The Thor: Love and Thunder trailer is finally here; the Secrets of Dumbledore is off to a weak start; Batman is already on HBO Max. Plus: Your favorite criminal lawyer is back. All in today’s Movie News Rundown.
Out Today: Better Call Saul, one of the most cinematic TV shows, returns tonight after a two-year absence. I’ve seen the season premiere and the show remains witty as hell, and fascinated by the nitty-gritty details of assorted plots and schemes. A very Trading Places moment in tonight’s episode made me laugh loudly at its mix of silliness and audacity.
Netflix Grant for Female Arab Filmmakers: Netflix has partnered with the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture to provide a “one-time grant of $250,000 to women producers and directors in the Arab world,” Nuha Eltayeb, Netflix’s director of Content Acquisitions for Turkey, Middle East, and North Africa, Netflix announced today. More details are here.
The Batman Comes Home: Well, that was fast. The Batman arrives on HBO Max today, just six weeks after it arrived in theaters. Quick home release dates are fairly common when a movie bombs, but not when a movie has made $750 million, as The Batman has. This is yet another testament to what a strange situation we’re in with theatrical windows, and it doesn’t feel like great news for theaters that even blockbusters are going to streaming not long after their theatrical releases. At least director Matt Reeves and his cast didn’t have a surprise straight-to-HBO Max release sprung on them, like when Warner Bros. did that to all 17 of its 2021 releases. Remember that?
Anyway: If you’re watching The Batman for the first time, enjoy. And you may also enjoy my recent cover story featuring Reeves, Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Colin Farrell and more, talking about the film’s influences and Reeves’ love of commas.
Wizards in Trouble: One movie that Warner Bros. may want to rush out on HBO Max is Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. It had a bummer of an opening weekend, scoring $43 million domestically. “As franchises become ever more important to Hollywood studios, it remains to be seen whether this particular series can keep going,” The Hollywood Reporter opined. The film is doing a little better globally, pulling in about $150 million outside North America for a total take of just over $193 million, per Box Office Mojo.
Whither Disney: “Disney, Built on Fairy Tales and Fantasy, Confronts the Real World,” reads a New York Times headline that is notably good at summarizing its thesis. The story is a very good primer on how liberals and conservatives alike are using Disney in a proxy culture war, with liberals criticizing its handling of Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law and conservatives angry about things ranging mask rules to a same-sex superkiss. One adage I used to hear a lot working in newsrooms feels accurate here: If both sides are angry at you, you’re probably doing something right. On the other hand, running a global entertainment conglomerate is unfortunately about making money, not being right.
Thor: Love and Thunder Trailer: After an unusually long wait, it just arrived this morning, and feels like an example of something Disney is doing well. The trailer doesn’t reveal much about the film’s plot, but it’s a charmer. I was disappointed by the opening musical strains, thinking back to the inspired use of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” for Thor: Ragnarok. But when I realized what the music was building toward, I became, to be honest, pretty delighted.
Main image: Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, presiding over New Asgard in the Thor: Love and Thunder trailer.