SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP have met twice this week, resuming contract talks on Tuesday and then meeting for five hours on Thursday after a day off for SAG to assess the AMPTP’s latest offer. Talks should resume today (Friday), but at this point, we can probably expect them to continue into early November, at least.
One interesting development is that Matt Belloni shared an open letter signed by 4,000 SAG-AFTRA members that was sent to the negotiating committee, urging them to stay the course and not accept a bad deal, just as high-profile members like George Clooney and Ben Affleck have requested that the two sides come to a deal soon, so that production can resume. You can read that open letter here.
An open letter signed by 4,000 SAG-AFTRA members just went live telling the negotiating committee to stay the course and not cave for a bad deal. A direct response to pressure being applied by high-earning members like Clooney/Affleck/etc. https://t.co/EK43fXSPze
— Matthew Belloni (@MattBelloni) October 27, 2023
Universal Pictures and Blumhouse has released its latest collaboration, a horror movie based on the Five Nights at Freddy’s video games, into 3,650 theaters today, with previews on Thursday night that brought in $10.3 million. That is huge, and it’s a solid kick-off to a movie that should win the Halloween weekend box office with upwards of $55 million, probably even over $60 million.
Check back on Monday morning to see how well it fared against Martin Scorsese‘s Killers of the Flower Moon and Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour. In the meantime, you can also read J. Don Birnam‘s review over on Below the Line — it’s not pretty.
Possibly related to the ongoing strikes, Paramount+ cancelled its Fatal Attraction reboot series, starring Lizzy Caplan and Joshua Jackson, as well as Kiefer Sutherland‘s drama, Rabbit Hole, both which only ran for a single season.
Variety broke the story that Ben Whishaw from the James Bond movies and Sarah Lancashire (Happy Valley) are joining Keira Knightley‘s spy thriller series, Black Doves, for Netflix. Created by showrunner Joe Barton (The Lazarus Project), a tagline for the series has also been shared:
A story of friendship and sacrifice, “Black Doves” is set during Christmastime in London. It revolves around Helen Webb (Knightley), a politician’s wife, doting mother — and professional spy. For years, Helen has been passing on her husband’s secrets to the Black Doves, the shadowy organization for whom she works. But when her lover Jason is assassinated, Helen’s life is turned upside down and only her old friend Sam Young (Whishaw) can keep her safe.
Helen and Sam set out to discover who killed Jason and why. But Sam, a suave, champagne-drinking assassin, also has problems of his own. Out of the game since his last job went wrong, he soon realizes his past is coming back to haunt him.
Lancashire plays Helen’s “spymaster” Reed with others in the cast including Andrew Buchan (Carnival Row), Omari Douglas (It’s A Sin), Andrew Koji (Warrior), Kathryn Hunter (Andor), Sam Troughton (Chernobyl), Ella Lily Hyland (Fifteen Love), Adam Silver (The Diplomat), Ken Nwosu (Look the Other Way and Run), and Gabrielle Creevy (In My Skin).
For fans of international cinema and arthouse films, 76-year-old Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien has announced his retirement from filmmaking as he battles the horrendous Alzheimer’s Disease that afflicts so many of our elderly loved ones before they’re taken from us. The filmmaker’s career began in 1980 with the feature film, Cute Girl, and has led to directing 19 features, the most recent one being The Assassin, which won the filmmaker a Best Director award at Cannes in 2015. That film was also submitted by Taiwan as its Oscar selection that year, but it wasn’t even shortlisted. Previous films A City of Sadness (1989) and Flowers of Shanghai (1998) were also submitted but didn’t reach the nomination phase. A favorite of film festivals and cinephiles alike, it’s going to be sad that this filmmaker’s career has come to an end so suddenly and tragically.
Since this is a slightly lighter edition, here are a few things that hit our sister site, Below the Line, this past week you might be interested in reading:
We’ll wrap up this installment with the 2nd trailer for Bradley Cooper‘s Maestro, one of this year’s great movies that more people will be seeing over the next few months. You can read my own “A” review out of the 61st New York Film Festival over at Below the Line.