Let’s talk about the top stories in Hollywood this week!
Think of it as one small step for mankind, but a giant leap for Hollywood film studios and moviegoers. Beginning March 5, movie theaters in the New York City area will be allowed to reopen, bringing hope for exhibitors and studios that a summer movie season may be in the cards. Nearly a year after cinemas across the city’s five boroughs were forced to shut off the lights because of COVID-19, NYC theaters will be able to operate at 25 percent capacity, or 50 people per auditorium, whichever is greater, with masks required. The National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) emphasized the “stringent, voluntary health and safety protocols that have made it possible for cinemas across the country to operate safely and responsibly at higher capacity limits for many months without a single outbreak of COVID-19 being traced to movie theaters,” and noted that, “New York City is a major market for moviegoing in the U.S.; re-opening there gives confidence to film distributors in setting and holding their theatrical release dates, and is an important step in the recovery of the entire industry.” (The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline)
Big movies belong on the big screen. Paramount Pictures CEO Jim Gianopulos gets it; just like Disney CEO Bob Chapek gets it: You can’t have a successful streaming service without big theatrical event films. Big screen drives big franchises, which in turn drives streaming features and spinoff series. This week at Viacom’s Paramount+ Day, the studio announced that three of its major upcoming 2021 releases — A Quiet Place Part II, Mission: Impossible 7 and Paw Patrol will only drop on the new Paramount+ streaming service 45 days after their theatrical release. Gianopulos confirmed, “We believe in the power of theatrical releases and we have faith that after things get back to normal, audiences will enthusiastically return to theaters. At the same time, consumers have increasingly embraced streaming as another way to enjoy films – our strategy accounts for both.” (Deadline)
Speaking of the big screen, there are some exciting movies coming to your local movie theater this weekend, including The Father, in which Anthony Hopkins masterfully portrays a man slipping further and further into dementia; Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, an intimate look at the singer-songwriter’s journey while creating her debut album; Crisis, a dramatic thriller about the many facets of the opioid crisis starring Gary Oldman, Armie Hammer and Evangeline Lilly; Tom and Jerry, an animated adaptation of the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon which reveals how Tom and Jerry first meet and form their rivalry; and Cherry, starring Tom Holland as an Army medic suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder who becomes a serial bank robber after an addiction to drugs puts him in debt. (The Wrap, EW, Deadline, AV Club, The New York Times)
No Time to Die, Daniel Craig’s fifth and final James Bond film, is reportedly releasing a week early in the U.K. now hitting cinemas September 30. One of the most highly anticipated movies of the year, the film has faced multiple release date delays, most recently being pushed from April 2021 to October 8. Now it seems that lucky U.K. fans are getting access to the film a little earlier! Cinemas in England, which have been closed since the third and current COVID-19 lockdown was put in place in December, could be allowed to open across the country by May 17. (ScreenRant, The Hollywood Reporter)
The third Spider-Man film has its official title: and it’s not Phone Home, Home-Wrecker or Home Slice. The real title for the latest installment in the superhero franchise is Spider-Man: No Way Home, star Tom Holland revealed on social media on Wednesday morning after trolling fans with other titles. Holland and his co-stars Zendaya and Jacob Batalon appear in a 30 second clip, which begins with Holland walking out of director Jon Watts’ office and lamenting over being given a fake title for the film. “He gave us a fake name again…I just don’t understand why he keeps doing this,” Holland asks. “You don’t understand? I feel like it’s pretty obvious. You spoil things,” Batalon quips, teasing the star’s reputation for sharing details of the superhero films before they’re public knowledge. “I don’t spoil things. Name me one thing I’ve actually spoiled,” Holland shoots back, as Zendaya retorts: “The last movie title.” Ouch! The Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios film is due to be released in theaters on Dec. 17, 2021. (Variety)
There’s a new Disney-Pixar movie on the way! Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Emma Berman, Maya Rudolph, Marco Barricelli and Jim Gaffigan will be featured in the voice cast of the upcoming Disney-Pixar animated feature film Luca, described as “a fun and heartwarming story about friendship, stepping out of your comfort zone and two teenage sea monsters who experience a life-changing summer.” The cast, teaser trailer and poster were unveiled this week. (Deadline)
Milla Jovovich and Dave Bautista are attached to star in an adaptation of a short story from Game of Thrones writer George R. R. Martin called In the Lost Lands, and Paul W. S. Anderson is set to direct. In the Lost Lands reunites Jovovich with her director from Monster Hunter and the Resident Evil franchise, and she will play Gray Alys, a dangerous and feared sorceress who is hired by a desperate queen in order to fulfill her love. Alys is sent to the ghostly wilderness known as the Lost Lands and with her guide, the drifter Boyce (Bautista), and must outwit and outfight man and demon in a fable that explores the nature of good and evil, debt and fulfillment, love and loss. (The Wrap)
Lionsgate has signed on Helen Mirren to star in White Bird: A Wonder Story, a spinoff of the hit 2017 inspirational film that starred Jacob Tremblay as a boy with a rare facial deformity. Also starring Gillian Anderson and directed by Christopher Robin filmmaker Marc Forster, White Bird sees Wonder cast member Bryce Gheisar return as Julian Albans, the antagonist of “Wonder” who bullied Auggie Pullman for his deformity and was suspended and later pulled from school by his mother — played by Gillian Anderson — for his actions. Mirren will play Julian’s Jewish grandmother Sara, whom the boy is sent to live with in Paris. During his stay, Julian learns about his grandmother’s past, hiding as a child in Nazi-occupied France with the help of a classmate and his family. (The Wrap)
Judd Apatow and brothers Kenny and Keith Lucas are teaming on a new comedy for Universal Pictures. The semi-autobiographical film will center on the siblings’ lives as identical twins growing up in New Jersey. The Lucas brothers are writing and starring in the film, with Apatow set to produce. Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel (The Grinder) will co-write the still-untitled movie. (Variety)
For a full schedule of all the new movies coming to a theater near you, check out Box Office Mojo’s Domestic Release Calendar.
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