This week’s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Dead by Daylight, Pokemon Detective Pikachu 2, and the next Alien.
(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)
Hollywood is slowly starting to adapt more and more hit video games into movies and TV shows (like The Last of Us and the upcoming Fallout), and these adaptations are starting to fare better both at the box office and critically. It wasn’t that long ago, however, that every video game movie ever made had a Rotten Tomatometer score. That streak wasn’t broken until 2019, when Pokémon Detective Pikachu earned a 68% Fresh score, ushering in a new era for the genre. Legendary Entertainment actually started development on a Detective Pikachu sequel pretty quickly in 2019, but there hasn’t been much talk about it since, until this week. Legendary has hired Portlandia (Fresh at 94%) co-creator Jonathan Krisel to direct their Pokemon Detective Pikachu sequel, working from a screenplay by screenwriter Chris Galletta (The Kings of Summer). Krisel is also attached to direct Anne Hathaway’s long-in-development Sesame Street movie. Legendary Entertainment and The Pokemon Company have not yet announced what new characters or video game premises might be used for the sequel.
(Photo by Behaviour Interactive)
An increasingly popular video game genre in recent years is the “co-op survival horror game,” in which a group of players attempt to survive being chased by a slasher or a type of monster who is controlled by another player. Horror franchises like Friday the 13th and Evil Dead have been adapted as these sorts of games, but the most popular game is probably the 2016 horror game Dead by Daylight. It’s also worth noting that video game publisher Behaviour Interactive has made a series of licensing deals with existing horror franchises allowing for players to take on popular characters from Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, Stranger Things, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Now, the video game that is deeply influenced by scary movies will become one itself, as Blumhouse and Atomic Monster, the production companies that recently partnered on M3GAN (Certified Fresh at 93%), have made a deal for the film rights to Dead by Daylight. This will not be Blumhouse’s first horror video game adaptation, as the company is also now in the midst of production on the long-in-development adaptation of the scary animatronics of Five Nights at Freddy’s.
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In the 2021 Marvel Studios adventure, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Certified Fresh at 91%), Simu Liu starred as the title superhero and Awkwafina played his best friend and sidekick. We’re still waiting on an official announcement about a Shang Chi sequel (though Simu Liu has been hinting one may come soon), but Awkwafina and Liu will be reuniting before that in an action comedy along with John Cena, the star of DC Comics’ The Suicide Squad (Certified Fresh at 90%) and Peacemaker (Fresh at 94%). Cena, Liu, and Awkwafina will co-star together in Grand Death Lotto, an action comedy “set in a near-future California where the lottery has a new provision: If someone kills the announced winner before sundown, they can legally claim their prize.” The Amazon Studios comedy will be directed by Paul Feig, who is well known for Bridesmaids (Certified Fresh at 89%) and the 2016 reboot of Ghostbusters (Certified Fresh at 73%). Awkwafina will play someone new to Los Angeles who accidentally wins the lottery, with Cena and Liu both playing “jackpot protectors” competing to protect her.
(Photo by ©Universal Studios)
Some movies take years and years (or even decades) to be developed from their first announcement to actual production, and then there’s a movie like the Hellboy reboot, which we first heard about just two weeks ago. We got even more news about the new Hellboy movie this week, which will be a “folk horror” film more in the vein of creator Mike Mignola’s original comic books, including the fact that the reboot, The Crooked Man, will not even have “Hellboy” in the title. The new Hellboy will be played by relatively unknown actor Jack Kesy, whose film career includes small roles in Deadpool 2 and Michael B. Jordan’s Without Remorse. Two of Kesy’s c co-stars, Jefferson White and Adeline Rudolph, were also announced this week, but it’s not yet known which characters they will be playing. The Crooked Man, which is set in the Appalachians in the 1950s, will be directed by Brian Taylor (co-director of Crank, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance), and co-written by Mike Mignola himself, marking the first time he’s written one of the Hellboy movies.
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Some franchises never really die, and Alien is a prime example with eight movies to date (including the two prequels and the two Predator crossovers). Going into 2023, there were two Alien projects in active development, one from franchise creator Ridley Scott and the other to be directed by Fede Alvarez (Don’t Breathe, Evil Dead). As it turns out, it’s Alvarez’s untitled project (some sources online call it Alien: Romulus) that will be filmed first. The second cast member to join the ninth Alien movie is Isabela Merced, who has been staying quite busy in the last few years, but who might still be best known for starring in the live-action film, Dora the Explorer and the Lost City of Gold (Certified Fresh at 85%). Merced joins Cailee Spaeny, who is generally understood to be the film’s lead character (which probably doesn’t bode too well for Merced’s character). 20th Century Pictures has not yet announced a release date for the film. Other cast members, all of whom look quite young (they all play colonists on a planet besieged by Xenomorphs), will include relative newcomers David Jonsson, Archie Renaux, Spike Fearn, and Aileen Wu.
(Photo by Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection)
Speaking of the Alien franchise, Sigourney Weaver, the star of the original and a few of its sequels, also landed a role this week in an action movie called The Gorge, which may not be a sci-fi movie (we actually don’t know yet), but it sounds like a place Ripley would dispatch a Xenomorph. Weaver joins Miles Teller and Anya Taylor-Joy, who are ostensibly the stars in what is being described as “a high action, genre-bending love story.” The Gorge will be directed by Scott Derrickson, whose recent films have included Marvel’s Doctor Strange (Certified Fresh at 89%) and the spooky 1970s kidnapping thriller The Black Phone (Certified Fresh at 83%).
(Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
The year 2023 will prove to be a big year for Count Dracula, as there are two different Hollywood movies this year featuring the character: Renfield (4/14/2023), a horror-comedy featuring Nicolas Cage as Dracula, and The Last Voyage of the Demeter (8/11/2023), about the doomed ship that brought Dracula to England from Transylvania in Bram Stoker’s novel. A third movie currently in production, which is probably most likely to be released in 2024, is Nosferatu, which will be the second remake of the classic 1922 German expressionist horror film (Certified Fresh at 97%), which was itself an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The first Nosferatu remake (Certified Fresh at 95%) was directed in 1979 by Werner Herzog, and this third Nosferatu is being directed by Robert Eggers (The Witch, The Northman). The newest cast member of Nosferatu is Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who joins an ensemble that already includes Lily-Rose Depp, Emma Corrin, Willem Dafoe, Bill Skarsgård as the film’s vampire, and Nicholas Hoult (who also plays the title character in the aforementioned Renfield).
(Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)
It’s not uncommon for successful pop singers of all stripes eventually to branch out into acting (even if sometimes it doesn’t work out), and the latest superstar to announce his plans to make his feature film acting debut is Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd. To be clear, Tesfaye has done a number of television projects, including voice roles in animated series like American Dad!, The Simpsons, and Robot Chicken, and he will also star in an upcoming HBO drama called The Idol that he co-created and co-wrote. This new film, which we know little about, will be his first big screen acting gig, not including the Safdie brothers’ Adam Sandler thriller Uncut Gems, in which Tesfaye played himself. No premise or title has been announced for the new film yet, but we do know that his supporting cast will include Academy Award nominee Barry Keoghan (The Banshees of Inershin) and Jenna Ortega (X, Scream, Wednesday), and it will be directed by Trey Edward Shults (It Comes at Night, Waves), who co-wrote the script with producing partner Reza Fahim and Tesfaye himself, who has been developing the film for some time.
(Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
Sony Pictures has acquired the package for a new film directed by Kay Cannon (Blockers) called My Ex-Friend’s Wedding, which is about to start filming, and which includes the four stars already attached. The quartet of female leads includes Academy Award winner Ariana DeBose (West Side Story), current Saturday Night Live star Chloe Fineman, Amanda Seyfried, and Megan Stalter (HBO’s Hacks). The four leads will play a group of friends who have to try to stop the wedding of their former BFF who admits the night before her wedding day that she thinks she’s made a mistake.
(Photo by Lia Toby, Karwai Tang/Getty Images)
On Swift Horses is the title of a novel by author Shannon Pufahl about a deadly romance set in California in the 1950s. For the film adaptation, the producers have brought together a few young stars who have each starred in (or are about to star in) well-known recent films. That group includes Diego Calva (who co-starred with Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt in Babylon), Daisy Edgar-Jones (Where the Crawdads Sing), and Will Poulter, who will soon make his MCU debut as Adam Warlock in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 (5/5/2023).