Unfortunately, this past weekend was one full of sadness as a number of prominent and beloved people from across our industry passed away.
First up, Markie Post, star of NBC’s popular ’80s series, Night Court, passed away at the age of 70 on Saturday after a three-year battle with cancer. Born in 1950 in Palo Alto, California, Ms. Post began her career working on a number of game shows including Alex Trebek‘s Double Dare before transitioning into acting in 1979 with roles on shows like CHiPs, Barnaby Jones, The Incredible Hulk, as well as series such as The Love Boat and Fantasy Island. Her first regular series was playing Terri Michael’s in ABC‘s The Fall Guy for three years before becoming a regular on Night Court for 159 episodes in between 1985 and 1992. Post would go on to play Cameron Diaz‘s mother in the Farrellys’ 1998 hit comedy, There’s Something About Mary.
Many of Post’s colleagues and friends took to socials to pay tribute to the actress, including Night Court co-star John Larroquette, who is one of the few returning cast from the original Night Court to return for the upcoming reboot.
Her grace, her warmth, her intelligence, her compassion, her optimism, her empathy, her humility, her love and devotion to her family. And her flawless comic timing, her beauty, her laugh and more.. pic.twitter.com/EeB6eQJI4e
— John B. Larroquette (@johnlarroquette) August 8, 2021
Taken from us at a far younger age was Trevor Moore, co-founder of the sketch comedy group “The Whitest Kids U’Know,” who passed away on Friday night from an accident at 41 years old. Moore wrote and starred on 79 episodes of The Whitest Kids U’Know comedy show on the IFC Channel after initially debuting on Fuse. Most recently, Moore wrote and starred on The Trevor Moore Show, the second season which just aired on Comedy Central in June.
A statement was released by Moore’s wife, Aimee Carlson and the Moore Family:
“We are devastated by the loss of my husband, best friend and the father of our son. He was known as a writer and comedian to millions, and yet to us, he was simply the center of our whole world. We don’t know how we’ll go on without him, but we’re thankful for the memories we do have that will stay with us forever. We appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone. This is a tragic and sudden loss, and we ask that you please respect our privacy during this time of grieving.”
From the below-the-line world, Australian martial artist, Fight and Stunt Coordinator Brad Allan (who was a protegé of Jackie Chan) passed away at the age of 48 from an undisclosed “illness.” Allan’s stunt coordination could be seen in films like Edgar Wright‘s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and The World’s End, as well as the blockbuster, Wonder Woman, and Matthew Vaughn‘s Kingsman movies.
Allan appeared on screen with Chan going back to 1997’s Mr. Nice Guy, and Mr. Chan posted about Allan’s passing on his blog, saying,
“I never imagined that just a few days later, today, I received another unbelievable and heartbreaking news. A fourth generation JC Stunt team member, Bradley James Allan, also passed away from illness.”
“Many years ago while I was filming ‘Mr. Nice Guy,’ he was just a fan and I remember him coming to visit the set. At that time, he was crazy about Chinese Kung Fu and had practiced it for many years. It was because of his amazing skills and talent, he transformed from being a fan to a stuntman, and eventually joined my JC Stunt Team. He even fought with me in ‘Gorgeous,’ and I think a lot of people remember this skillful boxer in the movie. He has also contributed to many of my movies.”
“Over the years, he’s made masterpieces that [have] amazed many people in film industry, including Kingsman film series, Wonder Woman, and many others, making him a very well known action choreographer in Hollywood, and also an excellent role-model to many action stars.”
A little outside our normal realm of coverage and from the world of music comes the equally sad news that Dennis “Dee Dee” Thomas, co-founder and saxophone player for Grammy-winning group, Kool and the Gang, died over the weekend at the age of 70. Thomas, who died in his sleep in his New Jersey home, was involved with forming the group all the way back in 1964, and played and sang on all their hits, including “Celebration,” “Ladies Night,” “Jungle Boogie,” and “Get Down On It.”
Late last week, it was announced that veteran actor Luis Guzmán has been cast in a guest-starring role as Gomez Addams in the Netflix spin-off series, Wednesday, which stars Jenny Ortega as his daughter, Wednesday Addams, the series being a unique spin on the popular Addams Family told from her perspective as she attends the Nevermore Academy. The Addams Family has been hugely popular, whether from the original comic strip, the early television series, the popular ’90s movies, or most recently, the MGM animated feature, which has a sequel coming out later this year.
Less than a year after his comedy series, Schitt’s Creek, swept that Emmy category, Dan Levy continues to be white-hot and in demand. According to Deadline, Levy is developing an animated comedy called Standing By, along with writer-director Ally Pankiw and 20th Television Animation, which Hulu has ordered as a presentation. Levy will also voice one of the main characters in the project that falls under his overall deal with ABC Signature. Written/executive produced by Levy and Pankiw, Standing By is “a satirical look into the lives of a group of eternally bound, disgruntled guardian angels and the lessons they’ll eventually learn from not only the dysfunctional humans they’re in charge of protecting, but also each other.” Levy will voice Carey, the newly deceased, cynical spotter to the group who had a lonely, isolated life in New York City.
The Emmy-winning HBO series, Euphoria, has added more cast for its second season, including Minka Kelly (Titans, Almost Human), Dominic Fike, and Demetrius ‘Lil Meech’ Flenory Jr., with at least one of the three believed to be a recurring character. They’re joining stars Zendaya and Hunter Schafer in the series created and written by Sam Levison, as well as the rest of the cast that includes Maude Apatow, Angus Cloud, Eric Dane, Alexa Demie, Jacob Elordi, Barbie Ferreira, Nika King, Storm Reid, Algee Smith, and Sydney Sweeney. There’s no word on when the A24-produced series will begin filming Season 2.
Amazon Studios has canceled its teen drama series, Panic, after just one season, and that’s about all we have to say about that.
It was a similarly tragic weekend at the box office, as James Gunn‘s The Suicide Squad, the sequel to the mega-blockbuster Suicide Squad from 2016, failed to make a mark, opening with an estimated $26.5 million in 4,002 theaters, an average of roughly $6,600 per site. The movie came into the weekend with mostly positive reviews (including Below the Line‘s review), but it only grossed $4.1 million in Thursday previews, Warner Media made the unpopular (depending who you ask) decision to release the movie concurrently on its HBO Max streaming service. That amount is compared to the $20.5 million in Thursday previews by the original five years ago. After making $12.1 million on Friday, including those $4.1 million previews, the movie stalled out with just $26.5 million for the weekend, which is less than Warners’ last R-rated superhero release, Birds of Prey, which also starred Suicide Squad‘s Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. She was joined by Idris Elba and the voice of Sylvester Stallone for the sequel, but even with all those positive reviews and word-of-mouth, it failed to find much of an audience.
The Suicide Squad made $72 million globally this weekend after continuing to expand overseas, adding 69 international markets and another $35 million on top of its domestic debut. The movie opened in first place in Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Spain, and Italy, while holding well in the five overseas markets in which it opened last week.
There was a lot of after-the-fact analysis on why the movie didn’t do as well as many (including myself) expected, which ranged from the film’s R-rating, the growing presence of the Delta variant of COVID-19, the lack of a big star like the first movie’s Will Smith, and much more. Either way, things are not looking swell at the box office if a sequel to a $300 million blockbuster barely makes a mark and produces one of the lowest cumulative Top 10s since mid-June.
Last week’s #1 movie, Disney‘s Jungle Cruise, dropped 55% to $15.7 million for second place, while M. Night Shyamalan‘s thriller, Old, and Marvel Studios‘ Black Widow had the best holds of the weekend in third and fourth place, respectively.
Earlier this morning, Netflix released the first teaser-trailer for Mike Flanagan‘s upcoming horror series, Midnight Mass, which will debut on the streamer on September 24. The new seven-episode limited series from the creator of The Haunting of Hill House stars Kate Siegel, Rahul Abburi, Crystal Balint, Matt Biedel, Alex Essoe, Annabeth Gish, Rahul Kohli, Kristin Lehman, Robert Longstreet, Igby Rigney, Annarah Shephard, Samantha Sloyan, Henry Thomas, and Michael Trucco. The series is executive produced by Flanagan and Trevor Macy for Intrepid Pictures. You can watch the teaser below.