computer, or tablet manufactured by Apple. Maybe on your morning commute, you listen to music downloaded from the ITunes Music Store. If you are an on-the-go sort of person who’s not afraid to be made fun of, you may have an Apple Watch wrapped around your wrist right now. The tech giant’s influence has permeated so many facets of modern life, and as we patiently await Apple’s big foray into the burgeoning field of teledildonics, they’ve announced plans to plant their flag on one more heated battlefield.
Even if it feels like things are getting worse all the time, with Hollywood delivering an unholy crop of expensive flops amidst murmurs of cinema’s death in 2016, that may not be the case. At the very least, the American film industry isn’t in danger of collapsing any time soon — quite the opposite, in fact. If we’re to take the total sum of money generated by ticket sales in a given year as a barometer of the industry’s overall health, Tinseltown’s still as strong as an ox, Ben-hur remake or no.
With the rise in on-demand and streaming options for home viewership and American reluctance to leave the house at an all-time high, brick-and-mortar theaters have scrambled to keep viewers in the seats...
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