This week’s Ketchup is dominated by big moves and shake-ups on the movie release calendars for 2014 and 2015, which include movies like The Fantastic Four, Fifty Shades of Grey, Hercules: The Legend Begins, Independence Day 2, and Mission: Impossible 5.
This Week’s Top Story
HOLLYWOOD’S 2014-2015 SHAKE UP: INDEPENDENCE DAY 2, THE FANTASTIC FOUR, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
By definition, the Weekly Ketchup is supposed to be a column about the past 7 days of news stories involving movie development, which is usually defined as the process during which studios and producers make the decisions that ultimately result in the movies that we see at the local theater. Usually, these stories are about movie rights being acquired, sequels or remakes being discussed, or the hiring of writers, directors, and stars. This week, the online news cycle seemed to be dominated by something that is only borderline within the realm of development: movie release dates. The process through which studios choose their release dates is fairly complex, but most people see it more as strategy than tactics (studios jockeying against each other for the perfect date for a given movie). Some of the release date stories this week are sprinkled throughout the column, but here are the three big ones we should start off with. First, one of the higher profile movies that had been scheduled for the summer of 2015 has been bumped back almost exactly a year. 20th Century Fox has moved the science fiction sequel Independence Day 2 (or whatever the title ends up being) from July 13, 2015 to July 1, 2016. Before one thinks that somehow fixes the crowding situation of that summer, you should know that Fox also bumped up their superhero reboot The Fantastic Four from its former date of March 6, 2015 to June 19, 2015. The Fox movie formerly scheduled for that date was Assassin’s Creed, which has been moved back six weeks to August 7, 2015. Another comic book adaptation, Matthew Vaughn’s The Secret Service, likewise gets bumped back four months from November 14, 2014 to March 6, 2015, taking over that date from The Fantastic Four. There’s also Fifty Shades of Grey, which Universal Pictures has moved to February 13, 2015, away from the August 1, 2014 date, which many are expecting will be dominated by Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Instead, Universal is now scheduling the James Brown biopic Get On Up for that date, which seems like it might be a better example of counter-programming against Marvel’s outer space adventure. Continue reading the column for more release date news throughout.
Fresh Developments This Week
#1 JEREMY RENNER RETURNING FOR THE BOURNE LEGACY 2 AND MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 5
At this point, it’s unclear how active Hawkeye will be in The Avengers: Age of Ultron (though it would be nice to see him do something more than just be a mind-controlled zombie for half a movie). If Jeremy Renner does have a big role in that movie, then we’re in for a second wave of lots and lots of Jeremy Renner in our big budget action movies. Universal Pictures has hired director Justin Lin, who directed the fourth, fifth and sixth Fast and Furious movies, to work on the sequel to The Bourne Legacy (which will itself be the fifth movie in that franchise), and Renner will be returning as juiced up super spy Aaron Cross. There’s no release date for that one yet, but it might be sometime in 2016. We learned this week that the big movie featuring Jeremy Renner likely to follow The Avengers: Age of Ultron will be Mission: Impossible 5, which Paramount has scheduled for December 25, 2015. That puts the Tom Cruise/Jeremy Renner spy action movie just a week after two other big franchise projects: Warcraft and Star Wars Episode VII, both of which are currently scheduled for the week of December 18, 2015.
#2 JASON STATHAM REPLACES DANIEL CRAIG IN THE LAYER CAKE SEQUEL VIVA LA MADNESS
It doesn’t feel like nine years ago, but it was in 2004 that director Matthew Vaughn first emerged on the scene with Layer Cake, which was an adaptation of a novel by J.J. Connolly. Daniel Craig played the main character in that movie, who went on to further adventures in another novel by J.J. Connolly called Viva La Madness. This week, Jason Statham announced that he has acquired the rights to Viva La Madness, in which he will star, which effectively means that he’s taking over the character first originated on the screen by Daniel Craig. In Viva La Madness, the character’s dream of retiring quietly on a beach somewhere with all his money leads him into “trans-Atlantic drug deals, money laundering, high-tech electronic fraud, London lowlifes and Venezuelan drug cartels.” The release date footnote to this story is that 20th Century Fox has scheduled the spy comedy Susan Cooper, which teams Jason Statham up with Melissa McCarthy, for May 22, 2015.
#3 DWAYNE JOHNSON TO STAR IN FOOTBALL-RELATED SURVIVAL TRUE STORY NOT WITHOUT HOPE
Dwayne Johnson has attached himself to star in an adaptation of a true story memoir called Not Without Hope. This news comes as both Captain Phillips and All is Lost are both in theaters, and doing quite well. The story follows two NFL players, a former USF football player, and the author of the memoir, who end up stranded in the Gulf of Mexico after a storm wrecks their fishing boat. The release date connection here is that Summit Entertainment has announced a release date of January 10, 2014 for their action movie Hercules: The Legend Begins, starring Kellan Lutz. This makes Dwayne Johnson’s own movie, Hercules: The Thracian Wars (the one directed by Brett Ratner), the second Hercules movie of 2014 when it will be released on July 25, 2014. Of course, as movies like Armageddon and Snow White and the Huntsman have proven in the past, it’s not always the second movie in these showdowns that necessarily suffers.
#4 COMEDY CENTRAL STARS KEY & PEELE GET THEIR OWN MOVIE
Producer Judd Apatow and Universal Pictures are teaming up to help the comedy team of Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, best known as Key & Peele on Comedy Central, their own as-yet-untitled comedy movie. The concept of the movie is being kept secret for now, which sort of brings this story to a quick close. As for what Key & Peele is like, it’s a sketch comedy show that features a lot of impersonations of President Barack Obama (or so I gather from the commercials, which Comedy Central runs a lot of). Key and Peele are both also former cast members of MADtv.
#5 BATMAN VS SUPERMAN RUMOR OF THE WEEK: ADAM DRIVER FROM GIRLS AS ROBIN?
It’s another week, and another casting rumor for Batman vs Superman. This time, the scuttlebutt is that the movie might feature Dick Grayson, AKA Robin/Nightwing. The actor who is reportedly talking to Warner Bros (in addition to two others we don’t know about) is Adam Driver, who most people might know for playing Lena Dunham’s “boyfriend” on HBO’s Girls. If Adam Driver does land the role, it will be a decision that drives quite a visual wedge against the way most comic book fans think of Dick Grayson via the last 20 years of his portrayal in comics like New Teen Titans, Nightwing, and the various other Bat-spin-off titles. Or Warner Bros just might go with someone else entirely, or maybe Dick Grayson won’t even be in the movie. That’s why we call these sorts of stories rumors.
Rotten Ideas of the Week
#4 IDRIS ELBA TO PLAY SECRET AGENT IN PARIS-SET ACTION THRILLER BASTILE DAY
Idris Elba has acquired a lot of good will because of his work on TV series like The Wire and Luther, and in movies like Thor, Pacific Rim, and Prometheus. All of that can be misleading however, because when you look at his actual RT Tomatometer page, what you find is a page with lots of green splotches from 2005 to 2010. Hey, nobody’s perfect. We wouldn’t normally rock the boat about Idris Elba (the reasons being all those things listed in the first sentence), but his latest movie project sounds quite rote and predictable. And so, here we are. Idris Elba has signed to star in the international action thriller Bastile Day as a “U.S. operative who is tasked with interrogating and eventually making a young American boy “disappear” in order to avoid embarrassment to the U.S. government after the boy is linked as the prime suspect to an attack on the Paris metro.” The predictable part comes in the next sentence in the source article, but we’ll leave it to you, the good reader, to actually go read it if you want to.
#3 THE HEAT GETS A SPINOFF INSTEAD OF A SEQUEL AFTER SANDRA BULLOCK NIXES THE IDEA
Last month, while promoting Gravity, Sandra Bullock nixed the idea in the press that she would costar in a sequel to The Heat, the buddy cop movie she starred in this year with Melissa McCarthy. It took producer/writer/director Paul Feig about a month to recover, apparently, but this week, we learned that Feig’s new idea is not a direct sequel to The Heat, but rather a spinoff. The idea is to focus the new comedy on the characters played in The Heat by Jamie Denbo and Jessica Chaffin, who played Boston relatives of Melissa McCarthy’s character. If you saw The Fighter, that gives you an idea of the type of working class women that the characters were basically spoofing. Although The Heat earned a Fresh score of 66%, we’re going to list this spinoff idea as “Rotten,” just because it sounds too “one jokey.” Of course, that’s probably what someone could have said two years ago about The Heat.
#2 THE ENTOURAGE MOVIE IS STILL HAPPENING, WITH KATE UPTON POSSIBLY COSTARRING
It’s one of the oldest tropes in television, but one of the trickiest things about long-running series is knowing when to stop. It’s such a part of TV fandom that when Happy Days didn’t pull the plug when it should have, it led to the very phrase “jump the shark.” That arguably happened with HBO’s Entourage, which kept going into an eighth season which led to the reviews plummeting like Johnny Drama’s career, post Viking Quest. Two news stories emerged this week, neither of which has been confirmed (so keep that in mind). The first is that Kate Upton might be cast as Vincent Chase’s new girlfriend, when the Entourage movie picks up the story six months later. Upton is, of course, a model-turned-actress that might be best known for appearing on TMZ almost daily, and for playing the sexy nun in The Three Stooges. The next story hasn’t yet been confirmed as having anything to do with Entourage, but given that a fictional Aquaman movie was part of the show, it seems likely. The gist is that the Midtown Comics chain posted a Tweet this week of a poster for a Wonder Twins movie starring Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher. Of course, there are other things it could be (like a hoax, or a promotion for Midtown Comics, or a revival of Punk’d). What this is almost certainly not is any sort of confirmation that Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher are actually going to star in a Wonder Twins movie in 2014. What’s particularly funny is that the reason for that isn’t because it’s a ridiculous idea, but because, “duh, obviously,” how could they have a movie like that done in time for a 2014 release?
#1 ARE YOU READY FOR MOVIES BASED ON APPS LIKE… TEMPLE RUN?
When Legendary Pictures left Warner Bros earlier this year for Universal Pictures, taking many of the studio’s biggest projects with them, it led to the last couple of months seeing Warner Bros trying on all sorts of new ideas, and they’re not all obvious winners. Take, for example, the story this week that Harry Potter producer David Heyman has acquired the movie rights to the popular phone game app Temple Run. Right now, with no writer or director attached, it’s just an idea, and that idea is that it would be about “an explorer who, having stolen an idol from a temple, is chased by demonic forces.” And you know what, sometimes we’re wrong about Rotten Ideas. Maybe a brilliant writer will come along who can turn Temple Run into the Raiders of the Lost Ark for a new generation (that is certainly the movie it sounds like). The opposite, however, is probably more likely. The most likely outcome, though, might be that we will never hear about a Temple Run movie ever again, until it’s a footnote about how David Hyman gave up his plans for a Temple Run movie.
For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS via Facebook.