Welcome back from hopefully a great weekend!
Friday’s Disney+ Day continued until well after our deadline for the “End of Week Production Notes,” so there was more new Disney+ Marvel shows announced, including Echo, a spin-off of the Hawkeye series that will debut on Nov. 24 — Echo will feature the character played by Alaqua Cox on the upcoming Marvel limited series. Kathryn Hahn‘s popular character, Agatha Harkness, from the Emmy-winning WandaVision, will also be getting her own spin-off series called Agatha: House of Harkness.
Another announced series was Ironheart, which stars Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams, a genius inventor who makes her own Iron Man suit. Marvel and Disney+ are also launching a number of new animated series next year, including X-Men ’97, an animated series derived from the popular ’90s series with Beau DeMayo as exec. producer and head writer. Spider-Man: Freshman Year will follow Peter Parker on his journey to becoming Spider-Man with head writer Jeff Trammel. Director and Exec. Producer Bryan Andrews is heading Marvel Zombies, that reimagines the Marvel Universe as it’s invaded by zombies, and the popular series, What If…?, will return for a second season, also with Andrews as exec. producer and AC Bradley as head writer. Disney+ Day also teased that other previously announced shows like Moon Knight, She-Hulk, Secret Invasion, and Ms. Marvel, will all be released in 2022.
In non-Disney news, NBC has renewed the popular drama, La Brea, for a second season. Over at Chicago Fire, exec. producer Andrea Newman has been given a promotion to be co-showrunner of the firefighter drama.
Also from NBC, it’s been announced that Megan Hilty has replaced Jane Krakowski in the role of Lily St. Regis in the upcoming Annie Live!, since Krakowski has been struck by a breakthrough case of COVID. NBC has said that Krakowski is “experiencing a breakthrough Covid case while working on a separate project in Ireland despite being double vaccinated, a regular testing process and abiding by protocols.” Hilty, best known for her role on Smash, released a statement, “I am beyond thrilled to join this all-star cast, crew and creative team. My family and I have been super fans of Annie for as long as I can remember, and we always look forward to the epic televised musicals produced by Bob Greenblatt & Neil Meron, so to be a part of this particular production is an honor and a dream come true. I wish Jane the speediest of recoveries and hope to do her proud.”
Some more recasting over at Apple where Jennifer Garner is replacing Julia Roberts as the star of the limited series, The Last Thing He Told Me, from Hello Sunshine. Reese Witherspoon‘s production company optioned the New York Times bestseller from author Laura Dave, and is producing the series with 20th Television. Roberts had to pull out of the project due to a scheduling issue. The limited series is created by Dave and her husband, Oscar-winning screenwriter Josh Singer (Spotlight), and it follows Garner’s character, who forms an unexpected relationship with her 16-year-old stepdaughter while searching for the truth about why her husband has mysteriously disappeared. The series is EPed by Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter.
The Critics Choice Association (of which I’m a voting member) handed out its 6th Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards on Sunday and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson‘s documentary, Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) managed to sweep all six categories in which it was nominated. Also doing quite well as Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi‘s doc, The Rescue, which scored CCDAs for its score and cinematography, as well as the directors sharing a tie win with Questlove for directing. Besides winning for Best Feature and Director, Summer of Soul also earned Questlove the prize for Best First-Time Doc Director, and the film was also awarded for Music Doc, Archival Doc, and for its editing. The movie’s six wins might be a record for the 6-year-old doc awards.
Getting into some movie news, we’ve always known that Mckenna Grace is a force of nature — she stars in Jason Reitman‘s Ghostbusters: Afterlife this Friday for further proof — and she not only is headlining and EPing a sequel to Lifetime‘s 2018 thriller, The Bad Seed, but she also co-wrote the script with her father, Ross Burge. Grace starred with Rob Lowe in the original Lifetime movie, written by Barbara Marshall and directed by Lowe, as it remade the 1956 psychological horror film based on William March‘s novel and Maxwell Anderson‘s stage version. The plotline for the sequel is that Grace plays 15-year-old Emma, “a seemingly typical teenaged girl who is anything but that. Set several years after the murderous events of the first movie which left her father (Lowe) dead, Emma is now living with her aunt Angela and navigating high school. Angela’s husband begins to suspect that Emma may not be as innocent as she appears and suggests sending her off to boarding school. Meanwhile, a new girl at school seems to know Emma’s secrets, leaving Emma no choice but to slip back to her old ways and take care of her enemies by any means necessary.” Grace is exec. producing with her father and mother, Crystal Burge, as well as Mark Wolper, who also EP’ed the 2018 film. Marshall also did some writing on the sequel, and it’s currently filming in Vancouver, being directed by Louise Archambault (Catastrophe). It’s produced for Lifetime by The Wolper Organization and Front Street Productions and is the first project produced by Grace’s Beautiful Ghosts Productions.
Tanya Lopez, Lifetime’s EVP, Scripted Content, said about the project, “When Mckenna came to us with a spec script she wrote, we were blown away with her vision for the next installment and thrilled we could greenlight it and re-team with her and Mark Wolper. This is an incredible Broader Focus moment to have such in a talented young star stretch her abilities beyond acting into writing and executive producing.”
Liam Neeson’s Philip Marlowe noir thriller, Marlowe, has been joined by Diane Kruger and Jessica Lange with filming currently underway in Ireland and Spain. Earlier today, Daniela Melchior from The Suicide Squad and François Arnaud (The Moodys) also joined the cast, playing brother and sister, Lynn and Nico Peterson. Others joining the cast are Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Alan Cumming, Danny Huston, Ian Hart, and Colm Meaney.
Oscar-winning filmmaker Neil Jordan is directing the script from William Monahan (The Departed) adapted from John Banville‘s novel, The Black-Eyed Blonde. When private detective Philip Marlowe (Neeson) is hired to find the ex-lover of a glamorous heiress, it looks like an open-and-shut case, but Marlowe soon finds himself in the underbelly of Hollywood’s film industry and unwittingly drawn into the crossfire of a legendary Hollywood actress and her subversive, ambitious daughter.
Actress Kaitlyn Dever (Book Smart) shared the first look of her title character from the 20th Century Studios/Hulu rom-com Rosaline, on Instagram. Based on the novel, When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle, Rosaline is a modern-take on the Romeo and Juliet story, adapted by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber ((500) Days of Summer). The film is directed by Karen Maine, and Dever stars in the film with Kyle Allen, Sean Teale, Isabela Merced, Spencer Stevenson, Minnie Driver, and Bradley Whitford. 21 Laps’ Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen are producing, with Emily Morris and Becca Edelman overseeing the project for 21 Laps, and Sarah Shepard overseeing for 20th Century. It’s scheduled for release in 2022, hitting Hulu in the U.S. and the Star streaming platform internationally.
It was little surprise that Marvel Studios‘ Eternals remained atop the box office for a second week in a row with $27.5 million, down 61% from its opening weekend, which is a better drop than many expected. It has now grossed $118.8 million domestically, although it has a much tougher battle against Friday’s releases, Ghostbusters: Afterlife and Will Smith‘s King Richard. The Chloé Zhao-directed superhero epic has grossed $281 million when including overseas grosses.
Paramount Pictures released its family film, Clifford the Big Red Dog, into 3,700 theaters, where it far exceeded expectations, first by making $5.6 million in its first two days (Weds. and Thurs. as well as Tues. previews), but then it maintained that business on the post-Veteran’s Day weekend, bringing in an estimated $16.4 million. That makes Clifford the second-biggest opening family film during the pandemic after The Adams Family II in October.
Denis Villeneuve‘s Dune fell to third place with $5.5 million (down 29%) with a total domestic take of $93.1 million. Overseas, it adds another $258 million for a global cume of $351.2 million.
No Time to Die crossed $150 million domestically this weekend with another $4.6 million (down 23% from last weekend) to take fourth place. The latest James Bond movie and final one starring Daniel Craig, is also the biggest Hollywood release overseas during the pandemic, as it crossed $700 million globally.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage became only the second movie of 2021 to cross the $200 million mark domestically, as it dropped to fifth place with $4 million (down just 10%).
Kenneth Branagh‘s festival hit, Belfast, was released by Focus Features into 580 theaters on Friday, where it cracked into the top 8 with $1.8 million with a strong $3,103 per-theater average. Although it’s a strong player for the Oscars, it’s going to be facing the aforementioned King Richard, which has also built festival buzz.
This morning, Focus Features released the first teaser trailer for Downton Abbey: A New Era, which will hit theaters on March 18, 2022. Besides most of the cast from the popular series, the cast will be joined by Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye, Dominic West, and Jonathan Zaccaï.
Staying in old-timey England, Sony Pictures Classics released the first trailer for its period drama, Mothering Sunday, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) a few months back. It’s quite a wonderful period drama starring Odessa Young, Josh O’Connor from The Crown, Colin Firth, and Olivia Colman. The plot of the film is: “On a warm spring day in 1924, house maid and foundling Jane Fairchild (Odessa Young) finds herself alone on Mother’s Day. Her employers, Mr. and Mrs. Niven (Colin Firth and Olivia Colman), are out and she has the rare chance to spend quality time with her secret lover. Paul (Josh O’Connor) is the boy from the manor house nearby, Jane’s long-term love despite the fact that he’s engaged to be married to another woman, a childhood friend and daughter of his parents’ friends. But events that neither can foresee will change the course of Jane’s life forever.”
Going back to Disney+ Day, the studio released a lot of new images and logos for upcoming series and movies, as well as a few trailers and teasers. The two of the latter we’ll share today are for the new Baymax! original series, spinning off from the 2014 Disney animated film, Big Hero 6.
Disney+ also released the first trailer for the fantasy film, Sneakerella, which you can probably guess is a modern-day take on the Cinderella story, only involving a sneaker, rather than a glass slipper. You can watch the first trailer for that below.
All photos copyright their respective copyright owners.