Tag Archives: aquaman

Preview: Aquaman #44

Aquaman #44

(W) Kelly Sue DeConnick (A/CA) Robson Rocha, Daniel Henriques
In Shops: Jan 23, 2019
SRP: $3.99

Aquaman no more! Still reeling from the stunning events of last issue, the onetime Sea King becomes obsessed with finding the mysterious redheaded woman from his vision. But where to even start? Don’t worry, Arthur: that mysterious redhead is looking for you, too, as Mera begins the hunt for her missing mate. Amnesiac Atlanteans, redheaded mermaids and more, all on a collision course inside the mysterious town called Unspoken Water.

Aquaman #44

Where the Data Ranks 2018’s Comic Book Films. Spider-Verse Passes LEGO Batman

Comic film adaptations are big dollars and we track how they do each week to see trends and what’s working and what’s not.

2018 is a record setting year for comic film adaptations. It has topped 2017’s record year and then some. Currently, comic adaptations have earned $2.618 billion domestically, $4.420 billion internationally, $7.038 billion worldwide, with a “profit” of $5.826 billion. That’s off of 10 films. 2017, with 16 films, saw domestic earnings of $2.365 billion, international earnings of $3.755 billion, worldwide earnings of $6.120 billion, and “profits” of $4.442 billion.

The 2019 way of comic based films has launched and already making news. In third place this past weekend was a surprise with Dragon Ball Super: Broly. The movie is based on the popular manga which has spun out numerous anime shows and films. The film was close with Aquaman and is expected to beat that film with an estimated earning between $9.3 million and $10.7 million for the weekend. The studio isn’t reporting domestic grosses so this one is definitely estimates. On the lower end, the film will be in fourth place with Aquaman in third. The film opened on Wednesday so is estimated to have earned around $21 million domestically since then. Internationally, the film is in its seventh week and earned an estimated $5.3 million from 18 markets for an international total of $65.8 million for a worldwide total of $87 million. An anime film debuting in the top five is big news and kicks off the year nicely.

Aquaman earned an estimated $10.3 million domestically this past weekend to bring that total to $304.3 million. It also added $14.3 million from 79 international markets to bring that total to $759.1 million internationally. Worldwide the film has earned $1.06 billion and will likely pass The Dark Knight Rises to become to the top grossing DC Comics adaptation worldwide.

Interestingly, the film is the third lowest (really the middle of the pack out of six films) DC Cinematic film so far beating just Justice League and Man of Steel. There’s a chance it will beat both Suicide Squad and Dawn of Justice domestically when its done in the theater. The film is first when it comes to international earnings by over $200 million. That’s the difference. It’s also rather average when it comes to the budget for those films.

Rounding out the top five this past weekend was Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse which had a small drop of 19.8% from the previous weekend and earned $7.25 million for the three day and around $9 million for the for day. The domestic total is $158.3 million. Internationally the film added $4.7 million to bring that total to $164.6 million for a worldwide total of $322.9 million. The film passed last year’s animated release LEGO Batman for worldwide earnings.

This past weekend Venom didn’t chart but earned about $50,000 domestically and $60,000 internationally over the week. The film now stands at $213.5 million domestically and $642.3 internationally for a worldwide total of $855.8 million.

The film also shows that budget isn’t everything. It has the best return in multiplier when it comes to budget for a comic film of 2018, so far. With 8.56x it beats Avengers: Infinity War‘s 6.83x and 6.73x for Black Panther.

With a budget of just $100 million, the film is quite profitable and another success for Sony’s Spider-Man franchise which previously earned on average $318.8 million domestically, $488.4 million internationally, and $807.2 million worldwide. The film is likely to be the second or third worst performing Spider-Man related film domestically for Sony but first currently internationally. The difference is the budget is almost half the other films allowing for a healthy profit. The film is leaning heavily on the international market where it has earned 75.07% of its earnings compared to 62.65% for other Spider-Man films.

Deadpool 2 will soon be opening in China which will give the film a nice boost. It’s still bringing in money as is adding about $12,000 to its domestic total and $230,000 to its international total. Those amounts are being added to the original film, Deadpool 2‘s, earnings. Deadpool 2 has earned $324.6 million domestically, $419.3 internationally, and $743.9 million worldwide.

Avengers: Infinity War saw an adjustment for its international earnings bringing that total down by about $300,000.

Here’s where this year’s comic films stand as far as the actual numbers.

Total Domestic Gross: $2.618 billion
Total International Gross: $4.420 billion
Worldwide Gross: $7.038 billion
Total Reported Budgets: $1.187 billion
Total “Profit”: $5.826 billion

Average Domestic Gross: $261.8 million
Average International Gross: $442.0 million
Average: Worldwide Gross: $703.8 million
Average Budget: $131.9 million
Average Profit: $571.9 million

Below is where the films released stand when it comes to being compared to this year’s averages. Those in green are above average while those below are red.

Glass Takes the Weekend While Dragon Ball Super: Broly is in the Top Five

Glass

Glass won the three day weekend with an estimated $40.6 million over the three-day weekend. It’s expected to get to about $47 million by the time the four day holiday weekend wraps up. The film was estimated to bring in $50 million according to the studio, but with a budget of just $20 million, things are generally fine. The three-day opening is the fourth largest January opening of all-time and third largest Martin Luther King weekend performance.

The film received a “B” CinemaScore from the opening day audience and currently has a 35% rating on RottenTomatoes. The audience was 54% male and 65% aged 25 or orlder.

Internationally the film earned $48.5 million from 55 markets. that brings its worldwide total to $89.1 million.

In second place was The Upside which brought in an estimated $15.7 million from the three day weekend and expected to be about $19.5 million for the 4-day weekend.

In third place was a surprise with Dragon Ball Super: Broly (the first comic based film of 2019). The film is close with Aquaman and is expected to beat that film and is estimated between $9.3 million and $10.7 million for the weekend. The studio isn’t reporting domestic grosses so this one is definitely estimates. On the lower end, the film will be in fourth place. The film opened on Wednesday so is estimated to have earned around $21 million domestically since then. Internationally, the film is in its seventh week and earned an estimated $5.3 million from 18 markets for an international total of $65.8 million for a worldwide total of $87 million.

Aquaman earned an estimated $10.3 million domestically to bring that total to $304.3 million. It also added $14.3 million from 79 international markets to bring that total to $759.1 million internationally. Worldwide the film has earned $1.06 billion and will likely pass The Dark Knight Rises to become to the top grossing DC Comics adaptation worldwide.

Rounding out the top five was Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse which had a small drop of 19.8% from the previous weekend and earned $7.25 million for the three day and around $9 million for the for day. The domestic total is $158.3 million. Internationally the film added $4.7 million to bring that total to $164.6 million for a worldwide total of $322.9 million.

We’ll be back in an hour for a deeper dive into 2018’s comic adaptations at the theater.

Diamond Select Toys On Sale Now: Kingdom Hearts, Aquaman and Shazam!

The new year is well underway, and Diamond Select Toys has delivered a truckload of toys to your local comic shop! Vinimates based on the recent Aquaman Movie are washing ashore, and Vinimates from the upcoming Kingdom Hearts III video game are telling a Toy Story! Plus, a Gallery PVC of Shazam, just in time for the movie, and an assortment of Kingdom Hearts action figures! It’s the best of all worlds!

DC Comic Gallery Shazam PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! The Wisdom of Solomon! The Strength of Hercules! Billy Batson’s alter ego Shazam is the next entry in the DC Gallery line of PVC Dioramas, and this approximately 11-inch sculpture captures the hero in a split-second, grabbing a bolt of lightning on its way to the ground. With a feature film in the works, Shazam is poised to ride that lightning back to stardom, and this amazing sculpture celebrates the character’s godlike power! Sculpted by Joe Menna based on a design by Shawn Knapp.  Packaged in a full-color window box.  (Item #AUG182580, SRP: $45.00)

DC Movie Vinimates Aquaman Vinyl Figures

A Diamond Select Toys release! DC Vinimates are taking the ocean by storm! These 4-inch vinyl figures capture the undersea world of the Aquaman movie in their signature blockish style, striking dynamic poses inspired by the film! Aquaman, Black Manta and Ocean Master comprise the first assortment, and they are in scale to all other DC Vinimates. Each comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Barry Bradfield!

Aquaman Vinyl Figure (Item #AUG182577, SRP: $9.99)

Black Manta Vinyl Figure (Item #AUG182578, SRP: $9.99)

Ocean Master Vinyl Figure (Item #AUG182579, SRP: $9.99)

Kingdom Hearts Select Action Figures Series 3 Asst.

A Diamond Select Toys release! Are you ready to play Space Paranoids? The Kingdom Hearts Select action figure line travels to the video game universe of Space Paranoids, where everyone gets a high-tech makeover! This assortment of multi-character figure sets includes Black Coat Mickey Mouse with a Heartless Assassin and a Shadow, Space Paranoids Goofy with Tron, and Space Paranoids Sora (with Photon Debugger) with Sark! Each figure features multiple points of articulation and is sculpted in a 1/10th scale, and comes packaged in display-ready Select packaging with side-panel artwork for shelf reference. Sculpted by Oluf W. Hartvigsen! (Item #JUL182491, SRP: $24.99/ea.)

Kingdom Hearts 3 Vinimates Vinyl Figures Series 1

A Diamond Select Toys release! The highly anticipated sequel to Kingdom Hearts is almost here, and DST is joining in on the excitement with new toys based on Kingdom Hearts 3! This new assortment of VInimates vinyl figures captures the upcoming game’s protagonists – Sora, Donald and Goofy — in their Toy Story World looks, making these toys… of toys! Each 4” vinyl figure strikes a pose from the game and features a fully articulated neck to customize each dynamic pose. Packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Barry Bradfield!

Toy Story Sora (Item #AUG182588, SRP: $9.99)

Toy Story Donald (Item #AUG182587, SRP: $9.99)

Toy Story Goofy (Item #AUG182586, SRP: $9.99)

Where the Data Ranks 2018’s Comic Book Films. Aquaman Crosses $1 Billion

Comic film adaptations are big dollars and we track how they do each week to see trends and what’s working and what’s not.

2018 is a record setting year for comic film adaptations. It has topped 2017’s record year and then some. Currently, comic adaptations have earned $2.607 billion domestically, $4.410 billion internationally, $7.018 billion worldwide, with a “profit” of $5.806 billion. That’s off of 10 films. 2017, with 16 films, saw domestic earnings of $2.365 billion, international earnings of $3.755 billion, worldwide earnings of $6.120 billion, and “profits” of $4.442 billion.

In second place at this past weekend’s box office was Aquaman which dropped from first place after three weeks on top. The film added an estimated $17.26 million domestically and $27.9 million internationally. That pushed the film to $1.020 billion worldwide which has it as the second highest grossing DC Comics film worldwide. It’s the first film in the DC Cinematic universe to cross the billion dollar mark and the ninth comic film to do so. It currently is the eighth highest grossing comic film worldwide ever.

Interestingly, the film is the second lowest DC Cinematic film so far beating just Justice League. It needs about another $4 million to pass Man of Steel. The film is first when it comes to international earnings by almost $200 million. That’s the difference. It’s also rather average when it comes to the budget for those films.

The film’s box office success has China to thank where it has earned almost the same amount as it has domestically. Domestically, the film has brought in $287.9 million while in China it has earned $284.9 million.

The film needs to earn $64.6 million to be the top grossing DC film ever and it is likely to do just that before its run is over. It opens in Japan on February 8 so will likely succeed in doing that and more.

In fourth place this past weekend was Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse fresh off of its Golden Globe win. The film earned an estimated $9 million in its fifth week. Domestically the film has earned $147.7 million. Internationally it added. $9.4 million to bring that total to $154.6 million and worldwide earnings to $302.4 million. With a budget of just $90 million, the film has done well and will likely have longer legs with award season showering it with accolades.

This past weekend Venom didn’t chart but earned about $70,000 domestically and $100,000 internationally over the week. The film now stands at $213.4 million domestically and $642.2 internationally for a worldwide total of $855.7 million. There’s a chance the film will become the highest grossing “Spider-Man” film before its run is done and make it into the top ten comic based films of all time.

The film also shows that budget isn’t everything. It has the best return in multiplier when it comes to budget for a comic film of 2018, so far. With 8.56x it beats Avengers: Infinity War‘s 6.83x and 6.73x for Black Panther.

With a budget of just $100 million, the film is quite profitable and another success for Sony’s Spider-Man franchise which previously earned on average $318.8 million domestically, $488.4 million internationally, and $807.2 million worldwide. The film is likely to be the second or third worst performing Spider-Man related film domestically for Sony but first currently internationally. The difference is the budget is almost half the other films allowing for a healthy profit. The film is leaning heavily on the international market where it has earned 75.07% of its earnings compared to 62.65% for other Spider-Man films.

Once Upon a Deadpool didn’t chart for the weekend but did bring in dollars over the week. It added $40,000 to its domestic total and $880,000 to its international total. Those amounts are being added to the original film, Deadpool 2‘s, earnings. Deadpool 2 has earned $324.6 million domestically, $419.1 internationally, and $743.6 million worldwide.

Avengers: Infinity War has gained some more dollars. The film added about $1,200 to its international earnings.

Here’s where this year’s comic films stand as far as the actual numbers.

Total Domestic Gross: $2.607 billion
Total International Gross: $4.410 billion
Worldwide Gross: $7.018 billion
Total Reported Budgets: $1.187 billion
Total “Profit”: $5.806 billion

Average Domestic Gross: $260.7 million
Average International Gross: $441 million
Average: Worldwide Gross: $701.8 million
Average Budget: $131.9 million
Average Profit: $569.9 million

Below is where the films released stand when it comes to being compared to this year’s averages. Those in green are above average while those below are red.

Comic Movies Domestic Earnings
Comic Movies International Earnings
Comic Movies Worldwide Earnings
Comic Movies "profits"
Comic Movies multiplier

The Upside Takes First While Aquaman Crosses $1 Billion

The Upside poster

Aquaman relinquished the box office throne this weekend to The Upside. That film opened with an estimated $19.59 million.

The Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston film received an “A” CinemaScore with an audience that was 59% female and 74% were aged 25 years or older. The film was originally rated R but was recut to get a PG-13 rating which seems to have worked out.

In second place was Aquaman which dropped the top spot after three weeks on top. The film added an estimated $17.26 million domestically and $27.9 million internationally. That pushed the film to $1.020 billion worldwide which has it as the second highest grossing DC Comics film worldwide. It’s the first film in the DC Cinematic universe to cross the billion dollar mark and the ninth comic film to do so.

The film’s box office success has China to thank where it has earned almost the same amount as it has domestically. Domestically, the film has brought in $287.9 million while in China it has earned $284.9 million.

The film needs to earn $64.6 million to be the top grossing DC film ever and it is likely to do just that before its run is over. It opens in Japan on February 8 so will likely succeed in doing that and more.

In third place was another debut, A Dog’s Way Home which brought in an estimated $11.3 million off of an $18 million budget. The film received an “A-” CinemaScore from opening day audiences which was 52% female and 51% aged 25 years or older.

In fourth place was Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse fresh off of its Golden Globe win. The film earned an estimated $9 million in its fifth week. Domestically the film has earned $147.7 million. Internationally it added. $9.4 million to bring that total to $154.6 million and worldwide earnings to $302.4 million.

Rounding out the top five was Escape Room which added an estimated $8.9 million to its domestic total bringing that to $32.4 million. After two weeks, that’s a solid number for a $9 million production.

We’ll be back in an hour for a deeper dive into 2018 year’s comic adaptations.

Those Two Geeks Episode Thirty Three: Paul Rudd is Immortal

On the docket this week: Absolutely no plans. Where does the episode go? I honestly have no idea. There’s something about Aquaman, though.

As always, the Alex and Joe can be found on twitter respectively @karcossa and @jc_hesh if you feel the need to tell them they’re wrong individually, or @those2geeks if you want to yell at them together on twitter, or by email at ItsThose2Geeks@gmail.com.

Where the Data Ranks 2018’s Comic Book Films. Aquaman Swims to the Top Ten.

Comic film adaptations are big dollars and we track how they do each week to see trends and what’s working and what’s not.

2018 is a record setting year for comic film adaptations. It has topped 2017’s record year and then some. Currently, comic adaptations have earned $2.565 billion domestically, $4.345 billion internationally, $6.910 billion worldwide, with a “profit” of $5.698 billion. That’s off of 10 films. 2017, with 16 films, saw domestic earnings of $2.365 billion, international earnings of $3.755 billion, worldwide earnings of $6.120 billion, and “profits” of $4.442 billion.

Aquaman is the little film that could. After a domestic debut that some called a failure the film is now the top grossing DC Cinematic Universe film as it has now earned $940.7 million worldwide and will be the first of that film universe to cross $1 billion (though not the first DC related film).

This past weekend the film earned an estimated $30.7 million to come in first place for the third weekend. It has now earned $259.7 million domestically which is about what Wonder Woman did after the same time period. Wonder Woman went on to gross $407.2 million domestically to be the highest grossing domestic film of the DC Cinematic Universe.

Internationally is where the film has really taken off adding another $56.2 million this past weekend from 79 markets to bring its international total to $681 million. The film has passed Black Panther in international earnings to be the second highest grossing internationally comic film of the year and third for all films.

The film is the top of the new batch of DC films beating the previous king Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice by nearly $70 million and that will only expand. As far as all films based on DC Comics, it currently ranks third behind The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. It will need about $150 million to become the highest grossing DC film of all time worldwide and it will likely cross $1 billion. The film still hasn’t opened in Japan and will do so in February 8. That’s the last key market to see release.

The movie is now the ninth highest grossing comic film of all time worldwide and will need to pass those two Batman films to move higher on the list. While there’s a chance it’ll do that, it’d need over $230 million to get to #6 on the list.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse held on to fourth place this past weekend with an estimated $13 million to bring its domestic total to $133.9 million. It added $11.7 million overseas to bring that total to $141.5 million and $275.4 million worldwide. The recent Golden Globe win should boost the film’s box office over the next week or two and a likely Oscar win will do the film well. It shouldn’t be expected for this film to do numbers like other Spider-Man films and with a much smaller budget, the film has done quite fine.

This past weekend Venom didn’t chart but earned about $165,000 domestically and $180,000 internationally over the week. The film now stands at $213.4 million domestically and $642.1 internationally for a worldwide total of $855.5 million. There’s a chance the film will become the highest grossing “Spider-Man” film before its run is done and make it into the top ten comic based films of all time.

The film also shows that budget isn’t everything. It has the best return in multiplier when it comes to budget for a comic film of 2018, so far. With 8.56x it beats Avengers: Infinity War‘s 6.83x and 6.73x for Black Panther.

With a budget of just $100 million, the film is quite profitable and another success for Sony’s Spider-Man franchise which previously earned on average $318.8 million domestically, $488.4 million internationally, and $807.2 million worldwide. The film is likely to be the second or third worst performing Spider-Man related film domestically for Sony but first currently internationally. The difference is the budget is almost half the other films allowing for a healthy profit. The film is leaning heavily on the international market where it has earned 75.07% of its earnings compared to 62.65% for other Spider-Man films.

Once Upon a Deadpool didn’t chart for the weekend but did bring in dollars over the week. It added $70,000 to its domestic total and $50,000 to its international total. Those amounts are being added to the original film, Deadpool 2‘s, earnings. Deadpool 2 has earned $324.5 million domestically, $418.1 internationally, and $742.7 million worldwide.

Avengers: Infinity War has gained some more dollars. The film added about $3,000 to its international earnings.

Here’s where this year’s comic films stand as far as the actual numbers.

Total Domestic Gross: $2.565 billion
Total International Gross: $4.345 billion
Worldwide Gross: $6.910 billion
Total Reported Budgets: $1.187 billion
Total “Profit”: $5.698 billion

Average Domestic Gross: $256.5 million
Average International Gross: $434.5 million
Average: Worldwide Gross: $691 million
Average Budget: $131.9 million
Average Profit: $559.1 million

Below is where the films released stand when it comes to being compared to this year’s averages. Those in green are above average while those below are red.

Comic Movie's Domestic Gross
Comic Movie's International Gross
Comic Movie's Worldwide Gross
Comic Movie's Profit
Comic Movie's Multiplier

Aquaman Tops the Box Office for a Third Week as It Crosses $940 Million

Aquaman is the little film that could. After a domestic debut that some called a failure the film is now the top grossing DC Cinematic Universe film as it has now earned $940.7 million worldwide and will be the first of that film universe to cross $1 billion (though not the first DC related film).

This past weekend the film earned an estimated $30.7 million to come in first place for the third weekend. It has now earned $259.7 million domestically which is about what Wonder Woman did after the same time period. Wonder Woman went on to gross $407.2 million domestically to be the highest grossing domestic film of the DC Cinematic Universe.

Internationally is where the film has really taken off adding another $56.2 million this past weekend from 79 markets to bring its international total to $681 million.

The film is the top of the new batch of DC films beating the previous king Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice by nearly $70 million and that will only expand. As far as all films based on DC Comics, it currently ranks third behind The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. It will need about $150 million to become the highest grossing DC film of all time worldwide and it will likely cross $1 billion. The film still hasn’t opened in Japan and will do so in February 8. That’s the last key market to see release.

In second place was a new film Escape Room which opened with $18 million off of a $9 million budget. Opening weekend audiences gave the film a “B” CinemaScore and demographics had with the crowd split 50/50 between men and women and 53% aged 25 years or older.

In third place was Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns which brought in $15.8 million to bring its domestic total to $138.7 million. Internationally the film added $23 million to bring that total to just below $120 million for a worldwide total of $257.9 million. It opens in Japan on February 1 and in Korea on February 14.

Fourth and fifth place was close with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse holding on to fourth with an estimated $13 million to bring its domestic total to $133.9 million. It added $11.7 million overseas to bring that total to $141.5 million and $275.4 million worldwide. The recent Golden Globe win should boost the film’s box office over the next week or two and a likely Oscar win will do the film well.

In fifth place was Bumblebee which added $12.8 million to its domestic total to bring that to $97.1 million. Internationally the film added $82.7 million to its total with China bringing in $59.4 million in its debut. The international total stands at $192 million with it opening in Japan on March 22, its final key market.

We’ll back in an hour for a deeper dive into this year’s comic adaptations.

The Top 5 of Everything in 2018

While I also have a top and bottom list of the movies of 2018, I love things outside of movies, too. Indeed, so much of what has happened in 2018 has been outside of movies, or blurring the lines between what movies and television even are with Netflix bringing us things like The Ballad of Buster Scruggs or Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, the first of whach was originally planned as a tv miniseries, and the latter is just. . . well, what even is Bandersnatch?

So, regardless of medium, here are my Top 5 favorites of everything.

5. Educated: A Memoir

This book hit a lot of lists of the top books of 2018 (including culture critic Barack Obama’s), but it hit especially close to home for me because, like author Tara Westover, I attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Her story of growing up kept out of public education was too familiar to me, as survivalism and mistrust of public schools were something I encountered too frequently. This is the same anti-intellectual stew that spawned Glenn Beck and the Bundys’ ranch standoff/takeover of the Malheur Bird Refuge. But Westover’s memoir is a testament to what happens when this is taken to the extreme, to the point that as an adult she had never heard of the Holocaust. It’s a great read and my favorite book of the year.

4. Detroit: Become Human

Ok, there may have been “better” games than this in 2018. (God of War, Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Spider-Man, Red Dead Redemption II) But this story of a near-future where androids begin to gain sentience and their struggle for equality was my personal favorite. It almost wasn’t a video game– it was an interactive movie.

This is one of those games where the choices you make affect the outcome of the game, and you get to choose the fate of a revolution. Will your quest for equality for androids be violent, or non-violent? What are the consequences for the other characters you’re playing as?

This hit me right in my social-justice and robot-loving heart, and also had beautiful gameplay featuring a spectacular cast of actors.

3. Sorry to Bother You

Spoiler Alert: this was my favorite movie of 2018. First time director Boots Riley delivers a searing indictment of capitalism and racial expectations, exposing a sort of gonzo form of racial exploitation that is a perfect intersectional skewering of the nexus of race and class.

It’s very rare for a movie to surprise me, and this made me literally say to the screen, “What the f@#$?!?!

This was the only film I gave five stars to all year, and it’s something you have to see to believe.

2. Hannah Gadsby – Nanette

I had never heard of Australian comic Hannah Gadsby before this year, so imagine my shock in watching a Netflix special in which she announces her retirement from comedy and then proceeds to deconstruct what comedy is, blow it up, and put it back together again– all told against the backdrop of a heartbreaking childhood story of coming to terms with her queer identity. I never thought anything could make me feel such a rainbow of emotions over such a short period of time. This wasn’t just a comedy special — in the same way Childish Gambino’s “This is America” wasn’t just a music videos. Those were pop culture grenades tossed into the heart of the beast that blew everything up.

1. The Good Place

More than anything else this year, The Good Place ruled my heart and mind. I have not anticipated a broadcast television show like this in a long time, and in between seasons and episodes so many binges of previous seasons.

The best thing about this show that is sorta about the afterlife but kinda mostly about ethics but really just about us dirtbags here on earth and how we treat each other is how it keeps reinventing itself almost every six episodes or so. The show’s writers seem to be laboring under the idea that at some point the network is going to figure out the scam they’ve been running and pull the plug, so we’d better get through as much of this plot as possible. Where most shows would drag out their premise, this races through multiple setups in a single season. It’s refreshing, it’s smart, but it’s also stupid.

You put the Peeps in the chili pot and mix it all up, You put the Peeps in the chili pot and add some M&Ms, You put the Peeps in the chili pot. . .

This season’s episodes “Jeremy Bearimy” and “Janets” deserve ALL THE EMMYS, especially for acting from Janet herself, D’Arcy Cardon. If you saw them, you know why. If you didn’t see them, what are you waiting for?! To Netflix! To Hulu! Begin the binge now!

It’s the best show on tv– fight me. It’s the best thing from 2018– let’s be friends and watch it together, will you please? It will make you laugh and feed your soul. Also, it has its own official podcast, hosted by Marc Evan Jackson, who plays Shawn, who ends every episode asking, “What’s good?”

The Good Place. It is good. And the best for 2018.

So, Who Won the Year?

I also like to look back at the year look for threads, throughlines, trends that indicate something. Invariably there are big winners and losers in the year. I want to quickly celebrate the top winners.

Honorable Mention: Nicholas Cage

Despite being somewhere between an internet meme and a pariah, Nick Cage still gets some pretty amazing work this year. His starring role in Mandy is like a cocaine-fueled horror fantasy made in the 80’s and then set to age for three decades soaking in LSD. But then he also showed up in the cartoons in some of the most unexpected places: as Spider-Man Noir in Into the Spider-Verse and as Superman in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies. We’re glad to see him working.

Other honorable mentions: Donald Glover, Streaming Services, Steve Carrell, Mahershala Ali, Dolph Lundgren, Michael B. Jordan

5. Cults

This was a good year for cults in movies and tv. Mandy, Bad Times at the El Royale, Wild Wild Country, and Hereditary. Also, the bizarre stories about real life sex cult NXIVM that involved Smallville‘s Allison Mack. So, way to go, cults? At least you have some diversity here– Jesus, Satan, new age, but all of them were big on sex, So, sex cults. Way to win 2018.

4. Emily Blunt and John Krasinski

These two not only had an amazing year, but they did it together. Blunt killed it as Mary Poppins, Krasinski brought Jack Ryan back, and then you have their on-screen duo in A Quiet Place. That movie was such a revelation– mostly about how terrible mainstream movie audiences are at making noise. But in a year when almost every top-grossing film was a sequel, franchise, or remake, A Quiet Place was a true original. Thanks to both of you. You won the year.

3. Comicsgate and the Alt-Right

Now hear me out. I know this will be an unpopular opinion, but the alt-right actually accomplished a decent amount this year, and it’s completely unacceptable. James Gunn is still fired from Guardians of the Galaxy 3. Chuck Wendig was fired from Star Wars/Marvel comics. And, they raised a lot of money through crowdfunding for various ventures.

These guys aren’t playing around. And as long as they keep weaponizing things like offensive tweets, we will lose great creators from our favorite genres.

2. Asian Movie-going Audiences

Look, America, we need to understand that most movies aren’t being made for us anymore. We can decry as braindead anything like The Meg, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Skyscraper, Aquaman, Rampage, or Venom, but those movies kill overseas. There are very specific motifs and types of shots that work there that we as American audiences just aren’t picking up. This is going to have reverberations for years to come.

What’s the major difference? You can make a strong argument for diverse casts and female leads — giving us hits like Black Panther or The Last Jedi — but those movies generally just sort of do ok overseas while overperforming in the US.

That says something comforting about our country and culture at this time. But it says some things that should maybe be concerning that we won’t get complex stories like these in the future while we spit out more Venoms.

Perhaps the biggest irony in all of this is the alt right crusaders who don’t want diversity in our movies, shows, and comics will find common cause with the globalists who will continue to churn out lots of braindead action movies starring heroic dudes. Sigh.

[tie] 1. Disney

The Walt Disney Corporation had an amazing year, which caps off some pretty incredible past few years and is likely to continue into 2019. Why? Disney+ streaming service. The Fox merger. This isn’t necessarily good news for us, but is great news for corporate profits and creeping oligarchy. But, they gave us Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Incredibles 2, Mary Poppins Returns, Ralph Breaks the Internet. . . even the supposedly underperforming Solo: A Star Wars Story ended up making 393 million dollars worldwide. And that was considered by some a failure, even though 18 of my top 20 films of 2018 would love to have sold that many tickets.

But let’s talk about Black Panther for one moment. It’s arguably the most culturally salient and important piece of pop culture of the year, with Infinity War not far behind. For all their evils as a corporate overlord, we got something truly important for a lot of people to see — an authentically black superhero story that deals with identity, a history of violence and oppression towards the African diaspora, and that leaves us remember that “in times of crisis, the wise build bridges while the foolish build barriers.”

When the box office receipts went off the charts, you gave back– founding an actual charity to do the work of STEM education and scholarships like T’Challa and Shuri wanted. Thank you, Disney. For an evil corporation, you sure gave us a lot of what we loved this year. You win.

[tie] 1. The City of Oakland

Speaking of Black Panther, one of the most important pieces of the film is how director Ryan Coogler brought his Oakland roots into the film. That moment when you realize the voiceover from the beginning of the film is of young Erik and his dad N’Jobu (“Tell me a story of home.”) and the entire basis for Killmonger’s wrath is based on the economic oppression of being raised in poverty in Oakland and what he had to do to escape it. It ends with a hopeful note in the same building, that future children will not have to face such hardship. “Who are you?”

I already mentioned my love of Sorry to Bother You, but that film is not possible without Oakland as a backdrop. The same is true of another of my favorites, Blindspotting, which takes a similar look at poverty, gentrification, and violence. And then we have Bodied, the rap battle movie produced by Eminem, which plays a major part in the film, but whose setting is split between Berkeley, Oakland, and Los Angeles. Still, Oakland as a force is in that film.

And then there’s real life. The Golden State Warriors win the NBA Championship. A white woman calls the cops on a black family having a cookout at an Oakland city park at Lake Merritt and becomes known as “BBQ Becky.”

And then heartbreak. The Oakland Raiders plan to leave for Las Vegas looking for more corporate pork and handouts.

To understand what is going on in Oakland in film and culture is to understand a microcosm of what is happening in so many cities across the country facing gentrification and economic pressures that are displacing historically black populations. It is why I recommend to everyone they see each of these films I mentioned here and think about what is actually happening.

To 2018, the year of the Oakland Renaissance.

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