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5 of the best and 5 of the worst Netflix original thrillers of the year


best and worst netflix original thrillers

  • Netflix released a number of original thrillers this year, but not all of them have been a hit with critics.
  • Critics enjoyed haunting flicks like "I Am Mother" and "The Perfection."
  • On the other hand, they widely panned thrillers like "Polar" and "The Red Sea Diving Resort."
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more.

Netflix released a limited amount of original thrillers this year, and they've received mixed reviews across the board.

Here are some of the best and worst Netflix original thrillers of the year, according to critic scores on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Note: The scores listed throughout the piece were accurate at the time of publication but are subject to change.

"I Am Mother" impressed critics with its unique premise.

Rotten Tomatoes rating:90% 

Starring: Hilary Swank, Clara Rugaard, Rose Byrne

As critic Brad Newsome wrote for The Sydney Morning Herald, "An intriguing premise, fine performances and a string of startling reveals that just keeps on coming make this Australian sci-fi film a real winner — and a must-watch for the Black Mirror set."

"The Perfection" was called seductive yet disturbing by critics.

Rotten Tomatoes rating:73%

Starring: Allison Williams, Alaina Huffman, Steven Weber, Logan Browning

As critic Katie Rife wrote for the AV Club, "The Perfection takes deep, fetishistic satisfaction in pushing the envelope, then pushing it some more, building in seductive fits and shocking starts to an orgiastic frenzy of cinematic excess."

The heist-focused thriller "Triple Frontier" was praised for being loaded with action.

Rotten Tomatoes rating:72%

Starring: Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam

"Triple Frontier makes a decent stab at looking beyond the usual ambitions of the genre. There's thought behind all this gun-toting," wrote critic Clarisse Loughrey for The Independent.

The thriller "Velvet Buzzsaw" featured a number of familiar faces.

Rotten Tomatoes rating:63%

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, John Malkovich, Billy Magnussen, Toni Collette, Natalia Dyer, Rene Russo

As Cosmopolitan's entertainment editor Emily Tannenbaum wrote, "Is director Dan Gilroy trying to catch us in our own shallow consumption? ... Frankly, if this is the case then thank you. I'll take it."

"Fractured" is a mystery thriller that most critics enjoyed.

Rotten Tomatoes rating:62%

Starring: Lily Rabe, Sam Worthington, Stephen Tobolowsky

"When I wasn't busying myself making an internal checklist of films I was reminded of, I was happily playing armchair detective, curious enough to engage with the pieces I was given,"  wrote critic Benjamin Lee for The Guardian.

On the other hand, the horror-thriller "In the Tall Grass" didn't spook most critics.

Rotten Tomatoes rating:37%

Starring: Patrick Wilson, Laysla De Oliveira, Harrison Gilbertson

As critic Noel Murray wrote for the Los Angeles Times, "'In the Tall Grass' runs too long and repeats itself too much to be as gripping as its source material. Turns out there's a limit to how scary weeds can be."

"Secret Obsession" is a thriller that left critics wanting more suspense.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 31% 

Starring: Brenda Song, Mike Vogel, Dennis Haysbert

As critic Linda Holmes wrote for NPR, "This is a pretty bad movie, but it seems to be bad in the way it's meant to be bad. It's cheerfully trashy, and if that's up your alley, have at it."

"The Silence" couldn't be saved by a star-studded cast.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 30%

Starring: Stanley Tucci, Kiernan Shipka, Miranda Otto, John Corbett

As critic Brian Tallerico wrote for RogerEbert.com, "Even the always-welcome Stanley Tucci can't add any flair to a movie that feels so much like a relative of John Krasinski's 2018 smash hit ['A Quiet Place']."


The spy thriller "The Red Sea Diving Resort" didn't receive high marks.

Rotten Tomatoes rating:30%

Starring: Chris Evans, Michael Kenneth Williams, Haley Bennett

As Mark Kennedy wrote for the Associated Press, "A large part of the problem is the casting of Chris Evans as the leader of the Israeli spy ring that set up the hotel. He is most known for playing Captain America and seems not to have put aside his shield for this film."

"Polar" is a thriller that fell flat for most critics.

Rotten Tomatoes rating:20%

Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Vanessa Hudgens, Katheryn Winnick, Matt Lucas

"Polar is pure trash, but the generousness — and, in the final stretch, the poignancy — with which Mikkelsen approaches even the most lurid of the film's conceits at least pushes it toward the top of the garbage heap,"wrote Keith Uhlich for The Hollywood Reporter.

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'Playmobil: The Movie' has one of the worst box office opening weekends ever, earning only $660,000


playmobil movie stxfilms

  • STXfilms' "Playmobil: The Movie," took in only an estimated $660,000 at the domestic box office.
  • That figure is the third-lowest ever for a movie that's released on over 2,000 screens.
  • It's just the latest box office bust for STX, which has had a handful of disappointing releases this year.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories

It doesn't look like things will be jolly at STXfilms this holiday season. "Playmobil: The Movie," which at one time was to be the start of a franchise for the studio that would compete with Warner Bros.' lucrative Lego franchise, had a non-existent opening in theaters this weekend.

The movie, based on the German toy line and budgeted around $40 million, brought in an estimated $660,000 million at the domestic box office. That's the third-worst opening ever for a movie that debuted on over 2,000 screens (it played on 2,337).

The only releases that have performed worse are 2008's "Delgo" ($511,920) and 2012's "The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure" ($443,901).

"Playmobil" only took in $167,000 on Friday, which made it apparent that its already awful $1 million industry projection for the weekend was not going to happen.

But that wasn't the only sign that the movie was going to have a disastrous performance:

  • It originally was supposed to be released by Open Road Films in the US with a release date of January 2019. When that company filed for bankruptcy, STXfilms bought the rights and planned an April release. That was then moved to a late August release, and finally opened this weekend. That many release changes is never a good sign.
  • Leading up to its release, the movie was not screened for most critics. Again, not a good sign.
  • And it was reported that the theaters were offering a discounted price of $5 to see the movie.

This is yet another box office bomb for STXfilms in 2019. In May, it released "UglyDolls," which only brought in $32.4 million worldwide in its run (budgeted at $45 million). Also in May, it released "Poms," which had a lifetime box office of $16.4 million worldwide (made for around $10 million). And "21 Bridges," which finally opened last month after ditched released dates in July and September, has only taken in around $25 million worldwide ($33 million budget).

The only bright spot for the company this year was the release of "Hustlers," which found critical acclaim and box office success, earning over $150 million worldwide on a $20 million budget. The company is doing an award season campaign for the movie's star, Jennifer Lopez.

But one big win the whole year is nothing to be happy about. For a company that has always functioned as a mini-major to go up against the established studios, the performance by "Playmobil" is the latest example that STX needs to step up its game.

Frozen 2 Disney

Box office highlights:

  • Disney's "Frozen II" won the domestic box office for a third consecutive weekend with a $34.7 million take. The movie is nearing $1 billion worldwide as its current global total is $919.7 million.
  • Lionsgate/MRC's "Knives Out" brought in $14.1 million over the weekend. The movie's worldwide cume is a healthy $124 million.


SEE ALSO: Felicity Jones talks about her scary balloon crash while making "The Aeronauts" and whether she'd return to "Star Wars"

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Beyoncé just gave a rare interview with Elle about motherhood and self-care. Here's how she spends her $400 million fortune, from yachting vacations to a private jet for Jay-Z.



Beyoncé is serious goals.

Not only does she have killer looks and a voice to match, she's one-half of a power couple, dominates the music industry, and embodies female empowerment. It also doesn't hurt that she has an estimated net worth of $400 million, according to Forbes

And after working hard to build that wealth, she knows how to spend it.

Queen Bey, as fans love to call her, is known to indulge in multimillion-dollar mansions, luxurious vacations and yachting adventures, and beauty treatments. She's also an excellent gift-giver, having gifted husband Jay-Z a private jet and a car, and giving daughter Blue Ivy a doll worth five figures on her birthday.

Beyoncé also spreads her wealth beyond her family, donating it far and wide, including to victims of natural disasters and to education. For the January 2020 cover of Elle magazine, the superstar gave a rare interview in which she spoke about her clothing line Ivy Park, motherhood, and self-care. 

"My mother instilled in me the idea that creativity starts with taking a leap of faith — telling your fears they are not allowed where you are headed,"she told the publication. "We all have more power than we realize."

Below, see how one of the world's highest-paid celebrities and one of the richest self-made women spends her fortune!

SEE ALSO: Taylor Swift is worth more than $300 million — see her bicoastal mansions, lavish vacations, and generous gifts to fans and friends

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Beyoncé currently has an estimated net worth of $400 million, thanks to her music, touring, and endorsements.

Source: Forbes

From 2016 to 2017, she earned $60 million, making her one of the world's highest-paid celebrities, according to Forbes.

Source: Forbes

A lot of this came from her Formation World Tour in 2016, which grossed a quarter of a billion dollars.

Source: Business Insider

She and husband Jay-Z wrapped up their On The Run II Tour in October 2018, which earned more than $250 million — their highest-grossing tour together to date.

Source: Billboard, Forbes

2018 was a busy year for Beyoncé — before setting off on tour, she headlined Coachella. MONEY estimates that she was paid $3 million for her performance.

Source: Business Insider

In 2019, Beyonce released her acclaimed Coachella performance on Netflix. The concert film is one of three projects in a deal with the streaming platform said to be worth $60 million, according to Bloomberg.

Homecomingwent on to receive six nominations at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards. 

Source: Bloomberg

But Beyoncé's wealth doesn't just come from making music and performing. Along with Jay-Z, she holds "significant equity" in Tidal, her husband's music streaming service, which is reportedly worth $600 million.

Source: Forbes, Business Insider

Beyoncé has also dabbled in business ventures. In 2015, she set up on-demand vegan meal delivery service 22 Days Nutrition.

Source: Business Insider

After her Coachella performance, Beyoncé released a collection based off her live-performance with luxury brand Balmain, who designed the original Coachella costumes.

Source: Balmain

And she's made waves in clothing and merchandise. In 2016, she launched activewear line Ivy Park with Topshop. At the time, items in the collection ranged from $15 to $265.

Source: Fortune

In April 2019, she relaunched the line in a partnership with Adidas. And on December 9, she took to Instagram to reveal that her first Ivy Park x Adidas sneaker collection will launch January 18th.

The Instagram announcement had more than 3.6 million likes within four hours of being posted.

According to Elle, Beyoncé is the first African American woman to fully ownan athleisure brand. 

"I took a chance on myself when I bought my company back," she told the publication. "We all have the confidence in us to take chances and bet on ourselves."

She also launched Beyoncé Heat, a fragrance line that made $75,000 in sales in its first day. She's reportedly sold $400 million worth of the fragrance.

Source: FortuneFashionista

But that's not her only foray into fragrance. Beyoncé has also been the face of multiple endorsements, starring in a Giorgio Armani fragrance ad and launching Tommy Hilfiger's fragrance True Star, for which she was reportedly paid $250,000.

Source: Fortune

In 2012, she signed a $50 million deal with Pepsi, which included a new commercial during the Super Bowl. She reportedly had a significant amount of control in the partnership.

Source: Billboard

She's also signed endorsement deals with Nintendo DS, L'Oreal, and American Express.

Source: Fortune

In 2018, she covered Vogue's prestigious September cover, and turned the event into a historic one. For the shoot, Beyonce hired 23-year-old Tyler Mitchell, making him the first black photographer to ever shoot a Vogue cover. A portrait from the issue is on display at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.

Beyonce rarely gives interviews.

So it's not surprising that, according to Huff Po, she was given unprecedented creative control over this Vogue issue, opting to write an essay as her own cover story. She also had full control over the cover, the photos and its captions. 

"When I first started, 21 years ago, I was told that it was hard for me to get onto covers of magazines because black people did not sell,"she wrote in the piece."Clearly that has been proven a myth. "

Source: Huff Po, CBS News

A woman of many talents, Beyoncé has also appeared onscreen. She reportedly earned $12.5 million for her role in "Dreamgirls," not counting the reported million she was expected to make for the soundtrack.

Source: Fortune

In 2019, the superstar voiced Nala in Disney's remake of "The Lion King" and curated a soundtrack to go along with the film. According to Harper's Bazaar, Beyoncé was paid $25 million for her role in the film, which went on to make $1.6 billion.

Source: Harper's Bazaar

For the film, Beyoncé also curated a special soundtrack, "The Lion King: The Gift," which featured African artists from around the world. The single from the album "Spirit" has since earned a Grammy nomination and a Golden Globe nomination.

After the film crossed the billion-dollar mark, Daily Mail reported that Beyoncé was in talk with Disney to produce more projects. 

With so many varied income sources, Beyoncé is America's 51st-richest self-made woman, according to Forbes. In 2019, the publication reported that Beyoncé earned $81 million.

Source: Forbes, Forbes

Like many millionaires, Beyoncé invests in real estate. She and Jay-Z spend a lot of time in the Hamptons. They used to rent an estate there for $400,000 a month before swapping it for a waterfront house rental that cost $500,000 a month.

Source: Street Easy

In 2017, they finally purchased a vacation home there for nearly $26 million. It's next to the exclusive Georgica Pond and comes with neighbors Martha Stewart, Steven Spielberg, and Russell Simmons.

Source: Street Easy, Women's Wear Daily

The same year, they paid $88 million for a new mansion in Bel-Air, with a $52 million mortgage. It was reportedly the most expensive sale of 2017 in Los Angeles County.

Source: Business InsiderStreet Easy

Beyoncé also owns a converted church in New Orleans, which she and Jay-Z reportedly bought for $2.6 million.

Source: Business Insider

And when she was pregnant with twins Rumi and Suri, she rented a villa in Malibu for $500,000 a month from which to enjoy her maternity leave. It recently sold for roughly $50 million.

Source: Street Easy, Wall Street Journal

In other real estate moves, Beyoncé had reportedly bought a $5.9 million Houston property for her mother as well as Cher's former home in Malibu for roughly $40 million. She recently sold her New York City condo for nearly $10 million.

Source: Fortune, Street Easy

But Beyoncé doesn't spend all her time at her pads. She and Jay-Z often vacation in the Dominican Republic, where they've stayed at a $19.5 million, 35,000 square-foot estate.

Source: Business Insider

They also frequently visit Paris, where they stay in a penthouse at Hotel Le Meurice for $20,000 a night.

Source: Hello! Magazine

That's not to mention their vacations to Italy, Ibiza, and Brazil.

Source: Yahoo

But her most lavish vacation was arguably on board superyacht Galactica Star, worth $73 million. It costs roughly $900,000 a week to charter — and you have to know the owner.

Source: Business Insider

In 2017, she and Jay-Z kept it a little more low-key, celebrating their anniversary in the Grand Canyon.

Source:Harper's Bazaar

We don't know what Beyoncé gifted Jay-Z for their anniversary, but we do know she's generous. She gave him a $2 million Buggati Veyron for his 41st birthday, a $40 million Bombardier Challenger 850 private jet, and a $500,000 sapphire ring after Blue Ivy's birth.

Source: Business Insider

In June 2018, Beyoncé and Jay-Z renewed their vows. She wore a Galia Lahav couture gown, Independent reported.

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"He went to Jared, I went to Chaumet out in Paris," Jay-Z rapped in their song "LOVEHAPPY" from their album "EVERYTHING IS LOVE."

Chaumet is a luxury French jewelry brand, owned by LVMH


Beyoncé gets around in stylish wheels, too: a custom $1 million Mercedes van with its own washroom and $150,000 sound system.

Source: Hello! Magazine

And she's always looking good behind the wheel. She wears $60 mink eyelashes and throws them out after every use. If she wears them daily, that's $21,000 a year. She also reportedly spends $1,000 on manicures.

Source: Hello! Magazine

Beyoncé is also a client of Jacob the Jeweler, who sells watches and jewelry to the elite. Pieces can cost anywhere from $200,000 to $1 million.

Source: Business Insider

Beyoncé looks and dresses her best not just on the red carpet, but for her dates with Jay-Z. They're often spotted courtside at NBA games, which can cost anywhere from four to six figures depending on the game.

Source: Market Watch

Beyoncé also knows how to wine and dine. She and Jay-Z reportedly spent almost $100,000 on drinks for VIP guests at an Atlanta nightclub.

Source: Mirror

And they've dined at the finest restaurants, such as Le Cirque in New York.

Source: Business Insider

When she's not dining out, Beyoncé still splurges on food-related costs at home. She reportedly spends $7,500 a month for a live-in chef and $4,000 a month for a dietitian.

Source: Cheat Sheet

But Beyoncé doesn't just indulge for herself and Jay-Z — she also splurges on her children. She reportedly gave birth to Blue Ivy in the exclusive birthing suite at Lenox Hill, which costs $1,700 a night. It was decked out with four big-screen televisions and room service.

Source: Hello! Magazine, Business Insider

And for Blue Ivy's first birthday, Beyoncé gifted her an $80,000 diamond-encrusted Barbie doll at the $104,460 birthday party she threw for her.

Source: The Daily Mail

She also dresses Blue Ivy in designer duds, like a $2,100 Gucci dress and a butterfly and Swarovski crystal metallic Mischka Aoki dress that ranges from $8,405 to $10,637.

Source: Yahoo

And before twins Rumi and Sir were born, she and Jay-Z spent more than $75,000 on matching gold cribs.

Source: OK! Magazine

Beyoncé also spreads the wealth around outside of her family. She recently announced she's donating $100,000 to four historically black colleges and universities.

According to Rolling Stone, Beyoncé created the Formation Scholar Awards, before renaming it Homecoming Scholars Award program after her 2018 Coachella performance. For the 2018-2019 school year, one student from 9 HBCU's will receive a $25,000 grant. 

The scholarship program partnered with Google.org in 2018, which will provide four additional scholarships, matching the original $100,000 grant Beyoncé gave. 

Source: Yahoo

Beyoncé's also donated a lot of time and money toward natural disaster relief. A native Houstonian, she served meals and made a monetary donation in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Source: MONEY

After Hurricane Katrina, she founded Knowles-Temenos Place Apartments for those displaced from the storm. She reportedly had given at least $7 million to keep it running.

Source: Essence

She also visited Haiti in 2017 while it was still recovering from the earthquake that devastated the country years before.

Source: Essence

Her own charitable organization, beyGOOD, does everything from funding scholarships and working with UNICEF to fighting for gender equality and raising money for natural disasters.

Source: Yahoo, Essence

One Christmas, she and Jay-Z went to Walmart and bought everyone in the store a $50 gift card for a total of $27,000.

Source: Hello Magazine

And when filming for her role in the 2008 movie "Cadillac Records," Beyoncé donated her $4 million salary to the Phoenix House, a rehabilitation center. She also opened an affiliate cosmetology school, which provides Phoenix House residents with a seven-month training program.

Source: Essence

So far, she's worked with and supported 31 charities, including Look to the Stars, MusiCares, Stand up to Cancer, and more. No wonder fans call her Queen Bey.

"I began to search for deeper meaning when life began to teach me lessons I didn't know I needed,"she said in her recent rare interview with Elle."Being 'number one' was no longer my priority. My true win is creating art and a legacy that will live far beyond me. That's fulfilling."

Source: Yahoo

The 'Uncut Gems' directors describe the movie's path from Sacha Baron Cohen to Jonah Hill to finally landing Adam Sandler and major Oscar buzz


Uncut Gems A24

  • "Uncut Gems" directors Josh and Benny Safdie told Business Insider about the decade-long journey to get the movie made.
  • Over the years, Sacha Baron Cohen and Jonah Hill were attached to play the lead character, jeweler Howard Ratner. But the Safdie brothers always wanted Adam Sandler to play him.
  • The brothers said the involvement of Cohen and later Hill strengthened the project, which eventually helped get Sandler interested. 
  • The movie first got Martin Scorsese on as an executive producer and later Scott Rudin came on as producer.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories


Directors Josh and Benny Safdie are the first to admit, it was pretty naive to think they could get Adam Sandler to be in one of their movies.

Not only does Sandler have a comedy empire fueled by a deal with Netflix that pays him in the millions, but when the comedy legend does jump to dramatic roles, he works with the likes of Paul Thomas Anderson and Noah Baumbach.

That's partly what makes the success of the Safdies' latest, "Uncut Gems" (in select theaters Friday and nationwide on Christmas day), so remarkable.

It landed the Sandman.

But the directors are quick to point out that the movie probably wouldn't have been possible without Sacha Baron Cohen and Jonah Hill both at different times being attached to play the lead.

In "Uncut Gems," we follow New York City jeweler Howard Ratner as he tries to navigate his personal and professional lives over the span of a few days while he tries to land his biggest score. To play Ratner, the Safdies needed someone who had the talent to be despicable but at the same time likable enough that the audience would want to see him make it through the madness he's created for himself.

That's why Sandler instantly came to mind ten years ago when the Safdies began thinking about the story. But they learned quickly it would be near impossible.

"We went to Sandler in 2012 and he passed — hard pass," Josh Safdie told Business Insider with a laugh. "It was such a shot in the dark."

The story was inspired by their father's time working in New York City's Diamond District. Fascinated by the colorful characters both behind and in front of the counter, the Sadfies felt it would be the perfect setting to explore a gritty story centered on someone who is constantly hustling.

Sacha Baron Cohen emmysAt the time, the story was a two-hander: a younger character who worked for an older man. It was kind of the dynamic they saw as kids between their father and his boss. So they went after Harvey Keitel for a while to play the old boss. But after researching the Diamond District more following the completion of their 2014 movie, "Heaven Knows What," they went back to the idea of the story focusing on one character, and they wanted him to be Jewish.

They eventually got the attention of Sacha Baron Cohen.

"We did table reads," Benny Safdie said to Business Insider of how far things went with Cohen.

For a year, the brothers worked with Cohen, feeling they would mesh as they all enjoy having realism in their storytelling (Cohen is known best for doing faux documentaries; the Safdies often cast their movies with non-actors). But the comic never officially signed on.

Soon after, Martin Scorsese agreed to come on "Uncut Gems" as an executive producer. It gave the movie a huge profile, leading to a higher budget and the attention of Jonah Hill.

"We took him to lunch and talked about making something together," Josh recalled. "Originally it was for another project, this reptile thing. He had just finished shooting 'War Dogs' at the time and we thought it would be so cool to work with someone who is one of our peers. We told him that Sacha wasn't committing and he said, 'I'll do it. I want to do this.' And we were like, really? And everyone was like, 'We can finance this movie.' So we went down that road."

But the Safdies said they could never figure out how to age down the Howard Ratner character. They always saw him as a father with teenage kids. They didn't want to lose that. And eventually they lost Hill as he became more focused on his feature directing debut, "Mid90s," and starring in the Netflix series, "Maniac."

Jonah Hill Richard Shotwell APThrough all of this, the Safdies went and made "Good Time" with Robert Pattinson, which had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017. It just so happened that Sandler was there too with Baumbach's "The Meyerowitz Stories." They made another play for him and this time the brothers got Sandler's attention.

Sandler wasn't just impressed by the brothers' movies, but it was also the players that attached themselves along the way, big names like Scorsese and Rudin. Both came on because of the previous iterations with Cohen and Hill attached.

"Without Jonah we would not have gotten Scott Rudin," Josh said. "He was huge for this movie. He was on it for three years pushing us to add jokes. He really worked us hard on the script."

But what Sandler brought to the character they said made the movie an award-season contender.

"He wanted to make Howard more aware of everyone around him," Benny said. "Howard does things that are wrong but he's aware they are wrong. And that's a very big distinction."

"I told him the inspiration for this movie is someone like Rodney Dangerfield," Josh added. "A guy who is on all the time like in 'Easy Money.' And that really connected with him. He found funny moments in the script but when he got involved, we infused it with more comedy and it became the backbone. Sandler brought sincerity to this hard-edge character. This movie without Adam in it might be too hard. It might not function the same way."


SEE ALSO: Kevin Garnett says he turned down the lead role in Spike Lee's "He Got Game"

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THEN AND NOW: The cast of 'Ocean's Twelve' 15 years later


oceans 12 then and now

  • The Steven Soderbergh crime drama "Ocean's Twelve" premiered on December 8, 2004.
  • The film features a large ensemble cast that includes George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Julia Roberts. 
  • In the past 15 years, many of the film's stars have gone on to become A-list celebrities. 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

"Ocean's Twelve" premiered in theaters around the globe 15 years ago. 

The 2004 film is a sequel to "Ocean's Eleven" (2001), and it follows a group of con-artists a few years after their extremely successful heist. 

The film features a star-studded ensemble cast that includes George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Julia Roberts. 

Here's what the cast of "Ocean's Twelve" has been up to since the film debuted 15 years ago. 

Shortly after working with George Clooney on the 2003 film "Intolerable Cruelty," Catherine Zeta-Jones played Isabel Lahiri in "Ocean's Twelve."

Isabel Lahiri is a detective who's determined to catch the gang in the act.

Zeta-Jones has since transitioned from the big screen to web series.

Following "Ocean's Twelve," Zeta-Jones appeared in a mix of action movies and romantic comedies.

Currently, she plays Vicki Ellis on the Facebook Watch series "Queen America."

Andy Garcia portrayed relentless casino owner Terry Benedict, the film's main antagonist.

In "Ocean's Twelve," Terry demands that Ocean's gang pay him back the $160 million dollars that were stolen from him during the previous film, "Ocean's Eleven."

By the time he was cast in the "Ocean's" franchise, Andy Garcia already had built up a fairly impressive acting career, appearing in "The Untouchables" (1987) and "The Godfather: Part III" (1990), the latter of which earned him an Academy Award nomination.


Garcia has continued to work in the entertainment industry as an actor, producer, and director.

Some of Garcia's notable acting credits include roles in the action thriller "Smokin' Aces" (2006), "Ghostbusters" (2016), "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again" (2018) "The Mule" (2018). 

On top of that, he landed a recurring role on several episodes of the HBO series "Ballers" and, in 2007, he reprised his role as Terry Benedict for the film "Ocean's Thirteen."

Garcia most recently appeared on two episodes of the Amazon Prime series "Modern Love" and he is expected to star in two upcoming films, "Words on Bathroom Walls" and "Big Gold Brick."


Matt Damon appeared in "Ocean's Twelve" as Linus Caldwell, the gang's newest recruit and a highly skilled pick-pocketer.

Fresh off the success of "The Bourne Supremacy" (2004), Matt Damon appeared in "Ocean's Twelve" as a new recruit. 

Damon has stayed busy by producing, directing, and acting.

After "Ocean's 12," Damon's delivered award-worthy performances in "The Departed" (2006), "Interstellar" (2014), and "The Martian" (2015). 

His work on "The Martian" earned him a Golden Globe for best actor in a lead role and an Academy Award nomination.

He also produced the 2016 drama "Manchester by the Sea," which received significantpraise from critics.



George Clooney was, of course, Danny Ocean — the core of the group.

After briefly venturing into work behind the camera with his 2002 directorial debut "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," George Clooney returned to his role as Danny Ocean, the smooth-talking criminal mastermind behind the group's heists.

Today, Clooney is one of the most influential stars in Hollywood.

Clooney's popularity skyrocketed after the "Ocean's" franchise and he has since achieved immense success as an actor, director, and producer.

In the decade following "Ocean's Twelve," Clooney snagged lead roles in multiple critically acclaimed films, including comedy-drama "Up in the Air" (2009) and "The Descendants" (2011). 

The former "Ocean's" ringleader also racked up an impressive number of awards and accolades for his acting, producing, and directing work.

In 2018, The American Film Institute recognized Clooney's success with the Lifetime Achievement Award, an accolade that he now shares with legends like Michael Douglas and Robert De Niro. 

Eddie Jemison played a computer expert and careful con-man named Livingston Dell.

At the time this movie dropped, Eddie Jemison only had a few film credits, including the franchise's first installment, "Ocean's Eleven."

Jemison continued acting in film and television, earning guest spots on shows like "CSI: Miami,""Grey's Anatomy," and "Chicago Med."

Jemison also appeared as Ogie in the 2007 movie "Waitress," which would later serve as inspiration for the hit Broadway musical of the same name. 

He joined the official Broadway cast for the show in 2019, where he performed for an eight-week review.

The actor also reprised his role as Livingston in the 2007 film "Ocean's Thirteen."

Scott Caan played Turk Malloy, a transportation expert.

After starring alongside Vin Diesel in the 2000 crime heist movie "Gone in 60 Seconds," Scott Caan was cast as one of the getaway drivers in the "Ocean's" installments.                              

In addition to reprising his role in "Ocean's Thirteen," Caan went on to have a recurring role in HBO's "Entourage."

He also currently stars as Danny Williams on the CBS police show "Hawaii Five-0."

The actor is also into photography and has published multiple collections of his work.


Don Cheadle was an explosives expert named Basher Tarr.

Before landing the role as Basher, Don Cheadle had previously worked with "Ocean's" director Steven Soderbergh on the 2000 drama film "Traffic" and 1998 comedy "Out of Sight."

Following "Ocean's Twelve," Cheadle appeared in numerous box-office smashes, joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and earned multiple award nominations.

The latter half of the 2000s provided Cheadle with a great amount of success as an actor and producer — he's been nominated for a number of awards, including an Academy Award for best actor for his work in the 2004 drama "Hotel Rwanda."

Cheadle made his high-flying debut as War Machine in "Iron Man 2" (2010) and has since appeared in a few other Marvel films.

Between 2012 and 2016, Cheadle also starred as the cold-hearted management consultant on the Showtime television series "House of Lies," a performance that has earned him a Golden Globe.


Elliott Gould portrayed Reuben Tishkoff, the wealthy businessman with an eclectic fashion sense.

Prior to "Ocean's Twelve," many viewers knew Elliot Gould for his starring role in the 1970 comedy war film "M*A*S*H," or his recurring spot on the TV sitcom "Friends."

Gould later reprised his role as Reuben for both "Oceans Thirteen" and "Ocean's Eight."

In 2011, Gould reunited with director Steven Soderbergh for the action thriller movie "Contagion," where he acted alongside former "Ocean's" co-star Matt Damon, as well as Marion Cotillard, Laurence Fishburne, and Jude Law.

From 2013 to 2016, Gould portrayed Ezra Goldman on the Showtime drama "Ray Donovan." He has also landed guest spots on the crime television series "CSI" and "Law and Order."

Gould is also currently an active member of theScreen Actors Guild National Board of Directors.

Comedic legend Bernie Mac portrayed Frank Catton, the man who had information on everyone.

Prior to his work on the "Ocean's" franchise, the actor was well-known for his stand-up comedy and role on his TV series "The Bernie Mac Show." 

Bernie Mac died in 2008.

Following "Ocean's Twelve," the Chicago-born comedian-turned-actor reprised his role in "Ocean's Thirteen" in 2007.

He died of pneumonia complications in 2008.

In 2016, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel gave tribute to the actor by declaring November 14 "Bernie Mac Day" throughout the city.

Julia Roberts played Tess Ocean, Danny Ocean's former ex-wife.

"Ocean's Twelve" gave Tess a pivotal part in the film's script, dubbing her the twelfth member of the gang. 

Today, Roberts remains of the most popular actresses in Hollywood.

Although Roberts did not return for "Ocean's Thirteen," her popularity soared as she starred in numerous hits, including "Charlie Wilson's War" (2007), "Eat, Pray, Love" (2010), and "Wonder" (2017). 

In 2013, she acted opposite Meryl Streep in the award-winning drama "August: Osage County," which featured fellow "Ocean's Twelve" star Clooney as a producer.

She also seems to still be friendly with Clooney — the two recently appeared together on an episode of"Carpool Karaoke"on "The Late Late Show."

Already a household name at the time of the first film's release, Brad Pitt delivered a stellar performance as con-man Rusty Ryan.

In the movie, Rusty is responsible for planning most of the heists. But things get complicated when one of his romantic interests turns out to be a cop who is onto his schemes.

Pitt was praised for his performance, specifically for hison-screen chemistry with Clooney.

Brad Pitt continues to work as a producer, actor, and director.

After "Ocean's Twelve,"Pitt's success accelerated when he bagged lead roles in hit after hit, including "Moneyball" (2011), "12 Years a Slave" (2013), "The Big Short" (2015), and Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" (2009). 

Recently, Pitt produced and starred in the Netflix film "Ad Astra" (2019), a movie about an astronaut who ventures into space in search of his father.

He can also be seen in the Tarantino-directed "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" (2019) alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie. 

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Clint Eastwood's 'Richard Jewell' has an Oscar-worthy performance from Paul Walter Hauser, who plays the security guard caught up in the aftermath of the 1996 Summer Olympics bombing


Ricahrd Jewell Claire Folger Warner Bros

  • Clint Eastwood's "Richard Jewell" is a moving look at the hero of the 1996 Summer Olympics bombing.
  • When the fact that the FBI considered Jewell a suspect days after the bombing was reported on, his life went to pieces as the media ran with the story.
  • Actor Paul Walter Hauser, as Jewell, delivers an Oscar-worthy performance.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


"Richard Jewell" (in theaters December 13) is one of those movies that will leave you feeling frustrated, puzzled, angry, but hopefully above all, moved.

Clint Eastwood's recounting of how a security guard saved thousands when he discovered a bag filled with pipe bombs at the 1996 Summer Olympics, only to become a suspect days later, is a cautionary tale. But it also leaves you feeling grateful that there are people in the world like Richard Jewell.

To pull that off, Eastwood collected a fantastic cast, including Sam Rockwell as the lawyer who defends Jewell, Kathy Bates as Jewell's mother, Olivia Wilde as the reporter who broke the story that Jewell was a suspect, and Jon Hamm as the FBI agent in charge of the case. But above all, it's the performance by Paul Walter Hauser as Richard Jewell that takes the movie to another level.

Hauser, who is best known for playing Shawn Eckhardt in 2017's "I, Tonya," delivers a career-changing role that shouldn't just put him in the best actor Oscar race, but should make him a frontrunner to win it. It's one of the best performances I've seen all year.

In the movie, Jewell is a good-natured guy who is completely engrossed in law enforcement. He's got books about it and plays shoot-em-up video games (if he's not on a real shooting range). He even does security for a college with pride and maybe is a bit overzealous (he's reprimanded for pulling over students outside of school grounds).

That leads us to 1996's Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. Jewell is there working as a security guard at the town square of the games, Centennial Olympic Park. We watch everyone go through the motions as Kenny Rogers performs there one night and the crowd does the "Macarena" the next (it's the late '90s, guys, this is what was hip them). But through it all, Jewell's head is on a swivel, not just looking for anything shady going on but also people in need. A pregnant woman walks by him and he rushes to his bag to offer her a bottled water. It's that amped-up attitude that makes law enforcement not too concerned when Jewell notifies them of a suspicious bag under a bench. But when it's revealed that the bag in fact has pipe bombs in it, and thousands around it are able to get far enough away so the injuries are minor when it does explode (one death and 111 injured), there's no dispute: Richard Jewell is a hero.

Richard Jewell 3 Claire Folger Warner Bros

By the next morning, Jewell's fifteen minutes of fame kicks in hard. There's on-camera interviews on the morning shows and a publishing company wanting his life rights. Jewell returns home to his mother, Bobi (Bates), feeling he's finally fulfilling his calling: to protect and serve.

Then as quickly as the good times showed up, they go away. Three days after the bombing, on the front page of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it's reported that the FBI considers Jewell a suspect in the bombing.

As usual with Eastwood movies, he's not looking to be fancy with the storytelling. He lays it out straight and allows the actors that inhabit it to bring it to life. And do they ever.

Hauser as Jewell is heart-wrenching to watch. You just want to dive into the screen and give the guy a hug (Jewell died at the age of 44 of heart failure from complications of diabetes). Hauser slips in some great comedic moments to lighten the tension, but also plays him as a man with unwavering positivity. That makes it all the more powerful to watch when Jewell finally gets mad and fights back.

Rockwell also gives a fantastic performance as Jewell's lawyer, Watson Bryant. Some of the best parts of the movie are Hauser and Rockwell playing off each other. It's almost like an Abbott and Costello routine, but with much higher stakes.

It's an interesting time to spotlight the heroics by Jewell and the subsequent character assassination of him by the media and law enforcement. This movie feels like it could be weaponized by those who want to sow distrust of the media. I really hope that doesn't happen. If anything, Eastwood is showing us that rational thinking will always win over knee-jerk reactions. It's something to take to heart in the "if you're not first, you're last" world we live in today.


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The 'Uncut Gems' directors detailed their decade-long quest to get Adam Sandler in the movie. Then Sandler crashed our interview wanting to play basketball.


Benny Safdie Josh Safdie AP

  • "Uncut Gems" directors Josh and Benny Safdie talked to Business Insider about making their new movie.
  • The directors explained why attempts to make the movie with Sacha Baron Cohen and Jonah Hill didn't work out, leading to Adam Sandler finally taking the role.
  • Sandler also showed up at the end of the interview to talk to the Safdies about playing some basketball after the interview.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories


Directors Josh and Benny Safdie can only explain pulling off making "Uncut Gems" with one word: "Fate."

The brothers, who for the last decade have found acclaim by telling unforgiving stories, often with non-actors and a gritty New York City backdrop, have also in that time wanted to make a movie with one of the biggest actors in the world.

That movie is finally here, titled "Uncut Gems," with Adam Sandler playing the lead role of jeweler-to-the-stars Howard Ratner. The film is set in New York City's Diamond District, and follows Ratner, a degenerate gambler, as he tries to navigate an anxiety-filled couple of days trying to hold off bookies (one of which is played by sports radio great Mike Francesa), juggle his wife (played by Idina Menzel) and girlfriend, and even hook an NBA star (played by Kevin Garnett) long enough to sell off a rare Ethiopian opal that he expects to clear all his debts.

But at first, it seemed like an impossible dream to get Sandler. When they first began thinking seriously about this project, the brothers' filmography only included low-budget dramas like 2009's "Daddy Longlegs," 2014's "Heaven Knows What," and a documentary in 2013 on high-school-basketball-phenom-gone-bust Lenny Cooke. 

Things improved when the Safdies' profile raised substantially thanks to Robert Pattinson. The actor sought out the Safdies after seeing "Heaven Known What," which led to them making the acclaimed 2017 movie "Good Time," in which Pattinson plays a small-time bank robber.

Suddenly, making "Uncut Gems" didn't look that too far fetched — though getting Sandler for it was still a pipe dream.

But after stints when Sacha Baron Cohen and Jonah Hill were attached to play Ratner, plus the addition of Martin Scorsese as executive producer and Scott Rudin as producer, Sandler finally became interested. Getting Sandler on board led to "Uncut Gems" (opening in select theaters Friday and nationwide Christmas day) not just being one of the best movies of the year, but one with Oscar potential for the actor.

Business Insider sat down with the Safdies in New York City to talk about the journey to get "Uncut Gems" to the screen, including why Cohen and Hill exited the project opening the door for Sandler (read the entire story on how that went down at Business Insider Prime). And then the Sandman himself showed up unannounced itching to play some basketball with the brothers.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Jason Guerrasio: Outside of this being a decade-long labor of love for you guys, I have to say I left the movie feeling this is a love letter to Abel Ferrara

Josh Safdie: [Laughs.]

Benny Safdie: There's some "Bad Lieutenant" in there.

Josh: You want to know something, Mike Francesa partially was really excited to do the movie because "Mad Dog" (Russo, Francesa's long-time radio partner) was in "Bad Lieutenant."

Guerrasio: All these years he still has a chip on his shoulder about that?

Josh: Yes!

Benny: He wouldn't say it and finally we told him we wanted him in the movie and he said, "I'm in! I'm going to be on camera." [Laughs.]

Josh: But I'm so happy for Abel, he's sober now and has a family, I'm happy for him. He was in "Daddy Longlegs" and it wasn't good. Drugs are f---ed up.

Guerrasio: But you guys and Abel see New York City a different way than others, even Scorsese.

Benny: I agree.

Josh: I was at a Q&A he did for his version of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and he said it was hard getting the movie made and he couldn't handle it anymore so he went and made "Bad Lieutenant" for a few million bucks. He was frustrated to get this huge movie off the ground. And I was at that Q&A year three into "Gems." We had committed to "Heaven Knows What" which led to "Good Time," so I learned from him it's this idea of constantly creating and using movies to express yourself and using characters as a vessel.

Guerrasio: So before Sandler you had Sacha Baron Cohen attached to play Howard, then you had Jonah Hill. What happened?

Josh: We went to Sandler in 2012 and he passed. Hard pass. [Laughs.] It was such a shot in the dark. Then we aged the character up so it was more similar to who our dad worked for in the Diamond District. And that was Harvey Keitel for a little bit. But the character was too old, no offense to Harvey. Then we made "Lenny Cooke" and "Heaven Knows What," and we researched the Diamond District more. We really wanted the character to be Jewish so we went down the line a while with Sacha Baron Cohen. For about a year.

Benny: We did table reads.

Josh: Yeah. Doing meetings. He watched "Heaven Knowns What," and he loves realism so he was into it but it wasn't his cup of tea. Then Scorsese attached himself and that elevated the profile of the movie in a big way. And that attracted Jonah.

He had just finished shooting "War Dogs" at the time and we thought it would be so cool to work with someone who is one of our peers. We told him that Sacha wasn't committing and he said, "I'll do it. I want to do this." So we went down that road but we could never figure out how to age the character down. We didn't want to take away the patriarchal quality of it. We didn't want to lose the teenage children.

Benny: That was important.

Josh: So fate happened. Jonah got really wrapped up in his own film ["Mid90s"] and then he went and did "Maniac," so he became unavailable. It was a sign because we finished "Good Time" and we went to Cannes with it and Sandler was there. We made one last run at him and that's who we wanted from the beginning.

Good Time A24 finalGuerrasio: With any talent there's always a bend that happens where things are adjusted for the star.

Josh: Always.

Guerrasio: How much of a bend was there from the page to the Howard we see Sandler play?

Benny: He had seen "Good Time" and his impression from "Good Time" was, "These guys are intense and they are going to hold me to it no matter what." And that's so not the way we work. He just wanted to make Howard more aware of everyone around him. Howard does things that are wrong but he's aware they are wrong. And that's a very big distinction.

Josh: I told him the inspiration for this movie is someone like Rodney Dangerfield. A guy who is on all the time like in "Easy Money." And that really connected with him. He found funny moments in the script but when he got involved we infused it with more comedy and it became the backbone. Sandler brought sincerity to this hard edge character. This movie without Adam in it might be too hard. It might not function the same way.

Guerrasio: I would think part of the trick with this movie is, yes, Howard is doing messed up things, but by the end you have to root for him.

Benny: Exactly. And people will say to us, "I hated that guy, I was going to the screen, 'Don't do that, what are you doing?'" Well, if you are telling him not to do something you are feeling something. If you really hated him you would say, "Go ahead, dig your own grave." You don't feel that way with Howard because Sandler brings something where you want him to get out of his situation.

Uncut Gems A24Guerrasio: I have to talk about Kevin Garnett, he's a scene stealer. Is it true you had Amar'e Stoudemire first in the role?

Josh: It was Amar'e first and then it was Joel Embiid. Up until four months before production it was Joel.

Guerrasio: Really?

Josh: But then we had our schedule pushed into the season and then he couldn't do it.

Guerrasio: That would have been interesting to see him in it.

Josh: He's from Cameroon, so the African element, we wrote that in. But again, everything happens for a reason. As much as I love Joel, I don't think he could have done what KG did.

Benny: Scott [Rudin] said to us, "How do you know he can act?" And we pulled together all of Kevin's sideline interviews and showed them to him —

[Adam Sandler enters the room]

Sandler: Hi. How are you doing?

Josh: What's up, man!

Sandler: What's up boys. [They all hug.]

Josh: What are you doing right now?

Sandler: I wanted to see if you want to hoop when you're done.

Guerrasio: Please tell me you're inviting Garnett.

Sandler: I wish. Wouldn't that be the best?

Guerrasio: Could you ever get him to play with you guys during filming?

Sandler: He shot a little bit on the set when we had that hoop, right?

Josh: Yeah.

Benny: He would talk trash to the other people trying to shoot and made them miss.

Sandler: We didn't get to hoop with him, but he just gave me another tip!

Josh: Really?

Sandler: The second tip. The first tip he gave me I use it all the time now.

Josh: You didn't even tell me the tip yet.

Sandler: I can't tell you. I'm going to try it on you today! Can you get there in an hour?

Josh: Hour and a half.

Benny: I can get there then.

Josh: Why can't we meet at five?

Sandler: Because the f---ing place gets packed. There are going to be people there like, "What?" Well, I'm sorry to interrupt. I'll see your a--es up there!


SEE ALSO: Felicity Jones talks about her scary balloon crash while making "The Aeronauts" and whether she'd return to "Star Wars"

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Build-A-Bear Workshop warns revenue could fall after disappointing 'Frozen 2' sales


Frozen 2 Disney

  • Disney's "Frozen 2" is making it snow at the box office, but Anna and Elsa have received a frosty reception at Build-A-Bear Workshop.
  • Disappointing sales of "Frozen 2" merchandise, combined with tepid mall traffic and the delayed opening of a flagship store, forced the toy retailer to cut its revenue guidance for the three months to February 1.
  • "Frozen 2" is generating nearly double Build-A-Bear's average dollars per transaction, but it's only generating enough store traffic and transactions to rank as its No. 2 property.
  • View Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Disney's"Frozen 2" is making it snow at the box office, but Anna and Elsa have received a frosty reception at Build-A-Bear Workshop.

Disappointing sales of "Frozen 2" merchandise, combined with tepid mall traffic and the delayed opening of a flagship store, forced the toy retailer to cut its revenue guidance for the three months to February 1.

"We expected the successful release of the 'Frozen 2' movie in late November to generate incremental shopping traffic to malls, similar to the prior top-license movies, especially given that the original 'Frozen' film was the best-selling license in our history," CEO Sharon Price John said on Build-A-Bear's third-quarter earnings call last week.

Build-A-Bear previously forecast higher fourth-quarter sales; its new range pegs revenue somewhere between slightly higher and down by a single-digit percentage. It also trimmed its revenue forecast for the year, from low-single-digit growth to between flat and a single-digit decline. On the bright side, it expects less discounting this year and a tight grip on costs to mean a small increase in annual pre-tax income.

While Build-A-Bear's "Frozen 2" products — which include stuffed bears inspired by the princesses, and Sven and Olaf plush toys — are selling, they aren't drumming up as much demand as the retailer anticipated.

"The property has gained momentum since the movie premiere and is generating nearly double our average dollars per transaction," Price John said on the call. However, it's only generating enough store traffic and transactions to rank as Build-A-Bear's No. 2 property, she added.

Build-A-Bear is trying to drum up sales with promotions, Price John said, especially as other retailers are discounting all kinds of "Frozen 2" merchandise more aggressively than it expected. One reason for the fierce competition could be a shorter holiday season — a late Thanksgiving this year means there are six fewer selling days before Christmas.

The toy group's troubles are surprising, given the movie's popularity. "Frozen 2" came out on November 22, and racked up about $338 million at the domestic box office and $920 million worldwide in its first 17 days.

The sequel made nearly double what the original "Frozen" earned during the same timeframe in 2013, adjusted for inflation, according to the New York Times. "Frozen 2" is on track to net about $415 million domestically and $1.9 billion worldwide, according to Forbes, which would make it the sixth highest-grossing movie in history.

Blockbusters have influenced Build-A-Bear's sales before. Price John credited a joke about the brand in "Avengers: Endgame" with enhancing its sales earlier this year.

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The highest-grossing movies of the past decade reveal America's obsession with franchises


highest grossing thumb 4x3

The highest-grossing film of 2019 was the final Avengers movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: "Avengers: Endgame."

Source: Box Office Mojo

In 2019, the movie made $858,373,000 domestically. It landed in theaters in April.

Source: Box Office Mojo

The film took home People's Choice Awards for Favorite Movie, Favorite Action Movie, and Favorite Male Movie Star for Robert Downey Jr.'s final portrayal of Iron Man.

Source: IMDb

"Black Panther" was the highest-grossing movie of 2018.

Source: Box Office Mojo

The MCU film made $700,059,566 domestically that year after being released in February.

Source: Box Office Mojo

The movie took home three Academy Awards in 2019: Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score), Best Achievement in Costume Design, and Best Achievement in Production Design. It also took home two Screen Actors Guild Awards that same year.

Source: IMDb

The highest-grossing movie of 2017 was "Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi."

Source: Box Office Mojo

It made $517,218,368 domestically that year.

Source: Box Office Mojo

Actress Carrie Fisher won the 2018 Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actress: Fantasy — she died before the movie release in December 2017.

Source: IMDb

"Finding Dory"— part of the "Finding Nemo" franchise — was the highest-grossing movie of 2016.

Source: Box Office Mojo

The movie made $486,295,561 domestically that year.

Source: Box Office Mojo

"Finding Dory" was released in June 2016 and won the 2017 People's Choice Award for Favorite Movie.

Source: IMDb

The highest-grossing movie of 2015 was "Jurassic World."

Source: Box Office Mojo

The movie hit theaters in June 2015 and made $652,270,595 domestically that year.

Source: Box Office Mojo

"Jurassic World" won the 2016 MTV Movie and TV Award for Best Action Performance.

Source: IMDb

In 2014, "Guardians of the Galaxy" earned the title of the highest-grossing movie of the year. The MCU film also starred "Jurassic World" actor, Chris Pratt.

Source: Box Office Mojo

It made $328,095,589 domestically in 2014 after landing in theaters in August.

Source: Box Office Mojo

The movie was nominated for several awards including a 2015 Grammy Award for its iconic soundtrack featuring songs of legends like David Bowie, Marvin Gaye, and The Jackson 5.

Source: IMDb

The highest-grossing movie of 2013 was another movie in the MCU: "Iron Man 3."

Source: Box Office Mojo

In 2013, it made $406,609,688 domestically.

Source: Box Office Mojo

The film, which was the third solo story for Robert Downey Jr.'s iconic Tony Stark character, was released in May 2013 and won the People's Choice Award for Favorite Movie in 2014.

Source: IMDb

"The Avengers" was the highest-grossing film of 2012.

Source: Box Office Mojo

This Marvel movie hit theaters in May 2012 and made $619,257,177 domestically that year.

Source: IMDb

This first MCU "Avengers" earned Robert Downey Jr. a 2013 People's Choice Award for Favorite Movie Superhero.

Source: IMDb

The highest-grossing movie of 2011 was "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2."

Source: Box Office Mojo

In 2011 it made $381,011,219 domestically.

Source: Box Office Mojo

This final movie of the Harry Potter franchise was released in July 2011 and won the People's Choice Award in 2012 for Favorite Movie.

Source: IMDb

The highest-grossing movie of 2010 was "Toy Story 3."

Source: Box Office Mojo

That year it made $410,171,027 domestically.

Source: Box Office Mojo

The third movie in the "Toy Story" franchise hit theaters in June of 2010 and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year in 2011.

Source: IMDb

"Avatar" made $466,141,929 domestically in 2010 — nearly $56 million more than "Toy Story 3"— but it was actually released in December of 2009.

Source: Box Office Mojo

'Jumanji: The Next Level' is a silly sequel that may be wacky enough to hold its own against 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' at the box office


jumanji the next level Sony

  • "Jumanji: The Next Level" is the sequel to the 2017 box-office hit, "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle."
  • The movie avoids a sequel slump by adding new characters and implementing some more video-game elements.
  • And all praise goes to the movie's scene stealer ... a horse!
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories


"Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" was one of the biggest box-office surprises of 2017, as Sony's sequel to the 1995 Robin Williams-starrer brought in close to $1 billion at the worldwide box office

That was shocking not just because the decades-old franchise found a second life, but because it held its own against "Star Wars" The Last Jedi," which was released at the same time. Now Sony is hoping history will repeat itself this holiday season.

"Jumanji: The Next Level" (in theaters Friday) brings us back into the video game with a brand-new mission and new characters to root for.

In "Welcome to the Jungle," the movie ends with the high-school seniors who were sucked into the game — Spencer (Alex Wolff), Martha (Morgan Turner), Fridge (Ser'Darius Blain), and Bethany (Madison Iseman) — winning their mission and destroying the game once they are back in reality. "The Next Level" picks up as the now best friends return home for the holidays from college. Everyone is excited to catch up — except Spencer. He's overwhelmed at NYU, doesn't know where he stands with Martha (the two fell in love while in the game), and he is nowhere as confident in life as the avatar he played in the game, Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson).

We find out that Spencer actually kept the broken game, and once he's home, instead of meeting up with his friends,  he gets the game working again and is sucked back in. His friends go after him, as well as Spencer's grandfather, Eddie (Danny DeVito) and his friend, Milo (Danny Glover).

Quickly we learn that the Jumanji game is not the same as the first time they entered. The locations are different, and everyone, outside of Martha, are different characters. She's still Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan), but Fridge is Professor "Shelly" (Jack Black), Milo is Mouse (Kevin Hart), and Eddie is Dr. Bravestone. Bethany doesn't make it in the game until later, and it's in spectacular fashion.

So director Jake Kasdan has cleared the first hurdle in staying away from a stale sequel: he's brought some changes to the existing characters. Hart is hilarious playing Mouse in the form of a laid back Danny Glover. Johnson is tasked with having to play up the wacky as DeVito, which can try your patience at times, but for the most part is entertaining. But the person who really owns the movie this time around is Gillan, whose Ruby Roundhouse has to keep the group on task as they try to find Spencer, who is now a new player named Ming (Awkwafina), and save Jumanji … again.

Like "Welcome to the Jungle," this one explores self-confidence and the strength of friendship. The action and jokes come at you fast and often, especially when Bethany gets in the game (along with Alex, played again by Nick Jonas) and it's revealed her character is a horse. Praise to Jumanji horse! It's kind of a scene stealer the rest of the movie.

Sony is going a different route this time with "Jumanji," releasing it a week before "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker." In 2017, "Welcome to the Jungle" came out the week after "Last Jedi." Clearly the studio is confident the movie can hold its own, and it should play well as a counter to people who aren't into "Star Wars," or as a choice for people after going to see "Rise of Skywalker." (The movie has already earned over $50 million internationally.)

I was a big fan of "Welcome to the Jungle" and had no idea how a sequel could match how entertaining that was. But Kasdan, along with screenwriters Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg, found some creative ways to keep things fresh by implementing more game elements, adding some new characters, and trusting that the strength of the existing cast would hold.

It's a lot of fun.


SEE ALSO: The "Uncut Gems" directors detailed their decade-long quest to get Adam Sandler in the movie. Then Sandler crashed out interview wanting to play basketball.

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10 of the best and 10 of the worst Netflix originals that have come out this year


best worst netflix originals

For several years, Netflix has been proving itself as a network to watch when it comes to original content.

The streaming platform has released dozens of new series and movies this year, with some receiving critical acclaim and others being dubbed a total flop. 

Here are 10 of the best and 10 of the worst Netflix originals to grace our screens in 2019.

Note: The scores listed throughout the piece were accurate at the time of publication but are subject to change.

Many felt the final season of "A Series of Unfortunate Events" was the perfect send-off.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%

Summary: Adapted from acclaimed children's books by Lemony Snicket, the third and final season of "A Series of Unfortunate Events" follows the woes and trials of the three Baudelaire orphans and their hunt for answers in a world filled with spies, scoundrels, and slippery slopes. 

Many critics and audiences felt this season was a super satisfying and impressive conclusion to the series. 

"By deepening the characterizations of the Baudelaires, Lemony Snicket, and Count Olaf, the main cast gets plenty of great material to work with and delivers uniformly moving performances," wrote critic Jonathon Dornbush for IGN Movies

Critics had nothing but praise for the now-canceled animated series "Tuca & Bertie."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%

Summary: From the creators of "BoJack Horseman" comes "Tuca & Bertie," a colorful cartoon in which a wild-minded toucan (Tiffany Haddish) and a lovable, nervous songbird (Ali Wong) share the same apartment building.

Despite rave reviews from critics and a top-notch voice cast, Netflix did not renew the charmingly nuanced animated show for a second season. 

"It's a consistent joy to watch the series bring that same richness to its characters' internal realities," wrote critic Hannah Giorgis of The Atlantic. "Tuca and Bertie are still trying to figure things out, but the series handles their growing pains with tenderness and understanding."



"Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé" is a powerful portrayal of Beyoncé’s talent.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%

Summary: A mixture of stunning concert footage and behind-the-scenes build-up, "Homecoming" is a music documentary with superstar Beyoncé as its guiding force.

Critics and fans felt that the film traced the journey of her legendary 2018 Coachella performance from start to finish with intimacy and power.

"At the glittering centre of it all is Beyoncé herself," wrote The Guardian's critic Lauren Carroll Harris. "[A] master maker of her own modern myth; an uber-perfectionist capitalist surveying her multimedia empire."

"Russian Doll" earned rave reviews for Natasha Lyonne's performance.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%

Summary: On "Russian Doll," a science-fiction series with a dark comedic streak, Natasha Lyonne stars as Nadia, a woman stuck in a time loop that starts over every time she dies. Repeatedly sent back to the night of her 36th birthday, Nadia tries to stay alive as she searches for a deeper meaning to her new-found immortality. 

Audiences and critics both especially enjoyed Lyonne's stand-out performance on the series. 

Critic Linda Holmes reviewed the Netflix series for NPR, writing: "It's a performance where the actor understands the character so well, down to every little gesture she makes, every twitch of her face, that it's startling, at times, to remember she's fictional."

Critics praised "When They See Us" for its authenticity and vision.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 96%

Summary: In the moving drama series "When They See Us," creator Ava DuVernay chronicles the racially charged true story behind the infamous "Central Park Five" from the perspective of the five young boys falsely accused of sexual assault in 1989. 

Critics had a lot of positive things to say about the series, especially praising its artistic choices.

In a glowing review for "When They See Us,"Newsday critic Verne Gay wrote: "DuVernay makes an effective artistic choice by filming much of this through a blue filter, so that the boys' world is enveloped by a Kafkaesque indigo gloom from which they — and the viewer — can find no escape."

Critics called "I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson" one of the funniest shows on Netflix.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%

Summary: From the mind of former "SNL"-alum Tim Robinson, "I Think You Should Leave" is a sketch-comedy show filled with goofy vignettes, over-the-top characters, and an endless amount of quotable lines.

On the six-episode series, Robinson surrounds himself with comedians like Vanessa Bayer, Andy Samberg, Sam Richardson, and Cecily Strong, who are all up for the bizarre scenarios Robinson and co-creator Zach Kanin have concocted. 

"Taken as a whole, 'I Think You Should Leave' deserves to be held up as one of the finest things that Netflix has ever produced," wrote critic Stuart Heritage for The Guardian. "It is single-handedly going to revive sketch comedy from the wet, wet mud."

Critics singled out the visuals and acting performances in "I Am Mother."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%

Summary: "I Am Mother" is a suspense-driven science-fiction film that centers around a young girl (Clara Rugaard) and her relationship with a robot named Mother (Rose Byrne), who is on a mission to repopulate the earth after a devastating global event. But when a desperate stranger (Hilary Swank) finds her way into their home, the young girl begins to question Mother and her entire upbringing. 

Critics were mostly blown away by the film's action and leading cast. 

"Rugaard, a Danish-Irish 21-year-old, feels like a major discovery," wrote critic David Fear for Rolling Stone. "She's the not-so-secret motor of 'I Am Mother,' a dynamic presence that lends blood, guts and soul to this dystopic vision."

Read More: The scariest originals to watch on Netflix, ranked by critics

"Always Be My Maybe" was heralded as a delightful entry in the romantic-comedy genre.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%

Summary: "Always Be My Maybe" is an upbeat romantic comedy starring comedian Ali Wong as Sasha, a celebrity chef, and Randall Park as her high-school sweetheart Marcus. When her long-term boyfriend puts their relationship on hold, Sasha returns to her roots to do some soul-searching and reconnects with Marcus in the process.

Most critics enjoyed Netflix's entry in the rom-com genre, particularly praising its cleverness and originality. 

Entertainment Weekly writer Leah Greenblatt sung her praises for the movie in her critical review. "Netflix seems to have found its true purpose in original movie programming over the past year," wrote Greenblatt. "Clever, endlessly meme-able rom-coms meant to be watched on the floor in your weird pajamas."

Read More: All of Netflix's original romantic films, ranked by critics

The third season of "Stranger Things" proved itself to be a strong addition to the series.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 89%

Summary: Picking up in the summer of 1985, the latest season of "Stranger Things" follows the expansive cast of characters as they set off fireworks and sneak into screenings of "Day of the Dead." As always, the fun is short-lived when the kids realize that a paranormal threat looms larger than ever over the small town of Hawkins, Indiana. 

Although this isn't the highest-rated season of the series, critics still lauded this thrilling collection of episodes.

The Atlantic's critic Sophie Gilbert keyed in on the show's high concept, writing in her review: "What these ideas come down to, in the show's thrillingly propulsive and self-consciously familiar conclusion, is the nature of a country that fully believes it's the greatest in the world while also being well aware of its own capacity for destruction."

Read More: 22 surprising things you probably didn't know about 'Stranger Things'

Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini's chemistry is the lifeblood of "Dead to Me."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 86%

Summary: Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini star in the twisted dark-comedy series "Dead to Me." After the sudden loss of her husband in a hit and run, Jen (Applegate) struggles to move on and finds solace in Judy (Cardellini), another woman in her support group. As the two women become fast friends, Jen starts to question who Judy really is and whether she had ulterior motives in seeking her out.

All in all, critics enjoyed the series and the leading stars' impressive chemistry and quick dialogue. 

"For all the elaborate sets and dramatic motifs, it's 'Dead to Me's' two lead actresses that make the story come to life," wrote critic Justin Kirkland for Esquire Magazine.


Critics wanted more originality from "Huge in France."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 50%

Summary: On this Netflix comedy series, Gad Elmaleh stars as a satirical version of himself. Desperate for a relationship with his son, Elmaleh moves to Los Angeles and finds that America is far less forgiving than his native France.

Many critics were not impressed with the series' efforts and they felt the show was unoriginal. 

"Just because something sounds like a TV show doesn't mean it should be one," wrote Daily Dot critic Brenden Gallagher. "In fact, if something sounds like a TV show we've seen dozens of time[s] before, it might be best to go back to the drawing board."

The mediocre "Murder Mystery" was sunk by a bad script.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 45%

Summary: In "Murder Mystery," a Netflix original comedy, Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston play a married couple that finds themselves at the center of a billionaire's untimely demise.

Most critics felt like the film was lazy and boorish, despite Sandler and Aniston's best efforts. 

"Even grading on a curve, though, Murder Mystery is a tired, bordering on tiresome endeavor — feeling like the pilot for a not-very-good TV show — as well as a reminder that Netflix's content buffet caters to all kinds of tastes," wrote critic Brian Lowry for CNN.

Many critics felt paranormal series "Chambers" was filled with well-worn genre tropes.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 42%

Summary: On the supernatural horror series "Chambers," a young woman begins to experience paranormal terrors after she survives a near-death experience and receives a heart transplant.

Uma Thurman, Sivan Alyra Rose, and Tony Goldwyn star on the series, which left critics wishing they had never clicked play.

"Most will feel as if they've already seen Chambers before," wrote critic Nick Schager in his review for The Daily Beast. "Those new to such substandard beyond-the-grave stuff, on the other hand, will wish they'd never seen it in the first place."

Read More: People can't stop talking about Netflix's psychological thriller 'Chambers.' Here's what you need to know before you watch.

Despite Renee Zellweger’s intense performance, critics trashed "What/If."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 42%

Summary: The Netflix series "What/If" serves as an anthology with a moral lesson at the heart of every episode. The thriller stars Renee Zellweger, Jane Levy, and Blake Jenner and dissects the meaning of life and whether people have free will or are driven by fate.

Zellweger's stint on a series was not well-received by critics, who felt the show's script was a mess. 

"A noir-thriller 'What/If' is not," wrote Australian critic Wenlei Ma. "This is a messy, trashy prime-time soap opera, except on streaming. Or worse, a midday movie with a slightly higher production budget and an Oscar winner."

Read More: Every single Renèe Zellweger movie, ranked

A number of reviewers felt Mötley Crüe was done dirty by "The Dirt."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 39%

Summary: The dirty and debaucherous lives of the band members of Mötley Crüe are put on full display in this dramatic retelling of the band's early years.

Starring Douglas Booth, Iwan Rheon, and Machine Gun Kelly, critics called "The Dirt" one of Netflix's least satisfying offerings. 

Variety critic Owen Gleiberman was unimpressed with the biopic-like effort, writing, "It's just a thinly written VH1-style sketchbook of a movie — which is to say, it's a Netflix film, with zero atmosphere, overly blunt lighting, and a threadbare post-psychological telegraphed quality that gives you nothing to read between the lines."

Critics felt the cliché-ridden "Close" suffered from weak writing.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 37%

Summary: In the action film "Close," Noomi Rapace leads the cast as Sam, an expert in counter-terrorism who is forced to go on the run when she and the woman under her protection are attacked.

Critics applauded the film's use of feminine drive in an action thriller but liked little else due to the movie's tired tropes and limp script.

"Rapace gives the film her all, delivering an intense, physically demanding performance, but Close doesn't get close enough to transcending its action-movie clichés," critic Frank Scheck wrote for The Hollywood Reporter.

Some critics were seriously unimpressed with "IO."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 31%

Summary: "IO" is a science-fiction movie with a dramatic bend starring Margaret Qualley as Sam, one of the last people left on Earth following a global crisis, and her determination to save the planet. Her hard-won intentions to rescue the planet from itself is then swayed by the arrival of another survivor Micah (Anthony Mackie).

The Netflix original was derided by critics for being too slow and lackluster for its own good.

"It's not a good sign ... when a movie ostensibly meant to rekindle one's faith in mankind makes you long instead for permanent apocalypse," wrote The Hollywood Reporter critic Keith Uhlich

"Otherhood" disappointed critics by wasting a stellar cast.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 26%

Summary: Three mothers with adult children decide to take Mother's Day into their own hands in this Netflix flick.

Starring iconic actresses Angela Bassett, Patricia Arquette, and Felicity Huffman, "Otherhood" certainly has star quality but disappointed critics with its thin plot and subpar script.

"The idea is good, but it isn't developed enough to make it a fully fleshed out story with intriguing and multi-dimensional characters," wrote critic Maria Lattila for Film Inquiry. "'Otherhood' ends up being forgettable, boring and at times insulting."

"Rim of the World" is a family-friendly film that failed to deliver.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 25%

Summary: Four tweens at a sleepaway camp find themselves at the center of an alien invasion in this action-adventure Netflix movie aimed toward kids. Isolated without technology and left to their own devices, the misfits decide to take the fate of the world head-on. 

And even though critics thought the film had some value for young viewers, they were overall unimpressed the movie's predictable script.

Roger Ebert critic Nick Allen wrote that he understood what the film was trying to do, but still felt it missed the mark. "Its greatest value is probably in how it could educate budding movie-lovers on cheesy and predictable storytelling, but even that seems like a lesson Rim of the World cynically teaches at an elementary level," wrote Allen.

Most critics wanted to pull the plug on "Polar" long before it ended.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 20%

Summary: In "Polar," Mads Mikkelsen stars as Duncan Vizla, the world's most infamous assassin. On the cusp of retirement, Vizla finds himself being pulled back into the life he swore was over, as younger killers aim to take him out.

Like many reviewers, critic Robert Abele found the Netflix film to be a tough slog to sit through.

"Too bad the only thrill you get from all the bloodletting is that you know each cartoony death brings you that much closer to the end credits,"Abele wrote for the Los Angeles Times.

Read More:

10 of the best and 10 of the worst horror movies that have come out this year, so far

5 of the best and 5 of the worst Netflix original thrillers of the year

15 of the best and 15 of the worst holiday movies of all time

7 bad movies that deserve a remake



  • Some movies could benefit from being remade with an updated script, a fresh cast, or even advanced special effects. 
  • Per critics and audiences, "Ghost in the Shell" (2017) might benefit from being remade with a diverse cast and less special effects. 
  • With more substance and author input, "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" (2010) could be a great new franchise.
  • The "Twilight" movies could potentially be even better with new CGI technology.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Sometimes even the most anticipated movies miss the mark, no matter how big the budget or how loyal the fan base.

Many of these films deserve a second chance and with the right screenplay, cast, and updates, a critical flop could become an all-around hit. 

Here are some bad movies that could benefit from a remake. 

With more substance and author input, "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" (2010) could be a great new franchise.

According to fans, the novel-series-turned-film "Percy Jackson" deserved a lot better than it got.

The movie attempts to bring Rick Riordan's mythological books to life — and it fails, according to critics, audiences, and the author of the "Percy Jackson" series himself.

Earlier this year, Riordan told Hypable that he hated the film adaptation, saying he would rather "have [his] teeth pulled with no anesthesia" than watch the movies again. For Riordan specifically, he said the films offered little educational value and he referred to them as "vapid."

Perhaps with more substance and author input, a remake of this fantasy film could be a hit that even Riordan would want to watch. 

Recently, fans even got trending on Twitter, asking the major company to add a remake of the film to its to-do list. Some even suggested adapting the books into a Disney Plus series. 

This isn't entirely out of the question seeing as Disney now technically owns the rights to 20th Century Fox's intellectual properties— and that's the studio that produced the first two "Percy Jackson" flicks. 

The "Twilight" movies could potentially be even better with new CGI technology.

Although the "Twilight" films were major box-office successes, critics generally found the Hollywood adaptations to be lacking.

Starring Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner, this novel-based film series debuted over a decade ago and contained computer-generated imagery (CGI) that some were unimpressed by. 

In particular, many called out the poor rendition of the half-human, half-vampire baby Renesmee seen in "Breaking Dawn: Part 1." Even the film's director, Bill Condon told CinemaBlend in 2017 that that CGI was a "disaster" that he wouldn't let happen now. 

Plus, "Twilight" actor Kellan Lutz has also suggested that if the film is remade, it deserves "top-notch" graphics and a bigger budget.

Since CGI techniques evolve quickly, 2008's version of "decent" CGI isn't comparable with today's capabilities — and the fantasy franchise might be even more impressive when remade with some top-notch images. 



A remake of the novel-based film "Eragon" (2006) could perhaps woo audiences the second time around if it was more accurate.

Fans have been asking for "Eragon" to be remade since the film was first released — it received low critic and audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes and has been called out for its inaccuracies when compared to the book it is based on. 

Based on "The Inheritance Cycle" novels by Christopher Paolini, the 2006 film "Eragon" was meant to woo young adults with its fantastical themes and characters. Instead, audience members and critics called the film out for its poor interpretation of the first book in the series. 

In 2017, on his website, Paolini said the 2006 movie may have disappointed fans due to his inability to offer too much creative input, though he noted if the movie did ever get a reboot, fans "can rest assured [he will] retain as much control as possible."


"The Black Cauldron" (1985) could be Disney's next live-action remake.

Long-cited as the film that almost killed Disney animation, the 1985 cartoon film "The Black Cauldron" could probably benefit from a 21st-century live-action reboot.

One of the biggest issues reviewers had with this critical flop is that it lacked compelling characters. But, perhaps by making this into a live-action film (something Disney's been doing a lot of lately), a cast of talented actors could breathe new life into the characters. 

"Catwoman" (2004) deserves a second chance and even the lead actress knows it.

Starring Halle Berry, the 2004 "Catwoman" film has an extremely low rating on Rotten Tomatoes and both fans and Berry herself have called for it to be remade. 

"You know, I've gotten a really bad rap for this role and I think 'Catwoman' deserves another goddamn chance, don't you?" Berry told Maxim in 2018.

Yes, there have been a number of films starring Catwoman over the years, but none have followed quite the same premise as the 2004 version. 

Now, 15 years later, with a "Batman" reboot in the works (this time with Robert Pattinson as the lead), it feels like DC has the resources it takes to properly tell the story of this fast-moving criminal and hero. 

An audience favorite that's been panned by critics, "National Treasure" (2004) might benefit from a more realistic plot.

With a low critical score on Rotten Tomatoes, this classic Nicolas-Cage film received less-than-stellar reviews upon its release, with critics calling the film wildly unrealistic, "stale," and "a big, overblown wazoo of absurdity."

Nevertheless, the film holds a special place in the hearts of many, so much so that fans have been begging for a third installment to the series since 2016. Disney has not pushed for a third film in the series, but perhaps the company would be interested in a remake of the original. After all, the film was a box-office hit with a reported gross of $347 million worldwide.

By reigning in the plot a little bit to make it a tad more practical while making the film more fast-paced, perhaps a reboot could satisfy both critics and fans who crave more historical thrillers.


"Ghost in the Shell" (2017) could potentially get better reviews with a more diverse cast and less special effects.

This live-action adaptation of the Japanese manga immediately turned off some audiences by casting white actress Scarlett Johansson as its lead. Many accused the film of whitewashing and there was also a petition calling for DreamWorks to recast the lead character with a Japanese actress.

Johansson ultimately kept the main role but the casting wasn't the only issue individuals had with this film. It received a low score from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, with many wishing the film was a bit more profound and less overwhelmed with special effects.

With a remake, "Ghost in the Shell" has a chance to cast a diverse lead character and give this beloved manga new life.

Read More:

The star of 'Richard Jewell,' Paul Walter Hauser, describes how he got the role in the Clint Eastwood movie and the hardest scene to pull off


Richard Jewell Warner Bros

  • The actor Paul Walter Hauser talked to Business Insider about landing the lead role in Clint Eastwood's "Richard Jewell."
  • Hauser said he did not audition for the role and that Eastwood specifically picked him out.
  • The actor talked about how he researched for the part.
  • Hauser also said improv was done for numerous scenes, especially a big dramatic scene that was falling flat in the way it was written in the script.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

In the casting of the lead for "Richard Jewell"— the character of the security guard who saved thousands when he discovered a bomb at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, only to become a suspect days later (he was eventually cleared of all wrongdoing) — the director Clint Eastwood put his faith in a character actor named Paul Walter Hauser.

With over 40 credits to his name, most of them guest spots on TV shows, Hauser gained wide notice in 2017 playing Shawn Eckardt in "I, Tonya." He stole every scene he was in playing the bumbling bodyguard of the disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding who took part in the attack on Harding's rival Nancy Kerrigan. He followed that by gaining "that-guy" status showing up in movies like "BlacKkKlansman" and "Late Night," as well as TV series like "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" and "Cobra Kai."

But playing Richard Jewell was a life-changing moment for the actor. His biggest role to date is also smack-dab in the middle of the award season. And Hauser should receive accolades, as his performance — mixed with emotion, humor, and frustration — is the lifeblood of the movie.

Business Insider talked to Hauser about getting the role (which actually wasn't that hard — Eastwood didn't even want him to audition), the research he did to play Jewell, and how improv with Sam Rockwell on set led to an explosive scene.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Jason Guerrasio: It sounds like you're in Thailand with Spike Lee making "Da 5 Bloods," and you get the call that Eastwood wants you for "Richard Jewell."

Paul Walter Hauser: Yeah, I was entertaining a pretty lucrative TV deal, and I get a call two days later while we're negotiating, and they were like, "Hey, we don't have it all figured out, but there's a verbal offer from Clint and his camp to star in his new film." And I was like, "What the hell are you talking about?"

Guerrasio: And it's not like, "Come in and read; the role is yours."

Hauser: Correct. There's no audition. And I felt this is highly peculiar. I basically had a couple of days to think it over and read the script. The TV people on that deal, they basically said, "You need to give us an answer." I grew up the son of a pastor, and there's a thing in the Bible of you can operate out of fear or love, and love casts out fear — you don't have any fear if you have love. So I was thinking about it, and I felt fear would tell me to take this money job on this TV show; love would tell me to try to see if this Clint Eastwood thing is real. I turned the TV deal down, and then I was still in Thailand for three more weeks. And the whole time I'm thinking, "Did I just make the biggest mistake ever?" And three weeks later, I met Clint. 

paul walter hauser clint eastwood claire folger Warner Bros

Guerrasio: But when you're in Thailand, did you talk to anyone on the set or Spike, just to use as a sounding board?

Hauser: I should have been hush-hush, but I definitely confided in three or four cast members on the film and asked for their advice. I think they all thought I was doing the right thing. There's no guarantee you are going to work with master filmmakers like Clint and Spike. And now that I have seen the film and the reception it has had, holy cow, did I ever make the right decision. 

Guerrasio: To dive into the character, was the research and prep similar to what you did with Shawn Eckardt for "I, Tonya"?

Hauser: I would say it was the exact same amount of research. It was watching some footage, talking to some of the people who knew him. With Shawn Eckardt, I tracked down the guy who turned him in to the FBI. 

Guerrasio: Oh, wow.

Hauser: I totally did it without telling anyone. But with Richard Jewell, it was easier because Bobi Jewell [Richard's mother, played by Kathy Bates in the movie] and Watson Bryant [the attorney played by Sam Rockwell] literally flew out to Warner Bros. and had a three-hour meeting with us on the lot. I would say the harder part wasn't getting info; the harder part was just deciphering what to focus on for the sake of the actual story at hand. Because sometimes, as an actor, you get plagued with so much information, you have to pick and choose.

Richard Jewell

Guerrasio: For this role, what were you keying in on that had to be right?

Hauser: I knew I had to get the voice down. Even the voice, I tempered a bit. I knew his voice was almost cartoonishly Southern, so I had to meet in the middle and bring my own voice into it while still honoring Richard's voice. Hair and makeup was important. And also just loving other people. This guy had a big heart, and he wasn't simple-minded in wisdom and knowledge; he was simple in how he lived his life. I really didn't want to eat up the scenes. It wasn't like "BlacKkKlansman," where I was really going for it. I wanted you to feel like you had seen or met Richard in real life. 

Guerrasio: Jonah Hill at one time was going to play this role.

Hauser: Yes.

Guerrasio: He's still on the movie as a producer. Did you want to reach out to him at all and talk shop about the role?

Hauser: My whole life I have sort of done my own thing. I rarely ask permission; I sometimes ask forgiveness. So I really didn't consult with anyone outside of the source material and my own warped sense of creativity.
Guerrasio: Clint is known for working fast. When did you feel you got into a groove?

Hauser: I think that second or third week. The first week is always tough. Everybody is trying to find their sea legs. Early on, we shot a scene where Kathy brings the pound cake out, and I'm picking at it before I go out to work at the park. That scene was maybe the first scene where I was like, "This is good. I like the beats I'm taking." I think the best acting is when you just see the thoughts on a character's face. 

Guerrasio: You have so much time with Sam Rockwell in this movie. How important was it to have someone to act across from consistently?

Hauser: I think my best acting is always when I have one or two people to get really intimate and friendly with off set and bring that relationship on set. So I think working with Sam was an example of when you really get into one another and become friends, you probably make the work better. That's my process. 


Guerrasio: So you and Sam hit it off before cameras started rolling?

Hauser: Absolutely. It was a combination of embracing our sense of humor and who we actually are. And that helped in trusting one another to improvise midscene.

Guerrasio: The one scene I think of a lot is Sam digging at you in the living room after all the media attention and FBI visits, and finally you explode and get really angry. Is that an example of trusting one another with improv?

Hauser: That scene was crazy because there was a scripted version, and we did it, but it wasn't feeling exactly right. We weren't sure how to make that scene work, but we knew there had to be a moment where I broke. So we did a couple of versions, and in between, we were literally doing it fully improvised. What you see on screen in that scene is half improv, half scripted. Me breaking the cookie jar lid — that was something I told our camera operator, Stephen Campanelli, "I'm going to break this lid. We only have one of these jars, so on the last take, make sure you get it." So we just tried to find it in the moment. I walked away feeling deeply insecure that the scene didn't work. But I watched the edit, and Joel Cox, Clint's longtime editor, really did it right. 

Guerrasio: Through this whole time — filming, doing press — have you ever grabbed Clint and asked him, "Why me?"

Hauser: I never posed it to him in that exact way, but there have been moments where I have thanked him, and he ushers the thank you away. Me, Sam, and Olivia [Wilde, who plays the reporter who gets the story that Jewell was a suspect] wrapped out on the last night, and the crew clapped as they told us it was a wrap, and I just balled my eyes out. I just realized I had this moment of working with some of my heroes. It was very emotional. Clint gave me a big hug and said, "This movie wouldn't have happened without you." I just blubbered. I looked like an idiot in front of Clint.

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Pixar's 'Toy Story 4' was nominated for Best Motion Picture - Animated for the 2020 Golden Globes. Here's how it was animated from start to finish.

  • The fourth installment in the "Toy Story" franchise achieves a level of detail and realism unseen in any Disney-Pixar film.
  • See how it all came together at the Pixar studios and how the geniuses at Pixar brought beloved toys like Woody, Bo Peep, and Buzz Lightyear to life in their most naturalistic forms yet. 
  • We explain Pixar's production pipeline, start to finish — from the story and artwork stage; moving onto 3D computer modeling, shading and surfacing, layout, voice acting, character animation, simulation; and ending with lighting, effects, scoring, sound mixing, and final render.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Following is the transcript of the video.

Narrator: If you've seen "Toy Story 4," you've probably noticed that Pixar's animation doesn't neglect any detail, no matter how small. From dust particles in the antique shop to subtle signs of aging on the toys, it's all there, rendered incredibly realistically on the big screen. So how exactly did Pixar bring this intricate world to life? Let's take a look at the fascinating process that created "Toy Story 4," from start to finish.

For "Toy Story 4," as for all Pixar films, story comes first. While the writers draft the script, story artists work alongside them, making preliminary sketches for each scene in the film. These sketches, called storyboards, give the Pixar team an idea of how each scene will go down. Editors then cut the storyboards together into an animatic, or story reel, basically a long, detailed flipbook that reflects the pace of each sequence. The story reel is edited with rudimentary sound effects, a scratch soundtrack, and temporary dialogue that's been prerecorded by Pixar employees. It serves as a rough draft for the movie, allowing the filmmakers to get an idea of how the story will unfold and hone the sequences before having them animated.

Once the storyline is set, the art department and production designers get together to create concept art for the characters and their environments. Meanwhile, character artists lay out how each toy will look in the film. For "Toy Story 4," character design involved a lot of research into the toys themselves: how they're made, how they age, and everything in between. The character team found their perfect villain on field trips to antique shops, where they'd often spot vintage dolls lurking in corners. There, the idea for Gabby Gabby was born. This newcomer is a talking doll from the 1950s, and she's designed to come off as very toylike in a way that might even give you the creeps at first. On the other hand, it's all warm fuzzies when we meet Ducky and Bunny, a pair of carnival-prize toys voiced by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. Their loud, bright colors, cheap-looking plush, and sheen finish were designed to look authentic for the kind of toy you'd win at a carnival game: not the highest in quality, but lovable nonetheless.

The character artists also decide on wardrobe. They steered clear from any major changes to most of the toys' signature costumes. But they wanted to update Bo Peep's look to reflect her resourcefulness and sense of adventure, aspects of her character that weren't fully explored in the earlier "Toy Story"s. So they came up with a convertible costume that allowed Bo to repurpose elements of her outfit on the fly, even turning her dress into a bag or a cape when it suits her.

Another key step in the visual development of the film is the creation of color scripts, these digital illustrations that kind of look like impressionist paintings from the 19th century. Each picture depicts a single frame in the movie, helping filmmakers start to define the style, lighting scheme, and general mood of each shot and figure out how the colors in each scene will relate to the overall storyline.

All of these illustrations provide reference material for the next stage of computer modeling. This is when the toys and their environments begin to take form in three-dimensional space. Modeling artists take the basic shapes of the characters, sets, and props and mold them into a 3D mesh, then sculpt and refine these builds until they're satisfied. In constructing the sets, scale was a chief concern, as the artists wanted to accurately represent the diminutive size of the toys relative to their surroundings. To nail down that contrast, they photographed models of the toys interacting with objects out in the real world, then used those photos for reference. The character models require an extra step.

Al: So how long is this gonna take?

Geri: You can't rush art.

Narrator: They get rigged with a movable skeleton, which has controls placed around its face, its joints, and the rest of its body, like a really advanced digital puppet. Animators will then be able to manipulate the character's movement using its unique set of controls, making it act and emote in precise ways as the story requires. So the characters can now move, and they have sets to move around in, but something's missing. Neither the characters nor their sets have any surface characteristics, making everything kind of fall flat. That's where shading, or surfacing, comes in.

Shading artists' job is to furnish the 3D models with the kind of textures, finishes, and tints they'd have in real life, lending them visual complexity and charm. Some of this work is done using shaders, computer programs that know how to simulate a range of materials like plastic, fabric, metal, wood, glass, hair, or skin. Clever software proved useful for the 10,000 items that filled the antique shop. Shading-art director Laura Phillips said her team saved time by developing a language of three different ages for the many items in the store: fairly new, moderately aged, and extremely aged. They applied varying degrees of texture to the objects according to that visual language. But a lot of the shading was done by hand, especially for the most central and visible items, like the carnival game where Buzz accidentally lands himself. The sets team reasoned that in a traveling carnival, games like this one would have to be quickly assembled, torn down, and stowed away, so they'd probably look a little beaten up. To capture that, artists painted welding marks on the grid backdrop of the booth. This fit the game's shabby look, with its slightly warped metal bars and visible rusting.

Of course, special attention was also lavished on the shading of the characters. For plastic toys like Woody and Buzz, the shading artists created an algorithm to simulate the effect of light penetrating a slightly translucent surface, such as plastic. Meanwhile, they added subtle signs of wear and tear to the toys to reflect their histories. The threads on Woody's clothes have started fraying. There are dirt smudges on his hand and chin. And the seam on his vest has worn thin. Buzz has plenty of scratches of his own, especially near his joints, and his stickers have begun to bubble, pucker, and peel. You can also see felt poking out of certain spots on Jessie's hat. These specific scuffs towards the front of Gabby's shoes could only result from the distinct walking style of an older doll like her. The scratch effect on Forky's cheeks indicates his past life as an eating utensil. And Bo's porcelain shows signs of crazing, the type of micro-cracks that appear in the glaze of ceramics.

Now that the characters have started looking more tangible and real, the cast members visit the studio to record their voice performances. The sessions are filmed so that the actors' expressions can guide their characters' facial animations later on. Before that, though, is layout, when the characters are set up in front of a virtual camera. Layout artists in an animated movie function similarly as a camera team would in any live-action movie. Guided by the storyboards, they place the characters appearing in a scene into the appropriate set, arrange the characters in front of the camera, and block out their basic movements within the right camera angles. At this point, the sets may not be completely dressed yet, meaning more props might be added later on. But layout helps the set dressers determine the best placement of every object within the composition of each shot. Once the scenes have been staged, the animation team gets them moving, bringing all the primary and secondary characters to life.

Sid: The toys are alive! Nice dolly...

Narrator: Each character is defined by up to 1,000 avars, or hinges that are built into their skeleton. If the animators are like puppeteers and the characters are their puppets, the avars represent the strings on a puppet, points of possible movement that the animators manipulate to make their characters act and emote. Every day, the animation department comes together to analyze the one or two seconds of film they've just put into motion and talk about ways they can make those few seconds even more expressive.

Since the shots in Pixar films are so complex, it can take eight weeks or more to animate a single shot. The character animation is also highly specific. The way each character moves in "Toy Story 4" was informed by what type of toy they were and what personality traits they gave off. The story and character artists imagined the Bo Peep of "Toy Story 4" as a kind of graceful, agile road warrior, so the animators looked to reference footage of ballroom dancer Sharna Burgess, gymnast Aly Raisman, and "The Bride" from "Kill Bill." The way Bo wields her shepherd's hook was informed by footage of javelin throwers, martial-arts pros, and, of course, Rey from "Star Wars." In contrast, animators gave Gabby Gabby more doll-like movement that'd be consistent with an old-fashioned pull-string doll of her variety. Her weighted eyes blink slowly, closing when she's horizontal, and she mostly moves from joints in her hips, shoulders, and neck.

While the animation team choreographs characters' movements and facial expressions by hand, the simulation team uses computer programs to lay down the movement of other elements like fur, weather, or clothing. These phenomena interact with other components of a shot in ways that are largely defined by science. How much does a cat's hair move? How fast do raindrops fall? How much does a specific garment shrink or stretch? Pixar builds physics-based simulators that govern how these textures should behave onscreen. This saves the animators from doing impossible tasks by hand, like, for instance, animating each strand of hair on Gabby's head individually. Of course, simulation isn't solely dictated by science. The sim team balances math and physics against artistic considerations. One example is the fur on Ducky and Bunny. Its behavior is largely based on ostrich feathers and the fake feathers used on the Muppets. But according to simulation supervisor Henry Garcia, they found that Ducky's tuft was 10% funnier if they let it stay alive a little bit longer after he stops moving. The result is adorable.

Once the motion feels alive and believable, the lighting team comes in to illuminate the characters and sets. Using software that mimics the physics of light, Pixar adds hundreds of virtual light sources to each scene. The lights are strategically placed to draw attention to story points or to cultivate a certain mood. The antique shop, for example, appears bright towards the front but grows dark as you move deeper into the store, heightening the drama. Tonal variation is important. Bonnie's school appears cool and intimidating at first, but that changes once she gets to her classroom. There's warm light streaming through the window where she creates Forky, emphasizing the birth of new life. The carnival lighting establishes a very different energy, with multicolored marquee lights and Ferris wheel lights creating a sense of chaos and excitement. And inside the pinball machine, low-level lighting and fog create a cool aura, making it feel like an ideal hangout spot for the toys. After all the images are lit, rendering gets underway. This is when all of the digital data that makes up the motion picture gets translated into actual frames of film, 24 of them for each second of the movie.

At last, it's time for the final touches on shading, lighting, and effects. It's up to the effects artists to perfect the amount of dust and atmosphere in each image, varying the levels until they get their ideal look. That, of course, depends on setting. They wanted a lot of dust particulates in the antique shop, while at the carnival they emphasized the dirt kicked up from the ground. They also gave the air around the toys a richer texture than the air around the human characters to highlight just how tiny these toys really were. After the final frames are rendered, the film gets scored and sound-mixed. Five years and many, many late nights later, the fourth "Toy Story" is finally ready for viewing. Pixar's painstaking attention to detail draws the audience into the unique world perspective of the toys and makes watching "Toy Story 4" a totally immersive experience.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This video was originally published in July 2019.

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The 10 best and 10 worst Netflix original romantic comedies of all time


netflix rom coms

In the last few years, Netflix has branched out as a streaming service by producing a slew of original romantic comedies.

From whimsical mishaps to charming meet-cutes, here are the 10 best and 10 worst Netflix romantic comedies of all time based on critic scores on Rotten Tomatoes.

Note: The scores listed throughout the piece were accurate at the time of publication but are subject to change.


"To All the Boys I've Loved Before" (2018) was received as warm and endearing.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%

Summary: Based on the popular young-adult novel of the same name, "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" centers around Lara Jean (Lana Condor), a young student whose life is thrown for a loop when her private love letters are delivered to all the boys she's loved through the years. 

Critics applauded "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" for its sweet and charming tone and praised the chemistry between lead Condor and her love interest Noah Centineo. 

"The film is precisely what it should be: pleasing and clever, comforting and fun and romantic,"Linda Holmes wrote for NPR

"Set It Up" (2018) was praised as a fresh, smart film.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%

Summary: Overworked assistants Harper (Zoey Deutch) and Charlie (Glen Powell) conspire to get their respective high-powered bosses to date so that they can chisel out some free time for themselves, but they're unprepared for the feelings they develop for each other. 

"Set it Up" earned praise from critics for garnering fresh material from a well-worn premise. 

"It's a feel-good throwback to Nineties romantic comedies like 'When Harry Met Sally' and 'You've Got Mail' that left me warm and nostalgic for the simple pleasure of falling in love," wrote Monica Castillo for the Village Voice

"Always Be My Maybe" (2019) balanced its comedy and romance with equal measure.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%

Summary: After an unexpected break with a long-term boyfriend, high-profile chef Sasha (Ali Wong) returns to her hometown of San Francisco and reconnects with her childhood friend Marcus (Randall Park) after having spent 15 years apart. 

Critics praised "Always Be My Maybe" for balancing the comedic elements as deftly as it handled the romantic plotline between Park and Wong. 

As Joey Keogh wrote for Vague Visages, "The brainchild of comedian Ali Wong, the film is sharp, fresh, funny and sweetly self-assured."

Jessica Williams shined in "The Incredible Jessica James" (2017).

Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%

Summary: In "The Incredible Jessica James," aspiring writer Jessica (Jessica Williams) navigates New York City during a breakup, hoping her feelings for her new friend Boone (Chris O'Dowd) lead to more than just a rebound. 

Critics were charmed by "The Incredible Jessica James," noting Williams' lead performance as a highlight. 

"A 27-year-old comedian and Daily Show correspondent given ample room to breathe, riff and roar by director Jim Strouse's script, Williams bounds into the proceedings with unfiltered comic peculiarity,"Guy Lodge wrote for The Guardian

Critics praised "Happy Anniversary" (2018) for its well-tuned emotional heft.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%

Summary: On the day of their three-year anniversary, Sam (Ben Schwartz) and Mollie (Noël Wells) come to a crossroads in their relationship, realizing that they have reached a point where they should either break up or get married. 

"Happy Anniversary" earned positive reviews from critics for capturing the authentic aspects of long-term relationships. 

"'Happy Anniversary' blends comedy and drama well, creating a film which never feels like one genre is more prominent than the other," wrote Amanda Mazzillo for Film Inquiry. "Schwartz and Wells give memorable performances, balancing the comedic and dramatic moments of their character's journey."

Critics loved the thematic messaging of "Someone Great" (2019).

Rotten Tomatoes score: 82%

Summary: Suddenly single after being in a nine-year relationship, Jenny (Gina Rodriguez) asks her friends to accompany her on one last, adventurous day in New York City before she moves across the country. 

"Someone Great" earned love from critics for putting the women in the film front and center while delivering a positive message about female empowerment. 

"It's not quite as charming or winning as other Netflix rom-com originals, but it does have a more meaningful message: Find yourself, then find the guy,"Mara Reinstein wrote for Us Weekly

"Alex Strangelove" (2018) was praised as unique and heartwarming.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 80%

Summary: Alex Truelove (Daniel Doheny) is a high-school senior with a great academic record and a devoted girlfriend — but his life turns upside down when he develops feelings for Elliot (Antonio Marziale). Confused and curious, Alex sets out on a new path as he explores his sexuality. 

Critics praised "Alex Strangelove" for finding a unique place for itself in the coming-of-age genre. 

As Glenn Kenny wrote for The New York Times, "'Alex Strangelove' is witty, compassionate and enjoyable throughout; a charming movie and in many respects an enlightened one."

Critics called "Let it Snow" (2019) a corny, but cute, teen film.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 75%

Summary: As a snowstorm blankets a cozy Midwestern town in snow, a group of high schoolers find their lives intertwining as they set out to find love, puzzle out their futures, and throw a massive party in the center of town. 

Although some critics found fault with the somewhat schmaltzy tone of "Let it Snow," most said that the cast elevated their material and produced a fun flick. 

"'Let It Snow' offers enough feel-good moments to provide a good start to the Netflix Christmas romance season,"Natasha Alvar wrote for Cultured Vultures

Critics adored Vanessa Hudgens in "The Princess Switch" (2018).

Rotten Tomatoes score: 75%

Summary: Chicago-born Stacy travels to the country of Belgravia for a baking competition, surprised to find that the Duchess of Montenaro looks identical to her. Needing a respite from her royal life, Margaret suggests that she and Stacy switch places for a few days, causing them both to find love in unexpected places. 

Critics said that although "The Princess Switch" wasn't without flaws, it made up for its shortcomings with a winning performance from Hudgens. 

"Exactly what the hopeless romantic ordered for their Christmas viewing this season," wrote film critic Jeffrey Lyles. "This is likely one that will be in heavy rotation throughout December."

"A Christmas Prince" (2017) was met as a sweet, self-aware holiday romp.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 73%

Summary: Over the holidays, aspiring journalist Amber Moore (Rose McIver) travels from New York to Eastern Europe to get the scoop on Prince Richard, who is set to become the king of Aldovia. After lying about her identity in order to get closer to the prince, Amber suddenly finds herself falling in love with him. 

"A Christmas Prince" was met warmly by critics for its corny yet sweet script. 

"A Christmas Prince is an instant classic," wrote Dana Schwartz for Entertainment Weekly. "It's a Netflix original movie, but it feels like a violation of nature that it somehow isn't from Lifetime or the Hallmark Channel."

On the other hand, "Ibiza" (2018) had mixed reviews.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 67%

Summary: Harper (Gillian Jacobs) has her friends Nikki (Vanessa Bayer) and Leah (Phoebe Robinson) tag along with her for a work trip to Barcelona, only for them to make a last-minute decision to party in Ibiza. Emboldened by her spontaneous new behavior, Harper starts to fall for a DJ (Richard Madden). 

The reception for "Ibiza" was mixed, with some critics praising the comedic abilities of the leads and others panning the underwhelming plot. 

"Although the script relies on gross-out body humor more often than it needs to, it manages to be deeper and more resonant than most girls gone wild comedies," observed Katie Walsh for the Los Angeles Times

Critics said "The Perfect Date" (2019) was sweet but predictable.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 65%

Summary: Brooks Rattigan (Noah Centineo) has his hopes set on attending an Ivy League school for college, but feels held back by his lack of money. Determined to raise enough cash to go to his dream school, Brooks creates a dating app that allows users to hire him as a plus-one on dates. 

"The Perfect Date" earned points for assembling a charming cast, but overall it was too predictable for its own good. 

"Obvious," wrote Roger Moore for Movie Nation. "But the banter's winning and the leads damned adorable together."

"Unicorn Store" (2019) was a quirky film with clunky execution.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 63%

Summary: Kit (Brie Larson) is a young woman with a huge imagination who puts her artistic dreams on hold to work in an office building. But everything changes when she receives a mysterious invitation to a store that sells only one thing: unicorns. 

Critics praised Larson for playing double duty as both lead actress and director, but felt that the script left something to be desired. 

"'Unicorn Store' has so much going for it — a great cast, solid premise, an exciting director — but the magic falls flat," wrote Karl Delossantos for Smash Cut Reviews. "That's no fault of Brie Larson, whose endearing performance and uneven yet promising direction keep the movie afloat."

Critics called "Falling Inn Love" (2019) harmless and forgettable.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 63%

Summary: Gabriela Diaz (Christina Milian) feels like her life is falling apart after her design firm goes under and her boyfriend breaks up with her in the same week. But after she wins a competition to travel to the countryside of New Zealand, Gabriela finds a new perspective and a charming new love interest with contractor Jake Taylor (Adam Demos). 

Conventional and ridden with clichés, "Falling Inn Love" didn't earn high praise from critics. Even those who fell in love with the leads felt like the movie was just ticking boxes. 

"While you might be willing to give it a chance, 'Falling Inn Love' will have you questioning whether Netflix's romance offerings are going to take you out on a second date, or you've got better things to do like wash your hair," joked Amanda Greever in her review for The Daily Times.

"Sierra Burgess Is a Loser" (2018) was slightly salvaged by its star.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 61%

Summary: In "Sierra Burgess Is a Loser," high schooler Sierra (Shannon Purser) falls for fellow classmate Jamey (Noah Centineo), but feels like he looks right past her. Sierra recruits reformed mean girl Veronica (Kristine Froseth) in helping her win Jamey over. 

Many viewers and critics were appalled by the number of ethical lines the protagonist crossed, but several still pinpointed Purser as a likable lead. 

"Though the script's characterization of Sierra is at times uneven, Purser figures out her mix of confidence and insecurity," wrote Esther Zuckerman for Thrillist

"A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding" (2018) didn't impress critics like its predecessor.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 47%

Summary: In the sequel to "A Christmas Prince," Amber and Richard are in the midst of their wedding plans when Amber starts to worry about her role as future queen and Richard is placed at the forefront of a political crisis. 

Critics who liked the first installment met "A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding" with less enthusiasm, but overall this sequel was considered light, if empty, amusement. 

"It's cheesy, it's cringey, but most importantly, it's harmless-and worth a watch if you're in the mood for some mindless holiday cheer," wrote Libby Torres for The Daily Beast

Reviews for "When We First Met" (2018) described it as lazy.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 43%

Summary: Noah (Adam DeVine) has always felt sidelined by his crush Avery (Alexandra Daddario), but an opportunity to travel back in time presents him with a second chance in making her fall in love with him. 

Although DeVine's lead performance helped keep "When We First Met" afloat, most critics were put off by the flick's haphazard plot and initially problematic premise. 

"Adam DeVine's doofy charm helps, but it's not enough to save this Groundhog Day-ish exercise that works hard to put every romantic-comedy genre contrivance into play,"Mike Scott wrote for The Times-Picayune.

Critics said "The Holiday Calendar" (2018) played it safe.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 33%

Summary: Struggling photographer Abby Sutton (Kat Graham) stumbles upon an advent calendar with the uncanny ability to predict the future and uses its magical power to help her with life and love. 

"The Holiday Calendar" was panned by critics for its predictability and weak script, with Graham's performance often mentioned as the film's best trait. 

As Lea Palmieri wrote for Decider, "This movie is like a sugar cookie: you know exactly what you're getting, and it has all the right ingredients (love, magic, presents), but it would've been even better with a little frosting on top, is all."

Critics said "The Last Summer" (2019) didn't contribute much to the romantic-comedy genre.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 17%

Summary: During their last summer before they go off to college and begin their adult lives, a group of teenagers (KJ Apa, Jacob Latimore, Maia Mitchell) do their best to make the most of their adolescence before everything changes. 

Critics said that because of the film's attempt to pay homage to better coming-of-age comedies of the past, "The Last Summer" failed to stand on its own. 

"There's no doubt that the notable cast will attract limited audiences in search of a light-hearted diversion, but anyone craving a substantial story about coming-of-age and young love will be bitterly disappointed in this uninspired, vapid mess," wrote Marc Ricov for Film Inquiry

Critics called "The Kissing Booth" (2018) a heavy-handed mess.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 17%

Summary: Based on the young-adult novel of the same name, "The Kissing Booth" follows young Elle Evans (Joey King) as she steps outside of her comfort zone and runs a kissing booth at the school carnival. But after she kisses her best friend's older brother, Elle finds herself torn between staying loyal to her friendship and pursuing her romantic feelings. 

"The Kissing Booth" was received poorly by critics, who said that the film mishandled its themes and was littered with clichés. 

"'The Kissing Booth' is not a good movie," wrote Meghan O'Keefe for Decider. "It is a good, drunk, mindless, late night rom-com watch, but it is not a good movie. For that, we say skip it."

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I find myself enjoying the movie theater experience more and more despite the convenience of streaming services, and here's why


The Irishman 2 Netflix final

  • The Age of Streaming has also ushered in a golden age of cheap, plentiful, on-demand content.
  • But limitless options and the constant urge to multitask makes the ritual of going to a theater now more relevant than ever.
  • As streaming services continue to refine their content, I'll continue paying for the convenience of streaming from apps like Hulu and Disney+— as well as the experience and community of going to the movies.


A few weeks ago, I paid $35 for something I technically already owned. "The Irishman," Martin Scorsese's latest film, was showing at a small New York City theater, and I'd gotten tickets for myself and my boyfriend. 

It, like the other movie I saw in-person that week — "Marriage Story"— was already available on Netflix. Currently, these films are helping Netflix lead the film category in Golden Globe nominations, and they're included in your $13 monthly fee.

But while "cheap and fast" are major perks in most areas of life, films are an exception. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, and Disney+ have made unlimited content possible and, in the case of "The Irishman" , made a $160 million budget possible.

But at home, the experience is compromised by multitasking. A movie theater imposes limits. It's dark. Phones turn off. People quiet. And for an increasingly rare few hours, you're able to devote your attention to a singular subject.

And the movie experience is better than at home. The screen is larger. The sound system is better. And despite the siren-song of startups that urge you to stay in and nest and the isolating effect of technology, you're out in public, shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers that likely defy the traditional demographic boundaries of your life. The only thing you definitely have in common is that each of you chose to see this movie.

Don't get me wrong — I love the convenience of streaming services. And I credit Hulu, Netflix, and Prime Video with making some of the best television of the last decade. But I also love the inconvenience of the theater. It restores movie-watching to an occasion rather than an activity. I'll still jump to pay more to see important cinematic debuts like Bong Joon-ho's "Parasite" and Melina Matsoukas' "Queen & Slim" in the theater.

We showed up 30 minutes early to "The Irishman" to stand in the cold for first-come-first-serve seats. And a few days later, when the experience had settled and my opinion had solidified, I sat down, turned on Netflix, and pressed play on it again. 



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The CEO of Imax talks about what 2020 holds for the movie business, what the company learned from Kanye West's 'Jesus Is King,' and the China market (IMAX)



  • Imax Corporation CEO Richard Gelfond talked to Business Insider about the strong 2019 the company had and his plans going forward.
  • Gelfond wants to work more with streaming services.
  • He is disappointed that the Imax release of Amazon's "The Aeronauts" was scrapped.
  • But he is happy with the release of the Kanye West short film "Jesus Is King," though admits his company needs to build a bigger infrastructure to pull off projects like this in the future.
  • Gelfond also talked about Imax Enhanced, which brings high-resolution picture quality to your TV at home.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


In an industry in the midst of complete disruption, Imax Corporation CEO Richard Gelfond sees opportunity.

The head of the perennial manufacturer of large-format screens and cameras predicts a record-breaking global box office for his company this year, surpassing 2018's $1.032 billion worldwide take. And at the local-language box office, the company is up over 40% from this time last year. That includes being up 20% compared to early December last year in the all-important China market. And those figures will only grow, as there are movies like "Jumanji: The Next Level" and "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" still to come before the year ends.

With more blockbusters being made than ever before (five released next year were shot on Imax cameras, an all-time high), audiences often want to see them on the biggest screen possible — and Imax is happy to oblige. But going forward, Gelfond is also looking to enrich audiences with different types of big-screen entertainment. That includes exclusive content like "Jesus Is King," Kanye West's 35-minute short film that coincided with the release of his new album, to maybe even screening TV shows.

And with the growth of the streaming services, Gelfond believes there's a way for Imax to show that content while still staying loyal to its theatrical partners that respect the exclusive theatrical window.

Business Insider sat down with Gelfond at his office in New York City earlier this week to discuss his company's successes, his thoughts on current issues affecting the theatrical business (from the shortening of the theatrical window and the Paramount decrees), if Imax would ever do a movie-ticket subscription plan, and bringing Imax picture quality to your TV at home.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Jason Guerrasio: I know there are still some very big movies to open before the year is out, but for Imax this year, what are the big takeaways?

Richard Gelfond: We had a tremendous year. I think we'll set a number of records, including box office, hopefully. We have to wait to see, as you said, there are still a bunch of movies to open. But it was a terrific year for us. I think one of the biggest reasons is we're global, especially in China we're up 20% year-over-year.

Guerrasio: That's a huge figure. 

Gelfond: The industry was up between 5% and 10% in China. It's a huge figure, yes. When we look around and people are giving the doom-and-gloom in the industry, we're saying, "What are are you talking about?" 

Imax China Zhang Peng GettyGuerrasio: Have you been able to pinpoint why Imax works so well in China?

Gelfond: One of our investors did a market study and they found out, across all demographics — young, old, male, female, top-tier city, fifth-tier city — people really love Imax. It's just part of the culture there. I think a reason we have been so successful is we got there early, when the whole entertainment infrastructure was just developing. People grew up with our brand and our experience. We have a large network now, we have about 700 theaters open. We do a lot of local content as well, so we know the filmmakers and the studios. We're very embedded in the Chinese ecosystem. So I think it's all of that. 

Guerrasio: We know that China is a huge market, but where globally do you have to tap into next to get the biggest return?

Gelfond: The way our cycle works is we sign theaters and then we open them up the next couple of years, so I can tell you areas where we have had a lot of signings recently are in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia. Japan has been extremely good. Germany has been heating up. India has turned the corner, finally, after a lot of years of going there. So I think you'll see our footprint expand significantly in those countries. And I think out of successful theaters there you'll see more growth come from that. 

Guerrasio: I think this year it became evident that theatrical and streaming can coexist. Some people are going to stay home for some movies and go to the theaters for others, would I be right in that?

Gelfond: Absolutely. Let me put it in terms of Imax, other people can talk about theatrical as a whole. If you want to see blockbusters with other people and you want to go to a cultural event, you're going to go to an Imax theater. You're not going to go sit in your living room. I think streaming has done a very good job of creating a prestige platform for the right kind of movies and they are being recognized that way, including the nominations we've seen recently.

But I don't think streaming creates cultural events. When "The Irishman" came out it was really important to Netflix that they showed it in theaters and to critics. And recently they acquired a theater here in New York, The Paris. I think things recently have proven that streaming needs theatrical releases to really get traction on what they are doing. I also think that beside prestige releases, when people don't want to put up $100 million in marketing, just from the cost point of view as there's not the likely anticipated box-office revenue to make it happen, I think steaming definitely has its place.

I think Imax is hoping to benefit from the streaming ecosystems in a couple of ways. One, I think we can be a place to create buzz around the content when it's originally released. And secondly, we've developed some proprietary technology that uprezes the content in the home. It's called Imax Enhanced and right now we're on all of Sony's large TVs and several other platforms. I think if you want to watch it at home in the way the filmmaker intended with the best possible resolution, you're going to get a different version of Imax in the home. But if you want to see a blockbuster movie theatrically, I think there's no other way to see it than on Imax. 

the aeronauts amazonGuerrasio: When you say that, a recent movie I think about is Amazon's "The Aeronauts." That was a movie you guys worked on to get it ready for an Imax release and then Amazon changed its release strategy and it will no longer be shown that way. Was that disappointing, and what did that experience tell you about how streaming platforms are treating potential big movies experiences?

Gelfond: I think the jury's still out. We need to see how that movie performs on streaming. But I was disappointed. I thought it would look really great on Imax and be good for the whole run, even after when it became available on streaming. I think Amazon is in the middle of evaluating what its strategy is. We'll see where it comes out. I hope it comes out in a way that they decide to show their big event movies on Imax, but we'll see. 

Netflix has decided they don't want to respect the traditional theatrical window, and while that's less a fight-till-death issue with Imax — we're okay with different flexibility on the window — we're housed in our exhibition partners' theaters, and as long as we're housed there we're committed to complying with whatever their policy is on the window. So until Netflix decides to reevaluate that we won't be doing those kinds of releases with Netflix. 

On the other hand, we did a Netflix film called "Anima," which is a short film released with Thom Yorke's new album. Since the exhibitors didn't have a problem with the windowing on that, we released it close to day-and-date with Netflix and it was a good experience and we certainly would like to do more of that with the streaming services. Also, we're expanding our business to show different kinds of content, like live content. The streaming services are big producers of that, so I'm sure we will work with them on that. We have a number of projects that we've been discussing with them. 

Guerrasio: Before jumping into that, what are your thoughts on the current theatrical window? AMC and Cineplex reportedly offered a 60-day window to Netflix for "The Irishman," which is below the traditional 72-day. Do you feel we're getting to a point where the window is going to shrink to 60 days or even less?

Gelfond: I think since so many of the studios are getting into the streaming business that over time it's likely they are going to exert more pressure about a shorter window. I think this is a line in the sand for the exhibitors, but my guess is the line in the sand will move towards the direction of shortening the window, especially for certain kind of content. Maybe not the blockbusters, but smaller films. And part of that, maybe, will be a different economic deal. But I really haven't been in the trenches on that. 

Guerrasio: You bring up different ticket pricing on different kinds of movies, STXfilms released "Playmobil" doing a $5 ticket price. There have been constant whispers of dynamic pricing, but that movie was really the first time someone pulled the trigger. Do you see that happening more?

Gelfond: Dynamic pricing has been on the table for a number of years, and in fact, in China there is already dynamic pricing. For "Avengers: Endgame," the ticket price for Imax was almost double what the ticket price was for the first "Avengers," so we've seen a market where that works. I'd say it's innovative, the world is changing, I'd like to see more of that, but if anyone could agree on that I'm not sure. One of the problems, as I understand it, are certain constituents in the movie business are concerned if a movie is priced lower than another movie are you signaling that it's not as good? But I would personally like to see more of it. 

Guerrasio: And that pricing certainly didn't help "Playmobil." It's a better test if, say, Disney did that kind of pricing on a release.

Gelfond: Exactly. 

Guerrasio: What's your take on the Paramount decrees potentially being scrapped by the Department of Justice? Is it an out-of-date policy or will it have an effect on the business if it's gone?

Gelfond: I don't think it's a big deal. I think it made sense at a time and place but I think it's not going to create dramatic different flows in capital or the business.

Guerrasio: Even for smaller mom-and-pop theaters?

Gelfond: I don't know enough about that business to have an educated point of view. 

Jesus is King ImaxGuerrasio: So back to you guys. What were your big takeaways from the experience of Kanye West's "Jesus Is King"?

Gelfond: We learned, first of all, that we could definitely expand on the concept of eventicizing something from just movies to music to other things. The number one lesson was that it kind of worked. The first weekend it did over $1 million. We didn't spend anything on marketing that. So it proved out our theory and you'll see us doing more tests in that direction. I think it also proved that we within Imax need to build a little bit more of the infrastructure to do that. We're not used to finding out five days before when the album's dropping or when the movie is coming out.

Guerrasio: And, perhaps, what the running time of the movie actually is, as many were surprised it was only 35 minutes long.

Gelfond: That's a good point, too. So I think we have to institutionalize more what the boundaries are in advance of when you release something and how long it is and things like that. That's something we learned. And I think if we're going to do some more of this we're probably going to have to hire some people with a little more experience in the music area to steer us through it. 

Guerrasio: Would you ever go a step further and finance a short or feature pegged specifically for the Imax experience?

Gelfond: We're not in the film finance business, that's not part of our model. However, I do think, not just with music, but there are other things — Coachella, eSports — where people want that community feeling and want to be with other people. You'll see us do more of that. In large part we'll want to piggy back on content that's being financed by the streaming services or the music companies, or whoever. But I could see us selectively investing a small amount to make Imax versions. 

Guerrasio: Kanye is a pretty high bar, but are there events, artists, whatever that you really want to release on Imax?

Gelfond: There are a couple things we're working on. 

Guerrasio: But you're not going to give me anything?

Gelfond: No. 

Guerrasio: [Laughs.] So one big thing that has hit theatrical in the last few years is the subscription model. Where does Imax see itself in building customer loyalty? 

Gelfond: I think going into 2020 you have to look at how do you get more data to be directly in touch with your consumer. We have done a couple of things, mostly in China. The largest ticketing service in China is called Maoyan and they sell 55%-60% of all tickets online in China and we invested in that company. We have a good strategic relationship with them, so we're starting to get some access to data there. We started a loyalty program in China, so we are getting some data there.

Guerrasio: A free program?

Gelfond: Yeah. You sign up and earn points and get perks through that.

Guerrasio: Would you ever do a paid subscription plan?

Gelfond: It's complicated because we're housed in different multiplexes. We've been doing subscription models with our partners for years, especially in Europe, where the practice has been around for more than a decade in a number of places. They have been pretty beneficial to us. So we've kind of embraced the programs here in North America. It's more likely we work through our exhibition partners than we do it on our own. But I could still see a loyalty program or something like that. 

Guerrasio: With television becoming so huge, are you interesting in trying to get more of that content on Imax screens?

Gelfond: Several years ago we did a project with HBO where we showed episodes of "Game of Thrones" over a weekend, this was just in North America. And I think we did about $3 million. People came in costumes, it was a big thing. We have been approached recently about a number of those kinds of projects and I think we're open minded about that. If we find the right production value and the right content, we would be interested. 

Guerrasio: You spoke earlier about bringing Imax quality picture to the home, what has been the takeaways so far from Imax Enhanced?

Gelfond: We just kicked off the offering about a year ago, where we partnered with Sony. But we also have a bunch of content partners also: Sony, Paramount, Rakuten in Europe, we have Tencent, so I'm pretty optimistic that there's a long runway for us there. I think over time you'll see more CE manufacturers come into the space. I think you'll see more content providers sign up. And I think, especially, with all the competition going on in streaming, I think the streaming companies, and their customers, are going to want to see the content in the best way possible.

What the Enhanced does is it really sharpens up the image, high resolution, and I think there's no doubt with bigger and bigger TVs consumers are going to want bigger images. Especially the library content that wasn't filmed with that kind of fidelity in mind, I think there's going to be demand for that. I think we're in a good position. 

Dunkirk 4 Warner Bros finalGuerrasio: Christopher Nolan's "Tenet" was filmed with Imax cameras, right?

Gelfond: Yes.

Guerrasio: Have you seen any of it?

Gelfond: I have not. Imax employees have seen parts of it but they have NDAs so they won't share that with me. But I've heard it's spectacular and the special effects are fantastic. 

Guerrasio:"Tenet" is one of the movies coming out in 2020 that were shot on Imax cameras, an all-time high. Do you guys actively go out and pitch the cameras to filmmakers and producers or do they come to you?

Gelfond: Both. There's a stable of filmmakers, the one who has used them the most is Chris Nolan, he came to us. But we do actively go out and meet with the studios and the filmmakers and present it. For 2020, there's at least five films that have used Imax cameras, and some are the most anticipated films of the year. The Bond movie, "No Time To Die,""Wonder Woman 1984," Chris' film "Tenet," and "Top Gun: Maverick." We think in the crowded marketplace it's a way to distinguish your offering and I think other prominent directors thinks so, too. 

Guerrasio: I know five is a record number for you guys, but for you, would you expect in this day and age of the huge blockbuster that more filmmakers would be using it?

Gelfond: It's hard to say. We just shipped some cameras to China. We have a film next year called "Detective Chinatown 3" that's being filmed pretty much with all Imax cameras, so we have a concerted effort. We get a bigger share of the market when it's filmed with Imax cameras and historically the films do very well because they create an additional buzz around it, so that's definitely one of our initiatives, to get more people to use the camera. "Avengers: Endgame" was completely filmed with Imax cameras and it was a great result for us and obviously it's the biggest movie of all time. So we have pretty good precedent behind us.

Guerrasio: So 2020 and beyond, what are the things that keep you up at night, the things you want to still accomplish with this company?

Gelfond: I'm not going to say it "keeps me up," they don't, but the opportunities I'm especially excited about are the continued globalization of the box office, because we're really one of the few technology companies in the world that really benefits from a global box office. Number two, the brand. A number of our investors have done studies recently in North American and in China, and they show our brand awareness north of 90%, whichever market it's in. The other side of that is I'm a little bit frustrated that we can't capitalize on that fast enough and that's why we're looking at Enhanced in the home, that's why we're looking at different kinds of content to eventicize Imax. I think it's chasing the opportunities. Streaming, ultimately, how can it not be good to have more content if you are the best way to display it in the world? So I would like to figure out more and better ways to work with the steaming services. It's a time of disruption, but I think it's one of the most exciting times to figure out different ways to please the consumer. 

SEE ALSO: The star of "Richard Jewell," Paul Walter Hauser, describes how he got the role in the Clint Eastwood movie and the hardest scene to pull off

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We asked an ex-SAS special forces soldier to rate 11 military movie scenes for realism

  • Mark "Billy" Billingham spent 27 years in the military in the Parachute Regiment, with the Special Air Service (SAS) as a Mountie troop leader, sniper, and jungle warfare instructor.
  • Since leaving the armed forces, he's worked as an A-list bodyguard to Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. He's now a consultant on Channel 4's "SAS: Who Dares Wins."
  • We asked Billy to rate the realism of popular military scenes in movies, including "American Sniper", "Commando", "Saving Private Ryan" and "Black Hawk Down."
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Mark Billingham: Stop! First thing, totally unrealistic. He just fired a nuclear weapon from his shoulder.  

Mark Billingham: I'm Mark "Billy" Billingham. I spent 27 years in the military, nine in the parachute regiment, 17 to...plus years with the SAS. Since leaving the armed forces, I then became head of security for a number of A-lists, including Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. And I'm currently now working in the TV industry as an adviser on "SAS: Who Dares Wins."

"Black Hawk Down" (2001)

Mark Billingham: The equipment and the Little Birds, what the helicopters use, is probably quite right. That's exactly how you ride into battle, like these do. Flying down the streets the way that we see there is probably a bit unrealistic, bearing in mind it's a hostile environment. Now, don't get me wrong, these things can fly under washing lines, they're unbelievable, but I just find that a little bit unrealistic. I'm guessing because of the timelines they had to move in daylight.

OK, the second phase I'm looking at now, they're coming in in the Black Hawks and delivering the troops by what we call fast rope, which is the ropes from the side of the aircraft. The unrealism again in my eyes is they're dropping right onto the target, broad daylight, and you're basically a sitting duck.

As for running out in front of a 50-cal weapon, I think that's a little bit OTT. The grenade launcher from the small-arms weapon there is totally overkill. What it would do is fragmentation, a little bit of a noise; it certainly wouldn't burst into flame.

"6 Days" (2017)

Mark Billingham: OK, so the first incident you see there is what they call a coach option, where they're about to storm a coach for whatever reason, believing there's terrorists on it. Now, the drills and skills and the equipment, back in the day, is actually very correct, pretty spot-on.

What we call rehearsals and what they're rehearsing there is close-quarter battle, clearing a building, a stronghold where hostages may be held. The drills and the skills, again, exactly as they would have. This is a very sort of light roll; they'll do this five or six times. This is a walk-through/talk-through, then they'll do it a little bit faster, and then eventually they do it in full equipment. So, what I'm seeing there is actually pretty accurate.

The effects of a grenade is exactly that. The only thing missing was probably the noise. There's a little bit more noise to it, but there's not big balls of fire, there's no walls falling in and falling down, that's exactly as it is.

"Commando" (1985)

Mark Billingham: It's an Arnie movie, the way he's dressed is just ridiculous, it's all about, "Look at my image," as opposed to what I'm trying to do. He's got weapons and guns all over him.

He just fired a nuclear weapon from his shoulder. I mean, that is just ridiculous, you know. I've never even seen that sort of rocket launcher anyway. And the other thing is the enemy are running along and firing from down here, from the hip for some strange reason and running in front of each other, but no one seems to be shooting. It's just f------ ridiculous, you know, he stood behind a couple of leaves and no one can hit him.

Wow. One of those nuclear grenades again that seem to just destroy everything in a 50-mile radius. Totally unrealistic.

"Bravo Two Zero" (1999)

Soldier: Of course you're afraid. You get your...

Mark Billingham: OK, my biggest criticism there is you're on operations, you're already in the enemy territory behind the lines, and your weapons should already be done and ready to go. If they're not caught out in the open then it's a bad use of ground. They should have been in cover.

What the anti-tank weapons could do that they've just fired, which is the 66, again totally unrealistic, unless it's a fuel bowser, it wouldn't burst into flames, so that's just for effect.

"American Sniper" (2014)

Chris Kyle: He has eyes on our guys.

Dandridge: Can you confirm it's him?

Chris: It's him. Oh, it's him.

Mark Billingham: Right. You know, people do long-distance shots, and to say that's over a mile and being able to confirm firstly that's the target is, I would say, virtually impossible. Because of the distance, no matter how good the sights are, and also it's a desert terrain, you'd normally get the heat rising so there'd be some sort of distraction between. If it's not the heat naturally coming off the ground, then out there it's heat from the buildings. It may be a miracle day where it was totally calm and there's no heat rise, which I find...I've never known it, having been a sniper.

You can see it's a target, I'll give him that, and, you know, it's worth a shot.

You may have seen him fall; it doesn't mean he's been hit. It doesn't mean he's dead. So they're the questionable things, I would say, but however, an amazing job, and amazing things that snipers can do. It is possible.

"Bodyguard" (2018)

David Budd: Stay down! The bullets can pierce the windows, but they can't get through the armored metal. Control, Sierra Zulu Seven Nine, status: zero Thornton Circus. Control, Sierra Zulu Seven Nine, status: zero Thornton Circus. Lavender....

Mark Billingham: His sole job is to protect that principal, so, reality, rather than curling up in his own seat, I would have crawled into the back and got hold of her because you don't know what she's gonna do. Is she gonna panic? Is she gonna raise her head into the glass? He really should have reacted better by being on top of her, getting her down low in the rear wheel and protecting her.

David: Shooter's located on roof of Pascoe House, one, zero, zero.

Mark Billingham: If he got her out of the vehicle, get down with her and get her moving, he's now starting to, you know, try and take control of the vehicle, which he should have done from the start, to be honest. And again, realistically, he's already said there's one sniper, which how he identified was a bit unrealistic. He should have just took her up a side street, you can't see everywhere from any sniper position, so.

Right now, the biggest problem with this, if you're a bodyguard, well, his primary role is to look after a principal. He's now left her unattended, all on her own, to go and be a hero. Then he took himself out of the vehicle, leaving her vulnerable, then he's now left the vehicle to become a hero. Where is she? She's on her own. Totally not doing a bodyguard's job.

"Patriot Games" (1992)

Jack Ryan: Camp 18.

Operator: Enlarging.

Jack: Enlarge primary target.

Operator: Enlarging.

Mark Billingham: OK, that's a view initially from the operations room as an operation is taking place, which again is pretty realistic in terms of the atmosphere inside the operation room, when it's going down. Everybody's watching all the radars, watching the TVs, listening to the communications, and everybody's got their heart in their mouth and not really saying a lot.

Operator: Airborne support approaching.

Mark Billingham: Put a little bit more detail, and I've never actually seen it myself, but it's pretty realistic.

"Lone Survivor" (2013)

Mark Billingham: The wearing of shades, it's very much an Hollywood thing. That doesn't happen. So, as you're moving through shade, you lose all perspective. All right, so that's the only fault that we see with the equipment and movement from the start.

Soldier: You mean fall off?

Soldier: Yeah.

Mark Billingham: What they were actually doing, again, is not unrealistic as in terms of tasks that the military would do. It would be done a lot more covertly. It was a little bit loud, they were not cammed up. For whatever reason, which I find a little bit unrealistic is the bunching up, where they all just come together knowing full well that they're being shot at. The big drill is to stay away from each other, 'cause the more together, the bigger the target. Where the rocket-propeller grenade, the RPG-7, landed and all of a sudden everybody's catapulted in the air, totally unrealistic. What it actually does, it would blow you off your feet to a degree, but you'd be covered in shrapnel and probably have body parts missing. So it's a little bit Hollywoodized with the rolling down the hill and all the rest of the stuff.

Marcus Luttrell: Oh, my rifle.

Mark Billingham: The weapon is not a massive priority really. If it was a person left behind, yes. They've been in contact, they've managed to break contact by falling back, and now they're hidden again. They've really given their position away again by talking too loud and not moving and getting the hell out of it.

"Who Dares Wins" (1982)

Mark Billingham: Stop! They're flying through the air, hanging off the bottom of an helicopter, no. That does not happen. OK, some of the explosive entry drills, the window charges, pretty realistic, the door, shotgun drills on the door, again, realistic. Also there's grenades being thrown around in there. Most of this is stun grenades as opposed to fragmentation grenades. The equipment they're wearing, from what I can see, again is pretty realistic. The synchronized abseiling down the wall is a little bit dramatic. 'Cause it takes a while to set up an abseil and do all that sort of stuff. You just wouldn't have time to be able to do that. It's not like you see in "Spider-Man," where you can just attach it and go. Gotta get into position, and then once it goes [snaps] noise, and then you go, but it's not synchronized abseiling.

"The Longest Day" (1962)

Mark Billingham: Did people get hung up on churches and trees? Yes, they did. You know, when they jumped into and around villages, you got blown all over the place or you were dropped in the wrong place, so that can happen. The way that probably happened is a little bit, sort of, again unrealistic. You know, you come down with one hell of a smash and you'd probably get badly injured as opposed to bounce around like you're on a bouncy castle. He's still got his reserve parachute attached to him, and the way to get down is pull that parachute, 'cause then it'll drop down to the ground. Unattach one side and then climb down it. For whatever reason, he decides to watch the show going on below him for a while, and then decides, "Oh, maybe I should get out," and then starts cutting himself away, so. There's bullets and bombs going off all around him, but the German still let the knife fall, which is a bit weird.

"Saving Private Ryan" (1998)

Private Ryan: Over the side!

Mark Billingham: The chaos of it all, the ridiculous sort of obstacles you come up against, which is not just bullets and bombs, the water getting off a boat. So I think this is portrayed really, really well. And having seen the tracer lines of the rounds going through the water, although I've not been shot at underwater, I have seen the effects of firing through water, and that, in my eyes, in my opinion, is pretty realistic.

Producer: Somebody tried to disprove on YouTube that bullets couldn't hit people if they were going through water because —

Mark Billingham: I've seen people shot in the f------ water. I mean, it goes off at a tangent, but if you, you're firing at a bunch of people, you're firing randomly, it's quite likely that something, somebody's gonna get hit. You know it's the same as just firing into a crowd. It's indiscriminate. The realism of the sounds of bullets going past you, that's shown really, really well. The chaotic-ness of what's going on around you, and not just the fact that you're being fired at.

Producer: Military movies, you have a bit of a bit of a love-hate relationship with them?

Mark Billingham: When I do find I'm watching anything military-orientated, I do tend to be a little bit critical about the scenes. If I had to say I had a favorite movie that is military-based, I would say it's "Heartbreak Ridge," purely because of the influence of Clint Eastwood, and obviously it's based on a real story. It's a little bit dramatized, but it's actually a quite good movie, in my eyes.

Produced by Ju Shardlow

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The CEO of Imax breaks down the theatrical release of Kanye West's 'Jesus Is King' short movie: 'It kind of worked'


Jesus is King Imax

  • The CEO of Imax, Richard Gelfond, talked to Business Insider about the experience of releasing Kanye West's "Jesus Is King."
  • The project was made specifically for an Imax release, however, Gelfond said the company didn't get the movie until five days before its release.
  • There was also the issue of the runtime, a 35-minute short. Audiences were stunned by that.
  • Gelfond said, in theory, the release "kind of worked," as it earned over $1 million worldwide its opening weekend. But going forward, he needs to "hire some people with a little more experience in the music area to steer us through it," he said.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


Imax Corporation CEO Richard Gelfond is pleased with the late October release of Kanye West's "Jesus Is King," a short film from the hip-hop legend made specifically for Gelfond's large-screen format company. But he admits it was a learning experience.

West and Imax joined forces originally to live-stream one of West's Sunday Service pop-up concerts, but West ended up changing course and making a short film instead (directed by British fashion photographer Nick Knight). It would be released to coincide with West's much-anticipated ninth studio album, also titled "Jesus Is King."

That change might seem like a tricky situation for Imax, but Gelfond said the real challenges surfaced when the short was finally delivered for release.

"We're not used to finding out five days before when the album's dropping or when the movie is coming out," Gelfond told Business Insider in a recent wide-ranging interview, referring to West finally announcing the release after multiple delays to the "Jesus Is King" album. "I think we have to institutionalize more what the boundaries are in advance of when you release something."

Once Imax realized that West was really going forward with the release, it put up a website, touting the movie as a "one-of-a-kind experience" featuring music from West's new album.

However, some audiences were not aware they were seeing a short film.

Kanye West Sunday Service Rich Fury GettyExpecting a feature-length movie, many were caught off guard by the 35-minute work that was experimental in tone. And though it featured some songs from the new album, West barely had any screen time. (Because of the brief runtime, many theaters offered the movie at a standard 2D ticket price.)

"The No. 1 lesson was that it kind of worked," Gelfond said, looking back on the experience. "The first weekend, it did over $1 million [worldwide]. We didn't spend anything on marketing that. So it proved out our theory, and you'll see us doing more tests in that direction."

Though the company's bread and butter is showing huge studio blockbusters — Imax is on pace this year to break its global box-office record it set last year of $1.032 billion — Gelfond wants to continue creating other ways to drive in audiences. Also this year, Imax worked with Netflix to do a special one-night screening of "Anima," a short directed by Paul Thomas Anderson featuring new music from Thom Yorke of Radiohead.

But going forward, Gelfond wants the releasing of content made specifically for Imax to run smoother.

"I think if we're going to do some more of this, we're probably going to have to hire some people with a little more experience in the music area to steer us through it," Gelfond said.

Read the entire interview with Gelfond on Business Insider Prime.

SEE ALSO: The star of "Richard Jewell," Paul Walter Hauser, describes how he got the role in the Clint Eastwood movie and the hardest scene to pull off

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns explains why country music is universal