DIFF Weekly Bulletin – The Week of 3/22/2021

A brief recap of the biggest news of the film industry in the week of March 22, 2021. 

BY: The DIFF Editorial Team

Endgame Loses Top Spot to Avatar Re-Release:

As of last weekend, the international re-release of director James Cameron’s smash hit film, Avatar, has taken back its mantle as the highest grossing film of all time. According to Deadline, the combined sales from the film’s run in China have raised the film’s total to an astonishing $2.798 billion. The gap is surprisingly close, given Marvel Studios’ widely acclaimed crossover event Avengers: Endgame ended its theatrical run with $2.797 billion. However, with Cameron’s four sequel films slated for a staggered release all the way through to 2028, Endgame’s road to a comeback is pretty steep. – Olivia

A24 Taps Ari Aster & Lars Knudsen For 2 Year TV Deal:

The writer/director and producer team behind recent horror hits Heredity and Midsommar have made an ambitious leap away from the silver screen. Filmmakers Ari Aster & Lars Knudsen have reportedly joined with A24 in bringing their talents to television. The duo’s production company, Square Peg has hired Emily Hildner to spearhead the initiative. In a statement given to Deadline, the duo said, “We’re excited to team up with A24 on what will be our first venture into TV after having worked on several films together. We pride ourselves on being a home for artists, weirdos and freaks, enabling them to realize their visions without compromise.” – Olivia

93rd Academy Awards to Go Without a Host, Again:

Everyone is curious about what the Oscars are going to look like this year. However, one thing is for certain: there will once again be no host. For three years now, the academy awards has seemingly let go of this award show tradition. It all started in 2019, when the academy fired that year’s potential host Kevin Hart from the position. Due to this last minute change, they decided to have no host for the 2019 Oscars. And, this impromptu decision has stuck and has been arguably successful as seen by the increase in ratings and viewership since the last year they had a host in 2018. Many people, including myself, think that without a host, the award show goes by much quicker and smoother. Plus, you get the added bonus of having more celebrities presenting the awards and going up on stage. This year’s Golden Globes also show us that maybe having no host is kind of a good thing when filming an online award show. Even though Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are praised comedians, their hosting performances felt very stagnant and remote since they filmed in different locations. Their timing was off and their hosting affected the award show’s flow. So I don’t know about you but this move on the Academy sounds like good news for me. Can’t wait for April 25th! – Sofia

Black Widow Moves to July 9, Will Debut in Theaters & on Disney+

After two release date moves, Disney and Marvel Studios’ Black Widow has just gone through its third, and possibly last, release shift. Black Widow will now release on July 9, 2021, in both theaters and on Disney+ (with premier access, where subscribers must pay an additional fee to watch it). The film was originally planned to debut on May 1, 2020, but became delayed to November 6, 2020, then to May 7, 2021, due to the oncoming COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the announcement, Disney CEO Bob Chapek had repeatedly promised that Black Widow would be an exclusively theatrical release but had since backtracked and claimed that the movie’s release would be a “last-minute decision.” This latest move has reflected the company’s growing focus on streaming amidst the theater industry stagnation. Audience reactions are varied. While some applaud the company’s consideration for audiences, others commit themselves to see the film in theaters. Given that Marvel still plans to release their future movies, including Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings and The Eternals in theaters only, it will be interesting to see if their release strategies will change, based on the receptions to Black Widow– Harry

DCEU Updates: Emerald Fennell to Write Zatanna, Pierce Brosnan cast as Doctor Fate, Randy McKinnon to Write Static Shock

DC and Warner Bros. have announced what’s next in the store for the DCEU (DC Extended Universe), following the successful debut of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Some of the highlights include Oscar-nominated director Emerald Fennell as the writer for Zatanna, Safety writer Randy McKinnon as the writer for Static Shock, Helen Mirren as the villain Hespera in Shazam: Fury of the Gods, Pierce Brosnan as Doctor Fate in Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam, and Ron Livington as Henry Allen in The Flash. These announcements not only give us a clearer sense of DC’s plans but also display Warner Bros. and DC’s confidence in creating a cinematic universe that can rival the MCU. In an interview with Variety, WarnerMedia Studios CEO Ann Sarnoff has expressed her goals for the future of the DCEU: “My mantra coming in was to make it bigger and broader and we really want to surprise and delight the fans with more connective tissue across the various media and platforms. I’m talking movies, HBO Max, television and our games division.” The next DCEU film, The Suicide Squad directed by James Gunn, has released its trailer this past Friday and will come out in theaters and on HBO Max on August 6, 2021. – Harry

Nobody Opens to $6.7M as More Theatres Start to Reopen 

Bob Odenkirk, most famous for his roles in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, stars in this new action thriller that has already garnered many positive reviews and is currently topping the box office charts. Directed by Ilya Naishuller, the director of Hardcore Henry, and written by the creator of John Wick, Derek Kolstad, the films early success could be a good sign for theatres as more theater companies plan on opening up in preparation for the summer. AMC, which has 40 locations across California, is planning on opening all of its theatres by the end of the week. Across the country, theatre chains are eager to reopen after a hiatus that many, including some members of the DIFF editorial, believed could spell the end for theatre corporations. While we are still in the early stages of reopening, this early success from a movie with a modest 28 million dollar budget could be a sign that by the summer, blockbuster movies could open in theatres across the country. – Gabriel

Bertrand Tavernier, Celebrated French Director and Film Historian, Dies at 79 

Bertrand Tavernier, the acclaimed French director of Round Midnight and A Sunday in the Country passed away March 25th at his home in Sainte-Maxime, France. The 79-year-old filmmaker was well-known internationally, his more than thirty films winning awards at the Cannes and Berlin Film Festivals, as well as the Cesár Awards—among countless others. Perhaps best known in the United States for his film Round Midnight, which starred famed saxophonist Dexter Gordon, Tavernier’s films were contemplative meditations on human nature and told stories driven by compelling characters and sparse dialogue. In Roger Ebert’s 2003 review of A Sunday in the Country, he notes that “If there is a common element in [Tavernier’s] work, it is his instant sympathy for his fellow humans, his enthusiasm for their triumphs, his sharing of their disappointments… to see Tavernier’s work is to feel closer to life.” Tavernier was not only a skillful filmmaker, but he also contributed immensely to the field of cinematic history. Throughout his career, he amassed a collection of writings dedicated to preserving cinema and promoting the work of oft-forgotten filmmakers. In a tweet released March 25th, former French interior minister Gérard Collomb mourned the loss of Tavernier: “His films will remain as masterpieces of French cinema.” – Cate

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