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If you need a break from sitting around watching endless hours of TV during quarantine and want to do some reading, Rian Johnson is here to help. The filmmaker has made the shooting draft of Knives Out available for all to read. Since it’s a shooting draft it’s pretty similar to the final film, although there are a few interesting differences here and there. Mostly, though, it’s another reminder of how damn fine a script this is.
Just posted the shooting draft of Knives Out to my site. All previous scripts that don't involve outer space are up there too. https://t.co/aseGDIdwZJ
— Rian Johnson @rianjohnson March 23, 2020
Hey, remember Knives Out? One of the best movies of last year? Well, it’s back – in script form. Rian Johnson was nice enough to put the script on his site, along with all his other scripts except for The Last Jedi. It’s a fun read, mostly for the tiny little differences here and there. For instance: in the final film, when Benoit Blanc is first introduced as sitting in on the questioning of the Thrombey family, he casually taps a piano key every time he wants the line of questioning to change. In the script, he simply taps the back of a chair with his foot – which isn’t nearly as over-dramatic and memorable as the piano key thing.
Beyond that, you might notice that Johnson has a weird aversion to punctuation in some places, and more often than not, certain character’s dialogue just stops – no period, no em-dash, nothing. It’s a little jarring, but who am I to argue with the guy who wrote and directed the best Star Wars movie?
Week three of no theatrical releases. That will technically change soon — Universal’s premium VOD-opening “Trolls World Tour” has a handful of still-open drive-ins to play don’t expect any grosses reported. But it was a week full of important stories, with particular interest in a series of release date adjustments. However, no date can be realized if theaters aren’t open, and nobody knows when that will be.
• Exhibitor trade organization NATO held a webinar Friday. President John Fifthian raised hope that some theaters might be open by late May or early June. AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron, who oversees the most screens in North America reiterated his hopes for mid-June.
• With the COVID-19 still in its early stages of national spread, uncertainty about the curve flattening, and signs that in China, which had the earliest outbreaks three months ago, that viral decline doesn’t equal viral defeat, the reality is it could be weeks before anyone can make a reasonable assessment on reopening.
• Countering industry optimism that after weeks indoors, people will flock to theaters is a survey by Performance Research about public attitudes on return to public events. It saw 49 percent of respondents saying feeling safe about returning to theaters ranged from in a few months to never, with 28 percent saying if they do return, it will be less often. That said: This is a snapshot taken nearly two weeks ago, and shouldn’t be considered predictive. It showed similar or worse results for sporting events, concerts, and theme parks.
• Sports league executives spoke with President Trump, who urged resumption as soon as possible. However, Dr. Alan Sills, chief medical officer for the NFL, cautioned it is premature to believe that football can return this fall. Governors in some states that aren’t fully shut down, like Nebraska, encouraged voluntary compliance — with the threat that if the virus isn’t contained, their ardent fans might not have a season. Sports, of course, demand close player and spectator contact, and are more vulnerable even than theaters to the ongoing threat of contagion. But the idea that it is conceivable the country could have a year with no more sports is even more shocking than disruption to theaters.
• The key takeaway from multiple studio release schedule changes is, in re-dating titles, they don’t expect theaters to be fully operational until July at the earliest. Though key June and July titles like Pixar’s “Soul” and Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” remain in those months, “Mulan” on July 24 is the earliest rescheduled date for any major title. Other date changes act as a diversion while theaters are closed, but the reality is everything is written in pencil, not pen.
There’s no box office to report. Instead, we’re watching theaters furlough workers as the $2 trillion federal relief package gives hope that someday they can be rehired. American studios exercised optimism as they moved theatrical release dates, while China stepped back from its own exuberance and closed theaters just five days after reopening.
President Trump has retreated from his claim that the country could return to something like normal by Easter, and extended social distancing recommendations through the end of April. With cases and deaths very much on the rise, it seems reasonable to believe that social distancing will continue until those numbers are in real decline. So while Warner Bros. switched the highly anticipated “Wonder Woman 1984” from June 5 to August 14, it remains to be seen if that will represent foresight or wishful thinking. Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” still claims July 17.
China opened around 500 theaters in remote provinces March 23, and reports treated it as a positive harbinger. On March 28, they all closed again. It was a bit overblown: The reopened theaters played older films, which didn’t generate a lot of interest. While the government’s newest closure came without explanation, the reversal may also reflect a simple lesson of supply and demand: Even in a top-down controlled system, the public won’t return to theaters until there are new movies.
Meanwhile, specialized distributors are partnering with arthouse theaters to present recent titles in “virtual screening rooms.” Kino Lorber led with the Brazilian “Bacurau;” Ken Loach’s “Sorry We Missed You” Zeitgeist and “Vitalina Valeri” Film Movement joined in. However, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” Focus, which had only two days’ play in two cities before theaters closed, will go to premium VOD April 3. Among top early-year titles, A24’s “First Cow” so far seems a rare holdout in hoping for theatrical resumption.
A handful of theaters, mostly drive-ins, remain open. There’s also few small-town, independent indoor theaters screening movies, as government shelter orders permit — but almost everything they have on offer is also viewable at home.
That’s the backdrop for our main event, a recap of what we can tell about home viewing. Here are the current listings from top VOD and streaming sites:
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures
iTunes and Amazon titles are listed by their rank on Sunday, followed by their highest rank in past week and the lowest available price to view.iTunes Downloads and Rentals
1 1 1917 Universal – $5.99
2 1 Onward Disney –...
The cuts, numbering in the high teens, go into effect this week.
Lionsgate has laid off a number of employees within the film marketing and distribution team, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
According to a source familiar with the matter, some 15 to 20 employees across the entire company were given pink slips, many as part of an ongoing restructuring of the film group's marketing and distribution divisions. The source added that the layoffs had been in the works for months and were not impacted by the shutdowns caused by the growing coronavirus pandemic. No other layoffs are currently planned at the studio, which concludes its fiscal year on March 31.
Lionsgate's movie studio has seen success with Rian Johnson's Knives Out which grossed $311 million worldwide, and with a sequel in the works, Jay Roach's Bombshell $60 million worldwide and its newest release, the faith-based film I Still Believe which grossed $10 million earlier this month before theaters shuttered.
The layoffs come as Hollywood grapples with the closure of film and TV productions and movie theaters going dark to prevent the growing spread of COVID-19 amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
Lionsgate was forced to push back the bows of the upcoming films Antebellum originally slated for April 24, Run May 8 and Saw spinoff Spiral May 15, opting to hold for a theatrical release rather than an early VOD release. I Still Believe and Brahms: The Boy II are receiving early digital releases to cater to the audience at home.
This is the second round of layoffs under Joe Drake, who was named chairman of the film group in 2018. In January 2019, some 25 employees were let go from the marketing and distribution teams in the company's Santa Monica headquarters amid restructuring of the theatrical marketing division, run by Damon Wolf.
In its most recent earnings report, the studio's motion picture revenues were $473.9 million, up from $362.3 million a year ago, on strong box office from Knives Out and John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum.
Source: Hollywood Reporter