It’s officially Halloween season, and there’s stuff going on!
In this week’s “So, let’s do the math…” story, James Cameron is FINALLY getting started on his Avatar sequels.
Yes, production has started on Avatar 2 – and Avatar 3 and 4 AND Avatar 5. Yep, he’s shooting all FOUR of the sequels simultaneously, which is a first. Peter Jackson shot all three The Lord of the Rings films together, but this is four, so that should be a logistical joyride.
And these films, collectively, will cost one billion dollars. That’s about $ 250 million each, which is about normal for a big tentpole blockbuster film. And Cameron first Avatar has made a whopping $ 2.788 billion dollars to date. No other film has come within a billion of that. So, the studio figures it’ll see a return on their investment.
I have to wonder if they will. Avatar 2 releases December 18, 2020. Avatar 3 is scheduled for December 17, 2021, the 4 on December 20, 2024, and 5 on December 19, 2025. That’s a long time for people to continue to be interested in Avatar movies. I’m already not interested. Good luck, James!
In this week’s “It returns” story, the sequel to It has a release date: September 6, 2019.
Since its debut in September, the film adaptation of Stephen King’s book has shattered numerous records, including becoming the top-grossing horror film of all time, not adjusting for inflation.
The Exorcist, released in 1973, made $233 million in North America and $441.3 million worldwide, but the domestic portion swells to $917.5 million when adjusting for inflation.
It has earned $266.1 million domestically and $478.1 million globally to date. The R-rated pic has roused the box office back to life after a brutal August and tough summer, as well as fueling record September revenue in North America.
Gary Dauberman, one of the screenwriters on It, has quietly closed a deal to pen the screenplay for the follow-up, while director Andy Muschietti is waiting in the wings to return as well. Producers Barbara Muschietti, Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg are also expected to return for the sequel.
In this week’s “Black leather and vinyl, and blue lightbulbs” story, Len Wisemans’s Underworld TV series is still alive and happening. At least according to Wiseman, anyway.
Wiseman first mentioned a possible Underworld TV series in 2014, later reaffirming in 2016 that the project was still going to happen. “[T]here’s been a lot of conversations and even development on what that series would be,” Wiseman said at the time. “It’s really appropriate for television, in terms of how those characters can really tie in, but also become something new. It’s really an attractive space. I don’t want to put a date on it because then that’s going to be printed and it might not happen in that time frame, but it is a thought.”
Now Wiseman is back at it, telling Deadline that the Underworld TV series is finally moving forward. “The series will be a pretty big departure from the films,” the director said. “I don’t want to say it’s more adult, but it’s definitely less comic book in its tone and character.” A “pretty big departure from the films” could mean a lot of things, and give Wiseman and company a lot of freedom to run wild with the material without being too beholden to the film franchise.
This could obviously be good or bad. The last film, Underworld: Blood Wars, was really mediocre, but this is one of those franchises with a built-in audience. There’s going to be a percentage of people watching no matter what.
In this week’s “The Bride will have to wait” story, Universal has decided, along with director Bill Condon, to remove their Bride of Frankenstein movie from it’s release schedule.
Yes, Bill Condon is still directing the film, a remake of the 1935 classic in which Javier Bardem is expected to play Frankenstein’s monster. Angelina Jolie is in talks to star. Mission: Impossible scribe David Koepp is penning the screenplay.
“After thoughtful consideration, Universal Pictures and director Bill Condon have decided to postpone Bride of Frankenstein,” the studio said in a statement. “None of us want to move too quickly to meet a release date when we know this special movie needs more time to come together. Bill is a director whose enormous talent has been proven time and again, and we all look forward to continuing to work on this film together.”
Condon recently spoke about the film’s script, which he described as turning “everything on its head,” from the classic work of filmmaker James Whale.
“This is Eve before Adam; the bride comes first. So in its own way — you know, we all know the Bride only exists for 10 minutes in the Whale movie. She’s there and the movie’s over. So I keep thinking [it’s], in a way, at least a tribute to what Whale might have done if he’d made a third Frankenstein movie and he’d done it in the 21st Century,” he told Collider.
This all smells of “Oh crap, The Mummy really sucked, now we should really rethink this while Dark Universe thing.”
As far as I’m concerned, Universal should scrap it, unless they can reshape it into something worthwhile.
In this week’s “Bully!” story, Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese are teaming up yet again for a biopic about Teddy Roosevelt.
If you’re looking for a smattering of info about our 25th President, he is one of the Mount Rushmore faces, overcame a sickly childhood to become one of America’s most active, action-packed politicians, and eventually became the youngest president at the age of 42 after the death of William McKinley. DiCaprio’s interest in the man apparently comes from Roosevelt’s love of conservation, which he shared with the star: he was responsible for establishing many of the country’s national parks and monuments.
This isn’t the first time that whispers of this project, titled simply Roosevelt, have emerged — there were rumors back in 2014 that DiCaprio was planning this project with Scorsese, though nothing firm ever emerged about it. But now Paramount have jumped on board the project, with Scott Bloom, a first-time writer and member of DiCaprio’s famous Pussy Posse, writing the script (Uh Oh).
Nothing seems etched in stone as of yet, though, so we’ll see if this project comes to fruition.
In this week’s “wishful thinking” story, Blade Runner 2049 has hit theaters, and Oscar winner Jared Leto stars as the villanous Niander Wallace. But originally director Denis Villenueves wanted someone else for the role. And that someone was David Bowie. Unfortunately shortly after that they heard of Bowie’s cancer news.
“Our first thought [for the character] had been David Bowie, who had influenced ‘Blade Runner’ in many ways,” Villeneuve said. “When we learned the sad news, we looked around for someone like that.” The director’s quest for an actor with a similar rock star vibe as Bowie led him to Leto, who had just wrapped production as the Joker on Suicide Squad.
Niander Wallace is described as a “manipulative replicant manufacturer” who uncovers a key to humanity’s demise, setting him on a crash course with Ryan Gosling’s Officer K. According to Villeneuve, Gosling’s role was written specifically for the actor. Leto went method for the role and used contact lenses that blinded him during the production.
Blade Runner 2049 co-stars Mackenzie Davis, Robin Wright, and David Bautista. The movie is out now nationwide and I was impressed.
In this week’s “Laugh it up” story, Netflix has gotten a great cast together for a new film of theirs called The Last Laugh.
Check out this group: Chevy Chase, Richard Dreyfuss, Andie MacDowell, Lewis Black, Kate Micucci and Chris Parnell for its feature comedy, written and directed by Greg Pritikin. Rob Paris of Paris Film, Inc. is producing.
Production starts this week in New Orleans.
The Last Laugh centers on talent manager and widower Al Hart who reunites with his former client Buddy Green after 50 years. Though Buddy gave up a promising career as a stand-up comedian to settle down and have a family, Al convinces him to perform on a bucket list tour of classic stand-up venues across America, giving Buddy a last taste of the life he could have had.
Ok, could be good. I’ll probably end up seeing it.
In this week’s “Lord and Miller find a new gig” story, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the guys behind The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, have a new film to direct.
After the unprecedented firing from the Han Solo Star Wars film, and the cancelling of their two TV shows, Son of Zorn, Making History, 2017 was looking bleak. But the duo just signed on to direct Artemis, a sci-fi thriller based on the new book by author of The Martian, Andy Weir.
I like the sound of that.
In this week’s “Bob’s Burger’s go big” story, Fox TV’s Bob’s Burgers, the awesome animated show created by Loren Bouchard, will get the feature film treatment.
Bob’s Burgers, which premiered in 2011, follows the Belcher family and their friends and rivals. Bob Belcher runs a hamburger restaurant in a seaside town, with his ever-optimistic wife, Linda, and their three children: the self-conscious Tina, goofball Gene and precocious Louise.
The Fox TV show recently won the Emmy for best animated program at the 2017 awards show.
Said Bouchard: “We know the movie has to scratch every itch the fans of the show have ever had, but it also has to work for all the good people who’ve never seen the show. We also know it has to fill every inch of the screen with the colors and the sounds and the ever-so-slightly greasy texture of the world of Bob’s — but most of all it has to take our characters on an epic adventure. In other words, it has to be the best movie ever made. But no pressure, right?!”
Fox Animation will produce the feature, which will hit theaters July 17, 2020.
In this week’s “Kate Winslet goes to Pandora” story, actress Kate Winslet joins the James Cameron’s Avatar films.
It is unclear how many of the four planned sequels to Cameron’s 2009 film Winslet will appear in.
Cameron is currently filming Avatar 2 and 3 concurrently. He plans to shoot 4 and 5 to be simultaneously soon after, plans recently spoke about in last week’s The Hollywood Reporter cover story.
In this week’s “Well, you can’t release that NOW” story, MGM’s remake of Death Wish, directed by Eli Roth and starring Bruce Willis, is being pushed to March 2, 2018.
Deadline reports that it’s being pushed to 2018 in order to clear up the already crowded Thanksgiving film season.
Which is to really say, “Hey, maybe we shouldn’t release a film about a guy becoming a vigilante and shooting people right after a mass shooting that caused 58 deaths and over 500 wounded.” Not to mention sparking conversations about gun culture, media violence, and toxic masculinity all over again.
Yeah, that’s probably a good move, MGM.
In a related note, Netflix’s series The Punisher will also get a postponement. It is rumoured that it had a release date of October 13, 2017, but there is no confirmation on when it will now be released.
In this week’s “Puppet Murder” story, Mitch Silpa and Ryan Gaul are joining Melissa McCarthy in STXfilms, Brian Henson-directed comedy, The Happytime Murder.
The film is set in the underbelly of a Los Angeles where puppets and humans co-exist. Two clashing detectives, one human (McCarthy) and one puppet, are forced to work together to figure out who is brutally murdering the former cast of a classic puppet show The Happytime Gang.
Maya Rudolph, Elizabeth Banks, and Joel McHale co-star.
Ok, this sounds like fun!
In this week’s “Re-Spawn” story, creator of the comic book Spawn, Todd McFarlane, is going to direct a new version of his brain child.
The comic creator and soon-to-be-director Todd McFarlane is at New York Comic Con and hyped his upcoming film adaptation of Spawn, the formerly-human antihero who preys on the most evil members of society. McFarlnae also randomly dissed the Deadpool movie.
Deadline was at NYCC and quotes McFarlane as saying the film will be “dark and R-rated” – and not R-rated like that pansy movie Deadpool, “with a couple F-bombs and a couple bare asses.” This ain’t your daddy’s Spawn movie, so prepare yourselves accordingly. “It’s going to be dark,” McFarlane said.
The Spawn creator promised that he’d be posting daily updates on Facebook about the making of the movie, and that the film will have a $10 million budget.
Ok, so it’s going to be dark, then?
McFarlane has never directed a film before, but that doesn’t bother producer Jason Blum, the mastermind behind the ultra-successful Blumhouse Productions, the company behind Get Out, Split, Paranormal Activity, and more low-budget/high profit movies. When an audience member asked him why he thinks he can direct, he responded:
“I didn’t use to draw comic books and I drew comic books and I won awards. I don’t know how to read music and I have a Grammy Award. I’m spending my own money so who cares if it doesn’t work out. It’s a $10 million budget movie, and (a studio) would just get a 22-year-old punk director. I just want to be the old punk directing it.”
Ooookay, Todd. He’s spending his own money, so this could be a really bloated vanity film.
Spawn is slated to begin pre-production after Christmas and begin rolling in February 2018.
In this week’s “Fast & Furious spins off” story, Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham are getting their own spin-off film as the characters they play in the franchise.
A day after pushing Fast & Furious 9 to April 2020, Universal is placing a spin-off film starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham on their slate, with the release date set for July 26, 2019.
Chris Morgan, who has written the scripts for every F&F film since Tokyo Drift in 2006, will pen the script for this spin-off, which will see Diplomatic Security Service agent Luke Hobbs (Johnson) and redeemed “F&F” villain Deckard Shaw (Statham) go off on their own adventure. The film has yet to be titled.
And in this week’s “While we’re on the subject” story, over the past year there has been a lot of apparent drama about Dwayne Johnson taking the offer to make this spin-off of Fast & Furious.
Apparently F7F co-star Tyrese Gibson had some things to say about it in an Instagram post:
“Congratulations to @TheRock and your brother in law aka 7 bucks producing partner @hhgarcia41 for making the fast and the furious franchise about YOU,” wrote Gibson on Instagram, later sharing another post claiming that he was offered a spin-off, but declined it.
“They offered but YOU didn’t have to agree with a solo #HobbsMovie#OriginalFastFamily we salute you and stand on your shoulders #VinDiesel#PaulWalker#RobCohen#RomanTej were offered a spin off we TURNED IT DOWN!!!” Gibson continued.
A source tells ET, though, that Gibson’s claim about a spin-off is “one hundred percent not true.”
“He wasn’t offered a spin-off,” the source added.
There were rumors of a feud between Johnson and Vin Diesel during production on Fate of the Furious, but in April, Diesel downplayed the supposed rift.
““I don’t think the world really realizes how close we are, in a weird way. I think some things may be blown out of proportion. I don’t think that was his intention. I know he appreciates how much I work this franchise. In my house, he’s Uncle Dwayne,” Diesel told USA Today.
Wow, Tyrese Gibson seems like he’s got some personal issues.
Ok, that’s a wrap for this week! Now go see Blade Runner 2049!