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Over the Weekend: Chadwick Boseman Dies, Cali. Governor Sets Reopening Plans

August 31, 2020 | By

Although August tends to be rather slow and devoid of news from Hollywood and around the world of film and television production, I’m going to try to provide a weekly Monday morning recap for anyone who has stepped away from the 24-hour news cycle for the weekend and wants a quick overview of what is happening in relevant news.


Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman, photo by Gage Skidmore

On Friday night, the tragic announcement was released that actor Chadwick Boseman — the inspiration for millions of children and adults alike with his portrayal of Marvel Studios‘ Black Panther in the 2018 worldwide blockbuster — had died at the young age of 43. Boseman had been diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago, and unbeknownst to everyone, including Black Panther director, Ryan Coogler, Boseman had been getting treatment and surgery in between his acting work, which included starring roles in Marshall, as well as key roles in the box office record-setters, Avengers: Infinity War and its 2019 sequel, Avengers: Endgame.

On Sunday night, Disney subsidiary ABC aired Black Panther commercial-free, followed by a tribute to Boseman from some of his closest friends and collaborators. Coogler appeared briefly in a segment via EPK but earlier on Sunday, he released an emotional and poignant statement about the loss of his friend and collaborator. Here’s a snippet of Coogler’s lengthy post:

“I haven’t grieved a loss this acute before. I spent the last year preparing, imagining and writing words for him to say, that we weren’t destined to see. It leaves me broken knowing that I won’t be able to watch another close-up of him in the monitor again or walk up to him and ask for another take.”

It’s way too early to ponder what’s going to happen to the Black Panther sequel, which had already booked multiple stages in Atlanta to begin filming soon, and out of respect to Boseman’s family, friends and colleagues, as well as the millions who admired and loved his work, I will not throw any more conjecture fuel onto the fire.


Also on Friday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new tiered system on how to reopen California businesses based on the infection area in any particular region. It’s a four-tiered color-coded system where Tier 1 or Purple is designated for regions with the highest rates of infection including Los Angeles. In his statement, Newsom described Tier 1 as such:

“Tier 1 is characterized by widespread community transmission. Although the State today revised slightly the list of permitted activities in Tier 1 to allow for the re-opening of both hair salons for indoor services and indoor shopping centers for permitted retail establishments, the County Health Officer Order has not been changed to permit these re-openings. As such, since County orders may be more restrictive than State guidance, all current restrictions remain in place until the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the Board of Supervisors have an opportunity to review the suggested guidance from the State and take actions that are appropriate for our County.”

Most of California’s 58 counties will remain under Tier 1 except for two notable ones, San Diego and Orange County, which hold the second and third largest populations in terms of county.

But as the state’s coronavirus data has improved in recent weeks, some counties got off the list, including San Diego and Orange, the second- and third-largest counties by population. This new system came out of California having to shut down businesses again after opening prematurely and seeing an enormous spike in July and August.  Some movie theaters in the red or better i.e safer regions with substantial but not widespread infection will be allowed to reopen today, August 31, with 25% theater capacity up to 100 people, whichever is the lesser number. Everyone else in the state will have to contend with home-viewing and drive-ins. The latter are popping up more and more across the state with 20th Century Studios even taking over the Rose Bowl Stadium lot in order to show their latest film, The New Mutants. (More on that below.)


After multiple delays due to the pandemic, Christopher Nolan‘s sci-fi action thriller, Tenet, finally opened in 40 areas overseas, including the UK and Canada, where it took in approximately $53 million in its first five days. Tenet is scheduled to open in roughly 3,000 theaters this Friday with previews over the next few nights, although theaters both in L.A. and New York City remain closed. (I will be going out of state this afternoon to see the movie during one of its early previews and will have a report and a review to share sometime later this week.)

20th Century’s superhero movie, The New Mutants, after being delayed for years, was finally released into over 2,400 theaters on Thursday night, taking in roughly $7 million in its first weekend of domestic box office. That was enough to be the #1 movie in North America, although Tenet is thought to have done more money in Canada.

Orion Pictures (a division of MGM) opened the long-awaited sequel, Bill and Ted Face the Musicreuniting the popular early characters played by Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves, last seen theatrically in 1991, but only in about 1,000 theaters nationwide, instead focusing on its PVOD (paid video on demand) release. It only ended up making about $1 million theatrically, settling for third place behind Russell Crowe‘s Unhinged, which took second place with $2.6 million.

The Chinese war epic, The Eight Hundred, which opened in the Middle Kingdom last weekend, took  in $69 million in its second three-day weekend in China. After just ten days of release, it has grossed $277 million as the country where the pandemic is thought to have first gotten its start is now thriving from the 90% of the country’s theaters that have reopened with limited capacities. Disney’s Mulan will get a theatrical release in the country but that date hasn’t been set yet, and Disney+ subscribers in the U.S. and a few other regions will be able to pay $29.95 to watch the anticipated action movie, which was supposed to open five months ago, in their own  home.

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