1. Mayhem at the Box Office
Say what you will about Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice – tell us that it’s a misunderstood masterpiece, a bloated mess, or something in between – but there is no denying that it’s a difficult thing to place. You certainly wouldn’t be alone in thinking that the critics have been a little harsh on Snyder’s film, and despite the lambasting it suffered fans flocked in their droves for the film’s opening weekend. In fact, in spite of the film’s critical mauling, its $422 million haul on opening weekend is the fourth largest opening of all time. It certainly seemed that the critics could do little to spoil BvS‘s parade; if anything it was a minor triumph that the film opened so well when critical opinion was so negative – power to making up your own mind and all that.
But then everything changed.
The film’s success collapsed in on itself as it tumbled 69% in its second week’s takings, in what has been called an “historic” box office drop-off (courtesy of the Hollywood Reporter). It seems that perhaps the critics do hold sway after all. It is worth noting that in the recent history of the rapidly saturating superhero genre only Green Lantern and Fantastic Four come to mind as being more critically derided than BvS which currently holds an abysmal 29% fresh rating on RT. Let’s face it, the first-week crowd was likely comprised of those who were going to see the film even if it was unanimously called ‘The Citizen Kane of Awful‘ (watch this space for an article in our future, I’m sure). Then, based on the scientifically unimpeachable logic of ‘a good hunch’, it’s fair to predict that all the fence-sitters who wouldn’t rush out in opening week saw the reviews and just decided not to bother – power to the critics and all that. Either way, the cherished $1 billion box office that superhero films these days feel entitled to seems a long way off.
2. Charlize Theron signs on to battle Vin Diesel, motherhood
Back in mid-February we reported how Charlize Theron was circling a project that would see her facing off against a bald, baby-faced adversary capable of causing millions of dollars worth of damage, and now Deadline is reporting that Theron has signed up to a Jason Reitman/Diablo Cody project on the theme of motherhood. Also, she’ll star alongside Vin Diesel in Fast 8 [via Deadline]. While little is known about the reunion of Team Young Adult other than its general theme, Theron’s Fast 8 character has at least been described as Diesel and co’s “greatest adversary ever” on the film’s official Facebook page. Theron is expected to join up with Vinward Dieselton, Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris and the rest of the Fast 8 gang when production begins later this year.
3. Cillian Murphy heads for Dunkirk
After the pretty space antics of Interstellar, Christopher Nolan’s next feature seems a little more grounded. According to The Wrap, Nolan regular Cillian Murphy – who has previously collaborated with the director on the Dark Knight trilogy and Inception – has joined the already starry cast for the director’s WWII epic Dunkirk that will tell the story of the famous Allied evacuation. Murphy will be acting opposite some of the industry’s hottest talents that includes Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, and Harry Styles. Wait, what? That’s right, Harry Styles of One Direction is among the cast of a film that surely must be a safe contender for future Oscar consideration. The film will open in summer 2017.
4. The BFG gets itself a trailer
Literature’s friendliest kidnapper finally has himself a proper trailer as Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of The BFG strides ever closer to release on July 1. Starring a Gary Linekered Mark Rylance as the titular giant and Ruby Barnhill as young orphan Sophie, the film has also blessed a host of recognisable actors with names on their callsheet that will never be bettered – here’s looking at you Bill Hader (The Bloodbottler) and Jemaine Clement (The Fleshlumpeater). The magic of cinema…
5. Zootropolis scurries towards $1 billion
As Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice stumbles, the House of Mouse proves once again to have its Midas-like finger well and truly on the pulse. Zootropolis – as it is known here in the UK so as to avoid trademark conflictions with a Danish zoo Zootopia (yes, seriously) – has steamrolled past Snyder’s caped slugfest to first place in 2016’s global box office. After consecutive critical and commercial hits with Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen, and Big Hero 6, Disney has proven themselves once again with a funny, good-hearted, and surprisingly topical film that is chiming with audiences all over the globe. While Zootropolis might not prove to capture the zeitgeist quite like Frozen, it is clear evidence that Disney are nailing the formula for the modern family film.
6. Warner Bros. edits its calendar
Warner Bros. execs have gone through their calendars for the next few years and shifted a few things around to accommodate this whole superhero genre that everyone seems to love (for the first week, at least). Two of WB’s untitled DC films now have themselves release dates (5 October 2018 and 1 November 2019) and it looks like another rather diminutive superhéroe could find his way onto screens soon. Deadline reports that WB are looking to get an animated Speedy Gonzales movie into production soon, ideally this year; producer Dylan Sellers has readily admitted that “in a time when Donald Trump is gaining momentum, the world needs Speedy more than ever.” Truer words, etc.
Other bits of business include the sensational shift of Wonder Woman’s place on the schedule by a whole three weeks [via Variety], to 2 June 2017, and the movement of Andy Serkis’ Jungle Book: Origins, which has been pushed back by an entire year to 19 October 2018. While the movement of the latter could be seen as a desire to put some breathing room between it and Disney’s Kipling adaptations, they were originally split by 18 months, so it could be more down to the sheer scale of Serkis’ project, which is being filmed with groundbreaking motion capture technology. Serkis has already commented that he is “absolutely thrilled” about the postponement as “every minute more that we have to evolve the technological pipeline will make all the difference.”
7. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has a trailer
It takes one hell of a trailer to draw attention away from a new Spielberg film but, then again, a new Star Wars trailer is not just any old trailer. The first trailer for Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has landed and is very exciting indeed. After the brilliance of Monsters and the not bad Godzilla, the director’s third feature has a lot riding on it. The story takes place shortly before the events of A New Hope and will follow the fantastic Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, a Rebel pilot charged with stealing plans for the Death Star. Jones’ odd voice aside, there is a lot to look forward to here.
8. Kickstarter Documentary record broken
Biding his time until that definitely definitely real Bill & Ted sequel definitely definitely happens, Alex Winter (aka Mr Bill S. Preston Esq.) has been doing some totally bodacious fundraising on Kickstarter to set the all new Documentary films record. The project, titled Who the F*@% is Frank Zappa, promises to answer its title and “tell Frank’s story without making a biopic; to make a music doc without making a music doc.” At the time of writing, the film has nearly doubled its $500 000 target and smashed the amount set by previous record holder, the enticingly titled The Bill Nye Film, and its paltry $859 425. There are still a few hours left until fundraising ends and a whole load of enticing rewards up for grabs, including Zappa’s actual home if you’ve got a spare $9 million. Righteous stuff.
9. Joel McHale is set to play Chevy Chase in A Futile & Stupid Gesture
There is no evidence that Dan Harmon has anything to do with A Futile & Stupid Gesture, but the news that Joel McHale will play fellow Community star Chevy Chase in a film about the life of Douglas Kenney, founding member of the National Lampoon, feels like an episode of Harmon’s weirdly brilliant then brilliantly weird (then just plain weird) sitcom. The Netflix-produced film will be directed by Wet Hot American Summer‘s David Wain and will star McHale alongside Will Forte as Kenney, Domnhall Gleeson as co-founder Henry Beard, Broad City‘s John Gemberling as John Belushi, Rick Glassman as Harold Ramis, and Jon Daly as Bill Murray [Via The Wrap and Deadline]. The film will be released on Netflix sometime in 2017.
10. Starman remake would like to come and meet us, say Sony
Proving that nothing is sacred, not even a relatively unsuccessful Jeff Bridges/Karen Allen vehicle about an alien who crash-lands on earth before invading hearts and evading the government, Sony is apparently developing a remake of 1984’s Starman. Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum) is on board to direct and produce what is said to be a reimagining of the original film while Arash Amel (Grace of Monaco) has been tapped to write the script. It is unlikely that the creepily smooth Jeff Bridges from Tron: Legacy will return, but stranger things have happened [via The Hollywood Reporter].
- SON & EF