Monday Movie Report: Affleck to direct historical drama

Ben Affleck is returning to the director’s chair for a new drama based on real events.

According to Deadline Hollywood, Affleck will helm “King Leopold’s Ghost,” a movie about King Leopold II of Belgium who plundered the Congo in the late 1800s. Along with Affleck, the creative team includes Farhad Safinia, who previously wrote “Apocalypto.”

As a director, Affleck won a Golden Globe for “Argo.” That film also went on to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

Deadline reports that the script will be based on the book “King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa” by Adam Hochschild. The book, and the movie when it comes out, will be set during a time when European nations were colonizing Africa and exploiting its people and natural resources.

In its report, Deadline states Leopold gained private ownership of the Congo Free State and created a mercenary army to force locals to collect rubber and ivory to build his fortune. Deadline reports that nearly 8 million were killed as a result.

Affleck’s most recent movie was 2016’s “Live By Night.” According to Deadline, Affleck has a passion for the subject of his latest project, as he founded the Eastern Congo Initiative, which works on economic and social development.

Affleck is already directing on two other projects, including a World War II drama titled “Ghost Army” and a crime film called ‘Witness for the Prosecution.” Deadline also reports that Affleck is teaming up with his friend Matt Damon on a true story film project about a former police officer who rigged the McDonald’s Monopoly game and steals $24 million.

At the box office this weekend, it was the sequel to Disney’s smash hit “Frozen” dominating ticket sales. “Frozen II” earned $127 million, ahead of the original which earned $67 million in its opening weekend. Coming in second was “Ford v Ferrari” with $16 million.

The full top five was:
1. Frozen II – $127,000,000
2. Ford v Ferrari – $16,000,000
3. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – $13,500,000
4. 21 Bridges – $9,300,000
5. Midway – $4,700,000

For the upcoming weekend, new releases include the mystery “Knives Out” and the crime drama “Queen & Slim.”

On the small screen, meanwhile, releases this week are:

  • Angel Has Fallen, my rating: 3.8 out of 5, Large Association of Movie Blogs rating: 2.81 out of 5, Rotten Tomatoes rating: 39%, MetaCritic rating: 45.
  • Where’d You go Bernadette, my rating: 1 out of 5, Large Association of Movie Blogs rating: 2.69 out of 5, Rotten Tomatoes rating: 48%, MetaCritic rating: 51.
  • Don’t Let go, Rotten Tomatoes rating: 39%, MetaCritic rating: 49.
  • Official Secrets, Rotten Tomatoes rating: 83%, MetaCritic rating: 63.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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