This week’s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as The Batman 2, BioShock, Fantastic Four, and the next Planet of the Apes.
(Photo by 2K Games)
Ever since the critical and box office successes of Pokemon Detective Pikachu (Fresh at 68%), Sonic the Hedgehog (Fresh at 63%), and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Fresh at 69%), there has been a resurgence of video game adaptation movie projects akin to the comic book gold rush of the 2000s. This renewed interest is even resurrecting BioShock, which was almost produced in the late 2000s. The award-winning 2007 retrofuturistic first-person-shooter is now being developed by Netflix with Francis Lawrence attached to direct at some point after he wraps up filming the prequel The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (11/17/2023). One of the new projects announced this week is Sony’s Days Gone, based on the 2019 post-zombie-apocalypse survival game of the same name. Days Gone doesn’t have a director attached yet, but Sam Heughan (Outlander) is already circling to star in the film, which will be adapted by screenwriter Sheldon Turner (co-writer of X-Men: First Class). Another PlayStation game now in development is Gravity Rush, the 2012 action-adventure game about a character who can control gravity. Finally, Sonic the Hedgehog studio SEGA is also now developing two more of its classic 1990s games: the Sega Genesis fighting game Comix Zone and the futuristic 1999 dancing game Space Channel 5.
(Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images, ©Marvel Studios)
One of Marvel Studios’ highest priority upcoming films is the reboot of Fantastic Four, to which Marvel Studios regained the film rights in 2019 when Disney finalized their acquisition of the former 20th Century Fox film and TV properties. The studio had landed a Fantastic Four director in three-time Spider-Man director Jon Watts, but the job has been up for grabs since Watts departed the project in April. The new director who is in early talks to shepherd Fantastic Four towards its Phase Six release date on November 8, 2024 is Matt Shakman, who directed all nine episodes of Marvel’s WandaVision (Fresh at 91%) on Disney+. Shakman was also recently in talks to direct the next Star Trek feature film (12/22/2023), ended up dropping out of that film as talks ramped up for Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios has not yet announced any details about the new Fantastic Four film, including who will star and which villain Marvel’s “First Family” will face.
(Photo by ©Warner Bros.)
As the new bosses at Warner Bros. Discovery continue to reorganize the company’s structure for the future, much of the focus has been on projects that were canceled (like, obviously, Batgirl), but there are also new deals and projects yet to be announced. Matt Reeves, who most recently directed The Batman (Certfied Fresh at 85%), has signed a multi-year first look deal with Warner Bros. (in which Warner Bros. reserves the rights to produce any project Matt Reeves wants to direct that isn’t already in development at another studio). The deal includes the Penguin spin-off series starring Colin Farrell for HBO Max and The Batman 2, which Reeves is now co-writing with screenwriter Mattson Tomlinson (Mother/Android). In related news, the current frontrunner to take over the “Kevin Feige of DC Comics movies” title is Dan Lin, a Warner Bros. producer who delivered both the LEGO movies and the two halves of Stephen King’s IT.
(Photo by Amy Sussman, Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
LAIKA is the Oregon-based stop-motion animation production company behind such films as Coraline (Certified Fresh at 90%) and Kubo and the Two Strings (Certified Fresh at 97%). LAIKA’s sixth feature film will be Wildwood, about two children trying to save a baby abducted by a swarm of crows into a magical forest. Wildwood will feature a star-studded ensemble voice cast that includes Mahershala Ali (Marvel’s upcoming Blade, 11/3/2023), Carey Mulligan, Jacob Tremblay, Awkwafina, Angela Bassett, Jemaine Clement, Charlie Day, Richard E. Grant, Jake Johnson, Amandla Stenberg, and Tom Waits. The film is based on the 2011 fantasy novel of the same name and is set to be directed by Travis Knight, who also helmed Kubo and the Two Strings.
(Photo by ©20th Century Fox Film Corp.)
Hulu and 20th Century Studios are currently in the midst of critical praise for Prey (Certified Fresh at 93%), a soft reboot of their long-running Predator franchise. 20th Century Studios is also now preparing to revive their Planet of the Apes franchise with an untitled project that will be directed by Wes Ball (The Maze Runner and its sequels). The premise of this new Planet of the Apes is not yet known, except that it will have a lead primate character and a lead human character. The human character is still being cast, but the primate will be played by relative newcomer Owen Teague, whose filmography includes roles in two different Stephen King reboots, IT and Amazon’s The Stand.
(Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
Top Gun: Maverick (Certified Fresh at 96%) is just now starting to wind down its massive box office flight ($685 million domestic and $1.4 billion worldwide). In addition to Tom Cruise, one of the stars of Top Gun: Maverick is Miles Teller, whose other credits include The Spectacular Now (Certfied Fresh at 91%), Whiplash (Certified Fresh at 94%), and the recent making-of-The Godfather series The Offer (Rotten at 57%). Hot off of Maverick, Teller has now signed on for the romantic action movie The Gorge for Doctor Strange (Certfied Fresh at 89%) director Scott Derrickson, whose most recent project was the horror film The Black Phone (Certified Fresh at 82%).
(Photo by ©Netflix)
Director Zack Snyder (Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Army of the Dead) is still in the midst of filming his Netflix space epic Rebel Moon, featuring an ensemble cast including Charlie Hunnam, Djimon Hounsou, Ed Skrein, and Sofia Boutella. Netflix must have confidence in the project, however, as they have already greenlit a sequel, now listed on the California Tax Credit Program alongside another sequel, Todd Phillips’ Joker: Folie à Deux (10/4/2024), which we already knew about, plus the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair. Netflix has not yet announced which cast members will return for the sequel.
(Photo by ©Sony Pictures)
One of the new strategies at Warner Bros. Discovery is actually a very old one, which is that after a few years of a focus on streaming and HBO Max, Warner Bros. movies will largely be produced for theatrical releases before streaming. The title that attracted the most news was Batgirl, because the streaming title is being canceled as a tax write-off. That is not, however, what Warner Bros. Discovery is doing with all of the projects that were originally produced for streaming. The remake of the 1990 comedy House Party (Fresh at 93%) and the fifth in the Evil Dead horror franchise, Evil Dead Rise, will instead receive full theatrical releases, on December 9, 2022 and April 21, 2023, respectively.
(Photo by Everett Collection)
Although it’s now considered a cult favorite, the 1985 board game adaptation Clue (Fresh at 68%) was at the time considered a box office and critical failure (later reviews have lifted the RT score). Attempts at rebooting Clue for a modern audience have likewise faced years and years of setbacks. The latest actor and producer to try to get Clue going again is Ryan Reynolds, possibly inspired by the success of a recent similarly-themed mystery movie, Knives Out (Certified Fresh at 97%). To get Clue going, Reynolds and 20th Century Studios have hired screenwriter Oren Uziel, whose most recent film was the romantic adventure The Lost City (Certified Fresh at 79%), starring Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, and Daniel Radcliffe.
(Photo by Jason Smith/Everett Collection)
Actor Jesse Eisenberg recently wrapped filming of an indie film called When You Finish Saving the World (Fresh at 66%), but he is now also preparing to direct, write, and star in another indie film called A Real Pain, and his co-star will be Kieran Culkin (Succession). Eisenberg and Culkin will star as “two estranged cousins who travel to Poland after their grandmother dies to see where she came from and end up joining a Holocaust tour.” Eisenberg also revealed this week that he will soon star in an untitled indie movie as a Sasquatch, the mythological furry creatures that some believe live in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. The film will be directed by the brotherly directing team of David and Nathan Zellner, whose previous credits include Damsel (Fresh at 68%) and Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (Certified Fresh at 88%).