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Diamond, Beast Kingdom Take the Checkered Flag with the New PX Lightning McQueen Statue

Get ready, get set, and go down to your local comic book shop, and see the new Diamond Comic Distributors and Beast Kingdom Cars 3 Lightning McQueen PREVIEWS Exclusive (PX) Statue.

The biggest Pixar and Disney fans will be overjoyed with the release of Beast Kingdom’s largest Lightning McQueen statue! Standing almost 4’ tall, this stunning statue is expertly crafted to join together the workmanship expected of a valuable collector’s item with the charm of the Lightning McQueen. This exquisite piece is finished off with a specialty automotive coating applied via a high-quality delicate coloring technique.

This fantastic statue is featured in the September issue of Diamond’s PREVIEWS catalog. It will carry a suggested retail price of $6400.00, and will be available in stores late January 2018.


Despicable Me 3 Wins the Box Office. Baby Driver Overperforms for Second

Despicable Me 3 won the weekend box office with $75.4 million, which is about $10 million less than Despicable Me 2. That amount is also about $8 million shy of what was predicted for its opening. The film received an “A-” CinemaScore and was about 50/50 male and female. 69% of the viewers were families and 50% were under the age of 13.

The film opene up overseas two weeks ago and added 46 new territories this past weekend. The film brougt in $95.6 million from international box offices for a total of $116.9 million internationally and $192.3 million worldwide so far. There’s still 15 territories to go.

In second place was Baby Driver for Edgar Wright which broughin about $21 million over the three-day weekend and about $30 million over five days. That’s the largest opening for a Wright film and solid buzz drove the film’s earnings higher. That openeing beat expectations, though we expected it to overpeform due to positive buzz. The film received an “A-” CinemaScore with an audience that was 55% male and 61% age 25 and older. You can read our review.

In third place was last week’s champ Transformers: The Last Knight which added $17 million to its total to bring it to $102.1 million domestically. The film also earned $68 million at the international box office with some larger markets still to open. Despite poor reviews the film has earned $429.9 million over two weeks.

Wonder Woman came in fourth place adding $16.1 million to its domestic total to bring it to $346.6 million. The film also crossed another milestone and so far sits at $708.4 million worldwide.

Rounding out the top five was Cars 3 which added $9.5 million to bring its domestic total to bring that to $120.7 million. Worldwide the film has earned $173.8 million.

As far as comic related films…

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 added $1.4 million to its domestic total to bring that to $383.3 million domestically and $854.5 million worldwide.

Logan added $500,000 over the past week to bring its worldwide total to $615.9 million.

Smurfs: The Lost Village added about $1 million to its total over the week to bring its worldwide take to $194.8 million.

We’ll be back in an hour to dive further into where the comic films stand this year.

Transformers Wins the Weekend, and Cars 3 and Wonder Woman Tie for Second

Transformers: The Last Knight won the weekend with $45.3 million over the three days and $69.1 million domestically since Wednesday.

That’s the lowest opening for the franchise. The last that opened on a Wednesday earned $162.6 million over the five days and $97.8 million for the weekend. While it was a low opening, it was on par with the expectations for the industry.

Internationally, the film did better earning an estimated $196.2 million with a franchise high in China of $123.4 million.

The film was 57% male, 29% under the age of 18, but earned an “A” CinemaScore again showing fans love it while critics didn’t.

More interestingly, in second place it looks like a tie with Cars 3 and Wonder Woman both earning an estimated $25.2 million. That’s just a 39% drop for Wonder Woman, which is impressive.

Cars 3 is now up to $99.9 million while Wonder Woman stands at $318.4 million. Cars 3 has earned $141.3 million worldwide while Wonder Woman has earned $652.9 million.

In fourth place was 47 Meter Down which brought in $7.4 million and the top five was topped with All Eyez on Me with $5.9 million.

We’ll be back in an hour with a deeper look at comic films in 2017.

Cars 3 Easily Speeds Into First, While Wonder Woman Crosses $570 Million

As expected, Cars 3 won the weekend box office earning an estimated $53.5 million in its first weekend at the domestic box office. It also earned $21.3 million form a handful of foreign markets. That opening is one of the lowest for a Pixar film, just a handful of films have done worse and the lowest opening for a Cars film by about $6.5 million. The series is made for licensing though and altogether the series has earned over $10 billion in merchandising, and that number was from six years ago! So, the box office isn’t all there’s at with this film. Audiences liked what they saw with the film earning an “A” CinemaScore and the that audience was pretty split with 51% being male, 75% families, and 35% under the age of 13.

In second place was Wonder Woman which added $40.8 million to its domestic total to bring that to $274.6 million and $39.5 million from 62 markets at the foreign box office to bring that to $297.2 million. This is the second highest third weekend ever for Warner Bros., the first being The Dark Knight which earned $42.6 million and the third being The Dark Knight Rises with $35.7 million. The film has also now earned more than Suicide Squad did at this point though that film debuted with $62.7 million more. The movie is also outpacing Man of Steel. With $571.8 million so far, the film should be making Warner Bros. and DC quite happy.

In third place was the Tupac Shakur film All Eyez on Me which opened with $27.1 million despite negative critical reviews. The audience liked it giving it an “A-” CinemaScore. We predicted the film would beat expectations and it did so.

The Mummy dropped to fourth place with $13.9 million. The film has earned just $56.5 million domestically but has earned $239.1 million at the foreign box office. Not great for a $125 million film, but not a disaster film.

Wrapping up the top five was 47 Meters Down with $11.5 million which beat the $10 million studio estimate.

Out of the top five, it was a rough night for Rough Night which earned just $8 million. The film was estimated to earn somewhere in the low teens to 20s, so expect this film to quickly go away, especially with a “C+” CinemaScore.

In other comic movie news….

Smurfs: The Lost Village added about $1.6 million to its total over the week.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 added about $16.2 million to its worldwide total over the week.

Logan also continued to bring in the dollars with about $40,000 domestically and $6 million worldwide.

This coming week sees the opening of Transformers: The Last Knight which will most likely come in first place (and go on to earn 3/4 of a million by the time it’s done).

We’ll be back in an hour for further analysis of this year’s comic adaptations.

Cars 3 Races Past White Male Privilege

(This post contains plot spoilers for Pixar’s Cars 3)

Cars 3  is, for the most part and certainly in the first hour of its runtime, an unremarkable bore. It is easily dismissed as a cynical cash grab in a franchise that has always sold more in merchandising than ticket sales. But then in its cinematic final lap, it kicks it into high gear and finally finds a voice– and, even more importantly, something important to say.

Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is facing a midlife crisis. A new breed of faster race cars, led by Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer— who should just be considered a stand-in for the worst of dude-bro douche culture) has outpaced the once great champ. With his contemporaries retiring to make way for the new line, McQueen goes to train to regain his crown.

Cars 3

At the brand new, high tech Rust-eze Training Center, McQueen is trained by Cruz Ramirez. (Note the name. This is explicitly a woman of color, which becomes incredibly important.) When they go on a training road trip tracking down the old haunts of McQueen’s mentor Doc, the Hudson Hornet, she confides to him how it was she became a trainer rather than a racer herself.

She grew up watching McQueen on tv and was inspired by him. She trained and got up early and did laps to be as fast as she could. She was faster than everyone in her town, but when she got to her first race? There was no one there that looked like her, and was intimidated by the bigger, faster cars. Cruz asks Lightning where he got that confidence from. He replies he doesn’t know, he’s just always felt confidence and positive about his own abilities.

And this is one of the best explanations of what it means to be a white male in America. Always confident, always told how remarkable we are, given mentors and opportunities, and then told we make it on our own steam. We see ourselves represented on tv, on the news, reinforced through the media as the pinnacle of success. And kids of every race, color, gender look up to the heroes on TV and want to be them.

But how many will have a crisis of confidence when they show up for their races, and none of the their peers look like them? And Lightning, when facing his first crisis of confidence ever, has to figure out why he can’t do all of the things he’s always been told he could do. Just like the forces of toxic masculinity, this affects Lightning as much as it does Cruz.

Along their way, Lightning and Cruz track down the mentor of the Hudson Hornet, who trained Lightning in the first Cars. Upon finding him in a roadhouse in the Carolina mountains, they also meet a group of classic racers, including a woman and a car who is a fairly obvious stand-in for an African American. They talk about how in the old days people wouldn’t let them race, but they forced their way in. And then they had to compete even harder to get the respect of others who thought they didn’t deserve to be there. This will certainly slip by younger audiences, but is a key moment– and also a good reminder of just how far we’ve come.

The final climax of the film occurs when Lightning realizes he is outclassed by the other racers, but that Cruz is the only one capable of taking them on. He comes in for a pit stop, and forces her out onto the track to finish the final ten laps in his stead, cheering her on as her crew chief.

And with someone showing the confidence in her and having received the mentorship from several masters, she’s able to win. This sends shockwaves across the racing world, even including a race correspondent named Natalie Certain (Kerry Washington). Up to that point, Certain had received a huge amount of disrespect from her on-air colleagues despite being the stats expert and far more competent at her job than anyone else. Cruz’s win inspires her, and you can see and hear it in her voice that it matters that she could win.

And this is where we learn the lesson about white privilege: Lightning McQueen isn’t the villain in this movie because he’s white and male. He’s the hero, too. Being white or male isn’t bad– it what we do with the fact that society has been set up to, more or less, work for us and people like us. But he is most heroic when he uses the confidence and access and privilege he has been afforded to pass that along to someone new– specifically to a young Latina racer who just needs to be given a shot.

This mirrors the sort of mentor relationship we get in Star Wars, with Lightning McQueen as Luke Skywalker and his first mentor Doc the Hudson Hornet as Obi-Wan Kenobi. When that mentor passes on and he faces new challenges, he has to seek out the Yoda of this story. And then, perhaps most important, he is challenged to pass along what he has learned to Rey. (We eagerly anticipate seeing the continuation of that story later this year.) It’s a sort of beautiful universal story, and it’s great to see a studio saying that our heroes don’t have to be all white and all male– they certainly were in the first two films of the franchise.

And the moment Cruz realizes her potential and finds her inner confidence and strength, it is equally as powerful and potent as when the lightsaber flies to Rey’s hand, or when Diana of Themysicra walks out into No Man’s Land and becomes Wonder Woman. Indeed, this would make an excellent daddy-daughter double feature this Fathers’ Day weekend for dads who want to show their girls that they are the heroes of their own stories.

Pixar’s Cars has long struggled to find anything to say other than “ka-ching!” as the merchandising money rolls in. Here they find their voice and say something powerful, and say it to an audience — girls — who are not always the main demographic consideration for a movie about race cars.

Don’t get me wrong– most of the movie is a relatively boring piece of commercial cinema interchangeable with the most banal parts of the previous two films. But those moments when it shifts into high gear are something to behold.

Almost American