Oh, hey, it’s the week after Star Trek Las Vegas! Well, for me, anyway.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Atomic streaming” story, a sequel to Atomic Blonde could find it’s way to a streaming service.
“I think there is [still talk of ‘Atomic Blonde 2’],” said Leitch. “A streaming service is into it. I don’t know all the details. I was a work-for-hire on that movie, but at the end of the day, Kelly McCormick – my producing partner and my wife – she will be involved, I’m sure, as a producer. That’s how I got the gig in the first place. We’ll see.”
The first film focused on a female spy in the late-‘80s that had to find a super-secret list of double agents on the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall. With its modest $30 million production budget, the film ended up doing FINE in theaters, with a global box office of just over $100 million. However, in today’s studio economy, a sequel to a film that only grossed $100 million worldwide is a losing proposition. But that seems to be the perfect time for a streaming service to come in and throw money at the film just to have another exclusive title in its library.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Back from somewhere” story, Wesley Snipes is the latest to join the cast of Paramount’s forthcoming Coming to America sequel, Deadline has confirmed.
Craig Brewer is set to direct the follow-up to the 1988 comedy written by Kenya Barris. Eddie Murphy is set to reprise his role as Akeem, the pampered African prince who became bored of potential marriage partners in a kingdom too in awe of him, and who traveled to Queens to go undercover and find a strong-willed woman he could respect. Arsenio Hall will also return as Akeem’s BFF Semmi.
In the sequel, Akeem is set to become King of Zamunda but discovers he has a son he never knew about in America – a street-savvy Queens native named Lavelle. Honoring his father’s dying wish to groom this son as the crowned prince, Akeem and Semmi set off to America to meet the unlikely heir.
Snipes will play General Izzi, the ruler of a neighboring nation of Zamunda. Jermaine Fowler is also set to star.
Snipes also worked with Murphy and Brewer on the forthcoming Rudy Ray Moore biopic Dolemite is My Name, which is set to bow in September at the Toronto Film Festival.
Is it me or is Wesley Snipes back in the big leagues of movies again? he was gone for a while, now seems to be getting deals.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Seeecrets…” story, Before Taika Waititi heads back to the Marvel universe, he’ll take on a mysterious new project.
Sources tell Variety that Waititi is attached to write and direct an untitled project as his next film with Fox Searchlight landing rights to distribute. Plot details are currently unknown.
Waititi recently signed back on for Thor: Love and Thunder, which forced him to postpone his Akira movie at Warner Bros., as the size of the anime adaptation would not give him enough time to focus on Thor, which Marvel wants him to shoot at the top of 2020. Garrett Basch is producing the Fox Searchlight pic as are Jonathan Cavendish and Andy Serkis through their Imaginarium banner.
Once Waititi was on board, Fox Searchlight worked aggressively to land the rights to the film, which has already been greenlit for a fall shoot. Fox Searchlight and Waititi recently worked together on his satire Jojo Rabbit, and the studio plans to give the movie a strong awards-season campaign after its October release.
Marvel Studios recently announced plans for a fourth “Thor” film at Comic-Con with Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson returning to join Waititi. Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit stars Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell and will bow on Oct. 18.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Disney’s rehashing continues” story, Disney has found massive success in reimagining its classic properties and is now looking to do the same with 20th Century Fox’s library following its $71.3 billion acquisition of most of the Fox empire.
During Disney’s earnings call on Tuesday afternoon, CEO Bob Iger revealed that Fox properties Night at the Museum, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Home Alone and Cheaper by the Dozen would be rebooted for the studio’s upcoming streaming service, Disney+.
“We’re also focused on leveraging Fox’s vast library of great titles to further enrich the content mix on our [direct to consumer] platforms,” said Iger on the call.
It is currently unclear whether the properties are being planned as feature films or TV series. Fox’s three-film Night at the Museum series grossed north of $540 million domestically, while the Home Alone theatrical trilogy grossed $490 million, not adjusted for inflation, and the Wimpy Kid movies earned $186.4 million, unadjusted.
While Disney is no stranger to reboots, its remade titles are often reserved for theatrical release. Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin has earned over $1 billion at the global box office since its late May release, while The Lion King passed the $1 billion mark after only three weekends in theaters.
But the studio touted the live-action reimagining of one of its classic animations, Lady and the Tramp, during their Disney+ presentation in April.
The news about Fox movie reboots is one of the first times that the Mouse House has offered concrete plans about dipping into Fox’s theatrical library for source material.
Disney+ is set to debut Nov. 12 at a price tag of $7 monthly, with 300 hours of Fox content available to watch at launch.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Last Night next year” story, Focus Features announced Wednesday that it has set Edgar Wright’s next film, the thriller Last Night in SoHo, for a release on September 25, 2020.
While plot details are still being kept under wraps, the film is described as a psychological thriller set in London. Anya Taylor-Joy, Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie and Matt Smith star alongside Michael Ajao, Synnøve Karlsen, Diana Rigg, Terence Stamp and Rita Tushingham.
Wright co-wrote the script with Krysty Wilson-Cairns (Penny Dreadful) and will produce with Nina Park and Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. Universal Pictures International will handle overseas distribution.
Last Night in SoHo will be Wright’s follow-up to his 2017 action film Baby Driver, starring Ansel Elgort.
IN THIS WEEK’S “del Toro goes ‘R'” story, With Guillermo del Toro’s next film as director/writer, “Nightmare Alley,” now taking shape with cast members Cate Blanchett and Bradley Cooper tapped to star, the Academy Award-winning Mexican director is beginning to spill details about the upcoming film.
Del Toro, who just received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, said in an interview with Collider that his forthcoming adaptation of William Lindsay Gresham’s 1946 true-crime pulp novel will have “no supernatural elements” and that Nightmare Alley is “just a really straight, really dark story.” He added that the book has afforded him “the first chance I have to do a real underbelly-of-society type of movie.”
When asked what kind of rating he expects the film to have, del Toro said, it “will be a big R. Double R!” The seedy story drops us into the demimonde of 1940s American show business, and introduces us to the sleazy denizens of a carnival filled with grifters, charlatans, and noir-like femme fatales. Bradley Cooper is set to play a corrupt con man opposite Cate Blanchett’s equally nefarious female psychiatrist. Together they team up to swindle innocents, only to end up manipulating each other.
Del Toro is writing the screenplay with Kim Morgan (former muse, and now ex-wife, of avant-garde filmmaker Guy Maddin), with whom del Toro attended the 2018 Academy Awards ceremony, where he was crowned Best Director and winner of Best Picture for the hard-R-rated The Shape of Water.
I’m really on board with this film. I love the noir.
IN THIS WEEK’S “A Harold and Kumar reunion?” story, Kal Penn was on a Television Critics Association panel today for Sunnyside, the new NBC comedy in which he stars and he co-created. Penn will play a disgraced local politician who finds a purpose helping a group of immigrants pass their citizenship test. After the Sunnyside panel, /Film asked Penn about the possibility of revisiting his movie franchise, Harold and Kumar.
Penn played Kumar with John Cho as Harold in three films, Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay and A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas. The third film came out in 2011, so the past eight years has been the longest between any Harold and Kumar movie. However, Penn said that creators Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg have started developing ideas for a fourth film.
“Hey, we were just talking about that with Jon and Hayden, the two guys who wrote it,” Penn said.
Schlossberg and Hurwitz are currently working on season three of Cobra Kai with Josh Heald, and Penn is launching his new show. Cho is starring in the live-action Cowboy Bebop series so it will still be some time before they even start writing a fourth script, but it is on the horizon.
“They’re busy working on Cobra Kai,” Penn said. “John and I both have our own things this year so I think our hope is towards the end of the year, we’d like to toss something around and see what might work.”
Ok, I may be on board here, as long as they get Neil Patrick Harris back, too.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Venom notes” story, Hot on the heels of news that Andy Serkis will be stepping behind the camera for the sequel to the surprise comic book movie hit Venom, we have word on at least one returning cast member joining Tom Hardy for another round of symbiote action.
Michelle Williams, who was a perplexing but welcome addition to the first Venom movie, has confirmed that she will be back for the sequel. Does that mean Venom 2 will end up having She-Venom come back for some more smooching with Eddie Brock? We can only hope that’s the case, if only to give the internet more weird things to think about for a little while.
Yahoo learned news of Michelle Williams in Venom 2 while speaking to the actress directly during the publicity tour for her new indie release After the Wedding. That makes her only the second confirmed cast member for Venom 2, though we’re pretty sure that Woody Harrelson is probably already on board after that hammy credits scene introduced him as Cletus Kasady, a serial killer who gets a symbiote of his own and becomes the deadly villain known as Carnage.
When asked about possibly working on Venom 2, Williams quickly told Yahoo, “I’m in.” And she’s rather eager to work with Andy Serkis as well, adding, “I’m such a fan of Andy’s, and I’m so inspired by what he’s been able to accomplish. He’s so gifted in such a specific way, and I’m very excited to learn from him and be around him.” That sounds like she’s speaking more about his work as an actor and motion capture performer in movies like The Lord of the Rings and the recent Planet of the Apes prequels, but he’ll likely bring that same sensibility to directing a visual effects movie like Venom.
As for how integral Michelle Williams’ character Anne Weying will be in the sequel remains to be seen. She wasn’t much more than the thankless significant other in the first Venom. She served as motivation for Eddie Brock to get his life back together, and she did end up reuniting the sybmiote Venom with Eddie Brock, albeit in a strange way that makes it seem like the symbiote locked lips with Eddie at the same time that Anne did when she was still appearing as She-Venom.
Right now, we don’t know where the story for Venom 2 will take us, but we have heard that Tom Hardy had a hand in cracking it. There have also been rumblings of a crossover happening with the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Spider-Man played by Tom Holland, and Kevin Feige even says it’s likely to happen, but we have no idea how soon that might come to fruition.
It’s all very weird. Venom was, you know, weird. Just weird.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Haunted boat” story, Gary Oldman and Emily Mortimer get on a boat and things get spooky.
The two award-winning actors star in Mary, a horror film from the writer of The Shallows that follows a family that sets off on an open-water trip on a renovated boat that turns out to be haunted.
Michael Goi directs a script by Anthony Jaswinski, the writer of the pulpy monster movie The Shallows, who seems to have taken a liking to aquatic horror. The premise of Mary: What if you made a family haunted house movie, but on a tiny boat in the middle of nowhere! The film follows David, a blue-collar sea captain who buys a curious abandoned ship and renovates it for his family to take on an open-sea trip. But when strange supernatural events start happening, they discover there is more to the boat than meets the eye.
The story does stretch logic a little (how does David’s wife discover papers detailing the boat’s ominous disappearances while they’re in the middle of the sea? Who decided to cast Gary Oldman as a blue-collar captain?) but Mary seems like an unusual film that could end up drawing out of a few scares. Jennifer Esposito and Stefanie Scott also star in Mary.
Here is the synopsis for Mary:
“David (Academy Award Winner Gary Oldman) is a struggling blue-collar captain looking to make a better life for his family. Strangely drawn to an abandoned ship that is up for auction, David impulsively buys the boat, believing it will be his family’s ticket to happiness and prosperity. But soon after they embark on their maiden journey, strange and frightening events begin to terrorize David and his family, causing them to turn on one another and doubt their own sanity. With tensions high, the ship drifts off course, and it becomes horrifyingly clear that they are being lured to an even greater evil out at sea.”
Mary hits theaters and On Demand/Digital HD on October 11, 2019.
Well, ok, whatever you say.
IN THIS WEEK’S “why, Joe, why?” story, You’d think “movie about a team of badass soldiers saving the planet based on a long-running media franchise with a passionate fanbase” would be easy to crack, but G.I. Joe has proven anything but. Still, the modest-at-best success of the previous two films based on the toys, comics, and animated adventures of those real American heroes hasn’t deterred Paramount and Hasbro, who are now working on another live-action film. It has writers and everything!
The Hollywood Reporter has the scoop, including the news that Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec are currently working on the script. Plot details are unknown, but THR reports that it is an “ensemble piece” and that one of the characters will be Chuckles, an infiltration expert who made his G.I. Joe debut (in toy and comic form) in 1987. Since they killed off Channing Tatum’s Duke, Snake Eyes is still apparently getting his own spin-off, and Dwayne Johnson is presumably too busy and expensive to return as Roadblock, it really sounds like the pickings are getting slim when it comes to beloved Joes.
The report also suggests that Paramount and Hasbro hope the film will inspire multiple other spin-offs. Because that’s what we all need right now: more uber patriotic trash that will make us all eye rolls and nausea.
“Appelbaum and Nemec do feel like the right fit for a gig like this, with credits that include the spy series Alias, the action thriller Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, and the most recent live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies. So they have plenty of experience handling action-heavy tales of tough characters getting the job done and franchises that have powerful nostalgic followings.”
I, however, feel this shouldn’t happen at all. That is NOT a solid enough track record to make this watchable.
Meanwhile, that Snake Eyes movie is still set to open on October 16, 2020. If that makes that date, we’ll see what comes of this other film.
This is madness, really. I’m out.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Tarantino blabbity-blab” story, Quentin Tarantino has a career-defining choice to make when it comes to his final movie. The filmmaker reminded fans in July before the release of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood that he still plans on retiring after directing his next movie, leading to much speculation about what that final movie will be. Tarantino has put two projects on the table, an R-rated Star Trek film and a third Kill Bill movie, and now a third contender has emerged. During an interview on his international Hollywood press tour (via The Independent), Tarantino let it slip that horror could be in his future.
“If I come up with a terrific horror film story, I will do that as my tenth film,” Tarantino said. “I love horror movies. I would love to do a horror film.”
That seems like just a whole lotta talk so far.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Cage-travagnaza” story, Nic Cage movies seem to come out almost monthly now, and running With the Devil is just one of them.
As seen in the trailer, Running with the Devil tells the story of two men, who work for a drug cartel, as they have to travel to another country (presumably in South America) to seemingly audit the creation of the drug. You see, the drugs aren’t nearly as powerful as they should be, so when that’s the case, you have to call Nicolas Cage, known in the film as The Cook, to go and see what’s up. Joining him on the mission is none other than Laurence Fishburne, who plays The Man, who seems to be the muscle.
Interestingly, it does appear that Cage plays the Heisenberg role in this film as Bryan Cranston did in AMC’s Breaking Bad. And making that connection even more apparent, Cage seems to be doing his own minimalist version of a Heisenberg/Walter White cosplay.
Joining Cage and Fishburne in the cast are Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Leslie Bibb, Clifton Collins Jr., Peter Facinelli, Christian Tappan, Natalia Reyes, and Cole Hauser. Running with the Devil is written and directed by Jason Cabell.
Running with the Devil arrives in select theaters and VOD on September 20.
Aaaaand, IN THIS WEEK’S “Nicolas Cage adventure” story, Nicolas Cage is known to many as the treasure hunter Benjamin Franklin Gates from Disney’s National Treasure and National Treasure: Book of Secrets, but it turns out the Oscar-winning actor dabbles in treasure hunting in his personal life. In an extensive, career-spanning interview with The New York Times, Cage reveals to reporter David Marchese he once went on a real-life “quest” to find the legendary Holy Grail.
“That was the time when I almost went on — you might call it a grail quest,” Cage said. “I started following mythology, and I was finding properties that aligned with that. It was almost like ‘National Treasure.’ Of course, that didn’t sustain.”
Cage continued by saying he became obsessed with figuring out the Holy Grail’s location. Asked by Marchese to clarify his “quest,” Cage explained, “You read a book, and in it there’s a reference to another book, and then you buy that book, and then you attach the references. For me it was all about where was the grail? Was it here? Was it there? Is it at Glastonbury? Does it exist?”
The research led Cage to the Chalice Well in Glastonbury, where “legend had it that in that place was a grail chalice, or two cruets rather, one of blood and one of sweat.” Cage said the water tasted like blood, just as the story of Joseph of Arimathea says. Legend has it that Joseph hid the Holy Grail in the Chalice Well and thus the water would taste of Christ’s blood. Cage added, “I guess it’s really because there’s a lot of iron in the water.”
Cage’s trip to Glastonbury sparked buzz that his quest for the Holy Grail would have to go to Rhode Island, where the actor ended up buying property. “I don’t know if I’m going to say that’s why I bought the Rhode Island property. But I will say that is why I went to Rhode Island, and I happened to find the place beautiful,” he said. “But yes, this had put me on a search around different areas, mostly in England, but also some places in the States. What I ultimately found is: What is the Grail but Earth itself?”
After earning some of the best reviews of his career with “Mandy” last year, Cage is back in theaters this month as the narrator of the Anton Yelchin documentary Love, Antosha and the star of the new RLJE Films release A Score to Settle. Read Cage’s full interview over on The New York Times’ website.
I don’t know why any of us would ever be surprised by anything Cage does.