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January 10, 2021

Weekend Box Office: ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Falls Sharply, Again, With $3 Million

Since no new films opened wide this weekend, the 30 percent drop in post-holiday box office isn’t quite as bad as it looks. However, the news was worse for “Wonder Woman 1984, which grossed $3 million with a 45 percent drop.

The total for the weekend was around $10 million, with 11 films. (Disney’s reissue of “Alien” tied with Focus Features’ “Half Brothers” for #10.) The same weekend last year totaled $132 million. At this writing, 59 percent of all theaters remain closed by COVID-19 regulations. That includes some theaters that reopened this week, mostly in Colorado. According to industry sources, there’s no indications that theaters will close again — but some are considering reduced hours, opening only on weekends, and other cost-saving options.



These new theaters, along with some theaters bringing back earlier films, led to several titles increasing screen counts such as “Fatale” (which debuted on PVOD Friday). The current #3, “News of the World,” will add PVOD this week.

This Friday will see one new release. Open Road, which grossed $14 million recently with “Honest Thief” as a theater-only release, will introduce another Liam Neeson vehicle, “The Marksman,” with a similar strategy. Anticipate that it will lead next weekend. In October, “Honest Thief” opened with $4.1 million.

Warner Bros., which has limited its box-office reporting to weekend and full-week estimates and blocked daily numbers, reported that in Canada “Wonder Woman 1984” earned over $7.2 million in just over two weeks on PVOD. (No HBO Max in Canada.) That’s Canadian dollars; with the exchange rate, it equals about US$5.7 million.

It’s tricky to make too much of this; about five percent of Canadian theaters are open. (Credit to the studio for revealing the figure.) One way to look at it: The U.S. has about nine times the population, so by measure we’d be looking at a $51 million PVOD performance. That’s still far from definitive, especially since PVOD saturation is further developed in America.

One thing is clear: Whatever its viewing might be on HBO Max, the theatrical result is unimpressive. “Wonder Woman 1984” has grossed $32.6 million to date, heading toward $40 million. Worldwide theatrical is at $133 million. (Most European theaters remain closed, though Russia will release this Friday.)

Optimistically speaking, industry sources hope normal stateside releases might return by May. That would call into question “No Time to Die,” currently slated April 2, but that’s a film expected to see up to 75 percent of its gross in foreign territories. American circumstances may not determine its future.

"News of the World"

“News of the World”


The Top Ten

1. Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner Bros.) Week 3; Last weekend #1; also streaming

$3,000,000 (-45%) in 2,218 theaters (+67); PTA: $1,353; Cumulative: $32,600,000

2. Croods: A New Age (Universal) Week 7; Last weekend #2; also available on Premium Video on Demand

$1,810,000 (-19%) in 1,818 theaters (+67); PTA: $996; Cumulative: $36,880,000

3. News of the World (Universal) Week 3; Last weekend #3

$1,240,000 (-27%) in 1,986 theaters (+58); PTA: $624; Cumulative: $7,100,000

4. Monster Hunter (Sony) Week 4; Last weekend #4

$1,100,000 (-13%) in 1,765 theaters (-42); PTA: $623; Cumulative: $7,805,000

5. Fatale (Lionsgate) Week 4; Last weekend #5; also available on Premium Video on Demand

$670,000 (-4%) in 1,222 theaters (+39); PTA: $548; Cumulative: $4,011,000

6. Promising Young Woman (Focus) Week 3; Last weekend #6

$560,000 (-19%) in 1,448 theaters (+115); PTA: $548; Cumulative: $2,697,000

7. Pinocchio (Lionsgate) Week 3; Last weekend #7

$208,770 (-29%) in 821 theaters (+26); PTA: $254; Cumulative: $1,113,000

8. The War With Grandpa (101) Week 14; Last weekend #8; also available on Video on Demand

$147,327 (+17%) in 385 theaters (+80); PTA: $383; Cumulative: $19,002,000

9. Come Play (Focus) Week 11; Last weekend #10; also available on Premium Video on Demand

$95,000 (+60%) in 151 theaters (+41); PTA: $629; Cumulative: $9,679,000

10. (tie) Alien (Disney) REISSUE – Last weekend #9; also streaming

$60,000 (-20%) in 456 theaters (-49); PTA: $132; Cumulative: $(adjusted) 320,200,000

10. (tie) Half Brothers (Focus) Week 6 – Last weekend #12; also available on Premium Video on Demand

$60,000 in 167 theaters (+27); PTA: $359; Cumulative: $2,128,000

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Source: IndieWire film

January 10, 2021

Vanessa Kirby Reacts to Tom Cruise’s COVID-19 Rant: ‘Being Safe Is the Message’

Tom Cruise made noise this past December when members of the “Mission: Impossible 7” crew breached COVID-19 safety protocols, leading the actor to go on a tirade that went viral. His co-star Vanessa Kirby, who reprises her role of the White Widow from “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” recently weighed in on the rant originally leaked by The Sun where Cruise said, “We are creating thousands of jobs, you motherfuckers. I don’t ever want to see it again. Ever!”

“I think being safe is the message for everybody, really,” Kirby, whose sister is a director’s assistant on the film, told Extra. Her sibling was one of the first on set in July. “For me, seeing my sister doing it on the ground and every day coming home from work and it all going well, it was all inspiring. The whole industry has been shut down — cinemas, theaters, film sets. Seeing her go and do it and be one of the first ones up gave me hope.”

Kirby personally hasn’t been back to the set yet, but said she’s looking forward to returning, and safely. “I think it starts up next week again or something,” she said. She added that she’s excited to dig into the stunt work made famous by the franchise. “I’m really excited,” she said. “I think with every ‘Mission’… the stunts get riskier and there’s ones on this that have been terrifying… and there’s many more to be filmed… It’s a pleasure for all of us to be back.”

Kirby is currently in the awards conversation for her harrowing turn in “Pieces of a Woman,” which landed on Netflix January 7. But she was also in the news for speaking up about her co-star Shia LaBeouf, who’s been sued for assault and sexual battery by his ex-girlfriend, singer FKA Twigs. “I stand with all survivors of abuse and respect the courage of anyone who speaks their truth. Regarding the recent news, I can’t comment on an ongoing legal case,” her statement read.

Kirby and LaBeouf star in “Pieces of a Woman” as a married couple who lose their newborn child during a turbulent home birth.

Source: IndieWire film

January 10, 2021

Arnold Schwarzenegger Compares Riots to Rise of Nazis, Calls Trump Worst President Ever

Actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger shared an impassioned message on Twitter Sunday morning, likening last week’s riots on the Capitol to the rise of the Nazi party circa 1938, and said Trump will go down in history as the worst U.S. president ever. Watch below.

“I grew up in Austria and very aware of Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass. It was a night of rampage against the Jews carried out in 1938, and the Nazi equivalent to the Proud Boys. Wednesday was the day of broken glass right here in the United States. The broken glass was in the windows of the United States Capitol. But the mob did not just shatter the windows of the Capitol,” he said. “They shattered the ideals we took for granted. They did not just break down the doors of the building that housed American democracy: They trampled the very principles upon which our country was founded.”

He added, “President Trump is a failed leader. He will go down in history as the worst president ever. The good news is he will soon be as irrelevant as an old tweet…He sought a coup by misleading people with lies. I know where such lies lead.”

Schwartzegger has been calling out the dangers posed by Trump for some time. “It all started with lies, lies, lies and intolerance. Being from Europe I’ve seen firsthand how bad things can spin out of control,” he said. “We need public servants who serve something larger than their own power. We need public servants who will serve higher ideals, the ideals on which this country was founded, and the ideals which other countries look up to… We need reforms, of course, so that this never ever happens again. We need to hold accountable the people that brought us to this unforgivable point. We need to look past ourselves, our partisan disagreements. Put our democracy first. We need to heal together from the trauma of what has just happened. We need to heal, not as Republicans or democrats, but as Americans.”

Source: IndieWire film

January 10, 2021

Joe Wright Talks ‘Woman in the Window’ Reshoots and Setting the Film in a Single Location

The long-delayed “The Woman in the Window” will finally see the light of day this year, thanks to Netflix, which scooped the thriller from Disney-owned 20th Century Studios last year. Adapted from the novel by A.J. Finn, whose identity has sparked its own fascination courtesy of The New Yorker’s lurid 2019 profile, “The Woman in the Window” is directed by filmmaker Joe Wright, and it stars Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, and Jennifer Jason Leigh. The screenplay is written by playwright and actor Tracy Letts.

There has been much ado about the exhausting process of reshoots and test screenings endured by the movie, which Wright addressed in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly.

“There were some plot points that people found a bit confusing — I would say possibly too opaque maybe,” he said, adding that reshoots were necessary following test screenings that left audiences perplexed. “So we had to go back and clarify certain points, but I think also we tried to make sure we didn’t oversimplify anything and make things too clear. There’s an enjoyment in not knowing what’s going on, but at the same time, you have to give the audience something to hold on to — you have to lead them through the labyrinth of mystery and fear.”

Adams stars as an agoraphobic, alcoholic child psychologist who may or may not have seen an act of terrifying violence in her neighbor’s apartment. She’s joined by Julianne Moore and Jennifer Jason Leigh as are-they-or-aren’t-they doppelgängers, who taunt Adams’ Anna Fox after she witnesses the crime from behind the blinds of her New York City brownstone. Given the film’s single apartment setting, Wright cited an unusual influence in crafting “The Woman in the Window,” namely French filmmaker Robert Bresson.

“I liked the idea of the kind of minimalist constraints of making a film that is completely set in one house,” he said.

The destabilizing psychological environment of the story, Wright said, is what compelled him to take on the project. “I’m also interested in, and always have been, in the blurring between subjective and objective reality, truth and lies, and the lies we tell ourselves and how we create our own reality,” he said.

Source: IndieWire film

January 9, 2021

Errol Morris on the Specter of Steve Bannon in the Capitol Assault: ‘The Evil Genius Behind It All’

The January 6 assault on the Capitol by insurrectionists left many Americans shocked, ashamed, and glued to their TV sets. Errol Morris was one of them. For years, the filmmaker has documented the tragic and dangerous actions of powerful men and the lies they tell the world, most prominently in his Oscar-winning portrait of former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. But the violent outbreak on Wednesday echoed a more-recent subject of Morris scrutiny: Steve Bannon.

“He is one of the evil geniuses behind it all,” Morris said in a phone call from his office on January 7. He’s got the proof on film with his 2019 documentary “American Dharma,” which pitted the director against Bannon, Trump’s notorious campaign director-turned-senior advisor, the alt-right hero and former Breitbart News publisher who exploited raging and disenfranchised white conspiracy theorists and cemented the seditious rage at the core of Trump’s base.

Bannon relishes his role. On January 5, anticipating the convening of Congress to formalize the Electoral College results, Bannon offered up his prediction about how the day would go. “All hell is going to break loose tomorrow,” he said on his podcast, “War Room: Pandemic.” (YouTube removed the podcast channel from its site on January 8, after guest Rudy Giuliani blamed Democrats for the uprising.) Bannon also referred to the obsession over Vice President Mike Pence’s role in the congressional ritual in eerie terms that reflected his admiration for Morris’ work. “It’s the fog of war,” Bannon said.

When “American Dharma” hit the festival circuit, Morris faced constant backlash and accusations that Morris was empowering Bannon months after he lost his influential White House position. Yet anyone who saw “American Dharma” must have thought about its closing moments this week. As he asks Bannon about the motives behind fomenting populist rage, Morris ends his unnerving one-on-one with the filmmaker by setting the set, located in an airplane hanger, on fire. “You want to burn it all down,” Morris says, as Bannon wanders off in a desolate, post-apocalyptic landscape.

Looking back on that scene, Morris was hesitant to gloat. “Do I want to call myself prescient? I don’t know,” he said. But he was still smarting from audiences that resisted “American Dharma,” both at festivals and during its theatrical run.

“It’s like people think America was free from his ideals because he was pushed out of the White House,” Morris said. “That’s a mistake. The ideology continued unabated, and if anything it exacerbated, the desire to destroy, hurt, destabilize.”

In the first year of Trump’s administration, Bannon garnered plenty of attention for many of the xenophobic policies and public remarks that epitomized Trump’s worst tendencies and fired up his base. From the Muslim ban to his appalling comments about guilt on “both sides” of the race riots in Charlottesville, they all have Bannon’s fingerprints. The way Morris sees it, Trump’s presidential campaign allowed Bannon to consolidate the nationalist impulses he galvanized online by turning them into a movement.

“He had this desire to exploit the hatred of the ‘other,’” Morris said. “They kept searching around for a figurehead, and then lo and behold, Trump appears. They found a guy — a really, really stupid guy — who could be bent to their way of thinking, or already thought that way and was eager to please. “

Errol Morris'American Dharma' photocall, 75th Venice International Film Festival, Italy - 05 Sep 2018

Errol Morris

Maria Laura Antonelli/AGF/REX/Shutterstock

Part of the ingenuity in “American Dharma” revolves around Bannon’s love of movies, and the way he talks about his life work in their context. Morris interviewed Trump about that as well, years ago, for an unfinished project that saw the real estate mogul musing on his love for “Citizen Kane.” These days, however, Morris said he had no interest in speaking to the outgoing president — even if the opportunity opened up years down the line, as it did with McNamara and “The Unknown Known” subject Donald Rumsfeld.

“I think he’s crazy,” Morris said of Trump. “Did I know from the minute that this guy was elected that this was a bad scene for America? Yes, of course. He was lying from day one and before that. People were in denial about it.”

Morris’ work tends to have a cosmic dimensio, whether he’s grappling with the laws of physics (“A Brief History of Time”), the elusive justice system (“The Thin Blue Line”), or Holocaust denial (“Mr. Death”). That has allowed him particular foresight when it comes to the gullibility of the masses, and the danger that comes when it’s used for personal gain.

“One of the saddest things about humans is that we’re a credulous lot,” Morris said. “All you have to do is look at the last week to understand what a credulous lot we really are. Rationality? Poof, gone. The ability to convince yourself of anything? For whatever reason? Easy! It was all there, with or without Bannon.”

Morris has no interest in returning to Bannon. “He was important to me because he was at the heart of a movement. He represented a deep problem in America.” Even so, Morris struggled me to make sense out of the Capitol assault. “What are all these people thinking?” he said. “Do you really want another four years of this man? You’re just objecting to the election because you love democracy so much that you want its rules to be adhered to? What’s the whole irrational idea here? You want more of this? It was so great? You can’t get enough?”

Morris hesitated to say whether he would circle back on those questions for a future project. He’s currently trying to set up another narrative-documentary hybrid on par with his Netflix miniseries “Wormwood,” but didn’t rule out future investigations into the nation’s troubled soul.

“I think it’s important to address this stuff,” he said.  “Understanding evil is one of the fundamental chores for all of us. I’d like to do something about it because I think that’s important to hold these people accountable — and, in the process, to understand them.”

“American Dharma” is available on VOD.

Source: IndieWire film

January 5, 2021

Chicago StoryBooth to Sunset Recordings in 2021

After more than eight years in the region, StoryCorps will close its operations and recording booth in Chicago in September 2021.

StoryCorps has operated a booth and exhibition space at the Chicago Cultural Center since 2013. More than 7,500 people from the Chicago area have recorded more than 4,000 StoryCorps interviews or facilitated conversations. All StoryCorps conversations are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

Since opening the booth, StoryCorps partnered with WBEZ to broadcast excerpts of interviews recorded in the region. Among the memorable stories shared with us include:


“It is a very specific cloud hanging over us. It just feels like we’re at pause.”

0:00 / 0:00

On the Pressure of Living Undocumented

Irakere Picon was just two years old when his parents brought him to the United States from Mexico on a tourist visa. They never left.
Read the full transcript here.


“When I buy a new book, I don’t start reading the first page. I smell it.”

0:00 / 0:00

Remembering the Start of a Lifelong Love of Books

Meet Alagappa Rammohan, who has amassed enough books over the course of his life to fill a small library (10,000, to be exact).
Read the full transcript here.


“We looked like a very scary situation coming in there. And we turned into a party people wanted to join.”

0:00 / 0:00

A Visit to the ER Takes an Unexpected Turn

Keith Miller and Ellen Hughes remember when Keith helped Ellen’s son — and her — get the care they needed.
Read the full transcript here.


“I struggled with, maybe I should have stayed away.”

0:00 / 0:00

Adopted Woman Finds Siblings, Family Secret

Lisa Bouler Daniels grew up knowing she was adopted; and as an adult, she began searching for her birth family. She located her biological brother: Benjamin Chambers.
Read the full transcript here.

Stories recorded in Chicago have also aired on Vocalo (Vocalo.org & WBEW-FM). Both WBEZ and Vocalo will continue to broadcast these stories through 2021.

Celebrating our time in Chicago

In the months ahead, StoryCorps will also host capstone listening events and present broadcasts honoring the people and stories of the region. Sign up to receive announcements for when these events will take place.

“Localized support is what makes our work possible, and we are tremendously grateful to the philanthropic community in Chicago, which has supported our work for the last eight years, as well as the community-based organizations who have partnered with us in making a meaningful and representative archive of stories from the region,” said StoryCorps CEO Robin Sparkman.

StoryCorps’ Chicago current philanthropic supporters include the Joyce Foundation, The Field Foundation of Illinois, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and Illinois Humanities.

StoryCorps’ Chicago booth has focused on bringing in groups from under-represented communities to share and preserve their stories. Key community partners include The Sisterhood, ConTextos, READI Chicago, Affinity Community Services and the Chicago Housing Initiative.

Public appointments to record for the Chicago story collection will be available through June 30, 2021. Recordings will be conducted virtually by StoryCorps facilitators until local guidelines permit reopening of the StoryCorps booth in the Chicago Cultural Center. Reservations can be made at storycorps.org/chicago or by calling 1-800-850-4406.

More opportunities to record with StoryCorps
Founded in 2003, StoryCorps has given people of all backgrounds and beliefs, in thousands of towns and cities in all 50 states, the chance to record interviews about their lives. Recording opportunities in 2021 include:

  • The StoryCorps Mobile Tour, an Airstream trailer the organization has transformed into a traveling recording booth, crisscrosses the country year-round to gather the stories of people nationwide. The 2021 tour is announced here.
  • StoryCorps in Atlanta, housed at the Atlanta History Center.
  • The Military Voices Initiative, preserving voices of military veterans, service members and their families. 2021 tour is to be announced.
  • American Pathways, a two-year initiative to record, preserve, and share the stories and experiences of refugees, asylees, immigrants, and Muslims living in the United States.
  • To sign up to record for any of our initiatives or virtual recording days, visit storycorps.org/participate or call 1-800-850-4406.

    Source: SNPR Story Corps

    January 3, 2021

    ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Plummets in Second Weekend at the Box Office

    Wonder Woman 1984” (Warner Bros.) dropped a massive 67 percent for its second weekend in domestic theaters. The DC Comics sequel, also playing on HBO Max at no extra charge for its subscribers, has grossed $28.5 million in 10 days. With some territories already in week three, but others not yet open, the worldwide total is at $118.5 million. That’s likely to be the bulk of the film’s theatrical take.

    If anyone doubted the grim outlook for domestic theaters right now, look to this weekend, where all films barely took in $13 million total, smack dab in the middle of the extended Christmas period. And that’s with only around 40 percent of domestic theaters open at the moment, and the outcome representing 56 percent of the potential normal gross.

    But even if all theaters were open, that the total might have been $25 million shows how weak the result is. The last time January 1-3 fell on a weekend, the total for those days was $220 million. (With both holidays on Friday, this is the most ideal calendar for maximum results.)

    The unexpectedly large drop in “Wonder Woman” returns poses multiple questions, with no clear answers. The post-Christmas weekend grosses normally come close to or even outperform the previous weekend, depending on where the dates fall. Last time around, they were down 20 percent. This year? Closer to 50 percent.

    Most of the rest of the holdovers actually increased this weekend. Universal’s “The Croods: A New Age” in second place, for example, jumped 25 percent in its sixth week, despite having home availability. So lay the blame for the drop mainly on “Wonder Woman,” which still contributed nearly half of the total.

    “The Croods: A New Age”


    The best comparison for “Wonder Woman’s” drop is to previous years with the same calendar, and then to other films that opened Christmas Day. This occurred six times in the most recent two instances. Their drops ranged from down 41 percent (“Sherlock Holmes” in 2010) to 15 percent (“It’s Complicated”). The “Wonder Woman” drop is more than double their average.

    The reasons are unclear, but assuming the unverified estimate for the first weekend ($16.7 million) was accurate, some combination of these account for it. First, and perhaps most important, “Wonder Woman” was an unprecedented Christmas Day release. If they open around Christmas at all — and comic book movies mostly haven’t — franchise tentpoles at this level usually bow the week before to gain maximum seating and less competition. And titles like this tend to be front-loaded more than most holiday films.

    Second, word of mouth played a role. “Wonder Woman 1984” had a B+ Cinemascore, barely above average, compared to the A for the 2017 original film. Couple that with what anecdotally has not been very good social media response, and a larger than normal fall makes sense.

    Third, and the least clear, is how much HBO Max play mattered. Clearly, it greatly reduced the theatrical audience, and from the start. But did awareness of at-home availability grow over the week? Don’t assume streaming access was broadly known, or that more people didn’t sign up during the week. That scenario could’ve made the alternative platform more damaging than during the opening weekend.

    As a harbinger for theaters and streaming to coexist on the same initial date, and for the fallout of releasing a film during the height of the pandemic, the result is hard to deny. Theaters can’t operate domestically right now. And there’s nothing to support that Marvel, DC, or similar titles should roll out as “Wonder Woman 1984” did. That’s good news for theaters.

    The most positive result for “Wonder Woman” comes from Australia. The country, which has COVID-19 far more under control (though still with restrictions), has grossed $11.5 million in 10 days. Comparing populations, that would be about $90 million so far in the U.S.. The number is about half of what the first film took in.


    The rest of the grosses played along normal lines, if with deflated numbers. Of the second-week films, “Pinocchio” (Roadside Attractions), though weak, increased as usually happens with family titles. “Promising Young Woman” (Focus) was down eight percent, while “News of the World” (Universal) dropped 25 percent. Those are standard results, even if the initial grosses were weak. Both soon will have Premium VOD play as per usual for the studio.

    The increases for the rest, again, are typical, particularly for a film like “Croods.” And this year, with far fewer films in release — and more than any other time since theaters reopened, virtually nothing of note from library titles — the lack of top new films overall adds to their draw.

    Open theaters have given no sign they might not maintain that position. But with nothing particularly strong on the horizon, the real chance of more delays among films currently scheduled, and inevitable drops from films now playing on the horizon, the weeks, and even months ahead are as bleak as any period, even if 2020 is now behind us.

    The Top 10

    1. Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner Bros.) — Week 2; Last weekend #1; also available on HBO Max

    $5,500,000 (-67%) in 2,151 theaters (no change); PTA: $2,557; Cumulative: $28,500,000

    2. The Croods: A New Age (Universal) — Week 6; Last weekend #3; also available on Premium VOD

    $2,180,000 (+25%) in 1,751 theaters (+25); PTA: $1,245; Cumulative: $34,514,000

    3. News of the World (Universal) — Week 2; Last weekend #2

    $1,690,000 (-25%) in 1,928 theaters (+28); PTA: $877; Cumulative: $5,400,000

    4. Monster Hunter (Sony) — Week 3; Last weekend #4

    $1,250,000 (+11%) in 1,807 theaters (-10); PTA: $692; Cumulative: $6,257,000

    5. Fatale (Lionsgate) — Week 3; Last weekend #6

    $700,000 (+6%) in 1,183 theaters (+15); PTA: $592; Cumulative: $3,091,000

    6. Promising Young Woman (Focus) — Week 2; Last weekend #5

    $660,000 (-8%) in 1,333 theaters (-23); PTA: $495; Cumulative: $1,900,000

    7. Pinocchio (Roadside Attractions) — Week 2; Last weekend #6

    $284,035 (+4%) in 795 theaters (+9); PTA: $357; Cumulative: $773,000

    8. The War With Grandpa (101) — Week 13; Last weekend #10 ; also available on Premium VOD

    $113,983 (+27%) in 305 theaters (-205); PTA: $374; Cumulative: $18,668,000

    9. Alien (Disney) — REISSUE

    $75,000 in 505 theaters; PTA: $149; Cumulative: $(adjusted) $320,100,000

    10.(tie) Come Play (Focus) — Week 10; Last weekend #13; also available on Premium VOD

    $55,000 (+28%) in 110 theaters (+13); PTA: $500; Cumulative: $9,560,000

    10. (tie) Freaky (Universal) — Week 8; Last weekend #; also available on Premium VOD

    $55,000 (+8%) in 201 (-54) theaters; PTA: $274; Cumulative: $8,760,000

    Source: IndieWire film

    January 2, 2021

    Kenneth Lonergan’s ‘Margaret’ Extended Cut Now Streaming on HBO Max

    It’s 2021, and since we’re still all stuck indoors, what better to do than bask in all three-plus hours of Kenneth Lonergan’s extended cut of “Margaret,” which many contend is a forgotten masterpiece. Backed by a trouble post-production history — Martin Scorsese himself stepped in to provide a cut at the final hour — the definite version of Lonergan’s cinematic bildungsroman was previously only available on DVD. The extended cut is now available to stream on HBO Max as a bonus feature accompanying the two-and-a-half-hour theatrical version.

    “Margaret” is largely about coming to terms with the fact that you are only the center of your own universe, and not anyone else’s, and it stars Anna Paquin in a career-best performance as stubborn teenager Lisa. She’s a high-school student who flirts with her math teacher (Matt Damon), defies her stage-actress, single mother Joan (J. Smith-Cameron), and eventually causes a fatal bus crash involving Mark Ruffalo as the driver and Allison Janney as the pedestrian in the crosshairs. The incident sends Lisa on an occasionally destructive existential journey as much about the topography of post-9/11 New York City (captured in weathered glory by Ryszard Lenczewski) as it is about that of the inner life.

    The cast also includes Jeannie Berlin as Allison Janney’s character’s surviving best friend, Jean Reno as the unctuous wooer who drops into Joan’s life, Matthew Broderick as Lisa’s English teacher, John Gallagher Jr. as the poor sap chasing Lisa’s thorny heart, plus Kieran Culkin and even director Lonergan himself as Lisa’s father. While “Margaret” would remain a sore spot initially for Lonergan, it was re-launched in theaters in early 2012 after a disastrous limited 2011 run thanks to a grassroots critical groundswell. And a few years later, Lonergan would win the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for his film “Manchester by the Sea.”

    Lonergan is loath to call this version of “Margaret” a “director’s cut” per se, as he explained to IndieWire back in 2012 when “Margaret” received its DVD release.

    “To me, ‘director’s cut’ means that what was released before was somebody else’s cut. That, to me, always implies that what was released wasn’t what the director wanted,” Lonergan said at the time. “That’s just not what happened. The cut that was released was the cut I delivered. They’re both the director’s cut; they’re just different cuts. One of them was just free from the constraints of worrying about the time.”

    Both the theatrical version and the extended cut of “Margaret” are now available to stream on HBO Max.

    Source: IndieWire film

    January 2, 2021

    Gaspar Noé Directs Charlotte Rampling in a Darkly Chic Short for Saint Laurent — Watch

    Gaspar Noé hasn’t made an appearance behind the camera since 2019, when he released his Saint Laurent-produced mockumentary-style film “Lux Æterna” at Cannes, the French provocateur’s usual stomping grounds for unsettling fare like “Climax” and “Irreversible.” “Lux Æterna,” starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Béatrice Dalle as themselves making a film about witches, hasn’t reached U.S. shores yet. But Noé’s latest Saint Laurent-produced creation might just give you a taste of what that film’s up to. Watch below.

    Noé’s new short, clocking in at just under eight minutes, is anything but a for-hire assignment. Instead, it’s a wholly Noé-esque experience and totally disorienting, even on a small screen. Oh, and it stars icon Charlotte Rampling, bedecked in fabulous couture and haunting the halls of a crimson-dipped mansion sprawling with eerie atmospherics.

    “A world bathed by a red, hazy, velvety light, reminiscent of the glory years of Giallo,” said a press release courtesy of Saint Laurent. “Dreaminess and tension, decadence and danger.” That could apply to almost any Noé outing, from “I Stand Alone” to “Enter the Void,” both of which owe debts to the Giallo school of shock-house cinema.

    Rampling stars alongside models Anok Yai, Antonia Przedpelski, Assa Baradji, Aylah Mae Peterson, Clara Deshayes, Grace Hartzel, Kim Schell, Mica Arganaraz, Miriam Sanchez, Sora Choi, and Stefania Cristian.

    The short is produced by Saint Laurent creative director Anthony Vaccarello to introduce the iconic house’s 2021 summer collection. The film is set to Sebastian’s senses-assaulting remix of Donna Summer’s club classic “I Feel Love.”

    Here’s what IndieWire had to say about the making of “Lux Æterna,” which bears stylistic similarities to the Saint Laurent short: “It’s hard to imagine that Noé could serve any master other than himself, and it comes as no great surprise that his recent assignment to make a 15-minute commercial for Yves Saint Laurent went awry when Noé turned it into his own weird thing: ‘Lux Æterna,’ a 50-minute psychedelic mockumentary about a film shoot gone wrong, distills Noé’s talents to a more palatable serving size. Anyone who appreciated the craft of ‘Enter the Void’ but found the running time unwieldy will be grateful for this much tighter dose.”

    Source: IndieWire film

    January 2, 2021

    Women Directed Record Number of Films in 2020, Behind-the-Scenes Growth Remains Slow

    Not all news was bad news for filmmakers during the pandemic year. According to the latest study from the Celluloid Ceiling, the longest-running and most comprehensive study of women’s employment in film, women directors were up overall in 2020. The 23rd edition released Saturday from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University.

    Once again, women directors achieved historic highs this past year, with women comprising 18% of the filmmakers calling the shots behind the top 250 domestic features, an uptick from 13% in 2019 and 8% in 2018. That’s even with a lineup of major women-directed titles pushed to 2021 due to theater closures, including Chloé Zhao’s “Eternals” and Cate Shortland’s “Black Widow” on the big studio side. Still, this year saw films like Cathy Yan’s “Birds of Prey” and Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman 1984” which, even with day-and-date play on HBO Max, managed the highest gross for a U.S. film since theaters reopened.

    Overall in the top 100 films stateside, women comprised 16% of the filmmakers, up from 12% in 2019 and a whopping 4% in 2018. That’s two years of growth, but also leaves at least 80% of the top films with no women directors.

    According to the study, behind-the-scenes figures overall remain disappointing. In 2020, the majority of films (67%) employed zero to four women in roles like directors, writers, executive producers, producers, editors, and cinematographers. 24% employed 5 to 9 women, and 9% employed 10 or more women. By contrast, men were significantly higher across these categories, with 71% of films employing 10 or more men.

    Overall, women accounted for 23% of behind-the-scenes roles on the top 250 films, and while that’s up from 21% in 2019, women comprised just 17% in 1998. That means growth has been slow across multiple decades.

    By role, women accounted for 17% of writers (down from 19% in 2019), 21% of executive producers (even with 2019), 30% of producers (up from 27% in 2019), 22% of editors (down from 23% in 2019), and 6% of cinematographers (up from 5% in 2019). All of these figures are for the top 250 domestic grossing films.

    “This imbalance is stunning. The majority of films employ fewer than 5 women and 10 or more men,” said Dr. Martha Lauzen, executive director, Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.

    Read the full Celluloid Ceiling report here. IndieWire also recently took a broad view of women-directed films in 2020, and how they were affected by the pandemic. With releases pushed off the calendar, that means there are plenty more to come in 2021.

    Source: IndieWire film