Week-in-review: Weekend Box Office, A New Western By Walter Hill, And Amblin’s Deal With Netflix

    The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard Lands the First Place

    Action comedy The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard opened last weekend in cinemas. A sequel to the 2017 action movie The Hitman’s Bodyguard has Salma Hayek (Frida), Samuel L. Jackson (Spider-Man: Far From Home), and Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) reprising their performances from the first film. Even though Antonio Banderas (The Laundromat) and Morgan Freeman (Now You See Me) joined the cast, the movie nevertheless opened to a modest $16,7 million.

    However, as the Box Office Mojo points out, it was a relatively slow weekend with no other newcomers among the top five at the box office. In second place is John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place Part II with over $9 million. So far, this horror film grossed almost $125 million domestically with another 97 million abroad, making A Quiet Place Part II a bona fide blockbuster of the pandemic era. Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway is in third place with almost $6,1 million and a total domestic gross of $20,3 million. Yet another horror flick – The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is in fourth place with $5 million and a total domestic gross of $53,5 million. And finally, Disney’s live-action One Hundred and One Dalmatians prequel Cruella is once again in fifth place with $4,8 million and a total gross of $64,5 million.

    Willem Dafoe and Christoph Waltz Cast in a New Western by Walter Hill

    Veteran filmmaker Walter Hill (48 Hrs, Red Heat) wants to direct a western film titled Dead for a Dollar. According to the AVClub, he rounded up two very impressive leads: four times Academy Awards nominee Willem Dafoe (Platoon, Shadow of the Vampire, The Florida Project, At Eternity’s Gate) and two times Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained). Besides directing, Hill will also co-write the script alongside Matt Harris. However, we must point out that the production hasn’t started yet. Myriad Pictures – a company behind the movie – will present it to potential buyers at this week’s Cannes virtual market.

    Set in the New Mexico Territory in the late 1890s, Dead for a Dollar would follow bounty hunter Max Borlund (played by Waltz). Santa Fe businessman Nathan Price hires him to find his wife Rachel, kidnapped by an army deserter and taken to Mexico. South of the border, things get complicated when Borlund stumbles upon his sworn enemy Joe Cribbens (Dafoe), a criminal who is also seeking Price’s missing wife.

    Walter Hill launched his career during the so-called New Hollywood era in the 1970s. He drew attention with his stylish genre films like The Driver and The Warriors. Throughout 1980s, Hill turned to more conventional movie fare, directing action films and comedies. His first collaboration with Willem Dafoe was in the 1984 musical Streets of Fire.

    Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners Signs a Deal with Netflix

    Amblin Partners, the production company run by the Hollywood veteran Steven Spielberg, signed a deal with Netflix, says The Hollywood Reporter. The arrangement will see the company produce multiple movies for the streaming service every year, with no restrictions regarding their genre or budget. This comes on top of Amblin’s pre-existing deal with Universal regarding the theatrical release of its titles.

    While both Spielberg and Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos seem satisfied with the arrangement, it is unclear which Amblin projects will be affected by it. Currently, the company is working on several titles, including Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical film featuring Paul Dano and Michelle Williams; a comedy-drama The Good House starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver; horror movie The Last Voyage of the Demeter, and others.

    Just two years ago, Spielberg was among Academy members who opposed nominating Netflix original films like Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma into Academy Awards. Instead, he suggested classifying them as TV movies. However, Netflix spent huge amounts of money producing dream projects by veteran directors like David Fincher (Mank) and Martin Scorsese (The Irishman). Then COVID-19 happened, leading to a further shift in the balance of power within the entertainment industry from movie theaters towards streaming. Finally, it is also worth noting that Amblin already collaborated with Netflix on at least one movie – Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7. All this might help explain Spielberg’s willingness to work with Netflix.

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