The Rise of the Rise of Skywalker 

Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker flew into cinemas last weekend and landed in the first place at the box office, earning $175,5 million. While Disney estimated a relatively conservative $165 million opening, websites like BoxOfficeMojo expected Rise of Skywalker to top $200 million over its inaugural weekend. Apparently, first reviews of J. J. Abrams’ final installment in the new Star Wars trilogy are mixed. We’ll see will this affect the film’s box office returns in any significant way.

In the second place at the last weekend’s box office is Jumanji: The Next Level. A third Jumanji film has so far grossed almost $102 million domestically. After Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle arrived in cinemas in 2017, it stayed among the highest-grossing weekend box office movies for nine weeks straight, despite a fierce competition by Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Black Panther. Will The Next Level replicate this success? We’ll see!

The third place belongs to yet another sequel by Disney. Frozen II is still going strong after five weeks in cinemas. Last weekend it earned $12,3 million, bringing its total domestic gross up to $386,5 million. In the fourth place is Cats, Tom Hooper’s big-budget adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1981 musical. While Cats the musical conquered both Broadway and West End, the film version fared far worse. Produced for $100 million, Cats grossed a mere $6,5 million in its opening weekend, despite an all-star cast led by James Corden, Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, and Rebel Wilson. And finally, in the fifth place at the last weekend’s box office is Rian Johnson’s satirical murder mystery Knives Out with $6,1 million.

Amazon Casts Three More for Its Wheel of Time Series 

Amazon cast three more actors for its upcoming adaptation of The Wheel of Time, says Deadline. Indian actress Priyanka Bose (Lion) will play Alanna Mosvani, a sister of the Aes Sedai. Emmanuel Imani (Criminal, Hold the Dark) and Taylor Napier (Saving Hope) will portray Alanna’s Warders Ihvon and Maksim with whom she has a complex relationship.

Bose, Imani, and Napier will join the growing cast of the series that includes prominent names like Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) as well as relative newcomers like Barney Harris (Clique), Madeleine Madden (Dora and the Lost City of Gold), Zoë Robins (The Shannara Chronicles), Marcus Rutherford and Josh Stradowski (High Flyers).

Amazon first announced its plans to adapt Robert Jordan’s fantasy epic The Wheel of Time in October 2018. Screenwriter (and a former Survivor contestant) Rafe Judkins will serve as its showrunner. German cinematographer Uta Briesewitz will direct the show’s first two episodes. Briesewitz previously collaborated with the director Brad Anderson on his films Next Stop Wonderland, Vanishing on 7th Street and Session 9. Principal photography for the first season of The Wheel of Time began in September 2019. The show’s release date is currently unknown.

Interview With the Vampire No Longer With Hulu

Variety reports Hulu won’t be adapting Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles into a TV series after all. Rice has been developing the pilot script for the series with the help of her son Christopher Rice for several years now. She will now shop her intellectual property to various studios and networks around Hollywood. Her offer includes both The Vampire Chronicles and the adaptation right for her novel Mayfair Witches, which is currently set up at Warner Bros.

Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles series began in 1976 with the Interview with a Vampire. The novel was followed by ten other books set within the same universe. Most of these follow vampire Lestat de Lioncourt who serves as the story’s hero, antihero, and narrator. In 1994, Irish filmmaker Neil Jordan adapted Interview with a Vampire into a movie, featuring Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, and Kirsten Dunst playing its lead characters. A sequel called The Queen of the Damned came out eight years later but it was far less successful, both with the audiences and the critics.