1. MLK weekend is a fairly unhappy holiday for new releases
The Martin Luther King holiday weekend in the US is usually a chance for a blockbuster to open big against the awards bait swamping the cinema. While last year had Ride Along 2 make a decent $40 million, and 2015 saw American Sniper score an incredible $107 million, 2017 wasn’t so forgiving. Ben Affleck’s Live by Night, Martin Scorsese’s Silence and Paramount’s baffling Monster Trucks all bombed. For only the second time in a decade no film grossed over $30 million across the holiday. Live by Night, in particular, was a big disappointment considering its star and initial awards hope, managing just $6.1 million across the four-day weekend. Silence, which expanded into 747 locations, clawed its way to about $2.3 million while Monster Trucks eked out just $15 million from over 3,000 cinemas… on a budget of $125 million.
The good news came instead from Hidden Figures, which held at No.1 for the second week in a row, and grossed $26 million from the weekend. La La Land also did well, thanks to a bump from the Golden Globes; it made $17.5 million despite screening at just over half the number of locations as Hidden Figures. So here’s to you, awards bait (and Martin Luther King Jr.). [via The Hollywood Reporter]
2. Eastern Promises 2: Western Promises
Another week, another sequel, though this one caught us by surprise. Especially as David Cronenberg himself said it was definitively “dead” back in 2012. Yes, Eastern Promises 2 appears to be back in the works. Peaky Blinders writer and Locke writer-director Steven Knight has submitted his script for the sequel, with shooting probably set to begin this March, according to Consequence of Sound. Now we’ve got two major questions: is Viggo Mortensen involved? And is David Cronenberg in as well? We don’t have the answer to either, even though a synopsis on the casting site My Entertainment World states “the sequel picks up where the 2007 film left off” – so we’ll have to wait and see. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the shower…
3. Go Go watch Power Rangers, Bryan Cranston fans
Sure, they may all be impossibly beautiful and toned—with one of them looking like the lovechild of Zac Efron and Shawn Ashmore—but that absolutely doesn’t mean that one of the Power Rangers’ poignant “we’re all screw-ups” protestation is any less meaningful. Sure. That pearl, and another few minutes’ worth of exposition, feature heavily in the newest trailer for the colour-coordinated superhero clan: “we’re strong,” “I’m pretty sure I’m a superhero,” “we’re talking to a wall.” Most significantly, the promo gives us our first look at Bryan Cranston’s Zordon, who has taken the form of a giant pin-art toy. Plus Bill Hader’s Alpha-5 makes an appearance. Just the nine weeks to wait…
4. Richard Armitage joins Ocean’s Eight
Not content with having a cast that includes Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Damian Lewis, Anne Hathaway and a whole lot of other talented, beautiful people (the bastards), Ocean’s Eight has gone done some more casting. Firstly, Kim Kardashian West has recently wrapped a cameo role based around a jewelry heist and, secondly, Deadline reports that Richard Armitage has been cast to back up Damian Lewis in the “chiselled Brit” section of the film. Details on the actor’s role are relatively non-existent but he’ll have his work cut out making an impression considering how talent-stuffed the Gary Ross-directed caper is looking.
5. Gambit is absolutely still happening, you guys
It’s time for 2017’s first Gambit update (hurray!). This week, X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner spoke to journalists at the Television Critics Awards to repudiate rumours that Fox were about ready to fold on the project. According to Buzzfeed’s Jarett Wieselman, Donner confirmed that Tatum is absolutely still attached and the project remains a go just as soon as it gets a director, a crew and a green light. Of course, the project was go about three years ago when director Rupert Wyatt was attached but the times have a-changed quite a bit—Doug Liman briefly sat in the director’s chair before vacating it for Justice League Dark—so the only constant is that Tatum is still involved. And that it still hasn’t happened.
— Jarett Wieselman (@JarettSays) January 12, 2017
6. Logan runs, drives, sits, stabs in latest trailer
We’ve managed a look at a fair bit of James Mangold’s Logan over the past few months, but the latest trailer really gives us something substantial to chew on. Not only is there a particularly wizened Hugh Jackman alongside a certain thespian best known for his upcoming work as the poop emoji, there’s also a hefty amount of time spent with Dafne Keen’s Laura/X-23, a fan of both Pringles and casual stabbings. Plus there are appearances from Boyd Holbrook’s Donald Pierce and Richard E. Grant’s villainous Dr Zander Rice. No Stephen Merchant though. We’ll get to see the whole gang turn out together on March 2 when Logan hits UK cinemas.
7. Stephen Gaghan recruited for The Division
Ubisoft’s movie department may have stumbled with Assassin’s Creed (falling off a building and into a haystack in the process) but they’re ready to get right back on the movie-making horse. Variety reports that Stephen Gaghan, writer-director of Syriana and one-time Entourage guest star is now attached to write and direct The Division. The project already counts Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain as attached. Gaghan commented that he was excited to join the project—set soon after a smallpox pandemic has ripped through New York City—because of its “immersive, wonderfully strange, and yet familiar” world.
Although the director doesn’t have a whole lot of action experience, the game’s plot, which follows a protagonist attempting to rescue personnel and eliminate criminal operations in this dystopian, crime-infested New York, does have an appropriate level of intrigue for the Traffic writer. But don’t worry, we won’t jinx it by asking what we always ask.
8. Captain’s log – Patrick Stewart is in The Emoji Movie
Olivier and Grammy Award winner Sir Patrick Stewart will play the part of the poop emoji in The Emoji Movie. Yep. Eagle-eared viewers would have been able to surmise as much from the scintillating teaser that dropped late last year but Sony took to Twitter on Wednesday to confirm the casting. Stewart joins T.J. Miller, James Corden and Ilana Glazer in the cinematic representation of humanity’s nadir—in cinemas August 4!
— Sony Pictures (@SonyPictures) January 18, 2017
9. Remember the name: Your Name
The utterly sublime Your Name has been (deservedly) rewarded with bundles and bundles of box office cash. New figures put the body-swapping comedy as the highest grossing anime film of all time, overtaking Hayao Miyazaki’s classic Spirited Away, after taking a phenomenal $290 million in the international box office. Standing proud as the 4th highest grossing Japanese film of all time, Your Name has performed well in all four corners of the globe—particularly in South Korea, Japan, China and the UK. So, great news all round. [via Otaku Tale]
– SON & DB