Let’s talk about the top stories in Hollywood this week!
It’s the official start of the summer movie season, and the big screen is back! In the first true box office battle in ages, Paramount’s A Quiet Place Part II and Disney’s Cruella are expected to heat up the domestic box office. With cinemas now opening up, this summer’s blockbusters and alluring later-in-the-year releases will undoubtedly entice audiences who’ve been hungry to go out and enjoy a shared experience in front of a giant screen. In yet another great sign that the domestic box office is returning to full steam, reports say that A Quiet Place Part II is currently selling twice as many advance tickets as it did at the same point in its 2020 sales cycle, before the movie was pulled from the release schedule due to theater closures. (Variety, Noovie.com, Deadline)
As America heads into Memorial Day Weekend, the vast majority of moviegoers feel safe being back in theaters, according to the latest research from Fandango. Not only are audiences flocking back to reopened cinemas for the anticipated summer-movie season but they’re exceedingly happy after getting there. A whopping 93% said they were satisfied with their return, with 87% mentioning the theaters’ great job making them feel safe in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moviegoers are also taking responsibility and looking out for fellow film aficionados, with 70% of those surveyed reporting they were vaccinated and 13% saying they were planning to get vaccinated. AMC Theatres, the largest chain in the country, and Cinemark have reopened 98% of their locations while the No. 2 chain, Regal Cinemas, has more than 97% of its theaters in business. (Variety, USA Today)
Like our own NCM Behind The Screens research team, entertainment industry research company NRG has also been polling movie-goers around the world since the pandemic began, and comfort levels about getting back to the big screen are at an all-time high. At the lowest point, in early January, the comfort level among U.S. consumers was 42%. Now, it has jumped to 71% and is expected to reach 80% or more by the time In the Heights and F9 open domestically in June. Another bright note for the box office: NRG has found in recent weeks that consumers trust movie theaters more than indoor restaurants. (MediaPost, The Hollywood Reporter)
Cinemark is presenting a live A Quiet Place Part II fan event tonight hosted by J. J. Abrams and featuring a Q&A with John Krasinski. One of Hollywood’s first in-person fan events in more than a year, it will take place at the Cinemark Playa Vista and XD theater on Thursday, May 27, 5:00 p.m. PT, and will be broadcasting simultaneously to 500 theaters across the U.S. Fans can check out the Cinemark website for tickets. John Krasinski also made a surprise visit to a Miami AMC 24, where an early screening of A Quiet Place Part II was taking place, to surprise fans. “Here’s the deal: I said I would bring out A Quiet Place Part II when we could all see it together and, guess what? It’s time,” he told the auditorium full of cheering moviegoers. (Box Office, People)
Speaking of live in-person events, Disney staged the world premiere of Cruella at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles last week in a welcome return to normal in Hollywood. The highly anticipated live-action film opening this weekend stars Emma Stone as a young Cruella de Vil, the villain from the iconic 101 Dalmatians franchise. While the event was smaller in scope than normal Disney bashes because of social distancing and other safety protocols, it marked the first major studio in-theater premiere since the COVID-19 crisis commenced and had a proper red carpet. (The Hollywood Reporter)
James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson have vowed to keep the iconic British spy in movie theaters, despite streaming giant Amazon’s $8.45 billion acquisition of 007 studio MGM. It’s still unknown how long a theatrical window the Bond films may have before eventually landing on Amazon Prime Video, but one thing is crystal clear: No Time to Die, Daniel Craig’s swan song as Bond, is on track to hit cinemas on Oct. 8, 2021. It was the first tentpole to move release dates last year when the pandemic struck, and in the last 13 months, the movie has been postponed three times to ensure it can open in movie theaters. Eon Productions, which is owned by the Broccoli family, have been stewards of the film series dating back to Bond’s first on-screen appearance in 1962’s Dr. No. (Variety)
A new Eternals trailer dropped on Monday following a short tease from Marvel three weeks prior during a promotional video encouraging fans to return to theaters this summer and fall. In the first 24 hours of the trailer making its way online, it reportedly racked up a stunning 77 million views globally. Those numbers have sent the Eternals debut soaring to become the biggest online trailer drop for a Disney Marvel movie since the 14-month COVID-19 pandemic. (CinemaBlend)
In other news from the MCU, Aaron Taylor-Johnson has nabbed the lead title role as Kraven the Hunter in Sony’s upcoming Marvel film, and the studio also locked in the actor for multiple pictures as the iconic Spider-Man villain. J.C. Chandor is directing Kraven the Hunter, which is being billed as the next chapter of Sony’s universe of Marvel-licensed characters. Born into Russian aristocracy, Sergei Kravinoff, a.k.a. Kraven the Hunter, is an obsessive big-game hunter who was introduced as a Spider-Man villain in The Amazing Spider-Man #15 (1964), and created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Over the years, Kraven was established as one of Spider-Man’s most formidable enemies and was part of the original comic’s Sinister Six. Kraven the Hunter will be released on Jan. 13, 2023. (The Wrap)
More than a year after the film’s first trailer dropped, Disney released a second preview for The Jungle Cruise, starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, this week. The long delay is the result of repeated release date changes, and what was originally an October 2019 bow ultimately became a more blockbuster-friendly July 30, 2021 slot. The new trailer offers a lot more onboard action than the first, as Johnson’s skipper Frank Wolff and Blunt’s intrepid researcher Dr. Lily Houghton journey downriver in search of an ancient tree with unparalleled healing abilities. The duo has a close call with a giant waterfall, a submarine — yes, a sub in a remote tropical river — and, of course, zombie conquistadores. (Deadline)
The late Chadwick Boseman will have a wing of his alma mater, Howard University, named after him. Howard University announced today that its college of fine arts, led by Dean Phylicia Rashad, will be renamed the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts for the prolific actor and distinguished alumnus. Boseman parlayed his time as a Howard Bison into a string of iconic roles such as Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Thurgood Marshall and of course the MCU’s first Black superhero, Black Panther. The A-lister graduated from the university with a Bachelor of Arts degree in directing in 2000. He also earned an honorary doctorate and delivered a rousing commencement address in 2018 following the release of Black Panther. (The Wrap)
Macarena Achaga is set to join Andy Garcia in the Father of the Bride reboot, which Gaz Alazraki has been set to helm. The movie will revolve around a Cuban-American family, with Matt Lopez penning the script, and will tell the story of a father coming to grips with his daughter’s upcoming wedding through the prism of multiple relationships within a big, sprawling Cuban-American family. While this will mark the third iteration of the story, sources say this will be more in the rom-com vein of the original Spencer Tracy pic and not the Steve Martin franchise from the 1990s. (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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