A Day with American film critic Leonard Maltin

  • Jill Weinlein

The day after attending the movie premiere of the newest Marvel Studios’ AVENGERS: ENDGAME, legendary film critic Leonard Maltin was invited to introduce the cast and discuss the movie in the courtyard of the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California. He shared his thoughts about the movie before introducing actors Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, along with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige.

"They are making Hollywood history. Handprints in cement has been an event since 1927,” said Maltin, as each star walked out on the red carpet and found their spot to sign their name and place both hands in wet cement. Actor Mark Ruffalo did a handstand in his designated box to make a deeper impression.

There are almost 200 Hollywood celebrity handprints, footprints, and autographs in the concrete of the theater's forecourt. The first impression were made by Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford on April 30, 1927. “In Southern California this is our history,” said Maltin.

Maltin knows a lot about film history, as one of the country’s most respected film historians, Maltin told a crowd of Marvel fans about what he likes most about this movie franchise, “movie audiences feel the emotions that go with each movie."

Maltin learned that when Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was a young boy, he grew up being a movie fan and hung movie posters on his bedroom wall. “Now he runs a world class movie studio,” said Maltin.

As a part-time professor at UCS, his class “Thursday Night at the Movies with Leonard Maltin” is one of USC’s most popular electives. "Kevin Feige is a USC Cinema grad and is very supportive in giving back to the school and students," said Maltin.

After establishing himself as a leading film critic, Maltin wrote a series of books, including the annual paperback reference Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide. For thirty years, his popularity grew wider while he appeared on the television show Entertainment Tonight.

Currently he hosts the weekly program "Maltin on Movies for ReelzChannel” and introduces movies on Comcast. His other books include “Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons”, “The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen”, “The Great Movie Comedians”, “The Disney Films”, “The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide” and “Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia”.

Audiences have been fascinated with super heroes for almost 90 years. “It all started with Flash Gordon as a comic strip in the 1930s. It showed every Saturday in motion picture theaters for 13 weeks,” Maltin informed the crowd. “This Avengers has been a 10 year journey filled with risks and taking chances. Kevin (Feige) took enormous risks in hiring directors and casting each movie.”

What also makes this Avengers series cutting edge, is that it takes major filmmaking steps by including a strong female protagonist and hiring females behind the camera. “With each movie, we care about the characters embodied by the talented actors. We care because this movie embraces cultural and society changes,” said Maltin. ”Movies lead our thinking of the real world, as well as give us a form of escapism.”

The release date for “Avengers: Endgame” is April 26, 2019. It will be shown in 4,600 theaters, with round-the-clock screenings of the final stand in Marvel Studios' grand conclusion to twenty-two films.

ENSEMBLE CAST Robert Downey Jr.Chris EvansMark RuffaloChris HemsworthScarlett JohanssonJeremy RennerDon CheadlePaul RuddBrie LarsonKaren GillanDanai GuriraBradley Cooper, and Josh Brolin

DIRECTORS Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

PRODUCER Kevin Feige

SCREENPLAY WRITERS Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Michael Grillo, Trinh Tran, Jon Favreau, James Gunn, and Stan Lee.