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Over the Weekend 12/21/20: NY and LA Critics Make Their Picks, Fox’ The Big Leap Paused and More News


It’s the last “Over the Weekend” before Christmas, and hopefully, everyone has been good for Santa. There haven’t been any further developments in the Tom Cruise flame-out on the set of Mission: Impossible 7, so we can focus on other things today.

Rialto Square Theater (Photo: Chicago Sun Times)

Unfortunately, many of the other news items today also involve COVID-19 as the Chicago-based production on the pilot for the Fox ballet-themed dramedy, The Big Leap, was paused due to a few positive COVID tests, according to the Chicago Sun Times. The positive tests were found during a routine screening as part of Disney TV Studios‘ strict health and safety protocols and production was paused with four more days in the shoot. The pilot completed 11 days of filming at the Rialto Square Theater in Joliet up until Friday when production was paused with no decision made on when the last four days of shooting might take place.

According to DeadlineNetflix and The Russo Brothers decided not to take any chances with their big budget adaptation of Mark Greaney‘s 2009 novel, The Gray Man, which is currently in pre-production in California. With a reported budget of $200 million, the project stars Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans as two killers in a deadly duel that takes place across the globe — and that could be a problem right there. Originally, the movie was supposed to begin shooting January 18 in Long Beach, where sets have already been built, but the start of filming will be pushed back two weeks due to a surplus of caution. There’s no word on whether Cruise will be done making Mission: Impossible 7 in time to sign on as the movie’s COVID Safety Supervisor.

Remember that you can keep track of stuff like this by getting  a subscription to Below the Line‘s regularly-updated Production Listings for yourself for the holidays.


If you haven’t caught up on the popular Disney+/Lucasfilm series, The Mandalorian, the Season 2 finale premiered Friday with an ending tease about a new series called The Book of Boba Fett to be set in the timeline of The Mandalorian. It was confirmed this morning on the show’s Twitter page. As stated, it will bring back New Zealand actor, Temuera Morrison, who played a few Boba Fett-related characters in two of George Lucas‘ Star Wars prequels and presumably will play the title role in The Book of Boba Fett. He’ll be joined by Ming-Na Wen, who just debuted as the character “Fennec Shand” during Season 2 of The Mandalorian. Hitting Disney+ next December, it may run alongside a third season of The Mandalorian rather than replace it.

Steve McQueen
Steve McQueen (Photo by Des Willie Courtesy: Amazon)

Both the New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC) and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) picked their annual awards winners, and while there were a few notable movies shared between the two often vastly-diverging groups, they were very different lists. Neither group has many craft awards but the fact that both groups went with Shabier Kirchner for his Cinematography on Steve McQueen‘s Small Axe Anthology is a little telling that maybe critics are willing to accept McQueen’s BBC/Amazon Prime Video series of five movies as one cinematic work. In fact, the LAFCA also gave its Best Picture award to Small Axe and McQueen was a runner-up for its Director award, plus one chapter, Lovers Rock, also was a runner-up for Music/Score.

NYFCC went with Kelly Reichardt‘s First Cow for its top film but gave its Director award to Chloé Zhao for her drama Nomadland, starring Frances McDormand. LAFCA and NYFCC agreed that Zhao’s direction on that drama was worth awarding is telling that the filmmaker’s latest might be a major player in the upcoming awards race.

Actor Chadwick Boseman, who passed away earlier this year, received awards from both groups, a Supporting Actor award for Spike Lee‘s Da 5 Bloods from New York, and a Lead Actor award for Ma Raimey’s Black Bottom from L.A. Both movies are Netflix releases. LAFCA generally had more love for the latter film with Ma Raimey‘s Glynn Turman winning its Supporting Actor award and Viola Davis being a runner-up for Actress. NYFCC also picked Da 5 Bloods star Delroy Lindo as its top Actor.

Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Sidney Flanigan in Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Focus Features)

A few other movies getting awards attention include Eliza Hittman‘s Never Rarely Sometimes Always, which the NYFCC awarded for its Screenplay and Best Actress Sidney FlaniganEmerald Fennell‘s screenplay for Promising Young Woman won LAFCC’s Screenplay category, while Carey Mulligan was picture as its Best Actress.

Both groups picked the Apple TV+ animated film, Wolfwalkers, directed by Tomm Moore (The Secret of the Kells) and Ross Stewart, for its top prize, although Pixar Animation‘s Soul was LAFCA’s runner-up and that film’s score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Roswon for that group’s Best Score/Music.

Only the LAFCA has an editing award and that went to Yorgos Lamprinos for his film The Father with Gabriel Rhodes a runner-up for his editing on the doc Time, which was both group’s pick for Documentary/Non-Fiction Film.

Monster Hunter (Screen Gems)
Monster Hunter (Screen Gems)

It was another dismal weekend at the box office just one week before the Christmas Day influx of movies this Friday as Paul W.S. Anderson‘s Monster Hunter, starring partner Milla Jovovich and based on the popular video game, only brought in $2.2 million in 1,736 theaters. That was still enough for it to be the #1 movie over DreamWorks Animation‘s The Croods: A New Age, which dropped to second place with $2 million. Deon Taylor‘s thriller Fatale opened in third place with less than a million in 1,107 theaters.

Patty Jenkins‘ long-awaited superhero sequel, Wonder Woman 1984, opened internationally in 32 overseas territories to the tune of $38.5 million with $18.8 million of that in China where the original Wonder Woman opened with $37.6 million in 2017. The movie opens in North America on Friday, Christmas Day, but it will also be getting a concurrent release on the WarnerMedia streamer HBO Max, so expectations aren’t much higher for its domestic box office prospects.

Today’s trailer is for actor Robin Wright‘s feature directorial debut, Land, which will premiere at next month’s Sundance Film Festival before opening in theaters on February 12. You can watch that trailer below.

That’s all for this week. We’ll be back next Monday for the last “Over the Weekend” of 2020. Merry Christmas!

Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas has written about movies for print and the internet for over 20 years, specializing in box office analysis, reviews, and interviews. Currently, he writes features for Below the Line and Above the Line, acting as Associate Editor for the former and Interim Editor for the latter.
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