Box Office Gets Freaky

In its opening weekend, horror-comedy Freaky sat atop the box office, successfully scaring away its competition and earning $3,6 million. The latest feature film by Christopher Landon (Happy Death Day) follows a serial killer (Vince Vaughn – Hacksaw Ridge) who switches body with a bullied teenager (Kathryn Newton – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri). Hilarious yet gory shenanigans ensue.

In second place at the weekend box office is the modern-day western Let Him Go, starring Diane Lane and Kevin Costner (both of whom were in Man of Steel) as grandparents who want to save their daughter-in-law and grandson from a cruel family. Let Him Go earned $1,8 million in its second weekend in cinemas. Third place belongs to The War With Grandpa that grossed $1,3 million. This family comedy is still going strong after six weeks in cinemas. Horror movie Come Play is in the fourth place $1,1 million. And in the fifth place is the crime thriller Honest Thief starring Liam Neeson (Taken) with $780,000.

Finally, it’s worth pointing out that this was the first time after eleven weeks that Christopher Nolan’s action-thriller Tenet dropped from the top five highest-grossing movies of the weekend. In any other year, this would have been an impressive accomplishment. However, as it is, Tenet grossed only $56,3 million domestically and an additional $297,2 million overseas. For a movie with an alleged production budget of around $200 million, that’s not good.

All of this data comes from the Box Office Mojo.

Universal Signs a Historic Distribution Deal with Cinemark 

Universal just signed a historic deal with Cinemark Theatres regarding the distribution of their upcoming movies. According to SlashFilm, Cinemark – the third-largest movie theater chain in the US – agreed to allow Universal to distribute its films as Premium Video on Demand mere 17 days after their theatrical release. That theatrical window extends to 31 days only if the movie in question opens to more than $50 million domestically. After the period ends, Universal can take its movies to PVOD, with Cinemark receiving an unspecified share of the earnings there.

What makes this deal so important? Until recently, studios maintained an agreement with movie theatres not to release their titles online for months after they come out in theaters. This allowed cinemas plenty of time to earn money by distributing movies since they didn’t have any competition.

But then came COVID-19 and threw a wrench in the traditional distribution model. In April, with cinemas closed all over the USA, Universal released its CGI-animated film Trolls World Tour directly on VOD, bypassing cinemas entirely. After the film earned around $100 million in three weeks, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell suggested all future Universal titles might be released in cinemas and online simultaneously. In response, Adam Aron – CEO of the world’s largest movie theater chain AMC – threatened to boycott any future Universal titles. By July, however, both sides signed a game-changing agreement allowing the studio to release its titles as VOD after a theatrical window of just three weeks. A deal with Cinemark is a second such agreement Universal made this year, further cementing a very different distribution model for the post-pandemic future.

HBO Max Considering Revival of The Venture Bros.?

About a month ago, we reported the sad news of Cartoon Network canceling one of its longest-running animated TV shows – The Venture Bros. Back in 2018, Cartoon Network renewed the show for its final, eighth season. However, in October, executives changed their mind even as they assured the cult cartoon’s small but vocal fan base they were seeking a way to continue it.

Now GeekTyrant reports streaming service HBO Max may be considering reviving the series. In a recent tweet, Andy Forssell, the operating business executive in charge of HBO Max, hinted “that he is working on it” preceded by the caveat that the efforts in questions are “nothing imminent”.

While both the statements by the Cartoon Network executives and Andy Forssell may be mere symbolic gestures, The Venture Bros. does deserve a proper sendoff after seven seasons and eighty episodes. Christopher McCulloch (aka Jackson Publick) and Doc Hammer created The Venture Bros. in 2004 as a spoof of the 1960s action-adventure cartoon series Jonny Quest. Over time, however, their series became an ever-expanding universe satirizing the pop culture detritus of the last century. The show’s production was notoriously slow, since McCulloch and Hammer worked with a small group of people, maintaining creative control. Hopefully, both they and their fans may get to witness their vision completed as someone picks up The Venture Bros. for the one last hurrah.