Production on THE FLASH slows as Rick Famuyiwa departs project!

THE FLASH is having a bumpy run to the big screen. While the character previously made his big screen debut earlier this year in BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE and had a small cameo in SUICIDE SQUAD, his solo film has been running into difficulties.

Back in April, screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith, who was set to make his feature directing debut on the film, parted ways with the project. Then in June, Warner Bros. hired DOPE director Rick Famuyiwa to helm the picture, which will star Ezra Miller as the titular hero. Famuyiwa oversaw the hiring of Kiersey Clemons to play love interest Iris West and Billy Crudup to co-star as Barry’s father.

However, now it looks like Famuyiwa is off the picture. According to THR, the director and the studio have parted ways over “creative differences.” While there isn’t much in the way of details in terms of what those differences included, THR reports, “Sources say that the Dope director’s vision of making a movie with more edge clashed with the studio’s take.”

So what can we take that to mean? It’s hard to say, but I think it’s fair to say at this point that it’s hard to sell a vision to the studio when the studio doesn’t have a clear idea of what its vision for its movies should be. JUSTICE LEAGUE is recalibarating to be more lighthearted after audiences rejected the deathly serious BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, and SUICIDE SQUAD was a total mishmash of views including one from the company that cut the trailer for the movie. While Geoff Johns has been brought into the fold to right the ship, it’s possible that what Famuyiwa was selling back in June is no longer what Warner Bros. wants to buy in October.

While I’m not particularly devastated that Famuyiwa is leaving—I don’t think his last two films, DOPE and CONFIRMATION, are particularly memorable—it doesn’t bode particularly well for upcoming DCEU movies. At the very least, THE FLASH is probably looking at a delay as the studio tries to find a new filmmaker. It will be interesting to see how Warner Bros. shuffles its release schedule. The film was set to open on March 16, 2018 but that date has since been filled by WB’s TOMB RAIDER.

Advertisements

LIFE: New grounded sci-fi horror flick debuts a pair of trailers, film due May 26, 2017!

Sony Pictures has unveiled the first two trailers for the sci-fi horror thriller LIFE, just in time for Halloween. Written by DEADPOOL and ZOMBIELAND scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the film revolves around the six-member crew of the International Space Station as they come into contact with the very first evidence of biological life on Mars—a small, single-celled organism. As they begin to research the specimen, however, this “life” proves far more dangerous than they could have ever imagined.

The cast of this thing is terrific, with Jake Gyllenhaal leading an ensemble that includes MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION breakout Rebecca Ferguson, Hiroyuki Sanada, Olga Dihovichnaya, Ariyon Bakare, and Ryan Reynolds. What’s interesting about these trailers—both the domestic and slightly scarier/better international one—is that the film embraces the lack of gravity in space, refusing to create some sort of simulated gravity device that allows the actors to move normally. Much like THE MARTIAN and GRAVITY there’s plenty of weightlessness involved, and I’m curious to see A. Whether it lasts the whole film and B. How they pulled it off.

Story-wise, the film looks pretty promising. Director Daniel Espinosa has been hit-or-miss as a filmmaker—he directed the Reynolds-fronted 2012 thriller SAFE HOUSE as well as 2015’s star-studded dud CHILD 44—but with Life, it’s possible he’s embracing the horror genre full-throttle. The involvement of Reese and Wernick is certainly curious, and I’m very interested to see what kind of tone the overall film hits. If this is a straight-up sci-fi horror film in the vein of EVENT HORIZON or ALIEN, all the better.

LIFE opens in theaters on May 26, 2017.

Tom Hardy and FANTASTIC FOUR director Josh Trank to film Al Capone biopic FONZO!

tom-hardy-slice-600x200

It appears that FANTASTIC FOUR filmmaker Josh Trank’s time in director’s jail will be short-lived. Production troubles on the 20th Century Fox superhero film were highly publicized, and Trank laid low for a while after the pic was poorly received by both audiences and critics (he claimed his cut of the film was better, but would never be seen by audiences), but he’s now resurfaced with a project of a very different sort. It was announced over the weekend that Trank wrote and will direct a drama about infamous gangster Al Capone called FONZO, and none other than Tom Hardy has signed on to star.

Trank only has two films under his belt, the aforementioned FANTASTIC FOUR and his breakout debut CHRONICLE, but both are square in the sci-fi genre. Fonzo marks a definite change in direction, althought this won’t be your typical biopic. The film will pick up with Capone at the age of 47, where following a decade of imprisonment, dementia rots his mind and “his past becomes present as harrowing memories of his violent and brutal origins melt into his waking life.”

This sounds like an interesting take on the notorious gangster, who rose to prominence during Prohibition as he expanded a bootlegging business in Chicago, forging profitable relationships with city officials that kept him safe from law enforcement as he ran his business by increasingly violent means. This all culminated in the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre, in which Capone’s organization planned the murder of seven rival gang members in broad daylight, resulting in the public putting pressure on the city of Chicago to finally crack down on Capone.

Capone became increasingly debilitated by syphilitic dementia after his eventual release from prison, and indeed he died at the age of 48, so if Fonzo is picking up with Capone when he’s 47, one imagines we’re in for a film about the gangster’s final months.

It’s hard to think of anyone better than Hardy to play Al Capone. The actor is just coming off an Oscar nomination for his work in THE REVENANT and a stellar lead turn in MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, but he’s proven to be something of a chameleon-like performer. Most recently, Hardy’s been shooting the FX series ‘Taboo’, which he created and co-wrote with his father. He also has a role in Christopher Nolan’s upcoming World War II actioner DUNKIRK.

Trank, meanwhile, was poised to direct an unspecified STAR WARS anthology film, but left the project and/or was fired in the midst of the hubbub surrounding the difficulties on FANTASTIC FOUR. He’s landed on his feet rather quickly, though, proving once more that if you’re a white dude in Hollywood who makes an expensive flop, odds are you’ll get at least one more shot before getting the permanent boot. FONZO is currently in pre-production and as-yet doesn’t have a filming start date, but this is a curious development to be sure, and I’ll be interested to see how the film comes together.

Box Office: MADEA smothers INFERNO for upset weekend win!

The Friday box office report showed Tyler Perry and Lionsgate’s BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN close on the heels of the latest Dan Brown adaptation, INFERNO, but not close enough that prognosticators were suggesting that it would win the weekend box office again. And yet, so it has come to pass! MADEA inched past INFERNO‘s $15 million with $16.7 million of its own.

Box office soothsayers presumed that INFERNO would easily take in around $20-30 million in its opening weekend because of its cast and its previous box office pedigree. But as I mentioned yesterday, American interest in these movies has clearly flamed out. Overseas it’s a different story (see more on that below), where INFERNO opened #1 in China, and has already notched over $130 million among all international territories. That means that Sony isn’t exactly licking their wounds over this one, especially since they slashed INFERNO‘s budget from $150 million (the cost of ANGELS AND DEMONS and THE DA VINCI) in half.

But INFERNO‘s weak performance is the second big box office bomb recently for director Ron Howard, who also helmed the overlong and overly dour IN THE HEART OF SEA. There was a time when a Ron Howard movie could do no wrong — what kind of an era have we entered into?! Ironically, Howard’s last studio movie to turn a profit was ANGELS AND DEMONS.

As for the surprising success of MADEA, maybe it’s because of the Halloween weekend tie-in, or just that no one seemed to be at the movies this weekend (blame Halloween itself, or the World Series, or election fears, or any number of things). MADEA‘s $16.7 million haul isn’t exactly a barnstormer, but it definitely suggests that there will be many, many more MADEA movies to come. What holidays are left? Arbor Day? National Cat Day? Expect them all to happen, people.

And now, some bonus overseas box office info: as is seemingly becoming increasingly common, major Hollywood movies are first opening internationally. This weekend’s biggest example is DOCTOR STRANGE, which has notched $86 million in 33 territories, which is (roughly) a little less than half of the global movie marketplace. It has made the biggest splash in Korea so far, pulled in $7.6 million from IMAX, and was #1 in all but two of the countries where it launched (Lithuania and Finland, if you were curious).

Back to the U.S. charts: JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK remains in third with $9.6 million, while THE ACCOUNTANT added $8.5 million to its total. OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL filled out to the Top 5 with $7.1 million this weekend, while A24’s likely Oscar contender MOONLIGHT has been a surprising draw, garnering close to $1 million since its expansion to 36 screens.

Check out the full Weekend Top 10 below (via Box Office Mojo):

1 Boo! A Madea Halloween $16.67M
2 Inferno $15M
3 Jack Reacher: Never Go Back $9.55M
4 The Accountant $8.47M
5 Ouija: Origin of Evil $7.07M
6 The Girl on the Train $4.27M
7 Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children $3.97M
8 Keeping Up with the Joneses $3.37M
9 Storks $2.78M
10 Ae Dil Hai Mushkil $2.13M

RAMBO franchise getting a reboot with RAMBO: NEW BLOOD!

stream-this-rambo-first-blood-slice-600x200

The RAMBO franchise, which started with the 1982 film FIRST BLOOD and featured Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo all the way up through 2008’s fourth installment, is now officially being rebooted. And however you feel about that particular news, this fact might change your opinion one way or the other: Stallone is not expected to star or even act in any sort of producing capacity despite being the face of the franchise for more than 25 years.

THR reports that the reboot, titled RAMBO: NEW BLOOD in a nod back to the original film, will be scripted by Brooks McLaren for director Ariel Vromen (THE CRIMINAL, ICEMAN). The Nu Image / Millennium Films project aims to tackle the RAMBO franchise in a manner similar to that of James Bond. Stallone’s aged character from the 2008 RAMBO will be replaced with a younger actor with an eye towards future sequels, at least until they’re traded in for another young model.

The project is still early in development and, as such, no plot details were given just yet. The original film introduced moviegoing audiences to the big-screen version of the lead character in a 1972 novel by David Morrell. The action movie offered a surprisingly stark look at issues facing disaffected Vietnam War vets, though the book itself had a bleaker, and sadly more realistic ending. While a modern retelling of post-Vietnam War PTSD probably wouldn’t resonate with contemporary audiences, there are plenty of more recent/ongoing military conflicts to draw from, so the screenwriter should have no shortage of material. It just remains to be seen whether or not RAMBO: NEW BLOOD will tackle such controversial issues as PTSD, the horrors and necessities of war, and treatment of returning veterans, or if it will settle for simply being another action-movie franchise.

Director Doug Liman talks EDGE OF TOMORROW 2: “It’s a sequel that’s a prequel”

edge-of-tomorrow-slice1

Tom Cruise is a consistently reliable performer, and the prospect of the actor teaming up with Emily Blunt and filmmaker Doug Liman on a sci-fi film was certainly promising, but EDGE OF TOMORROW was that rare film that exceeded expectations. The time travel twisting made the narrative compelling, Cruise playing a coward was a terrific subversion of expectations, and Blunt’s character having a full, deep arc was tremendously fulfilling. Moreover, Liman crafted some fantastic-looking sci-fi action, and somehow found a way to keep the film feeling fresh even though it kept showing the audience the same events over and over again.

The movie was a sizable hit for Warner Bros.—$370.5 million worldwide—but buoyed by critical raves and a strong showing on home video, clamoring for a sequel has grown louder and louder. We learned earlier this year that EDGE OF TOMORROW 2 was officially in development, with screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie involved, Liman directing, and Cruise and Blunt returning, so when Collider recently spoke with Liman in anticipation of his scripted supernatural VR series ‘Invisible’, the conversation naturally turned to an update on EDGE OF TOMORROW 2.

“That is the only sequel that I’m considering doing, and it’s because first of all the story is so amazing—much better than the original film, and I loved and loved the original film—and second of all, it’s a sequel that’s a prequel.”

That is a very interesting idea, and one that works incredibly well with EDGE OF TOMORROW since the whole story conceit revolved around time travel. Moreover, at the end of EDGE OF TOMORROW, we saw that Cruise’s character had successfully reset the loop and defeated the alien threat, with the film ending at the point where the story originally began. So by “sequel that’s a prequel”, does that mean we’re going to be seeing the events of the same day play out in a wildly different manner, or will we be going back even further than that starting point?

It’s unclear at this juncture, but Liman certainly sounds enthused by the idea of making a sequel that’s unique from every other kind of sequel, and the BOURNE IDENTITY filmmaker revealed that it actually allows him to express ideas about sequels he’s had for some time:

“I’ve had some radical ideas about how to make a sequel that would interest me, in the same way that I had ideas of how you make an independent film and then Swingers came along and it was like ‘Aha, that’s the perfect movie for me to test these ideas out on.’ I had these intellectual ideas on how you should make a sequel that are unlike how anybody else makes a sequel, and this script and this idea fit perfectly into that idea. So it’s gonna revolutionize how people make sequels. And again that’s why I try to do things like Invisible that are just, the revolution’s sort of built into the idea. It’s more heresy in the film world for me to pitch things that are sort of unheard of.”

McQuarrie helped out significantly in fine-tuning the script for EDGE OF TOMORROW and finding the ending, and in fact it was during the making of Edge that Cruise offered him the job of directing MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION. But we learned this past spring that while McQuarrie is involved in EDGE OF TOMORROW 2, RACE scribes Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse actually penned the script that Liman sounds so enthused about. However, while there is a script, it may be some time before EDGE OF TOMORROW 2 goes in front of cameras.

Liman is currently juggling a few different projects, including JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK; Cruise is gearing up to shoot MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 6 next year; and Blunt will be filming MARY POPPINS RETURNS in 2017. It’s exciting to know that there’s a script and idea that has Liman really excited though, so here’s hoping after these next projects the team can reunite and bring EDGE OF TOMORROW 2 to fruition.

DEADPOOL 2 eyeing JOHN WICK director David Leitch to replace Tim Miller!

deadpool-slice-600x200

Well that didn’t take long. It was just last week that director Tim Miller made a surprising exit from DEADPOOL 2 over creative differences with star Ryan Reynolds, but it looks like 20th Century Fox is wasting no time in finding his replacement. The sequel is a top priority for the studio given that the modest-budgeted, R-rated superhero film grossed a whopping $782.6 million worldwide earlier this year, surpassing any and all expectations. Work was already underway on the sequel before the first movie came out, with the creative team of Miller, Reynolds, and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick intact, but the project faced a major setback last week when Miller left the director’s chair.

Now, however, Mashable is reporting that Fox has its eye on JOHN WICK co-director David Leitch to take over as the director of DEADPOOL 2. This is a pick that makes a lot of sense. As neat as it would have been to see someone like Edgar Wright direct a superhero movie, it didn’t seem likely that Wright—who spends years developing his scripts until they’re pitch perfect—would jump aboard a moving train with a pre-existing script and a desire from the studio to get the movie out ASAP. Leitch, on the other hand, is an up-and-comer who’s proven adept at handling action and sly comedy, and who doesn’t write his own scripts.

Mashable notes that several other directors remain in the mix, but that Leitch’s name is at the very top. He got his start as a stunt performer, working his way up to stunt coordinator on films like V FOR VENDETTA and TRON: LEGACY while also serving as a second unit director on a number of films ranging from THE WOLVERINE and ANCHORMAN 2 to JURASSIC WORLD and CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. Leitch and fellow stunt coordinator/second unit director Chad Stahelski made their feature directorial debut with the Keanu Reeves actioner JOHN WICK, announcing themselves as talents to watch behind the camera with the simply plotted, action-heavy thrill ride.

While Leitch was originally set to return to co-direct JOHN WICK 2, he eventually departed that project to focus on his own directorial effort, the Charlize Theron spy thriller THE COLDEST CITY, so he already has experience directing solo. Moreover, he has prior experience with Reynolds having served as an action coordinator on X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE.

So yeah, while there’s no official announcement just yet, Leitch is a pick that’s both exciting and makes a lot of sense. DEADPOOL was Miller’s directorial debut after a career in VFX, so it didn’t seem likely that Fox would spring for a huge name director like Wright or Matthew Vaughn for this follow-up—especially if they wanted the film to remain in the scrappy spirit of the first movie and start shooting in the first half of 2017. If Leitch does sign on, we can be certain that from an action standpoint at least, DEADPOOL 2 will be a treat.

The sequel doesn’t currently have a release date, but Fox is moving full speed ahead on this thing as casting is already underway for the role of Domino. We should hear more on the director front soon.