Michael Engler’s Downton Abbey (2019) exceeded box office projections for its opening weekend, raking in three times its production budget as well as outperforming Adrian Grunberg’s Rambo: Last Blood (2019) and James Gray’s Ad Astra (2019), according to CNN. Showrunner Julian Fellowes did not plan on writing a big-screen adaptation of ITV’s Downton Abbey (2010-2015) until producer Gareth Neame started developing it after the series ended, and Engler approached the movie as though it were the show, just with greater resources. Neame says a cinematic franchise is in the works, and Fellowes is waiting to see how the first film fares.
The fifty-seventh New York Film Festival began Friday at Lincoln Center, and before it ends October 13, more than a hundred fifty movies will play, with many American and New York premieres for top prize winners from Cannes, Berlin, and Venice, according to CBS News. In addition, panel discussions, filmmakers workshops, revivals, and free screenings will take place. These sidebars include: a catalogue of documentary features; the “Secret Screening” (Josh and Benny Safdie’s Uncut Gems (2019)); “Projections,” a slate of experimental and short pictures; “Convergence,” interactive and virtual reality; a screenwriting masterclass by Olivier Assayas; and a celebration for the centennial anniversary of the American Society of Cinematographers.
Rocky Lang and film historian Barbara Hall have edited and compiled the new book Letters from Hollywood: Inside the Private World of Classic American Moviemaking, a collection of written correspondences between classical stars, according to NPR. Hall says the documents humanize the artists who wrote them, and filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich, who penned the foreword, says this publication is more historical than it is an invasion of privacy. Ingrid Bergman, Katharine Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich, Audrey Hepburn, Bette Davis, Hattie McDaniel, as well as Henry Fonda are among the authors found in the text, writing to everyone from Ernest Hemingway to George Cukor to Jack Warner to Hedda Hopper to William Wyler.
This weekend, Ansel Elgort took to Instagram to challenge the critics who made John Crowley’s The Goldfinch (2019) one of the worst-reviewed releases of the year, inspiring fans to flood Letterboxd with enough four-star reviews to raise its score, according to IndieWire. Not only has the film’s word-of-mouth underperformed, the adaptation of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel has also been a box office nightmare for Warner Bros., dropping seventy-one percent its second weekend in theaters. While praising the reviewers for their writing, Elgort dismisses their articles as one-sided, saying audiences (and his mother) still enjoy the movie despite its flaws.
As part of a Variety profile published Tuesday about Norman Lear, the executive producer behind Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride (1987), Sony Pictures Entertainment chief executive Tony Vinciquerra says a reboot of the film may be in the works, according to NBC News. Cary Elwes, who stars as Westley, tweeted his condemnation against the idea, calling the classic a “perfect” movie, and so did Jaime Lee Curtis (whose husband, Christopher Guest, plays Count Tyrone Rugen), saying “there is only ONE The Princess Bride.” So many other celebrities as well as fans have followed suit, the backlash topped Twitter’s trending topics.
As part of the Tel Aviv Polish Institute and the Polish Adam Mickiewicz Institute’s “Polish Zoom” film festival this month and next, Wanda Jakubowska’s The Last Stage (1947) is screening in Israel Sunday night seventy years after it debuted there, according to Haaretz. It is the first feature-length picture about the Holocaust, shot on location at Auschwitz, and the filmmaker, scriptwriter, and many cast members – all women – were camp survivors. As ahead of its time as the movie is with its intersectional feminism, though, it is still a Stalinist propaganda piece, sanitizing the Soviet war criminals into warriors of liberation.
Roland Emmerich’s Midway (2019), written by Wes Tooke and starring Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Aaron Eckhart, Nick Jonas, Darren Criss, Mandy Moore, Dennis Quaid, as well as Woody Harrelson, dropped a new trailer Thursday, according to Rolling Stone. The cast of characters are mostly real-world military officers, and the World War II blockbuster will detail the Battle of Midway, a Pacific Theater defense of the American West Coast from the Japanese Imperial Navy after Pearl Harbor which marked a turning point during the conflict. The film is scheduled for a Veterans Day weekend release from Lionsgate, November 8.