Box Office: On second try, ‘Frozen’ is able to ice ‘Catching Fire’ with $31.6M
WITH DUELING film titles like these, you can readily write your own elemental wordplay for this, the latest box-office scenario:
The animated hit “Frozen” finally toppled the sequel “Catching Fire,” but “Furnace” sputtered badly.
“Frozen” dropped only 53-percent in its second weekend out, grossing $31.6-million, according to studio estimates Sunday. (Final numbers are due Monday afternoon.)
Disney’s latest non-Pixar CGI cartoon has grossed $134.3-million domestically, and is nearing the $200-million worldwide.
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” was second over the weekend, grossing $27-million domestically. The second Katniss Everdeen adventure is nearing the $675-million mark globally.
In its domestic debut, “Out of the Furnace” fared poorly, grossing only $5.3-million.
And looking ahead: Later this month, the top-of-the-marque star in “Catching Fire” (Jennifer Lawrence) will appear opposite “Furnace” star Christian Bale in “American Hustle.”
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GRACE HOPPER GOOGLE DOODLE: By writing computer language, pioneering ‘Grandma COBOL’ helped rewrite history
WERE SHE alive today, Grace Hopper would surely be too busy and focused to dwell on her own Google Doodle.
Too much to do, and discover, and understand. Throughout her long career, Hopper the naval officer, like time, marched on.
“Amazing Grace” Hopper would have been 107 today, and Google pays tribute with a home-page cartoon of the young computer pioneer at work. The Doodle prompts us to celebrate the great woman and mathematician and trailblazing programmer, even if she wasn’t the type to make a fuss over such things.
Hopper once told CBS newsman Morley Safer she was not one for nostalgia. The “60 Minutes” interview was in 1983, when Hopper — who un-retired multiple times — was the oldest woman in the Armed Forces at age 76.
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PictureBox Appreciation: In just a decade, Dan Nadel’s small publisher had an outsized impact
EDITOR’S NOTE: PictureBox, one of the best visual art publishers in existence, soon won’t be. Dan Nadel, the man behind PictureBox, announced this week that come the end of the year, the Brooklyn-based outfit — as a publisher of new titles — will be no more.
“This was not an easy decision, but the company is no longer feasible for me as a thoroughgoing venture,” wrote Nadel, who over nearly a decade helped shine a publishing spotlight on a gallery of top comics talent.
From photography to prose, the independent PictureBox tended to publish less than a dozen creations a year, but founder/director Nadel did so, he wrote on his site, “because I love the things I love and I want to champion them. I tend toward outliers and I’m obsessed with the history of visual culture writ large and small.”
In his farewell statement, Nadel said: “I want to thank all the artists and writers I’ve worked with over the years.”
Comic Riffs asked one of these writer-artists, Frank Santoro (”Storeyville,” the excellent new “Pompeii”), to write an appreciation of PictureBox. The Pittsburgh-based Santoro — whose dossier includes fine-art gigs (he has worked for Francesco Clemente, the Matthew Marks Gallery, Dorothea Rockburne and American Fine Arts Gallery) — shares his thoughts:
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‘AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2’: As first trailer lands, our 5 Takeaways about Rhino, Electro and Gwen.
MARVEL’S CINEMATIC universe looks as strong as ever. Phase 1 was a success, culminating with the smash hit “The Avengers”; Phase 2 looks to bring even bigger box office with “Thor: The Dark World” performing well and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” leading the charge in 2014 — as the countdown begins to “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” in 2015.
But Marvel Comics, of course, doesn’t have complete moviemaking control over all its stars, including arguably the biggest one of all: Spider-Man.
We’ve been reminded of Marvel’s splintered film rights when 20th Century Fox recently released a trailer for “X-Men: Days of Future Past” (and again today when director Bryan Singer reportedly announced a new X-men film for 2016). The echo is even louder today with Sony offering the first full trailer for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”
As we pick up the action, Andrew Garfield is trying to cement his status as the Peter Parker of a new generation (Tobey Maguire is still fresh in the minds of many Spidey fans). He’s now apparently battling multiple villains (always a risky move — are we seeing the formation of The Sinister Six?). And perhaps the biggest addition in this sequel: Jamie Foxx is playing Electro.
Here are Comic Riffs’ Five Takeaways from today’s trailer:Continue reading this post »
BEST BOOKS OF 2013: Ed Piskor finds a beautiful groove with ‘Hip Hop Family Tree’
ED PISKOR was born just after most of his current book takes place. And yet his latest graphic novel booms and resounds with such a sense of textured observation, you’d swear the young Pittsburgh cartoonist must have been alive and around and tuned in during the infancy of hip hop.
“Hip Hop Family Tree” (Fantagraphics), Piskor’s first book about the ‘70s New York rise of a music and a culture, positively pops — if not pop-locks — off the page with its energy and movement. And those pages themselves even bear the yellowed aesthetic of nostalgia.
Through his painstaking study of the period — with references that range from gritty ‘70s films (like, say, “The French Connection”) to Bob Camp album covers — Piskor is able to render a world that resonates as truth. And his encyclopedic knowledge of early hip hop allows him to blend smart narrative lines with his bold pen lines.
As Piskor works on the next volume in this hip-hop series, Comic Riffs caught up with the cartoonist to talk about journalistic storytelling, Pittsburgh art — and his commitment to depicting hip hop’s origin story.
MICHAEL CAVNA: One of my favorite short comics [in recent years] is your take on the similarities between comics and old-school hip hop. Maybe it's just the sight of the Yellow Kid wearing a Grandmaster Flash lyric, but the pairing just works. ... Can you open the window some into what that comic represents to you — because it seems right on the intersection of two streets where you really "live"?Continue reading this post »