Let’s talk about the top stories in Hollywood this week!
Venom is back, with a vengeance! The first trailer for Venom: Let There Be Carnage was released by Sony, teasing the next chapter in their Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters, or SPUMC. The Venom sequel is getting closer and closer to its theatrical release date on September 24, as the film was pushed to avoid clashing with F9. Venom: Let There Be Carnage is directed by Andy Serkis, and it sees the return of Tom Hardy, Woody Harrelson, as well as Michelle Williams and Reid Scott. The film is set to introduce Stephen Graham, and also Naomie Harris as Spider-Man villain Shriek. Kelly Marcel penned the script, though Hardy actually shares story credit with her on the film, as he took on a bigger role shaping the continuing adventures of Eddie Brock and his pal, Venom. (Collider, Noovie.com)
Theatrical windows continue to be in the news, as big exhibitors like Cinemark and Cineworld (Regal) reach new deals with studios to bring movies to the big screen. Disney also confirmed this week that two films, Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Ryan Reynolds’ Free Guy, will have an exclusive 45-day exclusive run in theaters. The new deals are based on recent signs of consumer confidence with moviegoing, and are also reflective of decades-long trends in the box office as the vast majority of films are making most of their theatrical revenue in the first month of release, with some blockbusters grossing over 90% of their global totals within the first 31 days of release. Streamers like Netflix are also making deals with exhibitors for exclusive theatrical runs of their big movies. (The Wrap, The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline)
There is a good mix of films in wide release in theaters this weekend, including Spiral, the ninth chapter of the grisly Saw franchise starring Chris Rock, Samuel L. Jackson, Morgan David Jones, and Ali Johnson; action thriller Those Who Wish Me Dead with Angelina Jolie, Nicholas Hoult, Finn Little, and Jon Bernthal; mystery thriller Profile with Valene Kane, Shazad Latif, Christine Adams, and Amir Rahimzadeh; Zack Snyder’s new horror/sci-fi film Army of the Dead with Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Ana de la Reguera, and Omari Hardwick; and young romance Finding You with Katherine McNamara, Jedidiah Goodacre, Vanessa Redgrave, and Tom Everett Scott. (The Hollywood Reporter, Rolling Stone, EW, Variety)
The National Association of Theatre Owners, the Motion Picture Association, studios and industry figures are teaming up for The Big Screen Is Back, a conference to be held on May 19 at the AMC Century City 15 in Century City, which will rally the comeback of exhibition as it reopens from the pandemic and present studios and distributors’ upcoming theatrical slates. The event is a continuation of the larger The Big Screen Is Back initiative, which also dropped the moving PSA during the April 25 Oscarcast which featured theatre worker testimonials and upcoming movie clips. Each of the participating studios will curate their respective presentations, with some offering never-before-seen footage, moderated Q&As, or conversations with filmmakers, all with a collaborative underlying message of support for the moviegoing experience. (Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter)
Indiana Jones 5 is rounding out its cast with the additions of Boyd Holbrook and Shaunette Renée Wilson. The casting reunites Holbrook with his Logan director James Mangold, who steps in for Steven Spielberg for this installment of the long-running Harrison Ford franchise. Holbrook and Wilson join a cast that also includes series newcomers Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Mads Mikkelsen. (The Hollywood Reporter)
Robert De Niro has joined the cast of About My Father, an upcoming film that’s loosely based on the life of standup comic Sebastian Maniscalco. De Niro is set to play Maniscalco’s dad Salvo in the movie, reuniting the pair after first appearing together in Martin Scorsese’s mob drama The Irishman. In About My Father, Sebastian tells his old-school Italian immigrant dad of his plans to propose to his all-American girlfriend, prompting Salvo to insist on crashing a weekend with her parents. Production on the film will begin later in 2021. (Variety)
Paul Schrader’s crime drama The Card Counter is coming to theaters this year. The film, from Focus Features, has been slated to release on Sept. 10. Schrader wrote and directed The Card Counter, a revenge thriller about a gambler who attempts to guide a young man out for revenge against a mutual enemy. The cast includes Oscar Isaac, Tiffany Haddish, Tye Sheridan and Willem Dafoe. The story follows Tell (Isaac), whose spartan existence on the casino trail is shattered when he is approached by Cirk (Sheridan), a vulnerable young man seeking help to executive his plan for retribution on a military colonel (Dafoe). Tell sees a chance at redemption through his relationship with Cirk, but keeping him on the straight-and-narrow proves impossible and drags Tell back into his dark past. The Card Counter is Schrader’s follow-up to his Oscar-nominated First Reformed, a drama starring Ethan Hawke as a Protestant minister who struggles with his faith. (Variety)
Sports drama National Champions is expanding its thespian team roster with Uzo Aduba, Alexander Ludwig, Andrew Bachelor, David Koechner, Tim Blake Nelson, and Timothy Olyphant. Based on Adam Mervis’ play of the same name which he’s also adapting, National Champions explores the big business of college sports and tells the story of a star quarterback (James) ignites a player’s strike 72 hours before the biggest game of the year to fight for fair compensation, equality, and respect for the athletes who put their bodies and health on the line for their schools. It is shooting this month in New Orleans. (Deadline)
Film festivals are planning a return to in-person events in another example of people getting back to the movies in person. The Sundance Film Festival has announced the dates for its 2022 edition, which will take place in-person Park City, Utah, and also online in a hybrid format from January 20-30, 2022. This past year’s Sundance Film Festival nabbed its largest-ever audience, despite the new, virtual format and shorter duration. The 2021 festival saw 73 features (down from the typical 120), 50 short films, 4 Indie Series, 23 talks and events and 14 projects in the New Frontier exhibition. Viewers came in from all 50 states and 120 countries. (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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