Today’s Ketchup brings you another ten headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Avatar 2, Bob’s Burgers, Fast & Furious 9, Halloween, and the Bride of Frankenstein remake.
Two years ago at 2015’s San Diego Comic-Con, Channing Tatum was announced as starring in a solo spinoff movie for X-Men favorite Gambit (closing the deal a few weeks later). Gambit was initially scheduled for release on October 7, 2016 (that obviously didn’t happen), and two different directors came and went (Rupert Wyatt and Doug Liman). Channing Tatum, however, has remained steadfast through all of that, and now, his New Orleans superhero gambler Gambit might finally get a director with experience with a similar freewheelin’ adventurer, Jack Sparrow. Specifically, we’re talking about Gore Verbinski, who directed the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Rango, and The Ring. There is no (new) release date for Gambit yet, but Fox does have several “mystery” Marvel projects scheduled for 2019 and 2020. The next three X-Men-related movies will be The New Mutants (4/13/18), Deadpool 2 (6/1/18), and X-Men: Dark Phoenix (11/2/18).
Although Titanic came out nearly 20 years ago, director James Cameron has only directed one non-documentary feature since: 2009’s Avatar (giving Cameron the #2 and #1 all-time box office positions), and star Kate Winslet has appeared in over 30 films. According to this week’s news, the two are set for a reunion (and then some), as Winslet is now signed to star in the Avatar franchise, beginning with Avatar 2. Winslet will be playing a character called “Ronal,” and it’s unclear how many of the four sequels she will be starring in (though the plural “sequels” is being used). Lachlan Murdoch also said this week that the four Avatar sequels will be the most expensive films ever made. There’s no word yet about what the sequels will be called, or what font will be used for the titles.
The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction rarely guarantees the winning novel will become a bestseller, but 2014’s The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt did spend over 30 weeks on the NYT chart. Hollywood quickly took to Tartt’s tale of an orphaned boy with a connection to 17th century Dutch painter Carel Fabritius’ painting The Goldfinch who matures into a life of crime. When the dust settled, the rights were split between Warner Bros and Amazon Studios (cofinancing the $40 million budget), and the next step was to find a young actor with the right range. Eventually, they decided to go with Ansel Elgort, the star of Baby Driver and The Fault in Our Stars. Elgort’s other upcoming projects include The Billionaire Boys Club (with Taron Egerton), and the John F. Kennedy WWII film, Mayday 109.
It was a good news/bad news situation for Fast and the Furious fans this week, though at first it felt like it was all bad. It started on Wednesday as The Hollywood Reporter reported that Universal Pictures had pushed the release date of the 9th Fast & Furious film back a year from April 19, 2019 to April 10, 2020 (Easter weekend). The four other movies scheduled for April, 2020 all currently remain untitled and unknown. Tyrese Gibson (who plays Roman) took to Instagram seemingly complaining about the delay, posting, “#FastFamily right? Nah….. it’s about #TeamDewayne.” The next day, the reference to Dwayne Johnson made a bit more sense, when it was announced that Universal’s new plans for 2019 now involve the Fast and Furious spinoff featuring the characters played by Johnson and Jason Statham. The as-yet-untitled spinoff is now scheduled for July 26, 2019, which is the same weekend as the recently announced Terminator 6.
Although FOX never did give the world movies based on Futurama, King of the Hill, or even The Family Guy (yet), one of the network’s most recent animated comedies will in 2020. The show in question is called Bob’s Burgers, and it concerns a family, the Belchers: “Bob Belcher runs a hamburger restaurant in a seaside town with his ever-optimistic wife Linda and their three children: the self-conscious Tina, goofball Gene, and precocious Louise.” Bob’s Burgers is currently in its eighth season, and in late 2020, it will be starting its eleventh season. Fox has scheduled the Bob’s Burgers movie for July 17, 2020, which puts it a week after Indiana Jones 5, and the week before an untitled DC Comics movie, and a Sony Animation release. Bob’s Burgers currently has a Fresh Tomatometer score of 89%.
Three weeks ago, The Weekly Ketchup led with the news that next year’s Halloween sequel-as-reboot had recruited Jamie Lee Curtis to return as Laurie Strode (despite, you know, her character dying in 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection). If Laurie Strode dies a second time next year, the franchise may have a new heroine to carry the franchise, because Judy Greer has been cast as her adult daughter, Karen Strode. Although she’s frequently had supporting roles (like in Jurassic World and Ant-Man), Greer stays super busy, with over eight upcoming movies, including Clint Eastwood’s The 15:17 to Paris, Richard Linklater’s Where’d You Go Bernadette, and Marvel’s sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp.
This week, MGM announced that they are pulling Eli Roth’s remake of Death Wish starring Bruce Willis from next month (11/22/17), in lieu of a release on March 2, 2018 instead. The official take is that Thanksgiving is too crowded (Coco, Polaroid, Molly’s Game, and Chappaquiddick), but the problem with that logic is that March 2, 2018 is the release date for two action movies (Alpha and Red Sparrow) that would be direct competition for a Death Wish remake. That cognitive dissonance also supports pieces like this that speculate the move has more to do with Sunday’s Las Vegas massacre. Netflix also cancelled an event this weekend for Marvel’s The Punisher, with a release date still to be announced for later this fall. Regardless of whether or not Death Wish and The Punisher end up being any good, their postponement was probably the right thing to do.
Sometimes, a given week’s news isn’t just a single story, but a cascading effect of related stories. First, we heard that director Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, Beauty and the Beast) and Universal Pictures were postponing the early 2018 production of their Bride of Frankenstein remake. This quickly led to speculation that Universal was stepping back from its Dark Universe franchise ideas. Soon after, Bride of Frankenstein was also pulled from Universal’s schedule, where it had been slated for February 14, 2019 (Valentine’s Day). Javier Bardem was to play Frankenstein’s Monster, with Angelina Jolie sought to play “The Bride,” but Condon is now saying that if Jolie doesn’t sign on, Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot might be his choice instead. Jolie herself will be filming Maleficent 2 next year.
Although Rush Hour received a Tomatometer score of 60%, the two sequels did not (52% for Rush Hour 2, 18% for Rush Hour 3). That third movie came out ten years ago, but based on what Jackie Chan said this week (while promoting next week’s The Foreigner), the principals still want to continue the franchise. Talking to a radio station in Los Angeles, Chan said that after years of disagreements about a Rush Hour 4 script, “Yesterday, we just agreed.” It’s not yet known if Brett Ratner will return to direct Rush Hour 4, especially since he’s also in the news with his Hugh Hefner biopic.
The death of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner on September 27, 2017 has been received by sentiments like “Good Riddance” and “no feminist anywhere will shed a tear at his death” on one side. Those are balanced by more sympathetic takes like his “sad secrets,” and this eulogy from producer Brett Ratner, on the other. That last take is absolutely super-relevant because Ratner (Rush Hour 3, X-Men: The Last Stand) (and his Ratpac Entertainment) has been working since April on a Hugh Hefner biopic. That’s why the pieces were already in place enough that RatPac was prepared to announce that Jared Leto (Suicide Squad, Requiem for a Dream) will play Hugh Hefner in the yet-untitled biopic. Ratner also has plans to reboot Hugh Hefner’s 1969 late-night talk show Playboy After Dark for TV.