1.Warcraft: The Beginning conquers China, Europe
Although Duncan Jones’ Warcraft: The Beginning looks like it might even struggle to make second place at this week’s US Box Office – against The Conjuring 2 and Now You See Me 2 – it’s only gone and set itself a record over in China. The mooted franchise-starter, off the back of $20.4 million in advanced Chinese ticket sales, netted $8.4 million from its midnight screening, stomping Furious 7’s past record. In all, its opening day figures were a whopping $46 million. Producer Legendary Pictures haven’t been shy about the fact that they’re looking overseas for Warcraft to succeed, but the favourable figures being pulled in from Russia, Germany and France has meant that what looked like it might be one of 2016’s biggest, greenest, CGI-est turkeys could actually be a bona fide hit.
Deadline has reported that, with the film in over two-thirds of China’s cinemas (Furious 7 was in a measly 62.8% of the country’s screens, compared to Warcraft’s 67.5%), we could, could be looking at a record-breaker. But also maybe not. In any case, it looks like China just has a thing for stacked bald fellas with low voices so if anyone wants a market for their old Kojak VHSes, you know the place.
2. Jennifer Lawrence to team up with Adam McKay
It seems that Jennifer Lawrence is not content with just one Oscar. After a critically lauded performance in the otherwise rather flat Joy, Lawrence is set to return to biopic territory (and, thus, awards territory) for the story of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes. The film is set to be helmed by Adam McKay on the back of his flashy but preachy Wall Street dramedy The Big Short. Another keen contender on this year’s awards circuit – The Big Short went on to win McKay a writing Oscar – it seems the director is truly stepping away from his humble beginnings as the director of silly but amusing comedies such as Anchorman and Step Brothers. The film will follow entrepreneur and (maybe, maybe not) billionaire Elizabeth Holmes, the young founder of blood test company Theranos [via Variety]. It is clear to most that there are more Oscars in Lawrence’s future and therefore this is a project worth keeping an eye on.
3. Angelina Jolie set to board the Orient Express
Murder on the Orient Express is among Agatha Christie’s most famous works, and it is now set to return to our screens. The film is set to be helmed by British thespian Kenneth Branagh who will also take the role of lead sleuth Hercule Poirot. The Belgian inquisitor, most often played by David Suchet on Agatha Christie’s Poirot, is called to action after a wealthy tycoon is founded murdered upon the titular train. News has emerged that Angelina Jolie is now in talks for a role [via Deadline]. Branagh’s adaptation comes 42 years after Sidney Lumet’s excellent effort starring an all-star cast that included Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, and Sean Connery. It’ll be exciting to see if Branagh can bring something new to Christie’s classic mystery.
4. John Boyega clambers into Pacific Rim 2
Having already fought off earth-invading aliens in Attack The Block and massively overpowered forces in charming indie darling The Force Awakens, John Boyega is more qualified than most to face those two elements… combined. Accordingly, director Steven S. DeKnight has cast the Brit in Pacific Rim 2, with Boyega slated to play the son of Idris Elba’s fantastically named monster-smashy man, Stacker Pentecost [via Deadline]. Little is known about the film’s plot, but given that the first instalment worked well without one, that doesn’t seem like a big deal. Boyega will also be co-producing under his Upper Room Productions banner and, as we speak, is likely hard at work coming up with other words that could justifiably prefix the surname Pentecost.
5. Mel Gibson planning a sequel to The Passion of the Christ
Mel Gibson doesn’t seem to be doing himself any favours. 12 years after his controversial, blood-soaked biblical epic The Passion of the Christ went on to earn a staggering $612 million worldwide, the divisive director has announced plans for a sequel [via Hollywood Reporter]. According to friend and frequent collaborator Randall Wallace – scribe of the Oscar-winning Braveheart and Hacksaw Ridge, Gibson’s upcoming directorial effort – if the film does in fact go ahead, Gibson is set to stage a sequel around the events of the resurrection. In light of the controversy that surrounded the first film – which failed to grasp the symbolic significance of the crucifixion by turning Jesus’ final moments into torture porn – and Gibson’s tarnished industry reputation, it will be interesting to see how this one pans out.
6. Suicide Squad TV spot features someone familiar
With just under two months to go until its release, David Ayer’s Suicide Squad gets a TV spot that offers a glimpse of DC’s most famous hero. The teaser ends with Will Smith’s Deadshot reminding you “don’t forget, we’re the bad guys”; you know, just in case that hadn’t been made clear up to now.
7. Elizabeth Banks exits Pitch Perfect 3’s director’s chair
Everything seemed peachy when it came to Pitch Perfect 3. Its cast was in place, its beloved director was raring to go and its release date was moved forward in eager anticipation. However, with Universal shifting the release date (again) to December 22, 2017, Elizabeth Banks has had to drop out of directing the picture, citing “parental responsibilities”. As Banks admitted at the recent Producers Guild Produced by Conference, working through the Christmas period was not ideal. All is not lost though: Banks will stay onboard as producer and actor, sharing commentating duties with John Michael Higgins, and has at least admitted that her and the rest of the backroom team have ‘‘been developing our asses off”. So that’s all good.
8. Ron Howard reunites with Apollo 13 writer, blasts off into space
If we ignore In The Heart Of The Sea (like pretty much everyone else around the world did) then Ron Howard is a director who can, at worst, be described as ‘‘reliable’’. His projects are usually based on solid source material and subject to an easy elevator pitch – but not any more folks! The all new Ron Howard has teamed up with Apollo 13 writer Bill Broyles to adapt Neal Stephenson’s 2015 novel Seveneves [via Deadline]. The story (general spoilers ahoy!), broken into three parts, sees mankind attempting to survive fragments of the moon peppering Earth with death and leftover NASA junk before abandoning the planet altogether – only to seek a return five thousand years in the future by which time the human race is split into seven distinct races.
Yeah… it’s an ambitious one alright. We can’t be sure which part(s) Howard and Broyles will focus on, but maybe there’s a good few pages in which two or three very different personalities talk for a while and come to an understanding that while they may never agree, they sure do respect each other. Ron Howard is currently at work on his third Dan Brown adaptation, with Inferno due in cinemas October 14.
- SON & EF