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Ice Cube to Play Scrooge In Latest ‘Christmas Carol’ Reboot ‘Humbug’

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A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Alastair Sim, 1951

Photo by Everett/REX Shutterstock

Photo by Everett/REX Shutterstock

Deadline Hollywood first reported and Variety confirmed that Universal Pictures has won a bidding war for the script Humbug, which will be a modern take on the timeless Charles Dickens story, A Christmas Carol.

The movie, it is widely reported, will star gansta rap icon Ice Cube in the title role. He will play a crusty mega-wealthy humbug who is visited by three ghosts representing his past, present and future.

Reports also say that Ice Cube is about to break into the big time as a bonafide A-List Hollywood star by signing an eight-figure contract (at least $10 million) to do the film.

Ice Cube is coming off a string of successful ventures. The biopic about the N.W.A, Straight Outta Compton, was the No. 1 domestic draw for three consecutive weekends and has grossed more than $156 million to date.

The rapper has found a solid niche in Hollywood, playing more bark than bite grouchy characters, such as Captain Ice CubeDickson in the film 21 Jump Street and Detective James Payton in the comedy Ride Along. To date, he has had roles in at least 35 feature films.

The new Scrooge comes from a screenplay written by Todd R. Jones and Earl Ritchey Jones that was purchased by Relativity Media. But the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this year, which meant the script was up for grabs.

Humbug, as it stands, also has a director on board: Tim Story, who worked with Ice Cube in the first Barbershop film and in Ride Along. The two are currently working together on Ride Along 2. A third sequel for Barbershop is also in production, but Story is not directing that one.

We shall see what the rapper can do with the character based on Ebeneezer Scrooge, the miserly grump in the Charles Dickens novella — perhaps the world’s most recognizable curmudgeon.

He is also one of the more bankable characters in Hollywood history. Scrooge has resurfacing over the years in animation, in straight remakes of the Dicken’s story and dozens, if not hundreds, of spin-offs.

Matthew McConaughey re-invented the role, playing Conner “Dutch” Mead, a fashion photographer who had become overly cynical (and famously successful) with his love life in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009). The role was also done by Bill Murray playing a mean-spirited television executive named Frank Cross in the 1988 comedy Scrooged.

But if you like London in the dreary, old days, there are many versions of A Christmas Carol on film that hold to the original story line. The character, who hates Christmas and whose most famous line is simply, “Bah-humbug!” has been played by Lionel and John Barrymore, Orson Welles, John Caradine, Fredric March, Basil Rathbone, Michael Caine, James Earle Jones, Walter Matthau, Jack Parlance, Tim Curry, Patrick Stewart and Jim Carrey, just to name a few of those listed in a Wikipedia entry on the character.

It was also done famously by children’s book author Dr. Seuss with The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. A classic in its own right, the book tells the story of the very Scrooge-like Grinch who steals all the Christmas presents in Whoville, before undergoing a tearful change of heart.

Izzy

Movie Magic: The De-Aging Technique of The Irishman

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Robert DeNiro de-agedHave you read Izzy yet? If so, you know that Izzy makes the apples that give the Gods their youth and immortality. It also seems Robert De Niro discovered one of Izzy’s apples too… In Martin Scorsese’s upcoming biographical film, he stars as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a labor union leader and alleged hitman for the Bufalino crime family. The trailer for the movie, which will premieres NEXT WEEK (!), also features a “de-aged” De Niro. “We’re so used to watching them as the older faces,” Scorsese said in an interview on the A24 podcast. “Does it change the eyes at all? …If that’s the case, what was in the eyes that I liked? Was it intensity? Was it gravitas? Was it threat?…How do we get that? I don’t know.” Some might consider this magic and I for one can’t wait to see the impact of Izzy’s apples on screen for myself. ????

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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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