By Chris Kavan - 11/18/20 at 10:58 AM CT
Another week, another weak box office where Freaky topped the charts with $3.7 million even as Covid cases surge and states are beginning to enforce tighter lockdowns that, thus far, haven't extended to theaters but could very well do so as we approach the critical holiday period. Universal/Comcast is going to try to keep things afloat over the next two months with no less than a dozen wide or limited films being released with The Croods A New Age and News of the World looking to be the biggest titles. And Wonder Woman 1984 is still clinging to that December release date for now - though rumors of an HBO Max release have surfaced. Universal has also struck a deal with Cinemark chains similar to the one with AMC theaters - that is, having a shorter window from theatrical release to PVOD - a move that was originally hailed as the "death of the movie theater" but is now the only thing keeping things afloat. I actually expect this to be the new normal going forward and wouldn't be at all surprised if the other major studio follow suit. Those who want to see films in theaters will have a chance, those who would rather watch from the comfort of their home can do so just as well. Of note is that the Cinemark deal has a note that any film making $50 million or above on its opening weekend must remain a theater exclusive for 31 days, something I think is probably a good idea too.
As for our updates, Amazon looks to compete with Netflix in the original film department with One Night in Miami and Hilary Swank gets her hooks into Michael Ealy in the dangerously sexy Fatale.
Recently a lot of Oscar buzz has surrounded the Netflix (and limited theatrical) release of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom - being the last film of the late Chadwick Boseman. But Netflix isn't the only studio releasing original films and Amazon looks to compete with their own One Night in Miami that follows a fictional meeting between civil rights icons and black innovators - Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.), Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree) and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge). The meeting takes place on February 25, 1964 - the night after Clay upset Sonny Liston in the ring. The men meet to celebrate, yes, but also to discuss the future of their endeavors. From the subject matter to the stunning lineup of talent, this looks to be an impressive film from first time (film) director Regina King. The talent doesn't stop at the four main characters, either, with Lance Reddick, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., Michael Imperioli, Nicolette Robinson, Beau Bridges, Joaquina Kalukango, Derek Roberts and Christian Magby all on board. Plus, it couldn't have been released at a better time when we need people to come together rather than fall apart. Betwen this and Ma Rainey, black representation should be off the charts this awards season. Rated R for language throughout.
Speaking of black representation, director Deon Taylor has given us comedy (Meet the Blacks) and tension (The Intruder). Now he looks to heat things up with Fatale which stars Hilary Swank as Detective Valerie Quinlan who uses her position of power, and her allure to ensnare a married man (Michael Ealy) into helping her pull off a murder plot. The idea of a femme fatale is well established - but hopefully Taylor can show us something new and provocative. This film, like so many others, was bumped from a 2020 release date into some nebulous 2021 release (as of now), I'm still treating this like a wide release. It could go to PVOD in the end, but sexy never goes out of style. Mike Colter, Danny Pino, Kali Hawk, Damaris Lewis and Sam Daly round out the cast. Taylor has a solid enough track record that this looks to be another mid-sized hit (if things ever go back to normal). Rated R for violence, sexual content and language.
Those are the big films for this week, but you can check out the full MPAA Ratings Bulletin below for the rest:
Rated PG-13 for some language.
BIRDS LIKE US
Rated PG for thematic elements.
Rated R for language throughout, violence, some drug use, sexual references and nudity.
Rated R for violence, sexual content and language.
IF ANYTHING HAPPENS I LOVE YOU
Rated PG for strong thematic material involving gun violence.
Rated R for language throughout.
ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI
Rated R for language throughout.
Rated R for bloody zombie violence, and language including a sexual reference.