The Möbius strip- Animated Spider-Man swings to top of box office, Oscar discussion, ‘The Shining,’ ‘Jurassic Park’ inducted into National Film Registry

Image courtesy Sony Pictures Releasing.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse opened at no. 1 with a solid $35.4 million, which is the largest opening all time for an animated movie in December. Fellow new release The Mule was a distant second with $17.5 million, followed by Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch and Ralph Breaks the Internet in their sixth and fourth weeks of release, respectively. The weekend’s other new release, the $100 million-budgeted Mortal Engines, suffered a catestrophic $7.6 million debut- Box Office Mojo

As Into the Spider-Verse has catapulted into the conversation for Best Animated Feature, here’s a look at how producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller broke the rules of animation to create a moving comic book- Indiewire  

Mortal Engines is, conservatively, on track to lose more than $100 million at the box office- Variety

The Shining, Jurassic Park and Brokeback Mountain headline this year’s class of 25 films that will be entered into the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. Established under the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, the registry is a repository of films that have been deemed culturally, historically or aesthetically significant to the history of American cinema.

Films must be at least 10 years old to be eligible for inclusion, meaning instant classics from 2008 like Iron Man, Wall-E and The Dark Knight were up this year. In the registry’s history, only six films have ever been inducted in their first year of eligibility, and 2005 release Brokeback Mountain actually becomes the youngest member of the registry- The Hollywood Reporter  

According to a new study of movies from 2014 to 2017, movies starring women were actually more lucrative than those led by men. Researchers analyzed 350 films released in that timespan, broken down into brackets based on budget. In each bracket, films in which the first-billed performer was female consistently earned higher box office receipts- The New York Times   

Many of this year’s most memorable films were led by women- Film School Rejects   

There could be a similar study in three years surrounding movies led by black actors – but there probably doesn’t need to be following the historic success of Black Panther- Indiewire  

An unnamed actress has opened a new lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein and the Weinstein Company allegend repeated sexual assaults over a period of two years. The lawsuit claims Weinstein bragged about a sexual relationship with Jennifer Lawrence, which both he and Lawrence have since denied.

Weinstein was accused by almost 90 women of some degree of sexual misconduct over the past year and change, triggering a massive wave of alleged sexual predators being outed in Hollywood. He was already facing two charges in New York court and two civil suits related to the alleged sexual assaults- The Hollywood Reporter

Meanwhile in Los Angeles, a federal jury has indicted five men who were allegedly running an international piracy ring. The men allegedly had a server in France with 25,000 files on it including films like Fifty Shades of Grey and TV episodes from The Walking Dead- The Associated Press

While conventional wisdom holds that Netflix is a direct competitor to theaters, a new study shows that people who go to the movies often and people who consume the most streaming media are actually likely to overlap- Variety

The number of shows developed for streaming services overtook the number developed for basic cable networks for the first time in 2018- Variety  

Pulp Fiction, The Dark Knight and Pan’s Labyrinth headline the list of movies that will be available on Netflix starting Jan. 1- Indiewire

The family of jazz legend Donald Shirley, portrayed in recent awards season release Green Book, has described the film as a “symphony of lies.” Star Mahershala Ali has apologized to the family- Shadow and Act

In a similar story, reporter Tom Fiedler, who is portrayed in the new film The Front Runner about failed 1988 presidential candidate Gary Hart, has sent an open letter to director Jason Reitman asking Reitman to clarify that his portrayal is fictitious and poorly researched. In 1987 when he was with The Miami Herald, Fiedler helped break the story of Hart’s alleged affair. In his letter, Fiedler says the movie turns him into a villain, generally portrays him inaccurately and could damage the reputation of Boston University, where Fiedler has taught since 2008- The New York Times  

The Academy has released a shortlist of potential nominees for its less interesting awards. The full nominees are scheduled to be announced Jan. 22- The Hollywood Reporter

Cinematographer Robbie Ryan is likely to receive an Oscar nomination for his work on The Favourite, but he’s saying director/producer Yorgos Lanthimos did all the work- Indiewire

While most people think about these awards in terms of immediate prestige, they’re worth quite a lot of money when their recipients want to part with them. The 1947 Best Picture Oscar for Gentleman’s Agreement has been sold at a Hollywood memorabilia auction for $492,000 last week. The same 1935 Oscar for Mutiny on the Bounty earned $240,000. Both of them were blown out of the water by documents about the development of The Wizard of Oz, which earned $1.2 million- The Associated Press

The Screen Actors Guild announced their nominees. A Star is Born leads the field with four- Indiewire

The African-American Film Critics Association has named Black Panther as its pick for 2018’s best film, with The Hate U Give, If Beale Street Could Talk and Black Klansman also earning major honors- The Hollywood Reporter  

The Vancouver Film Critics Circle has gone with Roma- The Hollywood Reporter

Argentinean filmmaker Lucrecia Martel reveals that she took herself out of the running to direct Marvel’s standalone Black Widow film when the studio told her to “not worry about the action scenes.” Audiences have been hungering for a standalone Black Widow film for years, and Marvel has been seeking a woman director to handle the project – it’s since gone to Cate Shortland, and is currently in development.

Not wanting Martel to handle the fight scenes has quietly raised questions of sexism on Marvel’s part, but maintaining a uniform style, potentially at the cost of reigning in their directors, has always been a big part of what the MCU does, and a big part of that has always been the way they shoot action scenes for the edit. I’m less concerned about the maybe-sexism here and more concerned about the studio’s handling of these scenes.

Marvel’s first woman-led film, Captain Marvel, will release March 8, co-directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck- Indiewire  

An interesting and somewhat disturbing tidbit from Star Wars Episode IX — apparently secrecy is so paramount that Mark Hamill isn’t even allowed to keep his scripts overnight anymore- Entertainment Weekly  

Star Wars: The Last Jedi proved to be one of the most divisive films ever made when it opened last year. A year later, we look back at the different camps of its polarized reception- Reel Entropy

How Peter Jackson turned World War I into a color 3D film one frame at a time- Indiewire  

Panos Cosmatos talks about unleashing Nicolas Cage in Mandy- The Hollywood Reporter

Meanwhile, Cage has called his next film, Prisoners of the Ghostland, the wildest he’s done- Indiewire

An oral history of The Dark Knight’s magic trick- Vulture

Looking back at the original Superman 40 years later, and the shortlist for the original cast- The Hollywood Reporter

And finally, here’s Andy Serkis as Gollum as Theresa May examining her new Brexit deal-

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