Let’s talk about the top stories in Hollywood this week!
“Godzilla Defeats Pandemic!” is the headline Hollywood and the world needs right now, as Godzilla vs. Kong roared into theaters for a monster opening weekend. The tentpole exceeded all expectations and by far devoured the biggest opening at the domestic box office since the COVID-19 crisis struck, posting a monstrous debut of $48.5 million in its first five days, including an estimated $32.2 million from 3,064 theaters for the three-day Easter weekend. Globally, it hit a huge $285.4 million on Easter Sunday. Moviegoers demonstrated that they were truly yearning to go back to the movies, and some are now predicting a new renaissance for movie theaters. The North American box office is roaring once again, and industry analysts are saying that Godzilla vs. Kong’s performance “destroys lingering concerns around theatrical window importance and demonstrates a solid path to resurgence” for movie theaters. (The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, Variety, Box Office)
Warner Bros.′ biggest blockbusters will debut in theaters first in 2022 before heading to streaming, according to company’s CEO Jason Kilar. In a reversal of the studio’s 2021 strategy of releasing films in movie theaters and on its streaming service HBO Max on the same day, Klar reiterated the studio’s commitment to cinemas in a post-pandemic world, saying, “I think it’s very fair to say that a big…DC movie…it’s very fair to say that that would go exclusively to theaters first and then go to somewhere like an HBO Max after it’s in theaters.” (CNBC, Vox Recode Media)
The new Lionsgate sci-fi adventure Voyagers hits the big screen this week, starring Colin Farrell as the guardian of the last hope for humanity. Set far into the future, Earth is on the brink of extinction and a group of young people trained since birth are about to take off on a mission to carry on the human race and colonize a new society. Richard (Farrell) accompanies them on the journey even though he knows he will not live to see it through, but he’s keeping a secret from his young crew. Voyagers opens in theatres tomorrow, April 9. (Deadline)
Academy Award-winning actor and voice of God Morgan Freeman wants everyone to trust science, get the vaccine, and help make our world a safe place for us to enjoy ourselves again in a new PSA running in the Noovie pre-show in AMC, Cinemark, and Regal Cinemas movie theaters across the country. The spot, titled Be There. This Is Your Shot, was produced in partnership with the National Blue Ribbon Task Force to Stem COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy, led by The Creative Coalition and Yale University School of Public Health. Freeman can next be seen on the big screen alongside Samuel L. Jackson, Ryan Reynolds and Salma Hayek in The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, in theaters on June 16. (The Hollywood Reporter)
The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is back! But he is not quite a huge as the last time fans saw him… In a new clip for Ghostbusters: Afterlife that dropped Wednesday, Stay Puft is mini but mighty, as Paul Rudd’s character is confronted by a cute, tiny Stay Puft before being overrun by a throng of evil Mini-Pufts bent on chaos. The highly-anticipated film, written by Gil Kenan and Jason Reitman, is due in theaters November 11, 2021. (The Hollywood Reporter)
Emma Thompson’s advice comes back to haunt her in the latest trailer for Emma Stone’s new Disney film, Cruella. The A-list actresses star opposite each other in the studio’s latest live-action take on a familiar villain, with 101 Dalmatians’ Cruella de Vil taking center stage. In the latest trailer, Stone’s Cruella, at first just an aspiring and daring fashion designer named Estella, gets killer advice from Thompson’s Baroness on how to make it in the industry. “You have the talent. Whether you have the killer instinct is the big question,” Baroness says, and Cruella sets out to prove she has just that in the rest of the action-packed trailer that pits the women against each other. Cruella is set to premiere in theaters on May 28. (People)
In other hot trailer news, a new Black Widow trailer hit this week with a closer look at Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff in the upcoming blockbuster, now slated for July 9 of this year. The long-awaited film marks the first standalone movie for Johansson’s character and opens Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It also stars Florence Pugh as fellow assassin/sister Yelena Belova. David Harbour plays the fatherly character Alexei Shostakov, also known as the Red Guardian, and Rachel Weisz is his wife, Melina. Set after the events of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, Black Widow pits Romanoff against supervillain Taskmaster. (CNET)
Salma Hayek has joined the cast of House of Gucci, Ridley Scott’s next film that stars Lady Gaga and Adam Driver and is filming now for MGM. The movie tells the story of how Patrizia Reggiani (Gaga), the ex-wife to Maurizio Gucci, infamously carried out a hit on him less than two years after he sold the Gucci fashion empire to an investment group after the death of his father. Hayek is playing Pina Auriemma, a friend of Reggiani and a clairvoyant who was sentenced to 25 years in prison following Maurizio Gucci’s murder trial in 1998 for allegedly organizing the killing for a fee. (The Wrap)
Universal Pictures has scheduled George Clooney and Julia Roberts’ next movie together, Ticket to Paradise, for Sept. 30, 2022. The two play exes who find themselves on a shared mission to stop their lovestruck daughter from making the same mistake they once made, and are shooting the new film on location in Queensland, Australia. Ticket to Paradise currently follows the weekend after Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish sequel on Sept. 23 and hit ahead of Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse sequel. (Deadline)
The long wait for Guardians of the Galaxy 3 might finally be coming to a close, as director James Gunn confirmed via Twitter that the third part of his cosmic trilogy will begin filming this year. This would put the movie on track for its announced 2023 release, and also bodes well for the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, which will be shot during filming of Guardians of the Galaxy 3. (Collider)
Searchlight Pictures is teaming up with director Sam Mendes for his next project, Empire of Light, which is aiming for a fall 2022 release. The 1917 director has found his leading lady in Oscar winner Olivia Colman, and the project is described as a love story set in and around a beautiful old cinema on the South Coast of England in the 1980s. Empire of Light marks Mendes’ first solo outing as a screenwriter. (Variety)
Legendary had tapped Josh Heald (Cobra Kai) to direct a feature film adaptation of The History Channel’s hit series Ancient Aliens. Details of the project are being kept under wraps, but the story will be a two-handed, globe-spanning adventure featuring ancient sites and artifacts, confronting the theories and questions raised by the popular docuseries. Ancient Aliens is one of The History Channel’s longest running series, airing nearly 200 episodes and reaching over 36 million total viewers. The show has spawned a passionate fan base, including over 50,000 fans who attend the annual AlienCon, a convention based around Ancient Astronaut Theorist discussions. (The Wrap)
Gravitas Ventures has picked up the North American rights to Queen Bees, a romance set in a retirement community that stars Ellen Burstyn and James Caan. Along with Burstyn and Caan, the romantic comedy stars Ann-Margret, Jane Curtin, Christopher Lloyd, Loretta Devine, Elizabeth Mitchell and French Stewart. Burstyn plays Helen, a fiercely independent senior temporarily stuck inside a retirement community while her home undergoes repairs. Inside, she meets lusty widows, cutthroat bridge players and even a posse of bullying “mean girls.” But somewhere between flower arranging and water aerobics, Helen discovers it’s never too late to make new friends — and perhaps even find a new love. The distributor has set a release theatrical date of June 11. (The Wrap)
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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