Logan Lucky, despite good reviews, flops

Logan Lucky poster

Logan Lucky, the heist movie with Daniel Craig in a key role, flopped its opening weekend in the U.S. despite favorable reviews.

The Steven Soderbergh-directed film generated $8 million at more than 3,000 screens, according to Exhibitors Relations, which compiles box office data.

The No. 1 movie for the weekend was The Hitman’s Bodyguard at an estimated $21.6 million, Exhibitors Relation said in a separate Twitter post.

Logan Lucky is an ensemble movie, with Channing Tatum, Adam Driver and Katie Holmes among the cast. Craig got an in-joke billing, “Introducing Daniel Craig as Joe Bang.”

The movie got a 93 percent “fresh” rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website that compiles reviews. Craig was among those praised by critics.

For example, Anthony Lane of The New Yorker described Craig as being “on a hollering vacation from his stern-visaged duties as James Bond, that his mood exalts the whole enterprise.”

Another critic, Adam Graham of The Detroit News, wrote that Craig was the main asset of the film.

“Craig is usually so stoic on screen — has his James Bond ever smiled? — that you forget that Craig has any sort of charisma behind his perma-scowl, but here he’s having so much fun that he casually makes off with the movie,” Graham wrote.

Logan Lucky, of course, was the movie Craig was promoting last week when he announced he’d play 007 again in Bond 25. On Aug. 15, he told radio stations no decisions had been made but then said he was returning as Bond on CBS’s The Late Show.

Meanwhile, Logan Lucky will probably do OK financially. Its budget was only a reported $30 million and “was financed via foreign advances and presales,” according to Scott Mendelson of Forbes.com,

Some Rod Taylor spy movies on TCM early Friday

Rod Taylor from the main titles of the Masquerade television series.

Friday, Aug. 18, is Rod Taylor day on TCM’s Summer Under the Stars. And some of Taylor’s spy movies will be part of the proceedings.

As an aside, TCM’s programming day starts at 6 a.m. New York time. The spy movies start early. Sorry for the late notice, but the Spy Commander just found out himself.

6 a.m.: 36 Hours, World War II espionage movie. Germans kidnap an American officer (James Garner). They make him think World War II is over to trick him out of information about the invasion of Europe. Taylor plays the German performing the deception. Based on a story by Roald Dahl.

8 a.m.: The Liquidator. Rod Taylor as John Gardner’s Boysie Oakes. Music by Lalo Schifrin and a title song performed by Shirley Bassey.

10 a.m.: The Glass Bottom Boat, a Doris Day comedy involving spies seeking secrets from a Tony Stark-like character played by Taylor. Cameo by Robert Vaughn as Napoleon Solo.

Footnote: Was Craig committed to Bond 25 all along?

Daniel Craig

Amid this week’s news about Daniel Craig, there’s a footnote. Was he signed to Bond 25 all along? Or not?

In 2007, then-Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer CEO Harry Sloan said Daniel Craig was signed for four more James Bond films, according to a Hollywood Reporter account. Sloan made the comment at a conference.

Casino Royale was released the year before. So four more films would take you through Bond 25.

Of course, MGM went bankrupt a few years later. So there’s the possibility any such contract got altered.

Except…

Craig told Rolling Stone  in 2012, “I’ve agreed to do a couple more, but let’s see how this one (Skyfall) does, because business is business and if the shit goes down, I’ve got a contract that somebody will happily wipe their ass with.” (emphasis added)

Two more after Skyfall gets you through Bond 25.

Except…

Michael G. Wilson of Eon Productions SAID IN THIS VIDEO from November 2015 after SPECTRE (Bond 24) that Craig wasn’t under contract although he added he expected the actor to return for Bond 25.

Which, of course, Craig announced this week.

So which (if any) was it? Contracts do get renegotiated. So did it change from one point to another?

At this point, it’s academic. Just another “little thing” (like Lt. Columbo used to say) to chew over.

An early Bond 25 accuracy scorecard

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Bond 25 has a star (Daniel Craig), a release date (November 2019 in the U.S.) and confirmed writers (Neal Purvis and Robert Wade).

While there’s more than two years before the next Bond film adventure, here’s a look at the accuracy of some major stories written about the movie.

News before it was announced: By that, the stories were accurate before there was a formal announcement.

Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail wrote in March that Purvis and Wade, who’ve worked on the 007 film series since the late 1990s, were hired to write Bond 25’s story. That was confirmed in a July 24 announcement on the official 007 website.

Emily Smith of Page Six/New York Post wrote in April and Brook Barnes of The York Times wrote in July that Daniel Craig would be back for a fifth outing as 007.

The Page Six item, being a gossip column, ragged on Tom Hiddleston being determined by Eon Productions to be too smug. That’s certainly not proven.

But the key phrase was “Multiple sources tell Page Six that Bond franchise producer Barbara Broccoli has ‘just about persuaded Daniel Craig to do one more Bond movie.'”

The Times’ story, published the same day as the Eon announcement about the 2019 release date said, “Daniel Craig will play James Bond in at least one more film,” In any event, Craig confirmed he’s coming back on the Aug. 15 telecast of The Late Show on CBS.

Looking shaky: Radar Online in September 2016 said Sony Pictures offered Craig $150 million to do two more Bond movies. At the time, there was no distribution deal for Bond 25 and one still hasn’t been announced.

Then, as now, nobody knows if Sony will even be involved with Bond 25. Given a release date has been announced, you’d think a distributor is in place but nobody outside of Eon actually knows.

The Mirror, a U.K. tabloid, said last month that Bond 25 will be titled Shatterhand and be based on a 007 continuation novel by Raymond Benson. Benson, however, went public and said nobody at the Mirror even contacted him and said he “can only assume the article is fabrication.”

The Sun, Rupert Murdoch’s U.K. tabloid, said earlier this month Craig was “on the verge of signing for not one but two more installments” in the 007 film series.

Craig told CBS, “I think this is it,” referring to Bond 25. But people have been known to change their minds. We’ll see.

M:I 6 to meet release date despite Cruise injury, director says

Tom Cruise

Mission: Impossible 6 star-producer Tom Cruise “is on the mend” and the movie is “on track” for its July 2018 release date, director Christopher McQuarrie said on Twitter today.

Cruise, 55, broke his right ankle during filming in the U.K. of a stunt for the movie, McQuarrie confirmed in a separate interview with Empire.

Video of Cruise’s injury surfaced a few days ago. The Sun UK tabloid responded with a story that M:I 6 filming would be delayed for four months. U.S. entertainment news websites such as TheWrap posted stories today saying the shutdown would be six to eight weeks.

McQuarrie, in the Empire interview, said the production hiatus “is unknown. We’re still figuring that out.”

The film had “seven or eight weeks” to complete production, the director said.

“We’ll assess what there is to be shot,” McQuarrie told Empire. “And what we can shoot.”

Once those scenes are filmed “we’ll go on a hiatus and then I’ll shift my attention to editorial,” he told the magazine. “We’ve already shot a huge chunk of the movie so you’re just taking a big chunk of post-production and moving it up sooner.”

After the hiatus, filming will resume, he said. “Nothing we’re looking at right now is going to affect the release date.”

Here’s McQuarrie’s post on Twitter:

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Craig says on Late Show he’ll be back as 007

Daniel Craig photo opposing Brexit

Daniel Craig said on CBS’s Late Show said he’ll be back as James Bond in Bond 25.

“Yes,” he said answering a question from host Stephen Colbert whether he’d return as 007.

“I couldn’t be happier,” Craig said. “I have to apologize to all the people I’ve done interviews with today.” Earlier in the day, he said in radio interviews he hadn’t made a decision yet.

“It’s been a couple of months,” Craig said, responding to a question from Colbert how long he had known. “I always wanted to. I needed a break.”

Colbert reminded the actor about his 2015 comments, made shortly after the conclusion of the filming of SPECTRE, how he’d rather “slash my wrists” rather than do another Bond film.

“There’s no point in making excuses,” Craig said. “Instead of saying something with style and grace, I gave a stupid answer.”

At the end of the interview, Colbert asked Craig if this was his last Bond film.

“I think this is it,” Craig replied. “I just want to go out on a high note.”

UPDATE 5:40 a.m., Aug. 16: The official James Bond website followed up the interview with a short announcement.

The interview is now available on YouTube:

Dick Locher, editorial and Dick Tracy cartoonist, dies

Dick Locher, a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and the third primary artist on the Dick Tracy comic strip, died earlier this month at 88, according to an obituary posted by the Chicago Tribune.

Toward the end of Locher’s run, he also took over the scripting duties while continuing to do editorial cartoons for the Tribune.

Locher was an art assistant to Tracy creator Chester Gould (1900-1985) in the 1950s. He later found success as an editorial cartoonist at the Chicago Tribune, the home newspaper for the Tracy strip.

Gould retired in late 1977. His initial successors were writer Max Allan Collins and artist Rick Fletcher, another Gould art assistant.

Dick Tracy meets Pruneface after the Nazi has been thawed out, 1983. Drawn by Dick Locher.

When Fletcher died in 1983, Locher took over the art duties on Tracy. That same year, one of Locher’s first highlights was a story line where Nazi spy Pruneface (one of the most famous Gould villains for the strip) was revived from suspended animation by Dr. Freezdrei, a former Nazi scientist.

Initially, Tracy believes it’s a hoax. A few years earlier, the Collins-Fletcher team had a story where there is supposedly a Mumbles clone. But it turned out it was the original villain with a face lift.

However, in the 1980s story, it turns out Pruneface really had been in suspended animation. Tracy is not happy upon hearing the news. “Back in those days, we had an electric chair to thaw him out,” Tracy says.

Pruneface attempts to get revenge on Tracy. But a mysterious figure intervenes.

Locher drew the Tracy strip until 2009 and wrote it until 2011, according to the Tribune obituary.

Somewhere, the Spy Commander has a Tracy cartoon drawn by Locher that was the subject of a silent auction to benefit the Society of Professional Journalists.