Filmmaker Jordan Peele is two for two with his horror-film offerings: “Us,” starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke and Elisabeth Moss, generated $70 million from 3,741 North American locations to top the box office charts in its debut weekend.
According to Variety.com, that haul is enough to give “Us” the second-best opening weekend of the year behind Disney’s “Captain Marvel” ($153 million). The psychological thriller about a family confronted by a band of doppelgangers now has the largest weekend for an original horror movie, surpassing “A Quiet Place,” as well as the biggest launch for an original R-rated film behind “Ted.” “Us” has also surpassed the benchmark set by Peele’s first horror film “Get Out,” which opened with $33.3 million in 2017 and went on to earn over $255 million worldwide.
Universal and Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions spent $20 million to make “Us,” not including marking and distribution fees, which means the movie has almost quadrupled its production cost in less than a week.
I have to admit, I have been waiting for this. Ever since I heard a year ago that then 13 now 14 year-old Black-ishstar Marsai Martin came up with the concept for this movie and sold it to Universal, I have been excited about the potential of “Little.” Seeing the trailer for it, released today, makes me feel only more justified in rooting for its fruition.
Starring Issa Rae, Regina Hall and Martin (Martin and Hall also serve as executive producers), “Little” is produced by Will Packer Productions, written by Tracy Oliver (“Girls Trip”) and Tina Gordon Chism (“Peeples”) and directed by Chism.
Hall plays Jordan Sanders, a snarky tech mogul who shows little regard for her assistant April (Rae). After a confrontation with a young girl, Hall wakes up to find that she is a tween (Martin) again and has to lean on her assistant, the only one in on the secret, to run the company, while she heads back to grade school. Based on the trailer, this movie looks like a potential comedy blockbuster as well as great family entertainment.
“Little” will be in theaters April 12 – mark your calendars – and check out the trailer below:
Ice Cube and Kevin Hart did it again. “Ride Along 2”, the second installment in what is sure to become a series of “Ride Along” movies, opened in the number-one spot in its debut weekend, taking in an estimated $39.5 million in domestic grosses, according to Variety. “Ride Along 2” also has the distinction of displacing the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” juggernaut from its four-week run at the top, as well as besting critical darling “The Revenant” ($34 million) as it continues to gain momentum from awards season.
Universal spent $40 million re-teaming Ice Cube and Hart for “Ride Along 2,” which finds the bickering police officers working to bring a Miami drug ring to justice.
“It’s a very funny movie,” said Nick Carpou, Universal’s domestic distribution chief. “We have a very committed group of filmmakers and our cast has been promoting the heck out of it.”
The first “Ride Along” movie ultimately earned $134.9 million and even though its sequel debuted a few million shy of its predecessor, the audience skewed slightly more female, with women making up 52% of the opening weekend audience, implying the film will have legs as it clearly appeals to both sexes.
Nicole Ari Parker has landed a role in A Meyers Christmas, Universal’s comedy starring Danny Glover and Gabrielle Union. It revolves around an estranged family that is brought together for the holidays for the first time since the mother’s death. Parker will play Sonya, the loving wife of Jackson and mother of his two kids. Mo’Nique, Kimberly Eliseand Jessie T. Usher co-star in the pic, which is set to open November 11, 2016.
David E. Talbert (Baggage Claim) wrote and will direct A Meyers Christmas, which is produced by Will Packer and his Universal-based Will Packer Productions. Talbert also is executive producing alongside Lyn Sisson-Talbert, James F. Lopez, Union and Jeff Morrone. SVP Production Kristin Lowe and Creative Executive Chloe Yellin will oversee A Meyers Christmas for the studio.
Parker recurs as Katt on Fox’s freshman drama Rosewood starring Morris Chestnut and co-hosted the daytime summer talk show The Boris & Nicole Show.
Universal Pictures has purchased the script “Humbug” from writers Todd R. Jones and Earl Richey Jones with Ice Cube attached to star and Tim Story to direct, sources confirm to Variety.
The script is a contemporary retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic story of a wealthy real estate mogul who is shown a path to redemption by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. Cube will produce alongside Jeff Kwatinetz. Jones & Jones will co-produce.
The film marks another collaboration between Cube and Story that began with the box office hit “Barbershop,” which spawned two two sequels, the third recently wrapped production with Malcolm Lee at the helm. The two also worked on the “Ride Along” series for Universal with the sequel bowing this January with Story directing and Cube and Kevin Hart co-starring.
Cube just produced box-office smash “Straight Outta Compton” and is about to start filming the New Line Comedy “Fist Fight” with Charlie Day.
The Jones brothers’ past credits include “Rio” and “Johnson Family Vacation.”
Screenwriters Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver are re-teaming with Malcolm D. Lee for the “Untitled Girls’ Trip Project” at Universal. This project marks the second time the trio have worked together after Barbershop3, which is currently in production.Barris is the creator of the ABC comedy series Black-ish and is also writing a feature adaptation of the 1970s TV show Good Times. Will Packer will be producing “Girls’ Trip” through his Will Packer Productions banner.
Packer’s next two titles at Universal are Straight Outta Compton as Executive Producer, bowing August 14, and Ride Along 2, which opens on January 15 in 2016. Lee’s highest-grossing film stateside was The Best Man Holiday. which made $71 million. Barbershop 3 will be released on February 19 next year.
According toVariety.com, NBC has announced it will make its next live musical television event a remake of the 1975 Tony Award-winner “The Wiz.” The remake will air on December 3.
Opening in 1975, “The Wiz” ran for four years on Broadway and won seven Tonys, including best musical. It retells the classic story of “The Wizard of Oz” in an African-American context.
In 1978, the musical was adapted into a movie produced by Motown and starring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell and original Broadway cast member Ted Ross. NBC’s announcement of the holiday television event comes at a time when broadcast networks are setting more diversified roles and casting more and more actors of color on TV, following the success of Fox’s “Empire” and ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder,” among other series.
“The Wiz” marks NBC’s third such production, following the success of “The Sound of Music Live!,” starring Carrie Underwood, and “Peter Pan Live!,” starring Allison Williams as the title character.
“The Wiz” will be co-produced by Cirque du Soleil’s new stage theatrical division. After the television event, the musical will make its Broadway revival for the 2016-17 season, also presented by Cirque du Soleil.
According to Variety.com, while Lionsgate’s I, Frankenstein failed to spark audience interest, delivering only an estimated $8.3 million in three days, the domestic box office still saw signs of life, thanks to solid holds from such films as the Kevin Hart/Ice Cube comedy Ride Along and the Mark Wahlberg-starrer Lone Survivor, which led with $21.2 million and $12.6 million, respectively.
In its second outing, Ride Along fell just 49%, lifting its Stateside totals to a sizable $75.4 million; while Lone Survivor, which dropped just 43% in its fifth frame, reached $93.6 million domestically.
The full list of this weekend’s Top 10 follows below:
The Kevin Hart/Ice Cube film Ride Along arrived in first place at the weekend box office. The buddy cop comedy debuted with $41.2 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. The strong opening for Ride Along marks the biggest debut for a film released during Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend and puts it on track to top the $40.1 million record set by the 2008 monster movie Cloverfield for the biggest opening of January.
Ride Along is the first starring role for Hart, whose box-office status has been on the rise since the success of his 2013 stand-up film Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain and memorable roles in such movies as Think Like a Man, This Is the End and Grudge Match. “He’s everywhere it seems,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak. “I know he was co-starring with Ice Cube in Ride Along, but this really was marketed as a Kevin Hart movie. There’s no question he’s a movie star now who doesn’t require any qualifications before his name.”
According to Variety.com, Universal Pictures segued a solid $61 million overseas debut for “Oblivion” last weekend into an estimated $38.2 million Stateside opening, a better-than-expected result that lifts the film’s worldwide total to $150.2 million. Internationally, “Oblivion” has earned so far $112 million.
The $120 million-budgeted Tom Cruise/Morgan Freeman science fiction flick launched a week ago overseas to lengthen its playtime before Disney begins rolling out “Iron Man 3″ on April 24. The Marvel tentpole bows May 3 domestically.
Warner Bros.’ second-frame holdover “42″ only dropped 34% for an estimated $18 million three-day gross. The film has reached $54 million and counting.