Film | by Shane “Industry Outsider” Hnetka

The Shape of Water STILL isn’t playing in Saskatchewan. Arrrgh! How can a Guillermo Del Toro monster movie that won Best Director at the Golden Globes skip this province? Speaking of the Golden Globes: Good for Natalie Portman, who rightly called out the fact that the Best Director category only had male nominees despite writer/director Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird being nominated for, and winning, Best Picture. Gerwig should have been nominated.

The Year At A Glance

Before we start talking about 2018 in film let’s take one last look at 2017. The biggest industry news was Disney buying Fox, which brings wayward properties the X-Men and Fantastic Four back into the Marvel fold. I can’t wait to see what they’ll do with Fantastic Four villain Doctor Doom! Disney also made the most money by a studio ever, topping off at $6 billion. Despite that, total box office receipts were down 2.7 per cent. More alarming were the 75.6 million fewer tickets sold — a 5.8 per cent drop. [1]

In the year’s most unexpected news, Quentin Tarantino wants to direct a Star Trek movie and Paramount is developing his idea. The studio’s even willing to release an R-rated Star Trek. Will we finally find out what a quarter pounder with cheese is called in Klingon? Just kidding, we already know: it’s Royale nIm wIb ngogh.

China continues to be a major market but the country’s own movies have started to make big money. The Chinese action film Wolf Warrior 2 is 2017’s sixth-highest grossing movie and it never even played in North America.

Netflix continues to muscle into the movie business but the streaming service hasn’t quite cracked it yet. TV, on the other hand, is another story.

At DC/Warner Bros., Wonder Woman proved women can make blockbuster movies (apparently some people thought they couldn’t?), while Justice League proved even Joss Whedon can’t polish turds into diamonds. Universal, meanwhile, hopefully learned that you can’t launch a cinematic universe with a crappy Tom Cruise Mummy movie.

Audiences complained about the 20 seconds of silence in the latest Star Wars movie, not realizing that it’s intentional — which forced  theatres to post signs explaining to idiots that this was not a error or flaw.

Most importantly, 2017 saw the fall of Harvey Weinstein and many other predatory men who have used their positions of power to assault women (and sometimes men) with, until now, impunity. Good riddance.

Flashback’s Back!

The Cineplex Flashback Film Festival runs Feb. 2–8. I love this little fest and this year’s line-up, printed elsewhere in this paper, looks pretty good. I’ll have  more about the Flashback Film Festival next column.

1 All numbers from