Box Office: SKYSCRAPER stumbles behind HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA and ANT-MAN!

While it was looking like SKYSCRAPER could be an action movie winner for Dwayne Johnson, his latest outing was no match for the third entry in the HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA series. The animated family film took home $44 million on its opening weekend, the second-best opening in the series, which isn’t too shabby when you consider that this is the first HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA movie to open during the summer rather than September. The animated feature also took $46.4 million from overseas for a global start of over $100 million. Obviously, Sony hopes to take advantage of kids being out of school and that TRANSYLVANIA will benefit from repeat viewings.

Meanwhile, SKYSCRAPER faltered badly. It’s $25.5 million weekend wasn’t even good enough for second place, which went to the second weekend of ANT-MAN AND THE WASP earning $29.5 million. The Marvel sequel has made $133 million domestic and $151 million overseas.

SKYSCRAPER had to settle for third place, and right now the film’s hopes are banking on China where the movie is set. The movie will open there on Friday, and that market will have to perform if the movie is to have any hope of earning back its massive $125 million budget. Nevertheless, this is definitely a blow to Johnson’s earning power as he’s shown that he can thrive in pre-existing franchises, but when trying to start one of his own (BAYWATCH, RAMPAGE, SKYSCRAPER), people are less interested.

Check out the full Top 10 below. Next weekend THE EQUALIZER 2, UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB, and MAMMA MIA: HERE WE GO AGAIN will battle it out.

1. Hotel Transylvania 3 $44.1M
2. Ant-Man and the Wasp $28.84M
3. Skyscraper $25.48M
4. Incredibles 2 $16.22M
5. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom $15.51M
6. The First Purge $9.13M
7. Sorry to Bother You $4.25M
8. Sicario: Day of the Soldado $3.85M
9. Uncle Drew $3.22M
10. Ocean’s 8 $2.91M

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ZOMBIELAND 2 officially happening at Sony, planning on October 2019 release!

Back in May, I reported that a ZOMBIELAND sequel was looking likely with original cast members Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin all returning with a potential 2019 release date for the movie. Now it appears that ZOMBIELAND 2 is a go. THR confirms that the four leads will be returning for the sequel. Additionally, Ruben Fleischer is back on board to direct from a script by original screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. Gavin Polone will return to produce.

Additionally, the production is eyeing a January 2019 start date, and will be released in theaters in October 2019, just in time for the 10th anniversary of the original movie. While the original wasn’t a massive hit when it was released in 2009—$75 million domestic and $102 million worldwide—that was a huge victory when you consider its budget was only $25 million. It was an even bigger victory when you consider that Eisenberg and Stone hadn’t become A-list stars yet, and now Eisenberg is an Oscar-nominated actor while Stone is an Oscar-winner. Most importantly, the movie picked up a cult following on DVD, and while that market doesn’t exist anymore, those fans still do.

So what will happen in the sequel? Per THR, “The new movie will once again put the focus on comic mayhem, taking the quartet from the White House to the American heartland as they face off against new kinds of zombies that have evolved since the first movie, as well as some new human survivors. But, most of all, according to the studio, they have to face the growing pains of their own snarky, makeshift family.”

It’s kind of remarkable that a sequel is happening given the career trajectory of all involved. A sequel to a comedy is also a risky proposition, especially with a decade of time built up to cement the original as a favorite in the hearts of fans. It’s going to be a heavy lift to make the sequel worth the wait, but at least everyone is returning to try and make it happen.

New AQUAMAN image shows off flashy production design, film due December 21, 2018!

A new image from James Wan‘s upcoming AQUAMAN reveals The Fisherman King, not to be confused with THE FISHER KING (RIP Robin Williams). The underwater monarch is played by Djimon Hounsou (who has also just been cast as the Wizard in DC’s SHAZAM movie), and according to EW, he’s being visited by King Orm (Patrick Wilson) to assist in starting a war against the surface world, which is full of ocean-polluting jerks (can’t argue with that). Also pictured are Natalia Safran as the Fisherman Queen, as well as the Princess, played by Sophia Forrest, and a royal guard. And yes, they have tails instead of legs, though that’s not able to be scoped in this shot aside from the guard.

EP Peter Safran told the publication that, “After the fall of Atlantis, some of the kingdoms evolved and some devolved. This is one that evolved. This is a kingdom that’s primarily artistic and cerebral, with poets and philosophers.” They definitely like gold, that much we know for sure! Also FYI: The Fisherman King and his kind dwell in one of the seven kingdoms of Atlantis.

AQUAMAN stars Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman and Willem Dafoe and premieres December 21st. Be on the lookout for the trailer to premiere next Saturday during the Warner Bros panel at San Diego Comic-Con International.

DOWNTON ABBEY feature film in development, entire cast set to return!

It’s been just a little over two years since the ‘Downton Abbey’ series finale, but there have been rumors of a potential movie since the show wrapped. That final episode gave all of its major characters a happily-ever-after — or at least, the appearances and hopes of such — and revisiting it would undoubtedly uproot that and insert new drama. But as frustrating and uneven as the show can be narratively, its wonderfully serene aesthetic is always a joy to return to.

And return, it seems, we shall, as Focus Features announced today that they are putting a DOWNTON ABBEY movie into production with the original cast. The film will be penned by ‘Downton’ creator Julian Fellowes, who will also produce alongside Gareth Neame and Liz Trubridge. Brian Percival, who directed the pilot, will also return to helm.

The series, which aired for 6 seasons, was a juggernaut on PBS in the United States, and it became a cultural touchstone thanks not only to its popularity but also to the pithy sayings of the Dowager Countess of Grantham, played by the inestimable Maggie Smith. The show was showered with awards, from Emmys to BAFTAs to Golden Globes — some more deserved than others — but it was always a joy to watch, even when it was occasionally ridiculous.

“Since the series ended, fans of Downton have long been waiting for the Crawley family’s next chapter,” commented Focus chairman Peter Kujawski. “We’re thrilled to join this incredible group of filmmakers, actors and craftspeople, led by Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame, in bringing back the world of Downton to the big screen.”

First GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS images stomp online, trailer arriving next week!

The first GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS images have arrived, and the sequel finds the titular beast literally breathing fire. With the title confirmed, the follow-up arrives five years after Gareth Edwards’ impressive yet reboot. KRAMPUS filmmaker Michael Dougherty is in the director’s chair this time around, and an almost entirely new cast is in front of the camera save for Monarch members played by Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins.

Speaking with EW, which debuted the images, Dougherty reveals that about five years have passed since the events of GODZILLA, in which the titular beast revealed himself to the world to battle other creatures:

“The world is reacting to Godzilla in the same way we would react to any other terrifying incident, in that we are overreacting,” says director Michael Dougherty, whose previous credits include the horror movie Krampus. Godzilla hasn’t been seen since that destructive finale, “but there’s paranoia and endless speculation about whether he is the only one out there or whether we’re threatened by others like his kind.”

We’ve known for a while now that KING OF THE MONSTERS will be bringing King Ghidorah, Mothra, and Rodan into the fold, and Dougherty says the film does Rodan justice after the character has played sidekick to Godzilla in previous features.

Then there are the humans, with Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, and Kyle Chandler leading the charge in that department. Farmiga plays Dr. Emma Russell, a scientist working for Monarch, while Brown plays her daughter. The two find themselves kidnapped by a mysterious organization, and Chandler’s Mark Russell—the ex-husband of Farmiga’s character—sets out to rescue them.

Legendary Entertainment is already deep into development on GODZILLA VS KONG, which follows these two GODZILLA films and KONG: SKULL ISLAND and has Adam Wingard (YOU’RE NEXT) directing. While Dougherty says KING OF THE MONSTERS isn’t too concerned with introducing Kong, there are “bread crumbs” hinting towards his arrival and eventual showdown with Godzilla.

Stay tuned as the first trailer likely drops a week from Saturday at Comic-Con International. GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS opens in theaters on May 31, 2019.

BLACK WIDOW: BERLIN SYNDROME director Cate Shortland set to helm Marvel spy flick!

Marvel Studios’ BLACK WIDOW movie is happening, as the film has now set a director. THR reports that after meeting with over 70 potential filmmakers, Cate Shortland has signed on to direct the standalone superhero pic that will star Scarlett Johansson. Marvel had no comment.

Shortland is an Australian director best known for features like LORE and BERLIN SYNDROME, but BLACK WIDOW marks her biggest project to date by far. Of course that’s pretty much the Marvel way. Shane Black had only directed one movie, KISS KISS BANG BANG, before helming IRON MAN 3, and THOR: THE DARK WORLD director Alan Taylor made his feature debut on that sequel after directing standout episodes of television.

Finding a female filmmaker for BLACK WIDOW has been a priority for Marvel, although THR reports that at one point the search stalled and they looked at male directors. Last month the director hunt narrowed with Amma Asante (BELLE) and Maggie Betts (NOVITATE) arising as the finalists alongside Shortland, while INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS breakout Melanie Laurent and BOYS DON’T CRY filmmaker Kimberly Pierce nearly made the final cut.

Shortland doesn’t even have agency representation, but Johansson pushed for the filmmaker to land the gig as the actress had a strong hand in picking this director. Johansson reportedly sparked to how Shortland handled the female lead of LORE. This project has been a long time coming, as fans have been clamoring for a BLACK WIDOW movie ever since the character was introduced in IRON MAN 2. Marvel was, uh, slow to respond, but better late than never right?

The most recent draft of the script was penned by Jac Schaeffer, and THR says the story is set before the events of Joss Whedon’s box office smash THE AVENGERS. It’s unclear how quickly BLACK WIDOW will happen as Johansson has a busy schedule and Marvel is keeping mum on all of its post-AVENGERS 4 titles, but it’s likely a priority. Marvel Studios will release CAPTAIN MARVEL as its first entirely female-led superhero movie next March, followed by AVENGERS 4 in May and SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME in July. Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess.

New images from GLASS reveal Shyamalan’s colorful superhero sequel, film due January 18, 2019!

M. Night Shyamalan delivered one heck of a twist at the end of SPLIT when he revealed that the film occupied the same universe as his 2000 cult classic UNBREAKABLE. Now those worlds will fully collide in GLASS, which will bring back not only James McAvoy’s villainous Kevin Wendell “The Horde” Crumb, but also Bruce Willis’ heroic David Dunn and Samuel L. Jackson’s Elijah Price, aka. Mr. Glass.

Shyamalan and McAvoy tell EW that we’ll also be seeing more of Crumb’s other personalities along with some familiar faces:

“We get to spend some time with some new people that live inside Kevin,” McAvoy said. Those are not the only franchise returnees: Charlayne Woodard, who played Elijah’s mom, and Spencer Treat Clark, who played David’s son, also make appearances. “[They] play a big role,” Shyamalan teased to EW.

As for how Sarah Paulson’s character fits into all of this, she’s the psychiatrist treating Crumb, Dunn, and Glass. “She deals with people that think they’re comic-book characters,” says Shyamalan. “It’s kind of the modern-day equivalent of ‘I think I’m Jesus’ or ‘I’m an emperor.’”

GLASS opens January 18, 2019 and also stars Anya Taylor-Joy.