As Universal Brags About Trolls World Tour, Movie Theatre Owners Grow Nervous

In The Mouth of Madness

Last week, Universal’s latest feature-length animated film Trolls World Tour came out exclusively on VOD. While the studio was very pleased with the film’s success, it didn’t offer any exact data about its earnings. Now, SlashFilm reports that Trolls World Tour had around five million rentals in its inaugural weekend. With a price of $20 per rental, this means the film grossed around $100 million. For comparison, back in 2016, it took the first Trolls movie two weeks to collect that much domestically. Except Universal saw only about 50 percent of these ticket sales since the movie theatres took the rest. But, with Trolls World Tour opening digitally instead, Universal got to keep 80% of the gross.

Universal executives currently discuss releasing all of the studio’s upcoming movies both in cinemas and digitally at the same time. With movie theatres all over the country already suffering huge losses due to enforced closures, their owners are understandably nervous about this development. So much so that two major chains – AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas – announced they won’t be screening any new Universal releases until the studio reneges on its latest distribution policy. Since both chains are currently closed, this is a pretty toothless threat, at least for the time being.

HBO Developing a Hellraiser TV Series

Cinobites

Two weeks ago, we reported how the long-gestating Hellraiser reboot found its director in David Bruckner, the filmmaker behind horror movies The Night House and The Ritual. Now, Deadline reports that HBO is developing a Hellraiser TV series. According to the article, this project has nothing to do with the movie reboot. HBO made a deal with David Gordon Green (Halloween, Halloween Kills) to direct the pilot and several episodes of the show. Michael Dougherty (Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Trick r’ Treat) and Mark Verheiden (Battlestar Galactica, Daredevil) will write the scripts.

The TV series will take and expand upon the mythology and lore established throughout three decades of the Hellraiser franchise. Based on Clive Barker’s horror novella The Hellbound Heart, Hellraiser came out in 1987. It tells a story about a group of demon-like entities called Cenobites. Hailing from an alternate dimension of pain and pleasure, Cenobites can be summoned to our reality using a special puzzle box called the Lament Configuration. As portrayed by Doug Bradley, their leader Pinhead quickly became iconic due to its characteristic – and grisly – make-up. Hellraiser was successful enough to spawn nine sequels over the next 30 years.

An Animated Transformers Prequel in Development

Transformers

Hasbro’s entertainment studio eOne and Paramount Pictures are developing an animated Transformers feature film, says Deadline. The article adds the movie will be directed by Josh Cooley, who worked on several of Pixar’s animated pictures before helming last year’s Toy Story 4. Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari, who previously collaborated on Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp as well as on the horror flick Haunt, already produced the script.

The new Transformers film will be set apart from both Michael Bay’s live-action adaptations and the Bumblebee spinoff. The movie will be a prequel, set on Cybertron – homeworld of these shape-changing robots. It will tell an origin story of Optimus Prime and his noble Autobots as well as Megatron and his evil Decepticons. Since the film is animated, this might make its production easier than if it were a live-action feature – a considerable advantage in the current times.

Transformers toys first appeared in 1984. Thanks to the cool concept (Toys that change into other toys!) as well as a highly successful Saturday morning cartoon series, this toy line became incredibly popular and remains so to this day. Up to now, there have been five live-action Transformers movies, one spinoff, and one feature-length animated film.