FRIDAY, JULY 10
Milla Jovovich Thriller ‘Monster Hunter’ Pushed Back Six Months
Sony Pictures has pushed back Milla Jovovich’s fantasy thriller “Monster Hunter” by six months, from Sept. 4, 2021, to April 23, 2021.
It’s the latest in a long line of major studio movies to be moved back amid uncertainty over when most North American movie theaters will re-open following four months of being shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sony’s romantic comedy “The Broken Hearts Gallery” is among the first scheduled, with an Aug. 7 launch.
“Monster Hunter,” written and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson, is loosely based on the Capcom video game series of the same name. The film also stars Tony Jaa, T.I., Ron Perlman, Meagan Good and Diego Boneta.
Cara Theobold’s Romantic Drama ‘Around the Sun’ Sold
Giant Pictures has acquired North American, U.K. and Ireland streaming rights to “Around the Sun,” starring Cara Theobold and Gethin Anthony, and set an Aug. 4 release date, Variety has learned exclusively.
“Around the Sun” is inspired by Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle’s “Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds,” with Anthony portraying a film location scout who tours a repossessed and crumbling French château. Theobold plays the owner’s flirtatious representative.
Oliver Krimpas produced and directed from a script by Jonathan Kiefer. The pic was filmed on location in Normandy, France, where Fontenelle’s book was written and set.
Gravitas Buys New Zealand’s ‘Legend of Baron To’a’ for North America
Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to the New Zealand action comedy, “The Legend of Baron To’a,” starring Uli Latukefu, Nathaniel Lees, Jay Laga’aia, John Tui and Duane Evans Jr., Variety has learned exclusively.
The film, directed by Kiel McNaughton, was funded by the New Zealand Film Commission. “The Legend of Baron To’a” will be released in theaters and on demand in November.
Latukefu portrays a man who, upon returning to his old neighborhood, inadvertently causes the theft of his late father’s valued pro wrestling title belt by ruthless gangsters. When negotiation and diplomacy fail to get it back, he is forced to embrace his father’s legacy to reclaim the title.
THURSDAY, JULY 9
Academy Museum Adds Ryan Murphy, 5 Others to Board of Trustees
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has added producer-director Ryan Murphy and Patricia S. Bellinger, Arnaud Boetsch, Olivier de Givenchy, Ray Halbritter, and Regina K. Scully to its board of trustees.
Murphy is known for “Glee,” “Nip/Tuck,” “American Horror Story,” “Feud,” and “Pose.” The museum is projected to cost $482 million and is located at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, where the former May Co. department store was located.
On June 15, the Academy and the ABC Television Network announced the 93rd Oscars ceremony had been moved back two months to April 25 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. At that point, the Academy also moved back the opening of the museum from Dec. 14 to April 30, also as a result of the health crisis.
Independent boxing drama ‘Color Box’ Adds Erinn Westbrook
Erinn Westbrook, whose credits include “Glee” and “Insatiable,” has joined the cast of director Anthony Nardolillo’s independent boxing drama, “Color Box,” opposite Omar Chaparro and Gregg Daniel.
Shooting has started in Los Angeles for “Color Box,” produced by Nardolillo and Oscar Torres. The story centers on Chaparro’s character, boxing star in his native Mexico who is now struggling support his family in his inner-city Los Angeles neighborhood while slowly losing his son to the influence of the local gang.
Westbrook is playing an attorney with her own practice who keeps in touch with her father even though he abandoned their family. She is repped by APA and Treadwell Entertainment.
Bob Marley Documentary Re-Released by Blue Fox
Blue Fox Entertainment is re-releasing the Bob Marley documentary “Marley” in honor of the reggae singer’s 75th birthday.
“Marley” will open in virtual and traditional cinemas beginning July 31. The re-release is part of a yearlong Marley75 commemorative series of events authorized by the Marley family.
“Marley,” directed by Scottish filmmaker Kevin Macdonald, was first released on April 20, 2012.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 8
‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ Crosses Box Office Milestone
Sony Pictures’ comedy sequel “Jumanji: The Next Level” has crossed the $800 million mark in worldwide box office with $319.2 million domestically and $480.9 million internationally.
The film began its global rollout the weekend of Dec. 6 in 18 international markets and opened in North America and 34 new international markets on the following weekend. “Jumanji: The Next Level” was a sequel to 2017’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” with both films starring Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan.
Jake Kasdan directed both movies. “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” a sequel to the 1995 Robin Williams movie, topped $962 million at the worldwide box office.
Art Directors Guild Schedules Awards Show
The Art Directors Guild has set its 25th Annual Excellence in Production Design Awards for April 10, 2021, which is 15 days before next year’s rescheduled 93rd Academy Awards.
The location has not yet been disclosed. The announcement was made by ADG president Nelson Coates, council chair Mark Worthington and event producer Scott Moses.
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Avengers: Endgame” and “Parasite” won the ADG’s top film awards in January for movies released in 2019.
Runaway Slave Movie in Development at Provenance Films
Provenance Films, headed by Lisa Ellis, has optioned movie rights to Erica Armstrong Dunbar’s book “Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge.”
The screenplay for the cinematic adaptation will be written by LaToya Morgan, whose credits include “The Walking Dead” and “Shameless.” The book was published in 2017 and was a finalist for the National Book Award for non-fiction.
Ona Judge lived a life of relative comfort, but was denied freedom by George Washington. She escaped at age 22 to New England and became the subject of an unsuccessful manhunt led by Washington.
TUESDAY, JULY 7
Tiffany Haddish Becomes ‘Homecoming Queen’ for Amblin
Tiffany Haddish is producing and starring in Amblin Partners’ comedy “Homecoming Queen” with Raamla Mohamed on board to write the script.
The project is based on the true story of when Haddish traveled to Africa thinking she was royalty, only to find out that that means something completely different on that continent than it does in the U.S.
Haddish broke out in the 2017 comedy “Girls Trip” and became the first Black female stand-up comedian to host “Saturday Night Live.” She’s also starred in the comedy “Night School” with Kevin Hart, the crime thriller “The Kitchen” with Elisabeth Moss and Melissa McCarthy and “Like a Boss” with Rose Byrne. Mohamed’s credits include “Little Fires Everywhere,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder.”
Remotely Shot Horror Movie ‘Host’ Set for Shudder
Shudder has scheduled “Host,” a Zoom-based horror film from Rob Savage, for a July 30 premiere in all its territories.
“Host” was shot remotely during quarantine and features scares and stunts filmed by the actors in their own homes. The film is produced by Douglas Cox of Shadowhouse Films, in association with Boo-Urns.
“Host” is the story of six friends who hire a medium to hold a séance over Zoom during lockdown, but they get far more than they bargained for as things quickly go wrong. The film stars Haley Bishop, Radina Drandova, Edward Linard, Jemma Moore, Caroline Ward and Emma Louise Webb — who also operated their own cameras, helped pull off their own practical effects and lit their own scenes.
Entertainment Tech Company Vubiquity Promotes Carrie Donmoyer
Entertainment technology specialist Vubiquity has promoted industry veteran Carrie Donmoyer to senior vice president of studio services.
She will oversee all studio-related servicing and play a key role in outlining the company’s post production and studio-related creative services businesses. Previously, Donmoyer was VP of digital and finishing services
Prior to joining Vubiquity in 2017, she held various positions across client services, production and operations management at Technicolor, and post production and distribution-related positions at Ascent Media Group.
MONDAY, JULY 6
‘The Outpost’ Scores Solid Opening Day Numbers
Military thriller “The Outpost,” starring Orlando Bloom and Scott Eastwood and released by Screen Media, was the top performer on iTunes on July 3, its opening day.
“The Outpost” is based on Jake Tapper’s best-selling non-fiction book, “The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor.” It details a 2009 attack by 400 Taliban insurgents in the Battle of Kamdesh in the Afghanistan War. Bravo Troop 3-61 CAV became one of the most decorated units of the 19-year conflict. It had been scheduled to premiere at SXSW before the festival was scrubbed in March.
Critics have endorsed “The Outpost,” which generated a 90% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Stock of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, parent of Screen Media, surged 25% Monday on the news, gaining $1.83 to $9.01.
Dragon Con Scrubs In-Person Event
Organizers of the Dragon Con convention in Atlanta have canceled the in-person event in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Dragon Con will instead be moved online for a free virtual event between Sept. 2 and Sept. 6, officials announced Monday. The event has been held for 34 years in Atlanta.
“After many months of hand-wringing, sleepless nights, and more Zoom meetings than we can count, we have decided that Dragon Con 2020 event will not be held in person,” organizers said. “Trust us, we are just as bummed as you are, but know we did not make this decision lightly. Above all else, we want to thank you, our fans, our partners, the ACVB, and the city of Atlanta for the support you have given us over these past few months.”
ICM Makes Election Day a Paid Holiday for Employees
ICM Partners is making Election Day on Nov. 3 a paid holiday for all employees.
“During the last presidential election, 100 million+ voting-eligible Americans did not vote and 35% of nonvoters say that scheduling conflicts with work or school kept them from getting to the polls,” ICM said in a letter to employees. “We strongly believe that no one should have to choose between their paycheck and their right to vote and encourage every employee to take the time to cast their ballot this November, either in person or by mail.”
The news about the paid holiday was first reported by The Wrap.