ON BLACK PANTHER AND THE WEALTH OF NATIONS

 

(studio press)

By: Tim cogshell

The narrative of Black Panther, its general entertainment values – which are significant – and its representations of Black folks in the contemporary zeitgeist all matter deeply and have generated for the film and its makers extraordinary reviews and acclaim.  I’ve written about the movie here:  http://cinegods.com/film-review-black-panther/. 

But it’s MONEY that I’m thinking about at the moment. 

A most significant moment in the history of Hollywood filmmaking.

There are practical matters of finance associated with the success of the Black Panther film, the first in the Marvel Universe to generate real wealth (as Chris Rock would call it) that will accrue to a good many Black people for decades to come. As of this writing Black Panther is officially the highest grossing February release ever and it achieved the fifth best opening weekend all time.

Indeed Black Panther has already made a lot of Black folks rich, but will be making them wealthy over time – which is even better.

Wealth – meaning millions of dollars that have already flowed to many Black folks via the film’s substantial budget (200 million) and the healthy salaries already paid to a cast of notable professionals; director, writers, producers, stars and many exceptional designers and craftspeople. Several having academy award nominations already in their credits – none of them cheap. I dare say more money has been paid to Black actors, directors, writers and producers on Black Panther than on any other film in the history of Hollywood.

I just pulled that out of my ass – yet somehow I’m pretty sure it’s true.

For the first time a Hollywood enterprise will make Black men and women rich – and perhaps powerful – in the same ways that big-budget action laden superhero flicks have made so many White male stars and directors and writers very rich – independently wealthy – such that they never had to work for anyone or do anything that they didn’t want to do – ever again.

This will be true for a number of people associated with Black Panther and more than ever before will be Black people. Consider this – how many Brown or Black folks became rich off of the many films and billions of Pounds Sterling, and dollars, generated by the Harry Potter series of films?

If your answer is none, you just pulled that out of your ass – but you’re probably right.

Black Panther, and all the associated income that will flow from its sequels and merchandising for many Christmas’ and Halloweens to come; from action figures to likeness of the characters (ergo the stars), on all manner of properly licensed items will make Ryan Coogler, Chadwick Boseman, Lupita NyOng’o, Michael B. Jordan and Danai Gurira as rich as Jon Favreau,  Robert Downey, Jr., the Chris who played Captain America and the other Chris who played Captain Kirk. Not to mention as rich as Ryan Reynolds, who got to play The Green Lantern and Deadpool before he got a superhero right – and got crazy-paid both times.

And don’t get me started how many White guys Batman has made rich. Prince is the only brotha every to get a nickel out of that franchise. 

The filmmakers of Black Panther will be rich and eventually wealthy – and – powerful filmmakers.

Ryan Coogler, who, with Fruitvale Station, Creed and Black Panther, has written and directed three critically acclaimed hits each more successful than the last, should own this town. He should get card blanche’ to do – frankly – whatever the fuck he wants to do.

Like Christopher Nolan and Paul Thomas Anderson received the power to do whatever they want to do when they had three major hits in a row. Thus pop-star Harry Styles is in Dunkirk and that  nutty ending is in The Phantom Thread – because Nolan and PTA can do whatever the fuck the want to do. Card blanche’. Which is what Coogler should have – now.

So…  for the first time a good deal, if not most, of the wealth and power-capital generated from a big budget, studio produced and marketed, major motion picture will accrue to a bunch of Black people and that’s a seminal moment in Hollywood.

This wealth and stature will be felt and leveraged well beyond the more visible “creators” of Black Panther; the writers and director and glamorous stars. The film’s Production Designers and Wardrobe Designers and Composer, all Black, all earning “A” list incomes for their work on the movie, will earn substantial residual incomes for that work for decades to come.  And their rates just went up. They will be among the best paid in their respective fields because of their work on this movie. And that matters.

As an aside, Black Panther’s cinematographer is Rachel Morrison, a female person who happens not to be African American.  By happenstance, this year she is also the first woman to be nominated for an Oscar in her field for her work on Mudbound. Henceforth Ms. Morrison will be making Roger Deakins money. If she wins the Oscar she’ll make more than Roger – cuz – at the writing of the piece Mr. Deakins has yet to win an Academy Award. Though he is nominated this year as well for his work on Dunkirk and something else I can’t remember at the moment. No matter I hope the “girl” wins. Roger will be fine, he’s been making millions of dollars per-film he’s DP’d for 40 years without the statute. For Racheal it will translate into money and work that may make her as rich as Roger Deakins someday – and she’ll have an Academy Award.

In the future the CG effects in Black Panther will probably look laughably bad, as all CG effects are doomed to – eventually. Still the money spent to generate all the special effects, and everything else that went into making the first Marvel Superhero film to feature a Black lead – and a predominantly Black cast – will be providing significant income – wealth – to a lot of Black folks and women for decades.  Thus making the arrival of the Black Panther seminal in the history of a Hollywood in a number of ways above and below the title. This transfer of wealth from Hollywood coiffures to the bank accounts of Black folks and a lot of women – many of them Black women – is as notable an event associated with the movie industry as any in its history.

I’d put it up there with the additions of sound and color. No pun intended.

*** Black Panther generated $25 million in pre-sells and $300 million plus world wide over its opening holiday weekend becoming the highest grossing February release ever and the fifth best opening weekend all time.

FilmWeek: ‘Justice League,’ ‘The Star,’ ‘Wonder’ and more

Julia Roberts and Jacob Tremblay in WONDER.
Julia Roberts and Jacob Tremblay in WONDER. 

DALE ROBINETTE.

Larry Mantle and KPCC film critics Lael Loewenstein, Tim Cogshell, and Charles Solomon review this weekend’s new movie releases including:

  • Justice League” in wide release
  • The Star” in wide release
  • Wonder” in wide release
  • Mudbound” at Laemmle’s Monica Film Center, Laemmle’s NoHo, The Landmark and on Netflix
  • The Breadwinner” at the Nuart Theatre
  • Roman J. Israel, Esq.” at AMC Century City and ArcLight Hollywood
  • The Divine Order” at Laemmle’s Playhouse and Laemmle’s Royal
  • Wait For Your Laugh” at Laemmle’s Royal, Laemmle’s Town Center and The Egyptian (Saturday night’s showing at The Egyptian will be followed by a discussion with director Jason Wise, Dick van Dyke and Dan Harmon)

CRITICS’ HITS

Tim: “Mudbound” & “The Divine Order”

Lael: “The Breadwinner,” “Mudbound” & “The Divine Order”

Charles: “The Breadwinner”

MIXED FEELINGS

Tim: “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

Lael: “Justice League” & “Wonder”

Charles: “Wait For Your Laugh”

 

MISSES!

Lael & Charles: “The Star”

 

GUESTS:

Lael Loewenstein, KPCC film critic

Tim Cogshell, film critic for KPCC, Alt-Film Guide and CineGods.com; he tweets @CinemaInMind

Charles Solomon, film critic for KPCC, Animation Scoop and Animation Magazine

FilmWeek: ‘Kong: Skull Island,’ ‘Raw,’ ‘Personal Shopper’ and more

by FilmWeek

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Brie Larson attends the European premiere of “Kong: Skull Island” at the Cineworld Empire Leicester Square on February 28, 2017 in London, United Kingdom.IAN GAVAN/GETTY IMAGES

Larry Mantle and KPCC film critics Claudia Puig and Tim Cogshell review this weekend’s new movie releases including: the fantastical legend of “Kong: Skull Island” starring Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson and Brie Larson; Julia Ducournau’s cannibalistic-thriller “Raw;” “Personal Shopper” starring Kristen Stewart in the underground fashion world of Paris; and more.

LISTEN HERE:   FilmWeek: ‘Kong: Skull Island,’ ‘Raw,’ ‘Personal Shopper’ and more, plus the making of ‘High Noon’ during the Hollywood blacklist years

This Week’s Reviews

  • “Kong: Skull Island” – Wide Release
  • “Personal Shopper” – ArcLight Hollywood and The Landmark
  • “Raw” – Nuart Theatre
  • “The Sense of an Ending” – ArcLight Hollywood and The Landmark
  • “Burning Sands” – iPic Theaters Westwood (also on Netflix)
  • “Brimstone” – Laemmle’s Music Hall
  • “The Other Half” – Laemmle’s Monica Film Center
  • “The Ottoman Lieutenant” – AMC Burbank Town Center, ArcLight Sherman Oaks, Laemmle’s Playhouse, and other select theatres
  • “My Scientology Movie” – ArcLight Hollywood

Guests:

Claudia Puig, film critic for KPCC and president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association; she tweets @ClaudiaPuig

Tim Cogshell, film critic for KPCC and Alt-Film Guide; he tweets @CinemaInMind

DIY Film Fest: Women I love, in 4 films I love, that need a little more love…

by Tim Cogshell | Off-Ramp

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Sharon Stone in “The Quick and the Dead”TRISTAR PICTURES

 

LISTEN HERE:  http://www.scpr.org/programs/offramp/2017/01/19/54508/tim-cogshell-s-diy-film-fest-women-i-love-in-4-fil/

I’m a sucker for girl talk movies, true love stories, and movies where a lady rides into the sunset after she shoots the bastard who killed her daddy – in the head. This DIY Film Festival is for films that I love, about women that I love, in movies that should have got a lot more love.

1. “Live Nude Girls” (1995)

“Live Nude Girls” was directed by Julianna Lavin, who directed this film, one episode of Party of Five in 1998, and nothing else.  This happens in Hollywood more often than you’d think, but it happens to female  filmmakers even more often than that. It stars Dana Delany, Laila Robins, Lora Zane, Cynthia Stevenson and, ironically, Kim Cattrall as the over or under sexed member of the foursome – depending on your point of view.

“Live Nude Girls” is a wonderfully funny and intimate movie about  four lifelong friends at an all night bachelorette party for one of them who is getting married for the 3rd time. This film is practically a blueprint for “Sex and the City” which started three years later. It’s frank and funny and sexy and filled with a female energy that reminded me of my very cool big sister and her amazing girlfriends, lounging in conversation, as I loitered near, always at the ready to fetch cigarettes and Fresca. It was the 70s.

2. “Living Out Loud” (1998)

“Living Out Loud,” directed by Richard LaGravenese, stars Holly Hunter, Danny DeVito, Queen Latifah and ecstasy – both the emotion and the drug. In the movie, Holly Hunter’s husband abandons her for a younger woman.

Sure, it’s a well worn premise, but it’s considered thru a wide range of emotions, spoken out loud, sung out loud, and even fantasized out loud. Hunter confronts her circumstances with philosophical introspection about the choices she’s made; with direct confrontation of those who’ve done her wrong … and with the occasional hit of ecstasy.

The highlight is this amazing dance sequence that I still find myself fantasizing about  from time to time. Occasionally, I’m even in it.

3. “Besieged” (1998)

“Besieged” is a Bernardo Bertolucci film starring Thandie Newton and David Thewlis. This is a love story about truest love.  Although, at first glance it might seem like a movie about stalker who plays the piano really well, David Thewlis portrays a man – a passionate composer and pianist – who falls in love with his African housekeeper on first sight. And why the hell wouldn’t he – she’s Thandie Newton – but his adoration is about much more than her beauty.

In her he sees pure intention, resilience, and a strength that his privileged existence could never know. Out of that comes a kind of love that leads him to  sell everything he owns, including his beloved grand piano, to give her the one thing she truly wants.

4. “The Quick and The Dead” (1995)

Last in my DIY film festival about women that I love, in films that I love, that need a little more love is “The Quick and The Dead.” This is Sam Raimi post-“Evil Dead” and pre-“Spiderman” directing a wicked Cowgirl movie. It stars Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman and Russell Crowe star alongside a young Leonardo DiCaprio, with Gary Sinise, Keith David, Lance Henriksen, Olivia Burnette, the great Pat Hingle, and the late Tobin Bell of the Saw films.

If you missed this wicked gunslinger revenge flick because you believed the middlin’ reviews from back in the day – you got suckered. It was accused of being too campy. Like that’s a thing.

In “The Quick and the Dead,” the Lady slaps leather with a bunch dastardly bastards, including the one that killed her daddy.  Like I said – I’m a sucker for girl talk movies, true love stories and movies where a lady rides into the sunset after she shoots the bastard who killed her daddy – in the head.

FilmWeek: ‘Money Monster,’ ‘The Lobster,’ and more

Listen here: FilmWeek: ‘Money Monster,’ ‘The Lobster,’ and more, plus a film festival circuit

 

 

 

Tim is Critic At Large for Alt Film Guide (http://www.altfg.com/blog). Twenty years of his reviews are archived at:  http://www.rottentomatoes.com/critic/tim-cogshell/