MARY POPPINS RETURNS to arrive in theaters on December 25, 2018!

The Disney live-action remake train keeps chugging right along. Considering the admirable box office take of films like THE JUNGLE BOOK and CINDERELLA, it doesn’t seem to be something that will let up soon and, compared to other strains of remakes and franchises, the results have been rather passable. Amongst the hash of the new titles rolling out, the most anticipated one may well be MARY POPPINS RETURNS, a remake-sequel to the 1964 classic, MARY POPPINS, that starred Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke.

The reason for this is primarily its cast thus far, which is led by Emily Blunt, who has been a standout performer in some of the last decade’s most memorable action films, including SICARIO, LOOPER, and EDGE OF TOMORROW. She will, of course, be playing the titular magical nanny that rears a pair of troublesome kids, and she will be joined by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the musical-theater genius behind ‘Hamilton’, who will play a street-lamp lighter named Jack, a new creation for this film.

This casting has already been confirmed, but Disney released a brand new confirmation today, which, thankfully, came packaged with some similarly big news. That would be a proper release date, and MARY POPPINS RETURNS will now be hitting theaters on December 25th, 2018. It’s a perfect release date for such a family-centric movie, and it’s also a familiar time for release for the film’s director, Rob Marshall, who has routinely released Oscar-bait around Christmas time. This most famously happened with CHICAGO, which was released mid-December and went on to rack up big award wins, but then there’s also an out-and-out dud like his take on MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA.

Most recently, he was responsible for the film adaptation of INTO THE WOODS, which turned out much more rewarding than the director’s shallow attempt to turn Fellini’s 8 1/2 into a musical with NINE, one of the few films to star Daniel Day-Lewis which is apparently borderline unwatchable. Here’s hoping that this latest venture will be more in line with CHICAGO and INTO THE WOODS.

Advertisements

“Planet Hulk” storyline confirmed to be part of THOR: RAGNAROK, other details emerge!

planet-hulk-slice

Today we’ve got a few new rumors for the upcoming Marvel films THOR: RAGNAROK and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2.

First up, JoBlo claims they know how much of the popular comic Planet Hulk will be adapted into THOR: RAGNAROK. While the specifics are still unclear, it looks like the gladiator games of Planet Hulk will factor into the story with Thor somehow becoming involved with the games. Additionally, the games will be overseen by Jeff Goldbum’s character, The Grandmaster. Finally, “In terms of Hulk’s appearance in this portion of the film, he will be rocking the one-shoulder armor as seen in the comics, so expect him to be decked out in the familiar Planet Hulk look.”

Furthermore, Hulk won’t be the only one undergoing a style change in the film. JoBlo also reports that Thor will be “sporting a shaved head (but not completely bald) for at least a portion of the film.” As for Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, as opposed to being a blond character like she is in the comics, she’ll be decked out with “war paint on her face, much like a Native American warrior.”

As for the story, it will involve Thor tracking down “the ultimate weapon to stop Ragnarok and reset the universe.” So what exactly is this weapon? Is it an Infinity Stone? We’ll have to wait and see, but I love the scope that they’re going for and even though it’s a buddy road trip movie, it still seems epic. This is the first time I’ve been genuinely excited for a Thor movie, and it sounds like it’s all coming together quite nicely.

JoBlo also has some news on GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2. They report that Elizabeth Debicki (THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.) is set to play the film’s villain, Ayesha aka “Her” aka “Kismet” aka “Paragon.” Per JoBlo:

Now, the significance of Ayesha in GUARDIANS 2 and the greater MCU is rather huge, especially when you consider that she was created by The Enclave, a group of scientists dedicated to taking control of the world, starting with the creation of the perfect genetic beings, made to restart humanity. Their first version of this, called HIM, would later evolve into the character known as Adam Warlock, who escaped The Enclave. However, The Enclave made a second being, which became HER aka Ayesha, who also escapes and goes looking for HIM, who she considers to be her perfect mate to start a new perfect race.

JoBlo doesn’t know how much of that will factor into the plot of GUARDIANS 2, but it’s exciting that after a long string of male villains, the cosmic realm of the MCU is getting two female baddies with Ayesha and with THOR: RAGNAROK’s Cate Blanchett playing Hela.

THOR: RAGNAROK opnes November 3, 2017. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 opens May 5, 2017.

Box Office: X-MEN: APOCALYPSE wins Memorial Day Weekend, ALICE tanks in debut!

x-men-apocalypse-sophie-turner-slice-600x200

Weekend estimates for the Memorial Day weekend box office are in, and things are looking, well, interesting. X-MEN: APOCALYPSE is topping the weekend with an estimated $65 million through Sunday, and while that’s on pace to top out at between $75 million and $80 million for the weekend—by no means a terrible performance—it’s behind the opening grosses for X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, which landed on Memorial Day weekend in 2014, and below earlier suggestions that pegged APOCALYPSE’s opening as high as $100 million. While these numbers aren’t disastrous by any means, APOCALYPSE does come in at the lower end of opening weekends for the franchise as a whole, topping only the openings of 2000’s X-MEN, the soft reboot X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, and 2013’s THE WOLVERINE.

Reviews for APOCALYPSE have not been incredibly kind, which may have something to do with the so-so opening weekend here. Or perhaps audiences are already starting to feel something of a superhero movie fatigue this year given that the season started way back in February with DEADPOOL—which opened to an astounding $132 million—and continued with the massive-in-scope blockbusters BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE in March and CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR earlier this month. Indeed, while we haven’t even hit June yet, we’ve already seen some of the biggest films of the entire year, and APOCALYPSE came in at the tail end here. Perhaps folks felt like they didn’t need to rush out to see another superhero smackdown so soon after these other epics?

Whatever the case, APOCALYPSE’s performance is not franchise-ending by any means, and 20th Century Fox has a bevy of spinoffs and X-MEN-centric films in the works, so we haven’t seen the last of the mutants. But it will be interesting to see how APOCALYPSE fares in the weeks to come. One more promising bit of news for Fox: the film is performing extremely well overseas, with its international total standing at $115 million for a worldwide gross of $180.4 million at the moment.

What is a disaster is Disney’s sequel ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS. The follow-up to Tim Burton’s 2010 box office smash ALICE IN WONDERLAND is a bona fide bomb, netting an estimated $28.1 million so far for a 4-day total of around $35 million—a 70% drop from WONDERLAND’s opening weekend. The $170 million film had been expected to open around $55 million, but poor reviews coupled with a six year lag since the first film and a seriously bad week for Johnny Depp resulted in a low turnout, and now it may top out at $80 million overall compared to the $334 million domestic total of the first movie. The sequel is looking to fare even worse than last year’s Memorial Day release TOMORROWLAND, which was a disappointment at $42 million.

But while ALICE is a sinking ship, Disney is in fine shape otherwise. The studio is about to pass $4 billion worldwide in record time thanks to the spectacular performance of CIVIL WAR (the year’s highest grossing film), ZOOTOPIA, and THE JUNGLE BOOK, the latter of which is showing incredibly strong legs, landing in the #6 spot for the weekend in its seventh week in release. The live-action/CG hybrid has amassed an astounding $880 million worldwide so far, and when coupled with the $1.108 billion and $992 million worldwide totals of CIVIL WAR and ZOOTOPIA, respectively, the sting of ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS hurts a little less. Still hurts though.

Take a look at the full Top 10 estimates for the weekend below:

1. X-Men: Apocalypse $65M
2. Alice Through the Looking Glass $28.11M
3. The Angry Birds Movie $18.7M
4. Captain America: Civil War $15.12M
5. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising $9.1M
6. The Jungle Book $6.96M
7. The Nice Guys $6.37M
8. Money Monster $4.25M
9. Love & Friendship $2.49M
10. Zootopia $0.83M

Jeff Bridges joins the stellar cast of KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE!

the-big-lebowski-jeff-bridges-slice

If filmmaker Matthew Vaughn is going for the “Greatest Cast on the Planet” moniker with KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE, he is well on his way to placing. The highly anticipated spy sequel began filming last month with Taron Egerton reprising his role as the now-Kingsman Eggsy and Mark Strong returning as trusted tech support Merlin. Vaughn aimed high for newcomers and hit his target, as Julianne Moore is playing the film’s villain while Halle Berry and Channing Tatum fill out the ensemble as Egerton and his cohorts cross the pond to rub elbows with the American version of Kingsman, The Statesman.

As if that wasn’t enough, Vaughn enlisted Elton John to take an unspecified role in the film, and Colin Firth is reprising his role as Harry Hart—though we don’t exactly know how. And now, with filming already underway, the ensemble has added one more exciting name: Jeff Bridges. The actor announced his involvement today on Twitter with a specialized (and alcohol-infused) poster, marking another fantastic addition. It even serves as a reunion of sorts, as Bridges co-starred with Moore in the recent fantasy epic SEVENTH SON—if you can believe it.

Vaughn once again co-wrote the screenplay with frequent collaborator Jane Goldman, and given how much of a blast the first film was, I can’t wait to see what THE GOLDEN CIRCLE has in store for us—especially with the setting change. Luckily the wait isn’t terribly long, as KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE is slated for release on June 16, 2017.

kingsman-the-golden-circle-jeff-bridges-poster-405x600

THE AVENGERS’ Tom Hiddleston officially in talks to be the next JAMES BOND!

tom-hiddleston-high-rise-slice

[Update: Tom Hiddleston has been rumored to be in the running for a while now, but as BMD reports, the actor is now confirmed to be in talks for the 25th James Bond film. We’ll wait for the official word from Sony soon.]

Current Bond star Daniel Craig has been rather vocal about the role, making it quite clear that if he is to continue playing the character, “it would only be for the money.” He’s currently contractually obligated to make the return in BOND 25, but Craig also joked that he’d rather do himself physical harm than step into the shoes of 007 again. Names like Idris Elba, Damian Lewis, Tom Hardy, Henry Cavill, and Michael Fassbender have been floated as likely candidates to take over, but now you can add Tom Hiddleston to the list in a more serious capacity.

As THR reports, British bookies are once more changing up the order of who they think is likely be play Bond going forward. Hardy and then Elba are still seen as favorites, but thanks to Hiddleston’s turn as a secret agent in the John le Carré adaptation THE NIGHT MANAGER, his odds are improving. The six-episode spy thriller series essentially acted as a well-produced audition for Hiddleston’s version of James Bond.

In speaking to The Sunday Times, Hiddleston, a self-described “huge fan” of Bond, talked about the possibility of playing the famous character:

“I simply love the theme tune, the tropes and the mythology. I love the whole thing. If it ever came knocking, it would be an extraordinary opportunity. And I’m very aware of the physicality of the job. I would not take it lightly.”

That attitude is certainly in keeping with Craig’s advice for whoever next inherits the role, one which Hiddleston is unapologetically fond of: Hiddleston also shared that he took time out of his KONG: SKULL ISLAND shooting schedule to check out SPECTRE in theaters. Bookmakers like William Hill are keeping an eye on Hiddleston’s turn in THE NIGHT MANAGER to see just how Bond-like the 35-year-old English actor can be. A representative for the bookies said as much regarding the series:

“There are some very Bond-ish elements to The Night Manager, and the producers of the next 007 movie will surely be keeping an eye on Hiddleston’s performance in case Daniel Craig decides to step down.”

MAZE RUNNER’s Rosa Salazar cast as lead in BATTLE ANGEL!

the-divergent-series-insurgent-rosa-salazar-slice-600x200

James Cameron has been developing BATTLE ANGEL, an adaptation of the Manga series ‘Battle Angel Alita’ for years now, but with his attention pulled in the direction of the ever-expanding AVATAR franchise there has been relatively little visible forward progress until recently. Cameron handed over directorial duties to Robert Rodriguez last year and the filmmakers set out to find the right young woman to lead the film. Last month, news broke that the search had narrowed down to three candidates — including IT FOLLOWS star Maika Monroe, Disney sensation Zendaya, and MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS standout Rosa Salazar. Today, we have learned from sources that Salazar has landed the coveted role.

Based on the manga series by Yukito Kishiro, BATTLE ANGEL takes place in the 26th century and tells the story of an amnesiac female cyborg who is rescued from a scrapyard by a doctor, rebuilt with no memory of her previous life excepting her kickass martial arts skills, and becomes a bounty hunter tracking down vicious criminals. Salazar has a pretty impressive resume for an up-and-coming actress, especially for only having been on the scene for the last five years, and after a notable turns in INSURGENT, THE SCORCH TRIALS, and the wonderful FX comedy Man Seeking Woman she’s become a name to watch. Now, she’s landed what could be her breakout role.

Rodriguez is also in the running to helm an adaptation of JONNY QUEST, and when Collider sat down with producer Adrian Askarieh late last year, it sounded like that film was starting to finally taking steps towards production, but with BATTLE ANGEL casting up, it seems like QUEST might need a new director.

Cameron hand-picked Rodriguez for to take over at the helm of his long-time passion project, and Rodriguez is said to be working from Cameron’s script, though he’s likely to take a pass at it and punch it up with his own style. Here’s what Cameron had to say about their collaboration when he announced his departure as director:

“Robert and I have been looking for a film to do together for years, so I was pumped when he said he wanted to do Battle Angel,” stated Cameron. “He’s very collaborative and we’re already like two kids building a go-kart, just having fun riffing creatively and technically. This project is near and dear to me, and there’s nobody I trust more than Robert, with his technical virtuosity and rebel style, to take over the directing reins. We’re looking forward to learning a lot from each other while we make a kick-ass epic.”

No word yet on a production timeline for the long-developed adaptation, and there’s certainly precedent for actors locking a role with a long lead time, but this is significant forward motion and points to Battle Angel happening sooner than later.

Colin Firth joins Russian submarine disaster pic KURSK!

kingsman-colin-firth-slice-1-600x200

Oscar-winning actor Colin Firth (THE KING’S SPEECH, KINGSMAN) is in negotiations to star in Thomas Vinterberg’s KURSK, a drama based on the real-life submarine disaster that claimed the lives of 118 sailors and officers on board. Written by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Robert Rodat (SAVING PRIVATE RYAN), who adapted Robert Moore’s novel “A Time to Die,” Kursk would not only tell the tale of the explosion that caused the Russian submarine to sink in 2000 and the resulting attempt to survive far below the surface, but also the story of the sailors’ families above who battled political impediments to save their loved ones.

As Variety reports, Firth is in negotiations to star in the picture, but the potential role has not been disclosed. Matthias Schoenaerts, who can currently be seen in A BIGGER SPLASH, also stars, and his role in Kursk is under wraps as well. Firth can next been seen in DEEP WATER and BRIDGET JONES’ BABY, and is currently filming the second KINGSMAN movie.

Here’s the official synopsis of Moore’s novel, “A Time to Die: The Untold Story of the Kursk Tragedy” (via Amazon):

At 11:28 a.m. on Saturday, August 12, 2000, high in the Arctic Circle under the roiling surface of the unforgiving Barents Sea, Captain Gennady Lyachin was taking the Kursk, the pride of Russia’s elite Northern Fleet, through the last steps of firing a practice torpedo, part of an elaborate naval exercise.

Suddenly, the torpedo exploded in a massive fireball, instantly incinerating all seven men in the submarine’s forward compartment. The horror, however, was just beginning. The full, gripping story of the remarkable drama inside the Kursk and of the desperate rescue efforts has never been told—until now.

In A Time to Die, a critically acclaimed best-seller in the United Kingdom, international reporter Robert Moore—who covered the Kursk tragedy from Russia as it happened—draws on exclusive access he obtained to top Russian military figures in telling the inside story of the disaster with the factual depth of the best journalism and the compelling moment-by-moment tension of a thriller. He takes us right down inside the Kursk as two massive explosions—the second measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale—rip through compartment after compartment. Bringing the horror of the explosions vividly to life, he details the agonizing drama of the twenty-three men who survived as they fight against time to be rescued.

In a journalistic coup, Moore obtained secret access to the Kursk’s highly restricted Arctic submarine base, and he makes the desolation of that forbidden world palpable on the page. As word of the tragedy breaks, he portrays the fear and growing rage of the families of the crew as they clamor for news of their loved ones and confront Vladimir Putin, Russia’s newly elected president.
Moore also vividly re-creates the nail-biting tension of the heroic but deeply flawed Russian rescue efforts as men are sent down again and again, aboard antiquated mini-subs, in perilous attempts to get to the survivors. As Western rescuers are at last called in, Moore richly describes the fascinating world of the offshore divers who drop everything to make one last, desperate attempt to reach the trapped submariners.

A Time to Die is a riveting, brilliantly researched account of the deadliest submarine disaster in history and its devastating human cost.