Well, it was quite a weekend, as IATSE members were voting on the future of the group’s negotiations with AMPTP — to strike or not to strike? — but there was other news in the industry that never fully sleeps. (You can read the latest updates on the IATSE strike authorization here, but in a few hours, we’ll get the results of the vote and things are likely to change accordingly. Also, look for a brand-new column dealing with the strike to debut on Tuesday.)
The Directors Guild (DGA) will also have to negotiate a new contract with AMPTP themselves but not until 2023, although new President Lesli Linka Glatter has announced the three-person negotiations committee, approved unanimously by the DGA National Board. Director Jon Avnet was appointed Chair, while fellow directors Todd Holland and Karen Gaviola were appointed Co-Chairs of the next DGA Feature Film and Television Negotiations Committee. The current DGA three-year contract ends on June 30, 2023, and Glatter said about the trio’s appointment, “We don’t yet know when our next negotiations will take place, but we are looking ahead as we carefully examine the creative and economic issues faced by our members working in film and television. As part of that process, we have asked three of our prominent feature and television directors – Jon Avnet, Karen Gaviola and Todd Holland – to head our negotiations, and they have graciously agreed. Jon and Todd did such a tremendous job co-chairing in our last round – and as a veteran of many past negotiating committees, Karen is just the right person to round out this stellar team. We are so fortunate to have the benefit of their wisdom and many years of experience to spearhead this process.”
Not sure if you remember all the drama surrounding the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) a few months back, but the group that gives out the Golden Globes has just appointed Todd Boehly as its interim CEO, who will lead the group through its “continued membership diversity, credentialing, and further organizational transformation.” We’ll see.
The big news for the weekend was probably the incredible performance of the box office, not only in North America but also overseas, as October looks to be the month where things finally improve at a box office that has been torn apart by COVID. Not that you would know by the performance of Venom: Let There be Carnage, which defied all expectations with an astounding estimated $90.1 million its opening weekend. Sony Pictures opened the Tom Hardy-starrer, directed by Andy Serkis, in 4,225 North American theaters over the weekend with previews on Thursday night that took in $11.6 million. The previous Venom kicked off October in 2018 with $80 million, so its sequel’s showing is a good omen for how this month might go with quite a few high-profile movies being released over the coming weeks.
Another sequel, the animated The Addams Family II was released by MGM into 4,207 theaters on Friday where it grossed an estimated $18 million, which is down significantly from the $30 million opening of its predecessor in 2019.
Marvel Studios‘ Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings faced its biggest drop since opening in early September, losing 54% of its prior weekend box office to drop to third place with $6 million. Even so, it has become the first movie since the pandemic began to gross $200 million, a huge benchmark and another sign that things may be improving.
On the other hand, David Chase‘s Sopranos prequel, The Many Saints of Newark, was released by Warner Bros. into 3,181 theaters, and there’s no way to sugarcoat the fact that it tanked, taking in just $5 million for fourth place. Once again, the decision by WarnerMedia to release the movie, directed by The Sopranos‘ Emmy-winning director Alan Taylor, concurrently on HBO Max will likely be called into question since fans of the original HBO show were perfectly fine just watching the prequel on their TV sets rather than seeing it in a movie theater. And yet, WarnerMedia was happy enough with the movie to sign a new five-year overall first-look deal with Chase that will have him developing content for HBO, HBO Max and Warner Bros. Maybe the Sopranos prequel will do well enough to HBO Max to warrant continuation as a series.
Overseas, No Time to Die, the 25th James Bond movie and fifth starring Daniel Craig opened with an equally amazing $112.9 million in 54 markets, shared between MGM and Universal Pictures. It becomes the first movie to open with over $100 million (sans China) since the pandemic began in early 2020. That opening is on par with Skyfall‘s overseas launch in 2012 but 21% below 2015’s Spectre. No surprise that the United Kingdom led the way with roughly $30 million on the weekend with $14.2 million on Weds and Thurs. On Thursday, the Cary Joji Fukunaga-directed No Time to Die, scored the best IMAX opening day showing during the pandemic in 14 markets, including UK/Ireland, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, and others. MGM will open the Bond movie in North America this coming Friday, Oct. 8, with previews on both Weds and Thursday nights.
Time for some TV! (And movies, because there just isn’t enough news about either to give them separate sections today.)
Unfortunately, Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s Apple series, Mr. Corman, has been given the axe after just one season. I thought it was an interesting experimental show that tried to distance itself from normal sitcom, but that clearly didn’t help it find the audience it needed to continue.
IMDb TV is developing a one-hour drama series based on the popular 1999 thriller, Cruel Intentions, along with Sony Pictures Television, Amazon Studios, and Original Film. It will be written by Sara Goodman and Phoebe Fisher with Original Film’s Neil Moritz, who produced the 1999 film, acting as an exec. producer. The logline for the new series calls it “an hour-long drama series where two ruthless step siblings will do anything to stay on top. In this case, of the Greek life hierarchy at an elite Washington, D.C. college. After a brutal hazing incident threatens the entire Panhellenic system, they’ll do whatever’s necessary to preserve their power and reputations — even seduce the daughter of the Vice President of the United States.”
It looks like Damian Lewis will be leaving the Showtime series, Billions, after five seasons, as revealed by Exec. Producer Brian Koppelman on social media following the streaming premiere of the final episode of the season. The show will be returning for a sixth season in January.
Remember that untitled John Logan LGBTQIA+ empowerment horror movie the three-time Oscar-nominated screenwriter first-time director was making for Blumhouse? Well, it looks like that movie, which is set at a gay conversion camp, is now being made to stream on Peacock, although it did add some more cast, so I guess that’s a good news-bad news combo platter? The actors joining the already announced Kevin Bacon, Anna Chlumsky, Theo Germain, and Carrie Preston are Quei Tann (Bruh), Austin Crute (Booksmart), Anna Lore (All American), Monique Kim, Cooper Koch, and Darwin del Fabro.
Oddly, they even announced the new cast through a video, which you can watch below:
More Blumhouse news comes from the virtual 2nd annual “BlumFest” with acting vet Donald Sutherland and young gun Jaeden Martell being cast in Blumhouse and Ryan Murphy‘s Netflix film, Mr. Harrigan’s Phone, which is being written and directed by John Lee Hancock, based on the short story by Stephen King. Sutherland will play the title character of the story which comes from King’s best-selling collection of novellas, If It Bleeds, with Martell playing Craig, a young boy living in a small town who befriends its older, reclusive billionaire, Mr. Harrigan, who is buried with an iPhone when he dies that allows him to communicate with the boy. Netflix has previously had success with King material, most notably Mike Flanagan‘s movie based on Gerald’s Game, which preceded Flanagan creating three hit horror shows for the streamer, including the current one, Midnight Mass. Production for Mr. Harrigan’s Phone begins this month with Plum producing with Murphy and Carla Hacken, along with Blumhouse Television EPs Chris McCumber and Jeremy Gold, along with Scott Greenberg.
We’ll stay in King mode with the younger cast for New Line‘s Salem’s Lot adaptation of the King novel being announced by The Hollywood Reporter, as Jordan Preston Carter, Nicholas Crovetti and Cade Woodward are now on board the production with It screenwriter Gary Dauberman at the helm.
We’ll go back to some more Blumhouse news, as Jason Blum is teaming with media giant Tyler Perry for their first co-production, a thriller called Help. Alan McElroy (Wrong Turn) is writing and directing the movie that will begin production at Perry’s Atlanta-based Tyler Perry Studios next year with Blum and Perry producing along with Tim Palen via Palen’s Peachtree and Vine label.
From Deadline comes word that actors Dayo Okeniyi (See) and William Fichtner are joining Robert Rodriguez‘s thriller, Hypnotic, for Solstice Studios and Studio 8, which is currently filming in Austin, Texas. The movie stars Ben Affleck, Alicia Braga, and Hala Finley, and it follows a detective who becomes entangled in a mystery involving his missing daughter (Finley) and a secret government program – while investigating a string of impossible high-end crimes. Rodriguez wrote the film with Max Borenstein, and he produces with Studio 8 CEO Jeff Robinov and his colleague John Graham along with Solstice.
Remember that even though it’s October, there’s no need to be scared of our Production Listings. In fact, it might help you find your next job!
That’s it for today. Back on Wednesday for the weekly “Hump Day News Update.”