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WIRE Buzz: Eli Roth’s new all-female thriller; Rare Pokémon & Magic card bidding battle

By Benjamin Bullard
Eli Roth via Getty Images | Alberto E. Rodriguez 2019

After a whitewater rafting accident leaves them stranded and alone, four women are forced to face what’s in the woods: No, it’s not the sequel to Bird Box; it’s The River at Night — an upcoming survival adventure movie with horror undertones from Eli Roth and Kevin Williamson.

Deadline reports that Roth is hoping to direct the movie, based on the well-received 2017 novel of the same name by Erica Ferencik. Roth, who’s already explored the horrors of group dynamics in Cabin Fever (2003) and Hostel (2006), said he was intrigued by the book’s “clash of culture” backdrop that forces the four personalities to work together to survive and prevail against the horrific unknown.

“I’ve always been drawn to these clash-of-culture movies like Cabin Fever and Hostel, where they go for an adventure and everything turns against them and we see what they’re made of,” Roth told Deadline. “The book is fun, and it’s a smart thriller.”

Picking up the pieces after a divorce and a loved one’s recent death, Wini, the book’s protagonist, agrees to leave her problems behind and go on a gonzo rafting trip with her three best friends in the Maine wilderness. But once they’ve had just enough fun for things to go wrong, things do go very wrong — and making contact with the only human presence they can find in the forest is about to make everything much, much worse.

With Roth and Williamson (The Vampire Diaries, I Know What You Did Last Summer) producing, and feature film newcomer Melanie Toast on board as a screenwriter, there’s no early word on when The River at Night could arrive in theaters. In the meantime, don’t go out in the woods alone.

What’s the biggest sacrifice you made as a kid (or, ahem, as an adult) to land that rare Pokémon card kit that could change your whole training game? If it’s more than the record-breaking $78,000 that someone paid for a sealed, 1999-issue Pokémon First Edition Base Set Sealed Booster Box, it’s a tale we’d definitely love to hear.

Rare cards from both Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering ended up netting close to $300,000 late last month at Heritage Auctions’ Comics & Comic Art Auction in Dallas. The $78,000 bid for the Pokémon pack, says Heritage, set a new record as the auction’s single most expensive RPG item ever sold.

Pokemon First Edition Base Set Sealed Booster Box via Heritage Auctions
Magic The Gathering Beta Edition Black Lotus via Heritage Auctions

In all, 12 Pokémon lots and 25 Magic lots combined to fetch $294,858 at the Feb. 21-23 event, with five different Magic cards (we’re talking solo cards, not sets here) also netting five-figure bids, led by the $26,400 Magic: The Gathering Beta Edition Black Lotus (a different Black Lotus card just sold for $166,000 on eBay!).

The Pokémon First Edition Base Set was expected to command a winning bid in the $50,000 range, but a bidding war erupted to push the price far higher. The set includes 36 unopened packs of 11 cards apiece, and — as is usually the case with rare collectibles — it was all about bragging rights to catch an exclusive, and elusive, piece of Pokémon history.

“The demand for this set was very high, because it is from the first edition from the first set,” said Heritage Auctions Vice President Lon Allen. “Adding to the intrigue is the mystery about which cards are in each pack, because each pack inside the set is unopened.”

The enticement to take a gamble on the unknown is exactly the same motivation that compelled some of us to trade that rare Shining Charzard for some kid’s unopened Pokémon pack back in the day, so perhaps it’s only natural that fans with some real money are still trying to catch ‘em all. But it’s got to be hard to resist the urge, two decades after their release, to just go ahead open those mysterious, pristine packs.