Today’s Ketchup brings you ten headlines from the world of film development news, covering titles such as The Boy 2, Clueless, and Wonder Woman 1984, and new roles for Leonardo DiCaprio and Chris Pratt.
Last weekend, Halloween drew in $77.5 million in its opening weekend for the #2 October weekend of all time, just $3 million behind Venom, which broke that record just a few weeks earlier. It was probably an easy guess that Halloween would do well, but its $77.5 million opening weekend broke records. Unsurprisingly, another major slasher franchise might now be in development for a reboot, although who might be producing the Friday the 13th reboot is arguably the bigger story. Basketball star LeBron James, who moved from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Los Angeles Lakers this year, is also using his new address to increase his film activity, and apparently, that might also include producing Friday the 13th movies, as he posted this image of himself in 2013 wearing a hockey mask. The negotiations come just a month after original Friday the 13th screenwriter Victor Miller won a lawsuit against producer Sean Cunningham, although the rights are still described as “murky,” which is why the LeBron James news isn’t definitive by any means. In related news, Halloween star Jamie Lee Curtis this week also joined the murder mystery Knives Out (joining Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, and Michael Shannon) for Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson.
Hollywood creatives frequently compete with each other to get similar projects off the ground. One such example over the past ten years has been “a new Pinocchio.” Robert Downey Jr. was long attached to star in a live action Pinocchio at Warner Bros., and Disney also has a live-action remake of their 1940 animated classic. The third major Pinocchio revival that’s been long planned is from director Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water, Pan’s Labyrinth), except that his film is a stop-motion animated musical, and not live action. In addition to his new producing deal at Fox Searchlight, del Toro also has a deal at Netflix (for Trollhunters and the upcoming 10 After Midnight). That relationship is continuing with the Pinocchio stop-motion animated musical, which is now set up at Netflix (with The Jim Henson Company also co-producing). Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, which will begin production soon at ShadowMachine (Bojack Horseman), will be set in Italy in the 1930s during the time of fascist rule under Benito Mussolini. In related news, Roberto Benigni, who starred in a 2002 Pinocchio, will next play Geppetto in a new Italian version of Pinocchio.
Director George Miller is still involved in a lawsuit with Warner Bros. over Mad Max: Fury Road, so we may not see another Mad Max film anytime soon (from him anyway). Instead, Miller is moving on to other projects, including a “fantasy epic” called Three Thousand Years of Longing. George Miller will direct from his own screenplay, but the actual premise is being kept secret for now, except that it’s reportedly “unlike anything the filmmaker has done before.” In other words, it’s not likely to be a post-apocalyptic road movie or a kids movie with talking animals (Babe, Happy Feet). The same day we first heard of Three Thousand Years of Longing, the news broke quickly that both Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton were already attached to to star in the film, now also described as a “romance” involving a genie. Filming of Three Thousand Years of Longing is expected to start in early 2019.
Robert De Niro famously starred in eight films for director Martin Scorsese (including Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Goodfellas), which still stands as one of the most prolific actor/director collaboration runs in relatively modern memory. Leonardo DiCaprio is closing in on De Niro’s record, however, having starred in five films for Scorsese (Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Shutter Island, and The Wolf of Wall Street) and confirmed for a sixth. Having finished The Irishman for Netflix, Martin Scorsese is now confirmed to next direct an adaptation of the bestselling nonfiction book Killers of the Flower Moon by author David Grann. As the title suggests, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI tells the early 1920s true crime story of the investigation of a series of murders in Oklahoma oil country. Leonardo DiCaprio is likely going to play one of the FBI agents. Early rumors suggested that Robert De Niro might also co-star in Killers of the Flower Moon, but his name wasn’t mentioned in this week’s announcement.
Universal Pictures is now negotiating to acquire the required rights for an untitled “drama about the epic love story between John Lennon and Yoko Ono,” with Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club, The Young Victoria) attached to direct and edit. The deal should be made easier by the fact that Yoko Ono herself is one of the project’s producers (since, as Lennon’s widow, she also has the rights to his legacy). There have been a few films about the early days of The Beatles (namely Backbeat and Nowhere Boy), but the idea of a major motion picture about the Beatles during the height of their careers has remained something of an unrealized “golden goose.” In somewhat related news, director Richard Linklater also revealed this week that he is working on a biopic about influential standup comedian Bill Hicks.
August was a rough month for Chris Pratt’s potential box office for 2019 and 2020, as his next two big budget projects were both delayed from imminent production start dates. In late July, director James Gunn was fired by Disney from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 (which had been expected to be a 2020 release) over Tweets he made before his original hiring by Disney. And then in early August, Universal Pictures “indefinitely delayed” Pratt’s Cowboy Ninja Viking, which had been scheduled for release on June 28, 2019. It may take some time for Pratt to find a comparable high profile film, but he does have at least one movie to work on now, as he is now in talks to star in a crime action/drama with the working title of Fast for writer director Taylor Sheridan. Sheridan directed last year’s Wind River, and as screenwriter has worked on Hell or High Water, Sicario, and its sequel Sicario: Day of the Soldado. Fast is a $70-$80 million project for Warner Bros. about “a former special forces commando (Pratt) who’s recruited by the DEA to lead a black ops strike team targeting drug dealers who are protected by the CIA.”
Last year, the $172 million domestic box office for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales made the fifth film in the series the lowest grossing, continuing a spiraling decline that started with 2011’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. That doesn’t necessarily mean, as it turns out, that Disney has given up on the PotC franchise, but it does seem like if it comes back, it will be a fresh reboot, because Disney is considering hiring screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick about rebooting Pirates of the Caribbean. We can guess a lot about what such a reboot could be, based on Reese and Wernick’s previous work, which has included both Zombieland (zombies being a common thread in the PotC franchise), and Deadpool (which was R-rated and snarky). Even though it’s called a “reboot,” the possibility of Johnny Depp or others returning is apparently not being ruled out. In related news, Johnny Depp’s name came up in two other stories this week, first for Waiting for the Barbarians (from Embrace of the Serpent director Ciro Guerra) and then for Minamata, a biopic about war photographer W. Eugene Smith.
In 1996, a new movie adapting Jane Austen’s Emma was released (starring Gwyneth Paltrow). Just a year earlier, in 1995, another adaptation of Emma had been a huge hit, but most people know that film, Clueless, more for its 1990s-era slang and Alicia Silverstone’s career-defining performance than its Emma provenance. On Thursday afternoon, the news came out that Paramount Pictures has begun early development of a remake of Clueless, with Girls Trip writer Tracy Oliver producing and GLOW writer Marquita Robinson working on the screenplay. In a bizarre coincidence of timing, just 24 minutes later it was reported that Anya Taylor-Joy (of The Witch, Split, and next year’s The New Mutants) has been cast in a remake of Emma by the British production company Working Title. The casting of Taylor-Joy suggests that Emma is probably much closer to getting made than the Clueless remake, so the actual films might be released at least a few years apart, but for one Thursday in late October, they made the news within the same hour.
For a while, it looked like there would be four movies in 2019 based on DC Comics titles (Shazam! on 4/5/2019, The Kitchen on 9/20/2019, and Joker on 10/4/2019), but this week, the highest profile of them was moved on the summer of 2020. Gal Gadot took to Twitter to announce that Wonder Woman 1984 has moved back seven months from its previous date of November 1, 2019 to June 5, 2020 (a week after the Disney sequel Maleficent II). Wonder Woman 1984 took that date away from Mark Wahlberg’s The Six Billion Dollar Man, which Warner Bros. took off its schedule following the departure of its director in May. In response to the vacuum left behind by Wonder Woman 1984, two separate reboots moved to that date instead: Charlie’s Angels (pushed back six weeks from 9/27/2019) and Terminator (pushed up two weeks from 11/15/2019). The Certified Fresh 93% Tomatometer for the first Wonder Woman makes this seven-month delay a “Rotten Idea.”
The 2016 supernatural horror film The Boy didn’t make a ton of money, but its $35 million domestic take was a success, based on its relatively minimal $10 million budget. That unfortunately means that, 28% Tomatometer score aside, a sequel to The Boy probably makes bottom line sense for STXfilms. The biggest surprise is probably that, for the sequel, STX has been able to attract a bigger star (than the first film’s Lauren Cohan) in the form of Katie Holmes. Filming is expected to start on The Boy 2 in British Columbia on January 14th, 2019. No release date has been announced yet, but we can probably expect it in early 2020 (most likely), or if it’s really rushed, maybe in time for the Halloween season of late 2019.