Disney Was Right to Hold ‘Black Widow,’ but Streaming, Delta Variant Present New Challenges for Theaters
“Black Widow” set a pandemic-era record when it opened with $80 million earlier this month, though box office receipts fell steeply in the film’s second week. Box office analysts say that while stagnant consumer comfort levels and the delta variant of the coronavirus are among the challenges facing movie theaters on their path to recovery, one analyst contended that the duration of a film’s run in theaters is one of the important factors in its box office receipts. Read more here: State-Level Comfort Data Shows ‘Black Widow’ Delay Made Sense, but Disney Can’t Rely on That Tactic
Universal Pictures and Peacock agreed to reboot the “Exorcist” as a new film trilogy in a deal worth over $400 million, according to three people briefed on the matter. The first film, which will star Ellen Burstyn and Leslie Odom Jr. and will be written and directed by David Gordon Green, is slated for a theatrical release in 2023, with one source saying the sequels could premiere on Peacock. (The New York Times)
Simone Biles, one of the biggest stars of the Tokyo Olympics, will not compete in the women’s gymnastics team finals after suffering an injury during a vault and exiting the competition floor with a doctor, leading the women to complete the team competition without her. It is unclear whether Biles will return for the all-around final on Thursday night and later the event finals. (The Associated Press)
Always Smiling Productions, one of the producers of the Apple TV+ original “The Morning Show,” sued Chubb National Insurance Company, alleging that the insurer is not paying for pandemic-related production delays, even though the producers have $125 million in cast coverage. Chubb has agreed to pay $1 million, while the production company says it has accrued $44 million in costs. (The Hollywood Reporter)
Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said the company is forming a team to build out a “metaverse” that would allow users to move and communicate in a virtual environment across multiple devices, calling it a “successor to the mobile internet.” The company has previously invested in hardware for virtual reality and purchased VR gaming studios. (Reuters)
Hollywood writers are the latest group of entertainment industry workers being urged to get vaccinated. The Writers Guild of America is recommending its members be vaccinated against COVID-19 before meeting up with colleagues, according to a list of recommendations sent to members Monday seen by The Times.
As the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.’s vote on its proposed new bylaws nears, the outcome remains in play. Underscoring the uncertainty, the group’s crisis PR consultant sent a memo to members last week, prodding them to “consider what will happen if you do not pass the bylaws.”
The Producers Guild of America has announced the key dates and timeline for the org’s 2022 Producers Guild of America Awards. Celebrating its 33rd awards ceremony, the PGA Awards will return to an in-person event at the Century Plaza Hotel — newly renovated and reopened as the Fairmont Century Plaza — on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022.
The WGA racked up more than $4.6 million in legal bills to win its historic victory over the major talent agencies. The nearly two-year-long legal battle, which began in April 2019 and ended in February 2021, will phase out packaging fees by June 2022 and limit a franchised agency and its owners to owning no more than a 20% stake in a production or distribution entity.
In a normal box office, down periods are common. Some weekends will bring films with little mainstream interest or weak word-of-mouth while theaters simply wait for the next big franchise blockbuster to get business going again.
Venice Film Festival organizers are closely monitoring the possible impact of the spread of the Delta variant, but sounded an upbeat note on Monday with artistic director Alberto Barbera saying he was confident “the situation will be much less complicated than Cannes.”
Olympic athletes weren’t the only ones with a strong showing in Sunday as NBC’s coverage of the global sporting event keep its momentum going. NBC’s 2020 Olympics coverage was the highest rated and most-watched program Sunday, per Nielsen Live + Same Day Day fast affiliates.
The final broadcast network that hadn’t yet set its fall premiere dates, Fox, has firmed up its plans for the new season. Almost its entire fall lineup, which leans into the strength of its existing franchises, will debut during the first week of the 2021-22 TV season, beginning on Monday, Sept. 20.
The reviews are in, and they’re not very good. Customers who signed up for NBCUniversal’s streaming service to watch the Tokyo Games are raising hell over their viewing experience even as ratings for the 2021 Olympics plummet.
Starz has succeeded in blocking Disney from launching a streaming service in Brazil under the name “Star Plus.” A judge in Sao Paolo granted a temporary restraining order on Friday, holding that Disney cannot use the brand name when the service debuts on Aug. 31.
On screen, AFC Richmond has neither won nor lost this season, but “Ted Lasso” scored a big win for its Season 2 debut last Friday. The return of the Emmy-nominated comedy was Apple TV+’s biggest launch in the streaming service’s brief history.
Vice programs will remain on streaming service Hulu in the U.S. after Vice Distribution, the global distribution arm of the youth-skewing media brand, renewed its licensing partnership with the Disney-backed SVOD.
As a longtime lifestyle contributor at NBC’s Today show, Jill Martin’s job is to act as a filter between people and products. Throughout her career, consumer trends and commerce technology have faced constant evolution, but Martin has always leaned into a simple thesis: shopping does not have to be complicated.
Earlier this year, when a person with the username “JeffBezosForeskin” paid around $40,000 for Monty Python actor John Cleese’s NFT — a crude iPad sketching of the Brooklyn Bridge complete with disproportionately sized, stick-figure fishies — I lost a bit of whatever faith I had left in humanity.
“Faith,” the second album by the Brooklyn rapper Pop Smoke to be released since he was shot and killed in February 2020 at the age of 20, tops the Billboard chart this week, just as the previous one did.
At least in the public imagination, Jon Stewart is the person most responsible for “The Daily Show’s” improbable rise. He’s the visionary host who transformed the late-night show, once considered Comedy Central’s answer to “SportsCenter,” into a powerful force in American politics, a launchpad for a new generation of comedy talent and, for many, a trusted source of information.
The strangest thing about “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” the “standalone sequel” to the 1996 hit, is that an algorithm played by Don Cheadle is the villain of the story but also dead-on when it comes to the goals of the movie itself: What is it if not an attempt to suck viewers into the WB Serververse?
“There’s a great lesson here for an actor,’ Matt Damon said, a dusting of gray in his short hair and thin goatee, fine age lines around his pale blue eyes. It was early May, and he was speaking via Zoom from a sparsely appointed, sun-splashed room in a rented house in Sydney, Australia, telling a story about working with Jack Nicholson on Martin Scorsese’s 2006 dirty-cops-and-criminals epic, “The Departed.”