Let’s talk about the top stories in Hollywood this week!
Moviegoers erupted with applause as L.A. theaters reopened this week, and consumers are relieved, elated and excited about once again experiencing films on the big screen. “Excited doesn’t cover how I’m feeling right now. Not only am I feeling re-inspired but I’m absolutely invigorated to be back,” said one movie fan. “I’m happy to see films that were meant for the big screen on the big screen. It’s important to show theaters that we’re back, and we’re ready to buy tickets. We’re here, and we’re going to be here.” There were also some celebrity sightings – Tenet filmmaker Christopher Nolan was spotted inside the AMC Burbank 16, and filmmaker Eddie Huang headed out to watch his feature directorial Boogie for the first time on the big screen at the AMC Century City 15. AMC Theatres says it will have 98% of its U.S. movie theaters open on Friday as more theaters reopen in California, with even more theaters coming back by March 26. (The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, ABC News)
The 2021 Oscar nominations were announced on Monday, and it was the most diverse class of nominees in Academy history. Mank, a black-and-white drama about the making of Citizen Kane, led the pack with 10 nominations. After that, Oscar voters shared the wealth, as six films received six nominations: The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Minari, Nomadland, Sound of Metal and The Trial of the Chicago 7. For her acclaimed turn as the titular character in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Viola Davis made history as the Black woman with the most acting nominations (with four) and the first Black woman to be nominated in best actress twice. This year also marks only the second time two Black women were nominated for best actress, thanks to a nomination for Andra Day’s scorching work in The United States Vs. Billie Holiday. History was also made as two women directors — Chloe Zhao (Nomadland) and Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) — were nominated together in the category for the first time ever. Both films received best picture nods, the third time two female-helmed titles have been recognized in the top category. As usual, even in a most unusual year, there were still a few snubs and surprises. (Variety)
In the new movie The Courier, Benedict Cumberbatch plays Greville Wynne, a salesman circuitously recruited to pass information back and forth between British intelligence and the Russian spy known as Ironbark. Not being a spy himself, Wynne — and Cumberbatch — faced a bit of a learning curve, though not always for reasons we see on the screen. Wynne suffered from dyslexia so severe he was almost illiterate and battled classism in both his work and his marriage. It’s those little details that helped Cumberbatch really capture Wynne, ultimately helping him deliver a fuller performance than just what was on the page. The Courier hits theaters March 19. (AV Club, New Scientist)
Fresh from wrapping Jurassic World: Dominion, Colin Trevorrow is set to direct War Magician, a Studiocanal WWII drama that will also star Benedict Cumberbatch. Nicholas Mariani is writing the script, based on the book by David Fisher. The pic is based on the wild story of Jasper Maskelyne, a British illusionist who used magic to defeat Erwin Rommel in World War II. Trevorrow’s take features an international “magic gang” from Africa, Europe and the Middle East who conspired with Maskelyne and a female military intelligence officer to defeat the Nazis. (Deadline)
The next Venom movie will take a little longer to slither into theaters. Sony’s Columbia Pictures has pushed back Venom: Let There Be Carnage to Sept. 17. It previously was slated for June 25, after COVID-19 theater closures forced the sequel to abandon its original October 2020 release date. Venom: Let There Be Carnage once again stars Tom Hardy as the titular character, with Harrelson appearing as Venom antagonist Carnage, who was teased at the end of 2018’s Venom. Andy Serkis is directing the sequel to the sleeper hit, which earned more than $856 million globally. The move will allow the filmmakers to complete postproduction, and also avoids a standoff with Universal’s F9, which had recently moved to June. (The Hollywood Reporter, Collider)
Speaking of Universal, the studio has reserved two 2022 release dates for its upcoming DreamWorks Animation movies. The sequel to the 2011 Oscar nominated Puss in Boots, entitled Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, will open on Friday, September 23, 2022. Oscar nominee Antonio Banderas will again voice the suave feline outlaw, as Puss in Boots discovers that his passion for adventure has taken its toll: He has burned through eight of his nine lives, leaving him with only one left. He sets out on an epic journey to find the mythical Last Wish and restore his nine lives. Shrek and the Puss in Boots franchise have together grossed over $3.5 billion at the global box office; the original Puss in Boots grossed $554M. Meanwhile, DWA’s The Bad Guys will open on Friday, April 15, 2022. Bad Guys follows five notorious bad guys who’ve been behind big heists—Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake, Mr. Piranha, Mr. Shark and Ms. Tarantula—as they attempt their most challenging job yet…going good. The film is based on the bestselling Scholastic book series by Aaron Blabey, which has more than 8.2 million copies in print worldwide. (Deadline)
Even Wonder Woman gets the giggles! Before Wonder Woman 1984 hits shelves later this month, fans can get the first taste of the bonus features thanks to an all-new gag reel courtesy of Warner Bros’ YouTube channel. The blockbuster sequel from Patty Jenkins, starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, introduced villains Cheetah and Maxwell Lord played by Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal, respectively. It should come as no surprise that the all-star cast had an absolute blast on the set of the superhero production. The gag reel features the cast and crew consistently breaking into laughter in some of the film’s most important moments. (Collider)
Focus Features has set a November 12 release date for Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, which will open in U.S. theaters during the heart of awards season. Written and directed by Branagh, Belfast tells the story of one boy’s childhood during the tumult of the late 1960s in Northern Ireland, where Branagh is from. Belfast stars Caitriona Balfe, Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan, Ciaran Hinds and in introduces 10-year-old Jude Hill. Dornan and Balfe play a passionate working-class couple caught up in the mayhem, with Dench and Hinds as the sharp-witted grandparents. (The Hollywood Reporter)
No one hates on Green Lantern quite as much as star Ryan Reynolds — despite the fact that he never actually watched his infamous superhero debut. But on Wednesday, that all changed, as Reynolds live tweeted his first ever viewing of the film, done as a build-up to the Snyder Cut of Justice League. Well, technically only part of that changed, as Reynolds still tore the movie to shreds, but at least now he’s seen it. Reynolds tweeted that he’d only do so “with the aid of a good amount of Aviation Gin,” made by the liquor company he owns. He then added a recipe for “Lantern’s Light,” a drink he specifically created for the film. (The Wrap)
Warner Bros. and DC Films are developing an adaptation of the popular comic Hourman with Chernin Entertainment joining as producers, marking the first time Chernin has developed a DC property. Originally created by Ken Fitch and Bernard Baily in 1940 and originally appearing in the Stargirl comics, the hero had three different incarnations, with the first one featuring chemist Rex Tyler the first time we meet the character. Tyler would create a new synthesis, “Miraclo,” which grants him super-strength and endurance, but only for one hour. Rex’s son Rick Tyler would later become the hero, ultimately becoming the most popular Hourman. (Deadline)
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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