Visual Effects Artists Speak Out Against Marvel Mistreatment 

Media outlets have reported first-hand accounts of individuals who have worked for Marvel’s visual effects department, stating that the company constantly had high demands and would overwork employees for little money to create the movie magic we’re all used to when we turn on a Marvel film. 

Dhruv Govil, a visual effects artist who worked on a handful of Marvel films, tweeted: “Working on Marvel shows is what pushed me to leave the VFX industry. They’re a horrible client, and I’ve seen way too many colleagues break down after being overworked while Marvel tightens the purse strings.”  

“The issue is Marvel is too big, and can demand whatever they want. It’s a toxic relationship.” 

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An anonymous visual effects artist told New York Magazine’s Vulture site:  “When I worked on one movie, it was almost six months of overtime every day. I was working seven days a week, averaging 64 hours a week on a good week. Marvel genuinely works its workers really hard. I’ve had co-workers sit next to me, break down and start crying. I’ve had people having anxiety attacks on the phone.”

Joe Pavlo, an Emmy award-winning visual effects artist who worked on Guardians Of The Galaxy stated that working for the company was a “crazy mess.” 

“The visual effects industry is filled with terrific people with lots of goodwill who really care but, at the end of the day, there’s nothing in place when their backs are up against the wall and Disney is making crazy demands,” Pavlo told The Guardian

“All the goodwill in the world just evaporates when everything gets changed and they decide they’re replacing that character with a different actor or changing the entire environment – they’re now in a pizza restaurant instead of a cornfield. It can be that extreme at the very last minute,” Pavlo continued. 

“It can be characterized as bullying but filtered through multiple layers of management and supervisor and hierarchy. It’s not like the executive from Disney is grabbing someone and swearing at them or something like that. It’s more like an atmosphere where everybody feels like this is the most desperately important thing and, if we don’t do it, we’re all f*cked.”

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“The average artist doesn’t even have any contact with the clients. It’s really just the people at the producer and the supervisor level and then they pass it on to their crew. So you could say, oh, the supervisor’s a real bully, but actually it’s a knock-on effect and then the people who are the team leaders, once they can’t handle it, end up being bullies,” Pavlo exclaimed. 

“Bullying is a huge problem in our industry because everybody’s so desperate sometimes. It seems like there’s such a high level of stress and pressure on these jobs to complete on time, to change everything at the drop of a hat.”

Pavlo is also the chair of the animation and visual effects branch for Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theater Union (BECTU). 

“Disney-Marvel is very famous for wanting multiple versions running parallel so that they can decide what they want. A strong union would be able to reel that in a bit.

“If you imagine you get the art department to design a set, you wouldn’t get them to tear down the set and rebuild a completely different set 35 times. Because it’s digital, people don’t see it as the same thing but it is: it involves work and creativity and long hours. It doesn’t create itself,” Pavlo explained, adding that the recent union organizing efforts from Amazon and Starbucks workers have offered a “possible blueprint” for how VFX artists can follow suit. 

“Disney is going to have to utilize their visual effects teams more and they need to be compensated for their contribution and working conditions. Ultimately they’re going to get to that point but it takes one person like that article from Vulture to say, hey, it’s time for somebody to step in and protect this side of it, as have all of the other departments been protected as well.”

‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Swinging Its Way Towards $1 Billion Globally

With great movies comes great box office returns. Sony Pictures’ and Marvel Studios’ “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” the third film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) Spider-Man trilogy, has grossed over $751.3 million globally in its first week, giving it full steam as it chugs towards $1 billion globally.

“No Way Home” broke pandemic box office records, bringing in an estimated domestic $253 million in its opening weekend while passing “Venom: Let There Be Canarge,” which made $90.1 million in its debut. That return also made it the third-highest weekend opening of all time behind “Avengers: Endgame” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”

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According to CNBC, estimates peg “No Way Home” to bring in about 50% to 70% of its opening haul this upcoming weekend, which could push it past the $1 billion mark. Even it that doesn’t happen, it should reach it within the next week.

Anticipation for the film grew for months, with fans speculating about what actors would be appearing in the film. When tickets first became available online, sites like Fandango and Regal experienced outages due to the influx of movie-goers attempting to secure their seats.

It culminated into $125.1 million in ticket sales on Friday, with $50 million from Thursday night previews. “No Way Home” then saw $73.9 million on Saturday before wrapping up with $64.1 million on Sunday.

If that wasn’t enough, “No Way Home” achieved the second-best five-day domestic gross total ($328.7 million) of all time, behind “Endgame” ($427 million) while also nabbing the best December five-day domestic gross total, beating out “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ($325.4 million).

While the film was always figured to do well, its bounties have still caught some box office analysts by surprise. Speaking to CNBC, chief analyst Shawn Robbins explained that the movie’s production shouldn’t be undersold.

“At every turn, this movie just keeps swinging above expectations. It’s a remarkable achievement for any time and, even more so, during the pandemic.”

Elsewhere in the box office last weekend, “Encanto” finished with $6 million, while “West Side Story” finished with $3.7 million. While next weekend will bring more punches — “The Matrix Resurrections,” “Sing 2,” and “The King’s Man” are all set to play — “Far From Home” will once again dwarf the competition.

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” picks up where 2019’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home” left off, with Spider-Man/Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) identity being revealed, throwing his life into chaos. Seeing his friends and family suffer from his consequences, Parker goes to Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) for help. Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, Jacob Batalon, and Jon Favreau also star.

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The film made waves amongst the superhero’s fan base by bringing back old, villainous faces. Willem Dafoe, who starred in 2002’s “Spider-Man,” returns as the Green Goblin, along with Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus — from 2004’s “Spider-Man 2” — and Jamie Foxx as Electro, from 2014’s “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” Rhys Ifan and Thomas Haden Church also reprise their roles as Lizard and Sandman, respectively, from previous Spider-Man films.

For fans that haven’t seen the movie yet, they can expect additional surprises along the way. Despite the crowded cast, “No From Home” manages to seamlessly blend different worlds together while keeping Spider-Man’s story fresh and invigorating – all while taking hefty, franchise-changing risks that more than pay off.

“No Way Home” has received critical praise from both viewers and critics alike. It currently sports a 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes — the third-highest ranked MCU movie — a 9/10 on IMDB, and a 71% on Metacritic.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage Goes Full Violent Romcom Mode—And It Works

Lethal protectors unite! The typical notion that sequels don’t often live up to their successors didn’t affect Sony’s Venom: Let There be Carnage, as the blockbuster managed to rise to the top in a number of ways, from the income to character development.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage had a momentous outing in the weekend box office. It grossed $90.1 million, setting the record for the highest grossing opening weekend in the Pandemic era. Marvel’s Black Widow previously held the top spot, having grossed $80 million during July.

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Let There Be Carnage, directed by Andy Serkis, is the sequel to 2018’s Venom. Eddie Brock/Venom (Tom Hardy) must stop serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) after Kasady obtains his own symbiote, which turns him into the raging, sadistic Carnage.

Along the way, Brock must learn to cohabitate with his alien parasite, all while going through the continued heartbreak of losing his former fiancee Anne Weying (Michelle Williams). Naomie Harris and Reid Scott also star as Frances Barrison/Shriek and Dan Lewis, respectively.

Let There Be Carnage has a runtime of just 90 minutes, which is 50 minutes shorter than Venom. That’s an absolutely absurd number when considering how today’s superhero flicks operate.

That short of a length lead to initial fears about a lack of crucial character development and world-building, along with a rushed story. While the movie wasn’t able to quite achieve some of those factors, they did excel when it came down to the vocal point: Brock and his hen-raising, chocolate-eating black slime.

The incredibly cheesy but heartfelt development between Brock and Venom was the show-stealer of Let There Be Carnage. It was a big risk taking a typically gruesome and horrifying antagonist (or antihero in this case) and turning him into the “hurt girlfriend” of a relationship.

However, the move paid off in a huge way, thanks in part to the “silly” identity this franchise has taken (some of the best jokes come from Venom and Brock’s quips). It captured the real-life aspects and lessons of any couple, having to learn what the other’s needs are in order to make the relationship last, and resulted in a solid payoff towards the end of the film.

Some fans might be disappointed with how Sony adapted Carnage/Kasady, whose character made his cinematic debut. In the comics, Carnage has committed numerous gory atrocities that would leave even the most heinous impressed.

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Despite its major characters’ reputations, Sony again went with PG-13 as opposed to an R rating. Serkis did express the movie’s goal of “pushing the limits” of the PG-13 rating.

To Serkis’ credit, the movie did take creative ways of showing just how brutal Kasady and his parasite counterpart could be. However, Let There Be Carnage‘s awkward placing between PG-13 and R reflects the movie’s overall tone to a T: a mix of dark, grim violence and funny light-heartedness that was still trying to find its footing at times.

While the heart and soul of Let There Be Carnage prevails, the film does have noticeable downfalls that hold it back. The action, while enjoyable, did turn too predictable and mindless at times, and the film lost a good amount of its steam towards the final act- complete with Carnage literally yelling “let there be Carnage!” which resulted in a million eyeballs rolling to the back of heads.

Regardless of the bumps, the film managed to achieve the fast-paced, action-packed ride they desired while continuing to build up the characters of Brock and Venom. It’s a fun watch, and you’ll be rewarded greatly for your time at the end of the movie (if you’re curious and don’t care about spoilers, read on).

Major Spoilers Ahead!

The mid-credits scene of Venom: Let There Be Carnage leaves us wondering: where do Sony and Venom go from here?

Enjoying their fugitive status in a tropical paradise, Venom and Brock are relaxing on a bed watching television, when Venom starts telling Brock of the symbiotes’ awareness of other universes.

Then, a blinding light suddenly occurs, and the pair find themselves watching J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) as he reveals Spider-Man’s (Tom Holland) identity, which is right where Spider-Man: Far From Home left off.

It all but assures Venom and Spider-Man will be meeting on the big screen for the first time since Spider-Man 3. But when will it happen? Spider-Man: No Way Home, set to release in December, will be dealing heavily with the multiverse. It seems very likely that Venom could now make an appearance, if only just a minor cameo.

However, this mid-credits scene could be also be seen as Sony setting the groundwork to bring Holland’s Spider-Man back into their own cinematic universe. Sony and Marvel Studio’s licensing agreement has been unpredictable in the past, with the two major companies almost ending the deal in 2019.

For now, fans can look forward to the endless possibilities that could arise thanks to the web-slinger and his fearsome foe finally sharing the same timeline.


Olivia Wilde To Direct New Female-Centered Marvel Movie, Sony reports 

Sony Pictures has made it clear that they’re ready to expand their roster of Marvel characters, but want to make movies that show superheroes aren’t just a boys club. Olivia Wilde is currently one of the most sought out female directors in Hollywood, and according to insider reports she recently closed a deal to direct and develop a new untitled Marvel movie project. 

There’s not a ton of information on the project itself, however the few details that are circulating are truly exciting. The film is projected to center around a female character within the Marvel universe, and while it’s not confirmed, many Marvel experts are predicting the story to be centered around Spider-Woman; Sony currently has no comment on this. 

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Other reports claim that Katie Silberman – who wrote Booksmart (2019), Isn’t It Romantic (2019), and others – will be writing the film. Amy Pascal is set to produce the film, which makes sense considering she also produced Spider-man: Into The Spiderverse, the recent animated Marvel adaptation of Spider Man. Rachel O’Connor is also set be the executive producer, as she’s held that position on all of the Spider Man Marvel movie adaptations. 

Wilde, Silberman, and Pascal specifically have already worked together on multiple occasions. In fact the three are currently working on a new Christmas film at Universal studios, which they hope to finish before starting this new Marvel project; which mainly depends on the future of the pandemic. 

For those who aren’t fully engulfed in the Marvel universe, the Spider-Woman character has actually been around in the comics for quite some time. She’s acted as the alter-ego for several female characters in the Spider-Man timeline, including Mary Jane Watson herself, Gwen Stacy, and Jessica Drew. Jessica Drew was the first character to actually put on the Spider costume in the comics as well. 

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Wilde is set to completely revamp the Spider-Woman character with her adaptation of the film, however, details on how she plans to do this are still under wraps, as production is barely underway. Wilde was also apparently close to passing on the opportunity to direct this movie, however, she saw how priority this project was for Sony and Marvel and couldn’t walk away from the chance at bringing her own female superhero story-line to life. 

In Sony’s universe of Marvel Characters this will be the second film that’s fully based around a female character. Remember, Sony’s Marvel character adaptations are separate from the universe of Marvel Studios, so the only other female-centered film they’ve released has been Madame Webb. They’re currently planning on developing a Black Cat and Silver Sable movie as well as a part of a greater effort to diversify their superhero roster. 

Olivia Wilde has normally been known as an A-list actress throughout the past decade, however she shifted gears to directing in 2019 with the film Booksmart. The movie was one of 2019’s best reviewed films and earned Silberman a WGA nomination for best original screenplay; hence why the two are working together again. 

Ever since Wilde has been in high demand from many studios, as she plans on staying in the Director’s chair for the time being. For now, Marvel fans can look forward to what she does with this new character and the future of other female-led films. 

Movie Clapper

“Black Widow” Film Kicks Off Next Phase of The Marvel Cinematic Universe

If you’ve been keeping up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe from the beginning, then you know we’re about to get one of the most highly anticipated movies to come from the studio since its launch in 2009. Scarlett Johansson will be starring in the long awaited standalone Black Widow movie, where fans will finally get the superhero’s backstory they’ve been longing for. Although fans have complained in the past that this film is overdue, Johansson believes that it’s timing couldn’t be more perfect based on where the Universe lies after Avengers: Endgame. 

WARNING: Article contains spoilers on past MCU films. 

Johansson made her Marvel debut in Iron Man 2 back in 2010. At the time, her character was revealed to be Natasha Romanoff, a Black Widow super spy who was trained by Russian operatives. She reappears in the cinematic Universe with The Avengers, and continues to make appearances as a recurring figure in all the Avengers movies, as well as Captain America The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War. 

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In her most recent appearance in Avengers: Endgame, we see the end of Romanoff’s character’s story as she sacrifices herself in order to retrieve the Infinity Stone and save all of humanity. However, years before her seemingly inevitable death – inevitable in the sense that fans knew going into the final Avengers installment that not all of their favorite superheroes would make it out of the universe’s biggest war alive – fans were still begging Marvel to give them a standalone Black Widow film. There’s been multiple references to Romanoff’s past with fellow Avenger and long time friend Hawkeye, who can forget the iconic “just like Budapest all over again” line from the first Avengers installment. Now, we finally are getting some answers and, according to Johansson, it’s happening at the perfect time. 

“For anyone who said to me, ‘Oh, this [Black Widow film] should’ve happened five or 10 years ago,’ I’m like, it would not have been as substantial. We just would not have been able to do it. This film is happening now as a result of what’s going on in the zeitgeist, and I think it’s pretty cool,” Johansson told Entertainment Weekly.

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Marvel made the announcement for the film at 2019’s San Diego Comic Con, where Marvel executives said Black Widow will take place prior to the characters death and kick off “Phase 4” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For those who aren’t aware, the timeline of the MCU is divided into phases, and over the past decade we’ve seen films that have entered into three phases of the Universe. 

Johansson went on to explain that the goal of the Black Widow film is to show a totally different side of Natasha Romanoff and highlight the aspects of her that make her a truly integral member of the MCU. More often than not, it was easy to overlook Romanoff within the past movies, as her character was often overshadowed by the flashy superpowers and advanced technology her male counterparts were constantly showing off. Now, it’s time to show what makes Natasha special. 

“[The movie] will highlight much of what makes Natasha special, emphasizing her vulnerability and her emotional intelligence. I hope that this film continues pushing that boundary, so that we can actually have more female superheroes who are inherently female, and aren’t just Batman in heels or whatever,” Johansson said.

Black Widow will be released on May 1, 2020; ten years after Natasha’s original MCU debut.


Marvel TV To Be Absorbed Into Marvel Studios

Marvel Television will be disappearing within the next year. The television aspect of Marvel will instead be absorbed into Marvel Studios, and any TV projects that are currently in production will remain until their intended end, but any future projects will be cancelled. Marvel Television’s head Jeph Loeb stated earlier in the month that he was already departing from the company; that combined with an overall decrease in their television viewership, the decision to shut down came rather naturally, however, it still has shocked a lot of people. 

A portion of the Marvel Television staff is gearing up for the significant layoffs that are soon to come after this announcement. Deadline Magazine reports that executive heads that are bracing for impact include Cort Lane, Marsha Griffin, Mark Ambrose, Tom Lieber and Aimee Carlson. Marvel Studios executives, including Senior Vice President of Programming and Production Karim Zreik and a member from his team, will be stepping in to overlook the remainder Marvel Television productions that are still set to be released and produced. 

While sources do say that the television studio should expect a series of layoffs, they also state that many of the TV staff will be reassigned within the overarching Marvel Studios company, and will also continue working as their current positions for the remainder of the shows that need producing. This includes four previously announced animated series, a live-action version of Helstrom which will be streaming exclusively on Hulu, and the final season of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

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Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” panel during the 2019 D23 Expo

“The decision has been made to complete Marvel TV projects that are currently in production, but not continue with any further development. This news follows months of turmoil and uncertainty at Marvel TV with a number of animated and live-action shows teetering or canned, the exit of longtime small screen chief [Jeph] Loeb and the further expansion of big screen boss Kevin Feige’s fiefdom,” A source said from the TV division Tuesday.

The “teetering or canned” programs refer to a multitude of shows that heavily lost viewership within the past year, causing many cancellations. For example, Netflix’s Marvel series including Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, and The Punisher, have all been cancelled after their first or second seasons. In addition, as previously mentioned, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be premiering for it’s final season, and it was one of the most successful out of all the Marvel Television series, especially for prime time. 

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The decision also likely stems from the creation of Disney Plus; as Marvel is owned by Disney, so all future endeavors with Marvel Studios will likely be made exclusive for the streaming platform as opposed to the multitude of other platforms Marvel Television has premiered their shows on. There’s also speculation as to the many upcoming Marvel television productions that were promised from the company along with the announcement of Disney Plus. However, Marvel Studios is likely to continue to take on these projects while working through the transition. 

“New upcoming original Marvel shows on the recently launched Disney+ streaming service like WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier had already been placed under Fiege’s mandate before he was anointed Chief Creative Officer in October,” Deadline reports

Kevin Fiege is the President of Marvel Studios, and as stated above, back in October of this year he took on the title of Chief Creative Officer, meaning it’s his duty to oversee all creative and storyline initiatives in the future for Marvel Studios. This means Fiege will likely be in charge of all the television programs that are still to come from the Studio exclusively. For now, only time will tell what the massive entertainment corporation has in store for viewers.

Newspaper 2

Superhero Gay Kiss Makes Front Page of Brazilian Newspaper, Regardless Of Mayor’s Opinion

(CNN)After Rio de Janeiro’s evangelical mayor tried to ban an illustration of two male superheroes kissing from a book fair, one of Brazil’s biggest newspapers decided to put it on their front page.”

Mayor Marcelo Crivella of Rio de Janeiro tried to pull Marvel’s “Vingadores: A Cruzada Das Crianças” (“Avengers: The Children’s Crusade”) from the shelves of Rio’s famous biennial book fair, due to the comic depicting two male superheroes, Wiccan and Hulkling, kissing. However, Crivella was a little late due to the comic completely selling out the first day of the fair due to its popularity, and unapologetic representation. 

The public outcry of Mayor Crivella, however, still felt like it warranted a public response, and The Folha De Sao Paulo newspaper was more than happy to take on that responsibility. 

Cover of Folha De S.Paulo

“The mission of professional journalism and newspapers like Folha is to be uncompromising with obscurantist attempts and to shed light on threats of censorship,” said Sérgio Dávila, the paper’s editorial director, on the cover seen to the left, published after Crivella’s initial statement. 

Crivella is a widely known conservative evangelical who is no stranger to being outspoken against the LGBT+ community. He’s stated in the past that he views them as a “terrible evil” that we need to “censor our children” from in order to prevent them from being exposed to “content not suitable for minors.” All actual quotes from the mayor himself.  

Fortunately for more open-minded and level headed citizens of Rio de Janeiro, the book fairs board of operations filed a preventive injunction with Rio de Janeiro’s Court of Justice the week of the fair. In a statement posted on Instagram, the organizers said the preventive injunction was intended to “ensure the full operation of the event and the right of exhibitors to market literary works on the most diverse themes — as foreseen by the Brazilian legislation,” according to CNN. 

The book fair then advertised itself as an event meant to share ideas and discuss topics including “happiness, science, motherhood, theater, trans literature, LGBTQA+ and more,” according to the Instagram post

The comic’s illustrator, Jim Cheung, who created the images back in 2010, also recently took to Instagram to discuss the controversy over his 10 year old project. 

“As an artist, my passion is to tell stories; stories of great heroism, compassion and love, with as authentic and diverse characters as possible. Characters that depict every walk of life and color, whether they be black or white, brown, yellow or green. The fact that this book, from almost a decade ago, is now being drawn into the spotlight by the mayor perhaps only highlights how out of touch he might be with the current times. The LGBTQ community is here to stay, and I have nothing but love and support for those who continue to struggle for validity and a voice to be heard.”

The controversy has opened up a conversation that’s been discussed for years now. Why are same sex couples deemed as “inappropriate” and “too mature of a concept” for children to understand but love between a man and woman isn’t? The answer is mainly systematic homophobia, but that’s a whole other article. The biennial book fair is a great example of an open and loving space intended for discussions regarding these issues. These types of spaces are growing and spreading and with that will come a lot more acceptance and understanding. The fact is, these are all simply heavy stigmas that the world still needs some help breaking. Luckily for Rio De Janeiro, its people are a lot more open-minded than the actual individuals running the country, which sounds oddly familiar…