In a recent Variety cover story, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said he was determined to not have characters such as Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man and Chris Evans' Captain America continue to grace screens indefinitely. “We always wanted there to be a definitive ending,” he said. “There’s an amazing line that Downey says in the film: ‘Part of the journey is the end.’ That’s what ‘Endgame’ is.”
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* "Avengers: Endgame" is technically the 22nd film in the Marvel-produced "Infinity Saga." However, Feige considers the upcoming "Spider-Man: Far From Home" to be part of that larger narrative and argues it's a 23-film series.
The next generation of heroes will have to build up the same kind of hold on fans' affections that Iron Man did over the first decade of the MCU. In the short run, it will take some time until Marvel sees an opening weekend like the one they're currently experiencing with "Endgame." A $350 million domestic debut is a commercial crescendo, not a jumping off point for new film franchises. That takes patience, but the payoff can be a global blockbuster that makes $1.2 billion globally in its opening weekend alone.
Star Wars started to lose steam after it generated several disappointing sequels and prequels, "The Hobbit's" box office reception paled compared to that of "The Lord of the Rings," and the Harry Potter spinoff "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" hasn't been able to recapture the magic of the original. This is where things get risky. If the quality lags, audiences sense a cash grab.
Audiences didn't want to stay tuned forever, they craved a conclusion. People are tuning into "Game of Thrones" or buying tickets to "Avengers: Endgame" in part because they want to see beloved characters ride off into the sunset or succumb to a white walker invasion. At a time when many television shows keep cranking out new seasons after the audience has moved on (we're looking at you "Homeland") and movie franchises are loath to wrap things up even after they've exhausted all narrative possibilities (please, please, please put an end to "Pirates of the Caribbean"), there's something to be said for completing a story arc. Years ago, "Breaking Bad" generated a new level of enthusiasm during its final season as it barreled towards its bloody climax. The cultural dominance of "Avengers: Endgame," the conclusion of a 22 or, depending on who is counting, 23 film* saga, and the eighth and last season of "Game of Thrones" demonstrate that audiences are hungry for a sense of finality in their popular entertainment.
"Captain Marvel" with its female protagonist and "Black Panther" and its meticulously constructed African kingdom were embraced by audiences hungry to see themselves represented on screen. After all "Avengers" movies play well all around the world — just look at the massive grosses "Endgame" logged in China. In the case of Marvel, the company is wisely leaning into a larger industry-push for inclusion. "Shang-Chi," for instance, will be the first of the company's films to center on an Asian protagonist. In interviews, Feige and "Endgame" directors Joe and Anthony Russo have suggested that Marvel will continue to feature more heroes of color, female central characters, and LGBTQ leads. Not only does it make Marvel a more modern and progressive studio, there's a strong business reason behind this drive to be representative.
It's worth it.
And even though certain characters may have saved the galaxy one final time, the Marvel Cinematic Universe won't be going away. The company is entering a new narrative phase that will include venerable characters such as the Guardians of the Galaxy and Black Panther, as well as introduce new heroes with films such as "Shang-Chi" and "The Eternals." Of course, this being Hollywood, the companies behind the two franchises aren't retiring these particular pieces of intellectual property. HBO is hard at work on a "Game of Thrones" prequel and has hinted that it sees other opportunities to delve ever deeper into Westeros mythology.
He noted that as a movie-loving kid, he loved "Return of the Jedi" and its final scene of a rebel victory in the Ewok village. "It was so important to have that scene in the Star Wars film saga," he noted. "Having those three Jedi ghosts all show up in the same frame, it was like saying goodbye. It was an amazing moment even as I felt my 10-year old heart breaking." Based on the record-shattering grosses for "Endgame" and media reports of teary fanboys and fangirls emerging red-eyed from packed screenings, people are having a similar reaction to the new "Avengers" movie.
Goodbyes can be painful. But, on the big and small screen alike, they can also be enormously profitable and cathartic.
"And that’s what we’ve been doing for a long time. And certainly, that’s what we’re focusing on going forward.” "We want the movies to reflect the audience and we want every member of our global audience to see themselves reflected on the screen," Feige said in a junket interview.

19, organizers of the annual  event announced Sunday. The city of Vienna will honor composer Gabriel Yared with the Max Steiner Film Music Achievement Award as part of their Hollywood in Vienna gala Oct.
Yared expressed his debt to the award's namesake, saying, "Max Steiner, along with Erich Korngold, Alfred Newman, Bernard Herrmann and others, have paved the way to make film scoring a real art."” /> "His melodious, elegant, refined and beautifully orchestrated film scores lend a deep emotional layer to the stories and we are very honored to pay our respect to him and his artistry at Hollywood in Vienna,” founder/CEO Sandra Tomek said in a statement.
Donovan," Rupert Everett's "The Happy Prince," "Dilili à Paris" — aa return to his origins in French cinema — and the Renee Zellweger-starring Judy Garland biopic "Judy." His association with the late director Anthony Minghella also included the music for "Cold Mountain" and "The Talented Mr. Ripley." He recently wrote the scores for "The Death and Life of John F. Yared's most awarded score was for "The English Patient" — it won him an Oscar, Golden Globe, Grammy and BAFTA.
The night before receiving the award, the Oscar- and Grammy-winning Yared is slated to perform selections from his music on piano along with the ORF Vienna Radio Symphonic Orchestra at the Vienna Concert Hall.
Other recipients of the Steiner Award since the founding of Hollywood in Vienna in 2007 include Hans Zimmer, Randy Newman, Lalo Schifrin, Danny Elfman, Alan Silvestri, James Newton Howard and, before they passed away, the late James Horner and John Barry.

Fastest to Reach $1 Billion Worldwide: "Avengers: Endgame" needed only five days to hit the milestone. "Avengers: Infinity War" was the previous record-holder, reaching it in 11 days.
Top Market Share: The fourth Avengers movie has the title for top market share for an opening weekend among films that opened at more than $150 million with 87% of the total box office. That distinction had been held by “Avengers: Age of Ultron” with 82% of the total market when it opened with $233 million in 2015.
It also set the highest single-day grosses in 29 markets, including Australia, China, Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Spain, UK/Ireland. Highest Opening Weekend in 44 Markets: Those include Australia, China, Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Spain and UK/Ireland.
Imax Record: “Avengers: Endgame” broke the Imax worldwide opening record with $91.5 million, 92% above previous record-holder “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Top Daily Totals: "Avengers: Endgame" set North American records for Friday ($156.7 million, including a record $60 million in previews), Saturday ($109 million) and Sunday (an estimated $84.3 million).
Widest North American Release: "Avengers: Endgame" opened at 4,662 theaters in North America, besting the 4,529 location count of "Despicable Me 3."
Its opening day of $107.8 million (including midnight shows) was the biggest of all-time. Top China Opening: China's five-day launch hit $330.5 million, the highest local or Western film debut of all time.
Biggest Worldwide Opening: "Avengers: Endgame" grossed $1.2 billion worldwide. The previous record holder was "Avengers: Infinity War" with $640 million on the same weekend last year.
Biggest International Debut: The $859 million total for outside North America smashed the previous record held by “Fate of the Furious” with $443 million.
Disney-Marvel's “Avengers: Endgame” has set more than a dozen box office records in its first five days — many by wide margins.
Biggest Domestic Weekend Total: "Avengers: Endgame" led the overall North American box office to its first $400 million weekend, obliterating the record of $314 million set a year ago when "Avengers: Infinity War" opened.
These are some of the records the superhero tentpole is destroying on its first weekend at the box office:
"Avengers: Infinity War" had been the prior record holder at $366 million. Biggest 3D Sale: An estimated $540 million in wordwide ticket sales was generated by the 3D format.
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Top North American Opening: The film's estimated domestic debut of $350 million was $93 million higher than "Avengers: Infinity War" and $102 million above "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," the previous two record-holders.

"I wanted to work on a high-school comedy for a long time because the best ones are timeless and timely," said Silberman. The opportunity to try to do that with brilliant young women was very exciting." "The best ones are very reflective of the generation they’re talking about, but the stories and the arcs and themes are timeless.
There’s nothing new if you don’t take a step further," she said at a screening of her film at the Film Independent Forum on Friday. "It turns out when you see all actors and you just hire the best people, you actually end up with a really representative set. The problem is most people don’t look at everyone. If we keep drawing from the same pool, it becomes this recycled pot of inspiration.
Olivia Wilde didn't have trouble finding a diverse cast for her high-school comedy "Booksmart."
"I Shazamed so many songs on set that I had to go to premium," added Silberman.” />
Film Independent kicked off its weekend of programming with a screening of "Booksmart" and a Q&A with Wilde and writer Katie Silberman at the Harmony Gold theater in Los Angeles. They make up for it with one wild night of antics the night before their graduation. Feldstein and Dever lead the side-splitting, coming-of-age tale as two top students who realize they missed out on partying and having fun in high school in favor of hitting the books.
Victoria Ruesga and Nico Haraga, who play classmates of the hilarious leading duo, Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein, are professional skaters and had never acted in a film before. However, their lack of experience on screen didn't stop Wilde from hiring them. Wilde even had a couple first-time actors in her feature directorial debut.
"In order for casts to become more diverse and representative –– the same goes for crew behind the camera –– you have to look beyond resume. If we keep hiring based on resume, we will just continue this paradigm and everything will be the same as it’s been. We have to break the mold, we have to change the way we hire people. Maybe you could be a little bit nervous to hire an actor who’s never been on a film set and has a pretty sizeable role, but I found that pretty exciting," she said. You have to hire people based on their talent, their skills, their ideas, their passion.
Wilde and her all-female team of writers make "Booksmart" feel like the feminist version of "Superbad" or "American Pie." Feldstein and Dever's characters routinely hype up other up with compliments, sport an Elizabeth Warren 2020 bumper sticker and reference Malala Yousafzai, Rosa Parks and Ruth Bader Ginsburg throughout the film. They greet each other with dance-offs in the middle of the street, something that became the opening scene of the film when Wilde's original idea fell through.
Watching them one day, we were like, 'That’s it,'" she said. "Beanie and Kaitlyn just had this thing they did –– every time they saw each other, they would dance.
She played a lot of Lizzo between scenes and said she might make a good music supervisor someday. Having directed music videos for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Wilde's ear for popular tunes spread to the film and on set.
One surprise hallucination sequence also transforms the two women into their ultimate fears: Barbies.
"What would make that even worse would be if one of them started to like it." "We wanted a fresh spin on the accidental drug trip moment, and I thought, 'What would be the worst possible nightmare for two young, ardent feminists?' It would be becoming the literal physical manifestation of what’s wrong with the patriarchy," said Wilde.

For all his charms, subtlety doesn’t seem to come naturally to the German actor. Granted, Waltz was a revelation as the unnervingly charming Nazi colonel in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds,” but in most of the roles that have followed, he’s tipped his hand with each exaggerated expression, working his elastic face like some kind of live-action cartoon character. What must it be like to play poker with Christoph Waltz?
In the film, after discovering the body of his wife Elsa Brecht (Redgrave) following a late-night walk, Mott makes that pledge to her grown daughter Amanda (Bening), a law professor who never much cared for her mom’s obsequious new husband. The irony of Muth/Mott’s story is that he might well have gotten away with it — his wife was 91, after all, and at that age, falls can be fatal — if he hadn’t made a case of wanting to catch her killer. Earlier the same night, we see Mott in action, juggling the roles of cook and master of ceremonies for a party of influencers at which Amanda can barely contain her contempt — which is Waltz’s way, putting whatever normal people try hardest to hide right there on the surface for the audience to read.
Washington, and the world in general, are full of fabulists and self-made legends, and while no two of these tricksters are the same, Mott strikes us as an instantly recognizable and compelling character. But the challenge in making movies about such frauds is to find an angle where audiences find them sympathetic enough while they go about lying and swindling their way up the ladder — which is all the more challenging when the story opens with a corpse (here, “Reversal of Fortune,” about the Claus von Bülow case, comes instantly to mind).
And yet, his foreignness allowed him to spin elaborate stories of military service — first in the French Foreign Legion (which is plausible enough) and later as a brigadier general in the Iraqi army — and to claim personal associations with Kofi Annan and Moqtada al Sadr, whose inner camp he took it upon himself to infiltrate. Or so he claimed. The shtick may have been enough to ensnare a lonely nonagenarian, but after a point, it stops being as cute as Waltz wants to believe.” /> But instead of getting more interesting as it goes on, Waltz’s performance grows tiresome. Waltz shows ambition in juggling Mott’s stories with “the truth” (an idea always implied in quotes here), working with DP Henry Braham to orchestrate dynamic situations and elaborate camera moves that reinforce the idea of the character’s Graham Greene-worthy delusions of grandeur.
It’s downright tricky to maintain the tone Waltz is going for here, but the story is consistently outrageous enough to keep us guessing, and Redgrave goes a long way to offset the lunacy of it all by playing Brecht like the lovestruck newlywed from some old silent film, batting her eyelashes at him one moment, and helpfully signaling his next move the next. As in Richard Linklater’s comparably kooky “Bernie” (about another May-December situation that ended in murder), the movie attempts to avoid judgment as it explores the complex psychology of a relationship that seemed to have worked — at least a lot of the time — for both parties, however unconventional it may seem from the outside.
Movies aren’t obliged to be realistic, of course, although “Georgetown” stops just a whisker short of having everyone Mott attempts to manipulate roll his eyes while Waltz’s character makes his pitch. There’s the scene where Mott, wearing an eyepatch, accosts Michel Rocard (Jean Pearson), former Prime Minster of France, about his scheme: He’s looking for supporters of his new NGO, an ambiguously peace-peddling social network known as the “Eminent Persons Group.” Or the one a short time later when Mott, this time minus the eyepatch, cements an advantageous partnership by craftily hosting a dinner in honor of both Rocard and Senator Chuck Hagel (Richard Blackburn), and played like something out of an old-fashioned French farce.
But seeing as how this is also his directorial debut, signed under the name “C. That’s an especially odd approach to take in playing a con man, as he does in “Georgetown,” since no one in the real world would believe a man who telegraphs his true intentions quite so transparently. Waltz,” he can surround himself with similarly vaudevillian performances from otherwise excellent actors — including Vanessa Redgrave and Annette Bening — whose natural tendency has been to underplay their characters’ emotions.
Theirs wouldn’t be the first D.C. As Muth once told a reporter who pried: “Why does Secretary Clinton remain with President Clinton?” Or in one of his fictionalized equivalent’s most revealing lines — quite possibly the only one audiences can reasonably interpret as being truthful — Mott offers the following during a police interrogation: “Have you ever had conjugal relations with a woman in her early nineties? union to survive more for strategic than romantic reasons. Well, neither have I.”
But apart from the virtual non-mystery of Brecht’s murder, there’s still the matter of Mott’s political dealings, which is the arena where Waltz’s performance seems best-suited to the film: The real Muth was was a teenage intern on Capitol Hill when he met Brecht, but rather than cast a younger actor, Waltz portrays the indignity of doing that job at age 50, and leverages to show why he was so motivated to find entry into the political world none too welcoming of a German immigrant.
A disingenuous end-credits disclaimer suggests that Waltz’s character, Ulrich Mott, is “not to be confused with” Albrecht Muth — who was a good 44 years younger than his wife and, according to the story, had affairs with men throughout their marriage — though the feint is clearly intended to underscore the connection. social climber arrested for strangling his 91-year-old wife, through whom he had gained access to many powerful people, hosting soirées for journalists, ambassadors, and such political heavy-hitters as Antonin Scalia and Dick Cheney. Written by “Proof” playwright David Auburn, “Georgetown” was based on a juicy New York Times story about a D.C.

The MIA status of Hunt’s second album has been a topic within the industry for literally years. (It was two years ago this month that this writer published a news story trying to figure out what was up with the then-already-long-delayed project.) Hunt did address the speculation Saturday and gave the audience a couple of explanations, including the long-offered one that he’d wanted to take an extended honeymoon with his bride. “I‘ve had a lot of changes in my life the past — I guess — two and a half years. One of the biggest was (when) two years and two weeks ago I got married to the girl I ended up in the back of the ‘Cop Car’ with back in Alabama,” he said. “We haven’t been out here in a couple years, and I haven’t put out a whole lot of music in the last 24 months, but I want to thank you all for being patient,” he told the 80,000-strong crowd.
In a recent interview previewing this year’s festival, he said, “I guess Stagecoach has developed a reputation for those kinds of moments… Now there’s this expectation that those moments will be part of the show… We’ll definitely have some moments that are off-script.” There were a lot of long pauses during his set Saturday night where the stage went dark at length for no apparent reason, leaving fans thinking, okay, maybe this is the moment where he’ll bring out Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus (whose appearance at Stagecoach has been rumored for days)? On top of that, the last time Hunt played Stagecoach, a couple of notches further down the bill in 2016, he made news by bringing out Snoop Dogg, Bebe Rexha and G-Eazy for genre-defying surprise appearances.
“I just turned 29 a month and a half ago. Anyway, if you think I have lost a step, you’re sorely mistaken. That’s what this song is about: ‘Don’t Tempt Me With a Good Time.’” Let the record show that the scurrilous rumors about the age of 29 being synonymous with embracing sobriety and temperance are lies, damnable lies! Some people may think that I’ve lost a step when it comes to getting drunk or smoking weed. I know y’all like smoking weed out there; I can smell it all the way up here. Combs seemed fixated on that birthday.
Playing in the Palomino tent Saturday, Lynyrd Skynyrd drew an overflow crowd big enough to fill at least two tents, but that just might pale against how many show up Sunday when the late-night choice is between taking the 10 back home to L.A. County or “Old Town Road.”” /> Cam also did an acoustic version of her new collaboration with Diplo, “So Long,” making it clear that audiences would be able to hear a different arrangement of it if they went to Diplo’s festival-closing set late Sunday night. That’s when they’ll finally get to hear Miley’s dad, Billy Ray, too, who’s expected to show up with Lil Nas X, the country star of the millennium.
But the big surprise guest during Hunt’s show was… Luke Combs, who’d immediately preceded him on the stage. And the number of new songs unveiled was zero. As much lip service as the singer gave to the importance of Stagecoach, the opportunity for a sense of occasion was lost — although if you had a hit in your arsenal as massive as “Body Like a Back Road,” you might feel that refreshers for their own sake are beside the point, too.
First, as a duet with Combs, there was Brooks & Dunn’s “Brand New Man,” which has actually usually been a part of Combs’ touring set in recent weeks, since he’s the one who sings it with B&D on their new “Reboot” album of remakes. It didn’t seem to have been completely rehearsed, as the band seemed uncertain in moments and the two singers stepped on each other enough times that Hunt finally wisely said, “Take it, Luke.” But it was enjoyable anyway, and if anyone was looking for an antidote to last week’s controversial remarks by a couple of big names at Coachella that of course everyone uses tracks, especially featured guests, here was the proof that a slightly botched impromptu pairing is still a lot more charming than a synthetic-sounding needle drop. The two covers in the set told a couple of tales.
And the other cover was perhaps the most magical moment at this year’s Stagecoach: Hunt’s solo, very low-key cover of Waylon Jennings’ “Belle of the Ball,” a song little remembered enough that really no one has taken to covering it in recent years, other than Waylon’s son Shooter. Considering that Hunt’s entrance music was a DJ-style pop medley that included Post Malone and Billie Eilish, and that he’d only been known to cover “Belle” once before years ago, this was an unexpected gesture, to say the least. So forget what we said earlier about the lack of a sense of occasion or special guests: Waylon’s ghost is probably all the celebrity cachet any set needs.
Cam opened with “Diane,” her sort-of answer song to “Jolene,” which had some impressive a capella/dropout moments. Cam said she’d collaborated on songwriting with Cyrus, which she described as “a fun day in the studio. Probably the highest I’ve ever been. And I studied abroad in the Netherlands, y’all.” Toward the end of the set, she actually got to “Jolene,” too, but as part of a medley with the Miley Cyrus/Mark Ronson song “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart,” with Dolly Parton as Cyrus’ godmother being the connective thread.
Since she hasn’t been active as a recording artist lately — and has been very vocal about radio’s indifference toward her last single, “Diane,” and toward most female artists’ work in general — there would seem to be every indication that this represented Stagecoach buyer Stacy Vee’s desire to give women as much of an even break as possible, even if the format won’t. Cam made the most of it with a winning performance that offered some brightly colored machisma and plenty of gender-specific commentary (although nothing about the radio issue). Cam had the third-billed slot on the Mane Stage for the day.
I was planning on spending all last year to make a record, and he called and said, ‘Hey, you want to come out on tour with me?’ And I couldn’t pass it up,” he said, referring to the 15 stadium dates that apparently took him out of commission for 12 months. Hunt then tried to put it on Friday’s headliner: “I blame Luke (Bryan) for not having any new music out.
Of the three headliners at the 13th annual Stagecoach Country Music Festival, Sam Hunt had the greatest promise to offer some kind of much-needed surprise factor. (This is in contrast to Luke Bryan, headlining Stagecoach for the third time Friday, and Jason Aldean, at the top of the bill for the second time Sunday, both supporting albums that have been out for 12-18 months.) Saturday, he was headlining the California desert gathering for the first time, and presumably with a lot of unreleased new music in the can, since he hasn’t had an album out since his 2014 debut.
“Ex to See” still came off as overblown arena-rock, and “Breakup in a Small Town” didn’t really need the row of pyro to get across, but notwithstanding those couple of attempts to dazzle, it’s still pleasingly clear that Hunt has a songwriter’s instincts first and a showman’s second. But if it didn’t augur well for a totally imminent drop of fresh material, Hunt’s hour-and-a-half set did provide plenty of reminders why it matters that he not drop off the face of the earth as a recording artist. “Take Your Time,” as many times as you’ve heard it since it became his breakthrough single, still has the power to almost take your breath away, if a masterfully rendered conversational casualness can be considered breath-taking (it should). “Back Road,” the one hit he’s had since the “Montevallo” song cycle — albeit a big enough one to beat the cumulative effect of about 15 smashes — came across again as something much more poetically ingenious than the naughty nursery rhyme it at first appeared to be.
“For example, when my grandmother decided to tell me about sex, she said, ‘Camaron Marvel, sex is like a milkshake. “I grew up around strong, honest women and that means a lot to me,” she said. When men sing about sex, it’s just another Friday night.” Later, in introducing a new song, she cited country’s history of strong women and pointed to Loretta Lynn singing about the pill and Kacey Musgraves singing about weed. Once you have it, you’re always going to want it.’ …. I was proud of that,” she said, even though “when women sing about sex, it’s considered a statement. This is a new song, and this is for you, Grandma.” Introducing her debut single, “My Mistake” (key line: “He’s my mistake to make all night”), Cam pointed out that “the New York Times called it sex-positive.
Two, you’re going to be a songwriter because nobody is ever going to pay money to come and watch you play these songs that you’ve written.”’ Well, here I am standing in Indio. I sang three songs that day, and I am pleased to say that all three of those songs are No. Preceding Hunt on stage, Combs made sure to take stock in the moment as vindication for a lack of belief that led up to his unexpected and seemingly overnight rise. California in front of 80,000 people. 1 songs now.” They told me, ‘One, you need to learn to write better songs. Noting that he’d just turned 29, the singer offered a vivid recollection of being dissuaded from his dream when he moved to Nashville at 24. “I had a meeting a few months after I moved there with some folks.
Or maybe he really is bad with a sense of time, since Hunt kept referring to having been at Stagecoach two years ago, even though he had the 2016 date correct. Your best guess would have to be that he’s not as much of a writing or studio slacker as he made himself out to be with those remarks and that he is putting a perfectionist’s (or anal retentive-ist’s) touches on an album that could be ready to go at any time.