This week’s Ketchup brings you another 10 headlines from the world of film development news (the stories about what movies Hollywood is working on for you next), covering titles like Black Adam, The Little Mermaid, Rin Tin Tin, and Uncharted.
Back in 1997, New Line Cinema released Boogie Nights (Certified Fresh at 93%), the second film from writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson, who went on to work on such movies as Magnolia (Certified Fresh at 83%), Punch-Drunk Love (Certified Fresh at 80%), There Will Be Blood (Certified Fresh at 91%), and last year’s Phantom Thread (Certified Fresh at 91%). Put another way, P.T. Anderson’s films have only ever scored a Tomatometer below 83% once (73% for Inherent Vice). For his next film, Anderson appears to be returning to his roots with a project that bears similiarities to both Boogie Nights and Magnolia. Described as an ensemble piece, the untitled project will reportedly be set in the San Fernando Valley in the 1970s and focus on “a high school student who is also a successful child actor.” Filming is expected to start in February, so we should start hearing casting announcements soon.
The new Disney+ app launched this week, but we won’t see the first Marvel Studios series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, until late next year. Like that series, the first batch of Marvel shows on Disney+ are mostly going to feature MCU characters who first appeared in the movies (WandaVision, Loki, Hawkeye), but the next batch announced after those shows are for three characters that will make their debuts on Disney+: Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, and She-Hulk. This week, Kevin Feige confirmed that all three of those characters will go on to appear in Marvel Studios movies after first making their debuts in their Disney+ shows. Feige didn’t specify which movies they’ll appear in, but Ms. Marvel seems likely to co-star in the inevitable Captain Marvel sequel. As for where the other two might show up, She-Hulk was a long-time member of the Fantastic Four in the comics (as well as the female-centric A-Force), and Moon Knight has been a member of both West Coast Avengers and Secret Avengers (if either of those teams are likely to ever get their own movies). You can read more about the Disney+ shows for Moon Knight here and She-Hulk here.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is such a looming presence on next month’s schedule that pretty much no other major franchise entry is daring to take it on (the closest we’ll get is Jumani: The Next Level). Likewise, Disney has already claimed December of 2022 for their next mystery Star Wars movie, but that leaves December in both 2020 and 2021 relatively wide open. Disney’s own entry for December, 2021 is James Cameron’s Avatar 2 (12/17/2021), but that film’s juggernaut potential is definitely not a sure thing. Warner Bros. ended up raking in over $1.14 billion from their December 2018 release Aquaman, so they’ve scheduled another DC Comics movie for December, 2021. That movie is Black Adam, the long-in-development anti-hero project starring Dwayne Johnson, who has been in talks to play the character since 2007. Black Adam is now scheduled for December 22, 2021, up against Sherlock Holmes 3, the Wicked movie, and an untitled Disney movie (possibly one of their live-action remakes). The news also came along with our first Black Adam poster, which is basically costume concept art. Paramount Pictures also made a big announcement for December, 2021 this week, as they have come aboard Babylon, the next film from director Damien Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash), a 1920s-set Hollywood thriller starring Brad Pitt and Emma Stone. Paramount is scheduling Babylon for an awards season-friendly platform release starting on Christmas Day, 2021 before opening wide two weeks later on January 7, 2022.
Walt Disney Pictures’ first choice to play Prince Eric in their upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid was pop star Harry Styles of One Direction. Unfortunately, Harry Styles ultimately turned down the role, and it’s been two months now since Disney had to find a new Eric. Surprisingly, the studio has decided to go with a relatively unknown young actor named Jonah Hauer-King, whose biggest movie to date was this year’s doggie sequel A Dog’s Way Home. With the last of the remake’s major roles finally cast, director Rob Marshall (Chicago, Mary Poppins Returns) is expected to start filming in early 2020, possibly aiming for a release date in late 2021 or sometime in 2022. Jonah Hauer-King’s co-stars in The Little Mermaid will include Awkwafina (Scuttle), Javier Bardem (King Triton), Daveed Diggs (Sebastian), Melissa McCarthy (Ursula), Jacob Tremblay (Flounder), and Halle Bailey as Ariel, The Little Mermaid herself.
According to Hollywood legend, the German Shepherd movie star Rin Tin Tin was so famous that his 27 movies were enough to save the fledgling Warner Bros. studio from failure. Despite that, most movie fans today probably don’t even know who Rin Tin Tin is, partly because Warner Bros. has left the title alone for most of the last sixty years (the Rin Tin Tin TV show went off the air in 1959). Movies about dogs are as popular now as ever, which might be why it’s finally time for Warner Bros. to revive Rin Tin Tin for a new generation of audiences. The studio has begun development on a new Rin Tin Tin movie project by hiring screenwriter Matt Lieberman, who is coming off the recent success of The Addams Family. Warner Bros. executives were reportedly inspired to revive the character by the true story of the military dog who assisted in the assassination of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last month.
Though movies like Joker can earn over $1 billion, the marketplace for middle-tier movies is becoming narrower and less profitable. We’ve already seen in recent years entire genres like romantic comedies dwindle down to just two or three movies a year (like Last Christmas and Isn’t It Romantic in 2019). Meanwhile, the exploding streaming landscape is thirsty for content. One project that has been floating in and out of development for much of the last 25 years is Beverly Hills Cop 4, the sequel that would bring back Eddie Murphy’s Axel Foley character for the first time since 1994’s Beverly Hills Cop III (Rotten at just 10%). Paramount Pictures has finally found a solution to their dilemma by selling the rights to the sequel to Netflix, which recently had success with Eddie Murphy’s Dolemite is My Name. The somewhat ironic backstory to this move, however, is that it is happening even as Eddie Murphy is also filming another long-in-development comedy sequel, Coming 2 America, which remains scheduled for release on December 18, 2020.
If you’ve ever played one of the popular Uncharted video games, you probably remember Sully, the older supporting character to main protagonist Nathan Drake. Tom Holland has been attached to star as Drake in the Uncharted movie for a while now, but until this week, we hadn’t heard much about who would co-star as Sully. Given that Tom Holland, who’s currently 23, looks a lot younger than Nathan Drake does in the games, it makes sense that Sully will also be cast younger, and that’s exactly what’s happening, because the role has gone to Mark Wahlberg (who’s currently 48). The other rather fascinating thing about Wahlberg taking this role is that years ago, when Uncharted first started its route to becoming a movie, he himself had actually been in talks to star as Nathan Drake, although presumably, that was before the character was de-aged to fit Tom Holland. After being bumped around the calendar in recent years, the Uncharted movie is now scheduled for release on December 18, 2020, up against Coming 2 America and the remakes of Dune and West Side Story.
In the same week that we saw the first trailers for Scoob! (rebooting Scooby-Doo), the visual reworking of Sonic the Hedgehog, and the first CGI SpongeBob SquarePants movie, another animated reboot was pulled from its planned release date. Until this week, Paramount and Nickeoldeon had been working on a reboot of Rugrats for a release date of January 29, 2021, but that date will now instead go to another animated movie called Rumble. That film sounds a bit like Space Jam, but for professional wrestling, as it is set in a world where actual monsters compete as professional wrestlers.
Up until last weekend, the idea of a sequel to Stephen King’s The Shining in the form of Doctor Sleep seemed like a fairly reasonable proposition (especially when you look at the box office successes of the two IT movies, for example). Instead, Doctor Sleep opened to just $14 million, which was low enough to give the weekend’s #1 spot to the World War II remake Midway (also a disappointment). Very frequently, movie studios like Warner Bros. will start development on sequels to future films before the first movie is even released in an effort to narrow the turnaround time in between the two movies. So, unsurprsingly, we learned this week that Warner Bros. had started developing a movie called Halloran. Based on that title, we can presume that Halloran would have somehow focused on the character played by Scatman Crothers in The Shining and Carl Lumbly in Doctor Sleep, either as a prequel, a sequel (with the character as a ghost), or perhaps both. Unfortunately, it’s sounding like Halloran will probably be permanently scrapped now, but since we also live in a streaming world, it could perhaps end up on Warner Bros.’ upcoming HBO Max service.