Happy Easter Monday, or for those who don’t get to take today off, welcome back to work.
The backlash against Georgia’s new voting law that we reported on Friday continues to get more heated. Over the weekend, Major League Baseball decided to pull the annual All-Star Game and the draft from Atlanta due to the unfairness of the voting laws signed by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp. Other corporations have spoken out but haven’t actually boycotted yet, but there’s no denying that pulling the All-Star Game definitely will hurt the hundreds of Atlanta and Georgia crew that would have been necessary to put on those major sports events.
There was better news in New York City where Broadway partially reopened for a limited capacity show at the St. James Theater for essential workers as part of the NYPopsUp program, a show that included Broadway legends, Nathan Lane and Savion Glover, and many other Broadway performers dancing and singing on stage for an audience for the first time in a year. In another sign of returning to normalcy, New York’s Gotham Comedy Club also reopened on Friday with a special appearance by superstar stand-up comedian, Jerry Seinfeld
On Sunday, SAG-AFTRA gave out its 27th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards with Aaron Sorkin‘s The Trial of the Chicago 7 winning the top film prize, Performance by an Ensemble Cast, and another Netflix film, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, winning both Lead Male and Lead Female Actor prizes, given to the late Chadwick Boseman and to Viola Davis for their performances in said film. Judas and the Black Messiah star Daniel Kaluuya (who just appeared on Saturday Night Live over the weekend) won for Supporting Male Actor, while Minari‘s Yuh-Jung Youn won Supporting Female Actor. Wonder Woman 1984 won the SAG award for Best Stunt Ensemble.
On the television side of things, Netflix dominated there as well with The Crown winning for Ensemble in a Drama Series, Gillian Anderson winning for Female Actor in a Drama Series, while Jason Bateman won for a Male Actor in a Drama Series for Ozark and Anya Taylor-Joy won Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series for The Queen’s Gambit. The Emmy-winning Schitt’s Creek won for Ensemble in a Comedy Series with Catherine O’Hara winning for Female Actor in the same category, and Jason Sudeikis continuing his seemingly unstoppable run to win every award for his portrayal of the title character in for Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso. Disney+‘s The Mandalorian won the SAG Award for Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series.
The weekend got even better for Netflix and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, because a night earlier, on Saturday, the Make-up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild (MUAHS) handed out its own awards, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom also did well there, winning two prizes for “Best Period or Character Make-Up” and “Best Period Period or Character Hair Styling.” The Italian film Pinocchio won for “Best Special Make-Up Effects” while Birds of Prey also won two prizes for “Contemporary Make-Up” and “Contemporary Hair Styling.” As far as the television prizes, HBO’s Westworld won for “Contemporary Make-up” but Schitt’s Creek won for “Contemporary Hair-Styling.” Bridgerton won for “Period Hair-Styling” while another Netflix series, The Queen’s Gambit, won for “Period Make-up,” on the television side of things. The Star Wars series, The Mandalorian won for “Special Make-Up Effects.” Saturday Night Live also won two awards for “Period or Character Make-Up on a TV Special” and “Contemporary Make-Up” in same.
If you’ve read J. Don Birnam‘s make-up and hair styling showcase last week, you’ll know that both Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Pinocchio are nominated for Oscars, but based on the fact that the former has been seen by more people, including Academy members, it stands a good chance at winning an Oscar for its talented team.
There hasn’t been much in terms of casting news since Friday although one actor has dropped out of the popular show that introduced him to the world, as it was announced that Regé-Jean Page‘s Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings, will not be returning for Netflix’s Bridgerton Season 2. This caused some consternation among the show’s fans as Page was thought to be the break-out star of the show. The announcement was made via Bridgerton‘s Instagram page in a statement from another character from the series, “Lady Whistledown.” (iThe character only appeared in the first novel, “The Duke and I,” but Page became so popular so quickly that he was booked to host Saturday Night Live almost immediately after he got attention on the show.)
Whatever you want to say about how COVID has affected the theatrical box office or how the advent of streaming services and PVOD has potentially taken away from said business, none of that was anywhere to be seen with Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures’ Godzilla vs. Kong, which opened on Wednesday, March 31, while at the same time premiering on HBO Max.
After making $9.6 million on Wednesday and $6.7 million on Thursday in 2,409 theaters, the monster mash-up expanded into over 3,000 theaters where it grossed an estimated $32.2 million in its first weekend for a five-day total of $48.5 million. For comparison, Universal and DreamWorks Animation‘s The Croods: A New Age, the highest-grossing domestic film since theater reopened back in September has only grossed $56.3 million in toto. Wonder Woman 1984 has only grossed $46.1 million domestically after opening on Christmas Day, and Christopher Nolan‘s Tenet — both of which were supposed to be big summer movies for Warner Bros. in 2020 — ended up with $57.9 million total in North America. On the other hand, the latter grossed over $300 million internationally where theater business has done much better. Godzilla vs. Kong has already grossed $239.6 million overseas, adding another $76.1 million to bring the movie’s global box office to $285 million.
Back in the States, Lionsgate‘s horror film, The Unholy, only grossed $3.2 million in 1,850 theaters for an average of $1,729 per theaters to take second place. Universal’s action-thriller, Nobody, took third place with $3 million, a 55% drop from its opening weekend.
Sony Pictures Classics just can’t get a hit as its Michelle Pfeiffer vehicle, French Exit, which premiered at the New York Film Festival last September and expanded into 480 theaters on Friday but only made roughly $193,000, which only got it into the very bottom of the top 10.
Just as today’s column was about to go to “press,” Disney and Marvel Studios released the first trailer for the latter’s upcoming Loki series, which premieres on Disney+ June 11th. It focuses on Tom Hiddleston‘s popular MCU villain, who is sent on a journey by a character played by Owen Wilson, to repair the damage to reality he’s created with his previous manipulations.
Over the weekend, Warner Bros. released the first trailer for Malcolm D. Lee‘s Space Jam: A New Legacy, teaming basketball great LeBron James with the Looney Tunes carton characters. It’s a pseudo-sequel to the Michael Jordan-starrer Space Jam, which was released in March, 1997, and grossed $90.5 million at the domestic box office and another $160 million overseas. The new movie will be released in theaters and on HBO Max on July 16.
Although Disney delayed Marvel Studios‘ Black Widow by two months, it just released a new trailer for the prequel covering the origin of Scarlet Johansson‘s Avengers superhero, advertising its release on July 9 both in theaters and on Disney+ as a Premium purchase for $29.99.