Category Archives: Trending

‘Mulan’ To Be Released On Disney+ 

And here we were, thinking we wouldn’t get any more new movies this year.

Ever since the coronavirus ravaged the country in May, several movie releases were either delayed or entirely removed from the 2020 calendar. First the newest James Bond movie No Time To Die was delayed until November. Sequels like A Quiet Place Part II, meanwhile, were postponed until next year. Other movies like Christopher Nolan’s science-fiction thriller Tenet were removed from the release calendar altogether. It’s safe to say the movie industry is in complete disarray right now and with no end in sight thanks to the coronavirus.

Well, Walt Disney just confirmed that at least one movie will be released this year despite the mounting pandemic: Mulan, the live-action remake of the Walt Disney animated feature of the same name, will be released in homes through the Disney+ streaming service.

According to Deadline, the company confirmed that Mulan would be regularly released in countries where theaters are currently open like China and Italy, but would be streamed for a premium price of $30 on Disney+ for countries that are still fighting the pandemic like the United States.

I have mixed feelings about this development. On one hand, I’m excited that I’ll get to see Mulan as originally planned this year, just in a much smaller theater and with less pants. I’ll happily spend the $30 premium price to watch it, even though I completely understand if some families feel that’s a little too absurd and pricey.

On the other hand, I was really looking forward to watching Mulan in a big-screen experience and am afraid I may not get the chance to now. Disney has not announced whether or not it will re-release Mulan in theaters after the pandemic passes, but depending on how successful it is, anything is possible. After all, the three highest-grossing movies of all time Avengers: Endgame, Avatar, and Titanic all saw theatrical re-releases, even though none of them needed help at the box office.

There’s also the thought to consider of what impact this will have on movie theaters as a whole. With remakes like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King all grossing well over a billion dollars, it’s obvious that live-action Walt Disney remakes are a hot commodity for the movie industry. But with Mulan moving online, that threatens to take all of movie theater’s potential earnings and pour them more directly into Disney’s pockets. This could potentially create a huge loss of business for movie theaters and further jeopardize the tough position they’re already in for a complicated market.

And while Walt Disney states that releasing Mulan straight to homes is “a one-off,” that once again can change depending on the kind of success it sees. Superhero movies like Marvel’s Black Widow can now potentially find new life on Disney+, while animated movies like Pixar’s upcoming Soul can possibly be seen by younger audiences much sooner. And don’t even get me started on the release hell that the horror movie The New Mutants has caught itself up in.

All in all, this is strange news for strange times. We’ll have to wait and see how these trends pan out and how they might change the movie industry going forward.

– David

SOURCE: Deadline, The Verge

Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ Delayed Indefinitely

Tenet: a word that will open the right doors, some of the wrong ones.

Well, in this case, it closed one.

Thanks to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Christopher Nolan’s highly-anticipated science-fiction thriller Tenet has been delayed indefinitely. Originally slated for a July release this summer, Tenet was rescheduled for August before coronavirus cases escalated yet again. As positive cases continue to climb towards the four million mark in the United States, Warner Bros. has recently removed Tenet from its 2020 release calendar altogether, stating that it will announce a new release date “imminently.”

To quote Commissioner Gordon from The Dark Knight Rises, that basically means “We’re on our own.” Tenet is not the first movie to be delayed due to the coronavirus. James Bond’s No Time To Die, Wonder Woman 1984, Black Widow, and A Quiet Place Part II all got pushed back from their original release dates earlier this year, effectively eliminating 2020’s summer movie season. But after Tenet was wiped from the 2020 calendar altogether, that means other movies could quite possibly follow suit, leaving many to wonder when the movie theaters will reopen this year if at all.

And movie theaters are already in a tough spot due to the coronavirus. AMC Theatres, the largest movie theater chain in the United States, posted a $2.4 billion loss in its first quarter this year, and the industry as a whole has lost over $10 billion as of May, according to Forbes. CNBC reported that the box office is at a 20-year low, facing its worst year since 1998. How much worse it can get and for how long is only a matter of time.

Will Tenet be released directly to at-home streaming? I seriously doubt it. Christopher Nolan’s movies have always been in high demand, from The Dark Knight trilogy to Inception to Dunkirk. Throwing it onto TV screens at home feels like a throwaway, and definitely something Nolan himself wouldn’t agree to.

Whether other franchises like James Bond or Wonder Woman ultimately go that route remains to be seen. But at the moment, it seems like we’re going to have to wait until 2021 to watch Christopher Nolan’s newest feature.

– David Dunn

SOURCES: Forbes, CNBC

Ennio Morricone Dies At 91

Another Hollywood legend has passed away. 

For over 50 years, Italian composer Ennio Morricone has provided ingenious, captivating scores that defined the very films they were featured in. He wrote music for unnerving horror movies like The Exorcist Part II and The Thing, gangster dramas like Bugsy and The Untouchables, and most popularly spaghetti westerns like For A Few Dollars More and Once Upon A Time In America. His iconic theme for The Good, The Bad and the Ugly inspired the tension and the unease that several other western films would emulate for years afterwards.  

But of all of the soundtracks he’s produced, the music behind Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight proved to be the most eerie, unsettling, and haunting. It brought together all of the dramatic and thematic elements of all of his previous musical scores and also successful underscored the buildup he featured in his other westerns. He won a Golden Globe, a BAFTA, and an Academy Award from his work on the film, and no one was going to argue against it.

On Monday morning, the award-winning composer died from complications from falling and sustaining an injury. At 91 years old, Ennio lived a full life filled with wonderful music and imagination, inspiring other artists such as Gnarls Barkley, Metallica, David Guetta, Radiohead, and even Hans Zimmer. His legacy will live on forever, but we will miss him and his music dearly. 

Requiescat in pace, maestro Morricone. Che la tua musica ti guidi nei cieli. 

– David Dunn

SOURCE: The New York Times, NPR

Zack Snyder’s Cut Of ‘Justice League’ Will Be Released Next Year

justice-league-1200

Never underestimate the power of the internet.

Ever since Justice League was released in 2017 to mixed reviews and lackluster box office earnings, fans have been demanding for a director’s cut of Zack Snyder’s original vision for the film. For those of you that don’t remember, Zack Snyder left production for the film earlier in the year due to a personal tragedy he and his wife Deborah were dealing with. That was when The Avengers writer-director Joss Whedon stepped in to handle reshoots and post-production for the film. The result was a campy, cliché, tonally inconsistent picture that switched between being serious and melodramatic to downright silly and in-cheek.

Whatever you thought of the Justice League movie, it’s clear it wasn’t Zack Snyder’s original vision for the film. Maybe his version would have been better than the theatrical cut – maybe it would have been worse. After all, he did release Batman V. Superman before the film’s release. Regardless, some fans were flustered by the inconsistencies of the theatrical cut and wanted to see Zack Snyder’s version of Justice League. Thus, the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement was born.

For a long time, the Snyder cut seemed like a pipe dream: a hashtag that celebrities like Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, and Ray Fisher could post about and get a few retweets out of. But after he streamed a live watch party of his 2013 hit Man of Steel, Zack made the groundbreaking announcement that the Snyder cut would be released on HBO Max next year. The Snyder cut of Justice League suddenly switched from being a distant impossibility to a very tangible reality.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the project will cost approximately $20-30 million to finish the editing, musical scoring and visual effects for the finalized cut. It would also be released either as a massive four-hour feature-length movie or as a six-part miniseries.

Regardless, fans are finally getting to see their Snyder cut, and Zack Snyder will finally complete his version of Justice League that he’s always dreamed about.

“I always thought it was a thing that in 20 years, maybe somebody would do a documentary and I could lend them the footage, little snippets of a cut no one has ever seen,” Zack told The Hollywood Reporter. “As a family, as a couple, I think we have grown in a way that has made us stronger. We’re doing our best. You really can’t hope for more.”

You can watch Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League on HBO Max in 2021.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter, Variety

AMC Theatres Bans Universal Pictures

Out of all of the public spats to have surfaced in the face of the coronavirus, no one could have predicted that one of the most controversial came from two of the most prominent entertainment companies in the industry.

After movie theaters shut down worldwide last month due to the coronavirus, many movie studios had to pivot to streaming their films on demand in order to make a profit. One of the more popular studios to have found success in this format was Universal Studios. Its most recent films The Hunt and The Invisible Man were among the first releases to be made available on VUDU, while Robert Downey Jr.’s Dolittle was released later on down the road. But one of the most successful rentals is, oddly enough, Trolls World Tour, which set the record for the most streams in a weekend release, surpassing even Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’s streaming numbers, according to Deadline.

“The results for ‘Trolls World Tour’ have exceeded our expectations and demonstrated the viability of [premium video on demand],” NBC Universal CEO Jeff Shell said to The Wall Street Journal. “As soon as theaters reopen, we expect to release movies on both formats.”

Well, that interview ended up being the worst possible thing Jeff could have done, because after that, AMC Theatres declared that it would no longer screen any of Universal’s movies in its 1,000 theaters across the globe. 

In a strongly-worded letter, AMC Entertainment President and CEO Adam Aron wrote to Universal conveying the company’s disappointment, expressing explicit frustration over Shell’s “release movies on both formats” comment. 

AMC believes that with this proposed action to go to the home and theatres simultaneously, Universal is breaking the business model and dealings between our two companies,” Adam writes. “It assumes that we will meekly accept a reshaped view of how studios and exhibitors should interact, with zero concern on Universal’s part as to how its actions affect us. It also presumes that Universal, in fact, can have its cake and eat it too, that Universal film product can be released to the home and theatres at the same time, without modification to the current economic arrangements between us. It is disappointing to us, but Jeff’s comments as to Universal’s unilateral actions and intentions have left us with no choice.”

What does this mean for Universal? Going forward, you can expect any film with a Universal logo on it to not be playing at any AMC or Regal theater, including the upcoming Fast & Furious 9, animated Illumination movies such as Despicable Me and Minions, and future sequels to the Jurassic Park franchise. At the moment, you could still watch Universal movies from Cinemark or Harkins theaters, but that’s assuming if they don’t pull out later on like AMC or Regal Cinemas did. With AMC and Regal being the largest movie theater chains by far, you can expect Universal to be absent from over 18,000 screens across the world.

I get AMC’s frustrations with Universal. In his letter, Adam says they accepted Universal to originally stream Trolls World Tour to homes as an exception due to “unprecedented times.” He even says that they were willing to sit down with Universal and discuss different strategies and economic models that would benefit both companies, especially in the face of this pandemic.

So when Jeff completely disregards all of those conversations and investors and unilaterally decides this is the “new normal,” I can understand why AMC is more than peeved at his comments to the press. Yet, I can’t help but feel this might be a slight overreaction on AMC’s part. As part of Hollywood’s “Big Five” studios, Universal holds 11% of the market share, slightly behind Sony Pictures’ 12.1% and more than double of Paramount’s 5%. Universal’s movies have consistently placed among the year’s highest grosses, competing against Columbia Pictures, TriStar, 20th Century Fox, New Line Cinema, and even Warner Bros. Saying that a big chunk of movies would be missing from movie theaters is a severe understatement, and with that, a large chunk of the market as well.

“We absolutely believe in the theatrical experience and have made no statement to the contrary,” Univeral wrote in a response statement to AMC. “As we stated earlier, going forward, we expect to release future films directly to theaters, as well as on [premium video on demand] when that distribution outlet makes sense. We look forward to having additional private conversations with our exhibition partners.”

What do you guys think? Do you feel this is an overreaction on AMC’s part, or do you think they’re right to shut out all future Universal releases? Comment below, let me know. I’ll see y’all when the theaters reopen. 

– David Dunn

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter, Wall Street Journal, Deadline

Sam Raimi Confirms He’s Directing ‘Doctor Strange 2’

Sam Raimi is returning to the Marvel universe, only this time he’ll be helming a project much “strange”-r than his last superhero outing.

A fantasy-horror filmmaker whose projects range from The Evil Dead series to Oz the Great and Powerful, Sam Raimi is no stranger to taking on unusual and off-the-wall type projects. His 1990 cult action film Darkman is one of the few original superhero movies out there, while his 2009 sleeper hit Drag Me To Hell was a creepy and unsettling return to his horror roots. Perhaps most notable to the superhero genre is his Spider-Man trilogy, starring Tobey Maquire and earning an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.

Now Raimi is making a return to the superhero genre to direct Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. After previous director Scott Derrickson (Sinister, The Day The Earth Stood Still) dropped out of the project back in January, talks of Raimi taking his place circulated around shortly after Derrickson left the project. Raimi essentially confirmed his new role while speaking to ComingSoon.net, all while expressing his fascination with the sorcerer supreme.

Fun fact: Doctor Strange was actually name-dropped in Raimi’s Spider-Man 2, where “Daily Bugle” publisher J. Jonah Jameson was brainstorming names to call Doc Ock.

“I loved Doctor Strange as a kid, but he was always after Spider-Man and Batman. For me, he was probably at number five for me of great comic book characters,” Raimi said. “He was so original, but when we had that moment in ‘Spider-Man 2,’ I had no idea that we would ever be making a ‘Doctor Strange’ movie, so it was really funny to me that coincidentally that line was in the movie. I gotta say I wish we had the foresight to know that I was going to be involved in the project.”

Well there ya have it, folks. Sam Raimi is officially returning to the Marvel universe. I for one am very happy to see him return, as I was a big fan of both Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2. However, he did also lead the widely panned Spider-Man 3, a film that was so universally mocked that Sony was forced to reboot the series with Andrew Garfield. We’ll have to wait and see how Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness pans out, but at the moment, I for one am very excited to see what Raimi does with the elusive sorcerer. At the very least, Disney has a better track record when it comes to studio interference than Sony does. 

What do you guys think? Are you excited to see Sam Raimi return to the Marvel universe, or would you rather he just left behind the web he weaved? Whatever you think, comment below, let me know. 

– David Dunn

SOURCE: ComingSoon.net, CNET 

‘Borderlands’ Movie Nabs Eli Roth As Director

Well, depending on your viewpoint, this is either wonderful or horrible news for the Borderlands movie.

On Thursday, Gearbox Software President Randy Pitchford announced via Twitter who would be directing the upcoming live-action Borderlands movie based on Gearbox’s critically and commercially acclaimed video game series of the same name. That director is none other than the horror head honcho himself, Eli Roth.

Eli Roth is a strange, albeit oddly appropriate, choice to helm the upcoming dystopian action movie. Following a group of vault hunters on the planet Pandora trying to find long-lost treasure, Borderlands has spawned a series of sequels, spinoffs, and even an off-kilter marriage proposal, all while creating a massive cult following of fans. With the level of popularity and prominence Borderlands has amassed, a film adaptation of the science-fiction franchise almost seemed inevitable. 

Unfortunately, video game movies don’t have the best track record, even with the recent successes of Detective Pikachu and Sonic The Hedgehog. That being said, a Borderlands movie could definitely work, if given the right director to handle it.

Whether Eli Roth is the right guy or not is very dependent on which Eli Roth you’re getting. I won’t deny that Roth has delivered some solid horror movies in the past: his debut Cabin Fever was an amusing homage to B-movie horror cinema, while Hostel delivered a wildly disturbing yet entertaining slasher flick. But his larger filmography is mostly unimpressive, with the Death Wish remake simply being a vacant and cliche revenge thriller while the cannibalistic Green Inferno was just gross and stomach-churning. Even 2018’s The House With A Clock In Its Walls was a generic and uneventful family comedy.

Top that all off with the fact that he doesn’t have much experience with CGI-heavy films to begin with, and what you have left is a big, fat “huh?” in regards to his involvement with this movie. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to bring in a filmmaker that has more experience with CGI and dry, smirking banter? Guardians of the Galaxy’s James Gunn, for instance, would have been a perfect fit were it not for the fact that he’s busy working on Suicide Squad 2. David Leitch would have been another solid choice, considering his work on other high-octane and witty action flicks such as John Wick, Deadpool 2, and Hobbs & Shaw. Heck, Quentin Tarantino would have been a great pick as well if he ever got his mind off of Kill Bill: Vol. 3 and his adaptation of Star Trek.

What do you guys think? Do you think Eli Roth is a reliable choice for a Borderlands movie, or do you think Claptrap and crew deserved more? Comment below, let me know.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: Kotaku, IGN

‘Knives Out 2’ Confirmed For Production

While it won’t walk away with any gold on Oscar night this weekend, Knives Out will still have one thing that most of the Best Picture nominees won’t have: a sequel.

After sweeping up audiences off of their feet this past Thanksgiving, Knives Out will return to the big screen with an all-new case to solve. According to writer-director Rian Johnson (Looper, Star Wars: The Last Jedi), Knives Out 2 will feature a new story and an all-new cast. The only element that will be consistent between the two films will be Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc, who will presumably return in the sequel to solve yet another mind-boggling mystery.

I have two different reactions to hearing about this news. My gut reaction is excitement, since Knives Out is one of the most clever, meticulous, and ingenious films not just from the year, but from the decade. How many other films have a cast as outstanding and memorable as this one? How many other mystery-thrillers have a plot as dizzying and well-crafted? How many quality who-dun-its like this even grace the screen any more? Watching Knives Out felt like a chess match playing out in real time, with characters moving across the board trying to get each other at such a quick pace that you’re constantly trying to anticipate what their next move will be. It’s hands down one of the most brilliant films of the year, and hearing that a sequel is underway is exciting at first.

But then you marinate over the fact that this will be a new story with a new cast attached to it. No Harlan Thrombey. No Marta Cabrera. No Hugh Ransom, Linda Drysdale, Joni, or Walt Thrombey. It will be an all-new scenario with an all-new cast of characters, which in turn means that this really will be an all-new film.

I’m down for yet another Christine Agatha-themed mystery thriller with Rian Johnson at the helm. After all, he already proved he could do it masterfully with the likes of Knives Out. But since most of the film is presumably going to be so different from the original, why have it related to Knives Out at all in the first place? Why not just set up a new scenario with an all-new detective who isn’t Benoit Blanc and have them solve the new mystery? Why have it be connected to Knives Out at all? That feels like it might hinder the film more than help it, especially when you’re comparing two mystery thrillers released so closely together.

What do you think? Are you excited that Knives Out is getting a sequel, or do you think Rian Johnson should turn the page on a new mystery? Comment below, let me know.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: Deadline, SiriusXM

 

‘Doctor Strange’ Director Drops Out Of ‘Multiverse Of Madness’

In a strange twist (pun intended), there’s been a commensurate shakeup in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson will not return to helm the highly-anticipated sequel.

After the original Doctor Strange burst onto the scene in 2016 and grossed over $677 million at the box office, a lot of eyes were on Benedict Cumberbatch to reprise the role and see where the franchise was heading. After two stellar appearances in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, it seemed like there were a lot of exciting possibilities of where the Sorcerer Supreme would go from here.

Well wherever Doctor Strange is going, director Scott Derrickson won’t be going with him. Variety reports that the filmmaker dropped out from helming the doctor’s sequel In The Multiverse Of Madness after sharing creative differences with Marvel Studios, though he will still remain on the project as an executive producer.

“Marvel Studios and Scott Derrickson have amicably parted ways on ‘Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness’ due to creative differences,” Marvel said in a statement to Variety. “We remain grateful to Scott for his contributions to the MCU.”

As far as creative differences go, I’m relatively confident at what the biggest disagreement was: the fact that Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness was supposed to be a horror movie rather than the usual Marvel superhero-fantasy romp. Derrickson previously stated that he wanted to bring the supervillain Nightmare into the sequel, an omnipresent being that feeds on people’s bad dreams. With Derrickson’s filmmaking roots based heavily in the horror genre (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister) there were tons of potential for which new directions he could have taken the character and the franchise. Sadly, Marvel and Disney are not really well known for being non-family-friendly. The falling out seemed almost inevitable. I’m just sad Derrickson won’t be able to direct Marvel’s first quote-unquote “horror movie” in the MCU.

That begs the question of what will happen to the sequel now? Well we know Elizabeth Olson is still set to reprise her role as the Scarlet Witch in the sequel, and Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Baron Mordo is also anticipated to make an appearance. Other than that, everything else is up in the air. A lot of fans are throwing out the possibility of other horror filmmakers taking the reins, such as Doctor Sleep director Mike Flanagan, Insidious director James Wan, and Pan’s Labirynth director Guillermo Del Toro. Considering their past successes with comic book movies such as Blade II, Hellboy, and Aquaman, any one of these filmmakers would be perfect for Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness. It’s just a matter of whether Disney and Marvel want to go to those dark, opaque places those filmmakers have gone in the past.

Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness is currently scheduled for release on May 7, 2021. 

– David Dunn

SOURCE: Variety, We Got This Covered

Joaquin Phoenix Set To Return For ‘Joker’ Sequel

SOURCE: Warner Bros. Pictures

“If I’m going to have a past, I prefer multiple choice.”

Those were the words Joker said to the Batman during one of their many scuffles in the pages of Alan Moore’s 1988 hit “Batman: The Killing Joke.” Now, it looks like those words are becoming reality as Joaquin Phoenix is set to return as Arthur Fleck, a.k.a. the Joker for an upcoming sequel to his recent movie.

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone, as not only did Joker become the second highest-grossing Batman movie of all time at one billion dollars, but it is also the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time, period. A sequel seemed almost inevitable in the face of all of that commercial and critical success.

Still, many fans were surprised to find that The Hollywood Reporter revealed that not only was Joker getting a sequel, but much of the original cast and crew was returning to head it up: including director Todd Phillips and actor Joaquin Phoenix. This is especially surprising because Phillips previously stated that Joker was intended as a standalone movie with no future installments planned. But throw enough money at something, and I guess it’s destined to get a sequel. After all, Toy Story 4 was released earlier this year.

My first thought with this is that I don’t want a Joker sequel, nor do I need one. Joker was a brilliantly self-contained movie that delved deeply into one of the comic’s most iconic characters. Yes, it was a comic book movie, but in many ways, it was a character study on the effects on mental illness, civil unrest and wealth inequality. Like The Dark Knight, Joker wasn’t just a great comic book movie: it was a great movie period, and I feel like people both familiar and unfamiliar to the comics could appreciate it.

With a planned sequel underway, I question not only how much material is leftover that you can put into it, but also how appropriate it might be in a sequel. Imagine, for instance, if Taxi Driver ever got a sequel, or Apocalypse Now, or One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Wouldn’t a sequel have seemed redundant to those movies? Wouldn’t it have robbed from the original cinematic experience that you were grateful to be a part of? That is my gut reaction to hearing that Joker is getting a sequel – although I am nevertheless excited to see Joaquin Phoenix reprise the role.

What do you guys think? Are you excited to see Joaquin Phoenix return as the Joker, or do you wish he’d stay locked up in Arkham Asylum? Comment below, let me know.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline