F9: The Fast Saga Still Ahead of the Competition

During the 4th of July weekend, the ninth installment in the long-running epic of Fast and Furious remained in first place at the box office. In its second weekend in cinemas, F9: The Fast Saga earned $23 million, raising its domestic gross to $116,1 million. Justin Lin (who helmed four other Fast and Furious movies) directed the film featuring a well-established ensemble cast led by Jordana Brewster, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, John Cena, Vin Diesel, Nathalie Emmanuel, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Michelle Rodriguez as well as Helen Mirren, Kurt Russell, and Charlize Theron.

In second place at the last weekend’s box office is the CGI animated adventure film The Boss Baby: Family Business. The sequel to the 2017 animated film Boss Baby simultaneously premiered in cinemas and on the NBC streaming platform Peacock. Directed by Tom McGrath, co-director of Madagascar, The Boss Baby: Family Business earned $16 million in its opening weekend. Yet another newcomer, horror/thriller The Forever Purge, is in third place with $12,5 million. The horror movie A Quiet Place Part II is in fourth place. It grossed $4,1 million, bringing its domestic cume up to $144,3 million – an impressive result for a movie released at the tail end of the pandemic. And finally, in fifth place is the action-comedy The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, with $3 million. As always, all of this data comes courtesy of The Box Office Mojo.

Universal Signs a Digital Distribution Deal with Peacock

The streaming wars just got even more complicated.

After 15 years, this week Universal ended its digital distribution deal with HBO, reports Variety. From now on, the studio will grant the pay-one window for its most recent movies to Peacock instead. Pay-one window represents a period after a movie leaves cinemas for the first time to premiere on premium cable networks. Considering that both Universal and Peacock both exist under the umbrella of NBCUniversal, this does make sense.

The deal is complex. Four months after the release of movies in cinemas, begins the eighteen months long pay-one window. For the first four months of this period, the latest Universal titles will arrive on Peacock. During the middle ten months, Universal will license those same movies to other partners without exclusivity. For the final four months of the pay-one window, Universal films will revert to stream on Peacock again. Names of these other distribution partners will be revealed soon. As for the deal itself, it begins in 2022.

If all of these talks about windows and licensing rights sound confusing to you, well, you’re not alone. The streaming wars were already heating up even before the pandemic hit. Then, as cinemas closed all around the country, studios became even more eager to seek profitable alternatives to traditional movie distribution. The biggest losers in the streaming wars may be cinemas, forced to accept new and distinctly worse distribution deals. But, as licensing rights get shuffled around and split further and further between various services, it is ordinary consumers who will get the short end of the stick.

First Images from Army of the Dead Prequel

Back in September 2020, Netflix announced Zack Snyder’s zombie horror/heist film Army of the Dead would get a prequel of a kind. Well, it has been over nine months since then, and GeekTyrant revealed the first images from that film.

Army of Thieves will tell the origin story of the twitchy safe cracker Ludwig Dieter from Army of the Dead. Matthias Schweighöfer, who portrayed the character in Snyder’s film, will reprise his performance. The film follows Dieter as he joins the gang of thieves led by a mysterious woman (Nathalie Emmanuel – Game of Thrones) in a series of daring heists on legendary, impossible-to-crack safes all over Europe. Ostensibly both movies are set within the same universe. However, it isn’t clear what exactly connects the films, besides this one character.

In addition, the cast of the film includes John Bubniak (Barry), Jonathan Cohen (Family Business), Ruby O. Fee (Polar, The Invisibles), Trent Garrett (Andi Mack, Hanna), Guz Khan (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Turn Up Charlie), Stuart Martin (Jamestown, Miss Scarlet and the Duke), Barbara Meier (Endless), Noémie Nakai (Death Note: Light Up the New World, Tokyo Vice), and others. Schweighöfer will direct the film based on a story by Zack Snyder, with a script by Shay Hatten. Hatten wrote Army of the Dead and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. He is also currently working on screenplays for two upcoming John Wick sequels.

Army of Thieves will premiere on Netflix later this year.