Welcome to February! Most of the weekend was about the goings on at the Sundance Film Festival, which usually books every theater and auditorium in Park City, Utah. This year, the festival went virtual instead with people from around the world watching the various world premieres on their computers or television sets.
The festival showcased some great docs like Marilyn Agnelo‘s Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street, Edgar Wright‘s musical doc The Sparks Brothers, and Jonas Poher Rasmussen‘s animated doc Flee, which will be released by NEON. There were some amazing directorial debuts by actors Robin Wright (Land, which opens Feb. 12), Fran Kranz (Mass), Rebecca Hall (Passing) and Jerrod Carmichael (On The Count of Three), as well as a number of genre movies that showcased some amazing artisan work, including Sean Ellis‘ Eight for Silver and Ben Wheatley‘s In the Earth.
Hopefully, we’ll get to see a few more movies during the notably abridged festival which only runs for a week vs. the ten to eleven days of usual Sundance fests.
More sad news with the news that The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Munsters and Rhoda creator Allan Burns died on Saturday at the age of 85. It was announced by Producer and Programming Coordinator Dan Pasternak with the statement, “As much of a legend as he was, and as diverse of a career as he enjoyed, the most remarkable thing about Allan Burns was how kind he was to so many people.”
There isn’t a ton of other news from the weekend, although there was chatter on Friday from The Hollywood Reporter that J.J. Abrams‘ 2008 monster movie Cloverfield, which launched the career of Director Matt Reeves (The Batman), is gearing up for a sequel written by Joe Barton. As it happens, Barton is also the showrunner for the HBO Max Gotham PD series, which spins off from Reeves’ upcoming Batman movie. Abrams will produce with Bad Robot Head of Film Hannah Minghella, and the resulting film will be released by Paramount Pictures.
Also, Director Jonathan Entwhistle (The End of the Fin’ World) has taken over from the vacated Jon M. Chiu to direct the pilot for Disney+ and Lucasfilm‘s Willow series reboot.
The big theatrical release of the weekend was Warner Bros‘ The Little Things, starring Denzel Washington, Jared Leto and Rami Malek, which streamed on HBO Max on the same day as being released into 2,171 theaters spread across the nation. It actually fared better than many other releases from the last few months with a $4.8 million opening weekend or $2,200 per theater followed by Universal‘s The Croods: A New Age, which remained at #2 with $1.8 million. The latter animated sequel continues to do well with ten weeks in the top 3 and $43 million grossed so far.