This week Ant-Man and the Wasp got a trailer that looks anything but small. Who will the new villain be? Meanwhile, Black Panther is zooming towards a $150 million opening but some people on Facebook want to take it down. The Disney Studios will work to impress investors with its first-quarter numbers, but things aren’t looking too magical. We have that and more so let’s get into it.
Ant-Man and The Wasp Trailer
This was gigantic. Okay, there’s my contractual sentence about size. But really, this trailer was amazing. Who doesn’t like a skyscraper shrinking down to travel size? In case you happened to miss it, you can feast your eyes on its glory below.
I love how much the trailer gave Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) to do. It looks like she will kick some serious booty. It should be noted that Hope was originally supposed to be in Captain America: Civil War. However, writer Stephen McFeely cut Hope because he felt that she went from Zero to Super Hero without enough introduction.
“We have not seen her be a hero at all, so that’s an example of where we think we’d be drinking someone’s milkshake,” McFeely said in the interview. “Let’s let the ‘Ant-Man’ franchise show her come to her full fruition as opposed to just doing it offscreen.”
Director Rian Johnson could learn a lot about character development from the folks over at Marvel.
That said, there was a brief — very brief — intro of the character that figures to be the villain in this movie: Ghost. In the comics, the character is a male villain to Iron Man. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the character will be a female antagonist to Ant-Man and The Wasp.
The ghost has a high tech suit of armor that allows her to become invisible. In the comics, he is a violent, anti-capitalist who wants to tear down all corporations. We’ll see what parts of him actually make it into his female counterpart. But I’m already excited to see Ant-Man back on screen.
Black Panther Zooms Towards $150 Million Opening
In the show this week (listen below), I had to give huge props to Ed Buskirk of The Disney Movie Database. He predicted a $153 million opening weekend ahead of any official analysts. Now it seems the analysts have caught up with him. Since Black Panther continues to break pre-sale records, analysts have upped their forecast for the opening weekend.
That said, not everyone is hoping T’Challa has a successful outing. A group of people with questionable morals has decided to use Rotten Tomatoes as a vehicle to take down Black Panther. The Facebook Group, “Down with Disney’s Treatment of Franchises and its Fanboys” started an event for members to downvote the movie on Rotten Tomatoes, regardless of whether or not the members had seen it. Facebook deactivated the group and Rotten Tomatoes issued a statement.
“While we respect our fans’ diverse opinions, we do not condone hate speech,” the statement reads. “Our team of security, network and social experts continue to closely monitor our platforms and any users who engage in such activities will be blocked from our site and their comments removed as quickly as possible.”
Can Black Panther Defeat Rotten Tomatoes
Deactivating a Facebook group — while a positive step — doesn’t stop this sort of behavior. It doesn’t even really stop the spread of these ideas. Many social media users are allowed to spit all kinds of hate a vitriol with little consequence. This makes the path to success much narrower for movies helmed by minorities.
Rotten Tomatoes has promised to delete “hate speech,” but that’s really the easy part in all this. The hard part is filtering out the subtle bias that shows up in these reviews. It’s the people who see Cate Blanchett in Thor: Ragnarok and simply say, “I think a male would be better in that role” without any supporting arguments. Or the guy who sees Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther and feels “something” is just not right with the character.
What can we do?
First, see it in context. I know all too well how people will comment on an article or video without actually viewing the content. It happens on this blog all the time. It’s actually funny sometimes because you can definitely tell who has read the article and who just is commenting on the title. See: Is Zootopia Racist below.
Second, let’s get back to viewing people as human beings first. We’ve reached a place in our society where people are viewed as part of some monolithic stereotype before they are viewed as a human. Now you are a religion. A political ideology. If we can start to view people as human beings, we can get back to conversations that actually help us relate to one another. It’s difficult and messy, but human relationships aren’t supposed to fit into a neat box.
Finally, don’t allow a single rating on one website to determine your entertainment choices. I’ve had people tell me they stopped listening to the podcast because of our glowing Tomorrowland review. I believe people need to find podcasts they love, but I’m sad that listener wasn’t open to hearing different opinions. We may have differed on Tomorrowland , but had the same thoughts about Coco. Be open to hearing from people who respectfully disagree with things you say. We do it all the time on the show and I think it is one of the best parts of it.
Will 2018 Be Better for Walt Disney Studios Division?
During the first, second, third and fourth quarter of fiscal 2017, the Disney studios segment witnessed a decline of 17%, 1%, 16% and 21%, respectively. The Last Jedi was booted out of China prematurely and brought in $200 million less than analysts expected. Oh and perhaps you’ve heard that Solo – another Disney tentpole – is experiencing some trouble.
It is a little ridiculous that a movie that made more than $1.3 billion could be considered a disappointment financially. Still, investors only care about what it was “supposed” to do at the box office. Films are measured by expectations, not actuals.
Disney is reporting numbers for the first quarter of 2018 on Tuesday. You can bet investors will be looking anxiously at the Studios division to see if it is back on track for 2018. To hear more check out the podcast below.