‘Fist Fight’ Star JoAnna Garcia Swisher Promises a ‘Lot of Heart’ in Ice Cube, Charlie Day Comedy (Video)

“Fist Fight” stars Ice Cube and Charlie Day as two school teachers who plan to fight each other in the parking lot — but JoAnna Garcia Swisher, who also stars in the film, promises the film doesn’t only provide laughs but has a lot of heart as well.

“This is a perfect time, this is one of those things — not to get too deep into the deeper meaning of the movie — but there is a lot of heart in this movie,” Swisher told TheWrap’s Stuart Brazell.

“The only way you can unleash these crazy comedians in a situation like this — which they actually did, sort of unleash them and film the whole process — is if you have that heart, so we have a good balance.

Also Read: ‘Fist Fight’ Review: Ice Cube and Charlie Day Star in an Afterschool Not-So-Special

“It’s not a huge think piece, you just go there and have fun and enjoy,” she added.

The comedy, directed by Richie Keen, also stars Christina Hendricks, Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell and Kumail Nanjiani. Swisher plays Day’s wife who is 10 months pregnant and is about to pop.

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“Who could be more mismatched than Charlie Day and Ice Cube?” Brazell asked. “If Ice Cube told me he wanted to fight me, I would just move.”

“I would absolutely run for the hills,” added Swisher.

Also Read: Tracy Morgan to Join Ice Cube, Charlie Day in New Line Comedy ‘Fist Fight’ (Exclusive)

“Fist Fight” opens this Friday.

Watch the video above.

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‘Fist Fight’ Review: Ice Cube, Charlie Day Star in an Afterschool Not-So-Special

By default, the hyper aggressive high school comedy “Fist Fight” is an argument against bullying, since the sheer force of its crude, empty shenanigans is more likely to make you cower than laugh. Ostensibly built around the lopsided gag of a mousy English teacher (Charlie Day) forced into an after-school scrap with a menacing colleague (Ice Cube) — at best the B story in any standard-issue classroom sitcom — it’s mostly another nail in the coffin of R-rated outrageousness and ad-libbed sloppiness.

Envelope-pushing has rarely seemed so pencil-pushing, while the “F” bomb is as numbingly deployed as “like” is in the speech of bored teenagers.

At times, you’re tempted to believe Ice Cube just filmed a bunch of takes of him giving a death glare or threatening someone off-camera and then let anyone build whatever movie they wanted around him. Other times, you wonder if Charlie Day’s contract should include a rider that caps the number of times he screams lines at an annoying fever-pitch. That Ice Cube‘s authoritatively mean presence and Day’s comically scratchy whine are singular gifts you rapidly grow tired of is just one of the joy-sapping hallmarks in this freshman feature debut from TV director Richie Keen.

Also Read: ‘Fist Fight’ Director Richie Keen to Helm ‘Partners’ for New Line

Day plays Andy Campbell, a nervous teacher who arrives on the last day of class at his underfunded, poorly-run high school to find the annual senior prank tradition in full swing: toilet paper everywhere, mattress rides down the stairs, porn playing in the trophy case, and a horse on meth roaming the halls. But it’s the kind of chaos that suggests the students have always run things, and with budget cuts ensuring a fair number of teachers will get pink slips that day, all Andy can think about — with a wife (JoAnna Garcia Swisher) about to give birth — is making his case later for not getting fired.

Like nearly everyone, adult and teenager, at Roosevelt High School, Andy is scared by fearsome history teacher Mr. Strickland (Ice Cube), first seen brandishing a bat à la “Lean On Me,” and later, in his classroom, a fire axe, which he applies to an offending student’s desk after being subjected to a prank. Andy witnesses this, and rats Strickland out to the principal (Dean Norris) as a job-saving measure, which incurs the erstwhile schoolyard challenge from the snarling Strickland: 3 p.m., outside, and stitches for snitches.

Also Read: Ice Cube, Allen Iverson Launch 3-on-3 Basketball League With Former NBA Players

It’s impossible to convey how thoroughly unsuspenseful this premise is since Andy is unlikeable enough to deserve such a comeuppance, and his options for avoiding this showdown are numerous, starting with simply going home. The real story in Van Robichaux and Evan Susser’s burp of a screenplay is the outdated act-like-a-man vibe that drives the testosterone-slathered comedy, with milquetoast Andy’s avoidance schemes a never-ending source of stale humiliation jokes and jags of ear-piercing yelling. (Seriously, whatever happened to deadpan reactions? Silent double takes?)

Ice Cube’s Strickland, meanwhile, starts out a tantalizingly tough figure — righteous about fixing a broken school but borderline psychotic — until the fight-clock gimmick turns him into a cartoon adversary.

That leaves, as usual, supporting players to fill in, and “Fist Fight” does a talented cast no favors. Christina Hendricks is wasted in an unfunny one-note character (the prissy teacher with a sadistic side). It’s comforting to see Tracy Morgan back in the game as a long-suffering coach, but after a requisite wisecrack about impregnation, he’s mysteriously uninspired.

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“22 Jump Street” scene-stealer Jillian Bell’s guidance counselor is another of the actress’s patented whack jobs — a tweaker who lusts for her students — but it’s a forced bit more expectedly distasteful than genuinely silly. Kumail Nanjiani (“Silicon Valley”), meanwhile, shows up as a school security guard for two scenes, and the desire to follow him home, where his bemused character’s life is surely more funny, is strong.

“Fist Fight” is so ineptly assembled, shoddy-looking and devoid of comic tension or creative lunacy — like a movie comprised of outtakes — that you half-expect the filmmakers not even to deliver a fist fight. (That they do, for a big crowd and news cameras, but only after it becomes a pointless face-off emotionally for Andy or Strickland.) That ultimate skirmish lends the movie a weird aura of give-the-people-what-they-what bloodsport, and toxic masculinity for toxic masculinity’s sake.

There’s the flimsiest attempt to justify it for one character’s ulterior purposes as an example to the world of how degraded the public-school system has become, but it carries about as much issue resonance here as the term “organic” does on a box of chocolate cookies. Even so, scarfing down those cookies is infinitely more satisfying than anything in “Fist Fight.”

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‘Fist Fight’ Director Richie Keen to Helm ‘Partners’ for New Line

“Fist Fight” director Richie Keen is set to direct “Partners” for New Line, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.

New Line and Keen partnered on “Fist Fight,” which is the director’s first feature film and stars Ice Cube, Charlie Day, Tracy Morgan and Jillian Bell. It opens in theaters this Friday.

“Partners” will follow an LAPD detective who falls for a woman after a one-night stand, but soon learns she is an FBI agent and his new boss on a high-profile case.

Also Read: Tracy Morgan to Join Ice Cube, Charlie Day in New Line Comedy ‘Fist Fight’ (Exclusive)

Evan Turner wrote the original screenplay, with the most recent draft having been written by Sam Pitman and Adam Cole-Kelly.

Keen’s other directorial credits include the TV series “The Goldbergs,” “The Comedians” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

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He is represented by CAA, Lonestar Entertainment and attorney Adam Kaller.

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‘Lego Batman Movie’ to Fight Off Newcomers ‘The Great Wall,’ ‘Fist Fight’ at Holiday Weekend Box Office

Second-week movies “The Lego Batman Movie,” “Fifty Shades Darker” and “John Wick: Chapter Two” are expected to lord over this week’s newcomers “The Great Wall,” “Fist Fight” and “A Cure for Wellness” at the President’s Day weekend box office.

“Lego Batman” earned $53 million last weekend, followed by “Fifty Shades” ($46.6 million) and “John Wick” with $30.4 million. The latter earned more than double of the first “John Wick” in 2014, also exceeding expectations by double.

“Lego Batman” is expected to take the weekend again, given that its core audience has the day off from school on Monday.

Also Read: ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ Snaps Up $55.6 Million to Top Box Office

“With exceptional word of mouth so far, ‘Lego Batman’ should easily repeat in first place over the holiday weekend as families take advantage of the Monday off from school,” senior BoxOffice.com analyst Shawn Robbins told TheWrap. “This is exactly the position Warner Bros. wanted to be in as the first high profile animated release of the year, and the dividends will continue to pay off in the weeks ahead. We’re expecting it to land between $40-45 million over the four-day period, or possibly a bit higher if it follows the same trend of the first ‘Lego Movie.’”

Legendary and Universal’s “The Great Wall,” starring Matt Damon, will be released in approximately 3,326 North American theaters (including 3D and IMAX)  this weekend. The studio anticipated a four-day opening in the high-teens, with trackers saying it could even hit the low-$20 millions.

Directed by Zhang Yimou, “The Great Wall” has grossed $171 million in China and an additional $53.5 million from 31 other international markets. This weekend, it will open day-and-date with North America and other markets including Australia, Russia and the United Kingdom.

“The Great Wall” is based on a story by Max Brooks (“World War Z”) and Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz (“The Last Samurai”). The film follows an elite force making a valiant stand for humanity on the world’s most iconic structure. Pedro Pascal and Willem Dafoe also star.

The producers are Thomas Tull, Charles Roven, Jon Jashni, Peter Loehr. Jillian Share, Alex Gartner, La Peikang, Zhang Zhao and E. Bennett Walsh serve as executive producers.

New Line Cinema’s “Fist Fight” is opening in 3,200 locations, and the studio is anticipating a return of roughly $15 million for the three-day weekend. For the four-day weekend, analysts are anticipating the film to gross in the $18 million-to-$21 million range.

Also Read: ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ Review: Animated Superhero Saga Clicks Spoof to Sincerity

The film, starring Ice Cube, Charlie Day, Jullian Bell, Kumail Nanjiani and Tracy Morgan, was produced for a budget in the low-$20 millions.

Richie Keen directed the comedy. Day plays a mild-mannered teacher who is challenged to a fist fight by a much tougher colleague, played by Ice Cube.

Fox and New Regency are releasing their film “A Cure for Wellness” on Friday as well. Analysts are anticipating a return in the $8 million to $11 million range. Fox is being a little more conservative with their estimates, eyeing a return in the $6 million to $8 million range for the four-day weekend when it opens in 2,703 locations.

“A Cure for Wellness” is set in a mysterious spa in the Alps and follows a young businessman who goes there to find his company’s CEO, but soon discovers that the spa doesn’t deliver what is advertises. The film stars Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs and Mia Goth.

The film has a low score of 36 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Its budget was $40 million.

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Colleen Wing kicks butt in new ‘Iron Fist’ clip

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“This little girl things she can fight me?” a muscled man yells at the sight of Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) in Iron Fist. Um, yeah, she does, and she’s right. 

Wing kicks the cocky crap out of two opponents in this clip from Netflix’s upcoming Marvel drama, and it’s just a teaser for the many skilled fight sequences the show is sure to deliver. Wing is a Japanese martial artist who joins forces in Marvel comics with Luke Cage‘s Misty Knight to fight crime (YES, PLEASE). For now, she’s helping Danny Rand (Finn Jones) and she looks like a powerful ally.  Read more…

More about Video, Marvel, Iron Fist, Netflix, and Television

‘Marvel’s Iron Fist’: Your First Good Look at Fan Favorite Colleen Wing (Video)

Bow to Colleen Wing, Netflix subscribers.

The streaming giant gave the world its best look so far at the female lead character from “Marvel’s Iron Fist” on Wednesday morning during a company press event in New York City. Played by Jessica Henwick, Wing is a Japanese martial artist who will avenge her grandfather’s death with the help of the series’ titular superhero, Danny Rand’s (Finn Jones) alter-ego.

Here’s her backstory from the comics: After arriving in New York City, Wing befriends former cop Misty Knight, whom she starts a private investigation agency with. As P.I.s, the two often collaborate with Heroes for Hire, which is comprised of Luke Cage and the aforementioned Iron Fist. Wing and Knight later form crime fighting duo, Daughters of the Dragon.

Also Read: The Final Defender Arrives in New York in Marvel’s First Full ‘Iron Fist’ Trailer (Video)

In a 2010 “Daredevil” storyline, “Shadowland”, Wing becomes the leader of The Nail, a splinter group of The Hand ninja clan, per Wikipedia. Wing first appeared in November 1974’s “Marvel Premiere No. 19” by Doug Moench and Larry Hama. Now she’s ready for primetime — or really, whenever you choose to stream “Iron Fist.”

Watch the upcoming shows first full trailer here and check out the brand new Wing-centric scene above.

“Marvel’s Iron Fist” Season 1 drop(kick)s in its entirety March 17 on Netflix.

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Box office preview: ‘LEGO Batman’ to blast through Matt Damon’s ‘Great Wall’

After audiences flocked to see three new, high-profile releases last week, an additional trio of wide challengers are crowding theaters this Friday. Might Fifty Shades Darker take a box office lashing over its sophomore weekend? Will John Wick: Chapter 2 hold steady at No. 3? Can The LEGO Batman Movie charge through Matt Damon’s Great Wall?

Check out the Feb.17-20 four-day box office projections below.

1. The LEGO Batman Movie – $45 million 

Using The LEGO Movie as a barometer, things are looking good for Warner Bros. Animation’s third major big-screen outing. While not a direct sequel to the original (a box office juggernaut that grossed $257.8 million in North America), LEGO Batman tapped the same audience at the same time of year its forerunner did, and grossed $53 million last weekend. While Valentine’s Day undoubtedly helped the film’s mid-week numbers (it jumped from $2.7 million to over $5 million from Monday to Tuesday), the film doesn’t need a holiday tie-in to fuel its grosses in the long run, unlike Fifty Shades Darker. With broad cross-demographic appeal and a sturdy superhero franchise at its core, The LEGO Batman Movie should tumble a slight 10-30 percent over its ssecond-weekend outing.

2. Fifty Shades Darker – $20 million

While Fifty Shades of Grey notched one of history’s biggest second-weekend drops for a wide release in history, there’s a reasonable explanation: the film opened 24 hours before Valentine’s Day in 2015, meaning a surge in ticket sales to coincide with the romantic holiday. Fifty Shades Darker entered theaters across the same frame, though its initial three-day gross clocked in at roughly half of its predecessor’s. Still, the film could benefit from the four-day President’s Day weekend to balloon its total even further, as it remains the most prominent romance-themed picture on the market.

Look for Fifty Shades Darker to whip up between $17 million and $23 million over the four-day frame.

3. John Wick: Chapter 2 – $19 million 

John Wick: Chapter 2 more than doubled the $14.4 million opening gross posted by the first film in the John Wick series, which quickly became a modern cult classic upon its 2014 theatrical bow; its successor premiered to an astonishing $30.4 million, falling just short of becoming star Keanu Reeves’ biggest opener since The Day the Earth Stood Still opened with $30.5 million in 2008. Strong word-of-mouth (Chapter 2 currently has an A- grade on CinemaScore — a full letter higher than the first film) and borderline-rabid fan affinity for the brand should be enough to keep it from dipping more than 40 percent this weekend.

4. Fist Fight – $17.5 million 

Audiences are yearning for a good laugh, as a major mainstream comedy hasn’t opened wide since December’s Why Him? That changes with the release of New Line’s Charlie Day/Ice Cube laugher Fist Fight, which launches at approximately 3,200 sites on Friday (with Thursday previews).

The Warner Bros. family has found success in the genre in the recent past, including with 2016’s runaway hit Central Intelligence ($127.4 million domestically), How to Be Single ($112.3 million worldwide), and Vacation ($104.9 million worldwide). Though Fist Fight‘s talent roster isn’t as robust as those titles’, Charlie Day, Ice Cube, and Tracy Morgan seemingly make an ace comedic grouping in the film’s marketing materials. Expect Fist Fight to pull in around $16 million to $19 million over the holiday period.

5. The Great Wall – $17 million 

Controversy aside, there seems to be little reason for domestic audiences to book a trip back in time with Damon aboard Legendary and Universal Pictures’ The Great Wall, a historical monster movie set during the Song dynasty. While the film is directed by Zhang Yimou, one of the most well-respected Chinese filmmakers working today, most North American ticket-buyers have likely never heard of the filmmaker, and poor critical reception for his latest offering will do little to capture their interest. Foreign audiences, however, have eaten the film up, with a solid $224.5 million pouring in from international markets so far. Regardless of its domestic performance (likely in the $13 million-$18 million range), the film is already a global hit.

Outside the top five, Fox’s A Cure for Wellness looks to scare up a so-so $6 million-$8 million figure on a $40 million budget. The film hits 2,702 locations as Gore Verbinski’s first major theatrical feature since Disney’s The Lone Ranger bowed in 2013.

Judging by marketing materials, the film’s spooky tone recalls brooding thrillers from the late 1990s and early 2000s, like The Others, What Lies Beneath, and The Haunting, and could outperform initial industry projections as solid counter-programming to this week’s family-oriented (LEGO Batman), comedic (Fist Fight), and action-intensive (John Wick: Chapter 2) fare.

‘The House’ Trailer: Will Ferrell & Amy Poehler Go All-In

New Line Cinema has unveiled the trailer for its upcoming comedy The House starring Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler. It drops the same day as the Warner Bros label preps to launch its newest pic Fist Fight in theaters beginning tonight.
In The House, directed and co-written by Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates and Neighbors scribe Andrew Jay Cohen, Ferrell and Poehler play parents who discover they can’t afford to send their daughter to the college she just got into, so a…