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Who Ya Gonna Call? Sizing Up Ghostbusters’ Directors Paul Feig & Harold Ramis

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From the world of comedy, director Paul Feig is a decidedly hot commodity these days. He has scored successes with his last three films, Bridesmaids (2011), The Heat (2013) and Spy (2015) with all three blockbusters banking heavily on women in the lead, especially, you could say, of the big-splash arrival of one-woman franchise  Melisa McCarthy.

Paul FeigFeig’s next big screen comedy will rely on another bankable Hollywood franchise, Ghostbusters, which will include McCarthy in the cast. Moreover, Ghostbusters 3 will use an all-female squad for the lovable paranormal police known as the Ghostbusters.

This daring idea has a cast of Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon ready to combat New York City’s supernatural scofflaws.

This week Feig revealed that Ghostbusters veteran Dan Ackroyd, who played the ultra-geek Dr. Raymond Stantz in the first two films, will make a cameo appearance in Ghostbuster 3.

That leaves out the former Dr. Peter Venkman, who was played by Bill Murray, and Dr. Egon Spengler, who was played by the late Harold Ramis, whose masterful comedic touch was served up in the 1978 classic National Lampoon: Animal House, the 1993 classic Groundhog Day and the Michael Keaton vehicle Multiplicity (1996).

It is as good time as any to compare the talents of Feig and Ramis, who perhaps gender-specific polar opposites, Feig relying spicing up the action with female leads, while Ramis was the master of the scratch-your-head, guy-oriented comedy.

Feig is more mainstream than Ramis, whose daffy, off-beat style came up with gloriously unusual films. Ghostbusters is still funny as an idea, as is Groundhog Day – even if Meatballs (1979), Stripes (1981) and National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983) were more or less middle-of-the-road comedy faire.

RamisRamis, who died in 2014 of complications from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, has 16 major screen-writing credits to his name, including 12 films from 1978 to 1993, a 14-year span in which he wrote or co-wrote National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978), Meatballs (1979), Caddyshack (1980), Stripes (1981), Ghostbusters (1984), Back to School (1986), Club Paradise (1986), Armed and Dangerous (1986), Caddyshack II (1988), Ghostbusters II (1989), Rover Dangerfield (1991) and Groundhog Day (1984).

In that span, he also acted in eight of those films, while directing four of them.

One thing we can probably put in the bank is that Ramis would love the idea of making a third Ghostbusters and that he would offer feeble resistance to the notion that the Ghostbusters go to an all-female ensemble, especially with this particular cast.

Ramis’ humor was very often about male camaraderie. Stripes is about an overworked army troop, while Animal House is about a college fraternity. Ghostbusters is about man v. ghosts, but it is also about men v. Egghead Bureaucrats, which were well-recognized enemy to a counter-culture audience.

Feig has a more rambling resume. He remains a busy actor with roles in 20 films from 1987 through 2015 with roles in numerous television appearances, where is also directed numerous shows, including The Office and Arrested Development.

With McCarthy as the bulldozer, Feig is now making his mark as the go-to director for female-camaraderie comedies. In the meantime, he has three big-screen writing credits to his name, I Am David (2003), Spy (2013) and Ghostbusters III (2016).

Ramis:

v. Feig:

 

Izzy

Movie Magic: The De-Aging Technique of The Irishman

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Robert DeNiro de-agedHave you read Izzy yet? If so, you know that Izzy makes the apples that give the Gods their youth and immortality. It also seems Robert De Niro discovered one of Izzy’s apples too… In Martin Scorsese’s upcoming biographical film, he stars as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a labor union leader and alleged hitman for the Bufalino crime family. The trailer for the movie, which will premieres NEXT WEEK (!), also features a “de-aged” De Niro. “We’re so used to watching them as the older faces,” Scorsese said in an interview on the A24 podcast. “Does it change the eyes at all? …If that’s the case, what was in the eyes that I liked? Was it intensity? Was it gravitas? Was it threat?…How do we get that? I don’t know.” Some might consider this magic and I for one can’t wait to see the impact of Izzy’s apples on screen for myself. ????

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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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