In between the successful Batman movies of the late 80s/early 90s, and the first Marvel superhero hits (X-Men, Spider-Man), the genre in the 1990s actually had several black superheroes. This mini-trend included The Meteor Man (1993), Blankman (1994), Steel (1997), and 1998’s Blade (widely considered the first hit Marvel movie). The inspiration for 1997’s Spawn was a very popular comic book series (in the 1990s, anyway). Spawn was ravaged by critics (18% on the Tomatometer) and plans for a direct sequel starring Michael Jai White never came through, despite 15+ years of various forms of development. The character’s creator, Todd McFarlane, never gave up, and this week we learned that he will instead be writing and directing (as his feature film debut) a reboot of Spawn. Jamie Foxx will star in the “hard-R-rated” reboot, which is being produced by the horror production company Blumhouse, as their second major superhero movie, following 2016’s Split (which was a sort-of-sequel to Unbreakable). Jamie Foxx’s involvement with Spawn reportedly started with a pitch Foxx made five years ago to McFarlane. The timing for a Spawn… respawn couldn’t be more perfect, some are suggesting, following the success of Black Panther. It’s also worth noting that the new Spawn will not be an origin story, but will jump straight into Spawn‘s world.
Although Keanu Reeves just recently started filming John Wick 3, his agents have already secured his next project, which will be a supporting role in a Netflix comedy called Always Be My Maybe. Ali Wong (TV’s American Housewife) and Randall Park (TV’s Fresh Off the Boat) will star as “childhood sweethearts who have a falling out and don’t speak for 15 years [who then] reconnect as adults” in San Francisco. Other co-stars will include Daniel Dae Kim (LOST, Hawaii Five-0), Charlyne Yi (Paper Heart), and Karan Soni (Dopinder the taxi driver from the Deadpool movies). The other big Netflix movie to make casting news this week was The King, an adaptation of the life of the future King Henry V (Timothee Chalamet) (with Joel Edgerton already cast as his friend Falstaff). This week’s cast additions include Robert Pattinson (Twilight, The Lost City of Z), Sean Harris (Mission: Impossible: Fallout), Ben Mendelsohn (Ready Player One, next year’s Captain Marvel), and Lily-Rose Depp (Yoga Hosers).
Like many A-list movie stars, Hugh Jackman has starred in movies across several different genres, including musicals (Les Miserables, The Greatest Showman), fantasy (Pan, Rise of the Guardians), animated animals (Happy Feet, Flushed Away), and, of course, superheroes. If this week’s news goes forward, Jackman will also soon be starring in a movie based on a true story of international espionage, as he and director Baltasar Kormakur (2 Guns, Everest) are currently circling a project called The Good Spy, based on a biographical book by Kai Bird about CIA operative Robert Ames. At the height of his career, Ames was the lead analyst for the Middle East in the 1970s and 1980s, and reportedly was the first agent to infiltrate the PLO, before his death in 1983 when a suicide bomber attacked the U.S. embassy in Beirut. Baltasar Kornakur’s latest film is Adrift (68% on the Tomatometer), starring Shailene Woodley, which opens in theaters this week.
The nine previous (live action) Star Wars movies set the box office standard so high that when Solo: A Star Wars Story “only” made $103 million over the Memorial Day weekend, box office pundits quickly labeled the film a bomb. The possible reasons for the lower turnout will be diagnosed for months to come, but one possible answer sure to be immediately addressed was the decision to release two Star Wars movies (the other being Star Wars: The Last Jedi) just five months apart. Some are also speculating that this may nix any plans for a direct Solo sequel, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Lucasfilmn won’t use the two remaining movies Alden Ehrenreich is signed for. Just last week, we learned that Boba Fett is now in development, and certain character references in Solo: A Star Wars Story did hint at how Solo, Chewbacca, and Boba Fett could meet up in a standalone film dedicated to the popular bounty hunter (not to mention the possibility of Lando: A Star Wars Story). As for Solo screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, he signed with Amazon Studios this week to adapt the very-non-Star-Wars life story of Anita Bryant, the pop singer-turned-anti-gay-rights-activist who Gen Xers might know best for her orange juice commercials.
Probably about 75% of the movies you hear about each week in film development news actually will result in a movie that will be in theaters within three years. The other 25% are either movies you will never ever hear about again, or they’re movies stuck in perpetual “development hell.” We’ve been reporting on the reboot of The Crow for several years, as potential new “Eric Dravens” come and go. Aquaman star Jason Momoa actually has been attached to The Crow for a while now; that is, until this week. Momoa and director Corin Hardy have both exited the reboot of The Crow amidst rumors that Sony Pictures may also be dropping the project as well. That last part is not yet confirmed, but if it happens, that means The Crow will be leaving its planned release date of October 11, 2019. That would be good news for its competitors on that date, which include Warner Bros’ The Goldfinch (starring Ansel Elgort), the animated reboot of The Addams Family, and the kid-friendly horror movie, Are You Afraid of the Dark?
Walt Disney Pictures announced this week that production is underway in England on Maleficent II, the sequel to their 2014 hit (50% on the Tomatometer), itself a live-action retelling of Disney’s animated classic Sleeping Beauty. Michelle Pfeiffer, Chewitel Ejiofor, and Ed Skrein are all joining the cast with the sequel, in which Maleficent must align with Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning) to protect the “moors” against evils new and old. Walt Disney Pictures has not yet scheduled Maleficent II, but it will probably be sometime in 2019 or 2020. Angelina Jolie is also the newest star to ink a deal at Netflix, as she and David Oyelowo will star in a live-action fantasy called Come Away. The movie acts as a prequel to both Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland, reimagining them as brother and sister, and depicting their lives before they went on their separate adventures; Jolie and Oyelowo will play their parents. Come Away will be directed by Brenda Chapman, the director of Pixar’s animated fantasy Brave.
Robert Kirkman’s popular zombie apocalypse comic book series The Walking Dead now stretches across 30 trade paperbacks (ie, 180 issues), and the group’s leader Rick is still in there, leading the good fight. However, it appears that will soon become another way in which the AMC TV series will differ from Kirkman’s original comics, as it is now being reported that Andrew Lincoln, who plays former sheriff Rick Grimes, will be leaving The Walking Dead after the upcoming ninth season. At the same time, Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl, is negotiating for a new $20 million deal that will result in him effectively becoming the show’s new lead character. You can read more here, but be aware that discussions of season nine also contain (some very specific) narrative spoilers for season eight. Season nine of The Walking Dead (which has already started filming in Georgia) is expected to premiere in mid-to-late October, 2018.
Although Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League were not absolutely box office bombs, their performance was also muted by their Tomatometer scores. It’s only been something like 7 months since the most recent film, but in that time, we’ve heard a lot about Warner Bros’ future plans for their DC Comics properties, and one of the biggest takeaways is that Justice League director Zack Snyder is pretty much done, over, and out. That doesn’t, however, necessarily mean that Snyder won’t continue making movies for Warner Bros, where he was based as a director long before he ever helmed a DC Comics movie. Snyder is also apparently looking to stretch his legs into something other than “action movies,” which brings us to Ayn Rand, and The Fountainhead. He told a fan this week that The Fountainhead will indeed be his next movie as director, with his wife Deborah Snyder producing through her first-look deal with Warner Bros. The Fountainhead, which was previously adapted as a 1949 film starring Gary Cooper, will tell the story of objectivist architect Howard Roark, “who makes the choice to struggle rather than compromise his artistic vision, as he favors modern architecture over the establishment-supported traditional style.” So, yes, The Fountainhead is about architecture. Excited yet?
Ever since Marvel Studios launched their MCU with 2008’s Iron Man, superhero movies have really taken off in a way never before seen in the 40 years since the first Superman movie. Before 2008, however, comic book adaptations were actually broader in the genres they adapted, including such movies as Men in Black, Ghost World, Hellboy, American Splendor, and Road to Perdition. Most of the new comic book adaptations we’re hearing about for the next few years still involve superheroes, but there are a few others. Dave Bautista (Marvel’s Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy) is now attached to star in a movie called Dogtown, which will be an adapation of Jason Pearson’s Body Bags comic book series. As the title suggests, Body Bags is a violent father & daughter team of assassins called “Clownface” and “Panda.” Dogtown will be adapted by screenwriter Kyle Ward, who was previously credited for Machete Kills (28%) and last year’s Underworld: Blood Wars (21%).
Back in the 1990s, the three major video game console competitors were Nintendo, SEGA, and Sony. 25 years later, SEGA — no longer the video game giant it once was — is teaming up with Sony for a CG-animated/live action adaptation of Sonic the Hedgehog, the flagship franchise for the Sega Genesis. Sonic the Hedgehog will feature human actors interacting with the CGI-animated blue-furred video game star. Following some short-lived rumors about Paul Rudd, we now know that the human lead for Sonic the Hedgehog will be James Marsden. Marsden currently stars in HBO’s Westworld, but many fans may still remember him best as Wolverine’s romantic triangle foil, Cyclops, in the 2000s X-Men movies. Sony Pictures has scheduled Sonic the Hedgehog for release on November 15, 2019, up against Melissa McCarthy’s Margie Claus. This is one of the week’s Rotten Ideas, because as a video game adaptation, the odds just aren’t on its side.