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‘Aquaman’ swimming towards a whopping $100 million debut at the holiday box office

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Aquaman
WARNER BROS.

With less than a month to go until Aquaman hits theaters, early estimates from Warner Bros. insiders and analysts show that the upcoming superhero film starring Jason Momoa is tracking for a massive $100 million five-day run from December 21 to December 25 at the domestic box office.

That number is especially impressive when paired with the amount of money Aquaman is expected to rake in from the paid tickets for the Amazon Prime members preview on December 15, which went on sale just before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Also tracking well is Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, the sequel to the Oscar-winning 1964 original starring Julie Andrews. The film stars Emily Blunt as the titular nanny and is looking to haul in $70 million during its first week in theaters.

Disney began screening Poppins for critics and awards voters in recent weeks and, if some of the early reactions are any indication, the film could be a pretty strong contender in what is already shaping up to be a very tight awards season race.

On the lower end of the spectrum, but still performing fairly well, is Paramount’s Bumblebee, which some analysts say is likely to finish out its first five-day run with $35 million, while others insist the number is closer to $40 million.

Either way, for a competitive, crowded weekend such as this, the Transformers spinoff is tracking better than most insiders expected. Similarly to what Warner Bros. is doing with Aquaman, Paramount will be holding paid early preview screenings of the film on December 8.

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Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield in talks to star in drama about Black Panther Party leader

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Black Panther Party movie Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield
LEFT: RICH FURY/GETTY IMAGES RIGHT: GETTY IMAGES

Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield, who both starred in Jordan Peele’s psychological thriller Get Out in 2017, are set to reunite for the upcoming film Jesus Was My Homeboy, a historical drama detailing the controversial death of Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton.

The film, which is being produced by Black Panther director Ryan Coogler and Charles King, will reportedly “follow the rise and untimely demise of Hampton as seen through O’Neal’s eyes,” according to Deadline.

Shaka King is directing and producing Jesus Was My Homeboy, working from a script he co-wrote along with Will Berson.

Kaluuya is in talks to play Hampton, while play Stanfield is in talks to play William O’Neal, a federal government informant who infiltrated the Black Panthers and provided authorities with key details about Hampton the layout of Hampton’s apartment.

Hampton and Mark Clark, another Black Panther Party member, would later be killed in Hampton’s Chicago apartment by a tactical unit of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, who were carrying out orders from Chicago police and the FBI in December 1969.

While their deaths were ruled to be a “justifiable homicide,” a civil lawsuit filed on behalf of relatives of Hampton and Clark found otherwise, and the City of Chicago, Cook County, and the federal government were required to pay $1.85 million to the plaintiffs.

Sev Ohanian, Zinzi Coogler, Kim Roth, and Poppy Hanks are executive producing the film, which is expected to begin production later this year.

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New photo teases Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys in Marielle Heller’s Mister Rogers biopic

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A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
TRISTAR PICTURES

Tristar Pictures has released a new image from A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, the upcoming Mister Rogers biopic starring Tom Hanks in the role of the beloved children’s television show host. The film comes courtesy of Can You Ever Forgive Me? director Marielle Heller.

Per the film’s official synopsis, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is “a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod,” who you may have seen featured in the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? last year.

Written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster, the story begins when a jaded magazine writer (Matthew Rhys) accepts an assignment to write a profile piece on Mister Rogers, following him as he overcomes his skepticism about Rogers and learning about empathy, kindness, and decency from America’s most beloved neighbor in the process.

Marc Turtletaub, Peter Saraf, and Youree Henley are producing the film, which also stars Chris Cooper, Susan Kelechi Watson, Enrico Colatoni, Maryann Plunkett, Tammy Blanchard, Wendy Makkena, Sakina Jaffrey, Carmen Cusack, Noah Harpster, and Maddie Corman.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood will open in theaters just in time for awards season on November 22, 2019.

You can check out the newly released image above.

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Amid an intense wave of backlash, the Academy has decided to air all Oscar categories live

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Oscars
MATT SAYLES/INVISION

In the wake of an intense wave of backlash, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Friday that they will be reversing their controversial decision to present four technical categories their awards during commercial breaks at the 91st Oscars ceremony next Sunday.

“The Academy has heard the feedback from its membership regarding the Oscar presentation of four awards – Cinematography, Film Editing, Live Action Short, and Makeup and Hairstyling,” the AMPAS board of governors said in a statement. “All Academy Awards will be presented without edits, in our traditional format.”

Sources familiar with the matter tell Silver Screen Beat that the Academy’s change of heart came after AMPAS president John Bailey and CEO Dawn Hudson met with members of the group’s cinematography branch Thursday evening to discuss the decision, which did not go over well with many Hollywood filmmakers and craftspeople.

“Relegating these essential cinematic crafts to lesser status in this 91st Academy Awards ceremony is nothing less than an insult to those of us who have devoted our lives and passions to our chosen profession,” read an open letter to the Academy signed by dozens of industry figures, including directors Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee and cinematographers Roger Deakins and Rachel Morrison.

The letter ends with a quote from Academy member Seth Rogen, who tweeted earlier this week, “What better way to celebrate achievements in film than to NOT publicly honour the people whose job it is to film things.”

The 91st Oscars will air live from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 24 on ABC.

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