Cinema Chat: Amazon Buys MGM, 'A Quiet Place Part II' And 'Cruella' Opening In Ann Arbor

May 27, 2021

The Michigan Theater
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

We're heading for an extra-long, holiday weekend, so why not catch a good flick? On this week's "Cinema Chat," WEMU's David Fair gets in touch with Michigan Theater Foundation executive director Russ Collins to talk about the latest movie news and the new and classic films available to you on the big screens this Memorial Day weekend.


"SINGIN' IN THE RAIN" AND "THE WIZARD OF OZ" ARE NOT PART OF THE AMAZON DEAL

Here’s why MGM has a long history of mergers and acquisitions revolving around its library.

With its $8.45 billion deal to buy MGM, Amazon will stock Prime Video with the studio’s cache of 4,000 movies and 17,000 hours of television. It’s a huge library, but notably absent are some of MGM’s most iconic films, including “The Wizard of Oz,” and “Singin’ in the Rain." Those titles — and all other MGM movies made before 1986 — belong to WarnerMedia.

In 1986, Ted Turner made a series of deals that resulted in Turner Broadcasting taking ownership of all prior MGM films. Not unlike Amazon, he wanted the films for programming his growing cable empire and the library became one of the pillars that built Turner Classic Movies. Today, WarnerMedia owns what was Turner Broadcasting, including TCM and the MGM library.

Regardless of those missing Hollywood classics, MGM’s library has always been key to its appeal. The late Kirk Kerkorian bought MGM’s assets three times over 35 years. Kerkorian bought United Artists and its library in 1981 and merged it with post 1986 MGM films, with the James Bond film franchise as its crown jewel. In 1997, MGM bought Metromedia’s Orion Pictures, Goldwyn Entertainment, and Motion Picture Corporation of America, primarily for their 2,000-title library that includes “The Silence of the Lambs,” “Sid and Nancy,” and “Dumb and Dumber.” In 1997, MGM bought PolyGram’s library which includes “The Graduate” and “Fargo.” Creating a product library so large that it represented more than half of the Hollywood studio films produced since 1948.

 

ICYMI: CONCESSIONS OPEN AT ALL SCREENINGS AT THE MICHIGAN THEATER AND STATE THEATRE!

To butter or not to butter? The choice is back at the Michigan and State!

At this time, masks will still be required at all times that you’re not in your seat enjoying your movie snacks and beverages.

OPENING DOWNTOWN

"A Quiet Place Part II" -- OPENS FRIDAY, MAY 28 AT THE STATE

A 2020 American horror film and the sequel to the 2018 film, both of which follow a family that is forced to navigate and survive in a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by blind monsters with an acute sense of hearing. The sequel was written and directed by John Krasinski under the studio Paramount Pictures. Emily BluntMillicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe reprise their roles from the first film, and Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou joined the cast. Krasinski also returns from the first film in a small role, seen in flashback sequences set before the first film.

"The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It" -- OPENS FRIDAY, JUNE 4 AT THE STATE

This thriller reveals a chilling story of murder and unknown evil that shocked even experienced real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. One of the most sensational cases from their files, it starts with a fight for the soul of a young boy, then takes them beyond anything they’d ever seen before, to mark the first time in U.S. history that a murder suspect would claim demonic possession as a defense. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson return to star as Lorraine and Ed Warren, under the direction of Michael Chaves (“The Curse of La Llorona”). The film also stars Ruairi O’Connor (Starz’ “The Spanish Princess”), Sarah Catherine Hook (Hulu’s “Monsterland”) and Julian Hilliard (the series “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels” and “The Haunting of Hill House”).

"In the Heights" -- OPENS FRIDAY, JUNE 11 AT THE MICHIGAN

This is an upcoming American musical drama film directed by Jon M. Chu from a screenplay by Quiara Alegría Hudes. It is based on the stage musical of Lin-Manuel Miranda. The film stars Anthony RamosCorey HawkinsLeslie GraceMelissa BarreraOlga MeredizDaphne Rubin-VegaGregory Diaz IV, and Jimmy Smits.

Lights up on Washington Heights... The scent of a cafecito caliente hangs in the air just outside of the 181st Street subway stop, where a kaleidoscope of dreams rallies this vibrant and tight-knit community. At the intersection of it all is the likeable, magnetic bodega owner Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), who saves every penny from his daily grind as he hopes, imagines and sings about a better life.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS DOWNTOWN

This Week's Classic Films Coming Soon to the Michigan

Classic Films Coming Soon to the Michigan

 

CONTINUING DOWNTOWN

 

"The Dry"

An Australian mystery drama thriller directed by Robert Connolly, from a screenplay by Connolly and Harry Cripps, and starring Eric BanaGenevieve O'ReillyKeir O'Donnell, and John Polson is based on the 2016 book of the same name by Jane Harper. Aaron Falk returns to his drought-stricken hometown to attend a tragic funeral. But his return opens a decades-old wound - the unsolved death of a teenage girl.

"Dream Horse" 

Experience the inspiring true story of Dream Alliance, an unlikely racehorse bred by small town bartender Jan Vokes (Toni Collette). With very little money and no experience, Jan convinces her neighbors to chip in their meager earnings to help raise Dream and compete with the racing elites. Their investment pays off as Dream rises through the ranks and becomes a beacon of hope in their struggling community.

"The Truffle Hunters"

Deep in the forests of Piedmont, Italy, a handful of men, seventy or eighty years young, hunt for the rare and expensive white Alba truffle—which to date has resisted all of modern science's efforts at cultivation. They're guided by a secret culture and training passed down through generations, as well as by the noses of their cherished and expertly-trained dogs. They live a simpler, slower way of life, in harmony with their loyal animals and their picture-perfect land, seemingly straight out of a fairy tale. They're untethered to cell phone screens or the Internet, opting instead to make their food and drink by hand and prioritizing in-person connections and community.

The demand for white truffles increases year after year, even as the supply decreases. As a result of climate change, deforestation, and the lack of young people taking up the mantle, the truffle hunters' secrets are more coveted than ever. However, as it soon becomes clear, these aging men may just hold something much more valuable than even this prized delicacy: the secret to a rich and meaningful life.

OPENING AT THE MULTIPLEX

 

"Cruella"

 

Academy Award winner Emma Stone ("La La Land") stars in an all-new live-action feature film about the rebellious early days of one of cinemas most notorious - and notoriously fashionable - villains, Cruella de Vil. The film, which is set in 1970s London amidst the punk rock revolution, follows a young grifter named Estella, a clever and creative girl determined to make a name for herself with her designs. She befriends a pair of young thieves who appreciate her appetite for mischief, and, together, they are able to build a life for themselves on the London streets. One day, Estella's flair for fashion catches the eye of the Baroness von Hellman, a fashion legend who is devastatingly chic and terrifyingly haute, played by two-time Oscar winner Emma Thompson ("Howards End," "Sense & Sensibility"). But their relationship sets in motion a course of events that will cause Estella to embrace her wicked side and become the raucous, fashionable and revenge-bent Cruella.

 

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu