Review: ‘Chance the Rapper’s Magnificent Coloring World,’ starring Chance the Rapper

August 13, 2021

by Carla Hay

Chance the Rapper in “Chance the Rapper’s Magnificent Coloring World” (Photo courtesy of House of Kicks and Park Pictures)

“Chance the Rapper’s Magnificent Coloring World”

Directed by Jake Schreier 

Culture Representation: Taking place in Chicago on April 8, 2017, the concert documentary “Chance the Rapper’s Magnificent Coloring World” features a racially diverse group of performers and about 1,500 audience members (mostly white and black, with some Latinos and Asians), who are mostly young people, gathered for a concert by Chance the Rapper.

Culture Clash: Whimsical and carefree childhood themes are on stage, while the song lyrics sometimes address social unrest and drug use. 

Culture Audience: Besides the obvious target audience of Chance the Rapper fans and people who like hip-hop, “Chance the Rapper’s Magnificent Coloring World” will appeal to people who enjoy high-energy concert films that are creative without being too extravagant and over-the-top.

Chance the Rapper in “Chance the Rapper’s Magnificent Coloring World” (Photo courtesy of House of Kicks and Park Pictures)

On April 18, 2017, Grammy-winning hip-hop artist Chance the Rapper held a secret concert in his hometown of Chicago. About 1,500 people were invited to watch him perform songs off of his breakthrough 2016 mixtape album “Coloring Book,” plus other notable tunes. (Based on who’s in the audience, most attendees were under the age of 30.) The result is this concert documentary that doesn’t do anything groundbreaking in its production and staging, but it’s a lively showcase for Chance the Rapper and his charismatic showmanship.

At 64 minutes long, it’s a briskly paced film that’s perfect for people who want a fairly quick dose of Chance the Rapper performing live. However, if the documentary had been 90 minutes or longer, it would have benefited from more behind-the-scenes footage of how this show’s production elements were put together. According to what Chance the Rapper says in the movie, the basic elements of the production happened in just a few weeks. It took a lot longer than a few weeks to plan it though.

In an interview shown before the movie gets to the concert footage, Chance the Rapper says that he had a vision for years to do a show like this—steeped in childhood nostalgia but reflective of who he is as an artist who expresses adult experiences. In keeping with the “Coloring Book”/childhood theme, fans who were invited to the show were transported to the venue in yellow school buses. One of the stage props is a Sunday Candy store.

Before getting to the concert footage, the movie begins with some grainy, archival footage in black and white of Chance the Rapper (whose real name is Chancellor Jonathan Bennett) at age 8 or 9, performing at a talent contest by singing and doing some Michael Jackson-inspired dance moves (including the moonwalk) and being elated when he won the contest. Then there’s a standard montage of people who work with Chance the Rapper talking about how great and visionary he is. It’s fairly predictable commentary that you would expect from people on a celebrity’s payroll.

Tour manager Colleen Mares says that Chance the Rapper becoming a husband and father affected his spirituality in a positive way. Choir director Rachel Robinson echoes those thoughts, by saying, “His musical journey is parallel to his spiritual journey.” Other people who weigh in with their praise include film director Jake Schreier, production designer Michael Apostolos, drummer Greg “Stix” Landfair, sound engineer Jabari “Jack Red” Rayford and choreographers Pause Eddie and Ian Eastwood.

In all, there were about 100 people in the crew who worked on the show, according to what Chance Rapper says in the documentary interview. He says his first thought in deciding to do the concert was: “How do we mic the audience?” He adds that he didn’t want it to be the type of concert film where the audio from the audience was toned down. He wanted the concert to feel fully immersive. “I like creating experiences,” he says.

As an example of how important sound is in enhancing the visual experience, he demonstrates in a kitchen how hearing a running faucet before you walk into a room can affect your anticipation of what to see in the room. And then, the movie shows how perspectives change when you see faucet with running water, but you don’t hear the water. Chance the Rapper is obviously fascinated with the technical aspects of filmmaking, which is why if this documentary has been longer, it definitely needed more behind-the-scenes insight into his decisions for how this concert was staged and filmed. (He’s one of the documentary’s producers.)

Not much in this concert will be surprising to people who saw Chance the Rapper on his “Coloring Book” tour, since this concert was filmed during the tour. At times, there’s a choir on stage. There’s also a string orchestra led by a conductor. For “Same Drugs,” he sings and plays the piano while sitting next to someone dressed as a bird wearing a hippie-like headband. Even though Chance the Rapper has collaborated with many artists, there are no surprise guest apperances in this concert documentary.

Some of the concert highlights include his rousing renditions of “Blessings Part 1” and “Blessings Part 2” with the choir and getting the audience to sing along like it’s a church revival. A more contemplative moment comes with “Summer Friends,” where it’s just Chance the Rapper on stage accompanied by a keyboardist using a vocal effects processor, as they’re bathed in a soft white lighting glow. Other songs performed in the film include “D.R.A.M. Sings Special,” “Everybody’s Something,” “Windows,” “Angels,” “All Night,” “We Go High” and “All We Got.”

The show features high-energy hip-hop backup dancers. And there’s some theatrical acting on stage too, with a set piece constructed like the outside of a nightclub and a bouncer who won’t let hopeful patrons past the security rope. It’s a little corny and better-suited for a Broadway show, but at least it does not take up too much of the concert.

Chance the Rapper is not a highly accomplished dancer (he lets his backup dancers do the flashy dance moves), but he’s very good at commanding the stage. He also excels at connecting with his audience. One of the highlights of the film is toward the end, when he goes down to the audience level in the front row to touch people hands and give them high-fives. He also namechecks Chicago multiple times, and says at one point, “Chicago, thanks so much for all you’ve done for me!”

“Chance the Rapper’s Magnificent Coloring World” is self-distributed through Chance the Rapper’s House of Kicks company, exclusively at AMC Theatres for a limited time. It’s reportedly the first time that a music artist has self-distributed a film with AMC Theatres. Considering that Chance the Rapper is not touring in 2021 (he’s only scheduled to perform at Milwaukee’s Summerfest in 2021), seeing this documentary in a movie theater will be the closest that most of his fans will have to experiencing a full Chance the Rapper concert with some late 2010s nostalgia of how his shows were back then.

This documentary is not the type of giant concert spectacle that people will be talking about for years. Nor is it extraordinary when it comes to the concert’s production theme, set designs, costume design or choreography. However, it’s very enjoyable to watch, especially for people who are inclined to like hip-hop or at least have an appreciation for music with catchy beats. And it’s a good way for people unfamiliar with Chance the Rapper to get a sense of who he is as an artist on stage.

House of Kicks and Park Pictures released “Chance the Rapper’s Magnificent Coloring World” in U.S. cinemas (exclusively in AMC Theatres) on August 13, 2021.

Movie theater meltdown: AMC Theatres, Regal Cinemas, Cineplex and more shut down because of coronavirus pandemic

March 17, 2020

by Carla Hay

Updated March 20, 2021

As of March 17, 2020, thousands of movie theaters across the United States will be closing until further notice because of the coronavirus pandemic. They join the thousands of other cinemas around the world that have also shut down for the same reasons.

AMC TheatresRegal Cinemas, Cinemark and Cineplex are closing until further notice all of their locations in the United States. Cinemark is closing as of March 18, 2020, while the other major cinema companies are closing as of March 17, 2020. In the U.S., several independent movie theaters, such as Alamo Drafthouse and Landmark, also closed of all their locations.  In some cities and states, these closures are mandatory. In other areas, the closings are voluntary.

Refunds are being given for tickets purchased in advance for screenings that will no longer take place. AMC, Regal and Alamo Drafthouse all have subscription services. As of this writing, only AMC has officially announced that it will not charge subscription fees during the period of time that its theaters are closed, although Regal and Alamo Drafthouse will no doubt have similar policies. AMC also announced that its subscriptions expirations will not be in effect during the closure of AMC Theaters.

Other movie-theater chains in North America that have closed until further notice include Marcus Theatres, Harkins Theatres, B&B Theatres, National Amusements (also known as Showcase), Caribbean Cinemas, Goodrich Quality Theaters, Southern Theatres, Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas, Neighborhood Cinema Group and Georgia Theatre Company.

Most of the movie theaters in the U.S. that are remaining open have pledged to not book theater rooms at more than 50% capacity. But given the huge dropoff in moviegoing since the coronavirus outbreak was classified as a pandemic, attendance at movie theaters was reaching well below 50% anyway.

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the three largest cinema companiesCineworld, Odeon and Picturehouse—are also closing all of their locations, as of March 17, 2020, in Ireland and as of March 18, 2020, in the United Kingdom. These shutdowns will continue until further notice.

What does this mean for movie audiences? Major studios are shortening the period of time that movies in theatrical release will be released on home video for rental or purchase. Universal Pictures has already announced that it will release DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls World Tour” on video on demand (VOD) and in theaters on April 10, 2020. “Trolls World Tour” had previously been scheduled for theatrical release only on that date. Other movies that are currently in theatrical release will have their home-video releases moved up.

The industry standard used to be that major studios would wait at least 90 days before a movie in theatrical release would be released on home video or streaming services. (This rule wasn’t followed by most independent studios.) The major studios would be threatened with boycotts by corporate-owned movie theaters if they didn’t comply with this 90-day window. And it’s why corporate-owned theaters such as AMC, Regal, Cineplex and Cinemark would not carry independent films and films from streaming services that didn’t follow this release mandate.

But now, with almost all of these corporate-owned movie theaters closed until further notice, they no longer have the power to dictate when studios can release films on home video after a theatrical release. The power has now shifted to those who can deliver movies to people in ways that don’t involve movie theaters. Going to the movie theaters won’t be considered obsolete, but the coronavirus pandemic has permanently altered the cinema business. It’s going to take a very long time for movie theaters to recover. Going to movie theaters just won’t reach the same levels that it had during its peak.

Click here for an updated list of other corona virus-related cancellations and postponements in the entertainment industry.

June 19, 2020 UPDATE: The three biggest cinema companies in the U.S. have announced their re-opening dates:

  • Regal Cinemas: July 10, 2020
  • AMC Theatres: July 15, 2020
  • Cinemark: July 17, 2020

Regal and AMC have announced that they will require all employees and customers to wear masks in the theater building. Customers who show up without masks can purchase masks at the theater location. Cinemark will require all employees to wear masks but will not require customers to wear masks in states or cities that do not have policies requiring that people wear masks in public.

In addition, most movie theaters have pledged to not book screening rooms above 50% capacity. Customers will be encouraged to purchase their tickets online or at kiosks instead of at a theater box office. In addition, placing advance online orders for food is also being encouraged. The major cinema companies have also announced stricter guidelines for more frequent cleaning and social distancing inside each theater location’s building.

October 5, 2020 UPDATE:  Cineworld, the company that owns Regal Cinemas and Picturehouse, has announced that, for the second time in 2020, it is temporarily closing all of its U.S. theater locations. The temporary closures begin on October 8, 2020. In addition, all Cineworld and Picturehouse location in the United Kingdom will also temporarily close, as of October 8, 2020. The reason cited is the lack of blockbuster movies scheduled for release in 2020. It has not been announced yet when these Regal Cinemas, Cineworld and Picturehouse locations will re-open.

March 20, 2021 UPDATE: Regal Cinemas will re-open on April 2, 2021.

AMC Theatres announces worldwide boycott of Universal Pictures due to ‘Trolls World Tour’ home-video release

April 28, 2020

by Carla Hay

On April 28, 2020, AMC Theatres (the world’s largest cinema company) announced that it is implementing a worldwide boycott of Universal Pictures because the movie studio broke the 90-day embargo for when a movie can be released on home video after being in movie theaters. The boycott was announced after Universal Pictures released the DreamWorks Animation film sequel “Trolls World Tour” directly to home video on April 10, 2020, the day that the movie had been scheduled to be released in movie theaters.

Corporate-owned movie theaters have traditionally refused to carry movies that are released on home video or streaming services within a 90-day period of the movies being released in movie theaters. These movies typically play at independently owned movie theaters, which do not have this strict 90-day embargo policy. It’s why Netflix movies do not play in major theater chains such as AMC, Regal, Cinemark and Cineplex.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, AMC shut down all of its cinema locations in the U.S. and Canada, as of March 18, 2020. Almost all other movie theaters (corporate and independent) in the U.S., Canada and several other countries also closed the same week. As of this writing, most of the movie theaters have remained closed with no specific re-opening dates announced yet. The majority of AMC theater locations are in the United States, which has about 660 AMC theaters, making AMC the largest movie-theater chain in the U.S.

AMC Entertainment president/CEO Adam Aron issued a statement about the Universal Pictures boycott that read, in part: “Going forward, AMC will not license any Universal movies in any of our 1,000 theatres globally on these terms. Accordingly, we want to be absolutely clear, so that there is no ambiguity of any kind. AMC believes that with this proposed action to go to the home and theatres simultaneously, Universal is breaking the business model and dealings between our two companies. It assumes that we will meekly accept a reshaped view of how studios and exhibitors should interact, with zero concern on Universal’s part as to how its actions affect us. It also presumes that Universal in fact can have its cake and eat it too, that Universal film product can be released to the home and theatres at the same time, without modification to the current economic arrangements between us.”

The statement continues: “Therefore, effectively immediately AMC will no longer play any Universal movies in any of our theatres in the United States, Europe or the Middle East. This policy affects any and all Universal movies per se, goes into effect today and as our theatres reopen, and is not some hollow or ill-considered threat. Incidentally, this policy is not aimed solely at Universal out of pique or to be punitive in any way, it also extends to any movie maker who unilaterally abandons current windowing practices absent good faith negotiations between us, so that they as distributor and we as exhibitor both benefit and neither are hurt from such changes. Currently, with the press comment today, Universal is the only studio contemplating a wholesale change to the status quo. Hence, this immediate communication in response.”

Universal Pictures released “Trolls World Tour” in North America at the premium video-on-demand (PVOD) rental price of $19.99, which allowed renters to watch the movie for up to 48 hours. Universal has not yet announced when “Trolls World Tour” will be available for purchase on digital, DVD or Blu-ray. On April 28, 2020, Universal Pictures announced that “Trolls World Tour” had revenue of $100 million in PVOD rentals in its first three weeks of availability in North America.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, major and independent studios have dramatically changed their theatrical release schedules for their films, with most the theatrical releases getting pushed back several months. Universal Pictures movies whose theatrical release dates have been postponed and rescheduled include  “Fast & Furious 9,” now due out on April 2, 2021; “Jurassic World: Dominion” (June 11, 2021); “Minions: The Rise of Gru” (July 2, 2021); and “Sing 2” (December 22, 2021). Universal Pictures’ next release after “Trolls World Tour” is the comedy “The King of Staten Island” (starring Pete Davidson and directed by Judd Apatow), which will be released directly to video on June 12, 2020, a week before the movie’s originally scheduled theatrical release date.

After the success of “Trolls World Tour” being released directly to video, Warner Bros. Pictures announced that it would follow a similar strategy for the animated Scooby Doo film “Scoob!,” which was originally scheduled to be released in theaters on May 15, 2020. The movie’s release date is still the same, but it will now be on digital and VOD. Unlike Universal’s rental-only strategy for “Trolls World Tour,” Warner Bros. is making “Scoob!” available for rent and purchase on the same day.

Meanwhile, AMC Theatres, like many other cinema companies, is reportedly running out of operational cash. The company is headquartered in Leawood, Kansas, but AMC is actually owned by the Chinese corporation Wanda Group. In October 2019, AMC began offering VOD rentals and purchases of digital film releases under the name AMC Theatres On Demand, but AMC’s studio boycott does not extend to that service. Universal Pictures titles (such as  “The Invisible Man” and “The Hunt”) are still available on AMC Theatres On Demand.

So far, AMC is the only corporate-owned movie theater to announce that it is boycotting any studios that break the 90-day embargo. Alamo Drafthouse and Landmark are two of the independent cinema companies with several U.S. locations that do not limit their selections to movies that have a 90-day home-video/streaming service embargo, so this boycott war does not apply to them.

However, as long as any movie theaters are closed for an undetermined period of time, their financial clout has significantly weakened. Boycotted studios will just take their movies to other theaters that are willing to carry their films. And even after theaters have re-opened, no one knows yet how long it will take for business at movie theaters to get back to “normal,” or if the peak of cinema attendance is now a thing of the past.

April 29, 2020 UPDATE: Cineworld/Regal Cinemas has now joined the boycott. Click here for more details.

July 28, 2020 UPDATE: AMC Theaters and Universal Pictures have reached a truce in their feud. According to Variety, AMC has agreed to carry Universal’s films in AMC Theatres, as long as AMC can have those movies in AMC’s U.S. theaters for a minimum of 17 days, including three weekends.

After the 17 days, Universal will likely make the movies available through premium video on demand (PVOD), which allows viewers to rent a movie on digital and TV platforms for up to 48 hours, for about twice the cost of a regular, non-3D movie theater ticket. The agreement also says that three months after a movie’s theatrical release, the movie’s rental price can then drop to a regular VOD rental price range, which is about half the cost of a regular non-3D movie theater ticket.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but AMC CEO Aron said that AMC will “share in these new revenue streams” with Universal. It has also not been revealed yet if AMC Theatres will have this policy for its locations outside the United States.

Click here for an updated list of other corona virus-related cancellations and postponements in the entertainment industry.

‘Avengers: Endgame’ breaks pre-sale records, crashes numerous movie ticket sites; Marvel 22 marathon announced

April 2, 2019

by Carla Hay

Marvel superhero fever has reached new heights as Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Endgame” (which arrives in cinemas on April 26, 2019) broke first-day pre-sale records for Fandango and Atom Tickets. When the movie’s tickets went on sale at 8 a.m. ET on April 2, 2019, demand was so high that it apparently caused website crashes for AMC Theatres (the largest cinema chain in the United States), Alamo Drafthouse, Fandango and Atom Tickets. AMC Theatres’ website was offline for at least five hours during the crash. Numerous customers who normally would have purchased tickets online had to go to movie theaters to get their tickets.

According to an Atom Tickets press release: “‘Avengers: Endgame” has set a new record on Atom Tickets for the best first day of sales in less than half a day (and ticket purchases are ongoing). So far, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ has outsold the previous record held by ‘Aquaman,’ by four times the amount … To date, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ has sold three times more tickets on Atom in the first hour of pre-sales than ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ did last year. The first hour of pre-sales for ‘Avengers: Endgame’ sets a new record for Atom Tickets, outpacing ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ and ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ which round out the top 3 movies with the best first hour of presales.”

While supplies last, Atom is offering an exclusive “Avengers: Endgame” movie poster designed by Australian artist Bosslogic as a gift with a ticket purchase. Bosslogic. AMC and Alamo Drafthouse also have their own exclusive “Avengers: Endgame” giveaways for people who buy tickets for the “Avengers: Endgame” preview shows taking place on April 25, 2019.

Meanwhile, Fandango announced that “Avengers: Endgame” now holds the Fandango record as the biggest-selling movie for first-day pre-sale tickets, This Fandango record was previously held by 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which now holds Fandango’s No. 2 spot, followed by 2017’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” at No. 3; 2016’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” at No. 4; and 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War” at No. 5.

“Avengers: Endgame” has a superhero cast that includes Iron Man (played by Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (played by Chris Evans), Black Widow (played by Scarlett Joahnsson), Hawkeye (played by Jeremy Renner), War Machine (played by Don Cheadle), Ant-Man (played by Paul Rudd) and Captain Marvel (played by Brie Larson). “Avengers: Endgame,” which clocks in at a little more than three hours, is expected to be reveal what happened to all the superheroes who “died” in “Avengers: Infinity War.” Brother duo Anthony Russo and Joe Russo directed “Avengers: Endgame,” as well as “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Captain America: Civil War” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”

“Marvel 22” Marathon

Adding to the Marvel superhero madness, AMC Theaters, Alamo Drafthouse,  Cinemark and Megaplex Theatres are hosting “Marvel 22,” a 59-hour marathon in select cities showing all 22 of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, from 2008’s “Iron Man” to 2019’s “Avengers: Infinity War.” AMC and Cinemark are charging $125 per ticket, while Alamo Drafthouse is charging $135 per ticket, and Megaplex is charging $99 per ticket. The ticket price includes some concession discount offers and exclusive Marvel memorabilia. The marathon begins on April 23, 2019, and start times vary by theater.

 

 

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