An evolving fall film season (like everything else) – Kelowna Capital News
Filmmaker Cary Fukunaga has been waiting for more than a year and a half for the biggest movie of his career, the James Bond film “No time to die” arrive in the rooms. It has been a strange and surreal expectation. Months before the much-delayed film’s October 8 release, the film’s theme song, by Billie Eilish, has already won a Grammy.
“I had a dream last night when Sam Mendes was there,” Fukunaga said in a recent interview, referring to the director of the previous two Bond films. “We were on vacation on a frozen lake. He was done with the Bond films. And he said to me, ‘Oh, you finished one. Now you have a break. Then we started, like, water skiing on a frozen lake.
“It was a strange dream,” says Fukunaga.
The fall movie season – generally a reliable pace and cozy fall comfort – is this year, like much of the past 18 months, a little disorienting. En route, films scheduled to open in April 2020, such as “No Time to Die”, summer films that hope to find better conditions in the fall, and films that were shot and edited during the pandemic .
What has come together is a hodgepodge of movies – something much more rugged than last fall’s DIY, mostly virtual fall movie season – a season that extended to the Oscars in April. But the recent surge in COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant has added new uncertainty at a time Hollywood once hoped to get closer to normal.
“Everything is fluid and everything will stay fluid,” said Tom Rothman, president and CEO of Sony Pictures. “It’s the antithesis of what it was. In the old days you would plant your flag and not move for hell or high water. Now, there is a big bonus in being very flexible and nimble.
The unpredictability of conditions is universally shared but strongly felt at studios like Sony which, even during the pandemic, have remained largely committed to exclusive theatrical releases. While Disney (along with Disney +) and Warner Bros. (with HBO Max) have sought to hedge their bets and increase subscribers to their streaming services with date-and-date releases in 2021, Sony, Universal, Paramount and MGM (House of Bond) – with various windowing strategies – se are mostly held to the plans of the theater first.
In all the films coming this fall – among them “The last duel” (Oct 15), “Dune” (Oct 22), “Eternals” (November 5), “House of Gucci” (November 24) – perhaps nothing is as tense as the drama that endlessly unfolds around old-fashioned cinema and butt in the seats. Citing the delta-driven surge, Paramount uprooted from the season, start of “Top Gun: Maverick” until next year. But on the heels of some promising box office performances, many of the best fall movies and top Oscar prospects only double the theatrical side and the cultural impact that comes with it. Even if it’s a bet.
“We have a lot of inventory. You don’t want to keep pushing all the movies, ”says Rothman. “At some point you have to go. “
After building confidence in filmmaking over the summer, delta has undermined some of Hollywood’s momentum. The National Research Group had recorded that more than 80% of moviegoers were comfortable going to the movies in July. But that number fell to 67% last month.
Yet the last big movie of the summer, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” from Marvel kicked off the fall with ticket sales estimated at $ 90 million over the four-day Labor Day weekend – one of the best performances of the pandemic. In particular, he only played in theaters.
Even before all the numbers were known, Rothman and Sony put forward the release of “Venom: let there be carnage” the sequel to his two-week, October 1, $ 856 million superhero hit. He launches Sony’s roster, including Jason Reitman’s “Ghostbusters: Life After Death” (November 19), Denzel Washington “A newspaper for Jordan” (Dec 10) and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (December 17).
No studio is betting as big on theaters this fall as Sony. The studio lacks a major streaming platform but signed lucrative pacts with Netflix and Disney to stream films after their theatrical release. Discuss the disappointing results of date and date movies like Warner Bros. ‘ “The Suicide Squad” against a first success in the cinema as “Free Guy” of Disney Rothman recently touted the explanation: “It’s the window, stupid.”
“There is no business model for – let alone making a profit – to achieve equilibrium on the assets themselves without a windowed universe. It doesn’t exist, ”says Rothman.
This debate – which films open where and when – is sure to remain unresolved in the months to come, and possibly well beyond. Warner Bros. has pledged to return to exclusive theatrical releases, for 45 days, next year. But little this fall – including the movie schedule – is a sure thing.
“Until the pandemic is really behind us, I don’t think you can predict what the future of cinema will be like,” Rothman said. “He’s still in an emergency right now. “
So, summer in Hollywood limbo will stretch into fall. But more than any previous point in the pandemic, there are plenty of films lined up. The Venice and Telluride Film Festivals have generated buzz for a wide range of upcoming films, including Jane Campion Hailed Netflix Drama “The Power of the Dog” (November 17), with Benedict Cumberbatch. The Oscar race could also have major star power. Among the first stars: Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana in “Spencer” (November 5) and Will Smith as Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena, in “King Richard” (November 19).
In “Tammy Faye’s eyes”, Jessica Chastain transforms into an infamous televangelist. Searchlight Pictures will release it in theaters on September 17.
“We love this shared experience, especially after a year and a half of starvation. This doesn’t mean that streaming will go away. It’s here to stay, ”says Chastain, who also stars in the HBO miniseries“ Scenes from a Marriage ”. “In my mind, I just see the industry expanding.”
The number of films released during the pandemic is often underestimated. But even with a few high-profile starts, the coming season is crowded. Apple to Joel Coen’s “The Tragedy of Macbeth”, with Denzel Washington. Amazon has musical adaptation “Everyone’s talking about Jamie” (September 17). New films are on the bill from world-class filmmakers like Paul Thomas Anderson, Guillermo del Toro (“Nightmare Alley”, December 3), Pedro Almodóvar ( “Parallel mothers”, December 24), Asghar Farhadi (“A hero”, January 7) and Paolo Sorrentino ( ” God’s hand “, November 24).
There is also a feast of docs including Julie Cohen and Betsy West’s portrait Julia Child “Julia” (not yet dated); Liz Garbus’ “Become Cousteau” (October 22); Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin’s “The rescue” (October), about the rescue in the Thai caves in 2018; and, fittingly, a portrayal of one of the pandemic’s most ubiquitous faces, infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci in John Hoffman and Janet Tobias’ “Fauci” (September 10).
Netflix will release three dozen films by Christmas, including Maggie Gyllenhaal’s first film “The Lost Daughter” (December 17); the westerner “The more they fall” (November 3), with Jonathan Majors and Idris Elba; Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directorial debut «Tic, Tic… Boom! “; and that of Antoine Fuqua “The guilty” (September 24), a single-set crime thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a demoted police officer taking calls to 911.
Just before production began earlier this year, Fuqua came into close contact with one person who tested positive for the coronavirus. To keep his distance from his cast and crew, he made the film from a van parked outside the set.
“It’s a strange world we find ourselves in right now, and it tires us all a bit,” says Fuqua. “But I try to stay positive. That’s why ‘The Guilty’ arrived. I think we all have a responsibility to move forward, not to indulge in the situation we find ourselves in and find new ways of doing it.
Hopefully the long delay in a number of films that have been waiting behind the scenes for over a year, including that of Steven Spielberg “West Side Story” (Dec 10), Wes Anderson’s “The French dispatch” (October 22) and, yes, “No Time to Die” – will be over soon at last.
“What I didn’t understand about this one was the satisfaction of someone else seeing the movie and saying ‘I hated it’ or ‘I like it,’ says Fukunaga. “This is the part you’re waiting for. Some people are going to like it. Some people are not going to like it. But you still want to hear it. Even if you don’t want to hear it, you want to hear it.”
—Jake Coyle, The Associated Press
Movies and TV