Universal And Peacock Drop A Ridiculous $400 Million For New ‘The Exorcist’ Trilogy

Well, damn. Universal and Peacock just dropped some serious cash on a new ‘The Exorcist‘ trilogy. This news coming from a report by The New York Times.

According to the report, the studios have teamed up to purchase the rights to the trilogy for a cool $400 million. It’s being described as a “megadeal” and for good reason. That’s a lot of cash to drop, especially during these uncertain times.

It’s also being reported that Ellen Burstyn will reprise her role from the original 1973 classic. She’ll be joined by Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr.

David Gordon Green is set to direct. He’s the writer-director behind the recent ‘Halloween’ films.

Blumhouse is producing with Morgan Creek Entertainment. The first film in the trilogy is expected to arrive in theaters in late 2023, adds the site. ‘Under the terms of the deal, the second and third films could debut on Peacock, according to one of the people briefed on the matter.’

So it’s looking like this could be another theatrical/streaming hybrid release strategy, which is a bit odd because horror films are the one genre performing well inside theaters right now.

The Exorcist franchise hasn’t been on the big screen since the 2005 release of Dominion: Prequel to The Exorcist, an alternate version of the previous year’s Exorcist: The Beginning. Those films came in the wake of 1977’s The Exorcist II: The Heretic and 1990’s The Exorcist III.

With a release date set for 2023, it’s likely filming on the first film starts sometime in 2022.

Thanks To New Deal With AMC, Universal Plans To Release Several Films In Theaters This Year

This year has been terrible for theaters across the world. The pandemic forced them to shutdown for several months, and even now with most reopening, studios aren’t releasing any big films until 2021.

But just recently, Universal reached a deal with AMC, the world’s largest movie chain.

Under the agreement, Universal can put new movies on premium video-on-demand within three weeks of their theatrical premieres. In return, AMC gets a cut of the digital profits and promises not to boycott Universal movies in retaliation.

This means that Universal can release several movies this fall/winter while getting the best of both worlds, streaming and theatrical.

The studio plans to release the romantic drama ‘All My Life’ on December 4. The film stars Harry Shum Jr. and Jessica Rothe.

All My Life is inspired by a true story and centers on a couple whose wedding plans are complicated by news that the groom (Shum) is diagnosed with cancer. 

They’re also set to release the animated flick ‘Croods: A New Age‘ on Thanksgiving. The slasher comedy ‘Freaky’ starring Vince Vaughn in early November and the Tom Hanks western ‘News of the World’ on Christmas.

So perhaps theaters can end the year on an okayish note.

Ice Cube Set To Star In Upcoming Sci-Fi Flick For Universal

You probably know Ice Cube as a rapper, but your kids? Well, they know him as an actor. Cube is a legit movie star.

After the success of his ‘Ride Along‘ films, Universal has decided to work with Cube on an upcoming grounded sci-fi movie, with Patrick Aiello and Timur Bekmambetov producing.

Music video/commercial director Rich Lee is set to direct from a script by Kenneth Golde.

Plot details are vague other then it being described as a grounded sci-fi film in the vein of District 9 that touches on themes of privacy versus surveillance. Universal has greenlighted the film and has fast tracked it by having it go into production next month.

So the fact that they have fast tracked it makes me think it’s a movie set in only a handful of locations. Those are the movies getting filmed right now.

According to the report from Deadline, new technology being used will allow for more remote production.

This new technology will allow for a fully remote production with all actors and crew working from their individual separate locations. So basically if Cube wanted his part of the shoot to be done from his home, it could be done without a problem and with crew working from somewhere else.

Sounds a little strange to me, but hey…we’ll see how it goes.

Universal Pictures Is Trying To Land Tom Cruise’s Rumored Space Movie (THAT WILL ACTUALLY BE SHOT IN SPACE!)

Do you all remember hearing about the crazy report back in May? You know, the report claiming Tom Cruise and filmmaker Doug Liman were hoping to make a movie in space?

Well, it looks like they’re moving forward with the insane idea, and they reportedly have the full cooperation of Elon Musk’s SpaceX and NASA, who will house the production on the International Space Station.

A new report claims Universal Pictures is deep in negotiations to land the project.

This kind of innovation does not come cheap. Sources said the production budget has been set at $200 million in the most optimistic projections. Cruise could earn somewhere between $30 million and $60 million, according to insiders. This would cover his services as a producer and star, and also be comprised of significant first-dollar gross participation over a windfall up front.

And while a $200 million budget is a lot, you have to think about how much buzz this movie would create. People would run to the theater to see this movie. It would be history. The first narrative feature shot in space.

So Universal is probably thinking, “$200 million to make history? Sure, why not.”

By the way, Cruise is 58-years-old. By the time this project starts filming, he could be pushing 60. The dude has to be some sort of robot.

Ryan Gosling Will Play The Wolfman For Universal, Studio Searches For Director

In the past, Ryan Gosling has avoided joining the big blockbuster franchises. We’re sure he’s had multiple offers to star in superhero films, but for the most part, he’s remained in the indie space.

But that’s about to change. Universal has successfully relaunched its monster universe, and now Gosling wants to join. He pitched a new take on the Wolfman, and apparently the studio really liked it.

A script was developed by Lauren Schuker Blum and Rebecca Angelo, and now the studio is in search for a director.

Sources tell Variety that executives at Universal have been meeting with directors over the past month and could be making a decision soon on who will take the reins behind the camera. While there is no frontrunner at the time, Cory Finley, who recently received rave reviews for directing HBO’s drama ‘Bad Education’ with Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney, is said to be in the mix for the job.

The details surrounding this new “take” are being held close to the studio, but we do know it’s being described as a “present-day story along the lines of Nightcrawler, with a wolfy twist.”

Sounds good to me. I loved Nightcrawler. I love Ryan Gosling.

Sign me up! I AM A WOLF-FAN!

‘Trolls World Tour’ Has Made More For Universal In Its Three Weeks On Demand Than ‘Trolls’ Did Inside Theaters

Universal came out a week or so ago to announce that their digital release of ‘Trolls World Tour‘ was a success, but they didn’t provide any numbers.

Now, we’re getting data, and it’s pretty impressive. The movie was made available to rent for a cool $19.99 on April 10, and now three weeks later, it’s reportedly made $100 million.

The first ‘Trolls‘ movie made $153.7 million during its run at the domestic box office back in 2016, but you have to remember theaters typically take around 50% of box office sales.

Sometimes the theater will take a little less. So, ‘Trolls’ only deposited around $77 million into Universal’s pocket by the end of its run in North America.

For comparison, Universal retained about 80% of the digital rental or purchase fee for ‘Trolls World Tour.’

So it’s likely the studio has actually made more money from the digital release of Trolls World Tour. Universal also did similar digital releases with a handful of other films (including The Invisible Man) and those films have brought in around $60 million in rental fees.

Safe to say, Universal is winning the quarantine game. I’m honestly a little surprised. I didn’t think people would be willing to pay the $19.99 to rent a film from home, but obviously I was wrong.

This has to make theaters a little nervous.

Universal Makes Bold Claim, Says ‘Trolls World Tour’ Has Biggest Digital Debut Ever

Most major studio film releases have been pushed back several months due to the coronavirus, but Universal made a risky choice to digitally release ‘Trolls World Tour’ 

They released the film on premium video on demand and in a select number of drive-in theaters across the country. The film was expected to have a wide release inside theaters, but Universal decided to take a chance.

And they claim it has been a success. In fact, they claim it’s the biggest debut for a digital release in history.

Universal declined to provide any statistics to contextualize or support the superlative, but noted that ‘Trolls World Tour’ is the No. 1 title across major on-demand video platforms, such as Amazon, Comcast, Apple and FandangoNow. Universal also said the movie had the biggest opening day and weekend for a digital title, generating approximately 10 times more than the next-largest traditional premium home video release.

I mean, I guess we have to believe them? It would be nice to see the numbers though. I suppose it’s not exactly surprising. People are stuck at home and in desperate need of something new to watch, plus, this is a sequel to the 2016 ‘Trolls’ movie, which made nearly $350 million at the box office. It’s a pretty big franchise with a huge fanbase.

For what it’s worth, the movie has been receiving mixed-to-positive reviews from critics.

It’ll be interesting to see if Universal releases the numbers at some point. It would be incredibly fascinating to see how the on demand numbers compare to typical box office numbers. It’s something studios will be forced to consider in the coming months. Heck, the coming years probably. Times are changing.

‘Cats’ Could Lose $100 Million After Terrible Box Office Performance

We told you last week that Universal’s big-screen adaptation of ‘Cats‘ was not performing well at the box office. The reviews for this movie have been terrible. It sits at a 19% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and some critics called it the worst film of the yer.

The movie, which was directed by Oscar winner Tom Hooper, has made just $38 million globally after two weeks inside theaters.

After its disappointing $6.5 million domestic debut ahead of Christmas, ‘Cats’ failed to gain any traction during the busiest time of year for moviegoing. In its sophomore outing, the film was relegated to No. 9 on box office charts, scraping together $8.7 million over the five-day holiday frame.

Cats cost $100 million to produce and set the studio back an additional $100 million for global marketing and distribution fees.

Insiders say Universal could lose $100 million in total, which would be a pretty huge flop.

The good news is that the studio had some success earlier this year with ‘Hobbs & Shaw‘ and How To Train Your Dragon 3, which combined to make well over $1 billion.

So yeah, they can handle this $100 million loss.

Comedy Film ‘Good Boys’ Surprises At The Box Office With Outstanding $21 Million Opening Weekend

I’ll be honest, I did not see this coming. Universal has been pushing ‘Good Boys‘ hard. I think I was invited to at least three or four screenings for the movie. Usually, that’s a bad sign.

But in this case, the extreme marketing may have helped. The r-rated comedy, which was produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, opened this past weekend to $21 million.

It’s the first r-rated comedy film to debut in first place at the box office since the 2016 film, The Boss, which somehow made $23 million during its opening weekend. I don’t even remember the film.

Anyway, this is a huge win for Universal and for comedies in general. They have been struggling at the box office this year, even really good comedies like Booksmart. Booksmart had rave reviews, a talented cast, and it still only made $6 million during its opening weekend.

It’s a strange time for comedies at the box office, but hopefully they can be saved because it’s the one genre that I prefer watching inside a theater. There is something contagious about the laughter in a packed theater.

Just imagine if you watched Superbad at home by yourself on a laptop. It would have been enjoyable, but the experience wouldn’t have been as incredible as watching it with 100 other laughing people.

So yeah, even if you didn’t like this ‘Good Boys’ film. Still celebrate its victory.

Netflix Is Going All In With Upcoming ‘Red Notice’ Film Starring Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot And Ryan Reynolds

Netflix has taken a few risks in the past year or two with big budget action films. Most recently you had the Will Smith-starring Bright, which had a budget of $90 million. But because of Netflix’s secret stats, we have no idea if they made their money back or not.

But ‘Bright’ is going to seem like an indie flick compared to Red Notice.

The action heist thriller starring Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds was just picked up by the streaming giant after Universal stumbled on their handling of the film.

After Thurber drafted his pitch into a screenplay with a budget, the filmmakers sensed hesitation from Universal in a meeting late last month, even though the studio had dated the picture for November 13, 2020.

The original pitch deal had specific progress to production timeline clauses and when a window opened, Thurber’s finished script was shown to Netflix 10 days ago. Led by Head of Film Scott Stuber, Netflix committed to everything the filmmakers delivered, and gets a big picture on its slate that is anchored by three global franchise-carrying stars.

When Red Notice was sold via pitch last year, a $20 million salary was guaranteed for Johnson. No word on how much Gadot and Reynolds will make, but it’s safe to say this will likely be Netflix’s most expensive movie ever. The budget is expected to be over $130 million.

The film is an international action thriller centered around the pursuit of the most wanted art thief in the world. It takes place in multiple countries.

Netflix believes this movie will turn into a franchise, which is why they’re going all in.

And for $130 million, they better hope it’s popular enough to warrant a sequel. Red Notice will begin filming in 2020.