Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek and Ryan Reynolds hit the gas for a mid-week theatrical start in The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard

Let’s talk about the top stories in Hollywood this week!

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard shot its way to #1 at the Wednesday box office with an opening-day gross of $3.9 million from 2,490 theaters. Directed by Patrick Hughes, the action-comedy sees Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Salma Hayek all reprise their roles from the 2017 breakout hit. Set four years after the events of the original, bodyguard Michael Bryce (Reynolds) once again meets up with assassin Darius Kincaid (Jackson) as they embark on a new adventure to save Darius’ wife, Sonia (Hayek), from new threats. The sequel also stars Antonio Banderas, Morgan Freeman, Richard E. Grant and Frank Grillo. The Lionsgate and Millennium Media film is the first action-comedy on the marquee since major markets reopened, and will expand on Friday into 3,331 locations as capacity restrictions are lifted in a host of major markets across North America, led by Los Angeles and New York. (The Hollywood Reporter)

The Venice Film Festival has confirmed that Denis Villeneuve’s Dune will make its world premiere on the Lido at the 78th edition in September, continuing a long tradition of major Warner Bros. titles premiering in Venice including Joker, A Star Is Born and Gravity, each of which went on to global box office success and awards glory. Dune is the highly anticipated big-screen adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal science fiction bestseller with a starry cast that includes Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Sharon Duncan Brewster, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, Chang Chen and David Dastmalchian, with Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa and Javier Bardem. A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence — a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential — only those who can conquer their fear will survive. Dune will arrive in theaters on October 1. (Deadline)

2021’S hottest merch is for Cinephiles, according to Elle magazine. “Not since the ’60s and ’70’s auteur age has cinephilia been so chic. With people heading back into cinemas, it’s now fashion’s new stunting ground.” In what is sure to be the pinnacle of the genre, Super Yaki just came out with a T-shirt celebrating Noovie’s own Maria Menounos, who has become the patron saint of early-bird moviegoers with her pre-show clips. A black T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase “SHOW UP EARLY FOR MARIA MENOUNOS” caused a Twitter sensation, quickly selling out its limited edition. (Elle)

You know people are excited to get back to movie theaters when a popcorn video goes viral! TikTok user @colleenlepp shared a video on the social media platform that showed one of her tips for evenly distributing butter amongst a large tub of popcorn at the movies. All you need is a straw to stick in the middle of the popcorn, which you then line up with the butter dispenser, and voila: It butters your popcorn from the bottom up! The video already has 6.2 million views. (People)

Director Justin Lin confirmed Hobbs and Shaw could turn up in Fast & Furious 10! Several characters from past Fast & Furious movies are back for F9 on June 25 with Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew/family, including Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster), Magdelene Shaw (Helen Mirren), and Han Lue (Sung Kang). And yet, for all those who will be returning, there are two notable absences in F9 — franchise mainstay Dwayne Johnson’s Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), the bad guy-turned-tentative ally from Furious 7, The Fate of the Furious, and the spin-off Hobbs & Shaw. Little is known about Fast & Furious 10, save that it will be the first in the franchise’s two-part finale. But Lin noted, “So many of the conversations I have are about characters that are not even in there, but are still, obviously, they are living and breathing in this universe. On this one, when I came back, I was thinking a lot about Hobbs and Shaw, and all of the other characters. I never think of them as being gone, for sure.” (ScreenRant,

Marvel movies are back with Black Widow finally opening in theaters in July, and based on the reactions of those who got to see it a bit early, Disney has another hit on its hands. One reviewer called it, “The MCU’s Bond movie w/ shades of Mission: Impossible and Thelma & Louise.” Set in the two-year span between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, Black Widow brings back Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha for one last ride. (The character, as you may recall from Avengers: Endgame, died to secure the Soul Stone to use against Thanos.) In addition to Johansson and Florence Pugh, it stars David Harbour and Rachel Weisz. (The Wrap)

Luca may be streaming, but the future for Pixar is on the big screen, according to industry analysts. Since 1995, Pixar has released 23 other titles, setting the standard for theatrical animated movies, earning nearly two dozen Academy Awards, including 10 for best picture, and tallying more than $14.5 billion at the global box office. While Disney was forced to place Soul and Luca on Disney+ due to the pandemic, these films could easily have made hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office for the company during normal times, and that kind of box-office success is hard for studios to ignore and is one of many reasons that analysts are convinced that big-budget animated films will continue to debut on the big screen. (CNBC)

James Cameron, the director behind some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters, will teach his first-ever internet class on filmmaking, available on e-learning site MasterClass. Cameron promises to share a behind-the-scenes look into his creative process, along with the principles and techniques that have shaped his work, and will use specific scene breakdowns from his films — including Aliens, The Terminator, Titanic, and Avatar — to illustrate storytelling and character-development techniques as well as how he’s used technology as a filmmaker. He also will offer “practical advice that applies to all levels of film production” regardless of the size of the budget. (Variety)

Nicolas Cage is on a mission to reclaim something cherished that was taken from him — his prized pet pig that hunts truffles — in the dark trailer for his new movie, Pig. In the revenge thriller starring Cage and Alex Wolff, Cage plays Rob, a truffle hunter who lives alone in the Oregonian wilderness who must return to his past in Portland in search of his beloved pig after she’s kidnapped. Pig opens in theaters on July 16.  (The Wrap)

A new trailer for Settlers, a sci-fi Western from Wyatt Rockeller due out in theaters on July 23, hit this week. The writer/director’s first feature is set on a remote homestead on the Martian frontier, following a refugee family from Earth that clings to hope for a better life. When strangers appear in the surrounding hills and attempt to run them off, nine-year-old Remmy (Brooklynn Prince) is faced with the desperate reality her mother (Sofia Boutella) and father (Jonny Lee Miller) have tried so hard to keep from her. Also starring Ismael Cruz Córdova (Berlin Station, The Undoing) and Nell Tiger Free (Servant, Game of Thrones), Settlers was filmed on location in South Africa, in the isolated desert area of Vioolsdrif. (Deadline)

Jonny Coyne, who appeared in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and Sarah Niles, who appeared in I May Destroy You, have joined the cast of Legendary’s reboot of the 1984 film Toxic Avenger from schlock movie house Troma Entertainment. Peter Dinklage is toplining the feature that follows a struggling everyman who, when pushed into a vat of toxic waste, is transformed into a mutant freak who must go from shunned outcast to underdog hero as he races to save his son, his friends, and his community from the forces of corruption and greed. Jacob Tremblay, Taylour Paige , Elijah Wood and Julia Davis are already on the call sheet as is Kevin Bacon, who is playing the piece’s antagonist. Coyne is playing a shadowy criminal figure, while Niles will play a corrupt city official. Shooting gets underway later in June in Bulgaria. (The Hollywood Reporter)

Blacula is leaving the coffin, as MGM, Bron and Hidden Empire Film Group’s Deon and Roxanne Avent Taylor team up for a reboot of the blaxploitation horror classic. The new film is a modern reimagining of the 1972 movie, directed by William Crain and starring William Marshall as Blacula. The reboot picks up where the original saga left off, after the 1973 sequel Scream Blacula Scream, and will be set in a metropolitan city post-coronavirus pandemic. In the new film, Blacula is an ancient African prince who is cursed by Dracula after he fails to agree to end the slave trade. He is entombed and awakens 200 years later ready to avenge the death of his ancestors and seek out those responsible for robbing his people of their work, culture, and heritage. Originally released in 1972 by American International Pictures, the first Blacula went on to become one of the highest-grossing films of the year and has established a legacy for its Black ensemble cast, which included Denise Nicholas and the late Vonetta McGee and Thalmus Rasulala. (Variety)

Hiroyuki Sanada will star in an undisclosed role in Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter 4 opposite Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen, Rina Sawayama, and Shamier Anderson. Cameras roll this summer shooting on location in France, Germany and Japan. The Japanese-born actor has starred in over 55 movies, most recently Netflix’s Army of the Dead and New Line’s Mortal Kombat. He is also known for playing Musashi on HBO’s Westworld. Sanada will next star in Sony’s Bullet Train opposite Brad Pitt. In Japan, Sanada is renowned for his star-making role in The Twilight Samurai. (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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