M. Night Shyamalan Pulls a Box Office Twist With Old

As is so often the case in the pandemic era, it doesn’t take long for a horror movie to climb to the top of the weekend box office. Case in point: M. Night Shyamalan’s latest high-concept horror flick Old premiered last weekend and immediately jumped to the top, way ahead of blockbuster movies like Black Widow and Space Jam: A New Legacy. Featuring an ensemble cast that includes Gael García Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle), Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit), and Rufus Sewell (The Man in the High Castle), Old earned $16,8 million in its inaugural weekend.

Yet another newcomer landed in cinemas last weekend. Directed by Robert Schwentke (R.I.P.D.) Snake Eyes is a sci-fi action-adventure telling the origin story of its titular character. It features Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians) in the leading role as one of the most popular characters from G.I. Joe toyline. Other cast members include Úrsula Corberó (La Casa de Papel), Andrew Koji (Warrior), and Samara Weaving (Bill & Ted Face the Music). The film earned $13,4 million in its first weekend in cinemas.

In third place is Marvel’s latest superhero movie, Black Widow with $11,6 million and a total domestic gross of $154,8 million. Space Jam: A New Legacy is in fourth with $9,6 million and a total gross of $51,4 million. Finally, in fifth place at the last weekend’s box office is F9: The Fast Saga with $4,8 million and a domestic gross of $163,5 million. As always, all of this data comes courtesy of the Box Office Mojo.

Disney Developing a New Haunted Mansion Movie

Disney, an uncontested king of reheating old properties and serving them to its audiences again, is looking to re-sell yet another of its movies. After remakes of Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Dumbo, Jungle Book, Lady and the Tramp, Mary Poppins, The Lion King, and others, it is time for Haunted Mansion. GeekTyrant says the Mouse House is currently negotiating with LaKeith Stanfield (Sorry to Bother You) and Tiffany Haddish (Keanu) to star in a remake of the 2003 Haunted Mansion film that was, in turn, inspired by the Disneyland attraction. Adapting fun park rides is yet another Disney tradition, as witnessed by the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and the upcoming Jungle Cruise.

The 2003 Haunted Mansion movie featured Eddie Murphy (Dolemite Is My Name), Terence Stamp (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), and Jennifer Tilly (Cult of Chucky). Rob Minkoff (the 1994 version of The Lion King) directed the film that earned around $180 million on a $90 million budget. The new version will be helmed by the director Justin Simien (Bad Hair, Dear White People), with a script by Katie Dippold (Spy, Ghostbusters, The Heat). Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich, who previously worked on the live-action Aladdin movie, will produce the new Haunted Mansion film.

Netflix Becomes the First Major Studio to Demand Mandatory Vaccination 

Netflix has become the first major US studio requiring COVID-19 vaccinations from people working on their US productions, reports the AVClub. This decision comes just weeks after Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) achieved a short-term deal with the industry’s top guilds about easing protocols, but only for the fully vaccinated cast and crew. Per current safety protocols, sets are divided into zones corresponding to proximity to actors, with the so-called Zone A being the closest one. Producers presently maintain an option to mandate vaccines for casts and crew working in Zone A. And this is what Netflix now did.

There is a possible loophole in the agreement. People will still have a right to refuse vaccinations due to medical reasons, age, or even religion. Even so, this decision by Netflix may set an important precedent for other major studios to follow. While we were repeatedly reporting about the plight of US cinemas last year, the studios had their shares of problems, too. Numerous productions were halted due to outbreaks of COVID-19 on sets. Each of these delays costs studios money. So it would make sense for them to try to protect their investments in any way possible, especially now when the vaccine is finally available. Finally, there’s also a long-term aspect to the pandemic to consider. Even after 18 months, the pandemic shows no signs of abating. For the time being, health and safety procedures will have to remain in place.