BIRDS OF PREY gets an unwieldy title in latest questionable DCEU decision, film due February 7, 2020

Take a deep breath into your beaks, folks, because the full title of Warner Bros.’ BIRDS OF PREY is reportedly BIRDS OF PREY (AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN). Star and producer Margot Robbie shared a look at the script on Instagram with the extended mouthful of a title written on the cover, with THR confirming that is indeed the studio’s official name for the project. I’m just gonna go ahead and keep calling it BIRDS OF PREY, I’m not writing that again:

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A few things to discuss here, first of which is my admiration for the balls it takes to assume there’s much overlap between people excited for a SUICIDE SQUAD spin-off and those who loved Alejandro González Iñárritu‘s similarly avian-themed BIRDMAN OR (THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE).

Either way, the super-long subtitle might hint at where director Cathy Yan and writer Christina Hodson are taking the story. “EMANCIPATION” suggests that Robbie’s wildly popular Harley Quinn will spend at least a portion of the film freeing herself from the unhealthy domestic clutches of the forehead-tatted Joker. (The Jared Leto version, not the Joaquin Phoenix model).

Joining Robbie in the R-rated girl-gang DCEU entry is Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary, and Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya. Ewan McGregor is set to play the villainous Gotham crime lord Black Mask, who—according to the film’s official synopsis—is gunning after the one-time Robin named Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco).

BIRDS OF PREY (AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN) – last time I ever write this out – hits theaters on February 7, 2020

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New THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART trailer features a clash of imaginations, film due February 8, 2019!

Warner Bros. has released a new THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART trailer. The upcoming sequel takes place five years after the events of the first movie and the citizens of Bricksburg are now in a Mad Max-esque dystopia after fighting off invaders from LEGO DUPLO. Mike Mitchell (TROLLS) directs alongside co-director Trisha Gum, working from a screenplay by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who became much more involved in the making of the sequel after they departed SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY‘s production last summer.

This trailer is delightful. The sense of humor that made the first THE LEGO MOVIE such a gem is definitely still present, this time completely with self-referential humor like nods to Pratt’s work in the JURASSIC WORLD franchise. I also love how they found a new visual aesthetic for the movie that’s in keeping with the story—with the world “destroyed” after the end of THE LEGO MOVIE, the characters live in a Mad Max-like wasteland, then venture into space.

THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART opens February 8, 2019 and features the voices of Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz, and Arturo Castro.

Final AQUAMAN trailer has big underwater action, epic scope; film lands December 21, 2019!

Warner Bros. has released the final trailer for AQUAMAN. The superhero’s solo movie is part origin story about how he’s the child of two worlds who trained to become king of Atlantis, and part adventure of trying to find a special trident that will save the underwater city.

This is definitely the best trailer yet, not so much because of the plot involving the trident stuff (you knew this movie was probably going to have a macguffin of some kind), but because of how it looks. Yes, we had seen various trailers before showing the bright, colorful design of the movie, but it’s amazing how drastically different this looks from JUSTICE LEAGUE or even WONDER WOMAN. I have to admit that James Wan’s movie, at least from a visual perspective, appears dazzling, and I’m eager to see it on the big screen.

AQUAMAN opens December 21st (although Amazon Prime members can get tickets to see it earlier) and stars Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry/Aquaman, Patrick Wilson as King Orm/Ocean Master, Amber Heard as Mera, Willem Dafoe as Vulko, Temuera Morrison as Tom Curry, Dolph Lundgren as Nereus, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta, and Nicole Kidman as Atlanna.

ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL gets a kinder, gentler trailer; PG-13 cut of DEADPOOL 2 arrives December 12!

20th Century Fox has released the first ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL trailer, offering a look at the new PG-13 cut of DEADPOOL 2. Indeed, while the R-rated follow-up hit theaters back in May and grossed over $730 million worldwide, Fox is releasing a new cut of the film in theaters for a special limited theatrical engagement this holiday season. This new cut of DEADPOOL 2 will be rated PG-13, and includes a frame story with Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool telling the story of DeaDPOOL 2 to a kidnapped Fred Savage, which is a jokey ripoff of the frame story from THE PRINCESS BRIDE. The idea was conceived by DEADPOOL 2 writers Reynolds, Rhett Reese, and Paul Wernick, so it’s not exactly some shameless ploy by the studio to simply make more money.

This new footage was shot in secret after DEADPOOL 2 hit theaters, and this PG-13 cut is not only beneficial to Fox as a bit of a bonus at the end of the year, but is also being watched closely by Disney and Marvel Studios. Indeed, starting in January, Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox becomes official, and the Mouse House is curious to see what the PG-13 prospects of the DEADPOOL franchise look like and how the character might fit into the PG-13-rated Marvel Cinematic Universe. Once this acquisition is final, all plans for Fox’s superhero movies are subject to their new corporate overlords, and no doubt the folks at Marvel Studios have some ideas.

The best part of ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL, however, is that for every ticket sold $1 will be donated to the charity F–ck Cancer, which is being retitled “Fudge Cancer” for the purposes of this PG-13 release. The film also stars Josh Brolin, Zazie Beets, and Julian Dennison and hits theaters on December 12th and will run only through Christmas Eve.

Box Office: FANTASTIC BEASTS makes off with $62M debut!

Warner Bros. might be a little apprehensive about the FANTASTIC BEASTS franchise going forward. The new installment, FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD pulled in $62 million at the domestic box off, over $12 million less than FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM did two years ago. Either people were scared off by the poor reviews or they simply didn’t take to the first FANTASTIC BEASTS enough to want seconds. That being said, it looks like the studio might be able to coast this franchise off international receipts. THR reports that the movie made $253.2 million worldwide, so that will be enough to keep FANTASTIC BEASTS afloat, although looking to overseas for a lifeline is still kind of underperforming when you consider this is the continuation of the HARRY POTTER franchise.

To be fair to FANTASTIC BEASTS, the film had some serious competition for families with the second weekend of THE GRINCH. The animated movie landed in second place with a weekend total of $38.1 million. The film has already grossed over $100 million in ten days to bring its domestic total to $126.5 million, and it promises to be a serious player over the holiday frame.

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY also held well in its third weekend, pulling in $15.7 million to land it in third place with a domestic total of $129.7 million. It may not be the most honest look at Queen or the life of frontman Freddie Mercury, but that PG-13 rating is definitely paying dividends for the rock band’s biopic.

In terms of other news releases, INSTANT FAMILY wound up in fourth place with $14.7 million, which is well behind Mark Wahlberg’s and Sean Anders’ previous efforts with the DADDY’S HOME movies, but Paramount thinks INSTANT FAMILY will have some legs thanks to its “A” CinemaScore.

Finally, WIDOWS only earned a “B” CinemaScore and took the fifth spot with a weekend take of $12.3 million. The smart heist thriller may have fallen into a gap where people weren’t sure if it was just a popcorn movie or if it was more serious awards fare.

Check out the weekend’s top 10 estimates below, and be back here next week to see if RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET can break the box office:

1. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald $62.2M
2. The Grinch $38.16M
3. Bohemian Rhapsody $15.7M
4. Instant Family $14.7M
5. Widows $12.3M
6. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms $4.67M
7. A Star Is Born $4.35M
8. Overlord $3.85M
9. The Girl in the Spider’s Web $2.5M
10. Nobody’s Fool $2.26M

DUMBO takes flight in new trailer, Tim Burton’s adaptation lands March 29, 2019

Disney has released a new trailer for director Tim Burton‘s new live-action DUMBO movie is here. The film updates the classic animated Disney film and revolves around a circus owner (Danny DeVito) who enlists a former star (Colin Farrell) and his children to care for a newborn elephant, whose gift of flight takes the circus to new heights.

While Burton first made waves with dark and strange films like BATMAN and BEETEJUICE, he’s actually been working within the realm of family/children’s films for quite some time now (from ALICE IN WONDERLAND to MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN), and he seems quite comfortable here in DUMBO. There are a lot of CGI backgrounds to be seen in this here trailer and I’m not entirely sold on the environment, but the tone of a genuine family film appears to be strong, and Farrell as a father figure is a great. Disney has yet to falter when it comes to these live-action remakes, so odds are this one’s a hit.

Written by Ehren Kruger, the film also stars Michael Keaton, Eva Green, Alan Arkin, Finley Hobbins, and, Nico Parker. DUMBO opens in theaters on March 29, 2019.

JJ Abrams and Bad Robot announce six films in the works from up-and-coming directors!

Fresh off the release of Bad Robot’s WWII-set mutant Nazi thriller OVERLORD, the production company led by JJ Abrams has acquired six new film projects from a host of up-and-coming writers and directors, according to Variety.

Most intriguing among the six genre films is an untitled “female-driven horror allegory” penned by Megan Amram. The writer and comedian currently serves as a producer and resident pun wizard on ‘The Good Place’, on which she’s also written a number of the NBC comedy’s best episodes. Earlier this year, Amram was nominated for two short-form comedy Emmys for her digital series, ‘An Emmy For Megan’. Sadly, the show lost both categories.

HELL FEST writer Blair Butler adds her films THE STEPS to the slate, a “twist on the possession genre” based on an original story idea from 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE editor Stan Grube. An untitled feature on the life of Bobby Hall—better known as the Grammy-winning rapper LOGIC—is also in the works, with Hall starring and co-writing the script with ‘Black-ish’ writer Lisa McQuillan.

Rounding out Bad Robot’s extensive new slate is a moonshine-era feature titled THE SEVEN SISTERS OF SCOTT COUNTY written and directed by Courtney Hoffman, romantic sci-fi film ONLY THE LONELY written by Peter Glanz and co-directed by Grube and Dylan Meyer, and an untitled time travel film written by Ben Shiffrin (NINE LIVES).

No word yet on if or how many of the six projects will eventually become CLOVERFIELD films, but I’ll keep you posted on that front.

The news comes at an interesting time for Bad Robot. OVERLORD—despite being a dope piece of B-movie madness–isn’t exactly lighting up the box office, opening in third place with $10 million on a $38 million budget. But Abrams is also hard at work directing the trilogy-capping STAR WARS: EPISODE IX—Bad Robot co-produced the sure-to-be smash—while also reportedly shopping around for a $500M mega-deal on par with Steven Spielberg.