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Bright: Despite being panned by critics, Will Smith film holds its ground on Netflix

There is good news for Will Smith’s Bright, one of the first big budget Hollywood blockbusters to release on Netflix, with Nielsen giving the film an official audience count of 11 million TV viewers for the first three days of streaming as reported by Deadline.

Will Smith and Joel Edgerton in Bright. Image courtesy: @BrightMovie/Facebook

Will Smith and Joel Edgerton in Bright. Image courtesy: @BrightMovie/Facebook

While Bright had received scathing reviews and a serious drubbing from all possible sources, the viewership statistics shows that the film has not done  too bad for itself. Released on 22 December, the film seemed to have found a younger audience with the first three days seeing an average minute crowd of 3.9 million viewers in ages 18 to 34 and 7 million in 18 to 49. According to the same report, 56 per cent of the audience was male.

The ratings giant Nielson noted that because Bright is a full-length movie, its figures is different from other subscription video on demand (SVoD) ratings of shows like The Crown and Stranger Things.

Bright was more of a gamble for both Will Smith and Netflix, mainly attempted to keep pace with the change in the way popular culture is consumed. The streaming giant had acquired the film in March 2016 after a two-week bidding war, and sealed the deal for $90 million.

The film is a buddy cop thriller with fantasy elements thrown in, and also stars Joel Edgerton. The film is written by Max Landis and directed by David Ayer.

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Jayam Ravi on upcoming space film Tik Tik Tik: ‘It’ll be a milestone in the history of Tamil cinema’

Actor Jayam Ravi, who established his career by starring in Tamil remakes of several popular Telugu films in the beginning of his career, made really interesting choices in the last three-four years which has paid off handsomely.

From playing a boxer in Bhooloham to turning into a zombie in Miruthan, he was last seen on screen playing a tribesman in Vanamagan. As he awaits the release of Tamil cinema’s first space film Tik Tik Tik, in which he plays an escape artist cum astronaut, Ravi opens up in an exclusive chat with Firstpost about the experience of working in the film which is unlike anything he’s done in his career so far.

Jayam Ravi in Tik Tik Tik.

Directed by Shakti Soundar Rajan, the film marks Ravi’s second collaboration with the director after the zombie actioner Miruthan. Recalling how the project materialised, he said: “After the release of Miruthan, Shakti called me one day and said he has two scripts – a big project and a small film. He asked me which one I want to work on. I told myself that I’m anyway not going to be around to do 200-300 films. Even if I do one film, the experience should be equivalent of doing five projects. I conveyed the same thought to Shakti and that’s when he pitched the idea of Tik Tik Tik.”

As much as Ravi was excited about the idea of starring in a space film, deep down, he was hesitant. “Initially, I was very hesitant. But I always look at positives over negatives in anything I do in life. When Shakti pitched the idea of Tik Tik Tik, I saw many positives. A lot of people didn’t attempt a space film so far is because of the misconception that we can’t shoot in India and the high cost involved. But Shakti and I had faith in our script and we found a VFX studio (Ajax) in Chennai which delivered the kind of output which was beyond our expectations. We gave them some test shots to work upon and they came out really well.”

Despite his faith in Shakti and the script, Ravi said a lot of people couldn’t believe they could pull off a space film. “When I told some well-wishers and friends that I was going to do a space film, nobody believed in me or in the project. They looked down upon the idea itself. The bigger challenge for us was to script a movie like this in the first place. It needed a lot of vision and clarity. I could foresee the result when I read the script but nobody believed in us expect our producer. But I was quite confident because audiences have always supported whenever I attempted something different. Even though the execution was very strenuous, we were thrilled with the output which was beyond our satisfaction. It’ll be a milestone in my career and in Tamil cinema,” Ravi said, heaping praise on his director.

“A project of this scale and vision requires a lot of research work. Even while shooting, Shakti had to look after so many things as this is a script that’s powered by logic. Since it’s about science and space, he had to keep in mind several things when on the sets. We had to make sure that everything looked believable. Shakti was well backed by art director Murthy. They complemented each other so well. This is a film with a lot computer graphics and most scenes were shot on green mat. A lot of planning went into the shooting process. Everything the actors could touch was actually built from scratch. What the actors couldn’t touch which was mostly everything in the background was created with the help of CG.”

Nearly 80 percent of the film was shot in zero gravity condition. A race against time thriller, it’s a story of five astronauts, who go on a mission to stop an oncoming attack of a meteorite. “As most of the shooting took place in zero gravity conditions, we had to be attached to the harness. We’d wear the space suit and then be attached to the harness for long hours. We’d shoot from morning to evening and most of the times we don’t even take a break because taking off the suit and putting it back on was a time-consuming process.”

Having grown up watching space films such as Deep Impact, Armageddon and 2001: A Space Odyssey among others, Ravi hopes that children celebrate Tik Tik Tik as this generation’s space film, which also stars his son, Aarav, in a pivotal role. “I really hope children warm up to this film. When we made Miruthan, it was passed with an A certificate by CBFC, so it was not suitable for children. I’m sure Tik Tik Tik will appeal to children as well,” he said.

Published Date: Feb 19, 2018 14:01 PM | Updated Date: Feb 19, 2018 14:01 PM


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BAFTA 2018 highlights: From Daniel Kaluuya-Timothe Chalamet fist-bump to Ridley Scott’s acceptance speech

Dark comedy Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was the biggest winner at the BAFTA Film Awards, held in London on Sunday, an event which saw the campaign for women’s rights in the entertainment industry take centre stage.

Three Billboards won five awards, including best film, best actress for its lead performer Frances McDormand and a supporting actor award for Sam Rockwell.

Writer-director Martin McDonagh also won for the film’s original screenplay. The film also won the best British film honours, qualifying on the basis of its creative team and the companies involved in producing it, many of whom were British.

Martin McDonagh, Peter Czernin, Sam Rockwell and Graham Broadbent, pose with Frances McDormand, as they hold their trophies for Best Film for 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri' at the British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Britain February 18, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay - RC19F125C470

Martin McDonagh, Peter Czernin, Sam Rockwell and Graham Broadbent, pose with Frances McDormand, as they hold their trophies for Best Film for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri at the British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Reuters

But other than the filmmakers, cast and crew members being honoured, there were plenty of other unforgettable moments and moving speeches at the Royal Albert Hall last night. Here are few of the highlights from the 71st British Academy Film Awards.

Time’s up for sexual harassment and abuse

The Time’s Up campaign against sexual misconduct was a recurring theme throughout the evening. Many of the female attendees wore black outfits in a gesture of protest. In his acceptance speech, McDonagh expressed the hope that such protests would bring about change.

“Our film is a hopeful one in lots of ways but it’s also an angry one, and as we’ve seen this year, sometimes anger is the only way to get people to listen and to change, so we’re thrilled that BAFTA has recognised this,” he said.

In addition, many in attendance wore badges citing the campaign against sexual harassment, while honourees and presenters, including Sam Rockwell and British actress Lily James expressed support for the movement. The night’s biggest female winner, McDormand, did not join in the protest, saying in her acceptance speech that though she supported the movement, she had “a little trouble with compliance.”

British newspaper The Observer had earlier published an open letter calling for sexual harassment and abuse to be stamped out, signed by 190 actresses including British Oscar winners Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet and Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan.

“This movement is bigger than just a change in our industry alone. This movement is intersectional, with conversations across race, class, community, ability and work environment, to talk about the imbalance of power,” said the letter, whose signatories also included Emma Watson, Sophie Okonedo, Olivia Colman and Carey Mulligan.

Daniel Kaluuya gives lovely acceptance speech

Daniel Kaluuya may have missed out on the Best Actor award but the actor won the EE Rising Star award for his performance in Get Out. On his way to the stage, he fist-bumped fellow Rising Star and Call Me By Your Name actor Timothée Chalamet. On his first BAFTA win, the actor gave an emotional speech in which he thanked his mother: “You break all the rules – levels. My mum is the reason, mum, you’re the reason why I started, you’re the reason why I’m here and you’re the reason why I keep going. Love. Peace. Let’s get it.”

He gave a shout-out to his fellow nominees, saying “Thank you. Tessa (Thompson), Tim (Chalamet), Josh (O’Connor), and Florence (Pugh) … I feel so privileged to be in your guys’ company. He also expressed his gratitude to the British arts funding for helping “product of arts of funding” like him.

Gary Oldman remembers Sir Winston Churchill

Gary Oldman won the much-anticipated Best Actor in a Leading Role award for immortalising former British PM Winston Churchill in the World War II drama, Darkest Hour. The actor remembered Churchill on his third BAFTA victory, describing how the British statesman “in those dark uncertain days in 1940 held the line for honour, for integrity and freedom, for his nation and the world”. The Joe Wright directorial also won the BAFTA in the Make Up and Hair category.

BAFTAs acknowledge Deakins’ talent even if Oscars won’t

Blade Runner 2049 won in two segments – Best Cinematography and Best Special Visual Effects. Ace cinematographer Roger Deakins not only won at BAFTA but also the American Society of Cinematographers Award for Outstanding Achievement in Theatrical Releases. He is also nominated at next month’s Academy Awards for his work on the film. He has been nominated 13 times for Oscars prior to his nomination this year, but has never won before, giving him more unsuccessful nominations than any other cinematographer in Oscars history.

Ridley Scott roots for teachers in BAFTA Fellowship acceptance speech

Veteran director Ridley Scott, who was honoured with the Fellowship at the 2018 Baftas, gave a shout-out to the teachers, calling the profession “the most important of all”. The 80-year-old filmmaker, known for films such as Blade Runner, Gladiator, Alien and Black Hawk Down, among others, said the social issues will be “sorted” if the state of education is taken care of by the authorities. In his acceptance speech for the lifetime achievement award, Scott said, “I’ve always been a late starter. Years ago when I was 15, my dad was reading my report card and saw that my position in the class was 29th. But the number in the class was 29. I had achieved the distinction of being bottom in the class. dad put his hand on my shoulder and said you know you did the best you can.

Whatever you decide to make do, make sure you love it. Fortunately, I love working with my hands and I was good at two things woodwork and art. “Dad strongly encouraged me to go to art school. College was a revelation. Teaching is the most important of all professions. Sort that out and social problems will get sorted out.” The filmmaker quipped as it was his first Bafta in a career-spanning 40 years, “I’m not going to go quietly.” Scott called films arguably “the most challenging of all occupations”. “Today the explosion of content and social media platform have made this (filmmaking) a far more accessible and democratic art form. It’s important to acknowledge that entertainment can be the most powerful form of education,” Scott said.

Other memorable moments: Sam Rockwell dedicating his award to his ‘pal’, the late Alan Rickman, and Jennifer Lawrence’s ‘rude’ comment after BAFTA host and national treasure Joanna Lumley’s hyperbolic compliments.

With inputs from agencies

Published Date: Feb 19, 2018 13:59 PM | Updated Date: Feb 19, 2018 14:13 PM


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Padman, Aiyaary, Padmaavat box office collection: Bhansali’s film nears Rs 500 cr in global earnings

This week’s latest release Aiyaary, starring Sidharth Malhotra, Manoj Bajpayee and Rakul Preet Singh, had a rather underwhelming start at the box office with respect to the kind of hype the film had generated prior to its release.

Padmaavat, Aiyaary and Padman. Facebook

Padmaavat, Aiyaary and Padman. Facebook

On the other side, already-released films like Padman and Padmaavat are growing steadily with every passing day in the theatres.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus Padmaavat, starring Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh, has emerged as one of the highest grossing films in Bollywood. The kind of nationwide attention that the film gathered — owing to the violent protests by various fringe groups belonging to the Rajput community — has only helped the film in the longer run. The film’s collection — both in India as well as abroad — has been mammoth.

According to a report by Box Office India, Bhansali’s film is nearing Rs 500 crore mark in global earnings. The film’s gross domestic earnings is reported to be around Rs 334 crore in India and Rs 165 crore overseas.

Zoom, in one of its reports, claims that Akshay Kumar-starrer Padman which was touted to be his biggest moneyspinner, has had a slow performance at the box office. The film has been able to mint Rs 68.12 crore in nine days of its release. As per trade pundits, the film’s overall earnings will come to a halt at around Rs 80 crore.

Film trade analyst Taran Adarsh posted on Twitter and revealed the collection of Neeraj Pandey’s Aiyaary:

Published Date: Feb 19, 2018 14:20 PM | Updated Date: Feb 19, 2018 14:20 PM


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