|THE WEEK IN MOVIE NEWSNATIONAL TREASURE 3NATIONAL TREASURETAIKA WAITITIMOVIE NEWSBAD BOYS 4STAR WARSBAD BOYS|
Need a quick recap of the past week in movie news? Here are the highlights:
Dracula retold: Following the success of Leigh Whannell's fresh take on The Invisible Man, another classic Universal monster is being trusted to Blumhouse Productions. According to The Hollywood Reporter, director Karyn Kusama Destroyer has been tapped for a new version of the iconic vampire story Dracula, which will be set in modern times.
Disney finds its Peter Pan: Another fresh take on a familiar story, Disney's live-action reimagining of Peter Pan has found its young leads. Variety reports Alexander Molony will play Peter in the upcoming movie, titled Peter Pan & Wendy, while Ever Anderson, the daughter of Milla Jovovich and Paul W.S. Anderson who can be seen soon in Black Widow, has been cast as Wendy.
Woody Harrelson joins The Man from Toronto: Following the departure of Jason Statham from the Patrick Hughes-helmed action-comedy, Woody Harrelson is filling the void for The Man from Toronto. Variety reports the Oscar-nominated actor will co-star opposite Kevin Hart in a story of mistaken identity involving the world's greatest assassin.
Florian Munteanu to fight Shang-Chi: Marvel's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings may have a secondary villain in the form of professional boxer Florian Munteanu, who played Viktor Drago in Creed II. Australian movie site Dark Horizons reports the heavyweight will face off against the titular superhero and kung-fu master, played by Simu Liu.
Taika Waititi’s inbox must look like a disaster following his screenwriting Oscar last month. He’s unquestionably one of the most in-demand names in Hollywood these days, and not only is he prepping for Thor: Love and Thunder, possibly building Star Wars ties beyond his The Mandalorian role, and starring as a suicidal cult leader, he’s also managing to hug an Avenger during his down time. Now, Netflix has announced that Waititi will direct and write two shows based upon Roald Dahl’s 1964 children’s novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The wording of the associated announcements is a little strange, though. Hollywood Reporter emphasizes that these will be “animated event series,” and that wording doesn’t spring from nowhere. Back in November, Netflix declared on Twitter that multiple animated event series based upon Roald Dahl’s works were in development for their platform. Those projects would also include series inspired by Matlida and The BFG, to “be reimagined for a new generation.” What does “event series” mean, though? Marketing folks like to use that term to describe short-run series that are widely marketed and possibly spinoffs of larger series to draw huge audiences during specific time periods like sweeps. The term has also been tossed around to describe those rare juggernaut series that everyone watches weekly, and live, as they happen. Like The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, and to a degree, arguably Watchmen.
How does Netflix plan to event-ize animated series from Taika Waititi? Would this show surface on a weekly basis, rather than through bingeable seasons? This seems like an unlikely programming strategy, but one never knows. Regardless, the details on the second, Oompa-Loompa-focused series do sound intriguing:
The first series will be based on the world and characters of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, while the second is described as a wholly original take on the Oompa-Loompas, the small song-loving humans who worked in Willy Wonka’s infamous factory.
So, Taiki Waititi is the new king of weird, officially, taking over after Tim Burton last handled the franchise? This checks out.
Via Hollywood Reporter
There’s one particularly telling and effective moment in The Skywalker Legacy, the feature-lenght documentary that’s included on the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker home release that sums up much of the ambivalence and consternation that some had with J.J. Abrams’ return to the Star Wars universe. After showing the intricate construction of a giant, practical snake monster, the doc cuts back to footage of Jabba The Hutt, that old analogue beast that slithered its way into our hearts. The sentiment is clear – we’re making movies like we used to! A celebration of practical effects, the dripping of k-y jelly to give viscosity just like the old costume days, it’s all there. There’s excitement on set, everyone talking about how amazing it looks, how lifelike, how this is how you’re supposed to do movies like this.
Cut to Visual Effects Supervisor Roger Guyett who shatters the myth, letting us know the creature was replaced by a CGI version in post.
Guyett’s resume is mighty. Having made his bones on groundbreaking films like Twister and Casper, he helped Spielberg bring the events of D-Day to screen in Saving Private Ryan, helped bring to life the best looking film in the Harry Potter series, Alfonso Cuarón’s Prisoner of Azkaban, and even made the theatrical version of Rent feel more than a stage production. Guyett has had many collaborations with Abrams – from the Star Trek Reboots through The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker he was even second unit director on the former, as well as working with George Lucas on Episode III to round off the prequels. He’s in a unique position to speak to these changing landscapes of epic filmmaking.
We spoke at length about the apparent contradictions and indulgences in making a Star Wars film, and he made the case for why nothing was wasted and all contributed to the final presentation. He was erudite and open to the discussion, making for a dream conversation with a man who quite literally has helped shape what amazes us on screen for decades.
The following has been edited for clarity and concision.
We see practical effects being championed as almost a marketing ploy with the “postquels” as a mix of nostalgia and an attempt to delineate from Lucas’ second trilogy. In some ways the love of the practically-realized snake undercuts the extraordinary CGI you and your team accomplished, and raises questions about why the need to fetishize the on-set inclusions when they’re replaced anyway. Could you talk about that ethos, that somehow doing stuff on a computer is a “cheat” while doing an effect practically is not?
I think at the end of the day we’re all trying to do the best that we can, trying to make the best, most dramatic or emotional movie we can visually. I’m coming from figuring out how do you get the most...
We have charts from five VOD and streaming platforms; they don’t use the same metrics, and are not independently verified. However, FandangoNOW leads the herd in its decision to list by the nearest equivalent of “grosses” — that is, the number of transactions times the cost. With the majority of releases at $19.99, it gives a better view of comparative performance.
Across the board at FandangoNOW, iTunes, and Amazon Prime, “Sonic the Hedgehog” Paramount and “Bad Boys for Life” Sony —the two top theatrical releases of 2020 — are thriving. Spectrum Cable’s weekly chart, which appears to be a little slower to pick up trends, doesn’t yet show those two films at all. However, like FandangoNOW, it does reflect the presence of the faith-based terminal illness romance “I Still Believe” Lionsgate, the other significant new release over the past week.
Other new titles like STX’s “Brahms: The Boy II” available at a lower price of $9.99 and the year’s best-reviewed new film “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” Focus, which was released Friday — are so far sight unseen.
To judge by platforms that rank by transactions, lower prices do help. We also list Netflix, which is based on the streamer’s ranking of viewings. It presents perhaps the most curious test of what interests the public and what the future of movies and other forms of recorded entertainment looks like.
We will cover this in far more detail midweek as well as look at winners and losers so far and possible trends and changes to come.FandangoNOW
full week rank based on total sales price, not no. of transactions
1 Bad Boys for Life Sony – $19.99
2 Sonic the Hedgehog Paramount – $19.99
3 The Invisible Man Universal – $19.99
4 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Disney – $4.99
5 Onward Disney – $4.99
6 Bloodshot Sony – $19.99
7 Jumanji: The Next Level Sony – $4.99
8 Birds of Prey Warner Bros. – $19.99
9 I Still Believe Lionsgate – $19.99
10 The Call of the Wild Disney – $4.99iTunes
rank based on transactions; list includes current and highest position during the week
1 1 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Disney – $4.99
2 1 Sonic the Hedgehog Paramount – $19.99
3 2 Bad Boys for Life Sony – $19.99
4 1 1917 Universal – $5.99
5 2 Jumanji: The Next Level Sony – $3.99
6 3 Onward Disney – $4.99
7 7 Knives Out Lionsgate – $5.99
8 7 Contagion Warner Bros. – $3.99
9 9 Ford v...