We all know things have been pretty bad with the movie biz due to COVID- 19, but we might not realize exactly how bad, but it was made clearer in a Deadline article over the weekend. Last week, Below the Line reported on one production, Robert Rodriguez‘s Hypnotic, whose producers were suing their insurance company for not offering pandemic insurance once cameras were ready to roll again. At a press roundtable organized by New York Representative Carolyn Maloney to talk about the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act (PRIA), Independent Film & Television Alliance President and CEO Jean Prewitt stated that between 250 and 400 films have “bitten the dust” due to these insurance issues.
The PRIA bill was introduced in May in response to the damage COVID-19 was doing to the economy, and insurers discontinuing pandemic insurance on new policies. Although Prewitt’s organization represents indies, she says that even the studio movies are having issues, citing the recent problem on the reopened production on The Batman when star Robert Pattinson tested positive for COVID-19, as well as various governments shutting things down in fear of new outbreaks. She stated, “This has to be addressed for our industry to advance.”
In brighter news, actor Ryan Reynolds tweeted over the weekend that his action film Red Notice with Dwayne Johnson has resumed production. Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber (Central Intelligence), the movie is being produced for streamer Netflix.
Back to work on #RedNotice. The Covid Test is quick and easy. The doctor places the swab up your nose, just deep enough to tickle your childhood memories and then it’s over. No matter what you say to him, he won’t buy you dinner first. 📷: @blakelively pic.twitter.com/CsohqlJCyA
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) September 12, 2020
Production has also already begun on the six episode Season 2 of Shudder‘s anthology horror series, Creepshow, with Anna Camp, Adam Pally, Josh McDermitt, Keith David and Ashley Laurence joining the cast, with Camp and Pally appearing in showrunner Greg Nicotero‘s two-part Shapeshifters and the other three appearing in Frank Dietz‘s Pesticide. Like Red Notice and Nicotero’s previous show, The Walking Dead, Creepshow is filming in Atlanta.
The U.S. box office shows no signs of recovering from the nearly six months in which movie theaters were closed, as Christopher Nolan‘s Tenet crossed the $200 million mark globally but with only $6.7 million over the weekend. While that might be a 67% drop from its official opening last week, Warners is claiming a drop of 29%, which means that Tenet‘s actual opening three-day weekend was $9.4 million of the $20.2 million, which included earlier previews and Canadian box office.
Tenet has grossed roughly $29.5 million in North America, which is pretty terrible but one also has to account for many theaters only allowing 33% capacity and major markets like L.A., New York and San Francisco still being closed due to government restrictions. The Stage 6 rom-com The Broken Hearts Gallery, starring Geraldine Viswanathan, opened weakly with $1.1 million in 2,204 sites, behind Russell Crowe‘s Unhinged in its fifth weekend and The New Mutants in its third.
The problems that Tenet has had getting Americans back into theaters has taken its toll, because even before weekend numbers were released, Warner Bros. already decided to delay Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 1984 from its planned October 2 opening to Christmas Day. Universal Pictures quickly followed suit by delaying Nia Costa‘s horror remake, Candyman — co-written and produced by Jordan Peele — back to sometime in 2021. As of now, it doesn’t look like there will be any new nationwide theatrical releases until November.
Two of the three major film festivals began last week in Toronto — mostly virtually — and Venice, and Netflix has already proven to be one of the main buyers, picking up Halle Berry’s directorial debut, Bruised; the awards-contender Pieces of a Woman, starring Vanessa Kirby and Shia Labeouf; and the secret quarantine film Malcolm & Marie, starring Tenet‘s John David Washington and Zendaya, which was picked up for a huge $30 million.
Over the weekend, Below the Line‘s Paul Tenebrini has been keeping busy updating the Production Listings — are you subscribed? — with a few new projects including Rochelle Durr‘s feature film, Pieces of a Dream, which will film in Gulfport, Mississippi starting in late October, and Kenya Barris‘ next ABC comedy series, Old-ish.