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 such titles as The Batman, Clue, Jurassic World 3, and the next Spider-Man.
You may remember that last month, there was a huge story that talks between Sony Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures (and their Marvel Studios) had fallen apart over future Spider-Man movies starring Tom Holland within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Reportedly, Disney and Marvel wanted a 50% cut of future Spider-Man movies , and Sony wasn’t willing to budge. People understandably reacted quite passionately to the news, with plenty of folks saying one or the other studio was being greedy at the expense of what the fans wanted. Well, after all of that attention and feedback, the relevant parties started up talks again, resulting in today’s big news, which is that Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios will indeed work together on a third solo Spider-Man film starring Tom Holland, which will be released on July 16, 2021. The financial compromise calls for Disney to receive 25% of the film’s profits (leaving 75% for Sony), down from their original request of 50%. As part of the new deal, Tom Holland will also appear as Spider-Man in one more MCU movie, the title and premise of which haven’t been revealed yet. The new release date (7/16/2021) for the next Spider-Man movie is the same as Space Jam 2, a week after Indiana Jones 5 (7/9/2021), and a week before Mission: Impossible 7 (7/23/2021). Marvel Studios’ other films scheduled for 2021 are: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2/12/2021), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (5/7/2021), and Thor: Love and Thunder (11/5/2021).
Before the news about Spider-Man broke, this writer thought for sure that the top story of the week was going to be this revelation about the future of Star Wars. In addition to the Star Wars movies that have actually been released since Disney acquired Lucasfilm, there are nearly as many projects that have been rumored or are still in development for the future, past 2020. We’re thinking, for example, of the now apparently cancelled “Star Wars Story” movies for Boba Fett, Obi-Wan, and Yoda, and the projects from both director Rian Johnson and Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. As far as we currently know, the first movie from Benioff and Weiss is still scheduled for December 16, 2022 (with two more to follow in 2024 and 2026). It was announced this week, however, that what appears to be another Star Wars project is being developed by Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige. No other details have been revealed, except that there is reportedly a “major actor” that Feige hopes to attract. Considering it was reported earlier this year that Feige had been talking to Keanu Reeves about joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Reeves is now everyone’s top guess as to who Feige is courting. Other names included in this piece by The Hollywood Reporter include previous Marvel stars Hugh Jackman and Michael B. Jordan, current Captain Marvel star Brie Larson, former Dark Knight star Christian Bale, and Leonardo DiCaprio, who has mostly avoided starring in “franchise” movies.
Few modern actors have transformed themselves within the last 15 years or so quite like Jonah Hill has. Based on some of the speculation this week, it would seem a lot of people haven’t actually seen what he looks like since 2010 or so. It all started with the news that Hill had begun early talks with Warner Bros. about joining The Batman (the one starring Robert Pattinson) as one of the superhero reboot’s villains. That led many to conjecture about him playing the Penguin, but Collider quickly confirmed that the role Jonah Hill is up for is the Riddler instead. The Penguin is still thought to be in The Batman, but another actor will take on that role. The Jonah Hill news ended up overshadowing the report a few hours earlier that Jeffrey Wright (of HBO’s Westworld and the Hunger Games franchise) is also in talks to join The Batman as Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon, taking over the role previously played by Gary Oldman and, briefly, J.K. Simmons. Warner Bros has scheduled The Batman for release on June 25, 2021 (a week before Sing 2, and two weeks before Indiana Jones 5).
In the past, we’ve seen some of the stars from the original Jurassic Park return for sequels, with Sam Neill and Laura Dern returning for Jurassic Park III, and Jeff Goldblum having a small role in last year’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. What hasn’t happened yet, however, is all three of them returning for the same movie, and in more than just small roles or cameos. That is, until this week, as Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, and Sam Neill are all now set to reunite for Jurassic World 3 (6/11/2021). Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow, who skipped Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, will return to the franchise with Jurassic World 3 after also recently releasing a Jurassic World short film called Battle at Big Rock. No official premise for Jurassic World 3 has been announced yet, but the most common speculation involves the world’s response to the various dinosaurs expanding their dominance over the Earth after escaping into the wild at the end of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Jurassic World 3 is scheduled for release on June 11, 2021, which puts it a week after the Micronauts and Sesame Street movies on June 4, 2021.
Sometimes a given star or director will have more than one big story in the same week. That’s what happened this week for Ryan Reynolds, who we last saw on the big screen in Pokémon Detective Pikachu (Fresh at 68%), back in May. Let’s start with a movie we already knew about, namely the reboot of Clue, based on the popular board game. Clue came out in 1985, and though it currently has a Rotten Tomatometer score of 59%, its legacy suggests fans feel otherwise. Jason Bateman is now in early talks with Fox and Disney to direct and star in the Clue reboot, along with Ryan Reynolds, who is also producing and expected to star. Bateman and Reynolds previously costarred together in 2011’s The Change-Up (Rotten at 25%).
Not only did we get news about two movies starring Ryan Reynolds this week, but they’re both basically remakes/reboots. Unlike Clue, however, the other reboot is something that has been adapted dozens of times in film and television. Reynolds is teaming up with Will Ferrell to star in a new musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. So far, none of the stories about this new project specify which roles Reynolds and Ferrell will be playing, although this writer is going to speculate that Ferrell might be playing Ebenezer Scrooge, and Reynolds might be playing his unlucky and much put-upon employee, Bob Cratchit. (The roles could be going the other way, as well.) Musical adaptations of A Christmas Carol in the past have included the 1970 film Scrooge starring Albert Finney and 1992’s The Muppet Christmas Carol, among others.
Now that Sylvester Stallone has starred in what is reportedly the last film in his most popular 1980s action movie franchise, Rambo: Last Blood (Rotten at 26%), it appears he now wants to jump on the superhero bandwagon in earnest. After a brief appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Stallone will now reportedly star in Samaritan, which we first heard about in February. In a time when some movies take decades to get produced (like Will Smith’s Gemini Man), Stallone’s Samaritan is moving at breakneck speed, as MGM has already scheduled Samaritan for release on November 20, 2020. The director will be Julius Avery, who is coming off last year’s World War II zombie movie, Overlord (Certified Fresh at 81%). Other movies coming out in November of 2020 will include Clifford the Big Red Dog (11/13/2020), Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon (11/25/2020), and King Richard (11/25/2020), in which Will Smith will star as the father of future tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams.
Although Marvel Studios retains the film rights to most of their characters, Sony Pictures retains the feature film rights to over 900 Marvel characters who are directly connected to Spider-Man. That number might seem outrageously high, but one has to remember exactly how many Spider-Man comics there have been since the early 1960s, especially since, for decades now, there have been multiple Spider-Man comics running concurrently. That being so, not all of the Spider-Man supporting characters and villains are necessarily well-known, even to most comic book fans. Case in point: Madame Web is one of those lesser-known characters, but that is indeed the latest title that Sony Pictures is now developing with the writers of next year’s Spider-Man spinoff vampire movie Morbius (7/31/2020). What remains unclear is which Madame Web this movie will actually be about, as that name has been used by two very different characters in the comics: the elderly blind psychic Cassandra Webb and the much younger superhero (formerly known as Spider-Woman II), Julia Carpenter.
The argument can be made that one of the casualties of the immense popularity of the Star Wars action figures in the late 1970s and early 1980s was the Micronauts toy line, which had just started to take off in 1977 and 1978. The Micronauts toys were relatively innovative in that they allowed for mix-and-match play (you could attach the wheels of one Micronaut to the body of another). However, what Micronauts is best known for today is for inspiring a long-running Marvel Comics series in which the tiny heroes from the “Microverse” ended up coming to our larger Earth. Paramount Pictures, the studio which has in the past given us movies based on other Hasbro toy lines like Transformers and G.I. Joe, has scheduled Micronauts for release on June 4, 2021, but until this week, we didn’t know who might direct it. That job is going to Dean DeBlois, who has spent much of the last decade writing and directing the various movies in the animated How to Train Your Dragon franchise. Micronauts remains scheduled for June 4, 2021, which is the same week as the Sesame Street musical film starring Anne Hathaway, and the week before Jurassic World 3.
Hollywood has been hooked on revisiting its past for decades now, with most reboots and remakes usually centered about 20 or 30 years in the past at any given point. We’re just now starting to see the focus move on from the 1980s to the 1990s, and the expectation is that the 1990s will continue to be revisited for most of the 2020s. The latest such remake to be announced will take audiences back to 1991’s New Jack City (Fresh at 77%), which was part of a wave of early 1990s “urban crime dramas,” featuring such future stars as Wesley Snipes, Ice-T, and Chris Rock. Warner Bros. has started development of the New Jack City remake by hiring actor and filmmaker Malcolm M. Mays (Snowfall) to start work on the screenplay. New Jack City was very much about the then-topical crack cocaine epidemic, but it’s not yet known if the remake will remain in the early 1990s as a “period film,” or if the setting will be updated.