Let’s talk about the top stories in Hollywood this week!
No fooling! The biggest monsters are the biggest thing on the big screen this week, as Godzilla vs. Kong roars into theaters to break pandemic moviegoing records. On Wednesday, moviegoers in the U.S. demonstrated that they were truly yearning to go back to the movies, as the Legendary and Warner Bros. tentpole did monster business on it opening day with the biggest moviegoing day of the pandemic, taking in $9.6 million from more than 3,000 locations in North America – more theaters than any other COVID-era release. More than 93 percent of the U.S. movie theater marketplace is now in play, and Regal Cinemas’ 7,500 screens begin to reopen tomorrow, April 2. The film has also been a big success for Hollywood in the rest of the world where theaters are currently open. Godzilla vs. Kong crushed its competitors in China this past weekend with a $70 million debut, marking the biggest premiere for a foreign title in both 2020 and 2021. In Australia, cinema admissions recorded the best results since pre-COVID lockdowns with the biggest box office weekend down under since February 2020. (Deadline, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, The Washington Post, Ad News)
Also new in theaters this Easter weekend is the religious horror movie The Unholy, starring newcomer Cricket Brown as a deaf-mute young woman named Alice, who has visions of what she thinks is the Virgin Mary. Absorbing Mary’s spirit, Alice can suddenly hear and speak, and she can heal the sick, which attracts crowds of people to her rural town of Banfield, Mass. But beware, “Where God builds a church, the devil builds a chapel.” The Unholy is adapted from a 1983 James Herbert novel, and also stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan, William Sadler, and Cary Elwes. (Variety)
Speaking of supernatural thrillers, IFC Midnight has landed the U.S. rights to the horror movie Demonic, the next film from District 9 director Neill Blomkamp. This latest movie stars Carly Pope, Chris William Martin and Michael Rogers and follows a young woman who unleashes terrifying demons and supernatural forces when a decades-old rift between a mother and daughter is ruthlessly revealed. Demonic will be released on August 20, 2021. (The Wrap)
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, starring Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Salma Hayek, has moved up to June 16. Ron Schwartz, Lionsgate’s president of worldwide distribution, said, “This is the kind of summer action film that delivers even more comedy and more thrilling action than the first film – and it’s perfect for fans new to the franchise as well. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is what summer moviegoing is all about – great, crowd-pleasing entertainment.” The sequel, on its new date, arrives the weekend after Warner Bros/HBO Max’s feature musical In the Heights, and the weekend prior to Universal’s F9 on June 25. Also opening the weekend of June 16-18 is Focus Features’ Edgar Wright-directed feature documentary The Sparks Brothers. (Deadline)
Ed Helms and Patti Harrison are having a baby! But as their upcoming film’s title suggests, they’re not actually “Together Together,” as in being a couple. Helms in the film — and seen in the first trailer — plays a single, straight, middle-aged man who looks to a stranger, the 20-something Harrison, to be a surrogate for his child. But the unusual circumstance for their arrangement proves confusing and challenging for them as they try and figure out what this relationship is and what it will be after she gives birth. This year’s Sundance crowd-pleasing favorite hits theaters on April 23. (The Wrap)
Thundercats are on the move, again. Godzilla vs. Kong director Adam Wingard is attached to helm a computer-animated film adaptation of the beloved 1980s Rankin Bass animated series Thundercatsfor Warner Bros., from a script Wingard will write with frequent collaborator Simon Barrett (You’re Next, The Guest). In an interview, Wingard made it clear he is not interested in making a Cats-style live-action version of Thundercats, and wants instead to take a CGI-approach to the visuals that would embrace the “’80s aesthetic” of the original series. “I don’t want to reinvent the way they look; I want them to look like Thundercats,” Wingard said. “I want to do a movie you’ve never seen before: A hybrid CGI film that has a hyper-real look and somehow bridges the gap between cartoon and CGI. That’s the starting point.” (Variety, Deadline)
Randall Park is set to make his directorial debut with a feature film adaptation of the Bay Area-set graphic novel Shortcomings. Adrian Tomine is behind story that follows a trio of young urbanites — Ben Tanaka, Miko Hayashi and Alice Kim — as they navigate a range of interpersonal relationships, traversing the country in search of the ideal connection. Hieu Ho, Michael Golamco and Park will produce for Imminent Collision, which develops and produces film and television centering on Asian Americans. (The Hollywood Reporter)
Three time Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson is set to star in the feature film adaptation of Joseph Kessel’s novel The Man With the Miraculous Hands: The Fantastic Story of Felix Kersten, Himmler’s Private Doctor. Oren Moverman, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of The Messenger, is set to write and direct the film. Harrelson will play the lead role of Felix Kersten, a Finnish-born medical professional who was reluctantly pulled into the Third Reich’s corridors of power as Heinrich Himmler’s personal physician and prisoner in this World War II psychological thriller. (Variety)
Dianna Agron, best known for her starring turn in Glee, has joined the bold-faced names in As Sick As They Made Us, an indie drama written and directed by former star of Blossom and The Big Bang Theory, Mayim Bialik. Dustin Hoffman, Candice Bergen and Simon Helberg are also attached to star in the ensemble that is described as family drama centering on a broken family and a daughter trying to keep it somewhat together. Argon will play the daughter, with Hoffman and Bergen as the parents and Helberg as the brother. The project is now headed toward a summer shoot in New Jersey. (The Hollywood Reporter)
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is pushing back its theatrical release date from Sept. 3 to Nov. 24, the beginning of the Thanksgiving weekend. The film is serving is the official origin story for the movie franchise based on the popular Capcom horror video games. Once the booming home of pharmaceutical giant Umbrella Corporation, Raccoon City is now a dying Midwestern town. A small group of survivors must work together to uncover the truth behind Umbrella and make it through the night. Welcome to Raccoon City is written and directed by Johannes Roberts and stars Kaya Scodelario, Hannah John-Kamen, Robbie Amell, Tom Hopper, Avan Jogia and Neal McDonough. (The Hollywood Reporter)
For a full schedule of all the new movies coming to a theater near you, 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.