Spy Movie News – July 26 2022 – Blackbird, Kingsman 3, Sicario 3, The Gray Man

Podcast Episode

Spy Movie News – July 26 2022 – Blackbird, Kingsman 3, Sicario 3, The Gray Man

Learn about what's streaming and in the theater, BLACKBIRD, KINGSMAN 3, THE GRAY MAN 2, SICARIO 3, SPY KIDS and more.

Here is our Spy Movie News for 7/26/2022. We discuss the August releases of spy movies. We’ll look at some ongoing projects like Blackbird, Kingsman 3, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part One, The Gray Man 2, Sicario 3, Spy Kids, and take a quick look back at Austin Powers in Goldmember and True Lies.

Be in the know in 16 minutes and be up-to-date on the spy movie industry!

Comments: info@spymovienavigator.com

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Spy Movie News – July 26, 2022

Related: Spy Movie News – July 26 2022 – Blackbird, Kingsman 3, Sicario 3, The Gray Man

Contributed by: Spy Movie Navigator

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Here’s our Spy Movie News for July 26 2022!

This article discusses the August 2022 releases of spy movies and we’ll look at some ongoing projects like Blackbird, Kingsman 3, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning - Part One, The Gray Man 2, Sicario 3, Spy Kids, and oh, Happy 60th Birthday Tom Cruise.

Let’s start by looking at what’s coming in spy entertainment in August 2022.

We are in the summer doldrums here and our pickings for new or re-released spy movies are pretty slim. 

August Theatrical Spy Movie Releases

On August 12, IFC Films will release Rogue Agent both in theaters and on AMC+.  Their synopsis of the movie is: “The chilling true story of conman, Robert Freegard, who posed as an undercover MI5 agent kidnapping countless victims amidst a high-stakes manhunt until the woman who fell for him brought him to justice.”

We like seeing true spy stories brought to the screen.   The twist of having the MI5 agent just being a conman and not a real agent sounds intriguing to us. We’ll be checking this one out.

Ok, we had to stretch a bit for this next one.   On August 5th, we’ll see the theatrical-only release of Bullet Train.  This isn’t technically a spy movie, but it looks like it has a feel of a spy movie.

According to the Sony Pictures website:

“In Bullet Train, Brad Pitt stars as Ladybug, an unlucky assassin determined to do his job peacefully after one too many gigs gone off the rails. Fate, however, may have other plans, as Ladybug's latest mission puts him on a collision course with lethal adversaries from around the globe—all with connected, yet conflicting, objectives”

Streaming Spy Movie Releases for July

This list is very sparse.  Come on streamers, give us spy fans more to watch.

Netflix

On August 5th Netflix will add:

Carter – This Korean Netflix original movie sounds like it has a bit of a Bourne feel to it.  The synopsis of this one is: Agent Carter wakes up one day in a motel room without any recollection of his identity and follows orders to join an explosive mission.

Skyfall – Also on the 5th, Netflix will re-release Skyfall for streaming.

Then on August 8th, they will release another Netflix Original Film, the Spanish movie - Code Name: Emperor.  This movie Follows Juan, an agent working for the intelligence services, who also reports to a parallel unit involved in illegal activities.

Hulu

Hulu will rerelease the 1993 movie In the Line of Fire on August 21st.

HBO Max

HBO Max has no new spy movie releases in August, not new releases or re-releases.

And that’s pretty much it for August.  So let’s now look to the future.

Upcoming Spy Movies

Spy Kids

We’ve mentioned the Spy Kids reboot that is being developed for Netflix in past Spy Movie News editions.  Billy Magnussen, who played Logan Ash in No Time To Die, has signed on to the Spy Kids reboot.  So this cast is really taking shape.  We can’t wait to see the finished product.

Kingsman 3

An article on movieweb.com gives us some insight (maybe) into Kingsman 3.  We’ll call it Kingsman 3 as that is what the article uses.  We know the name will change.  This is expected to be the last of the Eggsy and Harry Hart arc of the series.  It is not expected to be the last Kingsman movie, however.  It will just be the last with Eggsy and Harry. 

We remember that Eggsy and Harry weren’t in the most recent movie in the series The King’s Man.  That movie was a prelude to the Eggsy and Harry arc.  It hinted at more arcs in the series.   We like this as this is a series about an organization, not a person. People can be replaced or killed as part of the design. 

Mission: Impossible is in a similar position to the Kingsman series as it is technically about the Impossible Mission Force, not Ethan Hunt.  So, they can take that series forward if they want, even if Ethan Hunt dies or retires in Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning part one or part two.  This avoids the problem that the Bond series has entrapped itself with.  These two series can go on easily unlike Bond.

So, here’s why we said maybe at the beginning of this discussion.  Here is Taron Edgerton’s quote from the article:

"My understanding is that we are to be shooting the third installment in my saga I believe next year. But you know, don't listen to what I say because I don't really know. You know, they're grown-up decisions." 

Edgerton does go on to say “there is a script”.

So, he hedges while giving us a clue.  Let’s hope he’s right as we like this series and would like to see more.  We need a replacement for James Bond and this one works.

The Gray Man

We have three things to discuss about The Gray Man which was just released in July on Netflix and in limited theaters.  As we’ve talked about before, the hope is that this movie will launch a series of movies based on Mark Greaney’s book series.

The Gray Man has some great chase scenes.  An article in Variety discusses how COVID affected the shooting in terms of locations.   Our favorite quote comes from production designer Dennis Gassner: “A rooftop chase scene was assembled from various locations, including a spot in Prague. “If you went to visit it, you wouldn’t find it,” he teases.”   That’s too bad for us here at SpyMovieNavigator.com because we love finding filming locations.  We guess we’ll have to move on to the next location.

Will there be a The Gray Man 2? Well, Ryan Gosling is ready to go on.  In an article by Jonathan Fuge, Gosling says:  “I loved making this film. I'd love to do it again. I'm hoping we can bump Six up to a name status at some point, just for his own sanity”.

The article continues to tell us that “both The Gray Man 2 and a prequel centering on Chris Evans as Lloyd Hansen are already said to be ‘at the very early stage.’ ”

Well, we enjoyed watching this movie and hope they do press on with more from the series.  The prequel on Lloyd Hansen is an interesting take.  He is the antagonist in The Gray Man. We liked his crazy character very much. It would be awesome to get his backstory in a sequel.

And finally, director Joe Russo has been quoted in Variety as saying: If we do continue forward with the story, I can guarantee you that Dhanush’s character will be part of that world moving forward.”  This is great news for us.  We called out Dhanush’s character Lone Wolf in our no-spoiler review of The Gray Man.  His role and Dhanush’s performance were fantastic. [I changed the name here because in the credits he’s called Avik San, but in the closed captioning and in the movie they call him Lone Wolf.]

Blackbird

Some people will finally get a chance to see the Michael Flatley movie Blackbird.  This spy movie has been shrouded in intrigue since it debuted at London’s Raindance Film Festival in 2018. Hollywood reporter.com tells us that at that premier, no journalists were allowed to view it and there were no reviews or audience reactions on Twitter.  Then, like Keyser Söze in The Usual Suspects, it disappeared.

Then, in July 2021, it was the opening night movie at the Monaco Streaming Film Festival.   Oh yeah, and they didn’t stream it. Michael Flatley won the best actor award at the festival for his performance as Blackbird.  He is described as a "troubled, sharply-dressed, James Bond-esque secret agent who retires from the service and seeks solace as the owner of a glamorous nightclub in the Caribbean."

So, why did we start out saying “some people” will get the chance to see it?  Well, they are releasing Blackbird on September 2, 2022, but only in some theaters in Ireland.

So, the intrigue continues.  We hope nobody wanted a return on their investment quickly.  That said, we think this intrigue might set Blackbird up for a huge payday in the future.  If it does well in Ireland and given its mystique, this could just be marketing genius.

Sicario 3

Expected to get the title Sicario: Capos, Sicario 3 is in development.  This is the third movie in the Sicario series.  The cast hasn’t been announced.

In an article on movieweb.com, we’re told that the story will likely pick up from the Sicario: Day of the Soldado, ending.  Black Label Media is the producer and has confirmed that “the movie should enter production this year”.   It also quotes actor Josh Brolin, who has appeared in the previous two installments as saying that the script has been “written and rewritten”.  And, he joked “we may be 80” when they finally do film it.  Given that Brolin is only 54, let’s hope that was a joke.

Mission: Impossible

Ok, so we still have a year to wait for Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part One.  We still can’t believe that’s the title they came up with. Anyway, there are a couple of news items that caught our attention this month:

Tom Cruise Turns 60

Tom Cruise hit his 60th birthday on July 3rd.  That prompted director Christopher McQuarrie to tweet out a fantastic picture of Cruise doing a stunt for Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part Two. Well, maybe it was Part Two.  We’ve also seen an article about this that says it was for Part One.  Either way, check it out.  It is an impressive look at a 60-year-old Cruise still going nuts with his stunts.  You can find it on JoBlo.com 

We don’t think Mickey Rourke and Tom Cruise will be having dinner anytime soon

We’re going to have to sensor this a bit due to the language, but Mickey Rourke lashed out at Tom Cruise on Piers Morgan Uncensored.   Morgan asked Rourke “When you see someone like Tom Cruise, grossing a billion dollars with Top Gun Maverick .. what do you think of that?”

“That doesn’t mean (bleep) to me,” Rourke said about the film’s success. “The guy’s been doing the same effing part for 35 years. … I got no respect for that. … I don’t care about money or power. I care about… when I watch Al Pacino working or Christopher Walken, and De Niro’s early work and Richard Harris’ work and Ray Winstone’s work, that’s the kind of actor I want to be like. …A lot of guys that tried to stretch as actors.”

Piers pressed Rourke and asked him “you don’t think Tom Cruise is a good actor” to which Rourke replied, “I think he’s irrelevant”. 

Wow, coming from a guy who’s had a hit-or-miss career, including one Oscar nomination while Cruise has 3, that is quite a statement. Yeah, we should probably keep these guys apart for a while. You can catch the interview on Twitter.  There is a link to it on Variety.com

Looking Backward

Two articles caught our attention this month looking back at older spy movies.

Austin Powers

In celebrating the 20th anniversary of Austin Powers in Goldmember, Vulture gave us an oral history of Beyonce and her role as Foxxy Cleopatra.  Makeup artist Kate Briscoe gave us some background on the making of one of the movie posters.  Beyonce thought it made her look too skinny.  Brisco said:

“When we were shooting, someone brought her a poster that would be promoting the movie,” Biscoe said. “He showed it to her, like, ‘Do you like it?’ And she was kind of like, ‘Yeah.’ He goes, ‘What’s the matter?’ And she says, ‘You made me too skinny. It’s not me.’ Then she did this hourglass shape. And he said, ‘Okay, we’ll fix that.’”

Briscoe continued, “She walked away to go do the scene, and I looked at him and smiled, like, ‘Is that the first time that you’ve ever had an actress ask to make her body bigger?’ He was like, ‘Yes. It’s going to cost me thousands of dollars, but I am going to do it.’”

We applaud the decision to both change the poster and to tell us about it.  Great job.

True Lies

Ok, this one looks back and forward.  We’ve already told you that there is an upcoming tv series based on the movie True Lies

Well, the movie just hit its 28th anniversary this year is True Lies.  Jamie Lee Curtis starred as Helen, along with Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Jamie Lee recently discussed one of the stunts from the movie.  Namely, the stunt where she hangs off a helicopter in the movie. She credits her stunt double Donna Keegan but says one shot required Curtis to be wired to a helicopter.  The article has a picture from the movie, and one of the stunts being performed.  It’s nice work and it is fun to get a behind-the-scenes look at a very cool scene. You can check it out in this article on Movieweb.com.

In Memorium

Monty Norman

Well, the James Bond family lost a very important member of its history.  Monty Norman passed away at the age of 94.  

Norman created the James Bond theme that was then arranged by John Barry.  There were disputes how much Norman contributed versus John Barry, who orchestrated the Bond theme for the movie.  Yet, Norman is credited with writing it.  He also penned ‘Underneath the Mango Tree’ for Dr. No.

We can’t imagine James Bond without his theme.

James Caan

Probably best remembered for his roles in The Godfather and Misery, the prolific actor James Caan passed away at 82.  Spy movie fans may remember him playing The President in the 2008 movie Get Smart.  Caan also appeared in two episodes of the ‘Get Smart’ tv series in 1969.

Gregory Itzin

Gregory Itzin has passed at the age of 74.  He is most known for his role as President Charles Logan on the television series ‘24’.  He also played Henry Wilcox on the CIA-based tv series 'Covert Affairs'.

David Warner

And finally veteran English actor, David Warner has passed at the age of 80.  Among his 228 IMDB credits, he starred in Titanic and The Omen, and several Star Trek productions .  Spy Movie fans may remember him from the 1992 movie Spies Inc., the 1978 remake of The Thirty Nine Steps,  or Spymaker: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming where Warner played Admiral Godfrey.

So, that’s a wrap!  This has been the July 26, 2022 edition of our Spy Movie News. Please subscribe to our show - Cracking the Code of Spy Movies - in your favorite podcast app and on YouTube.  Tell your friends about us - Share info about our show on your own social media - Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram too!   All the links are on our website.  SpyMovieNavigator.com -  Thanks for listening – we appreciate it!


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Spy Movie News – July 26 2022 – Blackbird, Kingsman 3, Sicario 3, The Gray Man

Learn about what's streaming and in the theater, BLACKBIRD, KINGSMAN 3, THE GRAY MAN 2, SICARIO 3, SPY KIDS and more.

Spy Movie News Article – Sept 1 2020: NO TIME TO DIE., M: I 7, TENET, THE KING’S MAN

Related: Spy Movie News Article – Sept 1 2020: NO TIME TO DIE., M: I 7, TENET, THE KING’S MAN

Contributed by: Spy Movie Navigator

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Here's our September 1st, 2020, edition of Spy Movie News where we are Cracking the Code of Spy Movies with the latest updates on TENET, Mission: Impossible 7, and NO TIME TO DIE,  plus we look at some industry trends.

TENET

  • In breaking news, we have confirmed that TENET did open in England on August 26 and was planned to open in over 20 additional countries on that same date. And it has a scattered release plan through the September 18th release in Japan. It officially opens September 3rd in the United States, but early access showing started August 31st. 
  • Tom Cruise was seen going to the pre-screening of TENET in England, so there you go.
  • Our co-host in the UK, Vicky Hodges saw TENET the day it opened in the UK, August 26th.  We have a no-spoiler podcast out on it, released August 28th. Check it out, here. It's a fun 8 minutes and has no spoilers.
  • Variety.com reports that TENET had a strong opening for the weekend in Europe with box office sales at $53,000,000 for a film that cost $200 million to produce.   They quote Toby Emmerich, Warner Brothers Pictures Group chairman as saying: “We are off to a fantastic start internationally and couldn't be more pleased.”  See Variety.com for the full story. 

 Disney

  • Disney didn't wait to see what would happen with TENET or Disney's own, The New Mutants which they released last weekend. Disney pushed The King’s Man to 2021. 
  • Interestingly, they announced this the day before The New Mutants hit theaters. This does make one wonder if Disney plans to push back Black Widow from its November 6th release.   We're guessing ticket sales for TENET will have a big impact on that decision.
  • It also makes us wonder what 2021's release schedule will look like. Will all the movies that have been pushed to 2021 have an impact on the movies scheduled for later in 2021? Might they be pushed to 2022?  Mission: Impossible 7,  we're staring you down for an answer on this one. 

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 7

  • Here's some Mission: Impossible 7 news.   They suffered a little set back after an expensive motorcycle stunt went wrong. Check cinemablend.com for all the news. A motorcycle stunt went wrong as the bike burst into flames, but the stuntman is OK. but it was a well planned and costly stunt that had been in the works for a long time.  And it is now a financial and time-frame set back for Mission: Impossible 7.  This movie is scheduled for release on November 19th, 2021. Reportedly, Tom Cruise was not too happy about the accident.  See Cinemablend.com again for more details. 
  •  In our August 1st edition of Spy Movie News, we mentioned that Mission: Impossible 7 wanted to blow up a 111-year-old bridge in Poland. Now here is an update.  Writer-director Chris McQuarrie said “Mission: Impossible says they would never harm icons or historical landmarks.  They were looking for a bridge that needed to come down somewhere in the world and they were contacted by Poland.  But never a monument. No historically significant monuments would be destroyed. But there is a possibility that a portion of the bridge which is now unsafe would need to come down. See empireonline.com/movies for more info. The Bottom Line is that Mission: Impossible is acting responsibly and working with Poland on what might be possible. 
  • Screenrant reports that Tom Cruise, a certified helicopter pilot, during a break, landed a helicopter near the 9th hole at a golf course in England so he could grab lunch at the clubhouse. How's that for a stunt? 
  • And here’s another real stunt.  Nme.com reports that Tom Cruise will jump off a motorcycle mid-air for a fabulous action stunt in Mission: Impossible 7.  He's like 160 feet in the air. Photos at Nme.com and also at thesun.co.uk.  #CruiseisCool.

NO TIME TO DIE

Let’s move on to NO TIME TO DIE.
  • From “The Spy Command”,  August 18th, 2020 edition: there hasn't been a whole lot of news for NO TIME TO DIE, but there has been enough to get fans interested. As usual, there are questions. 
  •  You see a lot of licensed product news like the Funko pops and usually, that means that the release is imminent for the film. However, as “The Spy Command” says, who knows if the licensees are really in the know about when the movie will release, so there's still always a question.
  • “The Spy Command” also reports that there was an investor's call by MGM with its investors and the chief operating officer said: “yeah, two releases in 2020 are scheduled, but there is a but, and who knows if these releases will slip.” There is always a but.
  • Indiewire.com reported that if there is another slip for NO TIME TO DIE, it is unlikely that the movie will be pushed to summer 2021.  There have been no EON Productions summer releases since Licence to Kill's release in July 1989.  That movie was not well received great release, coming in 4th at that time. It was the worst opening of any EON Productions Bond film.  So, it’s unlikely that it would be the summer of 2021.
  • Some things that will affect the release, of course, are:
  • worldwide statistics for the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The decisions countries are making concerning theaters opening or not.
  •  Billie Eilish’s recording of the NO TIME TO DIE theme song was a first for James Bond films.  It was recorded at her home studio and not in a traditional recording studio Read all about it at cinemablend.com
  • And also at cinemablend.com: there is a new image of Rami Malek's character, Safin, which was also released on Instagram. Check that out. It's pretty cool.
  • Radiotimes.com reports even this summer that Cary Fukunaga is not tweaking NO TIME TO DIE.  He says he had mentally and emotionally finished the film in the spring of 2020.   Read the full report at Radiotimes.com. 

INDUSTRY NEWS

  • In general news, some companies are moving filming locations to Canada due to COVID-19.  Other venues being looked at are the UK and Australia.  For The Last Duel, Ben Affleck, the producer and star, is doing this. Will we see more of this? Cnbc.com has an article on this topic.   Will this affect planned releases of movies in the fall of 2020?  We will see. 
  • And a belated Happy 90th Birthday to Sean Connery. Our first 007 from Eon Productions, who was also recently voted the best James Bond in a poll by radiotimes.com.  Timothy Dalton came in at #2 in the poll. 
  So that’s it for this edition of Cracking the Code of Spy Movie News.  Be sure to check out our website, SpyMovieNavigator.com, and our podcasts on your favorite podcast app,  we have a YouTube channel too.  Tell your friends about us. We’ll catch you in the next edition of Spy Movie News.  

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Spy Movie News Article – Sept 1 2020:  NO TIME TO DIE., M: I 7, TENET,  THE KING’S MAN

Here's our September 1st, 2020, edition of Spy Movie News where we are Cracking the Code of Spy Movies with the latest updates on TENET, Mission: Impossible 7, and NO TIME TO DIE,  plus we look at some industry trends.

Spy Movie News – Tenet, The King’s Man, Black Widow, & Red Notice – 8/11/2020 Update

Related: Spy Movie News – Tenet, The King’s Man, Black Widow, & Red Notice – 8/11/2020 Update

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Related: Spy Movie News Article for Oct 1 2020 – No Time To Die!

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We have recorded this article as a podcast.  If you want to watch it,  click here. This article will update the status of the movies The King’s Man, Tenet, Black Widow, and Red Notice.  We last talked about these movies in this article from April. We'll also look at a couple of industry changes that will likely have an impact on movie going for the foreseeable future.

Tenet

(currently set for and August -September release depending on the location)

So, let’s start with Tenet.   This is the Christopher Nolan movie which is supposed to be the first tent pole movie released in the US during the pandemic.  What happens here will have ramifications for the industry as a whole. The release has been pushed numerous times as the movie industry is trying to figure out how to release a movie safely during the pandemic and in a manner in which consumers will still go to a theater. According to an article by Tom Brueggmann in Indiewire, the current plan for Tenet is a UK release date of August 26, 2020, and in 50 other territories between the 26th and 28th. China’s release date is still unknown, but the movie has been approved there. It will have a US release on September 3rd in select theaters. Currently, 45 states in the US permit indoor theaters to operate with some restrictions/safety precautions.  Cinemark, Regal, and AMC all have opening dates scheduled by the end of August with wide releases starting on August 21st.   Warner Brothers is re-releasing Inception as well.   From what I’ve read, you should probably watch Inception again before seeing Tenet.  So, as Brueggmann’s article states “even if California and New York couldn’t open and a few other areas besides, more than 80% of the population would still have the potential to see Tenet in an indoor theater.”   We’re eager to see how many people will actually go.  As Seth Rogan said about Tenet in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter: “For a while, it seemed like the answer was to kill his greatest fans,” Rogen told THR. “But that’s not the answer of today, it seems, so that’s good. But we have no idea. We don’t want to be the first to rush into anything.” We here are SpyMovieNavigator are watching this closely.

The King's Man

(Currently set for it's US release in September)

The next spy movie scheduled to be released is The King’s Man, the prequel to earlier Kingsman movies.  This is still scheduled for a September 18, 2020 release date in the US.  We can only imagine that what happens with Tenet will have a huge effect as to whether this date changes. In an article on this prequel on movieweb.com by Jon Fuge,  Director Matthew Vaughan said that this prequel will lay the foundations for Kingsman 3. Vaughan says: "We've put seeds for what's going to happen in Kingsman 3 all the way back into this. And it's going to be very different." So, while The King’s Man is a prequel it is being used to set up Kingsman 3 (this sounds like Star Wars numbering here).   What I would have called Kingsman 3 is this prequel, maybe you can think of it as Kingsman 1?  Thus the 4th Kingsman movie would be Kingsman 3?  My head hurts when they do stuff like this.

INDUSTRY NEWS

In industry news, two big recent announcements may change theatrical releases for a long time, one by Disney and one by AMC and Universal. Will Black Widow be affected by these announcements?

DISNEY WILL RELEASE MULAN ON DISNEY+ AND NOT IN MOST THEATERS

The first is an acknowledgement of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the movie business.  Disney announced last week that Mulan will no longer have its initial release in theaters.  Instead, they will be releasing it on September 3rd on Disney Plus, but not as a regular part of the service.    In addition to the monthly $6.99 Disney Plus monthly subscription price, if you want to see this movie, you can rent it for $29.99. It will be released theatrically in markets in which access to Disney Plus is not available.  That means you can see it in a theater if you are in a country that doesn’t have Disney Plus. Initially, we were surprised by the price point.   However, after doing some research, we think the $30 rental price is a fair price for a family movie.   According to Statista.com, in 2019 the average ticket price at North American movie theaters was $9.16 with AMC coming in higher than that.   Let’s make the math easy and call it $10.00 a ticket.   A family of 3 would spend $30 just to see the movie in a theater, not counting the prices of any food and drink you might get.  So the $30 price point seems reasonable.   Assuming that same number of people who would have gone to the theater buy into this, Disney will make more money than if this was in a theater.   A 2016 article on theweek.com says that US theaters end up paying the studios somewhere around 60% of their proceeds from the box office, up to 90% for a first-run movie.  So to Disney’s bottom line, they would net about the equivalent of just under 5 people going the theater to see the movie at the 60% number. Plus, you need the Disney Plus subscription.  Given the estimate of over $1billion in the expected global box office, this has to really hurt theaters. According to an article in Variety, Disney CEO Bob Chapek says that this is a one-time event.  “We’re looking at Mulan as a one-off as opposed to saying there is some new business windowing model that we’re looking at. “ This quote by Chapek is intriguing as Black Widow was pushed back from May 2020 to November 6, 2020, in the US.  MCU fans are now asking Disney to do the same release to Digital strategy for Black Widow as Disney is doing with Mulan.  We’ll see if the “one-off” is a reality or just too good a deal for Disney to not make part of its release model.

UNIVERSAL AND AMC KISS AND MAKE UP

The second bit of general movie news is that prior to this Disney announcement, Universal and AMC made a deal to try to quell the fears of straight-to-digital killing the movie theater market.  After Universal released Trolls World Tour on digital on the same day as theaters after the pandemic hit, AMC banned Universal movies from its theaters.   This new deal mends that fence. Universal movies will be in AMC theaters exclusively for at least 3 weekends or 17 days, instead of the old model of 70 days.  Universal can keep a movie exclusively in theaters for longer than that, but 17 days is the new minimum.   Movies will hit the digital marketplace much sooner, but AMC can still survive on the new release. An August 4th article on CNBC.com by Sarah Whitten talks about how Cinemark and Regal which combined have more theaters than AMC don’t have, nor do they want this deal AMC struck.  So this might get interesting. It’s also interesting when juxtaposing this news with the Disney news which happened a week later.  First, as we said, a theater may have to pay up to 90% of a first release's box office to the studio.   At 17 days, they won’t be able to make that much profit from the movie before they lose exclusivity.  Now, they may be able to keep the movie in the theater while it’s available on digital . And I assume they’d have to pay Universal much less than 90% once digital becomes competition.  That said, I’d rather see Black Widow, The Kings Man, or No Time To Die on a big screen.  They are visual movies.  So, let’s hope this deal helps theaters stay afloat in these changing market conditions.    Second, with Disney charging for Mulan separate from their subscription pricing, how can movie theaters compete with this?   We’re assuming this “one-off” isn’t going to end up as a one-off and Disney does this more often, and possibly with Black Widow.   How will the movie theater chains react? Times are changing and it is not just because of the pandemic.  The combined effects of digital distribution with the impact of the pandemic are likely to change the movie industry to a large degree. We think the studios want to accelerate the move to digital and the pandemic is giving them the excuse to do so.  So stay tuned, we’ll keep you posted.

RED NOTICE

Finally, the release movie called Red Notice has been pushed to 2021.  It doesn’t have a release date yet. So, there you have the latest news on the current state of spy movies for 2020.  We’ll be shocked if it doesn’t change again with the pandemic. But we hope we get to see at least a couple of these movies this year.

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