Let’s talk about the top stories in Hollywood this week!
The Croods: A New Age tallied highest box office opening since the pandemic began, drawing family audiences around the globe back to the big screen. The animated sequel garnered an estimated $9.71 million domestically over the course of Friday, Saturday and Sunday, bringing the five-day Thanksgiving weekend tally to $14.22 million, event with only 40% of U.S. theaters open. Internationally, the Dreamworks film is on track to post $20.8 million in ticket sales, bringing the global haul to around $35 million for its debut. Industry leaders like National CineMedia (NCM) CEO Tom Lesinski are calling it a clear sign that people want to get back to the movies, saying, “It’s a good indication of not if this industry’s going to recover, but when. Consumers are going to come back.”
If you’re planning to watch Universal’s new drama All My Life in theaters this weekend, you may want to have some tissues ready — the Marc Meyers movie tells the story of Solomon and Jennifer, a couple whose relationship looks like the stuff of any other romance at first, but soon takes a tragic turn. While the tale may seem made for the big screen, it’s actually a real story about a Canadian couple who received a devastating cancer diagnosis, and with help from friends, family and even strangers, put on the wedding they never thought was possible. (Decider)
There will be no “virtual” Oscars. “The Oscars in-person telecast will happen,” a rep from the Academy and ABC confirmed this week. This year, the Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences moved their annual telecast back two months to April 25, 2021, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sources inside the Oscars say that by pushing the awards ceremony back, the Academy hoped that theaters would be open again in the spring, thus allowing for more movies to compete in the annual celebration of the year’s best films. (Variety)
With a vaccine on the horizon, the film festival scene is expected to go back to normal some time in 2021. However, the Sundance Film Festival’s January 28 – February 3 dates have led the storied organization to opt for a virtual festival this coming year, both online and in drive-in theaters, independent arthouse cinemas and cultural organizations across the US and beyond. As at past Sundance Film Festivals, films will premiere throughout the day, and each of the 70+ feature films will premiere online in a dedicated time slot, followed by a live Q&A. Multiple films will premiere simultaneously roughly every three hours from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. U.S. Mountain Time. Ticketing for the general public begins on January 7 at Festival.Sundance.org. (Variety)
Warner Bros. announced that it is radically changing up its distribution strategy for 2021, releasing all 17 of its movies for the year in theaters worldwide and on HBO Max simultaneously. Every film will be available for just one month on HBO Max before it leaves the platform, and it will then continue playing in theaters with normal distribution windows. Ann Sarnoff, Chair and CEO, WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group, emphasized that the plans were a necessary response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, saying “We’re living in unprecedented times which call for creative solutions, including this new initiative for the Warner Bros. Pictures Group. No one wants films back on the big screen more than we do.” She continued, “With this unique one-year plan, we can support our partners in exhibition with a steady pipeline of world-class films, while also giving moviegoers who may not have access to theaters or aren’t quite ready to go back to the movies the chance to see our amazing 2021 films.” Warner Bros.’ expected 2021 slate currently includes The Little Things, Judas and the Black Messiah, Tom & Jerry, Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombat, Those Who Wish Me Dead, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, In The Heights, Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Suicide Squad, Reminiscence, Malignant, Dune, The Many Saints of Newark, King Richard, Cry Macho and Matrix 4. (The Wrap)
There’s a new movie adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, coming to the big screen with a British voice cast including Carey Mulligan, Daniel Kaluuya, Martin Freeman, Simon Russell Beale and Andy Serkis. The film has been scheduled for more than 200 U.S. locations and will begin opening Dec. 4. through January. This retelling of the classic Christmas tale follows a Victorian family as they prepare a toy theater for their annual performance of “A Christmas Carol” with real dancers and stylized sets, with spoken narration. (Variety)
Cynthia Erivo and Benedict Cumberbatch are teaming up on a biopic of the life of Sarah Forbes Bonetta, a 19th century African princess who, after being orphaned and enslaved by a West African King, was taken in by Queen Victoria’s court. Erivo will star as Omoba Aina, an Egbado princess of the Yoruba people, who was “gifted” to Queen Victoria in 1850, taken to England, and renamed Sarah Forbes Bonetta. The Queen’s patronship was a thorny rose that put Sarah at the center of British aristocracy but did not shield her from public scrutiny, personal suffering or the dangers of a capricious court, which was fundamentally suspicious of her as a strong, educated Black woman. (The Hollywood Reporter)
Gal Gadot is set to star in Heart of Stone, an original international spy thriller hatched by Skydance Media that endeavors to put a female spin on action franchises like Mission: Impossible and 007. Tom Harper, who helmed The Aeronauts and Wild Rose, is in talks to direct. Gadot, whose next Patty Jenkins collaboration Wonder Woman 1984 is set to debut in U.S. theaters on Christmas Day, will then next star in the Kenneth Branagh-directed Death on the Nile when it returns to the theatrical release schedule in 2021. (Deadline)
Speaking of Benedict Cumberbatch, the first trailer for the upcoming legal drama The Mauritanian features the British actor with a Southern accent as Lt Colonel Stuart Couch, a formidable military prosecutor in the story based on the New York Times best-selling memoir from 2015. The film – which is due to be released early next year – centers on Mohamedou Ould Slahi (Mary Magdalene‘s Tahar Rahim), a man accused of being “the head recruiter for 9/11.” Having been kept in Guantanamo Bay detention camp for years without being officially charged, he finds allies in defense lawyer Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) and her associate Teri Duncan. (Digital Spy)
It’s wild to think that next year The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring will turn 20! Peter Jackson recently remastered all of the films in the franchise in 4K, but rest assured that nothing was changed or re-edited. Jackson has taken the time to do a brief video explaining what these new 4K transfers mean for the trilogy, and how he used the 4K HDR (High Dynamic Range) process to provide a uniformity to the look of these movies. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy was shot on 35mm while The Hobbit was shot on digital, and of the original trilogy, only The Two Towers and Return of the King had the benefit of digital color timing, so the remasters have been a vast improvement for the look of the movies. (Collider)
As always, stay tuned to our friends at Noovie for all the latest film release updates in real time!
For a full schedule of all upcoming movies, check out Box Office Mojo’s Domestic Release Calendar.
You can also level up your movie obsession with the new Noovie Trivia app! Test your movie knowledge with multiple ways to play, including Name That Movie, Shuffle, and Motion Picks. Take on other movie fans in a head-to-head battle or embark on a solo quest to answer as many questions as you can. New challenges are added every day, and the more you play, the more points you earn to unlock more trivia, build your profile, and access exclusive content.