‘Glass’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

Read on: Variety.

In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Universal Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Glass.” Ads placed for the superhe…

Kevin Hart-Bryan Cranston Pic ‘The Upside’ Draws Solid $1.1M Thursday Night; ‘Aquaman’ Surfs To $1B WW This Weekend

Read on: Deadline.

STXfilms release of Lantern Entertainment’s The Upside drew $1.1M last night from 7PM shows at 2,460 theaters. The Kevin Hart-Bryan Cranston remake of the French hit $426M-plus grossing film The Intouchables will play at 3,080 locations starting …

‘The Upside’ Opens With $1.1 Million at Thursday Box Office

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“The Upside,” the American remake of “The Intouchables” starring Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart and Nicole Kidman, opened to $1.1 million in Thursday box office previews on 2,460 screens.

The strong number for a January release puts it ahead of Thursday preview numbers for several other recent family comedies, including Mark Wahlberg’s recent “Instant Family,” which brought in $550,000 in an admittedly more crowded holiday release season.

The film from director Neil Burger and released by STXfilms is projected to bring in $10 million this weekend from approximately 3,080 screens with the hope that strong word of mouth might make for a surprise hit in the early weeks of January, but it does hold just a 34 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

By comparison, the similar dramedy “St. Vincent” starring Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy opened to $7.7 million and went on to gross $44 million domestically.

Also Read: ‘The Upside’ Director on ‘Intense’ Bryan Cranston Performance and Being ‘Truthful’ to Disabled Character

“The Upside” is based on a true story and follows the unlikely friendship between a wealthy quadriplegic (Cranston) and an ex-con (Hart) who is hired as his caregiver. The film was originally meant to open in March of 2018 but was delayed as part of The Weinstein Company’s bankruptcy. The film is now being distributed by STXfilms along with the TWC offshoot Lantern Entertainment. It currently has a 40 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

“The Upside” opens opposite holiday releases still holding over, including the Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic “On the Basis of Sex” opening in wider release.

But also releasing this weekend are Columbia Pictures’ family adventure “A Dog’s Way Home” and the Entertainment Studios sci-fi film “Replicas,” starring Keanu Reeves.

“A Dog’s Way Home” earned $535,000 from Thursday night previews starting at 5 PM from 2,657. The film stars Ashley Judd and Edward James Olmos in the story of a dog who goes on a 400-mile journey to reunite with its owner. Releasing on 3,090 screens, the film is projected for a $9-10 million opening against a reported $18 million budget. The film has a 71 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Also Read: Bryan Cranston Calls Playing Disabled Character in ‘The Upside’ a ‘Case of Catch-22’

“Replicas” stars Keanu Reeves as a synthetic biologist who loses his family in a car accident and rebels against both the government and scientific ethics with a desperate experiment to recreate them. The film is projected for a $4-7 million opening and has just an 11 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

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‘A Dog’s Way Home’ Film Review: Doggie Downer Puts Pooch in Peril

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey” is letting out a huge howl right about now. “A Dog’s Way Home,” the latest in the canine-loving cinematic universe (and the follow up to 2017’s scandal-plagued “A Dog’s Purpose”) employs all the same tactics as the 1993 hit family film: the adorable-sounding narrator, a pet’s love for their human so deep that they journey through perilous environments in hopes of being reunited, and the intermingling stories of those they come across while trying to get back home. But “Homeward Bound” made it enjoyable.

Bella (voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard) is born a stray. She lives in a happy coexistence — with her littermates, mother, and a cat with her own litter of kittens — under the rubble of an abandoned house, until Animal Control shows up and rips her family away. Mama Cat takes Bella in as her own, even nursing her until a human named Lucas (Jonah Hauer-King, TV’s “Howards End”) discovers the lone pup and quickly falls in love with her.

Along with his Army veteran mother Terri (Ashley Judd), he raises Bella, who quickly becomes an unofficial support dog not just for Terri but also for the other veterans that Lucas works with at a Denver VA hospital. The ornery landowner of the vacant site, having been irked by Lucas one too many times, sics Denver Animal Control on Bella, who is half pit bull and thus in danger of being euthanized, as pit bulls are illegal there.

Also Read: ‘The Upside’ to Lead Quiet Box Office Otherwise Dominated by Holiday Holdovers

Lucas’ girlfriend Olivia (Alexandra Shipp, “Love, Simon”) arranges for a family member to care for the dog until Lucas and Terri can move outside of the city limits, where Bella will be safe. Unfortunately, Olivia’s relatives live over 400 miles away. And since Bella doesn’t understand — and she can’t bear to be apart from Lucas — she runs off in an effort to go home.

As a dog owner and a mother, I’m usually easy picking for films like these, but instead, I found myself watching scenes in horror. Sure, the narration is adorable, and there are the cute moments you expect in a movie about our canine besties. But almost nothing outside of the narration lends itself to being family-friendly. For example, at certain point in the film, Bella is chained to a dead homeless man. Yes, you read that correctly: A DOG. IS CHAINED. TO A DEAD MAN.

Also Read: Viral ‘Singing Veterinarian’ and His Family’s Practice Land Animal Planet Show (Exclusive)

I am not sure if any of the filmmakers have ever had young children, but imagine how many parents will have to explain that scene to their sobbing five-year-olds on their way home from the theater. And that’s one of the less horrifying moments.

Several choices made me wonder what, exactly, director Charles Martin Smith (“Air Bud,” “Dolphin Tale”) had in mind, and what kind of film he thought he was making. The movie takes place between New Mexico and Colorado, and is about a dog’s journey through those environs to find his way home, yet not once is the audience truly given a chance to take in the gorgeous landscape of the area. A sense of the natural grandeur might emphasize just how incredible a journey Bella is tackling in the name of love. It’s only through the narration (and the change of seasons) that viewers learn that Bella has been missing for over two years, something that neither the people she encounters nor the circumstances she survives even hint at.

Watch Video: Brian Tyree Henry Reunites With ‘Widows’ Canine Co-Star Olivia the Dog

There’s also the odd choice of CGI, specifically for a cougar that Bella befriends in her travels. Yes, using a real cougar would have posed many dangers on set, but the CGI is so poor, the close-ups of “Big Kitten” look like a Chuck E Cheese reject. There’s a specific scene that should have been “awww” inducing, but the clunky animation strips away any possible cuteness and strands the moment in the uncanny valley.

Putting a dog in crisis might seem like an easy way to create a great story, but in a family film, featuring a helpless canine in constant peril plays as emotionally manipulative and, frankly, slightly traumatizing. “A Dog’s Way Home” is a joyless jaunt that offers an adorable canine star and not much else.



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‘The Upside’ to Lead Quiet Box Office Otherwise Dominated by Holiday Holdovers

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

With still one more week to go until the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and the release of Universal’s “Glass,” the January box office is expected to be relatively quiet in its second weekend. Despite the release of three new films, ticket sales will be mostly driven by holiday holdovers.

The film expected to be the top new release in this frame is STX/Lantern Entertainment’s “The Upside,” an American remake of the 2011 French film “Intouchables” starring Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart. The film was supposed to be released in March of last year, but was postponed after its original distributor, The Weinstein Company, filed for bankruptcy after multiple people accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual abuse.

Also Read: Bryan Cranston Calls Playing Disabled Character in ‘The Upside’ a ‘Case of Catch-22’

This past August, Lantern Entertainment, the label created after Lantern Capital purchased TWC’s assets, struck a partnership with STX to distribute the film. Releasing on approximately 3,080 screens, the dramedy is projected for a $10 million opening.

“The Upside” stars Hart as an ex-convict who charms his way into a job as caretaker for a paralyzed billionaire played by Cranston, with the two forming an unlikely friendship. Nicole Kidman also stars in the film, which is directed by Neil Burger from a script by Jon Hartmere. Early reviews have been mixed, with a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 58 percent.

Also releasing this weekend are Columbia Pictures’ family drama “A Dog’s Way Home” and the Entertainment Studios sci-fi film “Replicas.” “A Dog’s Way Home” stars Ashley Judd and Edward James Olmos in the story of a dog who goes on a 400-mile journey to reunite with its owner. Releasing on 3,090 screens, the film is projected for a $9-10 million opening against a reported $18 million budget.

Also Read: STXFilms Lands Global Rights to Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston Film ‘The Upside’ From Lantern Entertainment

“Replicas” stars Keanu Reeves as a synthetic biologist who loses his family in a car accident and rebels against both the government and scientific ethics with a desperate experiment to recreate them. The film is projected for a $4-7 million opening, and does not yet have a Rotten Tomatoes score.

This weekend will also see a nationwide expansion of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic “On the Basis of Sex,” which stars Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer and is being distributed by Focus Features. Opening in limited release on Christmas Day, the film is currently on 112 screens and has grossed $3.8 million. That includes $1.6 million this past weekend, or a per screen average of $14,370.

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Sony Dates Trio For 2019: ‘Miss Bala’, ‘A Dog’s Way Home’ & ‘The Crow’

Read on: Deadline.

Sony has just RSVPed the following release dates:
A Dog’s Way Home starring Ashley Judd, Alexandra Shipp, Wes Studi and Edward James Olmos will open on Jan. 11, 2019. Charles Martin Smith directs from W. Bruce Cameron’s script about a dog that travels 400 miles from its owner. Pic is booked on a very crowded weekend with 20th Century Fox’s Ad Astra, Lionsgate’s Hellboy reboot and Paramount’s What Men Have starring Taraji P. Henson.
The English reboot of Mexican pic Miss Ba…

Barry Watson Joins Ashley Judd In Sony’s ‘A Dog’s Way Home’

Read on: Deadline.

EXCLUSIVE: 7th Heaven alum Barry Watson has come aboard opposite Ashley Judd in Sony’s faith-based film,  A Dog’s Way’s Home, which Charles Martin Smith will direct.
Based on the best selling book by W. Bruce Cameron, who also wrote the screenplay with Cathryn Michon,  the story follows Bella, a dog who embarks on an epic 400-mile journey home after she is separated from her beloved human, Lucas, an aspiring med student and VA hospital volunteer. Bella touches the lives…

Ashley Judd, Edward James Olmos to Star in ‘A Dog’s Way Home’

Read on: Variety.

Ashley Judd and Edward James Olmos are starring in Sony’s “A Dog’s Way Home,” alongside Wes Studi, Alexandra Shipp, and Jonah Hauer-King. Charles Martin Smith will direct from a script adapted by W. Bruce Cameron and his wife from Cameron’s best-selling book. Gavin Polone will produce in a re-teaming with Cameron, who also authored “A Dog’s Purpose” […]

Ashley Judd To Star In Sony’s ‘A Dog’s Way Home’ From ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ Scribes

Read on: Deadline.

Ashley Judd has been tapped to star in the faith-based film A Dog’s Way’s Home, which hails from Sony and has Dolphin Tale and Air Bud helmer Charles Martin Smith attached to direct. Edward James Olmos, Wes Studi, Alexandra Shipp, and Jonah Hauer-King will also co-star. It’s based on the bestselling book by W. Bruce Cameron who, along with his wife and A Dog’s Purpose co-writer Cathryn Michon, wrote the screenplay for this film.
In addition, production is said to have…