Scarlett Johansson smashes the box office in the first Marvel movie in theaters in two years.

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

Universal’s F9 easily won the holiday weekend box office and hit the $500M mark globally, a milestone as it becomes the first Hollywood movie to do so during the pandemic era, and the first since any studio film originally released during 2019. “They were waiting to see if audiences had an appetite for going back into that theater, and, well, what we just saw over the past couple of weekends, that answer is yes!” This weekend, the industry finally crossed a massive goal post: with the July 4th holiday being celebrated across the country, and a nice wide variety of titles to choose from available on the big screen, this was the first weekend since the start of the pandemic that all 10 films in the box office Top 10 made more than one million dollars. (Noovie.com, GMA, Deadline, CinemaBlend)

After 737 days, Marvel fans will be filling up movie theaters again this weekend with the domestic release of Black Widow. The first Marvel movie in two years will open on 4,100 screens and enters, like almost all MCU films, with strong reviews. In addition, Fandango reported that the film is not only setting new highs on its site for post-pandemic presales but is also outperforming MCU films like Doctor Strange, which opened to $85 million in November 2016, and Spider-Man: Homecoming, which opened to $117 million in July 2017. There’s clearly been a lot of pent-up demand for all things MCU — Black Widow has already grossed a mighty $13.2 million in Thursday previews and is widely expected to dominated weekend ticket sales. Together with two days’ worth of offshore money of $22.4 million, Disney/Marvel’s Black Widow stands at a running global tally of $35.6 million. Industry estimates forecasted that the standalone MCU title starring Scarlett Johansson could reach a height of $140 million. (Box Office, The Wrap, CNBC, Variety, Deadline)

For the first time since May 2019, the Cannes International Film Festival has kicked off in the South of France. The COVID-delayed festival features 24 films from around the world vying for the top prize, the coveted Palme d’Or award. A return to Cannes even made Matt Damon misty. The 50-year-old actor swooped into the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday night with Stillwater, a Focus Features drama directed by Spotlight’s Tom McCarthy. As the credits rolled, Damon started to tear up at the ecstatic cheers from the crowd. “I was a little overwhelmed last night, and I’m really glad that we’re here this year,” Damon said. “Because I think we’ll all look back and remember this moment of launching out of COVID — and what a way to do it. To be in the same room with 1,000 other people who are strangers but are also part of the same community because we all love the same thing — it was such a great reminder of why we do this. To be together like this!” In the film, he plays a stoic Oklahoma construction worker whose daughter (Abigail Breslin) is imprisoned for murder in France, after being convicted of killing her ex-girlfriend while studying abroad. As years and expensive lawyers add up (in a scenario reminiscent of the Amanda Knox case), Damon’s character Bill Baker works tirelessly to prove his child’s innocence and befriends a single mom (Camille Cottin) and her daughter (Lilou Siauvaud) along the way. Stillwater will open in theaters on July 30.  (USA Today, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter)

Kick-Ass and Kingsman director Matthew Vaughn has set an all-star cast for what will be his next film, a spy thriller called Argylle. Henry Cavill, Bryce Dallas Howard, Samuel L. Jackson, Sam Rockwell, Bryan Cranston, Catherine O’Hara, and John Cena. Pop star Dua Lipa will also star in the project in her first film role, and she will provide original music for the title track and score. The film comes from Vaughn’s production company MARV, and the company has set plans to begin filming on Argylle this August in Europe. (The Wrap)

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Greta Gerwig has officially signed on to direct Barbie, the highly-anticipated big-screen take on the iconic Mattel doll’s story, starring Margot Robbie. Gerwig has been on board the Warner Bros. project since 2019, when the actor and filmmaker signed on to co-write the movie’s script with Noah Baumbach. Not much has been revealed about the movie’s plot, including details about exactly which of Barbie’s plastic playmates will appear (What about Ken? Skipper? Christie?). But Robbie previously said that the movie serves as “a great opportunity to put some positivity out in the world and a chance to be aspirational for younger kids.” (Variety)

Walt Disney Animation Studios has released the first trailer, poster and images from its forthcoming Encanto, the tale of a super-powered family hidden in the mountains of Colombia. The film is out in theaters November 24, 2021, with new music from Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Encanto is the story of an extraordinary family, the Madrigals, who live hidden in the mountains of Colombia in a magical house, in a vibrant town, in a wondrous, charmed place called an Encanto. The film features the voice of Stephanie Beatriz as Mirabel, an ordinary 15-year-old who’s struggling to find her place in her family. In the film, the magic of the Encanto has blessed every child in the family with a unique gift, from super strength to the power to heal—every child except one, Mirabel. But when she discovers that the magic surrounding the Encanto is in danger, Mirabel decides that she, the only ordinary Madrigal, might just be her exceptional family’s last hope. The voice cast also includes María Cecilia Botero, Wilmer Valderrama, Adassa, Diane Guerrero, Mauro Castillo, Angie Cepeda, Jessica Darrow, Rhenzy Feliz and Carolina Gaitan. (Deadline)

Sebastian de Souza, Tom Hollander, and Shohreh Aghdashloo are set to star in the long-awaited film adaptation of Paulo Coelho’s popular novel The Alchemist. The project, set to start production in Morroco in September, has seen a road to the screen as slow and winding as the traveler’s journey in Coelho’s philosophical book. Will Smith’s Westbrook Studios, Netter Films and PalmStar Media are producing the movie, which is directed by Kevin Frakes. De Souza will play the role of the Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago, alongside Hollander and Aghdashloo. The ensemble cast includes Jordi Molla, Youssef Kerkour and Ashraf Barhom. The film’s cast and crew will aim at the authenticity of the story’s setting in Spain and North Africa, as well as the diversity of a global and diverse production. (The Hollywood Reporter)

Kirsten Bell and Kirby Howell-Baptiste are taking extreme couponing to a new level! In the first trailer for the upcoming comedy Queenpins, which is based on a true “robin hood” story, Bell stars as Connie, a suburban housewife who starts an illegal coupon club alongside her best friend JoJo (Howell-Baptiste). The comedic film follows the two women as they decide to hatch an illegal scam after one letter of complaint to a conglomerate yields dozens of freebies. However, while scamming millions in order to pass on savings to their fellow coupon clippers, the pair attract the attention of a loss prevention officer (Paul Walter Houser) as well as a U.S. Postal Inspector (Vince Vaughn). Queenpins will premiere in theaters on September 10. (People)

An official trailer for She Ball, a sports comedy-drama directed, co-written by and starring Nick Cannon, dropped Thursday. The film, which was announced in 2017 and previously shown in a brief teaser, follows Avery Watts (Cannon), who enlists a talented basketball player (Melody Rae) to help him win the grand prize in a street ball tournament and save the embattled Inglewood community center that he manages. At the same time, he’s trying to raise his seven-year-old daughter. She Ball’s cast includes Chris Brown, Rosa Acosta, K.D. Aubert, Delpha Baxter, Evan Ross, Cedric the Entertainer, DC Young Fly and Bryan “Birdman” Williams. The movie also features new music from Brown, Stevie Wonder, Lil Wayne, Birdman, Roddy Ricch and Kierra Sheard. She Ball will release in theaters on August 6 (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.

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