Thursday 29 February 2024 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Thursday. 29/2/2024

The Monocle Minute

The Opinion

Close quarters: ‘Anyone but You’ grosses more than €185m at the box office

Image: Alamy

Culture / Fernando Augusto Pacheco

Labours of love

The news that Will Gluck’s Anyone but You has become the first romcom to gross more than $200m (€185m) since 2018 could be a sign that the genre is finally making a comeback. The film has achieved the impressive feat of matching the performance of recent superhero movie The Marvels; meanwhile, the Spider-Man spin-off Madame Web, released earlier this month, has tanked spectacularly. In its first 12 days, the latter picture’s global box-office takings totalled just $77.4m (€71.4m) – causing some to question the future of the long-dominant superhero genre.

The returning success of these mid-budget films shouldn’t surprise studios. The romcom never really died: it was just relegated from cinemas to streaming platforms. From When Harry Met Sally… to My Best Friend’s Wedding, the genre has always been well loved and played an important role in the film world. Though streaming services are still producing successful romcoms such as Upgraded on Amazon Prime and One Day on Netflix, the fact that studios are greenlighting more of them for the silver screen is promising. We have plenty to look forward to this year, from Luca Guadagnino’s tennis romp Challengers to Richard LaGravenese’s A Family Affair, starring Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron. This week there has even been the announcement of a new Bridget Jones film.

The projected numbers for Anyone but You were quite modest. Its surprise success was largely the result of word of mouth. Viewers are evidently longing for the genre’s comforting escapism and optimism. Besides, it’s good for the public to have more choice in the multiplex: there’s room for something that lies between The Avengers and The Zone of Interest. And let’s face it, there are only so many multiverses that we can care about. The romcom is just what the big screen needs today.

Fernando Augusto Pacheco is a senior correspondent for Monocle Radio. For more opinion, analysis and insight, subscribe to Monocle today.

The Briefings

Diplomacy / Turkey

Talking the talk

Officials from more than 100 countries will meet in Turkey tomorrow for the annual Antalya Diplomacy Forum. The event was first held in 2021 by the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and aims to promote Turkey’s diplomatic efforts while advancing its co-operation with other nations. In 2022 the forum hosted the first meeting between Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, and his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Since then, however, Turkey’s diplomatic power has waned and Erdogan’s efforts to position himself as a mediator between Israel and Hamas have fallen flat. This year’s theme is “Advancing Diplomacy in Times of Turmoil”, so expect discussions about the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza, as well as global issues such as climate change, food security and terrorism.

Chapeau! Emmanuel Macron and Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo visit the Olympic Village building site

Image: Reuters

Urbanism / France

Good sport

Emmanuel Macron will head to Seine-Saint-Denis today to inaugurate the Olympic Village ahead of the 2024 Paris Games. The village, which will accommodate about 14,500 athletes, is one of three structures that have been purpose-built for the event. A major aim of the development is to reconcile the once-neglected northern outskirts of the French capital with the city centre.

After the Olympics and Paralympics, the structure will be transformed into social housing, creating new homes for 6,000 people, as well as offices and educational facilities. As the location of the Stade de France, the industrial suburb has always been something of a sporting hot spot. The construction of the Athletes’ Village and nearby aquatics centre will further boost its residents’ quality of life.

Camera ready: Comac debuts the C919

Image: Alamy

Aviation / China

Winging it

The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) has announced plans to conduct test flights in Southeast Asia over the next two weeks in a bid to increase sales in the region. The company is the developer of the C919, China’s first single-aisle passenger jet, which made its debut at the Singapore Airshow earlier this month.

The model is widely touted as a possible competitor to the Airbus A320 and the Boeing 737, though it has not yet been certified by US and European regulators. While many of the C919’s parts are sourced from foreign suppliers, backers have invested some $49bn (€45bn) in the development and manufacturing of the craft in China. Comac’s desire to challenge its Western rivals is clear. If the C919 proves to be reliable, its plan to take some of their market share could soon take off.

Beyond the Headlines

Image: Alamy

Q&A / Hans Zimmer

Planet suite

Hans Zimmer is an Oscar-winning film composer and music producer. Ahead of the release of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two, for which Zimmer wrote the score, he tells us about his love of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel and his approach to world-building using music.

Both you and director Villeneuve loved Herbert’s book when you were growing up. What did you have in mind when you took on the project?
Denis and I were at Warner Brothers for a reason that I can’t remember. He quietly leaned over and asked me whether I knew a book called Dune. I jumped in excitement. He never showed me the script because he wanted my music to retain the purity of the book and not become influenced by it. It’s not an orchestral score. My inner 13-year-old kept asking, “Why am I hearing an orchestra in space?” so we built instruments specifically for it.

What was it like to compose music for a film of this kind?
The score is pretty abstract and abrasive. In many places, it’s not cuddly at all. But then you get moments of pure, beautiful playing by my friend Pedro Eustache. What you need to focus on when you’re scoring such movies is the world-building aspect. In the beginning there is nothing and it’s very important that we sonically give you a world. It’s not just about pretty tunes but about successfully creating the sonic landscape that these characters will inhabit.

How did you and Villeneuve communicate about the music? Did you use adjectives or visuals?
At a meeting with Denis, I was trying to get across an idea that I had about the voice of one of the characters, a Sardaukar [a member of one of Dune’s military factions]. The more I tried to describe how I imagined it, the more I saw his face going blank. So I realised that words weren’t the way to do this. Music and sound were better at conveying what I was talking about. I made him experience it and that triggered his idea to start the film with this character talking.

For our full interview with Zimmer, tune in to the latest episode of ‘Monocle on Culture’ on Monocle Radio.

Monocle Films / Retail

Sharp dressing at The Decorum

The Bangkok-based retailer and fashion label has been recognised as the top emerging fashion outpost in Monocle’s inaugural Retail Awards. We meet co-founder and creative director Sirapol Ridhiprasart to talk about dressing The Decorum way. The brand’s silhouettes blend Thai style with classic British footwear, Japanese tailoring and more.


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