Week-in-review: Weekend Box Office, Sony Might Sell Hotel Transylvania 4 To Amazon, And AMC Developing Yet Another Anne Rice Adaptation

    Free Guy Wins the Weekend Box Office High Score

    Free Guy easily won the last weekend’s box office by earning $28,4 million, reports Box Office Mojo. Initially slated for a release in July 2020, this sci-fi action comedy was postponed several times until it ultimately came out last week. It is a sci-fi action comedy about a non-player character (Ryan Reynolds – Deadpool) discovering he lives inside a massive multiplayer online game. He falls in love with a player character/game developer (Jodie Comer – Killing Eve). Together, they try to prevent sinister machinations of the company owner Antwan (Taika Waititi – Yoyo Rabbit).

    In second place at last weekend’s box office is yet another newcomer – Don’t Breathe 2. A sequel to a 2016 horror-thriller by Fede Álvarez and Rodo Sayagues continues the story of The Blind Man, played again by Stephen Lang (Avatar). Don’t Breathe 2 earned $10,6 million, which is quite good considering the entire production cost around $15 million. While many other movies lost at the box office during the pandemic, low-budget horror flicks like Don’t Breathe 2 proved out to be steady winners.

    Disney’s action-adventure Jungle Cruise is in third place with $9,1 million. With its worldwide box office gross currently standing at $154,5 million, it doesn’t look likely Jungle Cruise will manage to cover its $200 million budget. But that’s the risk of releasing blockbusters at a time when people understandably worry about going to cinemas. A third newcomer of the weekend is Respect with $8,8 million – a musical biopic starring Laura Hudson as the legendary singer Aretha Franklin. And, finally, in the fifth place of the highest box office earners of the last weekend is James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad with $7,5 million.

    Sony to Sell Hotel Transylvania 4 to Amazon?

    SlashFilm reports Sony may be securing a deal with Amazon to distribute its CGI-animated film Hotel Transylvania: Transformania for a hefty sum of $100 million. If the agreement goes through, the film may skip cinemas and premiere on Amazon Prime Video instead. Before the pandemic hit, Sony pushed its theater release forward several times. Eventually, the fourth Hotel Transylvania movie was to premiere on August 6, 2021. But with the coronavirus showing no signs of stopping, the executives postponed the release before canceling all plans altogether.

    As with the rest of the entertainment industry, Covid-19 heavily affected Sony. In addition, Sony is the only major Hollywood studio without a streaming platform of its own. Instead of investing in a service that may or may not earn money, Sony signed a distribution deal with Netflix. Back in April, the world’s biggest streaming service agreed to distribute the studio’s latest movies after an 18-month window, starting from 2022.

    And then there are deals like the one with Amazon regarding Hotel Transylvania: Transformania. Sony already sold its live-action Cinderella film to Amazon. In similar deals, the studio sold movies An American Pickle to HBO Max, Greyhound to Apple Plus, and Happiest Season to Hulu.

    AMC Developing a Series Based on Anne Rice’s The Lives of the Mayfair Witches

    AMC announced it would open a writers’ room to explore a potential new series based on The Lives of the Mayfair Witches. Horror writer Anne Rice published this trilogy of novels in the early 1990s. According to BloodyDisgusting, the network hired Michelle Ashford (Masters of Sex, The Pacific) and Esta Spaulding (Masters of Sex, On Becoming a God in Central Florida) as writers and executive producers. If the show gets greenlit, Spaulding will serve as its showrunner. Rice’s novels follow a family of witches that have been steered for generations by an ominous supernatural presence.

    This news comes barely a week since AMC announced the casting of Australian actor Sam Reid (‘71, Belle) as vampire Lestat in a TV series based on Rice’s horror novel Interview with a Vampire. That show has been in development for a while now, with a tentative release date set for 2022. Rolin Jones (Boardwalk Empire, Friday Night Lights, Perry Mason, Weeds) will serve as its writer, executive producer, and showrunner.

    Anne Rice began writing horror in the 1970s. In 1994, Neil Jordan adapted her novel Interview with a Vampire into a film starring Tom Cruise, Kirsten Dunst, and Brad Pitt. Not long ago, Rice signed a deal with AMC that would bring her work to television. Interview with a Vampire may be the first result of this arrangement. But The Lives of the Mayfair Witches may soon follow.

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