Although Hollywood is obviously fixated on superhero movies (like this week’s Avengers: Infinity War), audiences also continue to show up for horror movies (and thrillers like Get Out). With those genres, the upside is that they’re relatively affordable, budget-wise. Consider A Quiet Place, the silence-themed monster movie made for Paramount on a budget of $17 million that has so far earned $136+ million domestically ($214+ million worldwide), returning to #1 in its third weekend. Paramount Pictures is also very much constantly looking for new franchises, so it’s not surprising that the studio revealed this week that they are moving forward with plans for a sequel to A Quiet Place. The first movie was directed by John Krasinski (who also starred with his wife, Emily Blunt), from a screenplay whose writers have said “they have plenty of material left over.” Krasinski is currently attached to direct the sci-fi thriller Life on Mars next, also for Paramount. In other studio news, Paramount confirmed this week that they are developing two future Star Trek films, which are Quentin Tarantino’s pitch and a proper Star Trek 4, to be directed by C.J. Clarkson, the feature film franchise’s first female director.
Once upon a time, Marvel Studios was developing an Inhumans movie (which eventually became an ABC TV series with an IMAX debut last year). Marvel Comics has a long history of using races with cosmic connections to fill out their back stories; Inhumans is one, but another is Eternals. That race (like the Inhumans) is an offshoot of humanity, and in the comics at least, Thanos was himself a member of the Eternals (long story). We don’t know how this would work, post Avengers: Infinity War, but Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige said this week that, “Eternals is one of many many many things that we are actively beginning to have creative discussions about to see if we believe in them enough to put them on a slate.” (This statement came after an online rumor that emerged earlier this month.) Marvel developing The Eternals can also be seen as a reaction to Warner Bros’ recent news about Ava DuVernay developing a New Gods movie, as both DC Comics’ New Gods and Marvel’s The Eternals were created by beloved comics artist Jack Kirby. All that being said, Marvel Studios may not make any further official film announcements until after (the still untitled) Avengers 4 is released next year, on May 3rd, 2019.
2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was produced as a “one time” project, so it was reasonable to expect that each new movie in the Star Wars Story prequels would be standalone films. This week, Hail Caesar! star Alden Ehrenreich, was profiled by Esquire magazine in advance of next month’s Solo: A Star Wars Story (5/25/18), in which he plays the young Han Solo. As part of that profile, Ehrenreich “let slip” that he is already signed for two more Star Wars movies, suggesting a full trilogy of Solo prequels. In other Solo: A Star Wars Story news this week, Lucasfilm made an unusual decision with the film’s “character posters,” which each have their actor’s names credited, except for Joonas Suotamo, whose name is excluded from the Chewbacca poster.
Although the 2016 animated hit The Secret Life of Pets had a large ensemble voice cast, the lead character was obviously a Jack Russell Terrier named Max. Within two months of the film’s release, Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment began development on The Secret Life of Pets 2, with most of the first film’s voice cast expected to return. That, however, was a full year before the #metoo movement of late 2017 and the revelations about comedian Louis C.K., who voiced Max in the first movie. We can now confirm that Patton Oswalt is taking over the voice role of Max, along with the revelation that Harrison Ford will be making his voice acting debut in the sequel as well. Girls Trip star Tiffany Haddish is also joining the franchise in this sequel, as are Nick Kroll and Pete Holmes. Universal Pictures has scheduled The Secret Life of Pets 2 for release on June 7, 2019 (up against the Charlie’s Angels reboot).
The LAIKA stop-motion animation studio released its first film Coraline (Certified Fresh at 90%) in 2009, followed by films in 2012, 2014, and 2016 (ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, and Kubo and the Two Strings, respectively). Though “LAIKA Film Five” was at one point scheduled for next month, on 5/18/18. Though we still don’t have a title, release date, or premise for “LAIKA Film Five,” which is a “globe-trotting comedy adventure” originally scheduled for release on 5/18 of this year, we now know who the three lead voice actors will be. Those stars are Hugh Jackman (the Easter Bunny in 2012’s Rise of the Guardians), Zoe Saldana (Neytiri in James Cameron’s Avatar franchise), and Zach Galifianakis (the Joker in last year’s The LEGO Batman Movie). The film will be directed by Chris Butler, who co-directed ParaNorman, and co-wrote Kubo and the Two Strings.
Although once revolutionary, the “3D animation” we see in CGI, claymation, or stop motion has been around a pretty long time. One example is 2000’s Chicken Run from Aardman Studios, which still maintains an impressive 97% Tomatometer rating. Aardman’s most recent film was arguably a “box office bomb,” having earned just over $8 million in the two months since its release in February, so it’s perhaps understandable that the studio is returning to its biggest hit, which is also the most successful stop-motion film by any company. Aardman is indeed now developing a Chicken Run sequel, which will be directed by Sam Fell, who co-directed the aforementioned ParaNorman, as well as Flushed Away and The Tale of Despereaux. It’s not yet known if Mel Gibson will reprise his starring role as Rocky the Rooster.
Last October, as more and more details broke about the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the related #metoo movement, writers frequently pointed out that the story could someday become exactly the sort of “Oscar bait” film that Weinstein himself specialized in. We’re barely six months away from that moment, and yes, indeed, exactly that sort of film project is already in the works. Brad Pitt’s Plan B (12 Years a Slave, Moonlight) production company is teaming up with Megan Ellison’s Annapurna (Phantom Thread, Detroit) for the untitled project. The movie will spin out of the rights to the true story of how New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey did the “real press” work of uncovering the allegations against Weinstein that date back to the 1970s. There are not yet any suggestions about who might play Kantor or Twohey (though some of Weinstein’s victims could certainly be up for the roles), Harvey Weinstein himself, or any of the other victims (such as whether anyone would be willing to play themselves).
Back in 2007, Emma Roberts starred in Nancy Drew, which was an attempt to revive the character previously most popular in live action when she was played by Pamela Sue Martin in ABC’s 1970s TV series The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. That movie didn’t do well enough to inspire a new franchise, but Warner Bros appears ready to try again. The new Nancy Drew star will be Sophia Lillis, who starred in sister company New Line Cinema’s adaptation of Stephen King’s IT as Beverly Marsh. (Jessica Chastain is signed to play the adult Beverly in next year’s IT: Chapter Two.) The first movie in the new franchise will be called Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, adapted from the 1930 book The Hidden Staircase, the second book in the original series by Mildred Wirt Benson (writing as Carolyn Keene). Sophia Lillis also signed on this week to co-star with Naomi Watts in Burning Season, “a mother-daughter relationship drama against the landscape of Madagascar, an island prone to forest fires where nearly all the species are indigenous – and many are endangered.”
This year, the company that arguably landed the biggest and most surprising marketing coup during the Super Bowl was Netflix, who unveiled that their recently required God Particle project was now called The Cloverfield Paradox and set to start streaming when the big game ended. The Cloverfield Paradox appeared to be a hit for Netflix, which seemed to put new pressure on this October’s World War II zombie movie Overlord, which in the past was suggested to be the next Cloverfield movie. This week at CinemaCon, producer J.J. Abrams clarified that Overlord will not be the fourth Cloverfield movie, but another movie is still in development. Without getting into specifics, J.J. Abrams stated that, “we’re actually developing a true, dedicated Cloverfield sequel.” And unlike The Cloverfield Paradox, this fourth Cloverfield film will indeed receive a full theatrical release, and will not debut on a streaming service like Netflix.
Hollywood keeps making movies based on video games (like the recent Rampage, Rotten at 51%), and they keep earning low Tomatometer scores, even with 47 attempts to date. They also continue to earn Rotten scores regardless of their origin, including “app” game movies like 2016’s The Angry Birds Movie (Rotten at 43%). That movie did “okay” at the domestic box office ($107 million), but it was a bigger hit overseas with $352 million worldwide. And so, Sony Pictures has scheduled The Angry Birds Movie 2 for release next year on September 20, 2019, and this week, we learned about some of the new voice cast members. The list includes Sterling K. Brown (TV’s This is Us), Awkwafina (Ocean’s Eight), Zach Woods (TV’s Silicon Valley), and Saturday Night Live star Leslie Jones. Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Bill Hader, Danny McBride, and Peter Dinklage are also all returning to voice their characters for the sequel.