War to end all Star Wars

World War I proved itself a war to end all Star Wars. After three weeks in the first place at the weekend box office, Rise of the Skywalker was replaced by the war drama 1917. Directed, co-written and produced by Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Skyfall), this film follows two British foot soldiers – played by Dean-Charles Chapman (The King) and George MacKay (Captain Fantastic) – sent by their command to the frontlines by foot to deliver a message calling off a dangerous attack on German defense. Filmed in a single shot, 1917 has received favorable reviews, ten Academy Award nominations and, as of last weekend, $37 million at the domestic box office.

J. J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode Nine – Rise of the Skywalker is in second place with $15,2 million. Its total worldwide gross stands at $990 million, inching ever more closely towards the one billion dollars mark. Sony’s Jumanji: The Next Level is in third place with $14 million. Its worldwide earnings are just over $671 million, all but guaranteeing Jumanji 4.

A sole newcomer among the top five this week is Like a Boss, a comedy starring Rose Byrne (Neighbors, Insidious) and comedian Tiffany Haddish (Keanu) as two friends starting a business together. In its inaugural weekend in cinemas, Like a Boss grossed $10 million. And finally, in the fifth place at the weekend box office with $9,7 million is Just Mercy featuring Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther, Creed) and Jamie Foxx (Baby Driver, Django Unchained) in lead roles. This legal drama premiered three weeks ago at 28th place at the box office, only to jump way up!

As always, all of this data comes courtesy of the Box Office Mojo.

Amazon Announces Cast of The Lord of the Rings TV series; Passes on The Dark Tower

This week, Amazon announced the main cast of its long-gestating, ridiculously expensive, already renewed The Lord of the Rings TV series. Besides already mentioned actors like Morfydd Clark (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), the cast of the show will include Robert Aramayo (Galveston), Owain Arthur (Hard Sun), Nazanin Boniadi (Hotel Mumbai), Tom Budge (Gallipoli), Ismael Cruz Cordova (Miss Bala), Ema Horvath (The Gallows: Act II), Markella Kavenagh (The Gloaming), Joseph Mawle (Ripper Street), Megan Richards (Wanderlust), Dylan Smith (Treadstone), Charlie Vickers (Medici), Daniel Weyman (Gentleman Jack), Tyroe Muhafidin and Sophia Nomvete.

The series will be helmed by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay. Bryan Cogman (Game of Thrones) has signed on as a consulting producer with Gennifer Hutchinson (Breaking Bad) as one of the show’s many executive producers. Among them is J.A. Bayona (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Orphanage) who will also direct multiple episodes of the show. Variety says that filming is due to begin in February.

While the fans of Tolkien’s Middle-Earth have much to look for, fans of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower aren’t as lucky. Some time ago, Amazon ordered the pilot from its showrunner Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead). Deadline reports that studio feels that the pilot wasn’t on the level of its other large-scope projects. This is hardly surprising: King’s post-apocalyptic fantasy horror western epic is a hard one to adapt. Mazzara and the production company MRC are currently shopping the pilot to other networks and streaming services.

CBS Developing Silence of the Lambs Sequel Series

CBS approved a deal with producers Alex Kurtzman (he of the numerous Star Trek projects) and Jenny Lumet (writer of Rachel Getting Married and The Mummy) for a TV series that would resume the story of the FBI Agent Clarice Sterling. Deadline says that Kurtzman and Lumet will write, produce and film the pilot episode. If it passes, it will lead to series order.

Titled Clarice, the series will be set after the events depicted in Jonathan Demme’s 1991 film Silence of the Lambs in which Sterling was portrayed by Jodie Foster. Clarice would take place a year later and follow Sterling as she investigates cases involving serial killers and sexual predators while simultaneously dealing with Washington politics. Hannibal Lecter would not appear in the series.

Ironically, there already exists a perfectly decent TV show inspired by Demme’s classic thriller and Thomas Harris’ not-so-classic novels. Helmed by Bryan Fuller, Hannibal aired on NBC for three seasons. Despite excellent cinematography and fantastic performances by Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Gillian Anderson and others, Hannibal was canceled due to mediocre ratings.