You’re going to hear this a lot over the next month, but we’ve reached the holiday portion of the year where things inevitably slow down in Hollywood. This year will likely see more of that than last year when people were still trying to catch up on production due to COVID shutdowns earlier in the year.
Although the long negotiations between IATSE and AMPTP were resolved in order to generate a new three-year contract for 60,000+ IATSE members, one guild not included was the Animation Guild, IATSE Local 839, and the contract negotiations between 839 and AMPTP have now broken off to resume sometime next year. Alexandra Drosu, the guild’s director of communications and content told Deadline, “An agreement was not reached today. We will have to continue negotiations in the New Year though no date has been set.”
The Animation Guild’s contract was set to expire on July 29, but it was then extended through Oct. 30, although that was extended again to allow IATSE to reach a film and TV deal, for which Local 839 is not included. Talks began on Monday for the 4,600-member guild with some of the issues being discussed including better terms for streaming shows, a significant pay increase for animation writers, and an outsized raise for the guild’s lowest-paid crafts. Next up on the negotiation table with AMPTP is Hollywood’s Teamsters Local 399 and the Basic Crafts unions. Hopefully, the Animation Guild won’t be put in the same situation as the rest of IATSE was earlier this year where it takes a strike authorization to get back to the negotiation table.
On Friday, the New York Film Critics Circle, one of the longest-running critics groups in the country met to vote on their annual awards, and although Jane Campion‘s Power of the Dog received quite a bit of love, garnering the Director award for Campion, and acting awards for Benedict Cumberbatch and Kodi Smit-McPhee (lead and supporting, respectively), it was the Japanese drama, Drive My Car, directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, based on a short story by Haruki Murakami, that took the top prize of Best Film from the venerable group. The Japanese film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year and many feel that it’s destined to at least get an Oscar nomination as Japan’s selection for International Feature. Lady Gaga won for Best Actress for her role in Ridley Scott‘s House of Gucci, while Kathryn Hunter, who plays the witch in Joel Coen‘s The Tragedy of Macbeth took the supporting prize. Paul Thomas Anderson‘s new film, Licorice Pizza, took the prize for Best Screenplay while Maggie Gyllenhaal‘s The Lost Daughter won Best First Film. The only below-the-line prize was the cinematography prize, which went to Janusz Kaminski for his work filming Steven Spielberg‘s West Side Story (out this Friday).
Ana De Armas from Knives Out and No Time to Die has joined Chris Evans in his Apple/Skydance film, Ghosted, replacing Scarlett Johansson, who has left the project amicably due to a scheduling conflict. Ghosted is a high-concept romantic action-adventure film directed by Rocketman helmer Dexter Fletcher, which is being produced by Skydance’s David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Don Granger, along with Jules Daly. Evans will serve as producer, and de Armas as an executive producer, while writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Deadpool, Zombieland) are also producing. Apple is hoping to get the film into production in February, which didn’t work for Johansson, so Ellison suggested getting Armas, who is super-hot in Hollywood right now.
In an interview with the Associated Press, actor Tom Holland, who can next be seen in Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios‘ Spider-Man: No Way Home, said that he would be playing Fred Astaire in an upcoming biopic, but gave no other info. Spider-Man producer Amy Pascal had mentioned wanting Holland to take on the role, although the actor says he hasn’t read the script yet. “I haven’t read it yet. They haven’t given it to me,” he said. “Amy Pascal has the script. She FaceTimed me earlier. I was in the bath and we had a lovely FaceTime.”
Over the weekend, the Brazil Comic-Con (CCXP) took place, and one of the announcements there came from Amazon Prime Video, who announced the eight-episode animated anthology series, The Boys: Diabolical, which spins off from their Emmy-nominated series. Diabolical will premiere in 2022 with untold stories from the world of The Boys with some of the names involved including Awkwafina, original comic creator Garth Ennis, Eliot Glazer and Ilana Glazer, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, Simon Racioppa, Justin Roiland and Ben Bayouth, Andy Samberg, and Aisha Tyler. Exec. produccer/showrunner Eric Kripke said about the second spin-off series, “We’re almost finished with eight episodes of our animated series, Diabolical. We gathered together some incredible creators and we gave them one rule…just kidding, there’s no rules. They blew the doors off it.” Diabolical is executive produced by Simon Racioppa, Kripke, Rogen, Goldberg, James Weaver, Neal H. Moritz, Pavun Shetty, Ori Marmur, Ken F. Levin, Jason Netter, Garth Ennis, Darick Robertson, Michaela Starr, Loreli Alanís, Chris Prynoski, Shannon Prynoski, and Ben Kalina. It is produced by Amazon Studios and Sony Pictures Television Studios, with Titmouse, Kripke Enterprises, Original Film, and Point Grey Pictures.
AMC‘s Fear the Walking Dead has been renewed for an eighth season according to the network with Kim Dickens, who played the popular character Madison Clark in the first four seasons, returning for the second half of Season 7 (debuting April 17) and being a series regular for Season 8. Scott M. Gimple, Chief Content Officer of The Walking Dead Universe (TWDU), released the statement, “If there were a Mt. Deadmore, Kim Dickens’ face would be on it. Madison Clark is a foundational character to TWDU — heroic, complex, an everyperson who becomes a warrior and then a force of benevolence. Kim Dickens’ raw talent, strength, and brilliance will electrify TWDU once more and we couldn’t be luckier to have her back.”
According to Deadline, NBC is developing a mystery drama called In Between, starring Merrin Dungey (Lucifer), about a therapist who is forced to move to a small town. The new series comes from All My Children actress Liz Vassey, who has become a writer and producer, along with Call Me Kat and The Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik. In the series, Dungey plays a highly successful New York City therapist, who is forced to relocate to Between, GA, with a population of 297, after learning her estranged brother was involved in a mysterious accident. While struggling to make a place for herself in such a quirky therapy-resistant community, she realizes this tiny town has big secrets and may just need her more than she could have ever imagined — especially her gifted but misunderstood 9-year-old niece. It’s produced by Bialik’s Sad Clown Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television, and Vassey will write and exec produce with Bialik exec producing. Sad Clown’s Mackenzie Gabriel-Vaught is a Co-EP while Dungey is also producing.
Alloy Entertainment has secured the rights to the article, How Ted Bundy’s Killing Spree Launched a Legion of Feminist Karate Masters, a story about The Feminist Karate Union, by Ivana Rihter, which was published on the Narratively media platform in October 2020. Alloy Entertainment president and CEO Leslie Morgenstein and EVP of Television Gina Girolamo will shepherd the development of the IP into a TV series. Rihter’s article follows the creation of The Feminist Karate Union after being founded in Seattle in 1971. The popularity of the group exploded after Ted Bundy’s killing spree in the area with women urgently looking to find a safe space to learn self-defense techniques and flocking to the dojo. Rihter is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor who covers pop culture, entertainment, and art, writing for such outlets as Vogue, Allure, Vice, Nylon, i-D, and Bustle, among others.
Some sad news from the weekend that Producer Martha de Laurentiis, who produced many of the Silence of the Lambs spin-offs, such as Hannibal, Hannibal Rising, and Red Dragon, died on Saturday at the age of 67. According to Bryan Fuller, who worked with de Laurentiis on the NBC series, Hannibal, she “died peacefully with her family at her side.”
It was a fairly lackluster weekend at the box office as only one new movie was released nationwide, which is fairly common in the weekend following Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t mean the weekend was terrible as movies like Disney‘s animated Encanto and Sony Pictures Ghostbusters: Afterlife remained atop the box office with $12.7 million and $10.3 million apiece, down 53% and 57% respectively. Encanto has grossed just under $58 million in its first 12 days, while Ghostbusters: Afterlife has crossed the $100 million mark with $102.2 million.
Ridley Scott‘s House of Gucci remained in third place with $6.7 million, down 53% from its opening Thanksgiving weekend, with $33.6 million grossed to date.
There were only two new wide releases this week, both fairly low key. Christmas with the Chosen: The Messengers, a Fathom Events release, took in $4.1 million in 1,700 theaters to open in fourth place. FUNimation Entertainment also released its anime, Sword Art Online: Progressive – Aria of a Starless Night into 840 theaters, where it grossed a million, enough to break into the top 10.
Other than that, the Top 10 remained mainly the same except for a noticeable bump by Denis Villeneuve‘s sci-fi epic, Dune, which bumped up to 6th place with $1.8 million (down just 13% from weekend), which can be attributed to the decision by Warner Bros. to re-release the movie into IMAX theaters (which made up for a million of the weekend box office) in the gap between other IMAX releases. It also had left HBO Max making it the only way to see the movie being in theaters.
Focus Features chose to release Nathalie Biancheri‘s drama Wolf, starring George MacKay (1917) and Lily-Rose Depp, into just 308 theaters, which was probably a smart move since it ended up grossing an absolutely abysmal $81,000, averaging just $263 per theater. Paul Verhoeven‘s religious drama, Benedetta, released by IFC Films into 202 theaters, ended up faring better with $145,000 or 718 per theater but that’s also not great.
Over the weekend, Sony Pictures debuted the first teaser for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part 1), the sequel to the hugely successful Oscar-winning animated feature, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, from 2018. The animation once again looks fantastic, but the biggest surprise might be the fact that it’s now being called “Part 1” presumably of two movies. Another interesting point is that co-directors Joaquim Dos Santos and Justin K. Thompson are being joined by Kemp Powers, who won the Oscar for Animated Feature earlier this year for co-directing/co-writing Disney/Pixar‘s Soul.
That’s it for today. Back on Wednesday for the weekly “Hump Day News Update.”