1. Colin Trevorrow out as Star Wars director
What is going on at Star Wars towers? A statement, released Wednesday on the official Star Wars website, reports that Colin Trevorrow – he of Jurassic World and The Book of Henry – has exited Star Wars: Episode IX. Trevorrow was all set to write and direct for a May 24, 2019 release date. But not any more.
According to Deadline, Rian Johnson is the favourite to replace Trevorrow – having familiarised himself with the franchise thanks to Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Lending credence to the rumours is the fact that Deadline also ran with the story that Ron Howard was set to replace Christopher Miller and Phil Lord on the Han Solo project before that came to pass. They might well be onto something here. Even so, things look rather turbulent at LucasFilm, as Trevorrow joins the ranks of Josh Trank, Lord, Miller and even Gareth Edwards – it being an open secret that extensive reshoots in Rogue One were overseen by Tony Gilroy.
2. But Paul Bettany joins the Han Solo spinoff
When Phil Lord and Christopher Miller left the Han Solo spinoff movie we were unsure what would happen next. The two had been shooting the picture for months, but that was no guarantee as to how much was in the can waiting to be edited. What with last month’s news that Michael Kenneth Williams had to be cut from the film it seemed like there was at least a fair bit to wrap, and Ron Howard’s priority would be recasting Williams’ character in the wake of scheduling conflicts. Instead, Deadline reports that new hire Paul Bettany will play a completely new part. With a kinky summer ‘do to boot – judging from his coiffure! Howard tweeted the news, and a photo, on Friday. Joining the Outer Rim, as indicated, implies Bettany will likely pop up where the ne’er-do-wells do dwell. So we can possibly expect some crossover with Williams’ role.
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) September 1, 2017
3. Don’t fly away, Lady Bird
The trailer for Greta Gerwig’s writer-directorial debut is pretty much as you’d expect. It’s modest, charming, and reassuringly familiar. It’s also extremely entertaining. Starring Saoirse Ronan, Lucas Hedges and Tracy Letts, Lady Bird – ostensibly about a rebellious student (Ronan) suffering through adolescence in Sacramento – had its premiere at Telluride Festival this week. As if you needed any more encouragement, it seems to have gone down swimmingly. No word yet on a UK release date but it’s out in US cinemas from November 10th.
4. James Bond finds himself the belle of the ball
After Sony’s deal to release the franchise expired after the release of Spectre, Warner Bros. were (and remain) the favourite to pick up the series – though not without competition from Sony, Universal and Fox. Now though, just as we’d expect WB to be finalising things, media upstarts Apple and Amazon have bid aggressively for the property. It’s not just that they all like spies, but rather that when it comes to readymade “universes”, Bond is relatively untapped.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Amazon and Apple’s presence in the bidding war indicates that they’d like to buy out MGM’s near ever-present stake in the franchise as well as develop TV projects for the super-spy. While Eon producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson “remain traditional in their outlook,” they may be tempted to do something above and beyond cinematic releases with WB. Either way, Daniel Craig signing onto the next film is far from the most momentous contract signed for the franchise.
5. Box Office NewsBlast!
RIP cinema. You had a good run. The last month has seen 2017’s summer spoken about with little but doom and gloom. Hopeful blockbusters have fallen by the wayside – your Mummys, your Pirateses and your Transformerseses – never quite becoming the behemoths that we’ve been conditioned to expect. Though it seems there is one shard of light in the darkness. Despicable Me 3 is inching closer to that fabled $1 billion mark. At the time of writing, the threequel is a mere $2million away from the ultimate mark of a good time had by all, which would make it the first 2017 film to reach the figure during the “official” summer period (by which we mean from Memorial Day weekend to “Labor” Day weekend, of course.
Elsewhere in box office news, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is the surprise success of the season, seeing out three straight weeks at the top of the US box office. And, internationally, Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver has done a cool bootleg turn or something across the $100 million mark. Add that to the $105m it’s scored in the US and it’s been a decent few months for Mr Wright (and audiences) too.
6. Do you wanna watch The Snowman?
Val Kilmer’s back! Witness that, as well as most of the plot of The Snowman, in its latest international trailer. Starring Michael Fassbender, the film is a delightful tale about a snowman that comes to life on Christmas Eve and takes his creator on an adventure to see Santa Claus an adaptation of Jo Nesbø’s best-selling crime novel. Fassbender plays Detective Harry Hole, a man with a real name who believes an elusive serial killer has reactivated. Rebecca Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, J.K. Simmons, Toby Jones and Chloë Sevigny all co-star and Tomas Alfredson directs.
7. Disney says sayonara to Netflix… again
Remember in August when we reported that Disney was seeking a split from Netflix? Back then we didn’t know whether the House of Mouse would be packing up its Star Wars and Marvel action figures and taking them with it when it started its own streaming service. Now we know. Disney CEO Bob Iger announced Thursday that when it comes to their streaming platform, “we’re going to launch big, and we’re going to launch hot.” Suitably, it’ll pull content from the various crown jewels of the Disney empire. As well as a library of nearly 500 films, the ad-free service will feature thousands of shorts and television episodes from across “the entire output of the studio.” The humble consumer, no doubt delighted at the prospect of paying for yet another subscription service, apparently saw their reaction matched by Disney’s shareholders. Disney shares fell 3.2% shortly after the announcement.
8. Won’t someone buy Christian Bale’s latest, consarnit?!
Telluride Festival, in Toronto, is usually not much of a seller’s market. The annual festival is more a place for those on the other side of the Atlantic to sit back with some buzzworthy films that Venice usually got just a few days earlier. Suitably, ORWAV are at the latter – always one step ahead. However, one film has disregarded that memo. Scott Cooper’s Hostiles, a western starring Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike and Wes Studi, rode into town this weekend on the hunt for a buyer. It seems Cooper’s film, starring Bale as an army captain in 1892 escorting an old enemy back to his tribal lands, is attracting some interest… and some shrugs.
Cooper, whose back catalogue includes 2015’s Black Mass and 2009’s Oscar-winning Crazy Heart, has created the film – with a reported budget of anywhere between $40million and $55million – without a buyer. Now a few distributors are sniffing around. Both Fox Searchlight and Annapurna are said to be in the mix, wary of the sizeable budget but tempted by Bale’s track record and his almost-certain awards contention. Other factors here are the appealing, “classic Hollywood”, feel of the Western – and the producers’ less appealing demand to let it bow in 2017. Take a look at the trailer below and, if you’ve got the cash, why not give them a call? [via Deadline]