Box Office: The Croods Sequel Wins the Weekend…Again

The Croods

For the third week in a row, CGI-animated family adventure The Croods: A New Age landed on the top of the weekend box office, grossing a bit over $3 million. But then again, it’s not as if it has any real competition in theaters. A sequel to the 2013 film The Croods, A New Age finds the titular cavemen family meeting their more evolved neighbors. A feature film debut by Joel Crawford, its voice cast includes Nicolas Cage, Peter Dinklage, Catherine Keener, Cloris Leachman, Leslie Mann, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, and Kelly Marie Tran. So far, The Croods: A New Age earned $76 million worldwide.

In second place at the last weekend’s box office is once again Half-Brothers with $495,000. Directed by Luke Greenfield (Let’s Be Cops), this road trip comedy has so far grossed $1,4 million. In the third place with $400,000 is the re-release of Jon Favreau’s 2003 comedy Elf, featuring Will Ferrell as a Christmas Elf with an identity crisis searching for his real parents. The cast also includes Ed Asner, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Peter Dinklage (Again!), Bob Newhart, Andy Richter, Amy Sedaris, and Mary Steenburgen. Horror-comedy Freaky is number four with $315,000 and a total gross of $14,2 million. And in fifth place with $265,000 is the unkillable The War with Grandpa, still in the top five highest-grossing movies of the weekend after 10 weeks in cinemas.

But, once again, this is hardly surprising: with the pandemic still raging, people are rightfully worried about spending hours crammed in a huge indoor space with hundreds of complete strangers that may, or may not have COVID-19. This, in turn, makes studios hesitant to release new titles to empty movie theaters, which, in turn, makes cinema owners correctly reluctant to stay open.

Chris Pine to Star in the Next Dungeons & Dragons FilmChris Pine

Chris Pine is no stranger to geek entertainment, having appeared in the big-budget Star Trek reboots as well as in comic book blockbuster Wonder Woman. Now he will increase his geek creed even further – for what it’s worth – by starring in the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons movie.

The project has been in development at least since 2015, first at Warner Bros. and then at Paramount. It changed several screenwriters and at least two directors before the studio settled on actor and filmmaker John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, both of whom produced the script for Spider-Man: Homecoming and collaborated on comedies Vacation and Game Night. So far, we know nothing about the possible plot of the film. If it’s going to be true to the spirit of the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, expect a bunch of sociopathic mercenaries to explore sewers for several hours, arguing about the game rules. Or they can film a proper fantasy adventure, which — sigh — would make more sense both commercially and storywise.

This isn’t the first attempt at adapting the world’s oldest and most popular tabletop role-playing game into a movie. Twenty years ago, Courtney Solomon directed the abysmal Dungeons & Dragons film featuring Jeremy Irons chewing scenery for two hours. Five years later, Greg Lively directed Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God. Filmed on a smaller budget, it was bad but at least it featured numerous references to the actual game, unlike the first movie. In 2012, Lively directed the third Dungeons & Dragons film too, titled The Book of Vile Darkness.

At the moment, Dungeons & Dragons movie is coming out in 2022.

As HBO Max Finally Arrives on Roku, WarnerMedia Fallout Continues

HBO Max

HBO Max is coming to Roku, reports SlashFilm. This news arrives almost seven months after WarnerMedia introduced its new streaming service. HBO Max will become available starting on December 17, 2020 – just in time for the Christmas Day premiere of Wonder Woman 1984.

Millions of users all over North America rely on Roku devices for their streaming content. So, what caused the delay? According to the article, Roku wanted to sell HBO subscriptions through its channel store while WarnerMedia demanded HBO Max be made available as a separate app. Apparently, both sides managed to reach an agreement.

WarnerMedia recently announced it would release its 2021 movies both in cinemas and on streaming services. This hybrid model of distribution caused a swift backlash from directors and movie distributors alike. Directors like Christopher Nolan (Tenet), Judd Apatow (The King of Staten Island), and Dennis Villeneuve (Arrival) all criticized this decision. Apatow explained: “It creates a financial nightmare, because most people are paid residuals — they’re paid back-end points. What they get out of it for years and years of hard work is usually based on the success of their films. And so now what does it mean to have a movie go straight to streaming? How do they decide what to pay you? Do you even have a contract that allows you to negotiate, or is it really just up to them at this point?

Digital streaming will affect the number of people willing to visit movie theaters, especially in the middle of the pandemic that claimed over 300,000 lives in less than a year. Recently, representatives of US cinemas warned they were on the brink of bankruptcy. And, sure enough, on Friday, AMC Theaters announced it would go broke after January 2021.  AMC Theaters alone has almost 1000 cinemas with 11,000 screens and over 4,000 full-time employees.