Superhero Bits: Jack Black’s ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Challenge, Marvel’s Phase 4 & More

Thor Ragnarok Concept Art

Who are Henry Cavill‘s favorite DC Comics villains? Want to see Jack Black’s “Immigrant Song” jam with Thor: Ragnarok star Cate Blanchett? How does Armie Hammer feel about missing out on playing Batman? When will we get announcements for Marvel’s Phase 4? When does Gotham By Gaslight hit home video? Did you know Ben Affleck and Matt Damon auditioned to play Robin for Tim Burton? All that and more in this edition of Superhero Bits.

Watch the launch trailer for LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2, which is now available for Xbox One, PS4 and more.

Henry Cavill revealed some of his favorite DC Comics villains while making publicity rounds for Justice League.

Daddy’s School Of Ragnaroth from the set of “The House With A Clock In It’s Walls”

A post shared by Jack Black (@jackblack) on

Jack Black followed up on his challenge to Thor: Ragnarok star Chris Hemsworth, and Cate Blanchett joined.

Paul Bettany has already seen the first Avengers: Infinity War trailer, and he says it’s “amazing” and “badass.”

Watch the red carpet premiere of Justice League from Hollywood earlier this week, featuring all the film’s stars.

Jeremy Irons discussed the different approach that he wanted to take with Alfred in the DC Extended Universe.

Andy Park showed off his concept art design for a more disheveled Thor from the opening scene of Thor: Ragnarok.

Justice League is expected to pull in anywhere between $ 325-$ 355 million at the worldwide box office this weekend.

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‘Thor 3’ Repeats While ‘Daddy’s Home 2’ and ‘Orient Express’ Deliver Strong Debuts

Thor: Ragnarok delivered an expected #1 finish in its second weekend at the domestic box office, pushing the film’s domestic total ahead of both the first and second Thor films after just ten days in release. However, just as much a story are the strong openings for a batch of newcomers, both wide and and limited, as Paramount’s Daddy’s Home 2 and Fox’s Murder on the Orient Express both delivered ahead of expectations and Fox Searchlight’s Three Billboards averaged $ 80,000 per theater over …
Box Office Mojo – Top Stories

CS Interview: Kenneth Branagh on Orient Express, Thor & More!

CS Interview: Kenneth Branagh on Orient Express, Thor & More!

CS Interview: Kenneth Branagh on Orient Express, Thor & more!

20th Century Fox provided ComingSoon.net the privilege of speaking 1:1 with Sir Kenneth Branagh, the director of this weekend’s film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s acclaimed mystery Murder on the Orient Express, as well as playing the lead of Belgian Detective Hercule Poirot. We had a fun chat with Branagh about creating a new version of the iconic detective and shooting on 65mm film, as well as his thoughts on Thor: Ragnarok and a fun anecdote about auditioning for David Lynch’s 1984 sci-fi film Dune!

RELATED: Murder on the Orient Express Review

What starts out as a lavish train ride through Europe quickly unfolds into one of the most stylish, suspenseful and thrilling mysteries ever told. From the novel by best-selling author Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express tells the tale of thirteen strangers stranded on a train, where everyone’s a suspect. One man must race against time to solve the puzzle before the murderer strikes again.

In addition to directing Murder on the Orient Express, Branagh, a five-time Academy Award nominee, stars as detective Hercule Poirot. Academy Award winner Penelope Cruz plays Pilar Estravados, Academy Award nominee Willem Dafoe is Gerhard Hardman, Academy Award winner Judi Dench portrays Princess Dragomiroff, Academy Award nominee Johnny Depp plays Ratchett, Josh Gad appears as Hector MacQueen, Derek Jacobi is Edward Masterman, “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom Jr. plays Dr. Arbuthnot, Academy Award nominee Michelle Pfeiffer portrays Mrs. Hubbard, and Daisy Ridley plays Mary Debenham.

Ridley Scott (The Martian), Simon Kinberg (The Martian, X-Men: Days of Future Past), Mark Gordon (Steve Jobs) and Branagh produced the film. Michael Schaefer, Aditya Sood and Judy Hofflund also produce. Michael Green (Blade Runner 2) wrote the screenplay, with James Prichard and Hilary Strong, both of Agatha Christie Ltd., executive producing.

ComingSoon.net: Poirot has always been a very fastidious and eccentric character, but in this movie his OCD is very pronounced. Why was emphasizing that important to you?

Kenneth Branagh: He doesn’t mind putting his foot in donkey sh*t, the problem was the other foot wasn’t in there. The problem was that imbalance, that need to order, to make even in the chaos. It makes him “Rain Man”-ian in terms of the distress it might cause him. Therefore, you set a relationship with the crime that will make it very personal for him. He’s gonna feel it a bit more than you would expect from Poirot, and it makes him less a prissy, hand sanitizer kind of guy and more just someone who has a desire for the universe to be in balance… even though he KNOWS the chances of that are minimal, and he’s about to encounter a deep example of how an apparently civilized person can turn into a primitive who will avenge with violence.

CS: He has to confront a morally grey situation.

Branagh: Yeah. He says at the beginning of the show, “There’s right, there’s wrong, there is nothing in between.” He clings to the idea that there has to be some sort of moral absolutism about this, but once you introduce that great variable of drama, the human being, that space in between involves hurt and suffering with people for whom he may be forced to consider some sympathy. I think Michael Green’s screenplay gives Poirot quite the arc of development in terms of a man hoping to live through the control and exercise of his brain who’s gonna have to now intuitively respond to the involuntary movement of his heart.

CS: What was the significance of Katherine, the woman in the photo that he holds dear?

Branagh: In the books he has a love interest called Vera Rossakoff, who’s a Russian countess. He says of her, “She had one green eye and one blue eye. I could not look at her, I could not look away.” I think he likes the idea of almost a lost love scenario. The idea that he’s longing for what Katherine may portray could come into further possible movies if there were any. Let us reveal a little more of the Poirot who’s ended up as a lone individual, who’s drawn from case to case not having holidays because they keep getting interrupted, and not having that companionship. You feel the ache of it. He loves his companionship with Bouc, but you feel as though this Poirot is drawn to the ladies and to a chivalrous, courtly… almost like an old fashioned knight, like a Don Quixote or something. Tilting at windmills sometimes. It just felt like a romantic longing in that man’s soul would be a very melancholic element to his loneliness and isolation.

CS: You mentioned other possible movies, and in this film you tease “Death on the Nile” as the next entry. Could you see yourself portraying the character again not just in movies but also television? The way Peter Ustinov did both?

Branagh: First of all, the idea of making more is very appealing. I so, so loved making this a big screen adventure. I loved using 65mm and being able to set up The Last Supper and do a 12-shot where Penelope Cruz was as sharp and beautifully lit as Josh Gad at the other end. Feeling the visceral experience of these Agatha Christie trademarks. Exotic locales, in our case Jerusalem and Istanbul and the alps. For right now that’s appointment cinema, and that’s where I prefer to remain. I love the fact that she travels the globe, and there’s certain kind of stories and characters that allow for that treatment. It’s also been done brilliantly on television, I think, but there’s room for cinema treatment that I think is distinct.

CS: It was really to fun watch it projected in 70mm with all the crackles and energy of watching film, but besides the nostalgia factor, I know you also shot “Hamlet” in 70mm. What appeals to you about these grand, old school formats?

Branagh: Because that’s how I started seeing movies when I was a kid, and I still go to the movies. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I go to the movies far more than I watch television. It’s a choice. I like the communal experience, I like the size of the image, I like the immersion. I like the escape of it. I like the experience of it. I was lucky enough to be in “Dunkirk,” and although a very different picture, to see that IMAX 70mm version, I saw it with that picture in both formats, was unforgettably transporting in terms of entertainment. There’s a departure point that’s different, that I particularly embrace. For certain subjects it’s a great timeless treat, and the fact that you have to make a different commitment for the experience event-izes it.

CS: There have been a lot of portrayals of this character, with Ustinov and David Suchet and Albert Finney. Which one spoke to you the most before you decided to do this movie?

Branagh: I like them all, and of course coming from the classical theater tradition you’re always following the footsteps of tremendous people who will be the ideal version of that character for somebody else. So you know you won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but there’s a wonderful masculinity about Albert Finney, a kind of blustering certainty about him. There’s a more eccentric, far away quality in Ustinov, and there’s a beautiful delicacy to Suchet. They all have wonderful responses to Poirot, but Christie definitely has so many colors to him across these 33 novels and 50 short stories that you can go and find your own Poirot. Ours is a little more melancholy, slightly more romantic. You mentioned Katherine… Also, he’s differently lunatic, a man who enjoys his Dickens like he does or his puddings like he does. His military background is a bit more evident, he’s a tiny bit more agile perhaps.

CS: More dashing.

Branagh: Yeah. He has a different kind of flamboyance. He’s a bit more bloodhound-y, leans forward. Once the scent of a crime is there there’s nothing he can do about it, and if he has to fight someone then he will and he has no physical fear. If he has to walk on top of the train he’ll walk on top of the train. He doesn’t get over-fussy about that. What he gets manically obsessed about is the size of eggs, or even numbers.

CS: Someone interrupting his reading makes him furious, but getting shot in the arm not so much!

Branagh: Not so much! It has to do with his own attempt to control the raging concerns in his own mind of what he refers to as “imbalance.” I think a lot of people, whether or not it’s a modern condition, respond or identify with that in some way. Many of us have our own rituals. We try to find a way to put one foot in front of the other in a very noisy and chaotic world. Poirot is a somewhat touching example or representative of our own paranoias.

CS: Out of curiosity have you seen “Thor: Ragnarok”?

Branagh: No, but I look forward to it very much. Really look forward to the fact that it’s clearly so different in tone, although Kevin Feige was in touch recently very sweetly, to say they use a bit of Patrick Doyle’s theme from the first movie and it’s quite a touching moment at the end of a great fun space adventure that sort of let’s you know the roots from which it came. They all sort of join up. I’m very pleased it seems so releasing for Chris that the character’s been re-energized. Taika’s a terrific director, and a sense of fun and adventure with the character is also very pleasing to see. I’m proud to have been a small part of that universe and to have dealt with that subject tonally at a time when we were all pretty sweaty about whether we could make it work on its own, let alone as part of the great edifice that is now the MCU!

CS: You were the perfect guy to usher it in because you brought a layer of gravitas to it that people needed to make it seem less outlandish, but now they can go full-farce. They can also do more blatantly Jack Kirby-esque designs and that sort of thing.

Branagh: Yeah yeah! There were a lot of things for us to consider at the time, but this was a lot of people’s work forging the way for Thor to find himself, for a character like Loki to really land as Tom did, and to feel as though you had this kind of gravitas that Hopkins and Rene Russo brought to it. There was something very useful about that, because other pictures can… The genius of the first “Iron Man” was you all that wit, but Downey’s such a marvelous actor and Favreau has such a great touch with it, but when it needs to be serious even for a bit it can be. That’s a very useful piece of contrast.

CS: Something I’ve always been curious about is I know for “Thor” you were referencing David Lynch’s “Dune” a lot for the look and feel of Asgard. There’s a director attached to that property currently, but is there a part of you that ever wanted to adapt Frank Herbert’s “Dune?”

Branagh: I personally don’t. I’m a big David Lynch fan, so as far as I’m concerned he nailed it, in my view. I think he’s a wonderful director, I love his stuff. With someone like that it’s so personal. I love the design and the look and feel of it. I have a soft spot for it because it’s one of the many many films as a young actor I auditioned for and didn’t get anywhere near. I remember when I was a 21-year-old actor meeting with the not-very-much-older David Lynch for “Dune” way back in 1980 or something like that. He was so nice and so kind and I was nobody, there was no reason to be as gentlemanly and civil and interested as he was. He was looking for actors, I suppose, and he had a vested interest to do so, but he was a really good example to me early on how you might comport yourself in this business. It was a very memorable meeting, because he had just done — and I was in awe of — “Elephant Man,” which is a magnificent movie. Magnificent. So he’s a big hero of mine.

CS: I doubt it was anything due to you not getting that part. Based on casting Kyle MacLachlan, I think Lynch was looking for someone who looked like him.

Branagh: (laughs)

CS: And clearly became his muse later.

Branagh: And did a wonderful job and is a fine actor.

CS: My last question is, having been aware of you since “Henry V” when everyone was heralding you as the second coming of Laurence Olivier and all this stuff. How do you feel about the evolution of your career going from that perception to now you’re the guy who does big blockbuster movies?

Branagh: No one more surprised than I, to be perfectly honest. Also, there’s that famous Samuel Beckett quote, “Fail, fail again, fail better.” You stand up, you fall down. I’ve had a few sort of incarnations. In some way it seems sort of disparate and unusual, and at the same time even I can see a bit of unity in the subject matter and the interest, and the style of filmmaking, a sort of refinement. Every time you walk on a film set now you’re so unbelievably thrilled and grateful. When we made “Henry V” and for the following dozen movies you would think, “Are we gonna make another movie?” I always remembered Scorsese saying, “You hope your movie makes enough money to allow you to make the next one,” and coming from the independent movies knowing whether you were gonna shoot or not was a few days out from principal photography. You still wouldn’t know. A guy in Luxembourg had to sign something, there was a tranche of money coming from some weird place. There was a fantastic instability that frankly, in response to what you’re saying, of course you’re amazed that you’re still making films. You think, “Christ, we’re thirty years in and I’m lucky to be following through with my particular preoccupations about what makes human beings tick, and they’re as present underneath “Murder on the Orient Express” as they were back then with Shakespeare’s masterpiece.

CS: Has the business changing also been a factor? Back in the day it seems it was easier for a studio to finance a film they knew wasn’t going to make $ 300 million bucks. It was like having a nice piece of art in their lobby or something. But nowadays the goalpost has moved.

Branagh: Yeah, it’s never been more challenging or volatile, and we’ve lived across this digital revolution. I’m a dinosaur who came out of a pre-internet age to this thing your holding [iPhone] being something we can make half-a-dozen movies on. The volatility means something like “Murder” shot on 70mm becomes quite a big and important decision, a scary risky one. It’s quite an important one as a statement that, “It’s still possible to make movies!” And it’s still possible to invite audiences to a cinema to see one, at least for now. You never knew you were gonna be saying that out loud 30 years ago, but who knew that piece of plastic you have there was going to transform our lives? It has, and it’s still an evolving and exciting story.

Murder on the Orient Express is now playing in theaters everywhere.

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ComingSoon.net

‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Delivers $121M Domestic Opening Along with Record China Debut

Disney and Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok got the 2017 holiday movie season started in strong fashion, debuting with over $ 120 million as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to fill theaters. Additionally, STX’s A Bad Moms Christmas brought in over $ 20 million for its five-day start, but it’s the road ahead that will tell the full story as it hopes to play well into the holiday season. Overall, the top twelve delivered a combined $ 166 million, which is a massive improvement over last week but …
Box Office Mojo – Top Stories

Thor: Ragnarok Grosses $46.8 Million on Friday!

Thor: Ragnarok grosses $ 46.8 million on Friday!

Marvel Studios‘ Thor: Ragnarok grossed an impressive $ 46.8 million on Friday and received an A CinemaScore from audiences. $ 14.5 million of the Friday figure comes from the Thursday previews. The third installment is playing in 4,080 theaters today, including 391 IMAX screens, and is enjoying a stellar 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Thor: Ragnarok is now expected to debut with more than $ 110 million domestically this weekend, which tops the first film’s $ 65.7 million from May 2011, as well as Thor: The Dark World, which earned $ 85.7 million in November 2013.

You can read our Thor: Ragnarok review here. Let us know what you thought by posting your Thor: Ragnarok reviews in the comments below! You can view all our previous Thor: Ragnarok coverage by clicking here.

The Taika Waititi-directed film stars Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, and Anthony Hopkins.

In Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok, Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok – the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization – at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive a deadly gladatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger – the Incredible Hulk!

Kevin Feige produced the film, written by Eric Pearson and Craig Kyle & Christopher L. Yost. Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Brad Winderbaum, Thomas M. Hammel, and Stan Lee were the executive producers.

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ComingSoon.net

‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Targets $100M+ Domestic Debut, Kicking Off the Holiday 2017 Season

Given the November opening weekend record is currently $ 158 million set by The Hunger Games: Catching Fire back in 2013 don’t expect Disney and Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok to top that. However, a top five opening, placing it among blockbuster debuts from the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises, isn’t out of the realm of possibility. The latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is earning great reviews and looks to dwarf all other contenders this weekend, including STX’s A Bad Moms Christ…
Box Office Mojo – Top Stories

New ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Sneak Peek Video May Show a Little Too Much

Thor: Ragnarok Sneak Peek Video

We’ve already seen plenty from Thor: Ragnarok thanks to the trailers released by Marvel Studios, not to mention the featurette introducing The Revengers, a TV spot highlighting the strongest Avenger, and a clip giving us a taste of The Grandmaster. But now that the movie is under a week away from hitting theaters in the United States, we’re getting to the point that too much footage is being shown, and more arrives everyday.

If you’re already on board to see Thor: Ragnarok, then we recommend that you stay away from the latest sneak peek video released online. Most of it features extended moments from the TV spots and trailers we’ve already seen, but there are also plenty of new moments that would be much better left out of sight and mind as we wait for the movie to arrive, including one particular action sequence from towards the end of the movie. Watch the Thor: Ragnarok sneak peek video if you dare, but you’ve been warned.

Here’s the Thor: Ragnarok sneak peek video from ComicBook.com:

There is plenty of new footage of Hela (Cate Blanchett) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) on display, not to mention some fantastic moments of comedy. But the spoilery bits come towards the end when we see Thor fighting a bunch of Hela’s minions when he’s all charged up with lightning, his eyes glowing with a literally electric light blue. Plus, there’s a kick-ass moment involving Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) that is probably best saved for the theater as well.

However, even though the footage does show off a bit too much, they’re still playing several elements of the movie close to the vest. For example, we’ve seen and heard very little from both Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and Heimdall (Idris Elba). Is that because their role in the movie would require too much plot to be revealed, or are they just not in the movie very much? The same can be said for Karl Urban‘s new villain character Skurge. We may just have to wait for the movie to see more from them.

The earliest buzz on Thor: Ragnarok remarked about the hilarity that comes from director Taika Waititi taking over the franchise. But the full reviews dived into matters like whether the movie is actually a good blockbuster sequel and if the comedy overshadows the franchise’s action and place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Imprisoned on the other side of the universe, the mighty Thor finds himself in a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against the Hulk, his former ally and fellow Avenger. Thor’s quest for survival leads him in a race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home world and the Asgardian civilization.

Thor: Ragnarok is set to premiere in theaters on November 3, 2017.

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Superhero Bits: Justice League Tickets on Sale, Chris Hemsworth Almost Passed on Thor & More

Justice League Poster

Would X-Men franchise star Anna Paquin be interested in making a cameo on The Gifted as Rogue? Did you know Chris Hemsworth almost passed on playing Thor? Have you bought your Justice League tickets yet? Is Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi interested in returning to the franchise at all? Want to see Jeremy Renner‘s new look in Avengers 4? All that and more in this edition of Superhero Bits.

Baymax is back in action in a sneak preview of the Big Hero 6 animated series coming to Disney XD this fall.

Wonder Woman and Cyborg are teaming up in a new digital comic as a cross-promotion with Mercedes-Benz.

Director James Gunn shared an update on the progress of writing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 for 2019.

Actor Julian Lewis revealed his role in Justice League as Atlantean royalty, complete with some killer armor.

Watch a quick featurette from Spider-Man: Homecoming with the cast gushing about lead actor Tom Holland.

Anna Paquin thinks making a cameo on The Gifted as Rogue would actually be more distracting than satisfying.

Justice League Poster

Warner Bros. released a new Justice League poster with the team coming together to form a missing Superman.

Acotr John Leguizamo wrote an article about why there need to be more Latino superheroes for fans to latch onto.

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Superhero Bits: Thor: Ragnarok Official Runtime, Black Panther Trailer Coming Soon & More

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 - Guardians of the Galaxy

What is the best-selling comic book of the year? How long is Thor: Ragnarok? What role could Jeff Goldblum have played in Captain America: The First Avenger? When can we expect a new trailer for Black Panther? Can you guess what Justice League has been rated by the MPAA? What can we expect from the Arrowverse crossover wedding this year? All that and more in this edition of Superhero Bits.

Injustice 2 will be adding Atom to the mix of playable characters very soon. Check out his powers on display here.

Marvel Legacy #1 is now the top selling comic book title of 2017 so far, selling over 300,000 copies of the issue.

Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman will be getting new Steelbook covers with artwork by comic artist Jim Lee.

If Loving You Is Wrong star Edwina Findley has landed a recurring role on The CW’s new series Black Lightning.

Thor Ragnarok BTS - Taika Waititi and Chris Hemsworth

Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige is confident that they will work with Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi again.

The sixth season premiere of Arrow debuted this week, and the ratings are slightly lower than the fifth season premiere.

The LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 trailer features intrepid space exploring dog Cosmo asking for your help.

The final runtime for Thor: Ragnarok is 130 minutes, making it the longest film in the god of thunder’s franchise.

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