Notable films: Heavenly Creatures | The Frighteners | ContactDigital effects powerhouse Weta Digital is responsible for some of your favorite movie characters and worlds from the last 25 years. Trust us: Gollum, Caesar, Middle-earth, Pandora. Chances are if it blew your mind, it started at somewhere inside one of the thousands of computers at in Weta s Wellington, New Zealand headquarters. It s a mammoth operation, with the Weta Digital team currently working on post-production for the Avatar sequels, Jungle Cruise, and the final season of Game of Thrones, all as Universal releases Mortal Engines – a showcase for the company s newest and most innovative work – in theaters this December. And yet it all began very humbly in 1993 with Peter Jackson s Certified Fresh second film, Heavenly Creatures, for which the director wanted to tinker with digital effects almost for the sake of it. He founded the company with Richard Taylor and Jamie Serkik, got to work, and would eventually change moviemaking as we knew it.Here, Jackson – who co-wrote the screenplay for Mortal Engines with Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh and is a producer on the film – walks us through the history of the company, from the moviegoing experience that turned him onto digital effects through to writing new programs for The Lord of the Rings and finally to the roaming predator cities that roam the Earth in Mortal Engines. In the early days, he admits, it was all about gnarly. What follows is a history of Weta Digital, drawn from an extended sit-down interview with Peter Jackson and Mortal Engines director Christian Rivers.SKIP TO: WETA MEETS TOLKIEN | MORTAL ENGINES“I really thought I was seeing a living, breathing, T-Rex.” The one event that happened is… Jurassic Park happened. We were getting into Heavenly Creatures and I went to see Jurassic Park, and, you know, the Tyrannosaurus Rex – I really thought I was seeing a living, breathing T-Rex. I just thought, my god. Whatever the future of visual effects is, it s now gotta be computers. Jurassic Park (Photo by © Universal / courtesy Everett Collection)“We started on Heavenly Creatures with one computer – I think we still have it, it s a doorstop now.” We started on Heavenly Creatures with one computer, one single box. I think we actually still have it, and I think it s a doorstop now – we ve sort of got our memorial doorstop. But that was so bloody expensive and it took us forever to save up and buy. We ve got probably six or seven thousand computers [now]. Right up to Heavenly Creatures I d done some horror movies and things, and we d always done our own effects, which was all prosthetics and props and zombie stuff and all that. We had done it ourselves – I love effects, I d never wanna give them to somebody else to do, because they re part of the fun of filmmaking. “We did the effects really just for the sake of doing some CGI, so we d actually just start to figure it out.” To tell you the truth, we didn t really need any CGI in [Heavenly Creatures]. But, we used the film as an excuse to buy one computer, just to put our toe in the water. And we had a guy, one guy, who could figure out how to work it, and we got a couple of bits of software, and we did the effects in Heavenly Creatures really just for the sake of doing some CGI effects so we d actually just start to figure it out. And then on The Frighteners, which was the next movie we [did], we went from one computer to 30 computers. It was a pretty big jump. Heavenly Creatures “Cloth was one of the things that people hadn t managed to figure out yet – when you look at it today, it s pretty gnarly.” The big nightmare for us on that movie was to do CGI cloth, because one of our characters was a grim reaper-type guy with a flying black robes. So we had to do CGI cloth flowing. Cloth was one of the things that people hadn t managed to figure out yet, so, we had code-writers writing our code to do cloth for us. When you look at it today it s pretty crude, pretty gnarly – it looks like stretchy pasty vinyl, it doesn t really look like cloth. [You can] buy a piece of software for a [cheap] that can do far better cloth now. “It usually involves water or fire.” First of all, [you’re] driven by what you have to do, you know? What is the result? We use a lot of readily available, not particularly expensive off-the-shelf programs [to create effects], but occasionally you do get something you would like to do – and it usually involves water, you know, splashing the water, or river water, or fire. That sort of thing that off-the-shelf software can t quite do. So at that point, you have to write your own software. Robert Zemeckis, Michael J. Fox, Peter Jackson, producer Steve Starkey for The Frighteners (Photo by © Universal Pictures)“The guys wanna do everything better than they did the last time It sort of drives me crazy.” Over the years, we’ve written about a hundred pieces of code for a wide variety of different things, and it drives me a little bit crazy because we keep writing code for the same things every time. Like, we do Avatar a few years ago, and we wrote software to create grass, and trees, leaves, that can blow with the wind, that sort of stuff. And then I come along with The Hobbit, and I want some grass or some shrubs or some trees, so I [ask], Why can t we use the stuff that we wrote [already]? I mean it was fine for the [prior] film, but we wanted to be better. I mean there was some kind of code, unspoken code – and it s not anything to do with the ownership of the software, because it belongs to us – but the guys themselves, wanna do everything better than they did the last time. So they don t want the Avatar grass, or the leaves; they want to do grass and leaves better than last time. They set about writing a whole new grass software, whole new leaf software, and it happens over and over again, all the time. It sort of drives me crazy. SKIP TO: WETA MEETS TOLKIEN | MORTAL ENGINES 《多多云手机》拥有更流畅的运行与操作体验，最高拥有安卓的系统的云手机设备，也可以兼容更多的新手游运行要求，拥有多核心、大内存、大存储空间，方便玩家们随时随地流畅体验不同手游，遇到想长期玩的，可以再下载进自己的手机中进行本地运行。
Disney’s live-action remakes have made collective billions at the box office. Although it’s early, the latest entry, Tim Burton’s dark take on Dumbo, could be the first failure among the recent films. Meanwhile, Harmony Korine s latest film fails to make a Spring Breakers-level splash, and Us and Captain Marvel continue to impress.King of the Crop: Dumbo Leads But Is Still Very Far Behind(Photo by Disney)While Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book and Bill Condon’s Beauty and the Beast made a collective billion-plus worldwide, it was Burton’s Alice In Wonderland that really began the live-action remake trend back in 2010. That film remains Burton’s biggest success, a billion-dollar spring hit that was also the second-biggest opening in Disney’s history at the time. (It is now the 17th.) Though Dumbo was not expected to challenge that 6.1 million start, it was also expected to do a lot better than million this weekend.With a 0 million production budget, Dumbo is clearly counting on the international dollar to save it. Even with optimistic projections domestically, no live-action film opening between -49 million stateside has ever reached 0 million. (Disney’s Wild Hogs came closest with 8 million.)Don’t blame critics on this one, as Dumbo’s 50% score on the Tomatometer is not much lower than Alice in Wonderland’s 51%. But that film was also able to market a very bankable (at the time) Johnny Depp, putting him front and center on every poster. Meanwhile, the trailers for Dumbo almost went out of their way to reveal more of the circus than the film’s high-flying star. We’ll update its progress next week.Rotten Returns: The Beach Bum(Photo by NEON / VICE)Neon had a great little story this year with the documentary Apollo 11. With .65 million in the bank, it is the company’s third-highest-grossing title after I, Tonya ( million) and the documentary Three Identical Strangers (.3 million). Harmony Korine s The Beach Bum (51% on the Tomatometer) is likely to become the fourth-highest-grossing film in its catalog, but the 1,005-theater launch only produced .8 million this weekend. That’s the fourth-worst per-theater average for Neon ahead of just Borg vs. McEnroe, Revenge, and the million Sundance pickup Assassination Nation, which had the studio’s widest launch (1,403 theaters) and opened to just .05 million for a per-theater average of 3. In March 2013, A24 released Korine’s last film, Spring Breakers, into 1,104 theaters in its second weekend, where it grossed .85 million on its way to .1 million total.The Top Ten And Beyond: Captain Marvel and Us Continue to Impress(Photo by @ Universal)Last October, Blumhouse released David Gordon Green’s Halloween, which grossed 6 million in its first ten days. Last week, the company released Jordan Peele’s Us, which has now grossed 8 million in its first ten days. Halloween finished its run with just 9.3 million even as it grossed .4 million in its second weekend. However, Us second weekend made .6 million — a smaller drop (52.7 percent) than Michael Myers’ (58.8 percent). Of the 21 films to have grossed between 3-133 million in their first ten days, only six have failed to reach 0 million. Halloween was one of them. Us is forging a path to another incredible milestone, and it has already grossed 4 million worldwide.Captain Marvel maintained its impressive pace with another million this weekend, the 27th-best fourth weekend ever for a wide release. With more than 3 million, it is the 21st best-performing film of all time after 24 days and well on its way to 0 million. Every film to have grossed 0 million in 24 days has reached 0 million, and Captain Marvel’s fourth weekend was higher than six of them (The Dark Knight Rises, Captain America: Civil War, Iron Man 3, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.) In other milestone news, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World passed 0 million worldwide this weekend.PureFlix’s abortion film Unplanned made the top five with .1 million, the second-largest opening in the Christian-based company’s history after God’s Not Dead 2. Five Feet Apart continues to enjoy a rather healthy stay in the top five, dropping just another 26.9 percent to .2 million for a running total of nearly million — not bad for a million production. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral passed million and may just have enough in the tank to surpass Boo! A Madea Halloween to become the second-highest-grossing film of his directorial career.Finally, Bleecker Street expanded its harrowing true-life terrorist drama Hotel Mumbai to 924 theaters, and it grossed .1 millon. Where does that rank among the company’s wide launches in more than 650 theaters?A solid fifth, following Logan Lucky (.6 million, 3,031 theaters), Eye in the Sky (.9 million, 1,029 theaters), Megan Leavey (.8 million, 1,956 theaters) and Unsane (.7 million, 2,023 theaters). Hotel Mumbai (.1 million, 924 theaters) finishes ahead of The Lost City of Z (.8 million, 866 theaters), Beirut (.7 million, 755 theaters), Danny Collins (.4 million, 739 theaters), Pawn Sacrifice ( million, 781 theaters), and Trumbo (1,068, 660 theaters).This Time Last Year: Audiences Were Ready For Player One(Photo by Warner Bros)Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One had the second-highest opening of 2018 to date with .7 million. Tyler Perry’s Acrimony placed second with .1 million. Black Panther passed 0 million, and Isle of Dogs for the second straight week had the top per-theater-average (,839), grossing .9 million in just 165 theaters. The top ten films grossed 5.25 million and averaged 55.2% on the Tomatometer. This year’s top ten grossed an estimated 8.30 million and averaged 58.7% with critics.On the Vine: Shazam! To Lead, But Pet Semetary Could Surprise(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)The latest offering from the DC side of the aisle opens with some glorious reviews so far. Shazam has 93% to date on the Tomatometer just three weeks before Avengers: Endgame opens. That’s certainly enough to take the top spot at the box office — and audiences can take it from there. Also blessed with strong early reviews is the new adaptation of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. It boasts a 91% thanks to reviews from closing night of SXSW, and with a solid opening weekend could end up becoming the third-highest-grossing King adaptation to date. Finally, STX releases the educational drama The Best of Enemies with Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell, but in fewer than 2,000 screens.The Full Top 10: March 29-31Dumbo (2019) 46% – million ( million total)Us (2019) 93% – .60 million (8.22 million total)Captain Marvel (2019) 79% – .50 million (3.80 million total)Five Feet Apart (2019) 53% – .25 million (.87 million total)Unplanned (2019) 42% – .11 million (.11 million total)Wonder Park (2019) 34% – .94 million (.88 million total)How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) 90% – .23 million (2.96 million total)Hotel Mumbai (2018) 76% – .16 million (.27 million total)Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral (2019) 11% – .70 million (.03 million total)The Beach Bum (2019) 57% – .80 million (.80 million total)亚博竞彩官网5.2021年新生代国风仙侠手游大作《笑傲天龙》全平台公测，极致国风画质，带来全新3D仙侠伏魔世界，开放式的全景大地图，畅爽的走位打击感，千人同屏在线团战，组队开荒首杀，地藏神装伏魔，豪杰侠肝义胆，佳人红袖添香，盛世婚礼奇缘，上百套稀有时装。更有200人探索副本、侠侣情缘、跨服争霸、正邪双形态转换等丰富玩法，再续仙侠世界的玄妙篇章。
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4.85.8 2月喜迎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 Inspector Gadget, The Little Mermaid, and The Matrix 4.This WEEK S TOP STORYJOHN WICK FRANCHISE GETTING FEMALE-CENTRIC SPINOFF, BALLERINA(Photo by Summit Entertainment)When John Wick was first released in 2014, it could have been received as just a very well-made Keanu Reeves action movie, in a one and done way (like say, Charlize Theron s Atomic Blonde). Instead, it became something of a pop culture phenomenon that helped Keanu Reeves stage a mid-career comeback, including two sequels (thus far) and continued box office success. Lionsgate has already scheduled John Wick 4 for release on May 21, 2021, but this week, we learned that the studio is also moving forward with plans for a female-centric John Wick spinoff called Ballerina about a young female assassin who seeks revenge against the people who killed her family. Although the premise doesn t specify a nationality for the Ballerina, there is something of a trope involving Russian ballerinas who become super spies or assassins (mainly we re thinking here of both Red Sparrow and Marvel s Black Widow). The director who Lionsgate has hired to take on Ballerina is Len Wiseman, who is best known for his work with his wife Kate Beckinsale on the Underworld vampire action movies. The Ballerina character was briefly seen in John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum, played by newcomer Unity Phelan, but it s possible/likely that another actress will star in Ballerina.Other Top Headlines1. BLACK MANTA FROM AQUAMAN ENTERING THE MATRIX 4(Photo by Warner Bros.)Less than two months after we learned that Lana and Lilly Wachowski were preparing to return to their most successful franchise, this week, we heard about the first major new casting for The Matrix 4. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who co-starred in Aquaman as the villain Black Manta, has been cast in The Matrix 4 in what is described as both a lead role and a new character (i.e. he s not young Morpheus ). Abdul-Mateen is the third actor attached to The Matrix 4, as both Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are returning as Neo and Trinity. Warner Bros. has not yet announced a release date for the movie, but filming doesn t start until next year, and most sources are speculating a release date sometime in 2022. As of this writing, no details about the film s premise have been revealed, including whether it will be a direct sequel, prequel, or perhaps some sort of rebooting of the entire Matrix itself (and/or the franchise as a whole).2. HAMILTON STAR DAVEED DIGGS TO VOICE SEBASTIAN IN THE LITTLE MERMAID(Photo by Dale Robinette/© Lionsgate)The last we heard about casting for Disney s live action remake of The Little Mermaid, One Direction star Harry Styles had turned down the offer to co-star as Prince Eric. The studio appears to still be on the hunt to replace him, but one of the other major roles that was still uncast did get filled this week. Daveed Diggs, who is probably best known for his work in the stage musical Hamilton, is now in talks to provide the voice of Sebastian the singing crab, whose signature song, Under the Sea, is probably the original film s best known. Although it s described as live action, this new take on The Little Mermaid is probably more likely to combine live-action and CGI characters, with Sebastian one of the most obvious examples of the latter (Flounder, voiced by Jacob Tremblay, is another). If he signs on, Daveed Diggs will be joining a cast that includes Javier Bardem as King Triton, Melissa McCarthy as the evil sea witch Ursula, and Halle Bailey as Ariel.3. WHAT COMES BEFORE TRAINING DAY? RECRUITMENT DAY? Without getting into third act details, there were some pretty obvious reasons why the 2001 Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke police drama Training Day (Fresh at 72%) never received a sequel, despite its box office and critical success. Having said that, it s probably always been likely that Warner Bros. would want to revisit that world some day. One option might have been a remake, but instead, WB is now developing a Training Day prequel. Since the original film came out 18 years ago, we can expect that the prequel will feature a new cast (in other words, no Ethan Hawke or Denzel Washington), especially since the new story will be set closer to 30 years in the past. The Training Day prequel is expected to be set in Los Angeles in April, 1992, just before the Rodney King verdict that sparked citywide riots.4. BILLY PORTER MAY JOIN REMAKES OF BOTH CINDERELLA AND LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS(Photo by Jason Mendez/Everett Collection)Just a few weeks after his big Best Actor win at this year s Emmys, Pose star Billy Porter is the focus of two new casting reports for major upcoming remakes. Both stories came out today, with the first being the news that Porter is now in talks with Sony Pictures about their Cinderella adaptation. Not to be confused with Disney s 2015 Cinderella remake, Sony s Cinderella will be a new musical starring Camila Cabello. It s expected that the role Porter would play is that of the fairy godmother. The other remake he may be taking on is the third Little Shop of Horrors feature, for which he is reportedly being eyed to voice the plant monster Audrey II.5. JASON STATHAM REUNITING WITH DIRECTOR GUY RITCHIE FOR LE CONVOYEUR REMAKE (Photo by Warner Bros.)Far before Jason Statham became a famous movie star in blockbusters like this summer s Fast Furious Presents: Hobbs Shaw, Jason Statham s main claim to fame was his work in director Guy Ritchie s Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Eighteen years later, Ritchie and Statham now appear likely to reunite for another British crime story with the news that they are both attached to an untitled remake. The original movie was called Le Convoyeur (a.k.a. Cash Truck ) and was an ensemble crime drama about a heist scheme revolving around an armored truck company.6. FELICITY JONES AND SHAILENE WOODLEY JOIN THE LAST LETTER FROM YOUR LOVER(Photo by JA, Dee Cercone/Everett Collection)Jojo Moyes is a British author with over a dozen of popular novels to her credit to date, but so far, the only major adaptation of any of her books was 2016 s romantic drama Me Before You (Rotten at 55%). The next Jojo Moyes book to be adapted as a feature film will be her 2010 novel, The Last Letter from Your Lover, which begins filming next week, from the producers of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The story is set across several decades, as a contemporary journalist in London (Felicity Jones) discovers a series of love letters from the 1960s between characters played by Shailene Woodley and Callum Turner.7. SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON TO RETURN AS SPIRIT RIDING FREE (Photo by DreamWorks)Although DreamWorks had a huge hit in 2001 with Shrek, their next film in 2002 was a bit of a stumble, as Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron earned less domestically ( million) than its production budget ( million). DreamWorks kept going with the franchise, however, including the Netflix animated series Spirit Riding Free, which debuted in 2017. This week, Universal Pictures and DreamWorks announced plans for a new Spirit Riding Free movie for 2021, which means that it will be a movie-based-on-a-TV-show-based-on-a-movie. Universal has scheduled Spirit Riding Free for May 21, 2021, which puts it up against John Wick: Chapter 4 and a week before Disney s Cruella.8. SONY MAY SELL OFF HE-MAN AND HIS MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE TO NETFLIX(Photo by Cartoon Network)The continuing success of Netflix and the promise of its impending competitors like Disney+ and HBO Max are challenging the ways in which the major studios produce and release their films. Streaming services seem to be a smarter option for certain types of mid-range movies that might otherwise have difficulty finding large enough audiences to justify theatrical releases. Sony Pictures, for example, has been trying to get a new version of Masters of the Universe done for several years now, but the budget required to adapt He-Man s fantasy adventures also might mean that it has to be a huge blockbuster to justify the expense. This week, a new theory emerged that Sony may be considering selling off Masters of the Universe to a streaming service like Netflix. It could lead to an excellent film, but it s also possibly a sign of over-caution in Hollywood, and Hollywood playing it safe also sometimes means Hollywood being boring.
This week s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Dungeons Dragons, Hello Kitty, and Searching 2.This WEEK S TOP STORYALEJANDRO GONZÁLEZ IÑÁRRITU HAS BEGUN FILMING HIS NEXT PROJECT(Photo by ©Roadside Attractions courtesy Everett Collection)Getting a feature film produced is difficult enough, even without the spectre of the COVID-19 pandemic looming over society for the past year or so. Just over five years ago at the 88th Academy Awards, Alejandro González Iñárritu won the Oscar for Best Director for The Revenant (Certified Fresh at 78%), which also won Best Cinematography and Best Actor for Leonardo DiCaprio, and this week, Iñárritu was finally able to start filming his first feature film in the five-plus years since. The project, called Limbo, is now filming on location in Mexico City. Iñárritu also wrote the film, which doesn t yet have an official synopsis, except that it explores the political and social modernity of Mexico. Iñárritu s choice to film in Mexico City following his Hollywood success with The Revenant could also be compared to Alfonso Cuaron s Roma (Certified Fresh at 95%), which was filmed in Mexico City following his own Hollywood success with Gravity (Certified Fresh at 95%). No casting announcements have been made yet for Limbo.Other Top Headlines1. J.J. ABRAMS HIRES FIRST FEMALE STAR TREK FEATURE SCREENWRITER(Photo by Paramount Pictures)It was just last week that producer J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot production company hired award-winning writer Ta-Nehisi Coates to work on the new Superman reboot (featuring an actor of color as the lead, for a historic first). This week, Abrams moved forward with another first as Bad Robot has hired screenwriter Kalinda Vasquez to work on the next Star Trek feature film. This project should not be confused with the Star Trek that Quentin Tarantino was announced as partnering with Abrams and Bad Robot in 2017 (as that one appears to have cooled down in the years since). If Vasquez s work on this project makes it to production, she will become the first woman ever to write a Star Trek feature film. In addition to serving as executive producer on shows like Runaways, Star Trek: Discovery, Once Upon a Time, and Fear the Walking Dead, Kalinda Vasquez has also written episodes of all of those shows, plus four episodes of Prison Break and seven episodes of Nikita. It is not yet known if her Star Trek project will introduce a new cast or use one of the previous casts (like say, the Kelvin crew of Chris Pine, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana, etc.) Paramount Pictures does not currently have any Star Trek feature films on the studio s release schedule.2. ANNETTE BENING TO PORTRAY RECORD-BREAKING SWIMMER DIANA NYAD (Photo by Suzanne Tenner/©Focus Features)Diana Nyad is a record-breaking long distance swimmer whose accomplishments include swimming from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage, swimming from Jamaica to Florida, and swimming around the island of Manhattan in under 8 hours. Nyad s amazing life is now set to be adapted as the biopic Nyad, with four-time Academy Award nominee Annette Bening attached to star. Nyad will mark the narrative feature film directorial debut of the team of Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, who won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for their 2018 documentary Free Solo (Certified Fresh at 98%), which depicted a similar form of endurance sport (free solo mountain climbing). Nyad is being adapted from her autobiography Find a Way, with filming expected to start sometime this summer.3. RUSSELL CROWE TO STAR AS ABSTRACT ARTIST MARK ROTHKO (Photo by © Universal Pictures)There have obviously been dozens of biopics about famous painters, but so far, we have relatively few to date about abstract painters (Pollock, Certified Fresh at 80% starring Ed Harris, is a notable exception). That field will soon expand as the life of artist Mark Rothko is about to be portrayed by Russell Crowe in Rothko. Mark Rothko is best known for his color field paintings of large fields of bright colors in squares or rectangles. Rothko will be directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey, Nowhere Boy). The Rothko cast will include Irish actress Aisling Fraciosi (as Rothko s daughter), Jared Harris, Michael Stuhlbarg, and the director s husband Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Pietro from Marvel s Avengers: Age of Ultron). Adapted from the book The Legacy of Rothko by Lee Seldes, Rothko will focus on the protracted legal dispute between Kate Rothko and the painter’s estate executors and the directors of his gallery, Marlborough Fine Art, which you can read more about here.4. MELISSA MCCARTHY TO PORTRAY MAJOR MARVEL VILLAIN IN THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER SORT OF (Photo by Hopper Stone/©Columbia Pictures)Some of the funniest surprises in Taika Waititi s Thor: Ragnarok (Certified Fresh at 93%) came early in the film when we first saw some Asgardian actors depicting the events of earlier Thor movies, including Matt Damon as Loki, Sam Neill as Odin, and Chris Hemsworth s brother Luke Hemsworth as Thor. There has been a fair amount of new coverage of actors like Matt Damon returning to Australia for filming of the fourth movie, Thor: Love and Thunder (5/6/2022), but this week, we actually heard about someone new. Several photos have emerged online this week of comedic actress Melissa McCarthy in costume on the sets in Australia as the villainous character Hela, as portrayed by Cate Blanchett in Thor: Ragnarok, with the other actors-playing-actors like Matt Damon also on set with McCarthy. In similar news, we also learned this week that the upcoming sports comedy sequel Space Jam: A New Legacy (7/6/2021) will also feature cameo appearances by some of Warner Bros other film properties, including Batman, Mad Max, and Casablanca.5. THIS WEEK IN MUSICAL BIOPICS: BOB MARLEY, AND ROBBIE WILLIAMS (AS A MONKEY?) (Photo by Everett Collection)Although both films are now a few years old, the box office successes of Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman (Certified Fresh at 89%) continue to have a ripple effect on other musical biopics getting produced. That includes musical biopic projects which have languished in development for years, or in some cases, decades. The life story of famed reggae musician Bob Marley is one such example. Paramount Pictures is finally getting closer to production with the news this week that the studio has hired director Reinaldo Marcus Green, who comes to the Bob Marley biopic even as he continues work on another biographical film, King Richard, about the father (played by Will Smith) of future tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. In a sad coincidence, the movement on the Bob Marley biopic comes in the same week that saw the passing of Marley s musical partner Bunny Wailer at the age of 73. British pop star Robbie Williams is also getting a biopic called Better Man to be directed by Michael Gracey (The Greatest Showman). In a bizarre revelation, this week, Deadline reported that the role of Robbie Williams will be portrayed by a CGI monkey, apparently, quite seriously.6. DUNGEONS DRAGONS MOVIE CASTS DETECT EVIL SPELL ON HUGH GRANT (Photo by Jay Maidment/©Warner Bros. Pictures)Actor Jeremy Irons has had a film career with many great heights, but one of his lowest lows may have come in 2000, when he starred as the evil villain in the first Dungeons Dragons feature film (Rotten at 10%). One has to speculate that Hugh Grant is hoping for a better result with his decision this week to take the role of the main villain (called Forge Fletcher) in the new Dungeons Dragons movie (5/27/2022). Sophia Lillis, who has recently starred as both Nancy Drew and Beverly in the IT movies, has also take a role as a character named Doric (neither of these names seem to point towards popular characters from existing D D stories). This new Dungeons Dragons reboot is being written and directed by the team of Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, who also collaborated on Game Night (Certified Fresh at 85%). It is not yet known if the Dungeons Dragons movie will be set entirely in a fantasy world, or if some part of it might also depict real world players. Hugh Grant and Sophia Lillis are joining a cast which already includes Regé-Jean Page (Bridgerton), Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, and Justice Smith.7. WRINKLE IN TIME STAR STORM REID MAY GET LOST IN SEARCHING 2 (Photo by Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection)Although it wasn t a box office blockbuster, the independent social media mystery drama Searching (Certified Fresh at 92%) was still a surprise hit relative to its budget. Jon Cho and Michelle La starred as father and daughter in the first Searching, but apparently for the upcoming sequel, a new cast is being sought as the formula will be applied to a new family and setting. We don t know specifically how different or similar the sequel s premise will be, so we have relatively little to guess on, but we can report that 17 year old actress Storm Reid is now in talks for a lead role in Searching 2. Reid made her feature film debut in 12 Years a Slave, had the lead role in A Wrinkle in Time, and is also one of Zendaya s co-stars in HBO s Euphoria.8. HELLO KITTY FINALLY GETTING HER BIG SHOT AT THE MEOW-VIES (Photo by Saban International courtesy Everett Collection)The Japanese design company Sanrio has had over 45 years of success with their popular Hello Kitty character, including in the United States, but for the most part, attempts to carry Hello Kitty over in formats like TV or the movies have not taken off outside of Japan. Back in October of 2019, we reported that New Line Cinema had acquired the film rights to Hello Kitty, but we hadn t heard much since then. This week, we finally got confirmation that the studio is actively developing a Hello Kitty feature film that will combine live action and animation (like this week s Tom and Jerry). New Line Cinema has hired two directors for their Hello Kitty movie: Jennifer Coyle and Leo Matsuda. Coyle s credits as director include 23 episodes of DC Super Hero Girls and 13 episodes of Bob s Burgers, while Matsuda s credits are mostly as an animator or story artist on projects like The Simpsons Movie, Wreck-It Ralph, and Zootopia.9. JONATHAN MAJORS TO STAR IN MILITARY DRAMA 892(Photo by The Washington Post/Getty Images)One of the shows that premiered right in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic when many people were hungry for something to binge was HBO s spooky Lovecraft Country, starring Jonathan Majors. In the months since, Majors was able to translate that show s success to a new gig at Marvel Studios as one of the company s most prolific super villains, Kang the Conqueror, in the sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (TBA 2022). This week, Majors signed on for another project, which will be a drama called 892 about a marine war veteran who suffers from PTSD. In somewhat related news, following recent allegations, rapper-turned-actor T.I. will not be returning for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania after co-starring in the first two Ant-Man movies. It is unclear if this was always the plan, or if Marvel Studios is making the change based on the allegations against T.I. and his wife Tameka Tiny Harris. Likewise, we also don t know if the other Ant-Man supporting characters played by Michael Peña and David Dastmalchian will be returning or not.On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.
Army Of The Dead (2021) #2 on Facebook and Twitter, #3 on InstagramPremiering on Netflix on May 21Continuing on the horror trend well, in a way, but we ll get to that is director Zack Snyder s return to the zombie genre where he got his start. Though it bears no relation to Dawn of the Dead, Snyder s directorial debut remake of the George Romero classic, Army of the Dead does feature a horde of zombies descending upon a ragtag group of survivors. Only thing is, these particular survivors happen to be a band of mercenaries who have intentionally entered zombie territory an infested Las Vegas in order to pull off a casino heist while the world s attention is focused on the walking dead. In other words, this may fit more under Action than Horror, but either way, it could be a lot of fun.
Alice Eve is a portrait of a lady playing with fire as married Susan Trenchard flirting with duplicitous bachelor John Bellasis (Adam James) in this exclusive look at the third episode of Belgravia. Julian Fellowes’ TV follow-up to Downton Abbey is based on his book of the same name about 19th century London society confronting the upward mobility of the nouveau riche.In episode 3, Reverend Stephen Bellasis (James Fleet) is forced to reveal the depths of his financial problems, causing his son John to set his manipulative sights on Charles Pope (newcomer Jack Bardoe) and Caroline, , Countess of Brockenhurst (Harriet Walter) as a way to make money; meanwhile, Susan isn’t shy about exploiting the Trenchards’ new social circle.About the show: Belgravia is a story of secrets and scandals amongst the upper echelon of London society in the 19th century. When the Trenchards accept an invitation to the now legendary ball hosted by the Duchess of Richmond on the fateful eve of the Battle of Waterloo, it sets in motion a series of events that will have consequences for decades to come as secrets unravel behind the porticoed doors of London s grandest neighborhoods.The limited series reunites Downton Abbey’s award-winning creative team; with Fellowes adapting his bestselling novel for the screen and Carnival’s Gareth Neame and Nigel Marchant executive producing alongside Liz Trubridge and Fellowes. John Alexander (Sense Sensibility, Trust Me) will direct all episodes with Colin Wratten (Killing Eve) producing.In addition to Eve (She’s Out Of My League), Walter (The Crown), Fleet (Four Weddings and a Funeral), James (Band of Brothers), and Bardoe (in his television debut), Belgravia’s cast includes Tamsin Greig (Episodes), Philip Glenister (Mad Dogs), Tara Fitzgerald (Game of Thrones), Ella Purnell (Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children), Richard Goulding (The Windsors), Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton), Diana Hardcastle (Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), Paul Ritter (Chernobyl), and Saskia Reeves (Luther).Belgravia airs Sundays at 9/8c on Epix. Those in the industry keeping an eye on the progress of Avengers: Endgame in its hunt to take down the global box record set by Avatar are probably some combination of bored, tired, and frustrated. It must feel like watching a sporting event with the most incredible offensive performance in the first half and a slow petering out in the second. Nevertheless, it has seemed inevitable for weeks now that Disney and Marvel would need to take alternative routes if they were indeed dead-set on achieving that ultimate goal: Beating Avatar’s global haul of ,787,965,087 (.79 billion). As of Tuesday, Endgame is currently at ,744,012,261 (.74 billion), or ,952,826 million behind.Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige announced on Tuesday that Avengers: Endgame’s theatrical run is far from finished. The Marvel behemoth is taking a major step to snatch up more millions in the box office race: Come next week there will be “a deleted scene, a little tribute, and a few surprises” for those who make it out to see Endgame again. But unlike those who bought tickets to Meet Joe Black back in 1998 to get their first whiff of The Phantom Menace trailer, fans will have to wait through the three-hour film to get their new kernels during the end credits.(Photo by © Twentieth Century Fox)Will this be enough to bring Avengers: Endgame over the finish line? The quick answer is probably no, but it is worth exploring its chances – beginning with its path to the present. When Endgame opened on April 25 with Thursday night previews, it grossed 7.1 million through Sunday night. That was .4 million more than Star Wars: The Force Awakens made in December 2015. Despite such an incredible head start, it would still end up well short of Awakens’ domestic record of 6.6 million; Endgame was at 1.7 million on Tuesday, good enough for second all-time at the domestic box office.AVENGERS: ENDGAME (Weekends)Weekend #2 7,383,211 (#2 second weekend all-time)Weekend #3 ,299,904 (#4 third weekend all-time)Weekend #4 ,973,505 (#5 fourth weekend all-time)Weekend #5 ,200,742 (#13 fifth weekend all-time)Weekend #6 ,037,491 (#77 sixth weekend all-time)Weekend #7 ,870,963 (#146 seventh weekend all-time)Weekend #8 ,725,855 (#134 eighth weekend all-time)Some of those later numbers get skewed in the weeds of platform releases and award chasers getting later wide launches, but that is still quite the drop from weekend five to six. Three new releases this week will likely push Endgame out of the top 10 temporarily, but the new launch with extra footage may help it reclaim the slot it has held for eight weeks. (Avatar spent 14 straight weeks in the top 10; The Force Awakens spent 10.)The most successful re-releases in the past have been those that have offered new experiences. The special editions of the original Star Wars trilogy in 1997 included renewed special effects as well as excised and new footage that resulted in grosses of 8.2 million (Star Wars), .5 million (The Empire Strikes Back), and .4 million (Return of the Jedi). Disney had similar successes with its 3D conversions of The Lion King (.2 million), Beauty and the Beast (.6 million), Finding Nemo (.1 million), and Monsters, Inc. ( million). 3D re-issues of Titanic (.8 million), Jurassic Park (.3 million), and even The Phantom Menace (.4 million) did solid numbers.These numbers are precisely in the wheelhouse of what Endgame is chasing since, as of Tuesday, it was .95 million behind Avatar’s global record. However, these films were events not just for their extras but because for a number of people they offered an opportunity to see these films for the first time on the big screen. The earliest re-release amongst all those films mentioned was Monsters, Inc., which came just 11 years after its first run. Avengers: Endgame would be 10 weeks – so it might not even technically be a “re-release.”What does Endgame have going in its favor? Recent history for starters. Black Panther was 11 weeks and 1 million into its run when it jumped back into the top five, dropping just 4% from the week prior. A week before Endgame’s release, Captain Marvel rose 5.7% from the week prior, jumping from sixth to fourth and having the 17th best seventh weekend ever. Then, on Endgame’s record-breaking weekend, Captain Marvel was the number 2 film in the country on its eighth week of release, dropping just 8.7% for the 12th best eighth weekend ever. The Endgame re-issue release would come four days before the next chapter in the MCU, Spider-Man: Far From Home, opens. That film could see the same kind of post-Avengers bump that propelled Iron Man 3 to over 0 million.(Photo by © Sony Pictures)Will a pre-Spider-Man launch in the film’s 10th week of release be enough though? Black Panther made a little over million from weekend 10 on. Captain Marvel made a little more than million. We could just as easily say that Endgame is only .2 million away from the true record as that would discount Avatar getting a re-release as a “Special Edition” in 812 theaters on Aug. 27, 2010, just a few weeks before its first run finished with 9.7 million. Therein lies the potential rub though.How much business does Endgame lose this weekend with Toy Story 4 seeking to break its own records – let alone with people now knowing if they wait just another week they could pay the same amount and see the new additions? Optimistically, another to million this weekend worldwide, and let’s double that with the reissue the week after; Endgame would still need another to million going forward. Marvel and Disney could certainly try another re-release around awards time, as there will certainly be some outside chatter for a legacy reward. But that is likely small peanuts, too. Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk made just .69 million in its awards season re-release in December 2017.Maybe Avengers: Endgame will need another decade to pass Avatar. When the dust is settled and a new generation of Marvel lovers are finishing up the latest phase of the MCU and discovering the tales of the original group that their parents loved and supported, perhaps an anniversary re-issue is announced and the final few bucks it needs for the record will be handed over for one last ticket. Unless Avatar 2, 3, 4, or 5 has already moved the record forward.Like this? 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(Photo by Matt Sayles/The CW)After what seems like ages, but has actually only been a little less than a year, Stargirl returns to The CW on August 10. And though fans keenly felt those months between seasons, for since Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger) and her friends in the Justice Society of America, only a few weeks have passed since they effectively ended the threat of an older generation of supervillains in season 1’s conclusion. Her greatest challenge now is surviving summer school. The decision to pick up so shortly after season 1 was just one of the few things Rotten Tomatoes learned during a press day with Bassinger, fellow stars Yvette Monreal, Anjelika Washington, Cameron Gellman, Amy Smart, Luke Wilson, and executive producer Geoff Johns. We’ve rounded up the key details to know (or recall) before you sit down to watch the season 2 premiere.1. Summer School Starts NowSummer school will be big part of Courtney’s plight in the new season. So much so that the second year is even subtitled “Summer School” – a choice Johns joked was part of changing the episodic naming convention.“[In] the first season, every episode was named after one of the characters, one of our cast. I think we would have run out of characters by episode four or five [this season] or strained to do that,” Johns said. “And we wanted to shake it up. I wanted to do a subtitle like this with the Stargirl movie — like, the sequel to Stargirl.”As it happens, Johns was developing a feature with the character — one of his own contributions to the DC Comics library — for quite some time before the opportunity to make a series appeared.“It’s also is a lot easier to name the episodes once we decide on a subtitle,” he said. So, instead of individual episode titles, each is a chapter of the “Summer School” story. “We’re telling a serialized story — 13 chapters, rather than single episodes,” Johns explained.For Courtney’s part, that story begins with her eagerness to be Stargirl.“It gets her into trouble sometimes, like, how non-reluctant she is,” Bassinger said. From the very beginning, she is looking for villains — looking for trouble — even though there are none, because she just loves being a superhero so freaking much. And it’s fun to have that. Just as an actor, it’s fun to play such a positive person, because I feel like it brings positivity to me, too, personally.”Courtney will need that positivity as her eagerness leads to summer school and, of course, those villains she hoped to find.2. The Villains Take Stargirl to a Darker Place(Photo by The CW)In lieu of the Injustice Society, the majority of whom were defeated last year, Courtney and the JSA will face a darker form of villainy via two characters literally shrouded in darkness: Eclipso and The Shade (pictured). The latter, a shadow wielding Flash villain created by Gardner Fox and Harold Wilson Sharp in 1942, was a favorite of Stargirl producer James Dale Robinson – so much so, in fact, he spent much of the 1990s writing him as a sort of “anti-villain” in the pages of DC’s Starman comic book. Johns also said he pitched the character on the first day they began discussing the Stargirl TV series.“We never had plans to bring him into season 1, clearly, but we planted him in that mural with all the ISA. We wanted to elevate The Shade and make him feel special because he is a special character,” Johns said. “James took him in the ’90s and the 2000s and really gave him a personality and made him an interesting, complex character.”Johns was also pleased to find the character in the form of actor Jonathan Cake, who he said really “highlights” the layers of the character as developed by Robinson two-plus decades ago.(Photo by Tina Rowden/The CW )The other villain, Eclipso, is, “a demonic force in the same vein as a Freddy Krueger or a Pennywise,” according to Johns.The character, created by Bob Haney and Lee Elias in the 1963, evolved over the decades from petty villain into a force of darkness and evil who uses people s own regrets and doubts to control them. He also famously slaughtered an entire Justice League team. But for the purposes of Stargirl, at least as the season begins, he is a far more subtle presence voiced by Nick Tarabay. Although, both actor and character will eventually be seen in what Wilson described as a “really cool” costume (seen above in this first-look image).“When he finally does set foot in Blue Valley for real, and you see him manifest, it felt deserved, it felt scary, and it felt like everything had changed,” Johns added.The decision to focus on villains powered by darkness was a purposeful choice on the part of the production. As Johns explained, it was all about darkness versus light, which is very perfect for somebody like Stargirl. In terms of the characters, he felt it was important to “go up against something like that this season — something that gets inside their heads and tries to expose their fears and their regrets and their guilt and use it against them — and see if these heroes can rise up and stop it.”It means the show will shift in tone a bit, but Johns assured everyone Stargirl is still “the same show with the same characters that love each other and want to help each other at their core and want to be good and do good and love and be loved and still have humor and heart and all of that.”3. And the Darkness Within Will Come To Light(Photo by The CW)Since Eclipso preys on fear and regret, some of the personal stories only teased in the first season will get examined across the “Summer School” story.For Monreal’s character, Yolanda, there’s still all the weight of her actions before Courtney came to town. Add to that the consequences of killing Brainwave last season and a new dimension from which to examine it: her faith.“From the very start, Yolanda’s just really huge on her Catholicism,” Monreal explained. And with that background, the guilt she continues to feel can be interpreted as mortal sins — something which could make her susceptible to certain influences. “There’s all this judgment that she feels, especially after the mistake that she made and then after she killed Brainwave. It adds a psychological factor. And it’s like, do or die. She has to escape this psychological factor.”(Photo by Bob Mahoney/The CW)Meanwhile, Beth (Washington), still faces a strained relationship with her parents — based on their appearances in season 1, they don’t seem to like their energetic daughter very much. But Washington teased Beth’s parents will “learn a lot about Beth in the best ways.” She also said the most exciting element she cannot wait for viewers to see is the way Beth “learns what is her light and how she contributes to her team.”Rick (Gellman) still has a hard time feeling at ease in Blue Valley, but he may have bonded with a certain character from season 1 that will prove surprising. Oh, and that’s not a tease about a possible relationship between Rick and Beth. Although Johns said their friendship (or otherwise) is “very deep,” he also said “the slow developing romance[s] in the show is just part of the show. It’s the show’s storytelling.”It also proved an asset as the show went back into production amid COVID-19 lockdowns and safety protocols. Even the more casual intimacy had to be carefully coordinated to protect the actors. “We needed a rapid test right before a hug,” Smart said.“Now we fist bump and you just try and put that same emotion into it. I think we did OK,” Wilson quipped.Gellman felt the emphasis on ideas other than teen romance is one of the show s strengths: “[We] dig into everybody’s individual mission and challenge. [That might] get lost on the show if we were constantly looking at dating and breakups and feelings hurt and all of that.”4. Joel McHale Is Part of a Slow-Burn Storyline(Photo by The CW)As viewers will recall from the end of season 1, Joel McHale’s character, Starman Sylvester Pemberton, is seemingly not as dead as he appeared to be in the pilot. McHale will be seen in season 2, but Johns warned those in attendance that his appearances will be a part of a slow-burning storyline.“In the best comic books, I always loved the long brewing subplots. And the return of Starman, Sylvester Pemberton, is one of those,” he explained. Part of the brewing process is a flashback in episode 209 which features a “Justice Society flashback with the original members, with Luke and Joel and the other JSA founders.” This episode will also feature John Wesley Shipp as the Jay Garrick of Courtney’s Earth (aka “Earth-2” per the conclusion of the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover event) — a version of the character he currently plays on The Flash.Shipp’s appearance is the first acknowledgement of just how close Stargirl is to the Arrowverse.“To have John play Jay Garrick, The Flash, in Stargirl connects our universe directly with the other shows and also shows that we’re part of a grander universe,” Johns said. He also noted that maintaining the casting across the two programs also “opens up the door to opportunities for us to eventually interact with those characters. And that was important. Just like the comics.” From his comments on the matter, it was clear he is interested in continuing the Arrowverse crossover tradition — although he added, “when we eventually do do it, we’ll do it in a hopefully very special Stargirl way.”As for McHale? Johns teased there will be more of him in “the latter half of the season.”5. There Will Be a Third Season(Photo by The CW)Now that Stargirl is firmly a CW show — its first season was originally produced for the now-defunct DC Universe streaming service — it enjoys one of the network’s great benefits in an early season 3 renewal. As with “Summer School,” it will get a subtitle. Johns even said, “You’ll see by the end of season 2 what that is.”According to Johns, the writing team is hard at work on the scripts. We got picked up almost immediately for the third season. We didn’t have to wait for it to air. I think everybody’s super excited. And it’s helped us jump right back into it, he said. For me personally, there’s nothing else I’d rather do more than this. Stargirl returns on Tuesday, August 10 at 8/7C on The CW.