Maleficent: Mistress of the Box Office

In its inaugural weekend, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil took the box office throne away from Joker. Angelina Jolie reprises her performance as a fairy sorceress from the 2014 dark fantasy film Maleficent. That movie, in turn, was a live-action re-telling of Walt Disney’s 1959 animated film Sleeping Beauty. With a pedigree like that, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil was a sure hit. So far, the movie has delivered, earning almost $37 million in its inaugural weekend. However, we’ll see if Mistress of Evil will have the staying power of Lion King, Disney’s another live-action remake that earned astronomical sums of money all over the world.

After two weeks at the top, Todd Phillip’s Joker is now in third place with $29,2 million. But there’s no reason for grief. With a total domestic gross of over $247 million, Joker is on verge of becoming the most financially successful R-rated film of all time. In the third place at the box office is Zombieland 2: Double Tap with $26,8 million. A sequel to a 2009 zombie horror-comedy Zombieland features a returning cast led by Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine), Jesse Eisenberg (Social Network), Woody Harrelson (True Detective) and Emma Stone (La La Land). Fourth place belongs to the CGI-animated film The Addams Family with $16,3 million. And finally, in the fifth place at the last weekend’s box office is Ang Lee’s sci-fi action thriller Gemini Man with $8,3 million. As always, all of this data comes courtesy of the Box Office Mojo. 

Michael Mann to Direct Ansel Elgort and Ken Watanabe in Tokyo Vice

Deadline reports that filmmaker Michael Mann (Heat, Collateral, The Last of the Mohicans) will direct the pilot of HBO Max’s crime series Tokyo Vice. Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver, The Goldfinch, Divergent series) and Ken Watanabe (Batman Begins, Inception, Godzilla) will star in leading roles. Furthermore, there is a distinct possibility Mann might direct several other episodes of the show’s inaugural season.

Tokyo Vice is an adaptation of the best-selling memoir by Jake Adelstein. An American ex-pat, Adelstein spent twelve years covering Tokyo Metropolitan Police beat, writing about Japan’s criminal underworld. After Japanese publishers refused his manuscript, he had his memoir published in the US. Playwright J.T. Rogers will adapt his book into a TV series. Tokyo Vice will first air on HBO Max in spring 2020.

With a career spanning five decades, Mann is a veteran when it comes to crime stories. He wrote scripts for shows like Starsky and Hutch, Vega$ and Police Story. In the 1980s, Mann created and produced TV shows Miami Vice and Crime Story. Mann also directed critically-acclaimed feature films, first gaining recognition for his 1981 crime drama Thief and 1986 psychological thriller Manhunter.

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa Pitching Horror Shows All Over the Place 

Bloody.Disgusting says that Robert Aguirre-Sacasa, creator of Riverdale and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, is pitching around ideas for horror shows heavily indebted to gothic novels. HBO Max has already ordered a pilot for his series The Shelley Society. A mix of gothic horror and teen romance, the series will follow young Mary Shelley (writer of Frankenstein) as she confronts all kinds of supernatural monsters. She will be accompanied by Romantic poets Percy Shelley and Lord Byron.

According to Deadline, Aguirre-Sacasa is also working on a TV horror series called The Brides. That show focuses on Dracula’s Brides – a trio of seductive vampires who briefly but memorably appear in early chapters of Bram Stoker’s novel. Aguirre-Sacasa describes The Brides as “a sexy, contemporary re-imagining of the Dracula saga as a family drama with a trio of powerful, diverse female leads.” He was developing the series for NBC but is now pitching it to the premium/streaming marketplace.

Robert Aguirre-Sacasa began his career as a playwright. Ironically, a person in charge of Archie Comics TV shows once received a cease and desist letter by its publishers when he wrote a play depicting characters from the comic growing up. Since then, however, Aguirre-Sacasa proved his writing chops in theatre, comic books, television, and movies.