Happy Monday and welcome back from hopefully a good weekend. With the weather improving and COVID fading, it seems like everyone in Hollywood and the world of production were out enjoying that weather.
Unfortunately, we start with the sad news that actor Clarence Williams III, best known as “Linc” on The Mod Squad, passed away at the age of 81 from colon cancer on Friday, according to his management. Williams played that role from 1968 to 1973 but began his career on stage in 1965, receiving a Tony nomination as best featured actor for Slow Dance on the Killing Ground.
Williams was also known for playing Prince‘s father in his breakout 1984 film, Purple Rain. (Ironically, today would have been the late Prince’s 63rd birthday.)
Other memorable roles include ones in 52 Pick-Up, Reindeer Games, 1993’s Sugar Hill, 1998’s The Legend of 1900, and the comedies, Tales from the Hood, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, and Dave Chappelle‘s Half Baked.
Sunday night was the awards ceremony for the annual BAFTA TV Awards aka the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards 2021, put on by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) with the HBO/BBC limited series, I May Destroy You winning two BAFTAs for Leading Actress Michaela Coel and for Mini-Series. Leading Actor went to Paul Mescal for Normal People, while Male Performace in a Comedy Programme went to Charlie Cooper for This Country. Female Performance in a Comedy Programme went to Aimee Lou Wood for Sex Education. Malachi Kirby and Rakie Ayola won the Supporting categories for Small Axe and Anthony respectably. (It was noticeable that Netflix’s The Crown was completely snubbed.) While the BAFTA film awards tend to be a good precursor for the Oscars, the BAFTA TV Awards are fairly new, and a lot of the nominees are British programs (or programmes, if you like) that aren’t quite as prominent in their American releases. The BAFTA Television Craft Awards were handed out last month with a lot more focused categories in play there. You can read the full list of winners here.
With so much casting news in Friday’s “End of Week Production Notes,” it was clear that we wouldn’t have as much today, and in fact, we just have one bit of casting news from The Hollywood Reporter, reporting that multi-hyphenate Issa Rae is joining the voice cast of the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse sequel. Rumors are that Rae will be voicing Jessica Drew aka Spider-Woman, an important part of the Spider-Verse in the comics. Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers (Soul) and Justin K. Thompson are directing the animated sequel with original director Peter Ramsey transitioning into an exec. producer role. The script is written by Oscar-winning producers along with David Callaham (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings). Joining Lord and Miller as producers are Amy Pascal, Avi Arad and Christina Steinberg with Alonzo Ruvalcaba co-producing. The sequel has already been slated by Sony Pictures for an October 7, 2022 release.
The domestic box office saw the release of two new movies into over 3,000 theaters on Friday with New Line Cinema‘s The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It getting the advantage for topping the hit sequel, A Quiet Place Part II, over DreamWorks Animation/Universal‘s animated feature, Spirit Untamed.
In fact, The Conjuring threequel did end up winning the weekend with an estimated $24 million after opening with over $9.8 million on Friday. This is particularly significant, because like all other Warner Bros. releases, it was also available on HBO Max day-and-date. John Krasinki‘s own horror sequel, A Quiet Place Part II, took an expected plunge from its Memorial Day weekend, down 59% from its opening weekend with $19.5 million for second place. Disney’s Cruella took third place with $11.2 million, down 48% from its own opening weekend. Spirit Untamed opened in 3,211 theaters with $2.4 million grossed on Friday and an estimated $6.2 million to open in fourth place.
The top 10 was down from last week’s holiday weekend pandemic record, but it’s still the second best weekend at the box office since COVID shut down theaters across the country in March 2020.
No trailers this week, but maybe you remember our interview with VFX Supervisor Ryan Freer from MARZ (an acronym for “Monsters Aliens Robots Zombies”), talking about the studio’s VFX work for the Marvel Studios and Disney+ series, WandaVision? Over the weekend, Below the Line received a nice surprise as MARZ shared its VFX reel for their work on the show, which you can watch below. (This also acts as a preview for our interview with WandaVision Production Designer Mark Worthington, which will run later this week.)