Week-in-Review: Weekend Box Office, Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings and Sandman TV Series

    It’s Toy vs. Toy… Again!

    In its opening weekend, Toy Story 4 faced a remake of the cult horror flick Child’s Play. While murderous toy Chucky did receive its share of viewers, Disney and Pixar’s latest CGI-animated juggernaut steamrolled it into oblivion. Then, this weekend, Woody, Buzz and the rest of the gang faced yet another creepy toy! Toy Story 4 won again, landing in the first place at the weekend box office with $59,7 million. Meanwhile, Gary Dauberman’s Annabelle Comes Home grossed $20,2 million. This is the third movie chronicling the misdeeds of this demon-haunted doll and the seventh film set in James Wan’s The Conjuring universe.

    In the third place of the weekend box office is yet another newcomer: Yesterday, a romantic comedy about a hapless musician (Himesh Patel) who wakes up in a world where everyone except him forgot about The Beatles. This latest film by director Danny Boyle (28 Days Later) and screenwriter Richard Curtis (Love Actually), Yesterday earned $17 million in its first weekend in cinemas. In the fourth place is Aladdin with $10,1 million. For six weeks now, Disney’s live-action remake of their 1992 animated film remained among the top five highest grossing movies of the weekend. And finally, in the fifth place with $7,3 million is Universal’s CGI-animated film The Secret Life of Pets 2.

    J. A. Bayona to Direct Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings Series

    Deadline reports that Amazon has hired Spanish filmmaker J. A.Bayona to direct the first two episodes of the upcoming The Lord of the Rings TV series. Additionally, Bayona will serve as one of the show’s executive producers. Show’s writers’ room will include Gennifer Hutchison (Breaking Bad) and Bryan Cogman (Game of Thrones), among others.

    We first reported about Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings series in November, 2017. Eighteen months later, we know the series will be a prequel story, most probably focusing on young Aragorn. Furthermore, the series will be insanely expensive. As we wrote earlier, Amazon allegedly cashed out $250 million solely for the rights deal with the J. R. R. Tolkien’s estate. All in all, Amazon plans to spend up to one billion dollars on this show alone.

    Juan Antonio Bayona’s first rose to prominence in 2007 with the horror film The Orphanage. Executive produced by Guillermo del Toro, The Orphanage premiered to a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival. Since then, Bayona directed the disaster drama The Impossible, starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts as well as a dark fantasy film A Monster Calls featuring Felicity Jones, Liam Neeson, and Sigourney Weaver. Most recently, Bayona directed Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, starring Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt.

    Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Comes to Netflix

    According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix has struck a deal with DC Entertainment to turn Neil Gaiman’s cult graphic novel Sandman into a TV series. Netflix already plans an 11-episode first season. Allan Heinberg (Wonder Woman) will serve as the showrunner, with David S. Goyer (Suicide Squad) and Gaiman himself as executive producers.

    Sandman is a multiple Eisner Award-winning dark fantasy series following Morpheus, The Lord Of Dreams as he navigates the modern world where mortals mix with monsters, demons, and angels. Morpheus — or Dream — is one of the Endless, alongside his siblings Destiny, Death, Destruction, Despair, Desire, and Delirium. First published by DC Comics in 1989, Sandman ran for 75 issues until 1996. For almost two decades, there have been talks about turning Sandman into a movie – first by Warner Bros. and later by New Line. In 2016, screenwriter Eric Heisserer (Arrival), who worked on a movie screenplay, admitted that Sandman would work much better as a TV series. The success of other adaptations of Gaiman’s work like American Gods and Good Omens made this project much more palatable to streaming networks like Netflix.

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