This Week’s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Dog Man, Spider-Man 3, and a truckload of Marvel movies.
(Photo by © Marvel Studios, © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
The Walt Disney Company, like most huge corporations, annually hosts “investor calls” in which they detail some of their plans for future quarters and fiscal years and review financial numbers. If that all sounds pretty dry, it’s because most events like it usually are, except that other companies don’t own Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar. Much of what was announced was for the Disney+ streaming app, but there were several big announcements for theatrically released feature films as well. Pixar shared details about their next post-Soul film, the Italy-based Luca (6/18/2021), as well as Turning Red (about a little girl who turns into a red panda, due out 3/11/2022), and the Toy Story sort-of-prequel Lightyear (6/17/2022), starring Chris Evans as the voice of the real Buzz Lightyear upon which the Tim Allen-voiced toy is supposed to be based. Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins will direct the next Star Wars movie, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (12/25/2023), and Taika Waititi is also still working on his own Star Wars movie to be released in 2024 or later. As for Marvel, their waterfall of announcements included confirmation that Christian Bale will co-star in Thor: Love and Thunder (5/6/2022) as the villain Gorr the God Butcher. We also now know that relative newcomer Xochitl Gomez will costar in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (3/25/2022) as the young superhero America Chavez, who might be newsworthy for multiple reasons. Captain Marvel 2 (7/8/2022) will not only give us the MCU feature film debut of Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan, A.K.A. Ms. Marvel on Disney+, but also Teyonah Parris as the adult version of Monica Rambeau (herself a superhero in the comics). We also now have a new title for Ant-Man the the Wasp: Quantumania, which will feature Kathryn Newton as Cassie Lang, Ant-Man’s daughter, who in the comics is the superhero Stature. And finally, the director of the three Tom Holland Spider-Man movies, Jon Watts, has also been tapped by Marvel Studios to helm the hotly anticipated Fantastic Four reboot, presumably with plans to incorporate Marvel’s “First Family” into the MCU. And speaking of Spider-Man…
(Photo by (c) Columbia courtesy Everett Collection)
Well before Disney made their dozens of announcements yesterday about almost every other Marvel movie, the next Spider-Man movie starring Tom Holland (we’ll just call it Spider-Man 3 for now) repeatedly popped up in social networking news. Having said that, it might be important to look at the various stories with caution, as not all of them have been confirmed. Let’s start with the most official announcement, which is that Alfred Molina will be reprising his role as Spider-Man 2 (Certified Fresh at 93%) villain Doctor Octopus. Setting aside his apparent death in that film (sorry for the spoiler, but you only had sixteen years to see the movie), Molina’s character also comes from what we could consider a separate “movie reality” (in which Tobey Maguire plays Spider-Man) than that of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker, in the same way that Jamie Foxx’s Electro was in a movie starring Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker (The Amazing Spider-Man 2). Many writers are interpreting these particular announcements as possible confirmations that the next Spider-Man could be a live-action take on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Certified Fresh at 97%), including stories like this one that state that Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, Kirsten Dunst, and Emma Stone are returning as well. In truth, none of those actors has been officially announced yet, though it is worth mentioning that Emma Stone recently dropped out of Damien Chazelle’s Babylon due to scheduling conflicts; we just don’t know what those conflicts were. Elsewhere, it was also rumored that Charlie Cox, who played Daredevil in the popular Netflix series, might also appear in the film, but again, it’s still just a rumor until it’s confirmed. Sony Pictures has scheduled the next Spider-Man for December 17, 2021; you can read our own in-depth breakdown here.
(Photo by DC Comics)
The idea of the original super-stretchy superhero Plastic Man (who predates, say, DC Comics’ own Elongated Man, Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four, Elastigirl of The Incredibles, and Ms. Marvel) getting his own movie has been bouncing around since the 1990s when the Wachowski siblings wrote a Plastic Man screenplay as a potential project to take up after The Matrix. Warner Bros. has once again revived the Plastic Man project, but this time, it’s being described as “female-centric,” although it’s unclear what exactly that means (for example, will Plastic Man now be a woman, or will there be another lead character who’s a woman?). The new creative lead on Plastic Man (Plastic Woman, maybe?) will be relatively new screenwriter Cat Vasko, who has worked on several not-yet-produced projects, including Fierce Kingdom, Margot Robbie’s Queen of the Air, and an adaptation of the award-winning comic book series Lumberjanes.
(Photo by Outlaw Productions)
It’s difficult to imagine now, with all that has happened and changed in the last few decades, but there was a time (1989, to be precise), when the Sundance Film Festival was a relatively sleepy little film festival up in the mountains that wasn’t besieged every year by the film industry and aspiring filmmakers. The movie that arguably started the indie revolution of the 1990s was Steven Soderbergh’s debut feature film, sex, lies & videotape (Certified Fresh at 96%), starring James Spader, Andie MacDowell, Peter Gallagher, and Laura San Giacomo. Over 30 years later, Soderbergh revealed this week that he is now working on a sequel to that film with its two female leads, Andie MacDowell and Laura San Giacomo, both agreeing to reprise their roles as sisters. Soderbergh didn’t reveal anything else about the sequel, except that one of the sisters now has an adult daughter who is about the same age as the characters were in the original 1989 film.
(Photo by Scholastic)
Although Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (Certified Fresh at 87%) may have been unfortunately titled (since it has yet to be followed by a second epic movie), the film also has a Fresh Audience Score of 61%. (Instead of a sequel movie, the story continues on Netflix as The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants, which is now in in its fourth season.) The good news for Captain Underpants creator Dav Pilkey this week is that another of his popular children’s graphic novels is now being developed as an animated feature film as well. DreamWorks Animation and Universal Pictures have acquired the rights to Pilkey’s graphic novels series Dog Man for a feature film that will be directed by Peter Hastings, who has previously worked on the popular animated TV series Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain. As the title suggests, Dog Man is a canine superhero who fights crime alongside his kitten sidekick Li’l Petey. The various Dog Man graphic novels have sold nearly 40 million copies in print to date and have been translated into 40 different languages.
(Photo by Derek Storm/Everett Collection)
If the COVID-19 pandemic had never happened, the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, starring Jennifer Hudson, would have come out this past August, instead of its new release date of August 13, 2021. While we all wait for that movie to come out, it sounds like Jennifer Hudson might already be preparing her next movie musical, as she is now producing and expected to star in a new project for New Line Cinema. The untitled musical comedy will revolve around Christmas songs — both classic and new ones written for the movie — in a story about “a down-and-out singer’s life being turned upside down when she is mistaken for writing the next Christmas hit.” The untitled Christmas comedy is currently being written by TV writer Ira Madison III (Daybreak, Nikki Fre$h).
(Photo by Chuck Zlotnick/©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
This was obviously a big week for all things Marvel, but one of their stars lined up a project this week completely separate from all things superhero-related. Chris Pratt will star in the independent coming-of-age martial arts comedy The Black Belt, which he will also produce. The premise, written by TV writer Randall Green (Billions, The Perfect Date), revolves around a shy teenage boy who’s trying to learn karate, with Chris Pratt attached to play the uncle who serves as a mentor in the boy’s quest. Chris Pratt’s Indivisible Productions will partner with a relatively new company called Monarch Media, which recently wrapped production on its first feature film, A Week Away. Other projects on Chris Pratt’s schedule include the science fiction action movie The Tomorrow War (7/23/2021), the recently wrapped sequel Jurassic World: Dominion (6/10/2022), a supporting role as Star-Lord in Thor: Love and Thunder (5/6/2022), and, as of yesterday, a Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special for Disney+ in late 2022, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 sometime in 2023.
(Photo by Giles Keyte/©20th Century Fox Film Corp.)
It was just eight years ago when comic book writer Mark Millar first published his indie series Kingsman: The Secret Service, but since then, those comics have given us Kingsman: The Secret Service (Certified Fresh at 74%), Kingsman: The Golden Circle (Rotten at 51%), and coming soon, the prequel The King’s Man (3/12/2021). Talking about his company’s ambitious expansion plans, Marv Group CEO Zygi Kamasa revealed this week that producer and director Matthew Vaughn has plans for “something like seven more Kingsman films,” as well as a Kingsman TV series, and two or three other franchies. It’s unclear what those seven additional Kingsman movies might be, but it could be that the prequel The King’s Man, starring Gemma Arterton and Ralph Fiennes, could serve as a launching point for additional prequels, in addition to further Kingsman movies starring Taron Egerton. Kingsman could also inspire spin-off movies, and Mark Millar’s comics are part of a “Millarworld” shared universe that also includes Kick-Ass (Certified Fresh at 76%), which, incidentally, Vaughn also directed.
(Photo by ©Columbia Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)
Although we regularly hear about new movies based on comic books and video games, it’s been quite a while since this writer remembers writing about a new project based upon a radio serial from the 1930s. That, however, is exactly what Universal Pictures is now developing as The Green Hornet and Kato (titled thus to put emphasis on the martial arts expert sidekick), which has its roots both as a radio serial and as a short-lived-but-well-remembered 1960s TV series starring Bruce Lee as Kato. Universal’s new project should not be confused with Sony’s 2011 comedy The Green Hornet (Rotten at 44%), directed by Michel Gondry and starring Seth Rogen, which was considered a box office bomb and failed to launch a franchise. To get The Green Hornet and Kato revved up, Universal Pictures has enlisted one of their heavy hitter screenwriters, David Koepp, whose impressive filmography includes the first Jurassic Park, the first Spider-Man, David Fincher’s Panic Room, and Tom Cruise’s War of the Worlds (he’s also also currently working on Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones 5 (July, 2022) and a remake of Bride of Frankenstein). Universal won the rights to The Green Hornet following a bidding war in January.
(Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon/Paramount Pictures)
Last week, Warner Bros. made the monumental announcement that their entire 2021 theatrical slate will also premiere day-and-date on the studio’s HBO Max streaming service. That slate of 16-17 movies actually does not include Tenet (Fresh at 71%), since that movie already came out this past summer, but that hasn’t deterred the film’s director, Christopher Nolan, from speaking out against the move. Nolan described the HBO Max move as a “bait and switch” against filmmakers who thought they were making “big screen experiences” for what Nolan called the “worst streaming service.” Other directors who voiced dissatisfaction with the deal included Patty Jenkins, Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7), Judd Apatow, and the Directors Guild of America. Of the directors whose films are included in the 2021 move, the most vocal has probably been Denis Villeneuve, who was quoted as saying that Warner Bros “might just have killed the Dune franchise.” As for Christopher Nolan, there is now concern and speculation that Warner Bros. might lose the acclaimed director who gave them such films as Inception and the three Batman movies starring Christian Bale. All that being said, there are also people who back Warner Bros, especially considering that the COVID-19 pandemic is limiting theater attendance anyway, with director Steven Soderbergh being among them. (Never mind the fact that Soderbergh signed a three-year deal with HBO back in January.)