Movie News

Box Office: '1917' Conquers 'Star Wars' With $37M After Golden Globe Wins. 'Just Mercy' and 'Like a Boss' did modest business in their nationwide debuts, while 'Underwater' ran out of oxygen. Sam Mendes' World War I epic 1917 conquered the box office battlefield over the weekend with a stellar $36.5 million, one of the best nationwide starts ever for the month of January and well ahead of projections. The victory was fueled by the movie's top Golden Globe wins on Jan. 5 for best motion picture for a drama and best director, along with word of mouth generated by the film's limited run in select theaters (including those grosses, the domestic tally is $39.2 million through Sunday). Overseas, 1917 also marched to strong numbers on the eve of Monday's Oscar nominations, earning $19.9 million from its first 30 markets for an early foreign tally of $21.1 million and $60.4 million globally. The U.K. led with a stellar $9.5 million, higher than such hits as The King's Speech and Darkest Hour, not adjusted for inflation. Heading into the weekend, the Amblin and Universal release -- filmed to appear as if it were unfolding in one continuous shot -- had been expected to earn $20 million to $25 million. The critically acclaimed movie, receiving an A- CinemaScore, drew an audience that was 60 percent male and older (50 percent of ticket buyers were over 35). 1917 cost Amblin a reported $90 million to produce before marketing. Partners include New Republic Pictures and eOne. Mendes' film wrested the box office crown from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which fell to No. 2 in its fourth weekend with $15 million as it prepares to join the billion-dollar club. The Disney and Lucasfilm pic grossed another $24.2 million offshore for a gobal cume of $989.6 million. Holiday holdover Jumanji: The Next Level followed in third place in North America with $14 million in its fifth weekend for a domestic tally of $257.1 million. Paramount's Like a Boss had to settle for fourth place in its debut with $10 million. The first studio R-rated comedy of 2020 stars Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne and Salma Hayek, and tells the tale of two best friends whose beauty company is targeted by a cosmetics titan. Like a Boss was lambasted by critics but fared somewhat better with audiences, who gave it a B CinemaScore. Roughly 60 percent of ticket buyers were female, while 64 percent were ages 18 to 34. Warner Bros. is also reporting a $10 million weekend for legal drama Just Mercy, although most box office analysts believe Like a Boss will prevail when final numbers are released on Monday. Similar to 1917, Just Mercy first opened in select theaters on Christmas Day. The film, however, was shut out of the Globes race. Just Mercy stars Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx, and received an A+ Cinemascore. Almost half of ticket buyers were 50 and older, while 60 percent were female. Little Women placed No. 6 with another $7.7 million for a strong domestic total of $74 million. The big misfire among the weekend's new offerings was the $50 million sci-fi thriller Underwater, starring Kristen Stewart. The pic debuted to an estimated $7 million for Chernin Entertainmen and financing partner TSG, and is almost sure to lose money. Disney took over distribution duties from 20th Century Fox. Overseas, Underwater earned $7.1 million from 22 markets for a global bow of $14.1 million. The movie, about a group of stranded scientists who discover mysterious creatures at the bottom of the ocean, was lambasted by critics and audiences alike, evidenced by a dismal C CinemaScore. Underwater is the second high-profile miss in a row for Stewart following Charlie's Angels (nor did Haddish have a good weekend; her last film was The Kitchen). Underwater's cast also includes Vincent Cassel, Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr., Mamoudou Athie and T.J. Miller. Holdover Knives Out followed at No. 8 with $5.7 million for $139.6 million domestically and $265.4 million worldwide. Frozen 2, placing ninth domestically, finished Sunday with $1.371 billion in global ticket sales to become the No. 11 movie of all time after passing up Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($1.333 billion), the final Harry Potter pic ($1.342 billion) and Black Panther ($1.348 billion). (Hollywood Reporter)

Oprah Winfrey Pulls Out From Producing Russell Simmons #MeToo Documentary. Oprah Winfrey is no longer producing a documentary, which featured an individual who accused Russell Simmons of sexual misconduct. In a statement from the former TV host regarding The Untitled Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering Documentary, the media mogul announced, "I have decided that I will no longer be executive producer on The Untitled Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering Documentary and it will not air on Apple TV+." She adds that she wants it "known that I unequivocally believe and support the women," who will be highlighted in the project. Nonetheless she believes "there is more work to be done on the film to illuminate the full scope of what the victims endured, and it has become clear that the filmmakers and I are not aligned in that creative vision." "I have great respect for their mission but given the filmmakers' desire to premiere the film at the Sundance Film Festival before I believe it is complete, I feel it's best to step aside," she continues. "I will be working with Time's Up to support the victims and those impacted by abuse and sexual harassment." Despite her decision to leave the project, the star calls Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering "talented filmmakers." According to The Los Angeles Times, the documentary was intended to focus on "a brilliant former music executive who grapples with whether to go public with her story of assault and abuse by a notable figure in the music industry." One story of particular importance to the documentary was rumored to be that of Drew Nixon, who accused Simmons of sexual misconduct in a 2017 expose. Russell Simmons has not addressed Oprah's departure from the film, but in a previous statement he denied all accusations made against him and blasted her participation. "I vehemently deny all these allegations," he stated. "These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual." (Eonline)

Joey King and Logan Browning Named Ambassadors for 2020 SAG Awards. This year the Screen Actors Guild Awards are bringing the girl power! Actresses Joey King and Logan Browning will be doing the honors of being this year's ambassadors for the show. They will follow in the footsteps of Black-ish's Yara Shahidi who did the honors for the 25th annual ceremony in 2019. As this year's amabassadors the two will have the honor of participating in various SAG Awards pre-show events and will be giving people an inside look at the show via their own personal social media posts. They'll also be sharing exclusive details leading up to the big night. Everything from the production of the show to the inside scoop on how the stars are preparing for their evening in the spotlight. "Our union is a big A$$ deal to us as actors! I respect SAGAFTRA so much, and am grateful to them for a lot. I'm incredibly honored to be named an Ambassador for the 2020 @SAGawards!!" Logan shared on Instagram. "Can't wait to attend for the first time ever!!" "Our union is a big A$$ deal to us as actors! I respect SAGAFTRA so much, and am grateful to them for a lot. I'm incredibly honored to be named an Ambassador for the 2020 @SAGawards!!" Logan shared on Instagram. "Can't wait to attend for the first time ever!!" She continued, "Congrats on your nomination @joeyking! You killed in The Act! Follow along with us! In grace, Logan x." Joey is nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a TV Movie or Limited Series. As for the award show's biggest nominees, Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Martin Scorsese's The Irishman and Jay Roach's Bombshell dominate on the film front. In comparison, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel with Rachel Brosnahan leads the pack among TV shows. During the show, Robert De Niro will also be honored with the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, presented by his Marvin's Room co-star Leonardo DiCaprio. (Eonline)

Jillian Bell, Isla Fisher to Star in Disney+ Comedy 'Godmothered. Sharon McGuire, best known for directing the 'Bridget Jones' movies, is helming. Isla Fisher and Jillian Bell are set to star in Godmothered, a comedy for Disney+. Sharon McGuire, best known for directing the Bridget Jones movies, is helming the feature project that is being developed by Disney's live-action team run by motion picture production president Sean Bailey. Justin Springer and Ivan Reitman's Montecito Pictures are producing. The story tells of a young and unskilled fairy godmother (Bell) that ventures out on her own to prove her worth by tracking down a young girl whose request for help was ignored. What she discovers is that the girl has now become a grown woman (Fisher) in need of something very different than a "Prince Charming." Kari Granlund and Melissa Stack wrote the script. Production is due to begin later this month in Boston. Jessica Virtue and Allison Erlikman are overseeing for Disney. Bell toplined the well-regarded comedy Brittany Runs a Marathon, which she also executive produced. Prior to that, the actress did scene-stealing work in a slew of comedies ranging from 22 Jump Street and Rough Night to Fist Fight and Goosebumps. She also worked with Paul Thomas Anderson in Inherent Vice and The Master. Fisher is coming off shooting a leading role in Blithe Spirit opposite Dan Stevens and Judi Dench, and last year appeared opposite Matthew McConaughey in Harmony Korine's The Beach Bum. She also appears with Steve Coogan in the upcoming satire Greed, which will be released by Sony Pictures Classics. Fisher is repped by UTA and Sloane Offer; Bell is repped by UTA, 3 Arts and Stone Genow. (Hollywood Reporter)

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