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‘Tenet’ box office stumble has Hollywood rethinking movie release schedule

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'Tenet' box office stumble has Hollywood rethinking movie release schedule

The disastrous debut of Warner Bros’ spy thriller “Tenet” at movie theaters has Hollywood studios fingering the panic button. 

“Tenet” — a $200 million Christopher Nolan production which has amassed less than $30 million in ticket sales since it hit US theaters on Sept. 3 — has given Tinseltown a wakeup call, with studios grappling with whether to release their remaining blockbusters this year or hold them until the coronavirus crisis wanes. 

“Studios are making decisions based on what’s happening with ‘Tenet,’” said MKM partners analyst Eric Handler. “What I think you’re going to see is more movies get pushed back until we see major markets reopen again.”

Last week, Warner Bros. postponed “Wonder Woman 1984,” starring Gal Gadot, to Christmas Day from Oct. 2, and Universal pushed “Candyman” to an undetermined date next year from Oct. 16. There’s also buzz that Disney will delay the Nov. 6 release of its Marvel movie “Black Widow,” starring Scarlett Johansson, as well as Pixar adventure “Soul” on Nov. 20. Disney did not comment on the speculation. 

“If ‘Black Widow’ moves, we really don’t have a big film for quite a while,” Handler said. “There’s the James Bond ‘No Time to Die’ film at Thanksgiving, then ‘Dune’ [on Dec. 18] and ‘Wonder Woman.’ We could have a couple big-event films but in terms of depth that’s it.”

The analyst said the push back of films is setting up a circular problem, in which movie theaters “want customers to show up but they won’t show up if there’s no new movies.”

The reluctance to return to theaters is due in large part to the unpredictable nature of the coronavirus pandemic, which caused cinemas to go dark in the US for five months.

But “Tenet,” which pre-pandemic was projected to garner around $850 million in global ticket sales, was at least expected to jolt the industry back to life. Instead, it arrived at the box office with a whimper, grossing $178 million internationally, and $29.5 million in North America, bringing its current global box office tally to $207 million, Box Office Mojo said. 

Critics blamed the tepid results on the fact that only 60 percent, or 3,500 of North America’s 6,000 theaters are open. Also adding to the sales woes is the fact that major markets like New York and Los Angeles remain closed. 

Still, the “Tenet” debacle has sent shockwaves through Hollywood. At a Bank of America investors conference last week, Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Tony Vinciquerra jolted insiders with what looked like a thinly veiled reference to the flop. 

“What we won’t want to do is make the mistake of putting a very, very expensive $200 million movie on the market unless we’re sure theaters are open and operating at a significant capacity,” he said.

Comscore media analyst Paul Dergarabedian said Hollywood will have to be patient for the return of theatergoers, predicting that 2021 will be an important year for the recovery. 

“The fact that movie theaters are just doing business, that is a good sign,” the analyst said. “Right now, I just think it’s a win that people want to go back. It’s a daunting thing to go back indoors and into those venues after six months.”

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Francis is a sports enthusiast who loves indulging in occasional baseball matches. He is a passionate journalist who flaunts a perfect hold over the English language. He currently caters his skills for the MLB & NBA section of Sports Grind Entertainment.

Francis is a sports enthusiast who loves indulging in occasional baseball matches. He is a passionate journalist who flaunts a perfect hold over the English language. He currently caters his skills for the MLB & NBA section of Sports Grind Entertainment.

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Maury Povich says his show has ‘classic Shakespearean’ elements

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Maury Povich says his show has 'classic Shakespearean' elements

Maury Povich says his daytime talk show, “Maury,” owes a chunk of its popularity to The Bard himself.

“What’s appealing when it comes to watching TV, it’s always been those classic Shakespearean themes, whether it’s love, lust, betrayal, conflict or drama,” Povich, 81, tells The Post. “That’s been the kind of TV that attracts an audience — and has been the key to this show.

“I have such a loyal audience that cuts across all social groups,” he says. “I have kids who DVR me at college, young people who work and DVR me and play [the show] at night, housewives at home. The audience for daytime talk is notoriously ‘old,’ but ours covers all age groups.”

Povich knows a thing or two about audience demographics; he’s hosted two iterations of the show since 1991, when it launched in syndication as “The Maury Povich Show.”

“This is the 30th year, and my research people tell me that I’ve passed everybody else as the longest-running daytime talk show host ever,” says Povich. “When I think about it, Oprah didn’t go this long, Phil [Donahue] didn’t go this long. I said to them, ‘I’m not too sure I like this kind of identification — I gotta live with it!’ ”

“Maury” returns for its 23rd season Oct. 5 on a new home, airing weekdays at 4 p.m. on WWOR/Ch. 9, and with COVID-19 restrictions in place — but with all its familiar elements: paternity tests, lie-detector tests, wild audiences — the whole shebang. The move has already paid dividends; as Povich points out, “Maury” hasn’t missed a beat regarding viewership since moving to Ch. 9, which has aired reruns leading into the Oct. 5 season premiere.

“It’s the way the topics are handled,” he says. “The key to this show, whether it’s lie-detectors, DNA tests, out-of-control kids … within 12-15 minutes we get results so the audience knows what happens at the end of the story. That’s the major reason for our success, truthfully — and the host has to make that connection.”

Maury Povich circa 1991.
Maury Povich circa 1991.Courtesy Everett Collection

That connection will be a bit different this season, with Povich shooting his show in Stamford, Conn., sans an in-studio audience and with limited in-studio guests.

“The live audience is a big part of our show, its major heartbeat,” he says. “We’re going to be missing that, but in its place we found out, during the first month of taping [the new season], that it’s more intimate now. There’s room for deeper storytelling and an intimacy even in the virtual world. The audience and guests can get more involved in the stories.”

Povich says in-studio guests will, for now, be limited to people who are not from states that are under travel quarantines.

“Believe it or not, I think the country has accepted this new TV world of ours. I think they’re OK with it,” he says. “I’ve watched some of the daytime shows, including a little bit of ‘The Drew Barrymore Show,’ and they’re finding creative ways to produce them.”

“Maury” is renewed through the 2022 season, and Povich says he has no plans to retire.

“I go contract-by-contract and also take the Satchel Paige view of age: ‘How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?’ ” he says.

“I’m 81, and as long as I feel good, and I do, I’m going to work.”

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Francis is a sports enthusiast who loves indulging in occasional baseball matches. He is a passionate journalist who flaunts a perfect hold over the English language. He currently caters his skills for the MLB & NBA section of Sports Grind Entertainment.

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Sir David Attenborough fastest to reach 1M Instagram followers

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Sir David Attenborough fastest to reach 1M Instagram followers

Sir David Attenborough has broken Jennifer Anniston’s record for the fastest time to reach 1 million followers on Instagram.

The 94-year-old British broadcaster and environmentalist hit the seven-figure follower mark in four hours and 44 minutes after joining the platform on Thursday, according to Guinness World Records.

Aniston reached the same milestone in five hours and 16 minutes when she took to Instagram last October.

Attenborough’s first post was a video of himself warning about environmental disasters.

“I am making this move and exploring this new way of communication to me because, as we all know, the world is in trouble,” he said. “Continents are on fire. Glaciers are melting. Coral reefs are dying. Fish are disappearing from our oceans. The list goes on and on. Saving our planet is now a communications challenge.”

Attenborough, who has amassed more than 3 million followers, said he will be posting more videos about saving the planet in the coming weeks.

“Over the next few weeks I’m recording messages to explain what the problems are and how we can deal with them,” he went on. “Join me. Or as we used to say in those early days of radio: Stay tuned.”

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Francis is a sports enthusiast who loves indulging in occasional baseball matches. He is a passionate journalist who flaunts a perfect hold over the English language. He currently caters his skills for the MLB & NBA section of Sports Grind Entertainment.

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Period drama king David Morrisey on research and filming during COVID

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Period drama king David Morrisey on research and filming during COVID

English actor David Morrisey has been a staple in period pieces over the course of his prolific career.

He currently stars on the epic drama “Brittania” (set in the year 43 AD) as Aulus, the general leading the Roman forces in the invasion of Britain. The series returns for its second season Oct. 4 on Epix.

Morrisey, who played the villainous Governor on “The Walking Dead” (2012-2015), also starred as UK prime minister Gordon Brown in “The Deal” (2003), as the Duke of Norfolk in “The Other Boleyn Girl” (2008) and as Colonel Brandon in “Sense & Sensibility.”

He’s also appeared in a host of Shakespeare productions on the stage, including “Macbeth” and “Julius Cesar.”

Morrisey, 56, spoke to The Post about how he researches his roles, filming Season 3 of “Brittania” during the pandemic, and more.

What attracted you to “Brittania?”

It was Jez Butterworth, who writes the series. He’s one of our great theater writers. Once I knew he was involved, I spoke to him quite considerably before taking the role. And the great thing about Jez is [that] he has a respect for that time and he does his work and he also has a healthy irreverence. There’s something very modern about what we do in the show and the language we use.

I feel very connected with Aulus, even though he’s quite out-there and possibly not the nicest man in the world. I love playing him. He’s sort of a governor [like my “Walking Dead” character] but he’s a general in “Britannia.” I’m 6-foot- 3, so I tend to get roles of people in authority quite often, and that’s nice. Although the Governor and Aulus are both dictatorial and vicious characters — probably on the wrong side of good — the Roman world is quite different from the zombie apocalypse.

David Morrisey
David MorriseySky UK Ltd

You’re currently filming Season 3 in England. What’s that like?

It’s very strict. I get tested [for COVID] three times a week, as do our makeup and hair and costume staff. Anybody who comes into close contact with the actors is tested three times a week. Our temperature is taken twice a day, and all our crew have to wear masks and keep a distance from each other while they’re working. We also have a COVID marshall, someone on set who is there to remind us of what our actions have to be for the new restrictions and regulations in the workplace. The main difficulty is that everything takes a little longer to do. For instance, if I’m handling props and another actor has to handle props in the same scene, they have to be wiped down and we need hand sanitizer and stuff like that. We’re all so grateful and thankful to be at work. Everyone is approaching this new world with real professionalism and a real sense of gratitude for being there.

How do you research your roles?

I will read the script maybe two or three times, and I am making notes [about] the dates, [the characters’] profession and things like that. Then with those questions, I will then go and do my research — that might be Googling it or I’ll go to the library or bookshop and order books that are [about] that period. Sometimes if I talk to the writer, they say, “I used this book while I was researching it myself”’ and I’ll look at that. I’ll use YouTube clips. I recently did a show about Singapore in the 1940s and I was able to see some footage of that time. I use music a lot, as well; I’ll have a soundtrack of the music I think my character might have listened to.

David Morrisey in "The Walking Dead."
David Morrisey in “The Walking Dead.”Gene Page/AMC

I interview actors about one role that they’ve played. I interviewed people like Derek Jacobi about “I, Claudius,” David Harewood for his role in “Homeland,” Eddie Marsan for “Ray Donovan.” When I was growing up, I wanted to be an actor but nobody in my life was in theater or the arts. So there was no one I could ask about how I could go about becoming an actor or how to audition or anything like that. I wanted to do a podcast where people could find out about what the job of being an actor is, because sometimes it’s cloaked in mystery. Of course we need to have talent, but we need to know how to have people see the talent we have. I wanted to slightly demystify the job and the craft of acting for people. I’m really so delighted with [the podcast] and very proud of it. My first [episode] I spoke to Alan Cumming about the Emcee he played in “Cabaret,” which was a great success on Broadway.

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Francis is a sports enthusiast who loves indulging in occasional baseball matches. He is a passionate journalist who flaunts a perfect hold over the English language. He currently caters his skills for the MLB & NBA section of Sports Grind Entertainment.

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